I was slow to join the Harry Potter bandwagon. It was 2016 when I read the first book, but now rereading and watching the Harry Potter movies has become a yearly tradition in my family. If you’re like me, and are late to the party, you might be looking for a list of Harry Potter books in order.
Fewer franchises have taken the world by storm like Harry Potter. Yet despite it’s place as a household name and its widespread fame, new readers are finding their way to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World every day.
A direct friend of mine who is a huge YA Fantasy fan has yet to read these books. Maybe eventually I’ll get her to take the plunge.
There’s not a whole lot of mystery surrounding actual order of the main series, but there are a lot of extras as well as the Fantastic Beasts series.
About the Author
While she has been the center of controversy in recent years, J.K. Rowling’s path to authorship has become an inspirational story for many struggling writers.
That’s because before she became a household name, J.K. Rowling was a struggling writer herself and before that, a young bookworm with glasses and freckles.
The idea of a fellow bespectacled young boy who learns there is a world full of magic came to Rowling in 1990 while she was aboard a train from Manchester to London King’s Cross. The symbolism of a train takes the form of the Hogwarts Express in the hearts of many Potterheads. But the first Harry Potter book would not be published until 1997.
Rowling lived in northern Portugal for a brief spell, married and had one daughter, before the marriage ended and she moved to Edinburgh. Her suitcase contained the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and, subsequently, the Scottish capital has become iconic for its Harry Potter memorabilia.
A common trivia fact is that the Rowling’s second initial, K, stands for her paternal grandmother’s name, Kathleen. This is because Rowling does not have a middle name, but using initials was at her publisher’s request.
After completing the original Harry Potter books with the seventh novel in 2007, Rowling then published her first adult novel: The Casual Vacancy. She has also published a crime thriller series under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, which did not remain a secret for long. If you would like to read the Cormoran Strike novels, you can check out our article about the Robert Galbraith books in order.
But now, where do you start and what’s the best way to read the Harry Potter books in order?
#1 Harry Potter Books in Order by Series
Series order is the easiest way to read the Harry Potter books in order.
Within the series, I’ve included the book by publication order. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading the Harry Potter books the way millions of others have read them through the years.
The Main Books
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1997)
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)
8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Official Playscript (2017)
9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Original Screenplay (2016)
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald, Original Screenplay (2018)
11. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Complete Screenplay (Expected: July 19, 2022)
Before we continue, I wanted to add that everything below this point is considered supplementary. They’re like big appendixes that dive deeper into the world, but aren’t more adventures of Harry Potter and friends.
The Hogwarts Library Collection
16. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (2016)
17. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (2016)
18. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (2016)
A History of Magic
17. A Journey Through Charms & Defense Against the Dark Arts (2019)
18. A Journey Through Potions and Herbology (2019)
19. A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy (2019)
20. A Journey Through Care of Magical Creatures (2019)
21. Hogwarts: A History of Magic Collection (2018)
22. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Behind the Scenes
23. Harry Potter and the Sorcery’s Stone MinaLima Edition
24. Harry Potter the Illustrated Collection Books 1-3
25. Harry Potter: A Pop-up Guide to Hogwarts
26. Harry Potter Complete Book Series Special Edition Boxed Set
There are a host of other guides and encyclopedias out there if you search around. None of those are official, meaning they aren’t published by J.K. Rowling or Pottermore.
#2 Harry Potter Books in Chronological Order
There is another way to read the Harry Potter books in order, though, and that’s chronologically.
I wouldn’t recommend this reading method for any newcomers. This is purely a reading method for those seasoned veterans looking for a new way to read the Harry Potter books in order.
1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Original Screenplay
2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald, Original Screenplay
3. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Original Screenplay (Expected: July 19, 2022)
4. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
6. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
9. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide
10. Quidditch through the Ages
11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
17. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
18. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Official Playscript
In the above list, I inserted the Hogwarts Library Collection and Short Story books where they belong according to first mention. For instance, Quidditch is first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, so I thought you might want to read about Quidditch either during or after that book.
Fantastic Beasts is first mentioned in The Sorcerer’s Stone, and Tales of the Beedle the Bard is first mentioned in The Deathly Hallows.
The books below don’t really fit anywhere in the timeline. Though, if I’m being 100% honest, I haven’t read these.
Summary of the Harry Potter Books in Order
But if you are looking to read the Harry Potter books in order for the first time, it is essential to begin your magical journey with the main books. In this section I’ll include summaries for each book within the original Harry Potter series, as well as the Fantastic Beasts prequel series.
It is important to begin your journey with the original series before reading the prequels or supplementary material, so you have a thorough understanding of the Wizarding World first.
Finally, if you’ve managed to make it this far without coming across any Harry Potter spoilers, read the below summaries with caution. They will contain minor spoilers for the original series and the prequels as the books progress.
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The series begins with 11-year-old Harry Potter leading a miserable life with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. An orphan, he never knew his parents, and Privet Drive is the only home he has ever known.
But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: He’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After a lifetime of not fitting in, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special.
He is The Boy Who Lived: The only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.
Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Ever since Harry Potter returned to Privet Drive for the summer, the Dursleys had been so mean and hideous that all Harry wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s readying his bags to return on the Hogwarts Express, Harry receives a warning from a strange impish creature who says that if Harry returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor and a spirit who haunts the girls’ bathroom.
But then the real trouble begins — someone is turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possible be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects…Harry Potter himself?
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
For Harry Potter, it’s the start of another far-from-ordinary year at Hogwarts when the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and comes to an abrupt halt in front of him. He is terrified at the possibility of expulsion from his use of underage magic, but the reality that greets him in Diagon Alley may just be worse.
For twelve long years, the fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. It turns out that Sirius Black, mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, has escaped — and they say he is coming after Harry.
For Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts…he’s at Hogwarts.”
Then, in his first Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves.
And perhaps most frightening of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds with their soul-sucking kiss — in search of fresh victims.
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The rules of the Triwizard Tournament, which is about to take place at Hogwarts, only allow wizards over the age of seventeen to enter. So, Harry can only daydream about winning.
Then, to his surprise, on Hallowe’en when the Goblet of Fire makes its selection, his name is picked out of the magical cup as the fourth participant.
He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal — even by wizarding standards. Harry will face life-endangering tasks, dragons, and Dark wizards.
He’ll have to rely on the help of his friends if he is to make it through the contest alive, but even on that front Harry is facing challenges.
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
There is a door at the end of a silent corridor. And it’s haunting Harry Potter’s dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror?
Harry has a lot on his mind during his fifth year at Hogwarts. There is a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey, a big surprise on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and the looming terror of the Ordinary Wizarding Level exams.
But all these things pale next to the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. A threat that neither the magical government nor the authorities at Hogwarts can stop.
As the grasp of darkness tightens, Harry must discover the true depth and strength of his friends, the importance of boundless loyalty, and the shocking price of unbearable sacrifice.
His fate depends on them all.
6. Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince
The war against Voldemort is not going well and even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
However, as in all wars, life goes on. The Weasley twins expand their business. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate — and lose a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, through Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So, as Harry navigates his sixth year at Hogwarts, he must search for the full and complete story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort. For only then there is the possibility to reveal Voldemort’s only vulnerability.
7. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows
It’s no longer safe for Harry at Hogwarts, so he and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, are on the run. Professor Dumbledore has given them clues about what they need to do to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, once and for all, but it’s up to them to figure out what these hints and suggestions really mean.
Their cross-country odyssey has them searching desperately for the answers, while evading capture or death at every turn. At the same time, their friendship, fortitude, and sense of right and wrong are tested in ways they never could have imagined.
The ultimate battle between good and evil that closes out this final chapter of the epic series takes place where Harry’s Wizarding life began: Hogwarts.
8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Official Playscript
The final book in the main Harry Potter series stirred up a lot of controversy when it was published a decade after the previous seventh book. That’s because Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was supposed to mark the end. Furthermore, a lot of fans were not happy with the direction Rowling took her characters in with this installment.
However, whether you love or hate the inclusion of some fan theories within this playscript, it is canon within the franchise.
It begins nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, and being Harry Potter hasn’t easier.
These days, Harry is a husband, father of three school-age children, and an overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic. While he struggles with a personal history that refuses to stay in the past, his youngest son Albus must grapple with the weight of the family legacy he never asked for.
As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: Sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Original Screenplay
After you have read the main Harry Potter books, you may choose to read the prequels next, which document the adventures of Magizoologist Newt Scamander.
When Newt arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…
Newt must navigate New York City to recover his magical creatures, but following his use of magic in front of a No-Maj, a non-magical being, Newt attracts the attention of Tina Goldstein. Tina tries to bring Newt in front of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, but her own difficulties in the office spell trouble. Meanwhile, the No-Maj that Newt performed magic in front of, Jacob Kowalski, becomes his companion in his hunt across New York.
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald, Original Screenplay
At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: To raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
11. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Complete Screenplay
The next Fantastic Beasts screenplay is expected July 19, 2022 following the premiere of the movie. Two more movies and subsequent screenplays are still anticipated in the series.
Professor Albus Dumbledore knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches, and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission. They will encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers.
But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?
Final thoughts on Harry Potter books in order
Reading the Harry Potter books in order is an enchanting experience. At the core of these books are themes of good vs. evil and the power of love and sacrifice.
The original seven books are essential reading and then you can take your Harry Potter reading journey in whichever direction you would like. Either diving deeper into the world with the complimentary material, or reading the Fantastic Beasts prequels.
Looking for more books to read?
Check out these 10 Books like Throne of Glass.