"In a list of Most Dangerous Dark Wizards of All Time, he'd miss out on the top spot only because You-Know-Who arrived, a generation later, to steal his crown."
Wand: Elder wood with dragon heartstrings, 13" and unyielding flexibility. Dark greenish hue with three red thorn-like protrusions running along its length. The wand appeared to be a long tapered strip of bark that had been twisted into a cylindrical shape.
Loyalty: Grindelwald's army, Durmstrang Institute, Nurmengard, Elder Wand
FRIENDSHIP WITH DUMBLEDORE
It was in Godric's Hollow in the summer of 1899 that Grindelwald met and befriended Albus Dumbledore. The two teenagers were intellectuals and top-of-the-class talented young wizards who were idealistic and ambitious. They shaped one another's ideas, powers, as well as destinies from that day forth.
They held fascination with the goal of acquiring all three Deathly Hallows and wield the power of Master of Death. They dreamed of overturning the Statute of Secrecy and creating a new order in which wizards were the benevolent overlords of their world, including Muggles. Dumbledore coined the phrase "For the Greater Good" that would be used to justify the necessary use of force required to achieve their goals, and Grindelwald would later adopt as his slogan.
However, Dumbledore's motivations and intentions were different from Grindelwald's: he wanted the power to protect his loved ones (and by extension the whole world) against cruelty and xenophobia shown by the Muggles. He viewed the Resurrection Stone as a way of returning his parents to life, while Grindelwald mistakenly viewed it as a tool to amass an army of inferi.
The friends' plans to leave Godric's Hollow, acquire power, and begin their revolution turned serious in the summer of 1899. When Dumbledore's brother Aberforth became aware of this he was disgusted with Albus's ambition. In a confrontation, Grindelwald, enraged, inflicted the Cruciatus Curse on Aberforth. Albus moved to defend his brother, igniting a vicious three-way duel in which Ariana was killed. Grindelwald fled the country and received putative blame for Ariana's death, thus confirming his place on the wrong side of the law and touching off his career as a Dark revolutionary, which would last until 1945.
RISE TO POWER
Grindelwald delved into his research on the Deathly Hallows and uncovered the location of the Elder Wand. Rumours had been circulating that the renowned wandmaker Gregorovitch had the wand and was trying to duplicate its properties. Grindelwald broke into Gregorovitch's workshop, lay in wait for the wandmaker, stunned him, and stole the wand, thereby becoming its new master. Grindelwald's research may have uncovered this unconventional path to ownership of the wand as the common interpretation was that ownership passed only by murder.
-Intellectual genius: Grindelwald was not only a great wizard, but also possessed an incredible intellect, as he was considered to be equally brilliant to Albus Dumbledore, who was himself considered the most brilliant student at Hogwarts up until that point when both of them were seventeen. Indeed, Grindelwald and Dumbledore's intellects were so complementary to one another, that, according to Bathilda Bagshot, even after spending an entire day in intellectually stimulating discussions with Grindelwald, Dumbledore would still unexpectedly send Grindelwald messages by owl right after sudden ideas struck him, with him having to let Grindelwald know of them immediately. As an adult, aside from his ability to create complex and carefully-woven plans to achieve his goals, such as subtly apprehending President Picquery's right-hand man Percival Graves and infiltrating the MACUSA by assuming his identity, Grindelwald was able to perfectly mimic the personality and American accent of Percival Graves, and convincingly carry out his many duties as an Auror, the Head of MACUSA's Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and the Director of Magical Security, while also gradually managing to locate the rampaging Obscurial, all without arousing suspicion.
-Charisma: Even as a young man, Grindelwald was highly talented in manipulating others, such that he was able to manipulate the extremely intelligent Albus Dumbledore into agreeing to his ideas of revolution and only Aberforth's timely intervention stopped Albus. As an adult, his skills in manipulating grew even further, with Theseus Scamander describing him as a "charismatic blighter" and Grindelwald succesfully convincing many wizards and witches to join his cause. He was also able to effortlessly manipulate Credence Barebone into trusting him by looking as a kind mentor to him, to the point that Credence was conpletely unaware that Grindelwald was merely using him. He was also shown to be confident that he could eventually get Credence in his Obscurus form to listen to him, which made him enraged when he was seemingly destroyed by MACUSA Aurors.
-Duelling: Gellert Grindelwald was a duellist of almost unrivalled skill. Having received thorough training in duelling and martial magic during his schooling at Durmstrang, Grindelwald was able to hone his skills to match his extraordinary high potential, becoming a fully confident, focused, disciplined and versatile master of combative sorcery, his reactions "marvelous, astounding". Though quite capable of performing magic of immense and destructive power as seen in how he made short work of the five European Aurors who were searching for him, he generally seems to prefer to engage his adversaries in a more traditional and formal manner and defeat his foes in a more "fair fight", showing a surprisingly defensive duelling style compared to the agressive duelling style of Voldemort, deflecting his opponents' efforts to magically best him with ease. Even as a teenager, Grindelwald was already highly proficient in martial magic, having effortlessly overpowered and Stunned Gregorovitch efficiently enough to master the Elder Wand and held his own against Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore simultaneously during their three-way duel when they were in their late teens. As an adult, armed with the Elder Wand, Grindelwald's duelling skills made him look almost undefeatable in a duel, as he defeated and killed many powerful witches and wizards during his reign of terror in wizarding world. He also overpowered Percival Graves, so he could disguise himself as him and infiltrate MACUSA. While impersonating Graves, Grindelwald still displayed tremendous duelling skill, winning every single one-on-one duel (swiftly besting and torturing Newt Scamander, and easily fending off former Auror Tina Goldstein), and upon being unmasked, Grindelwald not only easily fended off more than twenty highly-trained MACUSA Aurors, but he also quickly started to overwhelm his opponents with little difficulty (quite possibly eventually defeating them all had Newt not restrained him from behind). Ultimately, as a testament to his immense duelling skills, Grindelwald was even able to go toe-to-toe with Albus Dumbledore, indeed, their legendary duel has entered History as possibly the greatest duel ever fought between two wizards.
-Occlumency: Grindelwald was an incredibly accomplished Occlumens, being able to fully conceal his true thoughts from the exceptionally talented Legilimens Queenie Goldstein while in his Percival Graves disguise. Even Lord Voldemort himself, who was reputed to be the most accomplished Legilimens alive, was unable to penetrate Grindelwald's mind to gain information in his search of the Elder Wand.
-Divination: Grindelwald was a Seer. He had a vision about the existence of a powerful Obscurial linked to Credence Barebone. However, he is not an expert in this magical field, as Grindelwald initially misinterpreted the vision, believing that Credence would lead him to the child while in fact, Credence was the Obscurial himself. It should be noted, however, that Credence is the only known Obscurial ever to have lived past the age of 10, so Grindelwald could possibly not have anticipated this.About Me
"A law that has us scuttling like rats in the gutter. A law that demands that we conceal our true nature. A law that directs those under its dominion to cower in fear, lest we risk discovery. I ask you, Madam President, I ask all of you — who does this law protect? Us, or them? I refuse to bow down any longer."
Name: Gellert Grindelwald
Aka: Percival Graves
Occupation: Auror, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Director of Magical Security, Revolutionary Leader.
Expelled from Durmstrang Institute
"Educated at Durmstrang, a school famous even then for its unfortunate tolerance of the Dark Arts, Grindelwald showed himself quite as precociously brilliant as Dumbledore. Rather than channel his abilities into the attainment of awards and prizes, however, Gellert Grindelwald devoted himself to other pursuits. When Grindelwald was sixteen years old, even Durmstrang felt it could no longer turn a blind eye to his twisted experiments and he was expelled."
—The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore
Gellert Grindelwald was born around 1883. He was educated at Durmstrang Institute, where he excelled in various fields of magic and absorbed much of the strength-obsessed, Dark Magic-oriented school culture. He was an extremely talented wizard, who possessed an attractive and winsome personality, which was coupled with a "merry, wild" disposition. Grindelwald instantly felt the attraction of the Dark Arts.
Keenly interested in history, lore, and the powerful mystique of magical artefacts Grindelwald became fascinated with the Deathly Hallows. He became fascinated to the point of appropriating their runic symbol as his own personal emblem and engraving it on the walls of Durmstrang prior to his departure. These engravings persisted for many generations. Dumbledore noted to Harry Potter that 'twisted experiments' had been the reason for his expulsion at 16 years old from Durmstrang before graduating. This was an ominous and troubling sign, as it meant that Grindelwald performed experiments that were too disturbing even for a school of the Dark Arts.
As a young man, Grindelwald had golden blond hair and a "merry, wild" and “handsome” face. He had a Fred and George-ish air of triumphant trickery about him. While he was middle aged, Grindelwald's hair was blond and he was blue-eyed. He also had a thin white moustache.
Near the end of his life, when Voldemort found him at the top of Nurmengard, Grindelwald was severely emaciated - a frail skeletal figure with a skull-like face, great sunken eyes, wrinkled cheeks, and most of his teeth were gone.
-Magical Mastery: Grindelwald was noted to be extremely talented and prodigiously skilled while still a student of Durmstrang Institute, and his magical mastery was considered to match that of Albus Dumbledore, which induced the two young men to quickly befriend one another in their youth. As an adult, Grindelwald was considered to be one of the most powerful Dark Wizards of all time, and with the Elder Wand enhancing his already tremendous ability, Grindelwald successfully terrorised much of wizarding world, defeating so many in his reign of terror that Dumbledore eventually was deemed the only wizard who could possibly stand any chance of defeating Grindelwald. In the end, Grindelwald's power proved to be great enough that Dumbledore, despite his strong desire not to engage Grindelwald, was eventually forced to take action. While he was ultimately defeated by his old friend in a duel of legendary proportions, it must be noted that Dumbledore would later admit that he had been only "a shade more skillful" than Grindelwald.
-Dark Arts: Grindelwald was exceptionally talented in the Dark Arts and possessed a passion for it even from a young age. Even when he was still only a student of Durmstrang, Grindelwald's experiments in the Dark Arts were already very dangerous, even nearly fatal to the fellow Durmstrang students he attacked; eventually his "twisted experiments" became too dangerous for even Dumstrang's tolerant outlook on the Dark Arts, resulting in his expulsion. While seventeen, Grindelwald was already adept at casting the extremely powerful Cruciatus Curse, which was one of the three Unforgivable Curses and required a considerable level of magic, notably using it against Aberforth Dumbledore. By the time he became an adult, Grindelwald was widely considered to be one of the most powerful Dark Arts practitioners in history, with possibly only Voldemort rivalling, if not, surpassing him, having perfected many aspects of the Dark Arts. While impersonating Percival Graves, Grindelwald displayed the abillity to cast a curse that emitted a bolt of lightning that inflicted deep pain on those who were hit by it, which he used to torture Newt Scamander.
-Wandless and Nonverbal magic: Grindelwald was incredibly skilled in both wandless and nonverbal magic, either of which is advanced and often difficult to perform even individually, making Grindelwald's prowess all the more impressive, as he usually performed both simultaneously. In 1926, Grindelwald Summoned Newton Scamander's wand and suitcase over to him, both with a silent wave of his hand. Grindelwald also wandlessly lifted Newt Scamander from the ground from across the room and then made him, Porpentina Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski simultaneously drop to their knees with their arms locked behind against their backs. When he interrogated Newt soon thereafter, he Summoned the protective orb containing an Obscurus by silently gesturing it forth. He later saved the life of Credence Barebone from an oncoming train in the New York City Subway by hurling him sideways off the tracks with a wave of his wand. He was even able to send an automobile flying across a street at Tina Goldstein with a silent wave of his hand. By using only silent hand gestures, he generated forceful shockwaves to move and otherwise exert force on people and objects. He was able to break apart the ground by sending a shockwave rippling through it, notably performing this on the train tracks Newt Scamander was standing on to knock him down. Grindelwald later fended off around twenty Aurors simultaneously without speaking a single incantation. Grindelwald also healed the cuts on Credence's hand by silently running his own over it.
-Charms: Grindelwald was extremely skilled in charms. Albus Dumbledore claimed that when he was still seventeen, Grindelwald could already cast a Disillusionment Charm strong enough to effectively render himself invisible without needing to use an invisibility cloak, which is a tremondous feat. As such, the Cloak of Invisibility would be the Hallow that Grindelwald was least interested in, and continued his search for it only because the Cloak completed the trio of legendary artefacts. Grindelwald was also capable of casting an extremely powerful shield charm that can protect him from a barrage of spells fired at him by around twenty-four Aurors simultaneously with little effort.
-Healing magic: Grindelwald had a high understanding of healing charms, being able to heal the cuts on Credence Barebone's hands by simply touching them.
-Transfiguration: Grindelwald was exceptionally proficient in Transfiguration, even at the highest levels, such as Human Transfiguration. His skills in Human Transfiguration was sufficient to transform himself to assume the identity of Percival Graves for an extended period of time without raising suspicions.
-Apparition: Like most adult wizards, Grindelwald was able to Apparate. However, he is capable of Apparating with great speed and precision, allowing him to avoid the violent attacks of Credence's Obscurus with relative ease.