The 7 Harry Potter Books, Ranked!

The 7 Harry Potter Books, Ranked!

Anvita Koneru, Journalist

Now, every single book in the Harry Potter series is great. But unlike most fans think, not all of the seven installments are created equal. Even though it’s a great feat that J.K Rowling wrote not two, not three, but seven amazing sequels, some of them are better than the others. So let’s start with the ones that are outshined by the rest, and work our way up to the top.

DISCLAIMER: A lot of spoilers…so BIG spoiler alert.


#7 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Installment #2).

Now, this one definitely has it’s highlights, but it just isn’t as magical… some of the good parts are Gilderoy Lockhart’s antics, and Dobby the house elf (the best part of the book). But the prose isn’t as advanced, and the story doesn’t have too many complications or an intricate plot.

#6 – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Installment #6).

I know that many avid readers will disagree that HBP should be ranked so low one this list, but that’s because the story isn’t as focused toward the original Voldemort plotline as it is in the other books. Some of our favorite characters are changed around unnaturally, and new ones are introduced that don’t quite fit in. For example, Severus Snape becomes the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, which isn’t right at all after watching him frown saltily for 5 years at Quirrell, Lockhart, Lupin, Moody, and Umbridge. Of course, it’s ranked slightly higher than HPCS because the writing is way more mature and the story has quite interesting twists and turns, with Dumbledore’s tragic death at the end.

#5 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Installment #1).

The classic Harry Potter book, originally The Philosopher’s Stone. Now, it’s an amazing book, and it introduced us to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and all their friends. We also met the unfavorable Dursleys, and their bratty and entitled son Dudley. It’s a great book, but the characters in the later installments develop the story better than the first book does, and bring the Wizarding World more depth. Like I said with HPCS, the prose is also very simple.

#4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Installment #4).

I love this book. It ranks right in between, it’s not the best out of all of them, and it’s not at the bottom of the list either. HPGF is packed with action, and twists and turns in plot, and huge surprises with every chapter. It is highly engaging, and introduces many new characters, such as Ludo Bagman, Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody, and Barty Crouch. And it also builds on old characters, such as Cedric Diggory. It has an amazing climax, when you find out Lord Voldemort has returned. There isn’t anything to criticise, or anything inherently wrong with this book, just the ones ranked higher on this list outshine it.

#3 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Installment #7).

Now to the top three. The last book in the epic series met each and every expectation we had for it. It was engaging, fast paced, and detailed Harry, Hermione, & Ron’s adventures to find the Horcruxes, with intermittent exploration of the mystery of the Deathly Hallows. Voldemort grew in power, and we got to see the 2nd Wizarding war at Hogwarts. The battle was described perfectly, and Harry found out the entire agenda Dumbledore had set out for him. It was everything Harry Potter fans could have hoped for; a satisfying final installment.

#2 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Installment #3).

This is one of my top favorites. It was so much different than I thought it would be. When I first started the book, it seemed completely different from the first two. There was no intrigue, no connection to Voldemort or the mystery of how Harry survived the curse when he was a baby. It was just going on and on about a random prisoner named Sirius Black. But that’s the magic of this book. As I read it, I realized that the entire mystery was finding out why Black wanted to kill Harry, and how he was getting into the school, and when he would attack next. And there was the delightful character of Professor Lupin, who was one of the first figures introduced in later books that actually had a positive impact on Harry and his friends. And the huge twist at the end…the difference between this and HPDH is that Deathly Hallows met my expectations perfectly – HPPA blew them away.

#1 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Installment #5).

We are finally at the top. HPOP is the most refreshingly dark, humorous, intriguing, twisted and action-packed book I have read in my entire life. Let’s start at the beginning. At the start, we see that Harry’s behavior as he interacts with Dudley’s gang has changed – he’s a different person after what he witnessed the year before, but he still saves Dudley after he gets attacked by the dementors. At the beginning of the school year, we get introduced to one of the most hated characters in the ENTIRE SERIES, Dolores Umbridge. And it’s because of her that I love this book. She brings such a darkness to the story, she’s the perfect target to hate – a liking for the twee, wears bright pink, despises Hagrid, completely ignores Harry’s proof that Voldemort is back, and is basically Cornelius Fudge’s puppet (or is Fudge her puppet?). Most even hate her more than Voldemort… But Umbridge isn’t the only thing that makes this book so interesting – this is the point in the series when the writing really gets more mature, and it’s riddled with subtle humor to make you keep reading. And guess what? It’s not as fast paced as the other books – it’s pretty slow, with a pushing climax, but the slowness isn’t excruciating; instead, it carries things with a air of realism, and portrays Harry’s struggle to learn and prepare to fight Voldemort when nobody believes him that Voldemort exists. And it’s tragic. Simply tragic at the end, when Sirius dies, and gives you something to expect for the 2nd Wizarding War – it gives you a glimpse behind what civil war between wizards really means. I wish I could forget the entire book and experience the pleasure of reading it all over again from beginning to end. That’s how much I love it.

Some may disagree, but this is my opinion on how the Harry Potter books should be ranked. It’s like choosing a favorite child though; they are all amazing, you just need to find the best of the best, the ones that really shine.