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All 7 Harry Potter Books Ranked from Worst to Best

All 7 Harry Potter Books Ranked from Worst to Best

The seven books of the Harry Potter series shaped a lot of readers’ childhoods and 20 years on, have now sold over 500 million copies worldwide. It holds a nostalgic and sentimental place in our hearts. Not to mention, J.K. Rowling is a phenomenal writer.

As with any series, these books are often ranked in varying orders of favorites. In this article, we rank the Harry Potter books from worst to best, along with explanations as to why each book received its ranking.

Ranking Summary:

  • #7 (Worst Book): Book 2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)
  • #6: Book 5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
  • #5: Book 1 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
  • #4: Book 4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)
  • #3: Book 7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)
  • #2: Book 6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)
  • #1 (Best Book): Book 3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)

#7: Book 2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)
Set in1992-1993
Words85,141
Pages251 (first edition)
Chapters18
Read time341 min / 5.68 hours
Goodreads rating4.43/5

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets takes the spot of our least favorite Harry Potter book. When we start this book, we already know the basics of the Wizarding World and Harry starts his second year at Hogwarts. We also learn more about Tom Riddle and his time as a student at Hogwarts.

We also can’t help but love the mysterious Chamber of Secrets and the rumored beast that lies waiting inside it. J.K. Rowling explains in this book that Harry can speak to snakes using Parseltongue. It’s this type of foreshadowing that sets the tone for Harry’s complex relationship with Lord Voldemort.

However, the book leaves us wanting more – which, arguably, could be a great thing for a series. Although this is our least favorite book, what makes it great is that you can read the later books and connect it back to events in this one. In reality, it just goes to show what an amazing writer J.K. Rowling is because it can only get better from here.

#6: Book 5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
Set in1995-1996
Words257,045
Pages766 (first edition)
Chapters38
Read time1028 min / 17.13 hours
Goodreads rating4.5/5

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix starts off very action-packed. Dudley Dursley and Harry Potter get attacked by a Dementor early on. This forces Harry to use magic to conjure a Patronus to save them. Then, he is reprimanded by the Ministry of Magic for using magic outside of school.

Although this book starts out quite strong, it does not hold up to the drastic plot twists of the other books in the series.

We do have another villain besides Lord Voldemort to contend with – Dolores Umbridge. And while as readers we might be intrigued by Umbridge – how she loves kittens and wearing pink, but also enjoys immorally punishing students and makes other questionable actions – she is only a part of this story.

This book is the longest one of the series. It offers strong character development and we learn more about each of their backgrounds. However, there is simply too much packed into this book for it to make the top half of the list.

#5: Book 1 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)
Set in1991
Words76,944
Pages223 (first edition)
Chapters17
Read time308 min / 5.13 hours
Goodreads rating4.47/5

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will always have a special place in readers’ hearts and it was also the best selling book in the entire series. We are introduced for the first time to the Boy Who Lived (under a staircase), the Wizarding World, and Hogwarts. Not to mention our beloved Hagrid, Harry’s soon-to-be best friends – Hermione and Ron- and so much more.

J.K. Rowling excels at transporting us to a magical realm far outside anything we’ve ever read before. She makes us fall in love with the characters every step of the way.

So, while we will always be thankful for this book, unfortunately, it does not hold up against the other books that are much more developed. Similar to how a pilot episode or first season of our favorite TV show might be nostalgic, but we would still tell our friends, “It gets better in the next season.”

Although something worth mentioning is Professor Quirinus Quirrell and the fact that Lord Voldemort was quite literally attached to his head. That was pure genius in and of itself.

#4: Book 4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)
Set in1994-1995
Words190,637
Pages636 (first edition)
Chapters37
Read time763 min / 12.72 hours
Goodreads rating4.56/5

Some might argue that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire deserves a higher place on this list. However, we believe it should fall right in the middle, just like it does in the series. Goblet of Fire introduces us to the Triwizard Tournament and students at other wizarding academies.

The games in the tournament are fun, but also dangerous and we see a lot of competitiveness. Especially when Ron and Harry get into their first real fight after Ron thinks that Harry found a way to put his name into the goblet.

This book definitely opens the door to more teenage drama as the characters are “coming of age” and starting to develop love interests. Of course, this book is memorable because Lord Voldemort makes his official comeback, and, sadly, Cedric Diggory is murdered. This makes for a remarkable turning point in the series as we don’t know exactly what will happen next.

#3: Book 7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)
Set in1997-1998
Words198,227
Pages607 (first edition)
Chapters36
Read time793 min / 13.22 hours
Goodreads rating4.62/5

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the book that is the fastest selling book of fiction of all time, wraps up the entire series, ranked third on this list. This book includes a lot of action including the ultimate Battle of Hogwarts and the final downfall of Lord Voldemort. It also makes readers very emotional at the tragic loss of Fred Weasley, Nymphadora Tonks, and Remus Lupin.

So, the reason this book is third is that while it is action-packed and brings the story to a close, it does (understandably) lack some of the depth of the other books. However, it does achieve the tremendous undertaking of bringing Harry Potter’s story to a close.

#2: Book 6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)
Set in1996-1997
Words168,923
Pages607 (first edition)
Chapters30
Read time676 min / 11.27 hours
Goodreads rating4.58/5

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a mysterious, dark, and somewhat pivotal book. The book starts with witches and wizards living in fear as Lord Voldemort once again rises to power. Then, we find out about the only thing that can stop the Dark Lord – destroying his Horcruxes.

Additionally, it goes without saying that Book 6 might have, arguably, one of the biggest plot twists – Professor Snape is The Half-Blood Prince. Then, The Half-Blood Prince throws us for another loop when one of our favorite characters, Professor Dumbledore, gets murdered by Professor Snape (another character we’ve come to love).

We also learn a lot more about Lord Voldemort as Harry Potter dives into Tom Riddle’s memories. We literally see into the mind of the villain we’ve been reading about for nearly six books now. Not only this, but readers see another side to Draco Malfoy as well and his consistent struggle with good and evil.

As we can already tell, The Half-Blood Prince covers quite a lot between its pages, and it does so beautifully.

#1: Book 3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
Set in1993-1994
Words107,253
Pages317 (first edition)
Chapters22
Read time429 min / 7.15 hours
Goodreads rating4.58/5

Our favorite book of the original 7-book Harry Potter series goes to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It is extremely well-written and follows a series of incredible twists and turns that keep the reader’s attention and keeps us guessing every step of the way.

We learn about Harry’s journey during his third year at Hogwarts and meet the only prisoner of Azkaban who has ever escaped – Sirius Black.

At first, Harry thinks that Sirius is a Death Eater who wants to kill him, instead of his loving godfather. Because of this, Harry and Sirius have a complex history and relationship, but we are thrilled along with Harry to learn that he does have some family left alive. 

We are also introduced to the Marauder’s Map, a magical document that becomes a staple in the series. Add to that the Dementors and finally the Time-Turner, allowing Hermione and Harry to save both Sirius Black and Buckbeak, it’s easy to see why this book is often a fan favorite.

This book feels more dark and twisted than the rest. For this reason and countless others, it deserves the first spot on the list. 

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