Wands up, wizards! It’s time we did a looksee of what’s best and what works in the movie versions of our beloved boy wizard’s stories created by author J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter.
As soon as the very first young adult book featuring Harry and his Hogwarts friends popped out of the global pop culture scene back in the late ‘90s, the world never looked back. Soon, Pottermania took over the world. Kids, teens and adults alike were able to relate to this magical world that the books built. And of course, when a book this huge and this epic comes out, you can bet that a movie version of it would immediately pop out after. Hence, here we are.
In counting down Harry Potter movies in order, we’ll take a look at some of the elements that worked in the film series. From the technical side to the artistic side, from the character developments to the overall story development, we’ll see which of the films and their elements peaked interests and curiosities.
To recap, we’ll be considering all eight films in the series, namely:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001): The first time Harry discovers his true wizard heritage, sees the wizarding world, and makes friends along the way – as well as a brewing enemy in hiding
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002): The one where the Hogwarts School is beset by mysterious things, and Harry and friends discover more than what they bargained for
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004): This is where Harry learns deeper about his parents and their friends’ realities, and meeting some of them, fortunately or unfortunately speaking
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005): The Triwizard Tournament is hosted by Hogwarts, and they all meet and compete with other wizarding schools in existence, but without the proper dangers attached to it, courtesy of Voldemort’s cohorts
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007): As Harry and friends got older, they learn of the existence of a secret organization getting ready to fight Lord Voldemort’s return, and how the teens play a part in the organization as well later on
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009): Harry and friends mature more, and so do their romantic inclinations as teens, which manifest in between discovering unholy alliances within the wizarding world and the returning Lord Voldemort
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010): The last book split into two, with this first film focusing on how Lord Voldemort has rallied his minions back successfully, and tries to take over Hogwarts which is in total lockdown mode against all dark forces
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011): Many truths are revealed here, horcruxes are destroyed, and the good wizards of Hogwarts battle it out with Lord Voldemort and his Death Eater minions to the end
Now that your memory has been jogged by these brief summaries, are you ready to take a peek into our countdown of Harry Potter movies in order of things? Alohomora!
Harry Potter movies in order of most likable hero
It’s no mystery that the Harry Potter story structure follows that of a hero’s journey tale. From being an unknown underdog to developing his skills, it’s actually predictable that Harry will soon claim his rightful position as hero of his own journey.
So what we’re looking at here are the other heroes in this Harry Potter universe that deserved to be called heroes but were never that obvious, or it was quite unsuspecting. For the listing of characters in the Harry Potter movies in order of “most likable hero,” our candidates are:
1 – Hermione Granger
Hermione is obviously the brain behind many things in their trio of friends. Sure, Ron might have some brawn and occasional wit, and Harry might have all the courage to blindly jump whenever wherever. But it’s always Hermione who kept these two boys in check. She deserves to be a hero! And for us, she is.
2 – Neville Longbottom
Neville was obviously designed to be an underdog side character when he was smaller. Imagine having your parents go loco and living with your grandma ever since. But revealing his back story of why his parents turned out that way (Voldemort-related fault, of course), it’s nice to see how Neville slowly ascends the hero’s ladder in the series. From helping Harry eat the right kind of seaweed during the Triwizard tournament to handling The Sword of Gryffindor to kill Nigini the snake, Neville is no longer at the bottom of the hero’s ladder!
3 – Dobby the House Elf
One unlikely hero in this series is Dobby the House Elf. Treated as a slave by the Malfoys in their house, Harry tricked the elder Lucius which freed the enslaved elf. During this freedom time, he was able to help Harry and his friends in a crucial moment: when he helped free them as they were trapped by Bellatrix Lestrange. That’s why we all cried when Bellatrix was able to catch Dobby with a knife she threw, which unfortunately hit the elf as they were apparating away. Cried buckets, I tell ya! Buckets! Long live Dobby the House Elf.
Harry Potter movies in order of best villain we love to hate
The Potterverse is full of different types of characters. That includes super villains we really love to hate – because they’re deliciously evil. We eliminated the obvious ones in this listing of villains in Harry Potter movies in order, and pointed out those that irked us in different ways. They are:
1 – Bellatrix Lestrange
The most loyal Voldemort Death Eater, Bellatrix is no stranger to crazy. She looks it, and she acts it, too! And she doesn’t even regret it. Rather, she relishes on doing evil to people. Remember how she was punishing poor Hermione that one time? Or how she was devilishly grinning as she threw that fateful knife at Dobby? Her villain moments are all priceless! She’s the villain you want to kill, then resurrect again, so that she can be killed again! She’s that bad, in a good way!
2 – Dolores Umbridge
Dolores Umbridge might be the personification of everyone’s most hated teacher in school. Imagine punishing Harry by etching writings on his skin! Or having all those decrees of don’ts ruling Hogwarts when she took over. This is one hateful wizard we’d love to Avada Kedavra!
3 – Gilderoy Lockhart
Granted that the buffoon-ish Gilderoy Lockhart is not entirely a villain, but his ineptness and ego rub us all the wrong way, all the way! Imagine claiming to be a great wizard who defeated many kinds of monsters, but cowers at the sight of the basilisk. Plus he intended to ditch Harry, Ron and Ginny and claim that he killed the basilisk while the three kids died fighting it. In this day and age, that’s the most vicious villain of all – the credit grabber.
Harry Potter movies in order of most shocking story revelation
No great story arc is complete without branching onto a few interesting revelations here and there. And Harry Potter has a lot of them that it’s hard to pin them down for a simple list of Harry Potter movies in order of the most shocking revelation of all. But we tried, and our picks are:
1 – Harry is a horcrux
It took Hermione to mention this out in the open, since Harry might not really want to accept this reality. But alas, he is indeed one of the horcruxes accidentally formed by Voldemort himself. So that’s why they have this strange psychic connection from time to time. Good thing the horcrux was blasted out of him later on, and he decided to come back to life and fight on!
2 – Snape is the good guy, all this time
This is where J.K. Rowling strikes the genius bell for us. Designing a character that obviously irritates everyone, then deepening his real involvement to reveal his exact opposite nature, is probably one of the best Harry Potter reveals of all time. His undying love for Harry’s mom, Lily, carried over for the Boy Who Lived, even though he had a funny way of showing it! But of course, as always, trust Snape!
3 – Harry’s dad is a school bully
When we learned more about Snape’s past and how he grew up as a wizard, we learned that he was bullied a lot in school, much like how Harry was being bullied by muggle cousin Dudley Dursley. So that’s like one returning round of karmic retribution, after all, since it turns out that Harry’s dad, James, bullied Severus a lot when they were younger. Plus, it was Snape who became Lily’s friend first, but he never had the courage to tell her what he really feels for her. But he loved her nonetheless, until the day he died. Awwwww. So yeah, boo you, James Potter!
Harry Potter movies in order of most imaginative film adaptation
Film adaptations of novels are always tricky. Fans would want one thing, the author would want another, but the filmmakers might have other ideas. That’s why trust is needed here, the creative kind at least, to make the novels magically transform into movies, and let the movies stand out on their own.
Thus, for our final listing of Harry Potter movies in order of the most imaginative film adaptation, our picks are:
1 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The third Potter novel might have felt like a good and obvious transition of maturity for the characters and their stories, but the film also held its own in that department. It was director Alfonso Cuaron’s special artistic vision that distinctly differentiates this third film from the rest of the collection. Here, he lets the visuals breathe, letting the major important scenes flow seamlessly, without making you feel that they forgot to include this or that detail from the book. While the first two films were accurate cinematic copies of the books, this is the first time that Harry Potter came to be as a film. From the cinematography to the camera movements to the way the actors were handled, this is the best Potter film of them all.
2 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2
The final book of the series contains many moments that will permanently conclude the story series for all of us. That’s what the film versions also gave us, albeit with a few minor changes to fit the movie world, of course. And director David Yates also created these final films with great command, to have us all satisfied that Harry’s hero’s journey will finally come to an end.
3 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing how the film world would reinterpret your favorite world from books. That’s why this very first film version of a Harry Potter novel earns a spot in our countdown. We’re including it here for the sheer feeling of excitement that it was the first time we saw Harry and Hogwarts in the flesh, in 3D, live in action. And that’s that.
So, what do you think about our countdown of these Harry Potter movies in order of various criteria? Share this one if you liked it, and let it fly! Wingardium Leviosa!