Since many years back I have been an avid Harry Potter fan and listened/read the books from the Harry Potter series over and over again. However, about a month ago I was asking myself, which book is actually the best one, and why?
I tried to make up my mind regarding which book I would select but found it really hard to make a decision. Therefore, I came up with the idea of developing a survey in order to actually find out which book the majority of fans think is the best one.
So, I spent the last month collecting over 1700 survey answers, which then have been analyzed and coded into major themes. Keep on reading to find out if your favorite Harry Potter book is in the top spot and how people have reasoned while selecting their favorite.
Above, you can see an infographic I created to visualize the results. I would be so thankful if you would be willing to share this image! Just hover over it and Pin, Tweet, or share it on Facebook.
1. Prisoner of Azkaban
With an astonishing 543 votes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a clear favorite among Harry Potter fans and the winner of the competition!
Common themes among why fans selected just this book as their favorite includes:
- Harry reuniting with some of his family, namely Sirius Black.
- We learn more about Harry’s past, including his parents Lily and James Potter.
- Introduction of Remus Lupin
- Most random answer: “Because Hermoine hit Malfoy in the face 😀 “
These are all solid arguments why the Prisoner of Azkaban should be considered the best. I personally also really enjoyed to get acquainted with characters like Sirius and Remus, and in addition get a deeper understanding of Harry’s parents.
Moreover, the fact that Hermoine hit Malfoy right in the face is another great (but unique) argument for selecting this book as ones favorite.
Exceeding the reasons mentioned above, fans also enjoy that it is a very action-packed book, that keeps you entertained over and over again.
2. Goblet Of Fire
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire came in as a convincing number 2 with 327 votes. As one of my personal favorites, I am not too disappointed with it ending up in second place. Here are some of the reasons behind votes mentioned by fans:
- The turning point of the series, where “things get real” and Harry’s first encounter with Voldemort.
- The Tri-wizard championship, and getting introduced to new wizarding schools and creatures.
- Other characters than Harry get more spotlight and are developed throughout the book.
Indeed, Goblet of Fire has so much to offer. A majority of the voters also highlighted that they really enjoyed the introduction of all the magical creatures, such as the dragons and mermaids Harry was out up against during the tri-wizard championship.
Moreover, a lot of fans expressed disappointment with the movie, which did not capture the greatness of the book. What do you think?
3. Half-blood Prince
In the third place, we can find Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince which is a favorite to many readers due to the deeper understanding of Professor Snape, and Harry’s developing relation to Ginny.
As one of the top 3 books in this ranking, here are a few of the arguments:
- The development of Harry’s attraction to Ginny, Ron’s younger sister.
- Half-blood prince was the book that answered questions about many characters, but at the same time raised new ones and brings breadth to the series.
- The story of Professor Slughorn and the events that follow.
A bar chart over the 1763 votes collected in the survey. I’d say that the most surprising result is that so few voted for Philosopher’s stone / Sorcerer’s stone, as this is where it all began.
If you are unfamiliar with the abbreviations above – here is the list:
- PS or SS: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (British version) or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (American version)- 1st book
- COS: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- 2nd book
- POA: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- 3rd book
- GOF: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- 4th book
- OOTP, OTP, OP: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- 5th book
- HBP: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince- 6th book
- DH: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- 7th book
4. Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the 5th book in the series and ended up at fourth place in the rankings.
This book is also a very interesting piece. As one voter put it:
The Order of the Phoenix is Harry at his best. He survives Umbridge. He proves his leadership ability. He handles the mistrust and scorn that the Ministry heaps on him. He learns he can make it in the absence of Hagrid and the seeming withdrawal of Dumbledore. In many ways, this is the book where Harry becomes a man.
Other arguments for this book include:
- The introduction of Luna, a character many fell in love with
- The war against Umbridge, and the hate many felt for her
- Development of Dumbledore’s army
- Harry finds himself and fights the Voldemort part of his mind.
5. Deathly Hallows
The very last book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, entails the culmination of Harry’s many-year-long struggle against the dark powers.
With 145 votes, this book received the 5th place among all the books.
If I was ranking the books myself, I would probably have put this book further up, due to the epic battle that takes place at Hogwarts. Fans had these arguments for selecting this book:
- It provided an explanation regarding many of the happenings in previous books. It made many unexpected actions by main characters more clear and understood.
- The epic fight in the end, where all people of Hogwarts collaborate together to defeat Voldemort, the death eaters, and the dark forces.
- The final revelation of Snape’s true intentions, and that he was just helping all along.
- Learning more about Albus Dumbledore and his family.
Another presentation of the result, here in percentages. It becomes pretty obvious that the favorite is Prisoner of Azkaban, with over 10% margin to the second best book, Goblet of Fire. Feel free to share it 🙂
6. Philosopher’s Stone
Of course, ranking the books is a very hard task as they are all great reads, and some of them simply have to end up further down.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone stay dear to me, as it is the very first book that got you so addicted to Harry Potter. Fans who love this book had these arguments:
- It’s where it all began. Their first acquaintance with the magic world was a special moment for them.
- Thier first real reading experience, where they understood the wonderful thing about books and reading.
7. Chamber of Secrets
The book that received the least votes, only 91, was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I cannot find any particular explanation for this, but I would also argue that it does not entail the same excitement that some of the other books provide. Below are some of the arguments by fans:
- Harry understands that he can speak Parseltongue, and therefore makes everyone freak out at Hogwarts.
- Lots of time spent in Hogwarts, insights into the past, and character development.
This is it! After collecting over 1700 answers, reviewing them, and code the answers to major arguments for their choices, we found the best harry potter book.
Given the sample size, I hope this result is somewhat accurately predicting which book that is the best one.
However, as the last word, I think we all have a personal opinion on which book that is our favorite, but we all can agree on that the series is nothing but magically brilliant.
Do you agree with the ranking of the books? Or did your favorite end up last? Comment below 🙂