Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Which HARRY POTTER Book Is The Best?

Alright folks, time for the question and debate of the ages!! You ready? You sure??? Here we go...

Of the seven Harry Potter novels, which one do you think is the best of them all?

Poll below (and please click through if you're reading via an RSS feed or via e-mail):




Have you voted? Cool. (Don't want to sway the results)

My choice is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Perhaps the darkest of all seven of the books, this one really delved into Harry coming into his own and spending much of the novel feeling sorry for himself. The weight of the world was really resting on his shoulders, and he had one of literature's great villains, Dolores Umbridge, to contend with. And, well, we all know what happened in the end (but I won't spoil it for those who don't know).

For emotional depth and range, Harry coming of age, not to mention my favorite cover.... to me, Order of the Phoenix is the novel that delves the deepest, and for that reason it's my pick for best of the seven.

What about you? What made you pick your favorite?






103 comments:

Fadzlishah Johanabas said...

I think "The Deathly Hallows" is the darkest, most complicated book of the series, with plenty of despair. Dumbledore isn't around to save Harry this time. Plus, I had an adventure lining up for 2 hours and uttering the Gryffindor password to the Fat Lady when the book came out.

Loved "Order of the Phoenix", but the movie so didn't do it justice.

Donna G. Cooper said...

While HP and the Order of the Phoenix was my favorite for a time, Deathly Hallows quickly became one of my all time favorite books ever! It was such an emotional rollercoaster ride of saddness and fear, excitment and terror. I'd never gone through so many emotional loop-de-loops as I did while reading this book.

It is probably the best conclusion to any saga ever written. There was something very satisfying about how Rowling wrapped up all the ends very neatly.

HP5 is still my second favorite. :-)

Leigh said...

I, of course, love them all, but when I think how much I loved each one at the time, for me it is definitely Pris. of Az. I loved how the books started getting a little darker with this one, and also how it started digging in to Harry's past,and his parents' too. It is so great. Of course Deathly Hallows is a close 2nd.

Mira said...

My 3rd runner up is Goblet of Fire, because I loved the Tournament. Also, it was the first time real consequences enter the story, which gave it depth.

My 2nd runner up is Order of the Phoenix, for all the reasons you mentioned. I'm still in awe that she actually took a protagonist and showed him to be al grumpy teenager. Although, Harry at his worse, was still better than me at my best that age, I will say. I also loved the final scene between Harry and Dumbledore in that book.

But my first choice is the Sorcerer's Stone. The first one. It was magic. The storyline of a negected kid who finds he has a place in this world, and that there is goodness, love and magic in it - and that he has much to offer - wonderful.

Erin B said...

Prisoner of Azkaban... I love how the villain in this book isn't directly Voldemort (as it is in most others), and how in the end, the villain turns out to not even be a villain but family.

This book was drastically different than 1 and 2, and much darker, and I think for this reason it always stood out in my mind as something really special in the series. The time turner and that whole ending of the book is also fabulous.

Deathly Hallows, though, is a very close second... Such a great ending to an amazing ride :)

Livia said...

Azkaban, hands down. The plotting is brilliant and tightly done, and the plot twist is fantastic . The later books got a little too bloated for me.

JJ said...

Argh, this is tough because my two favourites are Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix and they are two totally different books.

Personally, I think Order of the Phoenix is the most sophisticated (with the creepiest villain!), but Prisoner of Azkaban is just so delightful...

Krista V. said...

My favorite was THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN - until THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE came out. I think the story arc in that book is magnificent, especially the climax.

Alexis Lampley said...

Order of the Phoenix. Without a doubt. It was Umbridge. I wanted to strangle that woman.

The characters I'm worst at writing are the ones like Umbridge. The ones who, in their own mind, are justified in their actions, but are wronging your characters in so fierce a way that you, as a reader, believe you are being wronged. You want to cry in frustration, or stab their name in the book with a very sharp (like quill tipped) pen. I admire JK's ability to create someone like Umbridge, because she'd have annoyed me far too much to write her myself.

But I agree with your points about the depth and darkness of the book. It was certainly the deepest emotional journey -- and understandably so.

Allison M. Dickson said...

Order of the Phoenix was my first choice before even reading the blog and voting. Definitely the deeper and darker of the series. We learn so much about the characters and it sets the stage beautiful for all that follows.

Sad that it was the one book out of the whole series that got the shabbiest Hollywood treatment.

Kathy said...

I really love the HP books, and Order of the Phoenix was amazing...except for the damned adverbs! I can't ignore them. I want to go through it with some Wite-Out so I can reread. (She toned it down for #6.)

Laurel said...

Azkaban. I felt sorry for Harry in Book One, but mostly his circumstance with the Dursleys. In Book Three, though, his sense of solitude, loss of family, became more concrete. It added a lot of depth to his character and made him more than the orphan boy hero cliche. The connection of his patronus to his father was elegant and sad.

It also set up GoF and his lousy poutfest for the first portion of that book.

Karen Peterson said...

I love DEATHLY HALLOWS, but have only been able to read it once. I haven't been able to face it a second time, though I do think it really is an amazing book.

That being said, my favorite in the series really is PRISONER OF AZKABAN. It was the first book where Harry really got to start to learn about his parents and their background and where he finally came to understand that he isn't alone in the world.

Christina Lucas said...

Order of the Phoenix has always been my favorite book and movie in the series.
The overall mood is darker-I like it just for that.
It really pulls you in to the characters' grieves over how the death eaters have affected their families. And Voldemort becomes up close & personal for the first time. It really gives the reader a sense of...okay, it's us against them. Game on.
And when Sirius dies, it's almost a passage into manhood for Harry. A point of no return. You know in that moment that Harry is officially going to kick some ass!

Fawn Neun said...

Delores Umbridge triggered my Jr. High PTSD, so I couldn't vote for 'Order'. :)

Yamile said...

My favorite is Deathly Hallows. All the loss, the conclusion even if a lot of my favorite characters were dead (Collin Creevey, I still cry about you, small even in death), and the comfort that in the end, all was well.

Chuck H. said...

Who is this Harry Potter of whom you speak?

Julia G. Darelle said...

It's hard to choose - I liked all of them. However, the last one was the most complicated and most "grown up" in my opinion. So, except for the epilogue (though I see why J.K.R included it), I loved the last book the most.

Ez said...

One of my favorite scenes in the whole series is the Weasley twins ousting Professor Umbridge with their usual style.

But my favorite book is easily PofA. Rowling herself said that was her best book.

I hated the last one.

Sarah said...

I think it's a very different thing to ask which is the best and which is your favorite. While The Sorcerer's Stone is my favorite, I know it's not the best written.

K.L. Brady said...

Half Blood Prince...because that's when Ginny Weasley and Harry finally get together and have their first kiss. *sigh*

Hey I write chick lit, what did you expect???

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

Order of the Phoenix is also my favorite for the exact same reasons you mentioned! Of course, I'm just now reading Deathly Hallows before the movie comes out, but I still think Phoenix will remain my fave.

Janiel Miller said...

Mmm. Gotta be Prisoner of Azkaban. That's the book that put the series on the map for me. Tight, taught, hint of darkness to come, great twist, great character development. Perfect beginning to the Deathly Hallows ending, for me.

Wish she'd write another series. If I were her I'd be scared, though. I'd also be very very rich.

Katie Ganshert said...

I was hooked with all the books, but Half Blood Prince was the best in my opinion. I laughed out loud the most in this book. Loved that Harry started to fall for Ginny. Loved how closely he worked with Dumbledore. And the ending!? Wow. That just totally shocked me. And loved that a certain person's allegiance was impossible to figure out.

Wanetta said...

I had to chose Deathly Hallows. While I loved all the books in the series the reason I chose this one was because of the Hallows. [spoiler.....] When I first started reading and JKR introduced the hallows I was extremely annoyed. I didn't know why she would want to throw something in like that and at the last minute, it seemed rushed. However, as I continued reading I was quite floored that the hallows were in the books all the time. At this point I put the book down and took my hat off to JKR. So, this was definitely my fave book. =)
Also, Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix in the battle .... best. scene. ever. In my opinion.

Kristi said...

Picking a favorite HP is like picking my favorite chocolate cake.

I voted for the Goblet of Fire because it is such a turning point for the series. Right up until the end, it retains that sense of adventure and youth that the first several had. And then, whammo, stuff and fans collide.

Order of the Phoenix was really powerful emotionally for me. I am still amazed how Rowling managed to throw me (adult female) so fully into a teenage boy's psyche and make it feel so authentic.

I think after the punch of those two books back to back that I was ready to follow Harry into anything just to see it all resolve.

Ellen Brickley said...

I think Goblet of Fire was the best. The most action, the best pacing, but still a decent amount of character development (although not the best of the series for character development by far) and a masterclass in introducing backstory.

Goblet. All the way.

Elizabeth West said...

Potterposts! I'm a huge Potternerd. Thanks for this. :)

Goblet of Fire is my favorite, because the Hogwarts kids have to interact with other wizarding students. They all have to come together as a school and put their best foot forward. There's so much going on with the tournament and their first tentative steps into socializing (the Christmas Ball) and it's just hilarious.

Also, for the first time something awful happens and it's directly due to Voldemort.

Order of the Phoenix is next, even though it had a lot of annoying teenage angst. Dolores Umbridge was so great I wrote an entire blog post about her. (See it here http://aelizabethwest.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/umbridge/.) The Ministry's suppression in this book made the conflict much more dangerous, because now they had to hide not only from Voldemort but from their own government.

Suzan Harden said...

For me, The Half-Blood Prince was the best. It showed Snape and Dumbledore as the very falliable, very noble, very human people they both really were. And for the first time, Dumbledore treats Harry as an adult, not Prodigy Child.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

I picked "The Deathly Hallows", but really I love them all. Each one is unique and wonderful and they all fit with the age that Harry is at the time. The books as they progress get deaper and deaper, appropraite for the agegroup that will read them, or have grown up reading them.

Laura Marcella said...

The Order of the Phoenix is my favorite, too! I admire how extremely well Rowling blends the darkness with humor. Despite Harry's emotional dilemmas and the Ministry meddling at Hogwarts, some of the best funny parts are in that book!

I also think Dolores Umbridge is one of the best written villains ever. I despise that character so much! Whenever a character makes me feel so strongly, I know the author wrote her brilliantly.

My favorite parts in the novel are when Rita Skeeter writes Harry's true account of the Triwizard Tournament and when Fred and George cause havoc on their way out of the castle. I love it when Peeves salutes them!

Nicole L Rivera said...

Do I have to pick? Ugh! If I were packing up a bag and had to choose I'd buy a Kindle and bring them all. It is one story with essential pieces through them all. They all make each other better. I love seeing the wizarding world for the first time through Harry's eyes, flying in the magical car with him, finding a parent figure in Sirius, winning the Goblet of Fire, ushering in the first sense of darkness with Cedric's death, fighting beside him as he takes on Umbridge, saying good-bye to Albus while realizing what he needs to do, and finally conquering evil in the last book. I simply can't choose. :( Sorry.

Nicole L Rivera said...

Do I have to pick? Ugh! If I were packing up a bag and had to choose I'd buy a Kindle and bring them all. It is one story with essential pieces through them all. They all make each other better. I love seeing the wizarding world for the first time through Harry's eyes, flying in the magical car with him, finding a parent figure in Sirius, winning the Goblet of Fire, ushering in the first sense of darkness with Cedric's death, fighting beside him as he takes on Umbridge, saying good-bye to Albus while realizing what he needs to do, and finally conquering evil in the last book. I simply can't choose. :( Sorry.

Elie said...

Prisoner of Azkaban - I love the time travel especially - it's so cleverly worked out.

Kristin Laughtin said...

That's my favorite, too. I also felt like it was the best at capturing that Harry was in that awkward stage between child and adult and how much more difficult it was to deal with all the evil in the world because of that. It's sort of the point of no return in Harry's journey...not that he had a choice before, but after that book you knew the end was coming. It also introduced Tonks, who was my favorite character.

Reesha said...

The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite by far.
I don't know if I can quantify why.
Perhaps because its the most hopeful book in the series. And Harry Potter is at that fun age of being cool, but hasn't gotten all his angst yet. If I wanted to read 300+ pages of angst, like in the later books, I'd just go read my journals from when I was fourteen.

Prisoner of Azkaban is closely followed by The Half Blood Prince for me because it focused more on one of the coolest, most mysterious character in the series: Severis Snape.

Caroline said...

Prisoner of Azkaban. I am a sucker for a twist in a character -- perception/propaganda versus reality.

Order of the Phoenix -- I enjoyed the film more than the book. Harry's adolescent angst drove me crazy. He had good reason for it, of course, but it made it hard for me to enjoy.

Bane of Anubis said...

I always find it odd that PoA ranks so highly among many. The time turner device at the end is a pandora's box of unexplained potential that killed the entire book for me.

Though many consider her writing weaker in the first two, my money's on those for plotting and pacing -- classic MG style. Her longer books had a bit too much down time for me (e.g., Books 5, 6-- felt like nothing too much happened till the end; Book 7 - camp time).

Cacy said...

It was hard for me to pick because #3 and #5 are both my favs. (Just realized that feature major plot point featuring Sirius...maybe I should have put him down as my favorite character). I ultimately went with #5 because I love how the everyone, especially and led by the twins, when crazy in the that book! Talk about a school wide rebellion. And the two best, most ninja-gangsta exits (Dumbledore and the Twins) ever.

And no, the movie didn't come close to portraying the awesomeness of the book.

Juliette said...

I voted for PoA because I think, objectively, that's the best - tight plotting, genuine surprise (Scabbers??!), engaging story etc. Order of the Phoenix is my second favourite, though the first time I read it I almost didn't enjoy it because Rowling's description and her way of bringing to life the horribleness that is GCSE year (real world OWLs that we take at 16 in the UK) was just too realistic! I was only around twenty when I first read it and it brought back all that stress and depression and living on the verge of total breakdown that was that year way too clearly!

Lisa Yarde said...

Deathly Hallows with Order of the Phoenix a very close second, for the reasons you mentioned, but mostly for the actions of Severus Snape in both books. Hallows wins out for me because it offers the best of Severus Snape.

Throughout the series, I knew there was more to Snape than meets the eye, in part because of Albus' implicit trust in him, but also the little tidbits and revelations of his past that Rowling sprinkled through the books. Order confirmed those suspicions. I really teared up at the scene in Hallows where Snape shares his memories. He's the most complex of the characters in my view, and his character arc helps makes Hallows the most memorable of the series.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Having checked out Umbridge in the wiki (and so as not to spoil what happens) I'd just like to say...

Why didn't someone turn her into a mouse and feed her to the snowy owl?

Lisa Yarde said...

Forgot to add that Hallows was not my favorite when I first started reading; the idea of them seemed to come out of nowhere, just like the horcruxes, but I'm glad I kept reading on and realized that each item had been part of the series all along.

Nicole said...

Gotta be PoA! That book took the series to a whole new level, which set the stage for the later books. A lot of the tension and ties of family and friendship that JK built on throughout the rest of the series began here. While I have favorite scenes from each of the books, PoA was my favorite from beginning to end.

Seabrooke said...

Deathly Hallows, by far, though till that one came out it had been Prisoner of Azkaban. But my favourite part of the whole seven-book series is when we see Snape's memories and learn the truth about his character. It made me cry; my favourite books are always the ones that strike me so emotionally I shed tears over them.

Natasha Fondren said...

I have to say Prisoner of Azkaban. To me, it felt like she was delighted with her world for the first four books, and then that delight became a job in the last three. The dark and the delight were at a perfect balance, and the plotting was tight and amazing.

I will say that when sitting down and reading the whole series through at once, for the second (or fifth) time, the later books improve.

Stephanie Garber said...

My favorite is Prisoner of Azkaban! It was close, between that and Goblet of Fire, but POA holds a special place in my heart.

It was dark, but not too dark, I loved the ending -I didn't see it coming at all- and I love Sirius Black! He is my favorite HP character and his introduction changed the stakes for Harry. Now all of the sudden Harry has a Godfather and the hope of having a real family. Of course it doesn't last, but you don't know that for two more books.

Liz said...

I'm shocked Prisoner of Azkaban is leading the poll so far.

I picked Deathly Hallows because it was dark and complicated and the way everything from the first six books was tied together was pure brilliance.

Mira said...

Josin - Eeek. You can't just turn your fellow teacher into a mouse! There are rules.

If you like YA fantasy, read the books!!

Many who don't like the books - I really think it's a genre thing. Not for all, but for some. So, be aware, it is YA fantasy. But if you like that, you're missing out. Read the books!!!

Hart Johnson said...

Prisoner of Azkaban was my favorite until Order of the Phoenix, but like you, I loved the dark, emotional journey, and especially, Harry taking the reins of his own story, really for the first time--all the earlier books had circumstantial set-ups where his destiny is thrust upon him. Here, he starts to prepare in earnest for what he needs to do--yes, with mistakes, but owning it.

Julie Hedlund said...

I loved Prisoner of Azkaban because it is where the series starts to get more complicated and a bit darker, but we still get to keep some of the innocence of the first books.

I am surprised by the number of Order of the Phoenix fans, since that was my least favorite by far. It felt like one depressing turn after another, although I agree that it was a "masterful middle," and Professor Umbridge could not have been a better drawn character.

Mark Terry said...

I see like a majority (33% so far), I chose Azkaban. My reasoning for that is that it is the first time we get a sense of the full story arc, versus just two standalones, and we get a fuller sense of the entire backstory--a little bit of why Voldemort went to kill Harry and his parents, who betrayed them. It's like looking beneath the surface and seeing there's another 90% there that you only had suspected before.

I love all the books (Chamber being my least favorite), and I certainly love Phoenix, probably my 2nd most favorite, although there's a wonderful thriller structure to Goblet.

Diane T said...

I have to go with the majority choosing Azkaban, for many of the reasons others have said--Harry's growing understanding of his world, the tight plotting, the character twists. I'd also add that it's the first chance we get to see Hermione develop by becoming more of an active character who uses more than her smarts. In SS/PS she and Ron are left behind and in CS she's petrified and out of commission, but in PoA she's involved in the action up to the end.

Hermione is one of my favorite characters and one of my favorite scenes in both books and movies is in PoA when she physically threatens Malfoy with her wand. In PoA we finally see why she's Gryffindor and not Ravenclaw!

Elaine AM Smith said...

The Prisoner of Azkahban is the greatest book.
The two before a light: children's reads.
In book 3, Harry rides an emotional roller coaster from the very start. To be given so much, when everything had seemed so bad, only to lose it? Stunning.

Brendan said...

Without a doubt, Prisoner of Azkaban. This was the last boom that Rowling managed to write which didn't include a couple of hundred pages of pointless bloat. Also the last book which didn't include pages of SHOUTING WITH THE CAPSLOCK KEY STUCK ON.

Maureen said...

My favorite has always been Pr. of Azkaban. It introduced Prof. Lupin and Sirius and filled in so much of Harry's history and introduced him to his father's friends. My second favorite was Deathly Hallows because it was so intricate and unexpected.

I have "read" the books only once each, but have listened to them on tape many, many times. Jim Dales brought all the characters to life.

ee hershey said...

Goblet of Fire. It captures the point at which the series (and the characters) really face growing up - awkward school dance scenes and all. Plus the wizarding world really opens up in this one - Rowling added another layer of depth to her universe with the international students. AND there's the quintessential middle grade makeover fantasy where Hermione becomes beautiful... I'll always be a sucker for the "plain girl gets gorgeous" scene :)

Hannah Jenny said...

I'm surprised to find myself in a majority for liking Prisoner of Azkaban the best. I had a little trouble choosing between it and The Half-Blood Prince.

I have to say, the experience of reading it for the first time was part of why I chose PofA. I was reading it with my family and, a couple of chapters before the end, we came up with a complicated explanation that involved Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew switching bodies . . . whew!

Taylor said...

HOW CAN MOST OF YOU NOT SAY HALF BLOOD PRINCE??

1) you learn all about voldemort's past.

2) This book puts Dumbledore at the center of the stage.

3) The teen romance stuff is at an all time high here. Ginny makes fun of Ron for being prude. Ron gets a girlfriend and makes out with her every chance he gets. Ron and Hermione are jealous of each other the entire time. Harry falls for Ginny, and kisses Ginny.

4) Ron steps his quidditch game up. The gryffindor team wins the house cup without Harry's help. Awesome.

Not to mention my favorite scene of the series is in this book. When Scrimgeur asks Harry to show up at the ministry every now and then, just to make it look like the ministry has things under control.

Harry denies him and Scrimguer says:

"I guess your Dumbledore's man, through and through?"

Harry: "Yeah, I'm glad we got that cleared up."

Should I keep going?

The part with the green stuff in the center of the lake. Dumbledore drinks it and has to face all his demons. Dumbledore says he feels safe as long as HE IS WITH HARRY!!

I haven't even brought up Dumbledore's death, or Draco's struggle with his conscience.

Or the opening, where you find out Voldemort is killing everyone and Fudge has been fired.

Or the tear jerking funeral at the end.

Prisoner of Azkaban is just petty compared to all that stuff I listed. None of you really appreciate what is good about epics.

pookha said...

My favourite is 'Goblet of Fire,' but I think the best one is 'Order of the Phoenix.' It shows an evil character (Umbridge) who isn't over-the-top cackling evil (like Voldy-baby). She's more complicated and human than a lot of the villains in the rest of the series.

It's also a 'play within a play' with the events at Hogwarts serving as a microcosm of what's happening in the Wizarding world. From a technical standpoint of the storytelling, I really feel it's the best of the series.

It also introduces my favourite character, Luna.

Diana said...

This was a hard decision to make. While there are parts that I really like and characters that I really like in the later books, I think overall that Sorcerer's Stone is the best. Rowling quickly and easily pulls the reader into her world and into her story. With the minimum of words, the reader gets what is going on and can visualize the scene. By showing not telling the reader gets who Harry is, who Dudley is, the Dursley's, the Weasley's, et al.

I'm reading with interest this objection to her use of adverbs. I've read the books a number of times and never noticed the adverbs. I think on this issue it would be better to consult readers rather than editors or writers to see if they're overused.

Shayda Bakhshi said...

As much as I love all of them, my favorite is probably GOF. I first read it when I was 12 or 13, and I remember just loving the quidditch world cup and the interaction between the different schools in the triwizard tournament. It felt very real and wonderful and immersive.

Also, Draco gets turned into a ferret. Awesome.

I do think, though, that DH had some of her best writing in it. I wasn't over-fond of all the camping, but the second-to-last chapter, KING'S CROSS, is my absolute favorite in the series. I cried like you wouldn't believe.

Joseph L. Selby said...

I agree with Livia's comment about bloat, but that's one of the reasons Half-Blood Prince is my favorite. It overcame its own bloat.

As for Deathly Hallows, that book was never written, so I can't figure out how it got onto the list. I hope someday she finishes the series, though.

Other Lisa said...

Prisoner of Azkaban. It's a tight book and has the darkness and growing complexity that develop over the rest of the series.

2nd choice would probably be...Half Blood Prince, followed closely by Order of the Phoenix.

Emy Shin said...

Whenever a new HP book came out, it automatically became my favorite. Now that I've had a chance to let the excitement of a new book settle, however, PRISONER OF AZKABAN is my favorite. :)

Dark Angel said...

Now, don't throw stones!

Honestly, I couldn't read the books. I read the first two chapters of the first book and then put it down. But the movies are cool...

robin said...

I also love OotP. I'm a huge fan of YA, and in this book, the series moves very distinctly from MG to YA. I love the angst and the resolution (and the humor, though it's not as apparent as in the earlier books). And I love how Harry grows and changes.

Anonymous said...

I love them all, and I initially tended to think about later books, where things are getting darker and more complex, but for a perfect example of how to set up an amazing fictional world, I think Philosopher's Stone is the one I enjoy the most. Harry receiving his school equipment list, the trip down Diagon Alley, the first mention of an antagonist who is is made very clear that everyone fears... I think the fact it took so little time to feel at home, and sorta comfy in the wizarding world Rowling created is a testament to how well-written the first volume actually is. It is also pretty magical in itself; If I look back at it, it's surprising how short it actually is. It seems a lot longer, like it packs a lot into a very small space!

Suzie F. said...

What's wonderful about this series is that everyone has their own connection with a certain book. As everyone gave their reasons, I found myself nodding along because each book has great moments. I have two favorites which I can't separate as one being better as the other.

Prisoner of Azkaban for many of the reasons everyone mentioned - Harry's longing to learn about his parents, Remus Lupin, Hermione's secret, Buckbeak, the Shrieking Shack (love!), Sirius Black, the Dementors...

The other would be The Half Blood Prince. I loved learning about Voldemort's past, Dumbledore's mysterious blackened hand, Snape (is he good or bad), Ginny, learning about Horcruxes, the Slug Club, the ending!

Good stuff!

E. Elle said...

I just adored "the Prisoner of Azkaban." It was the first novel where things took that dark turn and the story really started to develop. This was when I really realized that Hermione and Ron are in for the long haul.

Plus, the movie introduced Gary Oldman into the franchise. Um, 'nuff said.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Definitely Azkaban. This book just drew me in and didn't let go. The movie did it no justice, I was so disappointed.

Tim Susman said...

Azkaban. It feels like the most mature of the books, before they became huge and sprawling. And the fight seems, to Harry, almost more personal in this one. Lord Voldemort killed his parents, but that's what villains DO. Sirius Black, though...he betrayed Harry's parents. And that was much less forgivable.

The personal nature of the fight, the adventure of the time-turner, and the only Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who wasn't evil or useless...yeah, this one's my favorite.

Mo Fuzz said...

I've honestly never picked one up but have always been curious.

Apparently not curious enough to read one though.

JMB said...

For a long time Order of the Phoenix was my favorite, although Azkaban was the book that really sucked me in.

But now I'd say Deathly Hallows. And the biggest reason is this: during the Long Wait to read it, I just knew Harry was going to use the Accio spell on somebody. Yeah, okay, in my head it was always Ginny... but hey. It was nice to see something of my own musings in there.

Anonymous said...

When I read the books when I was younger I didn't really have a preference, but now that I'm older and I can catch all those little things, Chamber of Secrets is by far my favorite, followed by Goblet of Fire.
I love Lockhart's character and all the allusions to subjects in the future books. It was one of the more creative books in the series.
I don't like the 5th one very much. Harry's too emotional in my opinion. Sure, he has to save the world- but the daily prophet's got the right idea. Harry thinks it's all about him. FOR GODS' SAKE CHILD LIFE SUCKS, LIVE WITH IT!

robinC said...

Prisoner of Azkaban. Love the whole backstory with the Maurauder's Map - I would read a prequel in a heartbeat! And I'm also a fan of Prof Lupin. I just thought the whole book was so clever. (that's an understatement I guess as they are all galaxies beyond clever)

Half Blood Prince is a close second. It felt like a breath of fresh air after the very angst ridden/heavy/brilliant Order of the Phoenix -but that's the book that made a huge shift in the series. Again...how do you choose just one?

Valerie Kemp said...

Order of the Phoenix is my favorite too! Mainly for the reasons you mentioned but also because there was a real shift not just in tone but in the actual writing. I read the first four all at once and OotP was the first I read the day it came out ANSI noticed immediately how different J. K.'s approach felt, how much more mature Harry felt, how much he seemed like a real fifteen year old and it really blew my mind.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

HP 5 was the first of the Harry Potter books I'd read, which meant I read them out of sequence. Instantly, however, I fell in love with hating Dolores Umbridge, which is why I agree with you on how she has turned out to be one of literature's greatest villains of all time.Dolores did everything a three dimensional villain should do and then some. HP5 stands out among my favorite HP's too.

Laura said...

I definitely have to agree with the masses that Prisoner of Azkaban is the best. It's the book that turned the story around from a middle grade book to a book that would entertain young adults and adults alike. We're getting darker. The trials and tribulations are taking on a momentous path.

This was the book where I really felt that Harry was in trouble.

Dawn Maria said...

Wow, I picked the same book as you Nathan! My reasons are a bit different though, specifically Fred and George Weasley. ORDER OF THE PHOENIX has the best Fred and George moments of the series. They are my favorite characters and whom we named our dog Weasley for.

Umbridge is great too, so delightfully awful my skin crawls.

Travis Stinnett said...

I have to say the entire Harry Potter series is absolutely amazing. I only wish that as an author myself I had a fraction of the creativity J.K. Rowling used in order to create the very detailed and exciting world that Harry lives in. Prisoner of Azkaban I would have to say is my favorite. Order of the phoenix was great and Umbridge is awesome as a villain you absolutely love to hate. I really like snapes character as well.

J.J. Bennett said...

You quit and now are an author full time? Where on earth have I been? (Having a baby, dealing with 3 other kids, trying to stay up on wash, dishes, and sleep I guess...sheesh!)Congrats Nathan! That's awesome!

Courtney Odell said...

Order of the Phoenix was my favorite until I got to the last 150 pages or so of Deathly Hallows. Then again, I am usually a bigger fan of the last of a series (Return of the Jedi, Last Crusade, Live Free or Die Hard, LOTR The Return of the King, Breaking Dawn). Maybe I like a courageous, noble, happy ending. A series without turmoil isn't much of a series, but that doesn't mean I'm any less uncomfortable watching the main character squirm their way out of misery. I think I liked Order of the Phoenix so much because Harry was more empowered for the first time in the series.

mbdcares said...

My favorite is Prisoner of Azkaban because it depicted Rowling's real life battle with depression (dementors). It is the single best description of how depression feels when you read how the dementors suck all the good thoughts from you and all you have is your good thoughts and your patronus to defend you.

However, the first book will always be a favorite because of how much concentration and time away from this world Ms. Rowling must have invested in order to divine a world so outside our normal way of thinking.... way before anyone decided to buy the manuscript.

Nikki said...

I have to say that the Goblet of Fire is my favorite, followed by Sorcerer's Stone. Order of the Phoenix was my least favorite as a "first read". And it's the reason I won't yet let my daughter read past "Goblet of Fire". She's only 8, and I felt comfortable with the first 4. But the latter 3 get way too dark for her to read yet!

Pierre Roustan said...

I would have to say that is a fair explanation as to why you think "Order of the Phoenix" was the best of the seven. And I do indeed agree with a lot of it.

My pick, though, was "Goblet of Fire" for several reasons. One, although "Phoenix" really showed Harry coming of age, "G of F" really pushed Harry toward that, probably harder than normal. Take the tournament, for instance: he was the youngest there and then forced into these deadly situations normally tasked for the 'older' wizards. Essentially, "G of F" stretched the envelope. Which I loved greatly. Also it's the pivotal point in the book where Harry truly sees Voldemort come to life. ONLY Harry sees it. And that's important. What follows is only natural. I myself would've picked "Phoenix", too, but even Rowling herself admitted to the book being too long, not to mention we can all concede that "Phoenix" started relatively slow. I honestly give "Chamber of Secrets a very close second place, with "Phoenix" a very, very, very close third. The rest all tie together behind my choice front runners by only a hair, because the truth is I loved all seven books dearly with a passion.

Theresa Milstein said...

7, 5, 1, 6.

Another impossible question. I chose 5 in the voting, but I was conflicted. The first created the world, so props for that. The fifth was great with the "good" government not being so good. (Didn't the wizarding world ever hear of the democracy?) When I realized where the sixth was going after the horcruxes, I realized Rowling's genius. And seven was a pretty satisfying ending. The end came together better than I could've hoped.

The Red Angel said...

HP #5 is definitely my second favorite. In fact, it's a really close call between HP #3 and #5, which is pretty ironic since Sirius is introduced in #3 and in #5, well, to quote you, we all know what happens (I won't say it for those who don't know).

But I chose Prisoner of Azkaban because of how happy Sirius makes Harry and the addition of such a strong character.

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Matthew Rush said...

Interesting. Isn't that also the longest? Or is Deathly Hallows longer?

Personally I thought Prisoner, Order and Hallows were all superior. There is certainly nothing wrong with the even years, but I do think the odd ones are a little darker, a little harsher, and certainly do delve deeper into the nature of people, of good and evil, and of magic (assuming literature can do that).

I love them all but there is no question to me that each one continues to improve on the last, with a minor plateau effect with 4 and 6.

I voted for seven but really should have voted for 3.

Victoria Dixon said...

I loved Order on my second read, (mostly because of the twins) but Prisoner has never failed to pull me emotionally until I'm breathless.

Slush said...

Definitely Order of the Phoenix. Harry was more involved in his magic in this book. He also became more of a leader in this one.

Ditto on everyone else's likes for OP.

Chassily Wakefield said...

I love them all, but Order of the Phoenix was my favorite until Deathly Hallows came out. Now they're tied. I love the darkness of OoTP, Harry's emotional journey and growth, starting the DA, everything. In DH, watching him take on his role as a leader and mature into a man was breathtaking. Sorcerer's Stone holds a special place, too, as the start of it all.

Unrepentant Escapist said...

Funny, I hated the fifth book. Harry was too angsty (which was realistic, but not so much fun to read) and I didn't believe that an orphan boy who grew up longing for family would ever forget he had a magic mirror he could use to communicate with his long lost uncle. A classic example of a character acting for the sake of the plot. Everything else about that book was good though. I liked Umbrage as a villain. I wish the editor had stepped in and given a better pretext for the forgotten mirror, though.

I hated Deathly Hollows, too. The entire plot hinged on the luck of saying "Voldemort" at exactly the right time. Those were my least two favorite books in the series. I'm curious to see why the movie is split in two, since the first half of Hollows involves them wandering around arguing the whole time. Again, realistic, but not much fun. I bet the movie will be good, though.

Becca C. said...

It's funny that everyone loves Prisoner of Azkaban. Almost all my friends and family members say it's their favourite one, as well. I don't know, it just doesn't do it for me... Voldemort's not in it, so it never felt like the stakes were all that high. Also, I don't like Sirius as much as everyone else seems to.

I really can't pick a favourite, although I do have a soft spot for Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.

A.C. Tidwell said...

Ugh...Not a lot of opinions I agree with. Deathly Hallows felt rushed...you can tell she was excited while writing...with a whole lot of waiting around. I vote for Goblet, as it has one of the best death scenes written in our generation. Why is it so good? It is the point in which this YA novel becomes all grown up. It breaks the spell of youthful naivety with a single, earth shattering Avada Kedavra. It is the first time I realized, "Wholly crap. These kids could die."

Jill Thomas said...

My favorite was THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. As I read, it was as if every fear, every relationship, every emotion that had been building in the series was laid open. All the hate, the despair, the hopelessness...all the loyalty, the sacrifice, the love...everything was exposed and we had to finally face every truth, the good and the bad. I have been an avid reader since I was six years old, but never had I been so emotionally drained after finishing a book.

Bryan D said...

The overwhelming support for #3 is very interesting. I wonder if it's because that movie was by far the best to date rather than anything attributable to the book.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Goblet of Fire is my choice. Prisoner of Azkaban would be second. And I absoultely loved the first 2 as well.

Order of Phoenix was a tough one for me. I hated Harry or rather he annoyed the crap out of me. If I had picked this one up as the first intro to the series, I don't think I would've read it. But I did read it. And I liked it overall.

Book 6? This one struck me more as a bridge than a complete story in and of itself. I did think it could make a wonderful movie though. And I also think they missed the mark in that respect. But that's not about the book.

7, ah 7, lost me almost completely. Way too much backstory that went on for pages. Pages! Yes it was interesting stuff, but my god it slowed everything down to a crawl. And then to hit the end and find I didn't care about the humans who died? Tragic. And I was completely pissed about the two non-humans who died and how the one died in particular. So that part worked.

I'm still in awe of her ability to ride this behemoth to the end. And yes, she continually improved, though I didn't notice the adverbs until someone pointed them out. Then all I could see were the ly words. I was better off without that knowledge.

SRR said...

At first I thought I couldn't choose.

Then I decided it had to be The Deathly Hallows. I was so worried that JK Rowling would not be able to find a conclusion that did justice to the rest of the series. It was amazing that she was able to finish with such a strong, entertaining, and satisfying conclusion.

Bree D said...

Goblet of Fire for the same reasons Elizabeth West already detailed.

Dolores Umbridge was so terrifying to me I could barely read the book. Yes, I am a compete wuss.

:)Ash said...

Prisoner of Azkaban. It's the most FUN.

After that, it's a toss up between OotP and HBP.

Claire Dawn said...

Same as Nathan! Yay!

I thought this book was amazing because of the evil that is Dolores Umbridge, the awesome heart-wrenchingness that is Sirius, the history of the Black family, Tonks,... there's no end to the amazing.

Sharon said...

How can I possibly choose just one favorite? Each book had it's own drama and laughs. I loved the first one with it's innocence and Harry being rescued from the Dursleys, but equally loved each new book with its new clallenges and getting to know the characters better. I thought perhaps the later books were a bit too dark but had to remember that the audience was aging as well as Harry. Of course, I was happy when Voltemort was defeated.
Loved all the movies except Order of the Phoenix. The longest book had the shortest movie. Too much valuable information was omitted.

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