Having been a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise for almost two decades, I often find myself participating in heated debates on the Vine about the wizards and witches and their skills at dueling. Respect threads for Voldemort, Dumbledore and the boy who lived himself are not hard to find, but without the others? How about the ones who have their own badass achievements but don't receive as much praise as the main or more popular characters? In this thread, I shall spotllight some of these overlooked witches and wizards.
As with my other respect thread I will focus on the original source material, which are the books. Whenever appropriate, author's word directly from Rowling will be added if necessary.
Short note on the pics, I specifically chose for non-movie pictures since I want this thread to be associated with the books as much as possible. Also, the pics I choose tend to capture the look of the character as described by Rowling.
Bellatrix Lestrange“She was a witch, as Harry knew, with prodigious skill and no conscience.”
Readers of the series weren't properly introduced to Bellatrix Lestrange until she made her escape from Azkaban in HP and the Order of the Phoenix, the prison she was send to for her involvement in the gruesome torture of the popular Longbottom aurors. However, this wicked witch immediately cemented her reputation as one of the most dangerous death eaters by killing her own cousin and Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, and being the only death eater to escape the Department of Mysteries. Later at the Second Battle of Hogwarts, she killed her own niece Tonks and was the last person standing at Voldemort's side before being taken down by Molly Weasley.
“Potter, you cannot win against me!” she cried. I was and am the Dark Lord’s most loyal servant, I learned the Dark Arts from him, and I know spells of such power that you, pathetic little boy, can never hope to compete."
Despite coming out of Azkaban even less sane than when she entered, Bellatrix did not lose a fraction of her proficiency as a duelist. With her track record of both defeating accomplished aurors and groups of trained wizards, she is one of the strongest witches in the series, Voldemort's best lieutenant and arguably the best duelist after the triumvirate of Voldie, Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
At the Department of Mystery, she faced Tonks (a trained auror),
Tonks, still halfway up the tiered seats, was firing spells down at Bellatrix —
A jet of green light had narrowly missed Sirius; across the room Harry saw Tonks fall from halfway up the stone steps, her limp form toppling from stone seat to stone seat, and Bellatrix, triumphant, running back toward the fray.
Sirius Black (veteran Order of the Phoenix member and often hailed prodigy)
Only one couple were still battling, apparently unaware of the new arrival. Harry saw Sirius duck Bellatrix’s jet of red light: He was laughing at her. “Come on, you can do better than that!” he yelled, his voice echoing around the cavernous room. The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest. The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock.
and Kingsley (a veteran auror with considerable dueling expertise) in a row and managed to beat all of them.
Kingsley had run forward to continue Sirius’s duel with Bellatrix.
There was a loud bang and a yell from behind the dais. Harry saw Kingsley, yelling in pain, hit the ground.
And just to add a cherry on top, as she flees the scene, she blocks a spell from Dumbledore himself, being the only person outside of Voldemort we ever see do this.
Bellatrix Lestrange turned and ran as Dumbledore whipped around. He aimed a spell at her but she deflected it. She was halfway up the steps now.
Now that is a gauntlet not many wizards could complete, yet Bellatrix did so in style.
Bellatrix has no problem fighting multiple opponents at once. In fact, when she fights 4 snatchers in the Deathly Hallows, she casually stomps them.
Lucius froze, his index finger hovering over his own Mark. Bellatrix strode out of Harry’s limited line of vision. “What is that?” he heard her say. “Sword,” grunted an out-of-sight Snatcher. “Give it to me.” “It’s not yours, missus, it’s mine, I reckon I found it.” There was a bang and a flash of red light; Harry knew that the Snatcher had been Stunned. There was a roar of anger from his fellows: Scabior drew his wand. “What d’you think you’re playing at, woman?” “Stupefy!” she screamed, ”Stupefy!” They were no match for her, even thought there were four of them against one of her: She was a witch, as Harry knew, with prodigious skill and no conscience. They fell where they stood, all except Greyback, who had been forced into a kneeling position, his arms outstretched. Out of the corners of his eyes Harry saw Bellatrix bearing down upon the werewolf, the sword of Gryffindor gripped tightly in her hand, her face waxen.
During her final battle at Hogwarts, she battled 3 people at once just like her master Voldemort, and was holding her own. One of them was Hermione, a seventh-year student with a score of victories against adult death eaters.
Bellatrix was still fighting too, fifty yards away from Voldemort, and like her master she dueled three at once: Hermione, Ginny, and Luna, all battling their hardest, but Bellatrix was equal to them, and Harry’s attention was diverted as a Killing Curse shot so close to Ginny that she missed death by an inch.
Her duel with Molly Weasley was so intense it made the floor around them crack.
Harry watched with terror and elation as Molly Weasley’s wand slashed and twisted, and Bellatrix Lestrange’s smile faltered and became a snarl. Jets of light flew from both wands, the floor around the witches’ feet became hot and cracked; both women were fighting to kill.
Speed and reflexes
As a great duelist, Bellatrix had speed and reflexes to match her skill. Despite aiming at her back, Harry can't catch Bellatrix off guard and barely has enough time to take cover of his own spell bouncing back.
“Stupefy!” yelled Harry. He had edged right around to where the goblin stood beaming up at the now headless wizard and taken aim at her back as she peered around the fountain for him. She reacted so fast he barely had time to duck. “Protego!” The jet of red light, his own Stunning Spell, bounced back at him. Harry scrambled back behind the fountain, and one of the goblin’s ears went flying across the room.
Manages to react to Ron bursting into the room, spinning around and pointing her own wand, all in the time it takes Ron to cast a spell.
“And I think,” said Bellatrix’s voice, “we can dispose of the Mudblood. Greyback, take her if you want her.” “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Ron had burst into the drawing room; Bellatrix looked around, shocked; she turned her wand to face Ron instead— “Expelliarmus!” he roared, pointing Wormtail’s wand at Bellatrix, and hers flew into the air and was caught by Harry, who had sprinted after Ron.
* Although Harry's cruciatus curse was arguably not at full strength, we still see her recover from it in record time and retaliate with a vengeance.
Hatred rose in Harry such as he had never known before. He flung himself out from behind the fountain and bellowed “Crucio!” Bellatrix screamed. The spell had knocked her off her feet, but she did not writhe and shriek with pain as Neville had — she was already on her feet again, breathless, no longer laughing. Harry dodged behind the golden fountain again — her counterspell hit the head of the handsome wizard, which was blown off and landed twenty feet away, gouging long scratches into the wooden floor.
* Bellatrix was skilled enough at occlumency to train Malfoy to the point where he could block out Snape, a master at legilimency
* She was accomplished enough at non-verbal magic to cast most of her spells, including ones like Avada Kedavra, without speaking a word.
* Due to her truly sadistic nature, unforgivable curses came very easy to her.