Ranking the Harry Potter Books
Here we are, the week that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 hits theaters. If you did not already know, I will be doing a week of Potter related articles to help cope with my own depression. Today I start with a ranking of the books. From Sorcerer’s Stone to Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling entranced readers with one of the best literary worlds ever created. There is not a bad book in the series but some of them clearly resonate more with readers than others.
As the series went on, Chamber became one of the most important books in the series. However, that does not take away from the fact that it is clearly the dullest book in the series. It ends up being a book all about information. Unlike many of the other novels, we do not see the friendship of our heroes tested, or many dramatic twists. Chamber is the most straightforward and therefore the most boring Potter novel. The book is still far from bad though. This is the book where Harry becomes a hero as he single handedly fights the Basilisk and destroys Tom Riddle’s diary, which we would later find out is a Horcrux.
Like Chamber, Half-Blood is an information book. Most of the information is far more interesting and more important than the information in Chamber, however. We learn of Voldemort’s past and his quest for invincibility by means of the Horcruxes. Yet most of the book does feel like set-up for the finale, which it is really. That does not stop it from having one of the best climaxes in the series. Snape killed Dumbledore? A fake Horcrux? No Hogwarts in book7? The ending was emotional and brilliant. Had the rest of the book been as exciting Half-Blood would be one of the best in the series.
The one that started it all. Sorcerer’s Stone introduced readers to a hefty handful of the classic characters that would entrance us throughout the rest of the series. It also threw us into the incredible world that Rowling created. It felt so natural and real (for a series about witches and wizards). I was never a reader and still am not today, but Sorcerer’s Stone kept me engaged enough when I was 10 to go on a read Chamber of Secrets right away. The only drawback from this book as that it has the least awesome climax of all the books. Quirrell feels like a throwaway villain compared to the ones we would get later in the series.
This is the book that changed everything. The children are becoming teenagers, with teenage problems. The danger is brought up a few notches in this one. Before we even get to Hogwarts we see Death Eaters. Also, the Triwizard Tournament is a bit more dangerous than your average game of Quidditch. Not to mention the return of a certain evil wizard who just happened to kill the main hero’s parents. Goblet is one of the most exciting books in the series and is a perfect transition from the lighthearted first three books to the dark, war driven final three books.
Chamber of Secrets did not leave me as excited about the series as Sorcerer’s Stone did. Then the first movie came out and reignited the interest enough to pick up the third novel. Thank Crookshanks! Prisoner of Azkaban is the book that made me fall in love with everything about Harry Potter. It is probably the most fun novel of the bunch. It also introduces readers to one of the best characters in the series, Sirius Black. Prisoner is the first novel in the series that focuses in on Harry and works to give us a better understanding of who he is as a person.
J.K. Rowling does an incredible job of tying every little plot thread she ever introduced in a neat little bow. She accomplishes everything she needs to in this novel and sends the series out on a very high note. The book starts with our heroes on the run, but then they get stuck. Their not knowing what to do lets Rowling test their friendship one last time. Some fans complain about how slow the parts in the woods are, but I believe that they serve a very important purpose. The novels have always had a theme of friendship and the woods shows how deep our trios friendship goes. And we still get a huge climactic battle. Deathly Hallows is the perfect ending to the series, one that gives readers the payoff they deserve.
Yeah, I thought it was long and boring when it came out too, but go re-read it. Order is a great examination of Harry Potter as a character. This book gets into his head more than any of the others. It also features Dumbledore’s Army and the paranoia within the Ministry of Magic. Not to mention an awesome duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort. But it is the relationship between Harry and Sirius that carries this novel. There are so many great character moments in this book and even though it is long, I have nothing bad to say about Order of the Phoenix.
There you have it, my ranking of the books. Is there anyone out there who shares my love for Order of the Phoenix? Feel free to post your rankings in the comments section. Check back tomorrow for the top 10 characters as Harry Potter Week continues!