September 1st is a significant date for Harry Potter fans. Every year, witches and wizards from the UK find themselves at Platform 9 and 3/4 to hop on the Hogwarts Express and make their way through the Scottish Highlands to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Although the day has the same purpose every year, it never played out the same for Harry, Ron, and Hermione. To celebrate the start of a new school year at Hogwarts, Bookstr has ranked every single one of Harry’s first days of school. And with how some of his first days went, we feel like we can never complain about our first days ever again.
7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
To be fair, we don’t have much information on Harry’s first day in Goblet of Fire. Canonically, readers do know that Amos Diggory and Arthur Weasley were called to assist Alastor Moody with a disturbance at his house. However, what they don’t know is that Bartemias Crouch Jr. has already abducted Moody and has used Polyjuice potion to impersonate him. Because we don’t know much about Harry’s whereabouts on this day, Harry’s fourth-year first day ranks last on our list.
6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry’s first day of school in the Prisoner of Azkaban ranks last on our list of canon first days because his soul gets sucked out of his body by the newly introduced Dementors. Readers often see Harry in situations where he almost dies, but to have it happen on the first day of school? That’s rough. At least Lupin was there with some rescue chocolate.
5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
For similar reasons to the PoA ranking, Harry and Ron’s arrival into Hogwarts in Chamber of Secrets ranks low on our list because of the amount of danger involved. When Dobby makes Harry and Ron miss the Hogwarts Express, they decide to take Mr. Weasley’s flying car to follow the train instead. However, at twelve years old, neither of the boys knows how to drive—let alone, fly—a car. This leads to them getting the car stuck in the infamous Whomping Willow just outside of the Hogwarts grounds. Thankfully, the boys escape, but not without almost getting expelled from Hogwarts.
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry’s first day at Hogwarts in Half-Blood Prince is another rough one. Things are already getting bad at the wizarding school: no one wants to believe that Voldemort is back; the Ministry doesn’t want Dumbledore as headmaster anymore; and Harry, Ron, and Hermione caught Draco Malfoy getting up to no good in Knockturn Alley. To spy on Malfoy, Harry takes the invisibility cloak to Draco’s train compartment. However, Malfoy catches on to Harry’s movements. As the train pulls up to Hogwarts, Malfoy gets Harry alone and steps on his face. RIP to Harry’s glasses and face.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Although Harry technically doesn’t return to Hogwarts for his seventh year when he is meant to in 1997, what is supposed to be his first day of school in Deathly Hallows is filled with no less drama than any other year. Following Bill and Fleur’s wedding, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on the run from Voldemort’s Death Eaters and are hiding out in Grimmauld Place. As they spend their days figuring out how to track down Horcruxes, Dementors are piling up outside, and the trio has to make a run for it fast. They learn from Kreacher that Dolores Umbridge has one of the Horcruxes, and with that, the three decide to infiltrate the British Ministry of Magic.
2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Order of the Phoenix introduces readers to one of the most beloved characters of the Harry Potter series: Luna Lovegood. On September 1, 1995, Harry meets Luna for the first time on the Hogwarts Express. Although he finds her a bit odd at first, Harry begins to form a beautiful friendship with Luna—a friendship based on empathy for the amount of death the two have experienced in their lives. Luna is one of the only people who believe that Voldemort is back, and she becomes an extremely important character by the end of the Battle of Hogwarts in book seven.
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Today marks thirty years since Harry’s very first day at Hogwarts, so of course, this book ranks at the top of this list. He is introduced to the magic that connects him to his parents, and for the first time in his life, he finds a true home with some amazing friends. He is sorted into Gryffindor House and begins the wild ride that will become the seemingly never-ending battle against Voldemort. But Harry isn’t the only one introduced to this magical world in Sorcerer’s Stone because readers are, too! The first book sets readers up for a decade of magic and friendship and laughter and tears. We meet new friends and lose old ones. And no matter if we have read the series before or are just getting started, the first book always brings up back to the place where Harry’s story truly beings: Hogwarts.
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