My wife challenged me to a post today that ended up being a lot more challenging (and enjoyable), than I thought it would be.
I think you should write a post ranking all of J.K. Rowling’s books.
No. Everything she writes is perfect and wonderful. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
I did it anyway.
I should start by saying that J.K. Rowling is my absolute favorite author for a multitude of reasons. Personally, I admire the hell of out her. She’s insanely creative, humble, generous, intelligent, witty, and open-minded. I love how often she makes headlines just because of her kind (and often hilarious) words. She stands up for others, and for what’s right. She’s also mind bogglingly talented.
I’ve added the list here without detail for anyone who hasn’t read and doesn’t want to risk spoilers.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- The Casual Vacancy
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- 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 Chamber of Secrets
- Career of Evil
- A Cuckoo’s Calling
- The Silkworm
Fair warning, there are spoilers ahead. Continue at your own risk.
11. The Silkworm
I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when I found out that J.K Rowling (that sneaky minx) had been writing under a pseudonym. I tried desperately to find a copy of her book at every book store in the area (this was before I started buying everything I own on Amazon) only to find that it was completely sold out. Everywhere. I did eventually get my hands on a copy, and became an instant fan.
This is the second installment in her Cormoran Strike series, and my least favorite of all of her work. While I really enjoy reading about the adventures of Strike and Robin, the subject matter of this one was just too dark for me. At times, it was so graphic and gruesome that it made me feel nauseous. Don’t get me wrong, this book is still awesome, but definitely one I wouldn’t be able to read again and again.
10. A Cuckoo’s Calling
This is the first installment in the Cormoran Strike series. I find that I tend to enjoy a series more as it goes on because of character development. Rowling is a master of creating memorable, relatable characters, and Cormoran is one of my absolute favorites. I had a lot of fun reading this one, and getting to know him and his assistant Robin. It was full of plot twists and I was not able to predict the outcome, which is always a fun personal challenge.
9. Career of Evil
The third and most recent installment is by far my favorite. This one was really dark as well, and at times hard to read, but not because it was overly violent. In several instances throughout the course of this story, we see through the eyes of the killer. He’s incredibly angry and cruel and he absolutely hates women. Reading the thoughts he has about his victims was really scary because there are actually men out there who think and feel this way.
While that was not fun to think about, I enjoyed this one the most because of the relationship between Robin and Strike. I’m totally on team Strike, and I want Matthew to hit the road. This one ends on a major cliffhanger in that regard and I cannot wait to read the next one! Also, despite giving it my best detectiving (that’s totally a word) I could not guess who the killer was.
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Despite being my least favorite out of the HP series, I still love book two more than all of the Strike books combined. In all fairness, the Harry Potter series is on my top 5 favorite books of all times list.
I had an easy time putting this one at the bottom of the list for a number of reasons. I absolutely loved the scene with the flying car and getting to experience the Burrow for the first time. But in book two, Doby is at his most annoying, we have to deal with Moaning Myrtle, and we’re forced to endure Lockhart. Vom.
7. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
There are a lot of reasons why I love this book. The scenes with the Pensieve were so incredible to read, and I loved learning so much of the character’s history. Harry and Ginny finally get together. I’m a total sucker for some romance and their scenes together were so sweet and so perfectly written.
This book was also one of the hardest ones for me to read. The last few pages left me in tears, and when I closed the book I was truly depressed. Things were never going to be the same again, and I felt (despite everything else that had already gone down) a loss of innocence and feeling of safety after Dumbledore’s death. It was raw and awful, and having to wait for the next one to come out was really hard. I contemplated not finishing the series, I was so upset.
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This book brings us Dumbledore’s Army and I effing love it. When faced with the cruel and absolute tyranny that is Umbridge, the kids stand up and take things into their own hands. Umbridge is without a doubt the most infuriating character I have ever read, and I was positively gleeful to see her get hers.
It is in this book that we finally learn all of the details about Neville’s past and meet his parents. When you consider everything he has gone through, and what has been taken from him by the dark wizards, it makes his triumph and bravery even more incredible.
This is also the book where we lose Sirius. I get it, and I totally understand why Rowling did it, but it still sucks. I wish there had been a way to get him out of the picture and force Harry to go it alone without having to kill him off.
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The beginning of this book was incredible! I loved reading about the Quidditch World Cup. All of the detail she put in to building this world, the tents, the mascots, the team merchandise. I remember thinking that I could not wait to see how it was all portrayed in the movie.
It’s because of the Triwizard Tournament that we get to meet the other wizarding schools -Durmstrang & Beauxbatons! Viktor Krum’s crush on Hermione is one of my favorite details in all of the books. It was hilarious to read their interactions through Ron’s jealous and downright flabbergasted reactions.
I also really enjoyed finding out how Rita Skeeter gets her information. She’s such an annoying character and it was true justice when Hermione was able to trap her in that jar.
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I was a pretty late HP convert. My grandmother bought my sister a copy of the first one when it initially came out, and I remember thinking that it sounded really dumb. Not until I was extremely ill with dry socket after the removal of my wisdom teeth, did a friend convince me to watch the first movie. I watched it every day on repeat for as long as I can remember after that. Thanks, Taylor!
Because of the late start, it was not until my freshman year of college that I found myself reading book three for the first time. I remember being totally sucked in and locking myself in my dorm room on Friday night and staying up all night to finish it. I finished it and thought, woah, shit just got real. This was the end of a fun children’s story, and the beginning of the greatest most epic story ever written.
It’s in this book that we are introduced to Sirius and the Marauder’s Map. But my favorite part is the Night Bus! It was such a neat concept, and one of my favorite parts of the HP universe.
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
This book sat on the bottom self of the server in our kitchen for YEARS before I finally picked it up and read it. For someone who has always loved books as much as I have, I still can’t believe I was such a brat about it. I have read a lot of rankings of the series, and almost no one puts this as their number two. And I can totally understand why. This first book is just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the overall story, and is very much a children’s book.
But this is the book where it all begins. It’s absolutely hilarious. Meeting the Dursley’s is funny from the very first line. Harry learns he’s a wizard, he gets his letter to Hogwarts with his list of school supplies. Side Note: School supply shopping is my favorite thing in the world after reading. So shopping for school supplies for WIZARD SCHOOL in Diagon Alley was nerd heaven for me and my brain exploded.
We see the Hogwart’s Express for the first time. We meet Hagrid, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore. We meet the Sorting Hat! We see the castle from the eyes of those first years, and feel the same awe because she writes it so palpably. I can remember relishing in every detail of the Great Hall, the dormitory, the common room. I wanted to go there so badly.
The Christmas holiday where Ron and Harry stay at the school is one of my favorite parts of the book. The castle is so beautifully decorated, the teachers get drunk, Harry gets presents for the first time in his life. I just loved every second of it.
2. The Casual Vacany
I had a really hard time deciding where to put this one. On the one hand, this is truly and without a doubt the MOST depressing book I have ever read. Ever. It made me so sad, that for a while after I wished I hadn’t read it. I had just had my daughter, and I read this one in the early mornings with her asleep on my shoulder. I was hormonal and raw. Probably not the best time to read this one, but how on Earth was I supposed to know?!
Despite all of this, I have to give credit where credit is due. Rowling takes one incident and turns it into an entire novel. Whenever I think of this book, I think of the ripples in the water that get bigger and wider when you throw a pebble in the lake. I felt like I lived in this town, with these people as my friends, enemies and neighbors. I’ve always said that Rowling’s strongest skill is her ability to create characters, and these are the at the top. They are real, gritty, struggling, honest, and heartbreaking.
AND THE WINNER IS…..
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The second I read the last page of this book, I turned it over, and started again from page one. I read through it so quickly the first time, desperate to know what was going to happen, and the second time around I savored every page. I loved loved loved this final installment in the HP series. There are so many sad parts, and a lot of my favorite characters are lost, but ultimately they overcome. Harry, Ron, and Hermione stand together at the end victorious.
I wasn’t sure how Rowling was going to end this series. Was Harry going to die?Wasn’t he? I speculated and talked about it with everyone I knew who would listen. I remember thinking immediately after I read it that she wrote it exactly as if she had asked me for my opinion. It is truly perfect.
Phew, that took a long time. I’d love to hear what you guys think. Would you rate them the same? Where do we disagree?