Harry Potter is the most successful book series in the world, generating hundreds of millions in revenue without even considering the larger media franchise. For some, reading the Harry Potter series might be a case of accessibility or even a simple list of what to read. But if you’re looking for an entertaining read and an escape into a world split between wizardkind and their unaware human neighbors, we’ve got you covered, especially if you’re getting ready for a certain big game releasing on Friday.
How to Read the Harry Potter Series in Order: A Timeline
The read list for Harry Potter is pretty straightforward, with its cover art even featuring the numerical order by years (year 1, year 2, etc.) but for folks seeking clarity, the order is listed below:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone / Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
You will notice that this reading order is virtually identical to how one might watch the Harry Potter films, aside from Deathly Hallows simply being one book. They’re fairly light reading (cue Ron Weasley’s disbelief) and are certainly more approachable and tame than Tom Riddle’s diary.
In addition to these seven books, there’s an original story by the author that takes place 19 years after Deathly Hallows, called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It’s derived from a script for the original staged performance, a 2-part play collectively consisting of 4 acts where Harry and his classmates have grown up, and their offspring have adventures including journeying through time.
While it’s seen as a bit of an act of fanservice or fan fiction, it’s potentially worth a read, especially if you are curious about where the story goes from there.
Beyond the novels of the main series, there’s a rather rich reading list of spin-offs, prequels, and lore you can read, listed below:
- Harry Potter Prequel
- Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide
- Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists
- Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Quidditch Through the Ages
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard
While you can reasonably enjoy these stories in no particular order, examples like Prequel before Philosopher’s Stone or The Tales of Beedle the Bard before Deathly Hallows are reasonable approaches. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is essentially a textbook, but it inspired the successful Harry Potter spin-off series of the same name. But if you’re concerned about how you may get these, consider reading further.
Where You Can Read Harry Potter Books: Accessibility and Media
Harry Potter is a novel series, and books aren’t always accessible to every reader for any number of reasons. You will have no trouble finding Harry Potter books through local retailers or online, and libraries are a reliable, cost-cutting alternative but other matters must be considered. Beyond simple matters of getting the right translation, there are concerns of print vs. digital or even alternative reading for those with accessibility concerns, or you could even simply prefer audiobooks. Audible.com is a wonderful resource for many folks, and many retailers, both online such as Amazon, or offline such as Barnes & Noble, are ways you can fully enjoy the series.
Additionally, for those who still prefer the text, they might find one additional option: braille. While braille and copyright law have had a tumultuous relationship in the past, organizations like the National Braille Press operate on a not-for-profit basis to print popular books so that K-12 children have easy access. Naturally, you should always verify that whoever prints these books in braille is authorized to do so, but accessibility is vital when appealing to a pool of prospective fans as massive as Harry Potter’s. You don’t have to see Hogwarts to make it exist for yourself, so having this format can be a great help for blind readers.
- This article was updated on February 9th, 2023