It’s time once again for another list-oriented post!
God, I love these things.
My boyfriend and I have just started playing the LEGO Harry Potter Collection together. About a day after The Gaming Diaries (a blog I really enjoy following) recommended the game to me, I found myself in a GameStop. What a kawinkadink!
I bought the game for me and Danny, and we dove into the strange LEGO world of Harry Potter. (We are rapidly becoming LEGO video game veterans. Which is maybe something I should not brag about.) We have worked our way through most of Harry’s early school years at Hogwarts, and it has gotten me reminiscing about the Harry Potter books. It’s been a while since I’ve read them, but the series was a huge part of my life. (Still is.)
And aside from my Hogwarts house analysis, I haven’t written much about them.
So welcome to my list of favorite Harry Potter books!
Please bear in mind that I’m a Below Average person and that these rankings are entirely subjective.
Let’s do this:
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Funnily enough, this is my sister’s favorite book from the series. And let’s get something straight. I don’t dislike any Harry Potter book. I just like some of them more than others. Prisoner of Azkaban never appealed to me for multiple reasons.
For one thing, I couldn’t get behind how emotional magic got. I know the Patronus Charm is now one of the staple spells of the Harry Potter universe, but when I was a kid, I thought it was kind of corny how only “happiness” could make the Patronus Charm work. And is it just me, or did no one ever explain why chocolate helps after a Dementor attack?
Another thing that bothered me was how easy it was for an innocent man to get framed for a crime he didn’t commit. This is a world of freaking wizards who can do magic. Why couldn’t one of them suss out the fact that Sirius Black did not kill Peter Pettigrew? Did no one think to use Veritaserum on Sirius?
Did like the idea of school trips to Hogsmeade though. That seemed nifty.
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Call me old fashioned, but I missed the simplicity of Harry, Ron, and Hermione at school. I get that as the seventh and final book, things had to get gritty and real as they sought to destroy Horcruxes out in the world. But I found myself missing Hogwarts more than I thought I would.
There’s something about the school that centers a Harry Potter story. Without the school as the primary setting, it didn’t feel like a Harry Potter story. It felt like…well, it felt like a story.
Of course, it is extremely difficult to finish off an epic tale and leave everyone satisfied. I like The Deathly Hallows for that sense of finality you get when you close the pages. Once it ended, I was perfectly content knowing that I might never visit Hogwarts in a book again.
Annnnnnnnd then The Cursed Child came out.
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
People call this the darkest book in the Harry Potter series, and they would not be wrong. Sirius Black, the beloved godfather of Harry Potter, just bites the dust in this book. And I remember when I read the part when Harry is yelling at Dumbledore afterwards, I was crying.
That’s not to say the book doesn’t have its positive features. Having Harry teach proper Defense Against The Dark Arts classes and start Dumbledore’s Army was legitimately bad-ass. And Professor Umbridge is one of the most terrifying villains I have ever come across in a book.
And I like Stephen King.
However, this book also includes Harry’s whiny teenager phase. And snogging.
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
More than any of the other books in the series, The Sorcerer’s Stone is a kids book. I read it in elementary school, and that’s what hooked me on the series.
The reason it ranks so high on this list is because it’s the original. It’s the first. It’s the one that started them all.
The Sorcerer’s Stone was not only Harry’s introduction to the Wizarding world; it was ours.
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The best villains in stories are usually those that you don’t know too much about. If you’re going for a big bad that maintains that same level of terror in you, it’s best to keep a lid on the details of his or her sordid past.
Voldemort was the constant terror of Harry’s life, and in The Half-Blood Prince, we got to take a closer look at his past in all those lessons that Dumbledore started giving Harry. He became more nuanced, and Wizarding history got a bit deeper, or at least our understanding of it did. Our examination of his early childhood did not diminish our wariness of his current form.
Plus, you’ve got to love all that romance stuff that was happening while Voldemort’s past was being showcased to us.
Ron and Hermione. I’ll never understand it.
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I don’t know why I love The Chamber of Secrets so much.
Maybe it’s because we got introduced to the lives of an ordinary Wizarding family like the Weasleys.
Maybe it’s because Gilderoy Lockhart is one of the most hilarious teacher caricatures in the history of Hogwarts.
Maybe because the mystery of the Chamber was just that compelling.
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Hands down my favorite.
I loved everything about this book. The tournament, the other Wizarding Schools, the headlines, the champions.
Plus, while it was heart-wrenching to read through, I liked how Ron and Harry got into that big fight after Harry’s name came out of the Goblet. It must have been difficult for Ron to have to be the famous Harry Potter’s best friend. And while it was a dick move to be jealous of your friend who has been thrust into a life-threatening situation against their will, it was, dare I say it, relatable. I think Harry, and readers, took Ron for granted prior to this book.
This big tome of a book was the first Harry Potter book (for me at least) that took a turn for the serious, the more mature. With the death of Cedric Diggory, the stakes were definitely raised.
Also, one of the great things about reading the series as a kid was how you grew up alongside the characters. I never felt that this was more apparent than while reading The Goblet of Fire.
So which Harry Potter books are your favorite? I understand if you can’t pick. It took me days of ponderous thought to come up with this list.