Get a full list of the Harry Potter books in order to read them, plus brief summaries of each book in the Harry Potter series about the bestselling, beloved wizarding world.

The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling (one of the best selling authors of all-time) are the best-selling book series of all time and each book is one of the best selling books of all time, having been translated into over 80 languages, won countless awards, and sold more than 500 million copies worldwide.

This post includes all of the seven Harry Potter books in the original book series in chronological order plus the stage play that continues the story of Harry Potter decades later. It does not include any of J.K. Rowling’s related short stories or the Fantastic Beasts series.

If you’re going to read Harry Potter, you should do so in the order below. Both the storyline and the publication dates follow the same chronological order.

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List of the Harry Potter Books in Order

How many Harry Potter books are there?

The original Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling contains 7 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)

Are there 7 or 8 books in the Harry Potter series?

Technically, there are 7 books in the original Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; however, an 8th book (a screenplay published in 2016), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, picks up the storyline of the original series one generation later.

What is the 8th book in the Harry Potter series?

The screenplay Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is considered by many to be the 8th book in the Harry Potter series; however, the original series only contains 7 books. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was published several years later in 2016, picks up the storyline of the original series one generation later.

Can you read the Harry Potter books out of order?

No. You should not read the Harry Potter books out of order because, overall, they follow one chronological storyline in a specific order, following the young wizard Harry Potter as he experiences a series of escalating challenges, all of which lead him to a penultimate battle with Voldemort.

Details of the Harry Potter Books in Order

NOTE: THERE ARE SOME CONTENT SPOILERS BELOW; HOWEVER, I TRIED MY BEST TO CONVEY THE PLOTS GENERALLY, WITHOUT GIVING AWAY TOO MUCH.

Book #1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Reading Level for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

  • Age: 8+
  • Grade: 3+

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone introduces the reader to the young 11-year-old orphan Harry Potter, as he is whisked away from his unloving aunt’s and uncle’s home to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The large and loveable giant Hagrid explains that Harry’s a wizard, who dispelled the evil Lord Voldemort when he was just a baby.

Aboard the magical train to Hogwarts, Harry meets new friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and, luckily, they are all sorted into the same house at Hogwarts — Gryffindor.

However, not everyone is a friend to Harry, and it’s clear he has enemies in the Slytherin house, including student Draco Malfoy and the potions Professor Snape.

Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is marked by both fun and fighting, from playing the sport Quidditch to battling Voldemort once again, as Voldemort attempts to gain the power of everlasting life and re-gaining a body from the Sorcerer’s Stone.


Book #2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Reading Level for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:

  • Age: 8+
  • Grade: 3+

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron return to Hogwarts in a flying car. At Hogwarts, word spreads that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened to release a deadly monster, petrifying both the caretaker’s pet cat and the students as well.

Harry and his friends take on the challenge themselves and, by way of Polyjuice potion and a visit to a giant spider called Aragog, Harry ultimately enters the Chamber of Secrets to try to save Ron’s sister, Ginny. There, Voldemort sets a giant serpent on Harry, and another battle with evil ensues.


Book #3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Reading Level for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

  • Age: 9+
  • Grade: 4+

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry learns that the mass murderer Sirius Black has escaped. The prison guards, otherwise known as Dementors (dark flying creatures) surround Hogwarts to look for him, as Harry is slated to be his next victim.

What’s worse is that the Dementors also have a bad impact on Harry’s health and well-being. A friend of Harry’s father, Professor Remus Lupin, teaches Harry the Patronus Charm to fend off the dementors.

Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione squabble over their pets.

Without giving away too much, both the Patronus Charm and the pets of Harry’s friends become critical to the plot of this novel, its ultimate battle, and the truth about Sirius Black.


Book #4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Reading Level for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:

  • Age: 10+
  • Grade: 5+

Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts is marked by change in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as Harry becomes more mature and his quest darker.

The novel begins at the Quidditch world cup, then it sets into the Triwizard Tournament hosted by Hogwarts, in which students from multiple wizard schools will compete. With the help of professor Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, Harry is set to compete on behalf of Hogwarts with student Cedric Diggory.

While there’s teenage fun in this novel by way of the Yule Ball, which also shows that Harry and his friends are growing up, this novel also shifts the tone of Harry’s quest from magical and adventurous to violent and dark. After all, this is a battle of good versus evil.

In competing, Harry is transported to a graveyard where Voldemort’s supporters convene, where Harry learns a devastating truth and must fight for his life. The novel ends in a somber tone, as the battle brings tragedy and new challenges from Voldemort.


Book #5: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Reading Level for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

  • Age: 10+
  • Grade: 5+

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, an underground vigilante group called the Order of the Phoenix bands together to fight Lord Voldemort and, when Hogwarts High Inquisitor Dolores Umbridge lies about Voldemort’s return, Harry and his classmates establish their own secret defense organization called “Dumbledore’s Army.”

Meanwhile, Harry has repeated dreams about Voldemort and takes Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape to prevent these dreams. In working with Harry, Snape uncovers Harry’s most painful memories; however, Harry also learns of a pivotal fight between his father and Snape.

After Harry dreams that Sirius is being tortured, he races to the Ministry of Magic and faces Death Eaters. It’s another battle that ends in a very painful tragedy for Harry and reveals that, ultimately, either Harry or Voldemort must die at the hands of the other.


Book #6: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Reading Level for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

  • Age: 11+
  • Grade: 6+

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort’s origin story is revealed in order to further prepare Harry for his ultimate battle. Importantly, Harry learns that Voldemort divided his soul into pieces, creating a series of Horcruxes that must be destroyed. 

Harry also used the magical Marauder’s Map to track Draco Malfoy, suspecting that he is colluding with Voldemort.

However, the crux of this novel is the Half-Blood Prince, from whom Harry learns tricks in an old textbook. Hermione is determined to learn his identity and reveal him as a fraud.

When Death Eaters attack the school, the identity of the Half-Blood Prince is revealed and another devastating tragedy occurs, as it becomes increasingly more clear how singular Harry will be in his battle against Voldemort.


Book #7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Reading Level for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:

  • Age: 12+
  • Grade: 7+

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the final book in the original Harry Potter series and, naturally, it serves as the stage for the ultimate battle between Harry and Voldemort.

Harry is determined to destroy all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes for a chance to fight him face to face. And it’s an incredibly epic battle, with a series of challenges and tragedies along the way, to culminate the original Harry Potter books.


Book #8: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Reading Level for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:

  • Age: 10+
  • Grade: 5-6+

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not exactly part of the original Harry Potter book series, but rather a stage play, that does continue Harry’s journey decades later, as he and his friends send their children off to Hogwarts.

Harry’s son, Albus, and Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius, become friends in the Slytherin house and attempt to travel in time to save Harry’s old classmate, Cedric Diggory.


Printable PDF of the Harry Potter Book List

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Conclusion

The best-selling Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling takes readers on a captivating journey through a world of magic as a group of young wizards grow and learn to fight evil and darkness. Reading the Harry Potter books in order is necessary to the reading experience for this most popular book series, which follows one over-arching chronological storyline in several parts, and will undoubtedly continue to enchant generations of readers to come.

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