After Ms Bailin had finished reading a few chapters, I knew that I was going to have the book. I couldn’t wait for Ms Bailin to finish the book with the class. I wanted to know everything. The same day, I asked to go to Barnes and Noble and grabbed the book. I started reading where we left off in class. I was glued to my book, reading it until my eyes bled. No social media, no cell phones. I can remember reading so late at night that my parents thought I had gone to bed. However, my parents noticed that my light was still on around 2am and became mad that I was still awake. This was my most rebellious move and may have been the first time that I stayed up this late. Is it possible to ignore your bedtime and still read? THE HORROR But my 9-year old self knew I had to finish the book. Harry was 11 years old when he received his letter from Hogwarts. I had to be ready for the day that the owl would break through my bedroom window in a few decades.
For a few years new books continued to be published in the US, with Harry’s and his friends’ ages almost exactly matching mine. The series was the perfect medium for escapism. It’s common to re-read the books many times. Each book has been read at least five times. Some books I have read more than others. I also had the entire series on audiotape (BIG SMELLS to Jim Dale). This brings me to my Official Unbreakable Book Rankings. I feel very qualified to break them down. I understand that not everyone will agree with me but I promise there is a reason.
IN REVERSE ORDERS:
7. The Prisoner Of Azkaban
People are furious that I ranked this book as last. I want to start with this because the book is fantastic. All of the books are excellent. This book is essential to the story. The introduction of Sirius Black, Dementors and Hermione’s time-turner that turned out to be a major plot point, all great stuff. The problem I have with this book is: NO VOLDEMORT. These are the positive things we remember about this book:
– Sirius Black
– The Night Bus
– Professor Lupin/Dementor on the Train
– Divination class taught by Professor Trelawney (the grim in tea leaves and her prophecy concerning Peter Pettigrew).
– The Marauders Map
– Buckbeak, the hippogriff, biting Draco malfoy and being sentenced for his death
– Hogsmeade (but Harry could not even go)
– Hermione’s Time Turner (kinda insane that it took so long to reveal)
– Reveal of Peter Pettigrew and Lupin being Werewolves
Harry fighting the dementors and freeing Sirius Black from Buckbeak
These are all extremely important. These are absolutely essential to keep the train moving. But is it really the BEST? It was a bit disappointing to have Voldemort absent. It was also disappointing that Harry couldn’t sneak through the secret passageways to Hogsmeade to get there. Sirius Black was supposed be the big Villain in this book. Harry thought about moving in with him after hearing 20 minutes of explanation. It was frustrating, I think. We all waited eagerly for these books, and the anticipation was just as high. It was great to learn all the background. While I knew it would be a crucial book for the series, I didn’t know how it would work as a standalone. Eh. It wasn’t enough. Too much Buckbeak. I cared deeply about him, but once Hagrid makes Hagrid’s pets the center of plotlines, I begin to drift.
6. The Order Of The Phoenix
This one seems to be universal “the worst one.” Another book that’s essential to the story, with not enough Voldemort. It’s the book that follows the MONSTER that was Goblet of Fire. Voldemort has returned to power and the world will soon change. The entire 5th volume is spent with the Wizard media in denial of Voldemort’s return while Harry and The Order work to prepare everyone. We remember these things from this book:
Harry and Dudley are attacked by Dementors. Harry is rescued. “expelled”Magic for use
Harry is taken to 12 Grimmauld Place. He learns about The Order.
– Harry is no longer expelled and goes to the Ministry of Magic
Dolores Umbridge arrives on the scene (I fucking LOVE Umbridge). She was pure evil. An absolute menace.)
– Harry begins teaching his classmates real Defense Against the Dark Arts. He kisses Cho Chang underneath some mistletoe
Harry sees Arthur Weasley being attacked in a vision. It turns out to be real
Harry sees Sirius Black being attacked. It turns out it is a trap set by Voldemort
– Everyone fights for the ministry while following the Prophecy
– Bellatrix Lestrange kills Sirius Black
– Voldemort and Dumbledore battle in the Ministry of Magic. This was a huge deal.
You should! You will find lots of great stuff! Are these moments LIFE-CHANGING? It’s obvious that Sirius’ death is a huge deal. Poor guy barely survived for 2 years, after discovering who he was. But was anything else able to move the needle? Eh. Umbridge is the reason I rate this book higher than PofA. She was so hateful. She was torturing children for punishment! Even if Voldemort isn’t available, we have someone who can bring down the heat when it comes villainous shit. It was also amazing to go to the Ministry of Magic first time. I always wondered if it would ever be us inside. Dumbledore calling Voldemort “Tom”Amazing is the fact that you can do it all the time. Overall – the story is very important, but it can be a little boring when taken as a whole.
5. The Sorcerer’s Stone
It hurts me to rate this book so low but it is the only way I can. It introduced me to the magical world and holds a special spot in my heart. It was unlike anything we had ever seen and will always bring back strong memories. It was the first. Isn’t that a compliment? It was my first reading. “how could this possibly get any better.”They did. It’s amazing. We remember these things about this book:
– Harry gets his Hogwarts letters to the cupboard under the stairs
Hagrid comes to Harry and brings him a squished birthday cupcake
– All Hogwarts firsts, including the Hogwarts Express.
– Thinking instantly that Snape was evil
– The Mirror of Erised, Harry looking at his parents in the mirror
Harry, Ron, Hermione and others overcome all the obstacles to reach the Sorcerer’s stone. Fluffy, 3 headed dog, Wizard chess. Flying keys. The potions.
Voldemort is seen living in Professor Quirrell’s back and being gross. (I believe Harry describes the smell of it as he removed the turban that was hiding Voldemort in the book. This always brings back a horrible feeling in me.
Great book. Amazing details that are captivating enough to convince us to buy the 6 more. There’s a little bit Voldemort and a lot of mystery-solving. This book laid the foundation for a new way of living. It’s funny to read this book again as an adult. This book was everything to me 10 years ago.
4. The Half Blood Prince
Now things get really hard. The rest of the books are so amazing, so exciting, and so detailed that it’s hard to give them any sort of ranking without having to argue with yourself about it. After a disappointing fifth book, The Half Blood Prince was just what we needed. Personally, I found it to be even more enjoyable. Things we keep in our minds:
Snape’s Unbreakable oath to aid Draco malfoy in his mission to kill Dumbledore
Dumbledore brings Harry to convince Slughorn that he should return to Hogwarts
Draco Malfoy, a Death Eater, is now playing with the Vanishing Cabinets in his room of need.
Harry gets the “Half Blood Prince”Potions book, becomes a Potions King, and later discovers that the book belonged Snape (an amazing revelation). Harry wins the Felix Felicis. “liquid luck.”
Ron and Hermione meet other people to make them jealous. Harry and Ginny start getting flirty/kinda dates (this was THRILLING).
Dumbledore and Harry spend a lot time in the Pensieve, looking at old memories. (I was OBSESSED with Pensieve). Dumbledore explains it. “One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.” Christ Almighty I would give an arm and a leg for this to exist in real life.)
Harry uses the Felix Felicis to get luck, gets Slughorn’s memory on Voldemort, asking how to make Horcruxes. Then they head off to the cave with Dumbledore in search of what they believe to be another Horcrux. (This entire section was so thrilling that I was almost on the edge of my chair. They were going to be dead, I thought.
– Snape killing Dumbledore – no details necessary. Tragic, but upsetting. We hate Snape!
This is a story with unbelievable plot lines. There is so much more I could say. I loved how much of their personal lives they were able to share in this midst the world crumbling around them. Although there wasn’t any actual Voldemort in the story, there were many flashbacks to him playing Tom Riddle (my favorite Voldemort form). We made a lot of progress in finding the way to defeat Voldemort. While we were sad to see Snape die, we knew that shit was coming in the seventh and last book.
3. The Chamber Of Secrets
Tom Riddle comes in at #3 on this list. This ranking was not well received by many. I believe those who didn’t like this book should 1. open up their fucking eyes 2. not appreciate the finely crafted art of manipulation. Things we should remember:
Dobby arrives at Harry’s home to fuck shitup, The Dursley’s lock Harry in his room, and The Weasley Boys drive a flying car for Harry to get out.
– Missing Hogwarts Express, using Flying Car to get there, and flying straight into the Whomping Willow.
Harry injures his arm while playing Quidditch. Lockhart accidentally shatters all of his bones. (Harry is forced to stay in hospital. Dobby visits him and informs him that he is responsible for all the bad things that have happened to him.
– The DIRTY GREAT SPAKE THAT SLITHERS THRU THE PIPES in THE CASTLE attacks and petrifies children (muggle-borns) They were twelve years old!
Harry finds the journal that Moaning Myrtle wrote back to him in. (Ginny originally had it after she bumped into Lucious Malfoy at Diagon Alley). Tom writes back (gasp!)
– We discover that Moaning Myrtle (the ghost), was killed by the OG Basilisk
Harry, Ron, and Hermione make Polyjuice Potion, and then infiltrate the Slytherin common area (again, these were TWELVE kids! Making potions in an abandoned restroom and impersonating their classmates!
– Harry is exposed to be able speak Parseltongue, which is to snakes. People begin to think he’s the Heir and behind all the attacks.
– Ron’s SISTER begins to get woo’d by his diary and ends up in the Chamber of Secrets
– We learn everything about Tom Riddle (as I have mentioned) and the best Voldemort form.
Harry and Ron enter the Forbidden Forest to meet the giant spider Aragog. They discover that the creature is actually a snake.
HERMIONE IS ATTACKED!!
They descend into The Chamber of Secrets. Tom Riddle tries to seduce Ginny. Harry kills Tom with the Sword of Gryffindor. He also stabs the diary using a snake fang. It kills Tom and saves his life.
It was difficult for me to write the entire plot of this novel. “things we remember.”Every storyline is fascinating. It’s scary and personal. Hagrid, Ginny, and Hermione were all affected. We also see a Voldemort version that shows how evil yet charming he was as a child. This book allowed me to see the power of Voldemort and gave me a glimpse at his capabilities. This book, as I said earlier, really highlights the manipulations and fear Voldemort brought into the world. It also brings up old patterns that we don’t remember and makes us aware of bad memories. Lockhart was hilarious. He was a pompous idiot. Everyone fawning over Lockhart while obsessing about him. This book deserves MUCH more respect than it gets.
2. The Goblet Of Fire
WHERE DO YOU EVEN BEGIN ?!?!?!?? This one won’t be as bullet-point-heavy because the big moments speak for their self. This book was full of magic (PUN INTENDED, LMAO), that it’s nearly impossible to distill.
– The beginning of the book, where we get some background information about Riddle’s house (this terrified me so much). Because it was so scary and I loved it, I remember reading it twice more before I started the next book.
– The Quidditch World Cup/Dark Mark to the sky (The Irish will win, but Krum won’t catch the snitch!)
– The Triwizard Tournament (all it. The dragons, lake, and maze
– Moaning Myrtle being a real creep to Harry in the Prefect’s bathroom
– Beauxbatons, Durmstrang Schools (reading about children from foreign schools!) Fleur Delacour being part Veela!! Victor Krum, a famous Quidditch player! Hagrid meets Madame Maxime, his girlfriend!!
– Hermione started the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. I hate that this wasn’t in the movies.
– THE YULE BLUE (They went on dates! There was dancing and drinking! Harry had to dance infront of everyone!
Cedric Diggory (enough already)
– VOLDEMORT GOES BACK !!!! This is the first appearance of adult Voldemort with a bald head and no nose. Wormtail (Peter Puttgrew) cuts his HAND OFF. They dig up Voldemort’s dad’s bones and Voldemort kills Cedric. Harry, Voldemort and Voldemort’s wands link and it starts pulling out all of the. “ghosts”Voldemort’s wand included his parents. Fucking INCREDIBLE.
Harry must return with Cedric’s corpse, and they discover that Mad Eye Moody is BARTYCROUCH JR, who has been drinking Polyjuice Potion all day. He put Harry’s name into the goblet, and our heads collectively explode.
– The best part is that Harry gives all his Triwizard Tournament winnings over to Fred and George so they can start their joke shop.
This book deserves to be ranked #2. A fun fact:
This book was purchased at APESHIT. It was twice the size of the others, it DARK, it scared, and it was most action-packed. The first copy I received was a misprint. There was an error in the chapter numbering and Chapter 14 was not printed twice. I still have it at home, but someone suggested we save it. “it would be worth a lot of money one day.”Is it worth a lot? If it is, I’m going to sell it immediately. I had to buy a new book. It took me 2 days of nonstop reading and I restarted it almost immediately. This book was amazing. It even had the band name of the Yule Ball (the Weird Sisters). Unmatched. This book changed everything about the story and forced the children to grow up at the tender age of 14. Amazing.
1. The Deathly Hallows
The undisputed #1. The Deathly Hallows. We waited two years between The Half Blood Prince’s finale and this spectacular series finale. We could not wait for it to happen, but we would have waited forever – this story was too important. We waited seven years for everything to come together and for Harry to finally defeat Voldemort.
– 4 Privet Drive was abandoned after members from The Order used Polyjuice Pottion to pretend to Harry.
– Bill and Fleur’s Wedding (still trying to keep it shit normal!)
Harry, Ron, and Hermione have to hide (mostly in woods).
– H H & R impersonating Ministry personnel, infiltrating it and stealing the REAL locket of Umbridge
– Information about the Deathly Hallows
Harry nearly dies after he finds the Sword of Gryffindor hidden in the middle of the forest.
– H H & R were captured by snatchers. They had to go to Malfoy Manor.
– Bellatrix kills Dobby (FUCKING BITCH)
H H & R infiltrating Bellatrix’s vault at Gringotts, and finding the Hufflepuff Cup. (Horcrux #3).
– Sneaking back to Hogwarts (shoutout Aberforth), finding and removing the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw (Horcrux #4), getting rid of the Chamber’s cup and the crown in the huge Room of Requirement fire
Ron and Hermione finally make out at the Chamber of Secrets.
– BATTLE FOR HOGWARTS
– Voldemort kills Snape because he believes it will make his Elder Wand more useful
– After discovering that Snape was actually Harry’s friend, Dumbledore asked him who would kill Harry. He also revealed that he was still in a relationship with Lily Potter even though he was dying. “Always.”SOB SOBS SOBS
– Tonks, Lupin & Fred Weasley all dead
– Molly Weasley kills Bellatrix lestrange ((*()
Harry being killed by Voldemort and Narcissa Malfoy lying about him being dead to Voldemort because Harry had told her Draco was still living
– Neville kills Nagini (the last Horcrux).
– HARRY KILLING THE VOLDEMORT !!!! GOOD TRIUMPHS OVER EVIL AGAIN!!!
I would write 1,000 words more if I sat there for an additional hour. This was the perfect ending to this series. All of the questions were answered, justice was served, and we grieved the deceased. Then, life returned to normal. This was unimaginable.
There you have it. I believe I have made some compelling arguments. Ranking Harry Potter books is just as difficult as ranking your children. Or so I would imagine. They are all my favorite books, but I do love some more than others. They all add to the story in equal measure, and I will never forget reading them each time. I don’t want to sound like a bitch who says ReAd ThE BOOkS before seeing the movies, but the movies leave out a lot of the fun details. I’ll be doing a separate ranking of the movies – it’s very different.
As a reminder, JK Rowling was a single mother on food stamps when JK began writing down ideas for Harry Potter using scraps of paper while waiting for a delayed train to Kings Cross. It took her five years to complete the book, and she is now worth a billion dollars. It’s never too early.