Created and developed by the genius British writer J.K. Rowling the Harry Potter book series has been a breakthrough in English literature for a long time.
All genius works take time to get recognized and Rowling suffered from the same misery and many others when she wanted to publish her Debut book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” This book was actually finished by the year 1995 but she had to struggle to publish it.
After getting rejected from 12 publishers for 2 years she was still persistent and finally got her book published in 1997. And guess what, within a few years she became a best-selling author. The most surprising fact about the Harry Potter series might be that it actually competed in its sale with the most sold “Bible” and was very close to surpassing it. “Harry Potter” is a fictional book the success was unforeseen to even the best of the critics.
If you are wondering what should I read if I like Harry Potter? Are the Harry Potter books good? Well, in this post we tried ranking the harry potter books in chronological order. Now without any more boasting let us dive right into the magical world of “Harry Potter” by appraising from the first book of the series to the last.
Best Harry Potter Books Ranked:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1997)
Harry Potter Book 1 Summary: This was the first book that I read in the series and made me love Harry potter. The story was great. It starts with a boy who lived and was left with only a mysterious lightning scar on his forehead over a fatal incident that took away his parents. But was he so lucky to be alive, losing his parents who loved him wholeheartedly, and gaining residence in his uncle’s house who let him live in the closet under the stairs out of “kindness”?
Naturally, the first book was only developed for the next ones and it is unusual for it to be a smash hit. Harry’s initial feeling of isolation and not belonging was finally overcome with a surprise discovery that he actually was a sorcerer and so were his parents on his 11th birthday. And soon he will be introduced to a fascinating world and so will you.
And as you go through the book’s magical journey, you can relate to the characters like Dudley(constantly bullying cousin), Ron and Hermione (friends in need), Dumbledore(humble Headmaster), Hagrid(kind-hearted), semi-giant attendant of Harry himself), Snape(“cruel only to be kind” kind of teacher) and many more including the arch-nemesis of Harry’s life.
When he moves to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, He feels more at home. This book is about the first year of Harry’s life in school and probably the best year of his life. But not everything is perfect and at some point, he realizes that darkness lingers within its walls. Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent the shadow from overtaking and he does so with goodwill. But it will eventually bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.
The book consists of a dark theme and still manages to relieve readers with light-hearted adventures and introduction to amazing creatures and things like Goblins, Talking hat, Flying motorcycle that can carry Hagrid(!), Ghosts that go through your body, Centaurs and of course, broomsticks that let you fly. And yes there is nothing to miss in this book for there are even sports like Quidditch and giant chess and competition of the four houses of Hogwarts. At the first look, this book might look a little childish but trust me nobody understood the book entirely until they re-read it as an adult.
Furthermore, the book is wittily humorous and will make you laugh out loud. The main focus of this book is not the plot but about the world in which we all wish we could live. It is hard to grasp the immense world of magic at once, it will take time and it is more than worth it. I still am surprised at what kind of vision lets a writer create a world this profound. And as I previously mentioned that practically the first book is just world-building and yet it is captivating. And guess what? The later books only get more spellbinding.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)
Harry Potter Book 2 Summary: It is probably the most underrated book among the entire Harry Potter series and according to popular opinion is overshadowed by the first book. But this book has its own place when looked at distinctively.
This book is action packed, comedy, and suspense flawlessly. It also unravels many mysteries of the first book which readers leave unnoticed at times. It starts similarly in Dursley’s (uncle’s) residence due to summer vacation from Hogwarts, and you already reckoned that all Harry wants is to get back to his life of wizardry.
But just as the hideous vacation comes to an end a mysterious impish creature appears and alerts Harry that calamity will strike if he gets back to school. Getting back to school is inevitable, and “what could be worse than Dursley’s house?” he thought to himself.
And as per the prediction of the imp house-elf, unforeseen horrors started arising. A sad spirit haunts the girls’ bathroom, a new professor who is outrageously stuck-up and horrifying texts written on the walls. And by time it gets the worst when Hogwarts’ students start turning into stone. Things get tense when suspicions arise as to whose works could those be.
Could it be the work of antagonist Malfoy? Or Hagrid who is too well-hearted but had a shady past? Or could it be Harry himself, almost unwillingly he was entangled with unraveling the mystery, to clear off his and Hagrid’s name and eminently to save his fellow friend?
In this book, Harry suffers and makes readers suffer from the duality of morality and doubt of self-existence. Be that as it may, you don’t want to miss this book with the tensest situations like evading the jab of the Large willow tree, Flying in Ron’s family car, and fighting off gigantic spiders. You will not want to get up from the book until the last page just because of the impulse of the enigma it offers.
Also Read: Best books by dean Koontz
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
Harry Potter Book 3 Summary: J.K. Rowling releasing the Harry Potter books consecutively every year was like dropping euphoric bombs to the readers. And none of the books failed to capture the undivided attention of the readers. The Prisoner of Azkaban story goes like that: The inescapable asylum of Azkaban imprisoned a very shady man for killing 13 people with a forbidden magical curse and also convicted as a confidante of Harry’s arch-nemesis Lord Voldemort.
But as the story proceeds from the first book, Harry can relate more and more to Lord Voldemort. Shocking moment? Probably not. Because starting and continuing the the entire series of Harry potter is actually like connecting dots, solving the riddle alongside Harry. However, as the story progresses, Harry becomes frightened for expulsion from Hogwarts, his only safe haven. And when he is able to come back to Hogwarts, his life is threatened once again because Sirius Black somehow escaped Azkaban and had headed for Hogwarts. Naturally, that is an ultimatum for Harry.
The characters are expanded upon and as we learn more about Harry’s parents and the character that really shines in Azkaban is Sirius Black and his story is by far the highlight, he really is a great addition, as is Remus Lupin. By far in ranking among the best of the entire series, this book is in 2nd position and according to many readers, this book holds the potential to be the best Harry Potter book in the series. And did I mention cold-hearted life-sucking dementors? Comical bus drive? Or a warm friend Buckbeak? And the mystery of animagus (Wizards who can turn themselves into animals)? Only the more reasons to read this book and the whole series.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)
Harry Potter Book 4 Summary: This is the fourth chapter/book of harry’s world. In this book, Harry is midway through completing his wizardry and this is his 4th year’s story after leaving muggle’s life behind. In this fourth installation, the most interesting event is the Triwizard Tournament. Which is a competition between three wizarding schools, Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts. It is a competition where the winner is chosen by three mysterious tasks. To compete for and represent a school every competitor has to be at least 17 and furthermore has to evaluate their competency through goblet of fire (like the sorting hat, but more).
But someone has anonymously put Harry’s name in the goblet and most surprisingly he comes out competent as a competitor of the tournament, which is unprecedented. And no more can Harry be a mere observer of the tournament, he has to participate in the tournament. but at what cost? It’s really hard to tell if he is lucky. Because this boy is not normal, not even by wizarding standards, and goblet of fire makes no exception of that by choosing him as a contestant. Your hearts will stop from time to time while reading this and there is a little relief from that.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
Harry Potter Book 5 Summary: Being convicted as an underage spellcaster at the brink of unavoidable circumstances this book starts and Harry again fears losing his studentship. But he had little choice and his Ministering angel Dumbledore knew that much. As he is relieved from the charges and gets back to Hogwarts the plot thickens. New teacher Dolores Umbridge will make you wish you could punch people through the book, who is sent as defense of the dark arts teacher from the Ministry of Magic.
And furthermore, she denies Harry’s statement of Voldemort’s return. Well, things get worse when Harry’s most trustworthy guardian Dumbledore is replaced by this unbearable lady due to a treacherous plot which he takes complete blame for. The band formed by Harry has to be dismissed but now was the time it needed more than ever. And starts the dilemma of decision making. In this book, you will discover different new characters. Especially Severus Snape who seems to stay in the dark probably only to protect the light.
As the grasp of darkness tightens, Harry must discover the true depth and strength of his friends, the importance of boundless loyalty, and the shocking price of unbearable sacrifice. It is the longest installment of the series, it had to be because of the huge plot it unravels and the number of incidents taking place. But due to humor, it’s not all doom and gloom, thanks to J.K. Rowling. An excellent book and a wonderfully engrossing read.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)
Harry Potter Book 6 Summary: The book starts with Harry’s suspicion upon Draco Malfoy who might be guided by dark arts and in the worst-case scenario, helping The Dark Lord. And as for the war against him, Harry and his order is at loss and even the muggle governments take notice of dark mishaps. So to defeat the Dark Lord, Dumbledore helps Harry revisit the miserable past of Voldemort. Which eerily made sense of what he was trying to accomplish and Harry relates to Tom Riddle even more.
They discover the fact about the Horcruxes and set off to destroy them which will make Voldemort weaker. But this multilayered plot doesn’t go as smoothly as expected. Although there are brighter things to look into like Ron’s twin brothers’ shop, teenagers flirt, fight and fall in love, Harry falling in love with Ron’s sister Ginny. And the extraordinary help from the mysterious book of one “half-blood prince” lets Harry thrive in potions class which never happened before. But as things unravel, it gets dark and finally, it is revealed that Malfoy actually was sent on a mission by the Dark lord which Severus Snape ends up completing due to an unbreakable vow to Draco Malfoy’s mother.
Henceforth Harry makes a vow not to return to school next year and endangers anyone else’s life until Voldemort is usurped. This might be the most interesting book which lets the plot hang in a thread and the suspense, comedy, and tragedy it delivers is fathomless.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)
Harry Potter Book 7 Summary: The deathly hallows is the final and satisfying conclusion to the canon Potter Saga. It is the seventh book of the series and so far it is rated the highest book among the Harry Potter series. Not because it is the last of the series but because of the number of questions answered in this book, which did not seem to be a question on the previous books at all. The seriousness of the plot starts right from the beginning.
For starters, Hedwig takes a killing blow instead of Harry and the real tragedy starts occurring. Harry Potter leaves Privet Drive for one last time and climbs on Hagrid’s motorbike and they take to the sky knowing that the Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters will not be far behind. The protective charm that has kept him safe until now is broken. But the Dark Lord is breathing horror into everything Harry adores. Harry knows too that he can’t keep hiding and has to come face to face for one last time. And Deathly Hallows really plays it well with the nostalgia of Harry Potter and the readers.
As the trio becomes full-fledged mature and dealing with tough decisions without any mentorship and finally getting back to Hogwarts for a long-awaited climax, they all sum up to a legendary piece of literature. The story leading right to the end that ties things all together does not feel made up last minute. The story is deliberate, it feels cohesive. And the most interesting thing J.K. Rowling does with the characters of this series is change the perspective and reveal the truth behind the veil. And talking about this book without spoiling the entire series is very tough. So, I will leave the reading and suspense up to you.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016)
Harry Potter Book 8 Summary: This is the final book on the list. This book is actually a two-part play written by Jack Thorne following the original story. It is set up after 19 years of the events of Deathly Hallows where Harry is a busy man with a busy post and about to send his son Albus Severus Potter on his own journey at Hogwarts. But let me be honest, This play is not always true to the epic novel series. If you have read the Harry Potter series you can not help but call yourself a fan of this series. And as usual, your expectation will also be sky-high.
This play has its distinct place but will not be able to quench the thirst for combination of mystery, magic, unnerving suspense, comedy, tragedy, etc. This book had its own events of being a stand-alone, delivering the unease between Harry and Albert and the weight of legacy he unwillingly put on his shoulders. As past and present merge inevitably, both father and son learn the agonizing truth that sometimes, darkness comes from right below the lamp. Now as to whether you should read this book or not is up to you. And if you are a Potterhead you probably already have read this book . And even after reading this book (as the entire world of Harry Potter is very real to the readers), if you want this play to be a part of the Harry Potter world, that is your choice.
Ranking among the Harry Potter Series:
It’s hard to choose a winner among the best and when it is a piece of art, it’s nearly impossible to do so. But I will write down my personal preferences of Harry Potter from my least favorite harry potter book to my best. So, here we go:
8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (you already guessed it).
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
5. Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban.
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The Harry Potter series is more than a book and it is unimaginable how J.K. Rowling managed to adhere to the coherence of the whole series. Because it feels like she had the whole 7 books inside her head which is also seemingly impossible work made possible by this Genius writer.
As you read the series from the start to the end, it will feel like connecting unconnected dots you didn’t know were there the whole time. Such a work of art is evidently insurmountable to achieve. When I read the series as a kid I had a strong belief that all those books are real and J.K. Rowling is not a normal human as she knew so much about this world and she definitely is not a muggle. Well, guess what? I still believe at the very least she has an extraordinary power of imagination. The time you spend reading the Harry Potter books, you will not regret a second of it. And if you were looking for a sign to start reading Harry Potter this is it.