The world of witchcraft and wizardry is overflowing with magical objects that can do anything from changing one’s appearance to altering the course of history forever. A powerful object might be harmless in most wizards’ hands, but when snatched up by a Death Eater could be catastrophic for the entire magical universe. That stash of Polyjuice Potion is all fun and games until someone locks you up and steals your identity, right Mad-Eye? After all, with great power, always comes great responsibility, and usually high risk.
No act of magic in the Harry Potter universe comes without a warning label, even though most of our favorite wizards ignore said labels entirely. Who needs rules when you’re a teenager? Restricted section be damned right? We all know how Hermione Granger feels about banned books, but we also know what Tom Riddle does with them. Gambling with powerful, magical objects can kind of be like tasting a green every-flavored jellybean. It could be a refreshing green apple, or potentially a revolting bogey flavored bean.
Potterheads everywhere have watched children turn into adults as they experienced Harry and his friends navigate adolescence and devastating evil, which are often one and the same. Over the years the magic they performed and the objects they used evolved as the children did, becoming more powerful, and in many cases exponentially more deadly. Let’s take a look at the 15 most powerful objects in the Harry Potter universe, and how our favorite witches and wizards chose to yield that power.
15. Time Turner
The manipulation of time, as explored in endless vessels of storytelling, is arguably the most powerful ability one can possess. A person who has the ability to change the past can, in turn, create a rippling effect that could alter the course of both the present and the future.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor McGonagall presented a time-turner to Hermione Granger to allow her to take on additional classes during her third year at Hogwarts. Although she returned the object once the decision was made to lighten her workload, Hermione kept the time-turner long enough to alter pivotal events and save both Sirius Black and Buckbeak.
Although the entire stock of time-turners stored at the Ministry of Magic was rendered useless during the events of the Battle of the Department of Ministries, 2016’s release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child revealed that a true time-turner was still in existence, allowing Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy to travel further into the past than the traditional time-turners.
14. Sorcerer’s Stone
Also referred to as the Philosopher’s Stone, this magical object was created by Nicolas Flamel, a legendary alchemist who reaped the benefits of his own creation. The Stone has the ability to produce the Elixir of Life, which is the wizarding world’s equivalent of the fountain of youth, and it can also turn any metal into pure gold.
The story of the Stone is the centerpiece of our first glimpse into the Harry Potter universe. Harry Potter encountered Lord Voldemort for the first time since he attempted to kill a newborn Harry eleven years prior. No worries though, Dumbledore convinced Nicholas Flamel that it was time to die and the stone was destroyed.
13. Invisibility Cloak
One of the three components of the Deathly Hallows, the Invisibility Cloak helped Harry sneak around Hogwarts undetected to do more than just stay out past curfew. The Cloak belonged to Harry’s father and returned to Harry by Dumbledore as a Christmas gift, who had it for safe keeping. Most of the key information Harry learned regarding the return of Voldemort and who he could and couldn’t trust to rise up against him was learned while under the cover and protection of the Invisibility Cloak. Although a powerful tool that has helped Harry learn much about his enemies, the Invisibility Cloak can also be a burden, as even though no one can see you, you can’t unsee some of the difficult scenes you observe while invisible.
12. Ravenclaw’s Diadem
The Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw was the only known relic of Rowena Ravenclaw and one of the seven Horcruxes Lord Voldemort created to hold pieces of his soul. The diadem is adorned with a blue sapphire and contains an etching of Ravenclaw’s quote, “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.”
Ravenclaw’s diadem was stolen by Rowena’s daughter Helena, who was envious of her mother. It was later discovered by Tom Riddle, who turned it into his fifth Horcrux and stashed it away in the Room of Requirement as the Room of Hidden Things, where it would be discovered by Harry many years later and subsequently destroyed in an accident resulting in Vincent Crabbe’s death.
11. Elder Wand
The first of the three Deathly Hallows created, the Elder Wand is said to have been created and bestowed by Death as the most powerful want in history. The core of the wand is the tail hair of a Thestral, is fifteen inches long, and is notably unique in appearance because of the carvings along the length of the want that resemble elderberries. Due to its bloody history of ownership, the Elder Wand is rumored to only be able to be mastered by the wizard who is responsible for the death or disarming of its previous owner.
After the death of Voldemort, whose own spell backfired on him due to the allegiance of the wand lying with his opponent, Harry decided to reunite the Elder Wand with Dumbledore. Once Harry dies a death due to natural causes, the want will become powerless, with no loyalty to a specific owner.
10. Resurrection Stone
The second of the Deathly Hallows created by Death and bestowed upon one of the Peverell brothers, the Resurrection Stone had the power to recall loved ones from death. The owner of all three Deathly Hallows would become the Master of Death. The stone was possessed by Albus Dumbledore, who strategically placed is inside the first Golden Snitch Harry earned. After Harry was able to use it to give him strength to march toward his death surrounded by his parents, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin while he surrendered to Voldemort. Harry then discarded the stone in the forest, where it was pressed into the depths of the ground by centaurs charging into the Battle of Hogwarts.
9. Sword of Gryffindor
Created by goblins specifically for Godric Gryffindor, the sword was curated from pure silver and inset with rubies. Because goblins are the wizarding world’s best metalworkers, the sword was enchanted. J.K. Rowling has discussed that she used many allegories in her writings that allude to Excalibur during the passages that document the Sword of Gryffindor.
As with many of these powerful relics in the magical universe, possession does not necessarily define ownership. Several times during Harry’s journey, the Sword of Gryffindor appears in his possession to provide life-saving assistance, even used as a tool to destroy Horcruxes. Dumbledore poses the thought that the sword appears for the use of those who exemplify the qualities of its original owner.
8. Mirror of Erised
Although the creation and origin of the Mirror or Erised are largely still a mystery, this object somehow landed inside Hogwarts. The inscription on the mirror must be read backward to reveal its true function, which is, “I show not your face but your heart’s desire.” The purpose of the mirror, although likely harmless and fun in its intentions, can create a sense of obsession for those who yearn to live in a reality that cannot exist for them. When Harry looks into the mirror he sees himself with his parents, and Dumbledore warns him that wizards can waste their lives away living immersed in a dream rather than the world they live in. Power can be created out of what does not exist if a wizard focuses on what they do not have rather than what they do have in this life.
Portkeys are used as a method of travel for wizards who do have the ability to apparate or the resources to journey by Floo powder. Most inanimate objects can be turned into a Portkey once they are enchanted. A wizard must touch grasp the object to be transported to a predetermined destination.
We’re told be many wizards who use Portkeys to travel that the travel experience is a rather uncomfortable one, often resulting in nausea and dizziness. When wizards want to travel discreetly, they often use everyday objects and bewitch them, such as a boot. Some Portkeys can be preset to deliver wizards to a specific moment and place in time as well, like the Quidditch World Cup in 1994.
6. Room of Requirement
The Room of Requirement is more than just an object, it’s a space in Hogwarts for whatever any seeking wizard needs. Dobby the elf claims that people had various names for the Room such as the “Come and Go Room” or the “place where everything is hidden.”
Part of the power of the Room is that it not only conforms to meet each requirement, but it also hides the current wizard inside from the Maurader’s Map. Although the Room was used for training purposes by Harry and the rest of Dumbledore’s Army, it was also used for deadly scheming by Draco who spent almost a year working to repair to create a bath between two Vanishing Cabinets to let Death Eaters into Hogwarts. Thanks to the Fiendfyre, it’s possible the Room is no longer functional, but here’s to hoping.
Only utilized by the most advanced and powerful wizards, the Pensieve is a rare dish used to store and view memories, allowing them to be recreated for the viewer to enter and experience. Although most Pensieves are owned by a wizard and are usually buried with them, the one we see belongs to Hogwarts, with access and use if primarily at disposal of each headmaster and headmistress.
The power of the Pensieve proved to be invaluable to Harry and Dumbledore, providing them insight into a memory of Professor Slughorn’s that had originally been altered by him to hide the truth: information regarding the creation and use of Horcruxes that was provided to Lord Voldemort. Without the Pensieve to relive these memories, Harry may have never known how to defeat Voldemort at all.
4. Prophecy Orbs
Inside the Ministry of Magic lies the Department of Mysteries, and inside the Department of Mysteries lies the Hall of Prophecy, which contains endless rows of shelves that hold glass orbs. Each orb has a label, indicating the person who made the prophecy along with the year and the person who serves as the subject of the prophecy.
Without the prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney, Lord Voldemort would have never created the link between himself and the one person who could destroy him. Voldemort’s knowledge of the existence of the prophecy was the only reason he targeted Harry in the first place, subsequently marking him and creating a final Horcrux. In the case of prophecy orbs, ignorance is certainly bliss.
3. Polyjuice Potion
Polyjuice Potion was used several times throughout the years we spent in the Harry Potter universe, and the skill required to concoct it properly is only possessed by powerful, experienced wizards. So, of course Hermione was able to succeed in brewing some in her second year, although her accidental use of cat hair caused a bit of malfunction in her own dose.
The most impactful use of Polyjuice Potion was utilized by Barty Crouch Jr. when he posed as Mad-Eye Moody in order to plot Harry’s participation in the Triwizard Tournament to place the wheels in motion for Voldemort’s return. But the most entertaining use was when the Order or the Phoenix all took a dose of the potion to help Harry escape Privet Drive and return to Hogwarts during the Battle of the Seven Potters.
2. Goblet of Fire
The Triwizard Tournament was abundant in pomp and circumstance, with extravagant entrances and elaborate ceremonies. The tone for the tournament is set by the wooden cup that boasts giant blue flames, used to select toe students who have been deemed worthy to represent their schools in the competition.
The power of the goblet lies in its ability to determine the fate of each young student, who is placed under obligation to follow through with the games until the very end once chosen. Once the tournament participants are chosen, the goblet extinguishes its own flame, not to ignite again until the next time it’s needed. May the odds be ever in your favor! Wait, wrong series, oops.
One of the most dangerous and darkest pieces of magic that exists, a Horcrux is an object that is used to conceal and preserve a part of a wizard’s soul in order to secure the grip he or her has on this life. A Horcrux can only be created after the act of murder is committed. Voldemort chose seven objects that were of high importance to him to split his soul into seven different pieces for preservation.
The power of an object that can contain a bit of someone’s soul is unimaginable, and each one is immensely difficult to discover and destroy. Voldemort’s Horcruxes were Tom Riddle’s Diary, Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring, Salazar Slytherin’s Locket, Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup, Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem, and Voldemort’s pet snake Nagini. Unknowingly, Voldemort also turned Harry Potter into a final Horcrux.