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The Best Harry Potter Books Ranked from Best to Worst

There are a few things in life that you absolutely must know. And one of those include which Hogwarts House you belong to. As a proud Hufflepuff myself, I’d love to welcome you to my little slice of the internet. Today, I’m going to be breaking down J.K. Rowling’s series and giving you the definitive ranking (according to me anyway) of the best Harry Potter books.

Surprisingly, this can be a rather heated subject as everyone has their own and often wildly differing opinions. If you don’t agree with my list, please let me know in the comments below what you’d rank the books! I’m down for some civil debate. Just don’t get too rude or I’ll have to show you the Gryffindoor!

So, without further ado, pick up your wands and prepare yourself for the best Harry Potter books ranked!

The Best Harry Potter Books Ranked from Best to Worst

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows
  2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
  • Arthur A Levine Books
  • Hardcover Book
  • Rowling, J. K. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 784 Pages - 08/01/2007 (Publication Date) - Arthur A. Levine Books (Publisher)

In my opinion, Deathly Hollows is the absolute best Harry Potter book. As the last book in the series, it neatly ties together the entire story that the previous six created. For me, it’s the one that grips at my heartstrings the most. You can really feel the emotions run raw as the our trio of heroes (Harry, Ron, Hermione) make their way through the past to discover the best chance at stopping He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. And I’ve got to admit, the Battle of Hogwarts was near perfection.

My biggest gripe about this book: the epilogue. Honestly, it seemed just a rushed and sloppily thrown together. Other than that, this book was a beautiful ending for such a great story.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)
  • Great product!
  • Hardcover Book
  • Rowling, J. K. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 672 Pages - 08/01/2005 (Publication Date) - Arthur A. Levine Books (Publisher)

It was hard not to put this book at number one. Seriously. I believe this book (the sixth installment) to be the most balanced book in the entire series. You get this throwback to the earlier books through some great lighthearted moments such as the Slug Club. And Rowling really starts to explore the romance side of things here too.

But then…you dive into the darkness of the Potterverse. From the return and story behind Tom Riddle, to learning how Voldemort can be finally defeated, to the shocking plot twist within… This book is amazing.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
  • Scholastic
  • Hardcover Book
  • J.K. Rowling (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 435 Pages - 10/01/1999 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

The third book in the Harry Potter series does exactly what the second book doesn’t. It really grinds into the true nature of the characters. Prisoner of Azkaban truly laid the foundation for the rest of the series. This was also the last of the “smaller books”. With the release of Goblet of Fire (the fourth installment), the book’s page count jumped over 300 pages. And since Prisoner of Azkaban masterfully developed the basis of the characters, more could be focused on the story in future titles.

Other than just the character development, the story was phenomenal. Although this book has less direct involvement from the Dark Lord, there’s a well-defined narrative that really helps the characters mature into some of the darker elements of the subsequent novels.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)
  • Science Fiction Fantasy
  • Teen & Young Adult
  • Mystery Thriller & Suspense
  • Harry Potter Series
  • Haunting Dreams

Ugh. So this selection has me torn. I really wanted to put this book higher on the list. And yet, I can find a good reason to put it further down. Honestly, when compared to the other books, it just seems slow. Like the story really isn’t really moving. Sure things are happening but like at a snail’s pace.

However, that particular reason is why I want it higher. The slow logging of Order really embraces the plot. It written to be slow because that’s what going on. It’s about planning and events that will ultimately build this war against the dark forces. Not to mention, the book has one of the most dastardly and most-hated villains of all time: Dolores Umbridge.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
  • First American Edition, July 2000, first printing, 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, an almost like-new hardcover with jacket---book has a very slight spine slant and may have been read once and jacket is unclipped ($25.95), from Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. By J. K. Rowling. Book 4 in the Harry Potter series. 734 pages. ISBN 0-439-13959-7.
  • Hardcover Book
  • J.K. Rowling (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 752 Pages - 08/01/2000 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Press (Publisher)

Ok. Hear me out. Out of all the Harry Potter books, this one is the most fun to me. Not necessarily the best written or the most complex, but fun. And that’s all due to the Triwizard Tournament! The different events, puzzles, and challenges Harry has to endure are just nuts! And it really gets your blood pumping wondering what’s next.

Another aspect of this book I really enjoyed was the introduction of the other wizarding schools. There’s a whole wizarding world in the Harry Potter universe, and this was our first real glimpse into something other than Hogwarts.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone
  • Scholastic
  • Hardcover Book
  • J.K. Rowling (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 309 Pages - 10/01/1998 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Press (Publisher)

This is the book that started it all. Yer a wizard, Harry! I just remember reading this book when I was younger and imagining Hagrid coming to get me next! Mind you, I wasn’t forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs, but might have volunteered to do so if we had one. Sorcerer’s Stone as a standalone book is a home run. No doubt about it.

The main reason why it’s towards the bottom of my list is that…this book is just too childish for me compared to the others. Don’t get me wrong, it’s supposed to be. But just like the characters mature throughout the series, so did my tastes.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Great product!
  • J. K. Rowling (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 341 Pages - 09/01/2000 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Paperbacks (Publisher)

This isn’t a bad book by any means. Just compared to the rest of the series… It gets overshadowed. And here’s why I think so.

It really doesn’t add to much depth to the character’s. As the series progresses, each book adds more into the character development. With this one…not so much. It’s like a rehashing of the first book. I think if the Harry Potter series stopped at three books, this would have been a more effective an installment. But in a full seven book series, Chamber of Secrets becomes a weak link.

What Order Should I read the Harry Potter Books In?

This is a very often asked question. The straightforward answer is….read them in chronological order. Unlike some literary or cinematic universes (MCU, I’m looking at you), the Harry Potter books need to be read in order. There are so many important plot points and rely heavily on things that happen in previous books.

So, here’s the proper order to read the books:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows

What’s the difference between the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Philosopher’s Stone?

When searching for the first Harry Potter book, you’re likely to come across two versions.

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

In essence, they are the exact same book. They only have different titles. The original title for the book is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. However, J. K. Rowling changed the title to Sorcerer’s Stone for American audiences because she thought the US would associate Philosopher’s Stone with some old, boring teacher (i.e. Socrates, Plato–which aren’t not so boring to me) and not magic.

Turned out to be a great move on Rowling’s part.

Hogwarts House Explained

In the Potterverse, Hogwarts students are sorted into respective houses during their first year welcoming feast. These houses are representative of the four original Hogwarts founders being:

  • Godric Gryffindor
  • Helga Hufflepuff
  • Rowena Ravenclaw
  • Salazar Slytherin

Now, as far as the books go, you’ll see some common trends. Good guys come from Gryffindor. Bad guys from Slytherin.

But that’s not always the case. Each house values different traits for their members to have. Let’s take a look.

  • Gryffindor- Courage, Honor, Bravery, Chivalry, and Reserve. The mascot for Gryffindor is the Lion and is closely affiliated with the element of fire.
  • Hufflepuff- Hard Work, Justice, Loyalty, Patience, and Hospitality. The mascot for Hufflepuff is the Badger and is closely affiliated with the element of earth.
  • Ravenclaw- Intelligence, Wisdom, Logic, and Creativity. The mascot for Ravenclaw is the Eagle and is closely affiliated with the element of air.
  • Slytherin- Ambition, Leadership, Cunning, Drive, and Resourcefulness. The mascot for Slytherin is the serpent and is closely affiliated with the element of water.

The house sorting process is one of the most anticipated parts of each book. It’s performed by using a magical hat known as the Sorting Hat which when placed upon the head can read into a student’s personality and destiny. Once the Sorting Hat’s got a good read, it loudly proclaims for all to hear which house the student will be sorted into.

This doesn’t mean that the student doesn’t have any choice in the matter. During Harry Potter’s sorting, the hat was torn between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Potter would have made a wonderful candidate for Slytherin. He’s pureblood wizard, a born leader, and a parseltongue (aka he talks to snakes). But during his sorting, Harry could only think one thing….Not Slytherin. The hat honored his request, and Harry Potter found his home in Gryffindor.

What Hogwarts House are You?

As stated at the beginning of the article, I am a Hufflepuff. But just how do I know that?

Well, J.K. Rowling has developed a website that’s considered the ultimate authority on Harry Potter.Previously known as Pottermore.com, Wizarding World is the official home for all things Harry Potter. And it’s there that you can get sorted into your proper house via quiz and questionnaire. If you a Potterhead and haven’t been sorted, I urge you to head over there and create your free account.

Cheers!

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