Everyone knows the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling’s internationally bestselling books now exist in at least 69 languages and sold nearly 450 million copies for a staggering $7.7 billion total. To put that into perspective, that means that one in fifteen people have bought one of the books. More people own a copy than there were in the British Empire at its pinnacle (412 million in 1913). So what better place for our blog to start than with a ranking of the best Harry Potter books. For this list, we will be looking at the book series, and ignoring (for now) the spin-off books by Rowling. Spoilers, inevitably, will follow…
7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I’ve never been entirely sure why, but The Half-Blood Prince has always been my least favourite of the series. Perhaps it’s something to do with Harry’s curse on Malfoy, or the periods when our heroic trio experience yet another breakdown in communications. Or perhaps it is something to do with Dumbledore’s death; for no matter how well written the passage is, it still wasn’t easy reading for us.
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Similarly, whilst Harry’s tantrum’s may be well written (and there are some very witty lines, for Fred and George in particular), they jar somewhat with our image of what a hero should be. Nonetheless, there are passages which we love, especially Dumbledore’s participation in the final battle scene.
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The introduction of the other wizarding schools is one of those moments beloved of Harry Potter fans, and Rowling has penned some zinging lines (as ever!). The conclusion is clever and well-worked, but Cedric Diggory can feel a little too convenient and too perfect in his life.
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The opening of The Prisoner of Azkaban is one of our favourites, with Aunt Marge, the Knight Bus, and the much loved Diagon Alley. Similarly, the roguish Sirius and the satisfying saving of both Sirius and Buckbeak will enthuse even the most cynical fan. However, the time-turner can feel a little like a cop-out for some, although it is undeniably entertaining.
3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Everyone loves a flying car, which makes the opening rescue and the subsequent school run (and Snape’s reaction) all the more entertaining. Dobby’s antics throughout are particularly diverting, whilst Lockhart is an absolute scream. The finale is well worked and eminently readable, making this one of our favourite books.
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Our introduction to the wizarding world is undeniably up there with the best, from Uncle Vernon’s manic neurosis to Harry’s backstory to Hagrid’s sizable impact. This first story was woven with magic, and as the reader’s first foray into a fantastical world it is one of our faves.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Whilst Dumbledore’s death contributed to our ranking of the Half-Blood Prince, the deaths in The Deathly Hallows help the other way. Here the passing of characters felt worthwhile and poignant, and a memorial to something greater. Further, reading about life after Hogwarts brought a touching sense of closure to the series. Along with the action packed and thrilling breaks into both Gringots and the Ministry of Magic, and the spectacular escape and wonderful character development, The Deathly Hallows tops our list.
Did you agree with our list? What was your favourite book? Let us know below!