Ranking a student of the seven “Harry Potter” books

During Wildcat Wellness, I escaped the restraints of my dorm and ventured into the magical world of “Harry Potter” via a free Kindle Unlimited trial.

My journey through the pages of “Harry Potter” was magical and nostalgic, but challenged my impression of the series. It is inevitable that my perspective as a stressed student will change my view of a series of children’s books.

After reflection and concentration, I present to you my new and definitive ranking of the “Harry Potter” books, from least favorite to favorite. Spoilers ahead.

7. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”

This ranking is probably not a surprise. “Chamber of Secrets” is the most forgettable “Harry Potter” book.

Despite its short length, the second entry in the series features one of its most extensive plots. However, more plot doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better story, and so “Chamber of Secrets” lacks characterization and emotion.

It’s by no means a bad book and I see why I really enjoyed it as a kid, as it includes the escapist elements that Harry Potter fans have come to expect. But the convoluted plot makes it an unpleasant reread.

6. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”

Like most penultimate entries in the franchises, the sixth “Harry Potter” book exists to set up its far more engaging finale, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” While it’s fascinating to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s past, “Half-Blood Prince” is essentially just an exposition. The parts of this book that aren’t full of editing are devoted to awkward teenage romance, which I personally didn’t enjoy.

“Half-Blood Prince” has some enjoyable elements, one of which is the fleshed-out relationship between Potter and Albus Dumbledore. JK Rowling’s sixth “Harry Potter” book is a solid entry, but it fails to stand on its own.

5. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

“Sorcerer’s Stone” is the original “Harry Potter” book. The entire Wizarding World franchise owes its existence to this fun and whimsical first entry.

Rowling’s introduction to the wizarding world of Harry Potter is impossible not to love, due to the creative ideas employed throughout this book, drawing audiences into a world of magic.

As an adult, however, I found this book somewhat uninteresting. Having read “Sorcerer’s Stone” several times, I don’t feel the same emotions of awe and wonder as when I was a child. Despite my aging perspective, “Sorcerer’s Stone” still offers a fantastic introduction to the “Harry Potter” series.

4. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

“Prisoner of Azkaban” is the Harry Potter series‘ first stepping stone into a more mature direction for its story and characters. The third installment “Harry Potter” greatly improves “Chamber of Secrets” by having a simpler plot and an increased focus on character relationships.

In “Prisoner of Azkaban” Harry’s thoughts and fears are fleshed out, and throughout the book we feel his longing for his dead parents. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin’s introductions to the series tie into the book’s theme of nostalgia.

3. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

“Deathly Hallows” is a perfect ending to the “Harry Potter” series. It’s personal, emotional, and has the highest stakes in the series.

Most of the book takes place outside of Hogwarts, with Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger on the go in search of horcruxes. This new dynamic creates additional tension that makes Lord Voldemort’s eventual demise all the more satisfying.

“Deathly Hallows” fires on all cylinders to deliver a mature and satisfying conclusion to the “Harry Potter” books.

2. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

I’m not going to lie, this ranking is probably surprising – heck, it even surprised me. But “Order of the Phoenix” is one of the best Harry Potter books, even though it was my least favorite entry as a kid.

The fifth Harry Potter book is the first to completely adopt a mature tone, perhaps to keep up with its aging audience. Throughout the book, Harry must deal with a wizarding world that has turned its back on him and refuses to believe that Lord Voldemort has returned. This concept sets up one of the series’ most engaging storylines.

“Order of the Phoenix” successfully changes the formula for what a “Harry Potter” book can be and presents its protagonist with mature, adult challenges.

1. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

The fourth “Harry Potter” book was and always will be my favorite.

“Goblet of Fire” is the pinnacle of Harry Potter. It includes the fantastical elements we’ve come to love from the series and has the most interesting story in the series. This entry also deals directly with the concepts of death and evil, setting a darker tone for the rest of the series.

Rowling’s fourth “Harry Potter” entry offers fun, maturity and, above all, escapism, making it the best book in one of the best series of all time.

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Twitter: @PavanAcharya02

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