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 J.K. Rowling
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 But the first Harry Potter book would not be published until 1997.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.
#1 Harry Potter Books in Order by Series
But now, where do you start and what’s the best way to read the Harry Potter books in order? 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 (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.
Book to Screen Adaptations
Original Harry Potter Movies
Perhaps just as iconic as the Harry Potter books in order, and as financially successful, are the movie adaptations. The books and movies have been intrinsically connected throughout the years, even though there have been many debates about what the movies left out or got wrong.
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson grew up on the screens and in the imaginations of fans around the world as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger.
It’s been 12 years since the last movie premiered, but the iconic films are still near and dear to the hearts of many Potterheads. Since then, there have also been three Fantastic Beasts movies, and The Cursed Child stage play.
The original movie adaptations each invoke a strong feeling of nostalgia for those who grew up attending the premieres with almost every movie capturing a different ambience. This is in part due to the changes in directors throughout the series, alongside the movies getting darker as the characters aged and the Battle of Hogwarts neared.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone contains the maximum dose of nostalgia for many fans with its wintery atmosphere and comforting Christmas scenes. Chris Columbus was the director for Sorcerer’s Stone and the sequel Chamber of Secrets before the first directorial shift took place.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was Alfonso Cuarón’s only Harry Potter film and features a distinct tone with him in the director’s seat. This was also the first movie in the franchise starring Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore following the death of Richard Harris, who portrayed Dumbledore in the first two movies.
Mike Newell was the director for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, before the reins were handed over to David Yates, who directed the last four movies.
New Harry Potter TV Show
Suffice to say, between the comforting nostalgia of the original films and the controversial figure J.K. Rowling has become, the April 2023 announcement of a TV show reboot divided fans. Some are excited at the prospect of being able to include more details from the books that were left on the cutting room floor, while others just can’t fathom recasting iconic and beloved characters.
The new TV series is expected to run on air for a decade with each of the main Harry Potter books in order to be made into one season. Rowling will be an executive producer on the project alongside Neil Blair and Ruth Kenley-Letts. There are rumors David Heyman will also executive produce, which will be significant to fans of the movies as he produced all eight original films.
It will air on Max, previously HBO Max, in association with Brontë Film and TV, and Warner Bros. Television. Warner Bros. is the studio for all eight Harry Potter movies as well.
Since filming has not yet begun and casting is still taking place, the earliest fans might expect to tune in won’t be until 2025 or 2026.
Harry Potter TV Show Changes
The greatly expanded runtime that comes with a television series spanning a decade versus feature-length films means there is an opportunity to include elements from the books which are missing from the movies.
For example, the important subplot of house elves and Hermione’s S.P.E.W. initiative. Exploring the book canon regarding house elves provides an opportunity to examine race and class tensions within the Wizarding World, instead of it being an afterthought. There is also that death during the Battle of Hogwarts which directly contradicts book canon.
Fan grievances about the movies span from small details — why change the colour of Hermione’s dress at the Yule Ball? — to larger elements — where is Peeves? — but there is one change that can be summarized in a single word that will rouse many book fans into a frenzy: Calmly.
However, despite the things the movies did not get quite right, they are iconic for a reason. It feels unsurmountable to many fans to recast beloved actors who became synonymous with their characters.
To a generation, Alan Rickman is Severus Snape, Robbie Coltrane is Rubeus Hagrid, and Maggie Smith is Minerva McGonagall. Recasting the Golden Trio feels just as impossible a task.
Regardless, the project is underway and a full recast is what has been promised. If the show hopes to entice fans of the original franchise, sticking to the book canon will be the safe way forward.
#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
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
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone begins Harry Potter’s journey. After living with his Aunt and Uncle who hate him all his life, Harry discovers he’s a wizard when he’s invited to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
But then he discovers the wizard who killed his parents isn’t as dead as everyone thinks and he’s out to finish the job he left undone the night Harry was orphaned.
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for his second year of school along with his best friend, Ronald Weasley. This year, Ron’s little sister, Ginny attends Hogwarts.
When students are found petrified, it’s discovered that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened once more.
Harry and Ginny finds themselves at the center of a plot they couldn’t have fathomed.
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for this third year of school. When notorious murderer, Sirius Black, escapes from Azkaban prison, the wizarding world fears he has one target: Harry Potter.
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
During Harry Potter’s fourth year at Hogwarts, it’s time for the Triwizard tournament to once again begin. When Harry’s name is placed into the cup, he finds himself in a deadly competition with only a single, nefarious goal.
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Voldemort is back, but the wizarding world is in denial. Only the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization started by Dumbledore, can stop him. With Dumbledore on the outs with the minister, Dolores Umbridge is assigned to Hogwarts as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. She will stop at nothing to see Dumbledore and Harry Potter disgraced.
6. Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince
The war against Voldemort rages on. The wizarding world can no longer deny his return. Hogwarts is the only truly safe place, or is it?
Draco Malfoy, under the employ of Voldemort, is seeking for a way to defeat Dumbledore once and for all.
Meanwhile, Dumbledore is chasing his own leads to destroy Voldemort and he’s conscripted Harry to help him.
7. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows
Dumbledore is dead and the only one standing between Voldemort and total world domination is Harry Potter and his friends, Ron and Hermione.
Can they stop him before he destroys the wizarding world?
8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Official Playscript
The Cursed Child is a play written by J.K. Rowling and follows the children of Harry and Ginny at Hogwarts.
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.
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald, Original Screenplay
The Fantastic Beasts series is back with the Crimes of Grindewald, the official adaptation of the movie.
11. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Complete Screenplay
The final book in the Fantastic Beasts series is The Secrets of Dumbledore. This movie didn’t go over well in the box office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the official adaptation.
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.