The Seven ‘Harry Potter’ Books Ranked From Worst to Best

The Harry Potter books are some of the most enduring touchstones of children’s literature. Most of us have fond memories of J.K. Rowling’s classic series of fantastical novels centering around the wizarding world of Harry Potter and friends. But not all of the books are created of equal quality, despite our tendency to rank all seven as equal quality, they are unfortunately not. But which are the best and which are the worst? Let’s have a look at all seven ‘Harry Potter’ books and see them all from worst to best!

Chamber of Secrets

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7. Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets

Off to the races with a little controversy. Out of the whole series, Chamber of Secrets unfortunately ranks at the bottom. While the first book pulled readers in with its fantastically designed world and introduced the characters effortlessly while having the subplot of Voldemort in the background, the second book is a lesser follow up.

The basilisk plot is terrifying and quite gripping but ranks as perhaps the most ‘run of the mill’ plot of Harry Potter’s canon, a monster of the week story that doesn’t deepen the characters much nor does it truly advance the series forward. The loss of Hermione for numerous chapters hurts the book too, removing the essential power trio that is the series strength. Its not bad but its definitely the weakest of the novels, although the plot twist of Tom Riddle gives it some bite near the end.

Socreret's Stone

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6. Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone

The first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, will always remain a classic for its introduction to the world of the Potterverse and the characters within, fondly remembered in the minds of many readers.

However, J.K. Rowling clearly hadn’t solidified her style yet and under critical scrutiny, it certainly doesn’t stack up against most of the other books. The first book is quite short and its a breezy read, with Rowling blasting through huge amounts of the school year without paying it the great amounts of detail that would become a trademark of the later books. The world also feels less fleshed out and considerably more childish but even so, this is the book that made our love of the series last forever.

Goblet of Fire

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5. Harry Potter and the goblet of fire

Goblet of Fire has a lot of good, with its tournament style structure offering a break from the usual clichés of the series, offering a new and exciting series of scenarios for Harry to tackle. Characters are deepened even further here as the cast begins to grow up, with the Yule Ball sequence an excellent demonstration of how much more ‘adult’ Harry and his friends have become in their fourth year. The ending is also fantastic, with Voldemort’s chilling resurrection and return to power.

Still, the overall structure does become repetitive on subsequent reads. Cedric’s death is well handled but in hindsight, Cedric’s death is telegraphed miles away considering he was a new character and not a main member of the cast. Still, its a shocking moment and the book helps move the series into its darker tone.

Order of the Phoenix

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4. Harry Potter and the Order of the phoenix

This book is polarizing, as teen hormones come to dominate the plot and this can be grating to many readers. Harry’s changing emotions cause him to crush badly on Cho Chang, brood around Hogwarts, rant about Dumbledore, and be kind of a jerk to his friends. Its justified and a realistic portrayal of teen angst but its not very fun to read either and its especially grating on re-reads. But it also contains some of the highest ‘highs’ of the series, like the formation of Dumbledore’s Army, the battle at the Ministry of Magic, and the glorious presence of Dolores Umbridge.

It’s perhaps a polarizing book but its great moments make up for the lesser ones.

Deathly Hallows

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3. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows 

This is the finale to the series and it certainly lived up to the exceptions. It wrapped up the series is a very satisfying way, showcasing the entire cast of characters in a variety of ways, even in small cameos. It’s not without its flaws, with the epilogue being controversial and the middle of the book dragging considerably as the trio travels through the wilderness, but the rest of the book, especially the final battle at Hogwarts, was everything we ever wanted and more.

It’s the finale we all wanted and minor flaws don’t detract for what an incredible experience it was.

Half-Blood Prince

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2. Harry Potter and the half-Blood prince

This book is a high point of the series, striking a balance between dark drama and hilarious comedy in a perfect way. It provides a backstory to the series villain, Voldemort, and deepens characters considerably while throwing tons of twists into the mix about old ones (Dumbledore especially). Snape is also showcased for the first time as considerably more complex than he initially appeared to be and the final twist of him being the Half-Blood Prince is an exciting payoff at the novel’s emotional climax, and that’s saying nothing of Dumbledore’s unexpected and emotional death at the book’s climax.

This is a heartfelt, drama, and masterpiece of a novel that truly solidifies Harry Potter’s mature themes.

Prisoner of Azkaban

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1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third book of the series is truly the best of the books, despite being shorter than the later ones and early into the series run. Here is where Harry comes into his own as a three dimensional character as opposed to simply a surrogate and a POV character for the young audience. Remus Lupin and Sirius Black make their introductions here, standing out as some of the best characters the series has to offer.

It’s the book that tugged at our heartstrings for the first time and even though Voldemort is almost completely absent the plot is no less engaging for his absence.

This book shows why we love Harry Potter and why we always will.

I love harry potter

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