We all are well aware of how universally known Harry Potter is. It is a series that has shaped lives, inspired a plethora of imagination and most importantly, created a vast amount of followers. These books are simply too good not to indulge in every once in a while and there's no wonder why. However, over the past several weeks as I have re-read the series, I have had plenty of different conversations over which Harry Potter novel is the best one. I'm here to put that argument to rest. In order, here are the best Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling.
1. "Harry Potter and the Order Of the Phoenix"
I've heard many different opinions on the fifth book, but here's why I think this one is the best of the series: Harry's evolution as a character. In previous books, Harry was always seen as a person who is always behaved, positive and happy. J.K. Rowling makes him angrier, more upset and more frustrated with the wizarding world and his battle with Voldemort in this novel, which I love. He's no longer the golden boy that the earlier books portray him as. It's nice to see him differently, as a person who has this lingering anger and emotion. Even though this book is the longest of the series, it's jam packed with details that explain so much of the story and why Harry feels the way that he does. Overall, I think this book brings much more life in Harry's character than any other book in the series and that's why I remain convinced that it's the top book.
2. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
The sixth book comes to a close second, only because it didn't show the vast amount of change in Harry's character portrayal. Learning about Voldemort's past, the Horcruxes, the beginning of Harry and Ginny's relationship, along with Hermione's and Ron's added so much more to the depth of the series. This book felt much more like teenagers trying to figure out who they are and their findings with love rather than the need for studies and adventure. Don't get me wrong, I love the earlier books and the events that occur, I just think this book brings a more realistic feel to the wizarding world. I mean, we all have to agree on some level that some hanky panky was going down at Hogwarts. This book brought this element into the series with such vigor that it made the book much more interesting.
3. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"
You'd truly have to miss out on the meaning of Harry Potter if you do not have this novel placed in your top three. It's got everything: love, sacrifice, despair, courage, hope, death, grief. This is what all the previous books have been leading up to - the end between Harry and Voldemort. The interwoven complexity between the characters and their attempts to finally bring down the most powerful dark wizard of all time sets the stage for a magnificent novel. It ties all the hints, plots and storylines together like a nicely wrapped gift. It is utterly and completely fantastic and it will always remain one of my favorite books of all time.
4. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
The only reason why I placed the third book above Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is because I loved how everything did not lead back to Harry fighting Voldemort at the end. I have always thought that Sirius Black was a great character and that he deserved way more than he got. All the plots twists that revealed that Black was, in fact, innocent, made for a much more compelling storyline than some of the others. Seeing Harry filled with hatred towards someone other than Snape and Malfoy was great, even thought his hatred fell away at the end. It truly sets up the beginning of the end.
5. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"
I do love the fourth book of the series, I truly do. But I feel as though this book could have much less complex. All the elements of Harry being forced to compete in the Triwizard Tournament seemed a little ridiculous to me. It seems to me as though it would have been much easier to get Harry to Voldemort without having to go through an entire school year filled with dangerous tasks. However, it does create one hell of a story. From the dragons to the Yule Ball to the freaky Black Lake task, it breeds a whole new type of page-turning story. The detail is incredible, describing all that goes on inside the castle perfectly. It's also where the faint beginnings of relationships start forming - Ron with Hermione, Cho with Harry, even Malfoy with Pansy Parkinson. The book finally started to feel like the young teenagers were starting to feel the emotions of adults and that breathed new life into the novel. Again, I must say how much I love this book, but it's not nearly as close as the others.
6. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"
First, I must say that the second novel is a fantastic sequel to the first. Without this as the second, Rowling may have never continued her journey forward with the Harry Potter series. Adding the element of Harry being able to talk to snakes, the strangeness of Voldemort's diary as a child, the beloved Dobby and the revealing of Ginny Weasley as being the opener of the Chamber of Secrets all brought a darker element that continued to grow into the other books. One of the reasons why it is ranked in my bottom two is because Harry and the others still remain children, hardly aware of what is starting to become of them. Had this book been written with the characters as their older, teenager selves, I probably would rank this book much higher. All in all, this still stands as a great book and worthy of re-reading many times.
7. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
I rank the first book last because it does not bring nearly as much to the table as the others. It will always remain strong as the start to this magical series, but it will never be able to compare to the others. I did find it a bit foolish that three 11-year-olds where able to get past such advanced enchantments to reach Quirrell and Voldemort, but hey, it's what made the story sell, didn't it? If it hadn't, we wouldn't be here now. Of course, reading it as a child and reading it as an adult always brings a thrill of adventure and excitement. But re-reading the book now made me realize how impossible any 11-year-old child could do something as clever as they did. However, the book brought together the greatest trio literature could have ever created: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. I stand with what I said earlier, we would not be here today without them.
This series will remain untouched as one of the greatest works of literature this world ever reads. They are expertly written and will continue to enchant young and old minds alike to the wonders of the world of Harry Potter. I hope you have found my book rankings to be helpful and useful, even if you do not agree. I mean, we're still talking about them after all this time aren't we? As many of us would say, "Always."