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  • Joschua Steinbrecher

Ranking the Harry Potter Books

The Harry Potter Series is one of the greatest ever written, but which books were the best?


My least favourite Harry Potter book would have to be The Philosopher’s Stone, in which Harry finds out he is a wizard. He goes to Hogwarts and faces many challenges while also becoming friends with Hermione and Ron. Ultimately, he faces Lord Voldemort himself and

stops him from returning to power. The book is a great setup for the series and pulls the reader into the magical world exceptionally well. However, the plot is less complex than that of the other books and the characters are, understandably, less developed. The book is

also shorter than the others. The only reason it is in last is the incredible complexity of the other books in the series.


The least popular Harry Potter book is probably The Chamber of Secrets but I very much enjoyed the new insights we gained into the Wizarding World. In The Chamber of Secrets, Lucius Malfoy gives Ginny Weasley Tom Riddle’s diary which she inadvertently uses at

Hogwarts to open the Chamber of Secrets and set its monster, the basilisk, upon the students. After Hermione is attacked, Harry and Ron figure out the location of the chamber and Harry fights with Tom Riddle. Tom Riddle reveals himself to be Voldemort’s former

self, which is a fascinating plot twist. Harry ends up beating Riddle and destroys the diary. This book is the first encounter Harry has with a Horcux, which we only find out four books later. Although the character arcs aren’t as interesting as in the other books, we learn a lot about Harry, most importantly his ability to speak parseltongue. The insights into Hogwart’s history and Voldemort’s heritage are also fascinating.


The books got better and better towards the end of the series hence so my number five is The Goblet of Fire, in which we learn a lot more about wizarding culture. The book starts with the Quidditch World Cup, and the announcement of the Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts. Harry is entered to the tournament under mysterious circumstances and competes against the champions of the other schools as well as the first Hogwarts champion, Cedric Diggory.

Harry and Cedric win the tournament, only to find out the cup was a portkey. Harry witnesses Voldemort murder Cedric and return to his former power, only to duel him and escape. The Goblet of Fire is the transition of the series, going from relative peace in the first three

books to the war of good and evil at the end of the series. We meet a lot of new characters, there are charming sides such as the Yule Ball as well, and it offers a perfect plot of Voldemort’s return.


The Prisoner of Azkaban just about edges fourth place for me because of its incredible backstory. This is the book in which Harry learns that Sirius Black, the alleged mass-murderer, is his godfather. We meet the two other still living Marauders as well, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. Harry and Sirius’ encounter at the end of the book is masterfully written with Lupin aiding to slowly bring the truth to light and Harry eventually saving Sirius from

captivity. This book is darker than the first two books in the series thanks to the instalment of the dementors. However, it is also full of amazing moments like Harry winning the Quidditch Cup. We find out that Peter Pettigrew betrayed Harry’s parents for Voldemort and

we find out a lot of the backstory to the series. The addition of Remus Lupin to the story is also one of the best in the series.


The last three books are, in my opinion, the best in the series, starting with The Half-Blood Prince. In this book Dumbledore and Harry bond much closer than before. Dumbledore gives Harry extra lessons in which he teaches him about Voldemort’s fascinating past and prepares him for the war ahead. We find out about thehorcruxes in this book as well, an essential part of the series. Meanwhile, Malfoy becomes a deatheater and tries to give other deatheaters access to Hogwarts. At the end of the book Dumbledore takes Harry to a cave where he believes one of Voldemort’s horcuxes is hidden. They manage to find it but when they get back to Hogwarts a battle is raging. In a breathtaking scene Snape ends up killing Dumbledore. This book is amazing because of the mind-blowing revelation of the horcuxes which teach us so much about Voldemort’s past and his character. It also develops Draco Malfoy’s character exceptionally well, giving him much more depth than the spoiled bully he appeared to be in the previous books.


My second favourite book in the series is The Order of the Phoenix. It is one of the darkest Harry Potter books, with the magical world turning on Harry and the instalment of Dolores

Umbridge as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry is worried that Voldemort is possessing him and life at school becomes more and more confining with Umbridge making more and more rules that restrict students. Finally, Voldemort lures Harry into a trap and an epic battle ensues at the Ministry of Magic, at the end of which Voldemort and Dumbledore duel for the only time in the series. Even though this is one of the less popular books, I very

much enjoy the amount of depth this book has, also being the longest book of the series. The resistance against Voldemort the “Order of the Phoenix” is introduced, which plays a vital role in the final two books as well. We also see darker sides of Harry’s character with him becoming rather easily angered. Love also plays a big part in this book, with Harry’s complicated relationship with Cho Chang.


Finally, the best Harry Potter book has to be The Deathly Hallows. This book is completely different from the others, has an incredibly dense plot and ends the series in incredible fashion. Reading it was quite an amazing experience. Harry, Ron and Hermione go on their journey to find Voldemort’s remaining horcruxes which takes them to Gringott’s, the Ministry of Magic and finally Hogwarts. The battle of Hogwarts at the end of the book is a worthy ending for the story, with Harry and Voldemort’s face-off being a fitting way to end the series. We also learn about Dumbledore’s controversial past and see the magical world from a completely different view. The book no longer follows the plot typical of the other books built around the Hogwarts school year but Harry, Ron and Hermoine’s chase of the horcruxes is tremendously exciting. We get an impression of what the world would be like if Voldemort was in power, with the muggle-borns being imprisoned and banned from Hogwarts and using their wands. The plot involving the Deathly Hallows is also fantastically written, creating an incredible finish for a remarkable series.

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