J.K. Rowling’s immensely popular series of fantasy novels has become one of the most successful literary franchises of all time. The stories concern a young wizard who goes to a school where he is taught magical spells. During his years as a student he makes lifelong friends and fights off dangerous villains.
The main antagonist of the books is Lord Voldemort. He is a dark wizard who murdered Harry’s parents and intends to rule the magical realm. Voldemort has become an iconic villain and was even featured during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
People throughout the world will likely be familiar with the film series based on these novels. Eight movies were produced, each one becoming a box office hit. Several smaller storylines and characters had to be cut from these films but are prevalent in the literary versions.
Titles In The Series
- The Philosopher’s Stone
In the first book, Harry is living a sad life with his mean uncle and aunt. One day he discovers that he has magical powers and learns about the fate of his parents. Many of the main characters are established in this installment.
- The Chamber of Secrets
Harry’s ability to talk to snakes is further explored. A mythical monster is stalking the halls of the school and attacking students. Harry must solve the mystery with the help of sentient diary.
- The Prisoner of Azkaban
Werewolves and Dementors are introduced in this book. The school gets a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher who is not all he seems. An escaped convict is also on the loose and appears to be after Harry.
- The Goblet of Fire
The dark wizard Voldemort returns and amasses an army to serve him. Meanwhile, Harry is busy participating in an extremely dangerous tournament featuring mermaids and dragons.
- The Order of the Phoenix
This is the longest book in the series and also one of the darkest. A new and extremely cruel teacher arrives and torments her classmates. Harry forms a secret group to fight in the future battle with Voldemort. The story ends in a climactic battle between the heroes and villains.
- The Half-Blood Prince
Flashbacks are a major part of this installment. Harry uses a special memory device to learn more about Voldemort’s past. Towards the end he also suffers a major loss which devastates him. The main theme of the book is confronting grief.
- The Deathly Hallows
The final battle between good and evil finally happens in this last novel. Harry and his friends are in hiding and must seek out artifacts before they can confront Voldemort and his followers. A large number of major characters are killed off but the book ends on a happy, hopeful note.