Some reasonably well informed, at least well meaning, thoughts on the Harry Potter verse. Er, feats and stuff.

Interesting topic. Overall I would not say Harry Potter is impressive as a combat verse, when put alongside verses like Star Wars, Naruto, Marvel, etc. It's not written the same way and the characters generally obey real-life laws of physics as regards physicals so you don't see the same type of speedblitzes or anything like that, they have superhuman longevity and that's it. Overall they're street level.

First of all there's the issue of movie cannon vs book cannon. IIRC a big difference is that non-projectile spells are shown in the movies whereas projectile spells are the only ones shown in the books (although there are times when spells are done without mention to a projectile, but that's not the same as when they're absent on-screen), although you could probably argue the spells are just invisible rather than instantaneous considering everyone should be spamming them if they were. Another issue is their teleportation, since in the books they always have to spin on their heel, whereas in the movie they can do so without, making it slightly faster.

Harry looked behind him, his heart pounding. Dumbledore was standing in front of the golden gates.

Voldemort raised his wand and another jet of green light streaked at Dumbledore, who turned and was gone in a whirling of his cloak. Next second, he had reappeared behind Voldemort and waved his wand towards the remnants of the fountain.

- The Only One He Ever Feared, OotP

<

No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided

In the first gif Riddle teleports so fast Harry almost misses it. Movie versions also generally have a higher level of power compared to their book counterparts, let's take a look.

But though gashes appeared in their sodden rags and their icy skin, they had no blood to spill: they walked on, unfeeling, their shrunken hands outstretched toward him, and as he backed away still farther, he felt arms enclose him from behind, thin, fleshless arms cold as death, and his feet left the ground as they lifted him and began to carry him, slowly and surely, back to the water, and he knew there would be no release, that he would be drowned, and become one more dead guardian of a fragment of Voldemort's shattered soul...

But then, through the darkness, fire erupted: crimson and gold, a ring of fire that surrounded the rock so that the Inferi holding Harry so tightly stumbled and faltered; they did not dare pass through the flames to get to the water. They dropped Harry; he hit the ground, slipped on the rock, and fell, grazing his arms, then scrambled back up, raising his wand and staring around.

Dumbledore was on his feet again, pale as any of the surrounding Inferi, but taller than any too, the fire dancing in his eyes; his wand was raised like a torch and from its tip emanated the flames, like a vast lasso, encircling them all with warmth.

The Inferi bumped into each other, attempting, blindly, to escape the fire in which they were enclosed...

Dumbledore scooped the locket from the bottom of the stone basin and stowed it inside his robes. Wordlessly, he gestured to Harry to come to his side. Distracted by the flames, the Inferi seemed unaware that their quarry was leaving as Dumbledore led Harry back to the boat, the ring of fire moving with them, around them, the bewildered Inferi accompanying them to the waters edge, where they slipped gratefully back into their dark waters.

Harry, who was shaking all over, thought for a moment that Dumbledore might not be able to climb into the boat; he staggered a little as he attempted it; all his efforts seemed to be going into maintaining the ring of protective flame around them. Harry seized him and helped him back to his seat. Once they were both safely jammed inside again, the boat began to move back across the black water, away from the rock, still encircled by that ring of fire, and it seemed that the Inferi swarming below them did not dare resurface.

"Sir," panted Harry, "sir, I forgot--about fire--they were coming at me and I panicked --"

"Quite understandable," murmured Dumbledore. Harry was alarmed to hear how faint his voice was.

They reached the bank with a little bump and Harry leapt out, then turned quickly to help Dumbledore. The moment that Dumbledore reached the bank he let his wand hand fall; the ring of fire vanished, but the Inferi did not emerge again from the water. The little boat sank into the water once more; clanking and tinkling, its chain slithered back into the lake too. Dumbledore gave a great sigh and leaned against the cavern wall.

"I am weak..." he said.

As you can see Dumbledore gives a much more fearsome display of power in the movies.

Also compare the fight against the against Voldemort in the movies and books.

'I have nothing more to say to you, Potter,' he said quietly. 'You have irked me too often, for too long. AVADA KEDAVRA!'

Harry had not even opened his mouth to resist; his mind was blank, his wand pointing uselessly at the floor.

But the headless golden statue of the wizard in the fountain had sprung alive, leaping from its plinth to land with a crash on the floor between Harry and Voldemort. The spell merely glanced off its chest as the statue flung out its arms to protect Harry.

'What--?' cried Voldemort, staring around. And then he breathed, 'Dumbledore!'

Harry looked behind him, his heart pounding. Dumbledore was standing in front of the golden gates.

Voldemort raised his wand and another jet of green light streaked at Dumbledore, who turned and was gone in a whirling of his cloak. Next second, he had reappeared behind Voldemort and waved his wand towards the remnants of the fountain. The other statues sprang to life. The statue of the witch ran at Bellatrix, who screamed and sent spells streaming uselessly off its chest, before it dived at her, pinning her to the floor. Meanwhile, the goblin and the house-elf scuttled towards the fireplaces set along the wall and the one-armed centaur galloped at Voldemort, who vanished and reappeared beside the pool. The headless statue thrust Harry backwards, away from the fight, as Dumbledore advanced on Voldemort and the golden centaur cantered around them both.

'It was foolish to come here tonight, Tom,' said Dumbledore calmly. 'The Aurors are on their way--'

'By which time I shall be gone, and you will be dead!' spat Voldemort. He sent another killing curse at Dumbledore but missed, instead hitting the security guard's desk, which burst into flame.

Dumbledore flicked his own wand: the force of the spell that emanated from it was such that Harry, though shielded by his golden guard, felt his hair stand on end as it passed and this time Voldemort was forced to conjure a shining silver shield out of thin air to deflect it. The spell, whatever it was, caused no visible damage to the shield, though a deep, gong-like note reverberated from it--an oddly chilling sound.

'You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?' called Voldemort, his scarlet eyes narrowed over the top of the shield. 'Above such brutality, are you?'

'We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom,' Dumbledore said calmly, continuing to walk towards Voldemort as though he had not a fear in the world, as though nothing had happened to interrupt his stroll up the hall. 'Merely taking your life would not satisfy me, I admit--'

'There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!' snarled Voldemort.

'You are quite wrong,' said Dumbledore, still closing in upon Voldemort and speaking as lightly as though they were discussing the matter over drinks. Harry felt scared to see him walking along, undefended, shieldless; he wanted to cry out a warning, but his headless guard kept shunting him backwards towards the wall, blocking his every attempt to get out from behind it. 'Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness--'

Another jet of green light flew from behind the silver shield. This time it was the one-armed centaur, galloping in front of Dumbledore, that took the blast and shattered into a hundred pieces, but before the fragments had even hit the floor, Dumbledore had drawn back his wand and waved it as though brandishing a whip. A long thin flame flew from the tip; it wrapped itself around Voldemort, shield and all. For a moment, it seemed Dumbledore had won, but then the fiery rope became a serpent, which relinquished its hold on Voldemort at once and turned, hissing furiously, to face Dumbledore.

Voldemort vanished; the snake reared from the floor, ready to strike--

There was a burst of flame in midair above Dumbledore just as Voldemort reappeared, standing on the plinth in the middle of the pool where so recently the five statues had stood.

'Look out!' Harry yelled.

But even as he shouted, another jet of green light flew at Dumbledore from Voldemort's wand and the snake struck--

Fawkes swooped down in front of Dumbledore, opened his beak wide and swallowed the jet of green light whole: he burst into flame and fell to the floor, small, wrinkled and flightless. At the same moment, Dumbledore brandished his wand in one long, fluid movement--the snake, which had been an instant from sinking its fangs into him, flew high into the air and vanished in a wisp of dark smoke; and the water in the pool rose up and covered Voldemort like a cocoon of molten glass.

For a few seconds Voldemort was visible only as a dark, rippling, faceless figure, shimmering and indistinct upon the plinth, clearly struggling to throw off the suffocating mass--

Then he was gone and the water fell with a crash back into its pool, slopping wildly over the sides, drenching the polished floor.

'MASTER!' screamed Bellatrix.

Sure it was over, sure Voldemort had decided to flee, Harry made to run out from behind his statue guard, but Dumbledore bellowed: 'Stay where you are, Harry!'

For the first time, Dumbledore sounded frightened. Harry could not see why: the hall was quite empty but for themselves, the sobbing Bellatrix still trapped under the witch statue, and the baby phoenix Fawkes croaking feebly on the floor--'

Then Harry's scar burst open and he knew he was dead: it was pain beyond imagining, pain past endurance--

The fight in the movie is generally more impressive overall, with them resembling forces of nature moreso than duelist, with more impressive AOE, the only AOE Tom shows in the books is a shockwave spell a lot weaker than the one he uses here. Also of note between movie and books is that Voldemort has better feats in the movies, if it wasn't for Tom fleeing from Albus a feat by feat analysis would show him to be superior, whereas in the books Dumbledore is more impressive by feats and is also shown to be ahead by a larger degree in their dual. Take this for example, also a feat above Book Riddle.

But 'average' wizards generally show themselves to be more powerful in the movies also, let's compare.

No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided

A fair deal better than the books, where Anton couldn't one-shot Hermione with a particularly. However, this is only the case with wizards IC, in the books Wormtail was able to bust a street when escaping from Sirius, who could protect himself presumably from such a blast. Wormtail may actually be above average, considering JKR said he was 'better than they knew', possibly implying being better than the 'hopeless' they thought he was.

I've already said how high level wizards have better AOE in the movies, but Fiendfyre is also used more easily and it's actually in character, although movie Fiendfyre is weaker considering it was blocked by Harry and never destroyed a Horcrux.

No Caption Provided

Pretty great considering book Voldemort never used Fiendfyre, least of all wandlessly.

Wizards in the movie's also generally perform wandless magic more easily, with Voldemort casually one-shotting Harry. Wandless magic is only an absolute last resort in the books and JKR said you can't do any good spells without one, which is not the case in the movies as the above gif shows.

No Caption Provided

Another thing is durability, which is afforded by flight. In the movies every decent wizard knows flight, and it amps their durability tremendously.

No Caption Provided

Oh, heres some Death Eaters turning invisible and busting a bridge.

There is also the issue of reactions. I believe that the books incarnations show better reactions feats the like of...

  1. Voldemort blitzing Got and OotP Harry, who is an accomplished seeker.
  2. Dumbledore drawing and casting a spell, from a sitting position, in a split-second.
  3. Dumbledore blitzing Umbridge, Fudge, Percy and Dawlish, Dawlish at least was a decent Auror. He did this faster than Harry could react.
  4. Dumbledore teleport-timing Tom's spells.
  5. Voldemort keeping up with three highly skilled duelists at once.
  6. Bellatrix killing a fox faster than it can pounce, when taken by surprise.
  7. Bellatrix blocking spells fired at her back.
  8. Snape casually deflecting Harry's spells, with the use of Legilimency.
  9. Dumbledore, while posioned, was able to wait until Draco burst into a room and charm Harry is instant, if it hadn't been Draco he would've stunned whoever was coming in. Pretty great that he is so far above someone on the draw that he can cast charms without them realizing even when they have the disadvantage. It's even better that Harry hadn't even realized anything, even Draco's identity, until it was over.
  10. Bellatrix beating four Snatchers.

The movie versions have...

  1. Umbridge arrow-timing.
  2. Voldemort being so fast Harry can hardly keep up.
  3. Dumbledore matching Voldemort.
  4. Bellatrix beating the four Snatchers.
  5. We can quantify them timing spells based on the fact spells are much faster than brooms, which can do this...

A big weakness of the HPverse in my opinion is that they lack skill at fighting in general. Only Bella, and to a greater extent Dumbledore and Voldemort, show feats of skill at fighting. They can all beat several enemies at once but they're lacking compared to, say, Harry Dresden or Skulduggery Pleasant.

Common Misconceptions (IMO):

  1. Spells being slow. This is not the case, considering them being much faster than brooms, which even in the books are fast enough that great reflexes are needed to fly them well. The whole timing spells thing is greatly overplayed, often luck potions, aim-dodging, moving evasively and plain luck are the biggest factor. Only high tiers can dodge them with any degree of consistency.
  2. The Killing Curse is unblockable/unresistable. Nope, this is based off NLF statements, the KC has been stopped by desks and walls, it is not getting through the shields of most verses.
  3. HP wizards are terrible fighters. HP wizards fight in straight up wars, even as children and live in a world much more dangerous than ours, they're at least better than an average guy, and many characters do show surprising competence in bad situations, the DA in the Ministry running is often used against them when, if anything, it was the perfect thing to do at the time. Many of the characters are pretty well-trained.
  4. HP wizards know nothing of the Muggle world. This is the case with pureblood wizards but half-bloods, like Voldemort, know just as much as anyone.

Weaknesses of the verse:

  1. Their durability means they can be killed by skilled marksmen.
  2. They lack *great* reactions.
  3. AOE is pretty lacking.

Please forgive me if this is a little messy, it's a pasted post from this thread which the OP suggested I make into a proper respect thread, but I'll leave it as it is, an invitation for some Harry Potter feat discussion.

43 Comments