All Seven Harry Potter Books Ranked | by Matthew Kent | The Pen and the Sword


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The explanation this e book isn’t ranked larger comes right down to this: Order is a e book of irritating futility.

Every thing goes improper on this e book. The ministry turns in opposition to Harry. He’s kicked of the Quidditch staff. His first relationship is a catastrophe. Hagrid has to flee. Dumbledore is ousted as Headmaster..

And naturally Sirius…

I can’t even say it.

That’s to not say that this can be a dangerous e book due to these issues. In reality, I’d argue that it’s a higher e book due to these issues. I’d even say that the darkish temper of books 5 and 6 is important to the success of the collection as a complete.

However since we’re rating the books in opposition to one another, those that don’t really feel like getting punched within the soul whenever you learn them have a giant benefit.

4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Picture Supply: Writer’s Picture

Like Order earlier than it, Prince is in some ways a e book of futility. Harry was proper all alongside that Draco was as much as one thing…however was unable to cease him. Dying Eaters infiltrate Hogwarts. Invoice is maimed. And Dumbledore…properly, …

Harry and Dumbledore’s last mission, which proved so expensive, doesn’t even end in them discovering a Horcrux.

So on the floor, it looks like this belongs in the identical tier as Order proper? Whilst you might definitely make that argument, let me give three the reason why I believe that this e book is barely extra optimistic (and due to this fact, barely much less irritating) than Order:

Love that lasts

Sure, technically Harry and Ginny break up on the finish of this e book. Sure, Ron and Hermione find yourself hitting a tough patch in Hallows. However when these pairs lastly get collectively, you perceive that these characters are on to one thing greater than a teenage fling.

Not solely that, however the relationships are enjoyable and humorous. There are some unhappy moments, however Hermione going out with McLaggin to get backat Ron for courting Lavender is absolute gold.

A way of path

Right here’s Harry within the final chapter of Order:

Just a few days in the past, earlier than his exams had completed and he had seen the imaginative and prescient Voldemort planted in his thoughts, he would have given nearly something for the Wizarding world to know he had been telling the reality, for them to imagine that Voldemort was again and know that he was neither a liar nor mad. Now nonetheless…

Maybe the rationale he wished to be alone was as a result of he had felt remoted from everyone since his speak with Dumbledore. An invisible barrier separated him from the remainder of the world. He was — he had all the time been — a marked man. It was simply that he had by no means actually understood what that meant…

The solar had fallen earlier than he realized that he was chilly. He obtained up and returned to the fort, wiping his face on his sleeve as he went.

Everybody discovering out that Voldemort had come again was the silver lining of that e book, however it seems like a hole victory for Harry, who’s crying by himself in entrance of the lake.

Right here’s Harry within the final chapter of Prince:

“After which what?” mentioned Ron.

“Then I’ve obtained to tack down the remainder of the Horcruxes, haven’t I?” mentioned Harry, his eyes upon Dubledore’s white tomb, mirrored within the water on the opposite aspect of the lake. “That’s what he wished me to do, that’s why he advised me all about them. If Dumbledore was proper — and I’m positive he was — there are nonetheless 4 of them on the market. I’ve obtained to search out them and destroy them, after which I’ve obtained to go after the seventh little bit of Voldemort’s soul, the bit that’s nonetheless in his physique, and I’m the one who’s going to kill him.”

And right here’s the final paragraph of the e book:

His hand closed routinely across the pretend Horcux, however finally, regardless of the darkish and twisted path he noticed stretching forward for himself, regardless of the ultimate assembly with Voldemort he knew should come, whether or not in a month, in a 12 months, or in ten, he felt his coronary heart elevate on the thought that there was nonetheless one final golden day of peace left to get pleasure from with Ron and Hermione.

Sure, the trail in entrance of him is “darkish and twisted”…however no less than he sees a path. Actual progress was made in Prince: they came upon concerning the Hallows and appropriately guessed what a number of of them have been. Harry has a clear-cut goal and mission for the subsequent e book.

A way of company

Right here’s what Harry thinks concerning the prophecy within the last chapter of Order:

…it was nonetheless very onerous to imagine as he sat right here that his life should embrace, or finish in, homicide…

Because it occurs, he’s improper about that; finally he triumphs over Voldemort while not having to homicide him.

In any case, the existence of the prophecy is attention-grabbing for a collection that emphasizes the significance of alternative (take into consideration Dubledore’s well-known line from Chamber: “It’s our decisions, Harry, that present what we really are, excess of our talents.”)

Now distinction Harry’s notion of the prophecy from Order with this one from Prince:

“You see, the prophecy doesn’t imply you have to do something! However the prophecy triggered Lord Voldemort to mark you as his equal…In different phrases, you’re free to decide on your individual means, fairly free to show your again on the prophecy! However Lord Voldemort continues to set retailer by the prophecy. He’ll proceed to hunt you…which makes it sure, actually that — ”

“That one in every of us goes to finish up killing the opposite,” mentioned Harry. “Sure.”

However he understood finally what Dumbledore had been making an attempt to inform him. It was, he thought, the distinction between being dragged into an enviornment to face a battle to the dying and strolling into the sector along with your head held excessive. Some individuals, maybe, would say that there was little to decide on between the 2 methods, however Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce satisfaction, and so did my dad and mom — that there was all of the distinction on the earth.

Within the unique listening to of the prophecy, it appeared like the one alternative belonged to Voldemort: Harry or Neville. However in fact, there’s all the time a alternative. Harry might hand over and the prophecy could be fulfilled when Voldemort lastly will get to him. That might be making a alternative. However his option to combat isn’t compelled by the prophecy, it’s his alternative.

For me it’s onerous to say if the darkest hour for Harry is the ending of Order or Prince. However both means, Prince finds a stupendous means of pairing one of many darkest moments within the collection with a observe of optimism. A lightweight on the finish of the tunnel. For me, that’s sufficient to make it come out forward.

3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Hearth

Picture Supply: Writer’s Picture

I believe for many individuals, Goblet is the place the collection actually begins. It’s the primary of the huge volumes and the one really ushers within the second conflict in opposition to Voldemort , the battle on the heart of your entire collection.

The e book begins with an intriguing change of tempo. After practically three straight books of solely getting Harry’s perspective, we get a glimpse of one thing that’s occurring someplace else. We have now a chapter from the attitude of a Muggle, Frank Bryce. We study extra of Voldemort’s backstory, get a couple of glimpses into his plans, meet his snake Nagini, and uncover, to our astonishment, that he has taken some form of bodily type once more. It’s an ominous begin to a novel that finally has an unsettling end.

This quantity provides us arguably the most important growth of the Wizarding world of any of the books. The quidditch world cup, leprechauns, leprechaun gold, veelas, the triwizard event, Beaubatons and Durmstrang, the Yuletide ball, the unforgiveable curses, priori incantatum, and veritaserum.

However as a lot as the brand new stuff makes for a refreshing change of tempo from the standard cadence of life at Hogwarts, the true purpose this e book ranks so extremely is as a result of the thriller is the very best out of any of the books.

It’s a traditional whodunnit: Was it Barty Crouch? Ludo Bagman? Mad-Eye Moody? Ygor Karkaroff? Another person?

A part of what makes the thriller work is the truth that a improper assumption is made very early on and goes unchallenged. The characters and readers alike take it as a right that whoever put Harry’s title within the Goblet is hoping he’ll die within the event.

Moody could also be routinely suspicious as a brand new character, however the truth that he seems to be serving to Harry is a significant purpose why we belief him.

There’s additionally the truth that Barty Crouch Jr. is incorrectly assumed to be useless, one thing we study from the finally unreliable supply of Sirius Black. In reality, Sirius is the one who gave us the improper assumption that somebody hoped Harry would die within the event. Powerful search for my man Sirius (shouts to Jason Concepcion of Binge Mode for the “powerful search for my man” bit).

One last level in Goblet’s favor: the insane climax. After I was taking literature lessons in Excessive Faculty, we have been taught {that a} work of fiction consisted principally of rising motion. The climax was a very transient level within the story the place stress was the best and the top sport comes into view or the answer is revealed. Clearly the literary critics who give you these definitions have by no means learn a Harry Potter e book. If I needed to establish the climax of this e book, I’d say that it begins on web page 621 of the U.S. onerous again model when Harry enters the maze and stretches all the best way to web page 691 the place Barty Crouch Jr.’s confession ends. That’s 70 pages of continuous, breathless motion the place stress is ratcheted as much as the max. The primary time you learn this e book, it didn’t matter how near bedtime it was whenever you obtained to web page 621, you completed the e book that evening.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Picture Supply: Writer’s Picture

This e book did the unimaginable: It lived as much as my outrageous, unrealistic expectations.

After all, I had my doubts early on.

After I first discovered that the final Harry Potter e book would clock in at beneath 800 pages, I fearful that J.Ok. Rowling wasn’t going to have the ability to cowl all the bottom essential to wrap all the things up.

My fears worsened after I came upon the e book was known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. What the heck are the Deathly Hallows? How is J.Ok. Rowling going to introduce one thing new this late within the collection, particularly after she simply launched Horcruxes within the final e book?

After I began studying the e book, I instantly turned uneasy after I noticed most of Harry’s first chapter concerned organising a Dumbledore subplot — and I actually didn’t like the place it was going.

However this was Harry Potter and each single e book thus far had a satisfying conclusion. I used to be nonetheless anticipating an ending of epic proportions.

My religion was rewarded. In hindsight, I’m ashamed there was ever a doubt.

This e book is probably the most motion packed of the entire collection. Between infiltrating the Ministry of Magic, Robbing Gringotts, and the Battle of Hogwarts, this e book has sufficient epic set items to function the climaxes for 3 separate books. Lets not neglect that Harry narrowly escaped Voldemort close to the start of the e book (RIP Hedwig), the trio is attacked by Dying Eaters on Tottenham Court docket Highway, Harry is attacked by Nagini in Godric’s Hole, Ron saves Harry from drowning when the Horcrux practically suffocates him, and Dobby narrowly rescues our heroes from Malfoy Manor (RIP Dobby 😢).

Goblet had plenty of motion thanks to a few Triwizard duties and a breathless climax, however it appears tame in comparison with Hallows.

This e book additionally actually shines by way of how satisfying the conclusion is. Harry follows in his mom’s footsteps and sacrifices himself to avoid wasting everybody else. He provides Voldemort an opportunity for regret. Voldemort is killed by his personal rebounding spell whereas Harry goes for self protection.

In a stunning second that has been growing because the first e book, Neville destroys the ultimate Horcrux.

This e book takes a larger emotional toll than any of the opposite books. One clarification is just because there are extra deaths of serious characters on this installment than some other. Whereas the variety of main deaths is definitely part of it, I’d argue that the most devastating dying in your entire collection (sure, much more so than Sirius or Dumbledore), occurs on this e book.

I’m speaking in fact concerning the dying of Dobby. He was a personality that was simply too good, harmless, and pure. He by no means acted selfishly, he simply wished to assist Harry. Though his interventions have been typically misguided, he was all the time extremely honest. On the level within the e book the place he dies, the plot has picked up the tempo and you may inform that we’re attending to the top sport. It must be a time when it’s onerous to place the e book down. However the first time I learn it I had to place the e book down and sit with my feelings for some time.

This e book might simply be primary. However I’ve all the time had a delicate spot in my coronary heart for…

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Picture Supply: Writer’s Picture

I discussed that Hallows has the excellence of residing as much as my huge expectations. Prisoner has the benefit of utterly blowing away my expectations.

To be honest, my expectations have been in all probability decrease for this e book than any however the first. I learn this e book for the primary time late within the 12 months 2000. On the time solely the primary 4 books have been out. My sister had given me her copy of the primary when she didn’t prefer it and I checked out the second from the varsity library a couple of days later. As quickly as I completed that one, I satisfied my mother to let me purchase the third and fourth books on-line (and I actually needed to persuade her — these books have been the very first issues we ever purchased on the web and she or he was scared her id could be stolen).

So there I used to be, having simply completed the primary two books and I had the third and fourth arrive on my doorstep. I shortly learn the within of the jacket of each books — and was very disenchanted with what I learn in Prisoner. The primary two books had intriguing mysteries baked into the titles: What’s the Sorcerer’s Stone? Why is it essential? What’s the Chamber of Secrets and techniques? The place is it? The within of the jacket not solely advised us who the prisoner of Azkaban was, it advised us what he was imprisoned for, who he served, and what his objectives have been. Speak about a let down, the place’s the thriller?

There was additionally the truth that had this stunning 734 web page e book simply ready for me. I couldn’t wait to get by means of Prisoner so I might get to Goblet.

That angle would change.

I’m unsure after I first realized that this e book was particular. It might need been when Harry blew up Aunt Marge. Not solely was it satisfying to see her get what she deserved, however it was such an attention-grabbing alternative on J.Ok Rowling’s half to pressure Harry to cope with the results, fleeing the home with nowhere to go and no plan. I critically didn’t see it coming or know the place it might lead.

The dementor chapter was one other clue that this e book was one thing particular. You would relate so painfully to Harry. It’s brutal to be the one one to battle with a problem. And concern is a matter that all of us should confront in the end.

Because the plot developed it turned on the market have been some mysteries to resolve. How was Sirius Black breaking into Hogwarts undetected? Did he have assist? Who despatched Harry the Firebolt?

Additionally, the aspect plots turned extra developed than some other e book. The Buckbeak story was nice. I liked the best way it tied in with the primary story on the finish. I liked the best way that it gave us purpose to sympathize with Hagrid and additional detest Malfoy.

This was an ideal e book for the 2 constant thorns in Harry’s aspect: Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape. The plot provides Malfoy one thing to do apart from taunt Harry as he tries to get Buckbeak executed. Snape will get developed by means of his mistrust of Lupin and historical past with James.

It was good to have a significant character launched who didn’t instantly annoy you (*ahem* Lockhart, Umbridge) and who didn’t grow to be the villain (“‘Made-Eye’ Moody” aka Barty Jr.). Professor Lupin is a superb character and it’s very nice for Harry to have a mentor outdoors of the top of time period downloads he will get with Dumbledore. It’s additionally suspenseful, as a result of as a lot as we like and belief Lupin, there’s a concern that he may really be the one serving to Sirius Black.

It’s powerful to place into phrases a few of what I like about Prisoner. It simply appears form of, properly…magical. Whether or not its Harry attending to stay alone on the Leaky Cauldron for a couple of weeks, the visits to Hogsmeade, the sneaking round in secret passages, the presence of a haunted home, or the marauders map, this e book simply appears to have all the things you would need from a fascinating fantasy story.

I additionally actually just like the Patronuses. The dementors are a little bit of a darkish addition to the story, however the Patronus is the right counter-balance. They nearly work like a bit of mini life lesson: to fight concern and despair it is advisable lean in your inside energy. This inside energy isn’t completely your individual, although you owe a lot of it to the individuals who have liked you. I’ve all the time thought this line was so stunning:

“You suppose the useless we liked ever really go away us? You suppose that we don’t recall them extra clearly than ever in instances of nice hassle? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and reveals himself most plainly when you have got want of him. How else might you produce that explicit Patronus? Prongs rode once more final evening.”

As a lot because the Patronuses present us with that feel-good second, it’s price noting that that is the primary e book with a little bit of a darkish edge to it. I don’t simply imply the dementors. That is the primary e book the place you can also make a case that the great guys misplaced, and it begins a streak of 4 straight books that may be chalked up as losses for our heroes. Sure, Harry, Ron, and Hermione uncover the reality and save Sirius Black, however Peter Pettigrew will get away. Once you pair that with Trelawney’s prophecy that Voldemort’s servant would escape that evening and assist him return in addition to the truth that they couldn’t show that Sirius was harmless, and it positive looks like a grim defeat.

In reality, Harry even struggles with this problem in his dialog with Dumbledore. Harry made the troublesome choice to spare Pettigrew, however he needed to stay with the consequence of his alternative which allowed Pettigrew to flee.

After I make the case for why this e book is #1 for me, two issues actually stand out:

Essentially the most distinctive climax I’ve ever seen

We get one of many extra ominous moments within the e book (even your entire collection) when Trelawny goes right into a trance throughout Harry’s divination examination and prophesies Voldemort’s return.

Instantly after this spine-tingling scene, a loopy sequence of occasions unfolds. Hagrid sends a letter saying Buckbeak misplaced his enchantment. The trio goes to look him — and finds Scabbers. Buckbeak is seemingly executed. Scabbers and Ron are taken by means of the passage beneath the Whomping Willow by the black canine Harry has been seeing. And Harry and Hermione comply with to return face-to-face with Sirius Black within the shrieking shack.

That is the scene the place the answer is revealed and… it…is…gorgeous. It’s superb that J.Ok. Rowling can hold our consideration arrested this lengthy with simply characters speaking, however she will. Because the scene unfolds, it begins to look like there’s an opportunity that Sirius is harmless, however we all know that merely can’t be. JKR has some critical explaining to do to make all the things match. After which she ties up each free finish and it’s masterful.

That’s ok for an exhilarating climax, however there’s extra. Lupin transforms, the dementors come, and Harry practically loses his soul.

And we’re nonetheless not executed.

Time journey is troublesome to do properly, however I assumed it was expertly executed on this e book. One superb factor is that J.Ok. Rowling was creating new mysteries in a single half of the climax — reminiscent of who saved Harry, Hermione, and Sirius from the dementors — after which fixing them within the second half. Severe flex by our gal JKR

I discussed that Goblet had a 70 web page climax, however this one wins on web page depend. When you assume the climax begins in the beginning of chapter 17 (“Cat , Rat, and Canine — begins on web page 331 of the U.S. Hardback) and ends on the finish of chapter 21 (“Hemione’s Secret” which ends on web page 415 of the U.S. hardback), the climax spans 5 chapters and 83 pages. If something, that’s conservative. I’d argue that the climax really begins with Trelawney’s prophecy on web page 324, bringing our complete web page depend as much as 90. There are only a few authors who can crank the depth dial all the best way up and maintain it for 90 pages.

The emotional impression

When the story begins, we don’t like Sirius Black. Anybody who actively serves Voldemort isn’t somebody we need to affiliate with, and the truth that he seemingly needs to kill our hero makes issues even worse.

But as little as our preliminary opinion of him was, it decreases orders of magnitude after we discover out that he was James Potter’s greatest pal and betrayed him to Voldemort. A lot of this collection highlights the ability of friendship and the worth of laying down your life on your buddies. In these books, promoting your mates out may simply as properly be the last word sin.

When Harry confronts an unarmed Sirius, Sirius whispers “Going to kill me, Harry?”

At that time, it appears he may.

It’s one thing that J.Ok. Rowling planted in our heads early on and looks like it might be the central ethical query of the e book. Contemplate this passage from simply after Harry learns that Sirius betrayed his dad and mom to Voldemort:

“So what are you saying?” mentioned Ron, wanting very tense. “You need to — to kill black or one thing?”

“Don’t be foolish,” mentioned Hermione is a panicky voice. “Harry doesn’t need to kill anybody, do you, Harry?”

Once more, Harry didn’t reply. He didn’t know what he wished to do. All he knew was the concept of doing nothing, whereas Black was at liberty, was nearly greater than he might stand.

Or this one from early within the confrontation with Sirius within the Shrieking Shack:

A boiling hate erupted in Harry’s chest, leaving no place for concern. For the primary time in his life, he wished his wand again in his hand, to not defend himself, however to assault…to kill.

As attention-grabbing because the “is it justifiable to kill the villain?” dilemma is (and it’s one which I’ve liked in tales reminiscent of Return of the Jedi, The Darkish Knight, Avatar: The Final Airbender, and Daredevil season 1), this e book goes a degree deeper. Not solely does Harry not kill Sirius, he’s capable of get previous his anger to get to the reality and to embrace Sirius as a father determine. This line provides me goosebumps each time I learn it:

“Consider me,” croaked Black. “Consider me, Harry. I by no means betrayed James and Lilly. I’d have died earlier than I betrayed them.”

And in the end, Harry believed him. Throat too tight to talk, he nodded.

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