The Harry Potter Series - Books, Films and More, Part 1
The Hogwart's Crest
I never wanted to be a Harry Potter fan. When the first three movies came out, I was not the least bit interested in seeing them. I didn't want to read the books. I thought they were for kids, not mature (relatively speaking) adults. I couldn't have been more wrong. Thankfully, a girlfriend at the time convinced me to watch one of the movies with her. While it wasn't love at first sight, I was curious and wanted more. Finally, i watched the first four movies, then realized that I needed to read the books. Once I started reading the books, I was hooked. I remember waiting with baited breath for the 7th book to finally be released. We had pre-ordered two just so we could read them at the same time. Now, my wife and I love having Harry Potter weekends, where we watch all of the movies back to back, and I've gradually made my way through all of the books multiple times. I just received the complete book set for Christmas, and am almost done - I would have been done sooner, but with school and work, reading has become a bit of a luxury. The series is complete and meaningful to me, and I'm always sad when I'm done reading the books or watching the movies - like I've lost a few good friends. This hub is an overview of the entire series, including books and movies, as well as an overview of Harry Potter world at Universal Studios, Orlando.
Key Points, Year 1
New Characters: All, it's a brand new series. Most notably, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley, Albus Dumbledore, Hagrid, Severus Snape, Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy.
Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher: Professor Quirinus Quirrell
Book and Film 1: The Sorcerer's Stone
The first book of the series is everything that a first book in a series is supposed to be. It begins on Privet Drive in England, where Harry Potter is completely unaware that he is anything more than just an average, everyday boy. Needless to say, his illusion is about to be shattered in an astounding way.
As it turns out, Harry Potter is a wizard. Not only is he a wizard, but he is a famous wizard, and a common household name in the wizarding world. Why? Because he, for some reason unknown to him, defeated He Who Must Not Be Named when he was just a baby, and his parents died defending him against one of the biggest Dark Wizards known in the wizarding world.
He was raised in the home of his aunt and uncle - Muggles, in the strictest sense of the world. Muggles are non-magical people. His relatives hate anything to do with magic, and his Aunt Petunia is ashamed that her sister was a witch. Harry is raised alongside his cousin Dudley, and is treated horribly in his aunt and uncles house. In fact, as the book opens, Harry's bedroom is a cupboard under the stairs.
Harry has never really been a normal boy, though. Strange things keep happening to him. Fortunately, this explained once he is accepted into Hogwart's school of witchcraft and wizardry. This first book follows Harry's journey to Hogwarts, despite his family's reluctance to let him go. He has a store of gold in the wizarding bank, left him by his deceased parents. He makes new friends at school, and ultimately protects the Sorcerer's Stone from falling into the clutches of Lord Voldemort with the help of his friends. He becomes the Seeker for his house (Gryffindor, where the sorting hat placed him) and a school hero.
Trailer for The Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone
Watch the Film or Buy the Book!
Key Points, Year 2
Ginny Weasley, Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, Molly and Arthur Weasley, Dobby, Lucius Malfoy
Defense Against Dark Arts Teacher: Gilderoy Lockhart
Book and Film 2: The Chamber of Secrets
For reasons still unknown to Harry, he is required to go back to his muggle Aunt and Uncle's house each summer while on break from school. While at their house, isolated from his new friends, he is shocked to find a house-elf named Dobby in his bedroom. Dobby warns Harry that he cannot return to Hogwarts, and that terrible danger will befall him if he returns. To try to prevent Harry from returning to school, Dobby performs magic in Harry's family home, which almost gets him expelled. Nevertheless, Harry is determined to return to Hogwarts, as it is the only place that it has felt like home to him in his young life.
Locked in his room by his angry uncle, Harry is rescued by Ron, Fred and George Weasley, and taken to the Burrough - the Weasley family home. They all journey together to Hogwarts - only Ron and Harry find returning harder than they thought. The barrier to platform 9 and 3/4 refuses to allow them in, and they fly the Weasley family car to Hogwart's instead.
Unfortunately, Dobby's prediction is proven true, as several students are attacked by a mysterious creature called forward from the chamber of secrets, guided and controlled by an even more mysterious heir of Slytherin.
As the danger continues to develop, Harry and his friends learn that, although vain, Professor Lockhart is practically useless in discovering or stopping the culprit. Ultimately, as Ron's youngest sibling Ginny is kidnapped and taken to the chamber, Ron and Harry (as Hermione has been petrified as one of the monster's victims) are forced to act on their own. Ron and a memory-altered Lockhart are trapped behind a stone barrier, and Harry is forced to continue on his own. He discovers the secret behind the chamber of secrets and battles with the heir's monster to save Ginny. As a result of the epic battle against the monster and the heir, Harry is also able to free Dobby the house-elf from his abusive masters - the Malfoys - and those who have been petrified are restored.
Chamber of Secrets Trailer
Key Points, Year 3
Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Buckbeak, Peter Pettigrew, Professor Trelawney
Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher: Remus Lupin
Book and Film 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban
The third book of the series starts with trouble, as the Dursley's Aunt Marge comes to stay at Harry's aunt and uncle's house - and starts trouble. Harry is forced to lie about where he goes to school, on the condition that his Uncle will sign his permission form to visit the village of Hogsmead if he "behaves appropriately". Aunt Marge, however, seems determined to ruin Harry's life by insulting his parents. As a result, Harry unintentionally inflates her, requiring intervention from the wizarding community. In a fury, Harry leaves his aunt and uncle's home, catches the Knight Bus to London. Convinced that he is going to be expelled for performing magic outside of school, Harry is surprised when the Minister of Magic shows up - not to expel him, but to warn him about keeping safe this year at school. A convicted mass-murderer, Sirius Black, is on the loose after escaping from the wizarding prison Azkaban.
Dementors stop the Hogwarts express, and Harry passes out from the encounter. He is given chocolate by someone who turns out to be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin. Lupin, as it turns out, carries a few secrets with him. The Defense lessons in the third year are fun and engaging, and all students learn a lot of neat tricks. Harry has private lessons with Professor Lupin to ward off dementors - a trick that comes in handy by the end of the book. Professor Lupin teaches Harry to conjure a Patronus charm - the only thing that repels a dementor attack.
Hermione seems more overloaded with classes than ever before, and mysteriously seems to turn up in places where she wasn't before. They all begin taking Divination classes with Professor Trelawney - who predicts Harry's eminent death. Harry, frustrated that his permission slip remained unsigned, is given the Marauder's map by Fred and George - a magical map that not only shows the school, but the location of all the people inside of it, along with several secret passages that allow Harry to leave the school undetected.
Hagrid took over the Care of Magical creatures class, but his first class turns disastrous as the hippogriff Buckbeak attacks Draco Malfoy for insulting it. Harry successfully charms the hippogriff, and is given a ride on its back as a reward. The consequences for Buckbeak are severe, however, for attacking a student - and the trial results in a conviction - and a death sentence.
Harry, Ron and Hermione all try to help Hagrid save Buckbeak - to no avail, and they end up being unwilling witnesses to Buckbeak's supposed execution. Ron's rat, Scabbers, has been acting strangely ever since the Weasley family's trip to Egypt with some monetary winnings, and the fact that Hermione's cat Crookshanks is around doesn't seem to help. Ron accuses Hermione's cat of killing Scabbers when the rat disappears, and Ron and Hermione don't speak for a portion of the book, which makes life more difficult for Harry at school.
Harry gradually learns that Sirius Black was convicted of murder because he betrayed Harry's parents - and that Sirius is actually Harry's godfather. In the finale of the book, Ron is dragged a way by a great big dog, and Hermione and Harry chase after him. After defeating the whomping willow, they discover that the dog is none other than Sirius Black - an old friend of Professor Lupin, who happens to be a werewolf. Professor Snape intervenes, only to be stunned simultaneously by all three students.
The climax commences with Hermione's possession of a time-turner - a device that allows her to go back in time, much to her danger. She and Harry are able to rectify the situation, Harry produces a patronus that saves both him and Sirius from a terrible fate, and Harry's godfather escapes grandly, riding on the back of a convicted Hippogriff.
Prisoner of Azkaban Trailer
See the Series Come to Life
Harry Potter at Universal Studios
Although I have only been to the wizarding world of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Orlando once, it was a great experience for me and my wife. The books captured my interest, the movies brought those books to life, but seeing it all in three-dimensional reality that I could interact with was taking the series to a whole new level. We walked past the Hogwarts Express, wandered around Diagon Alley, were able to see Olivander's wand shop, saw Hogwart's castle, perched high up on a hill, experienced what it was like to ride a hippogriff, taste butterbeer, and see all the wonderful things I loved about Harry Potter come to life.
It didn't include everything, of course. Everything would take up an entire theme park. There were things from the books that I wish were included, like the burrough or the Weasley's joke shop. But what was there was brilliant, and it made the entire series seem to come alive. The rides were incredible, and although the lines were long (we were there not long after it opened), they were worth it. Especially since one of them took us on a tour of Hogwarts itself - moving, talking portraits and all. Walking around felt like walking around inside of the novels that I enjoyed reading so much, and it's definitely an experience that we want to repeat, when possible.
Read the Books that Started it All
Read Part Two of the Overview Here
- The Harry Potter Series - Books, Films and More, Part 2
Curious about the Harry Potter series? Are you a hopeless muggle? Here's everything you need to know. (Spoilers Possible)