Overview of first six Harry Potter books
Craig — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1997)
• Eleven-year-old Harry Potter lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. They don’t like Harry and treat him badly. Harry’s parents are dead, and he does not know them.
• Harry finds out he is a wizard and goes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he becomes friends with Ron Weasely and Hermoine Granger.
• Harry discovers that the evil and powerful Lord Voldemort killed his parents and tried to kill him when he was a baby. Voldemort’s attack on Harry failed, leaving a scar on Harry’s forehead, and Voldemort’s spiritual body is severed from his physical self.
• Voldemort wants the Sorcerer’s Stone, said to give its holder eternal life, so he can gain the strength to kill Harry and become powerful again. The stone is somewhere in Hogwarts.
• Harry confronts Voldemort in the depths of Hogwarts after surviving a series of magical tasks and obstacles and gets the stone before Voldemort.
• Severus Snape is introduced in this book, and plays a prominent role throughout the series as Harry’s tormentor, but as well as a man how saves Harry’s life on several occasions. Harry and his friends often believe Snape is working for Voldemort, but Albus Dumbledore, school master at Hogwarts and one of the most powerful wizards, believes in Snape, and shows allegiance to him throughout the the series.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999)
• Before school, Dobby, a house elf, visits Harry and tells him he shouldn’t go back to school because there is a plot to kill him (You later find out that Dobby is the elf for the Malfoy family, who are Harry’s enemies). Harry goes to school anyway.
• Harry finds out he can talk to snakes, a skill only magicians who practice the dark arts can have. Rumors circulate about Harry and his new-found ability.
• A note written in blood on the wall of the hallway creates a scare: it reads, “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware.” Ron, Harry, and Hermoine, as well as others, think it means the heir of the founder of the Slytherin House at Hogwarts.
• Harry finds a diary that belonged to Tom Riddle, a student who went to Hogwarts 30 years earlier. The diary is magical, and when Harry writes in it, Tom Riddle writes back.
• Harry finds the door to the Chamber of Secrets in the boys’ bathroom, goes down into the Chamber, finds a basilisk (a giant snake creature), and Tom Riddle. Harry discovers Tom Riddle is really Voldemort who, through the diary, possessed Ginny (Ron’s little sister) and made her write the sentence on the wall in blood. Voldemort planned to kill Ginny and then Harry.
• Harry defeats the basilisk and Tom Riddle, and destroys the journal, saving Ginny and the school from a giant snake.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
• Before school starts, Harry runs away from the Dursleys and goes to the Weaselys, then to school, where hordes of Dementors (happiness and life sucking creatures that guard the prisoners at Azkaban magical prison) are guarding the grounds because Sirius Black, a dangerous prisoner, has escaped Azkaban. Harry is thought to be Sirius’s target.
• At first, Harry is led to believe that Sirius gave Voldemort information that allowed the Dark Lord to kill his parents. Harry finds out Sirius was one of his father’s best friends in school, along with two others: Peter Pettigrew (who can transform into a rat and is Ron’s pet rat), and Professor Lupin (the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and a werewolf). Sirius can transform into a large black dog, and James Potter could transform into a bull. Sirius warns Harry that he is in danger; some of Voldemort’s followers aim to kill him.
• Professor Lupin explains how Peter betrayed James and Lillian Potter the night they died, and how Sirius didn’t commit the crime he was sent to Azkaban for.
• It is revealed that Peter did betray the Potters, but when everyone makes it back to the castle, only Professor Snape’s inaccurate story is believed. Sirius – who turns out to be Harry’s godfather – is caught but he is innocent – a fact that only a few believe. The dementors are about to “kiss” him (a kiss from a dementor sucks the soul out of a victim), but with a little magic and Professor Dumbledore (the headmaster) telling them what to do, Hermoine and Harry go back in time just long enough to provide Sirius with an escape, saving an innocent man from something far worse than death. Sirius is forced into hiding, as his name has not been cleared.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)
• At the assembly the first day of school at Hogwarts, the return of the Triwizard Tournament is announced. Students from a French Witches School of Magic and students from the Wizards School in the north arrive, and a competitor from each of the three schools is chosen. The Goblet of Fire reveals the three competitors, one from each school. Cedric Diggory is chosen from Hogwarts, but somehow Harry – who is too young to enter – gets picked, too.
• Harry succeeds at the first two tasks (attaining a dragon egg, and rescuing his person from the mermaids at the bottom of the lake), and helps and is helped by Cedric in the third task (a large dangerous maze). They both grab the Twiwizard Cup at the same time and are sent through a portal to a graveyard surrounded by Voldemort and his followers.
• Peter Pettigrew – who is now back with Lord Voldemort – kills Cedric, and takes some of Harry’s blood back to Voldemort for a revival ritual. Voldemort is brought back to a demented human form and battles Harry as to prove that he is a superior wizard. Harry is able to escape the graveyard, taking Cedric’s body back through the portal to the school.
• It is revealed that new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, who was thought to be Mad Eye Moody, was really one of Voldemort’s followers – Barty Crouch – in disguise. Crouch put Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire, and he bewitched the Twiwizard Cup into a portkey (device that transports you to somewhere else) with the intent helping the capture and murder of Harry Potter.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
• Harry is attacked outside the Dursleys’ suburb home by a dementor. He fights it off with a Petronus Charm, and gets expelled from school because he used magic outside of school. He receives multiple letters from Mr. Weasely and Sirius Black telling him to stay at his home, and then another Ministry letter saying his expulsion has been revoked; he has a trial hearing at the Ministry of Magic.
• Members of the Order of the Phoenix (an anti-Voldemort semi-secret organization of powerful witches and wizards) escort Harry to the Black family home (and Phoenix Headquarters) where he learns Voldemort seeks a “weapon” that is somewhere deep inside the Ministry of Magic’s Department of Secrets.
• Harry also finds out that the majority of the wizarding community does not believe Voldemort is back – thanks largely to the wizarding newspaper The Daily Prophet,” and there is a campaign to smear Harry’s claims.
• The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is Dolores Umbridge, appointed by the Ministry to spy on the school and take control. She does not teach the students practical and useful magic, so Harry organizes a secret group called the D.A. (Defense Association, and later Dumbledore’s Army in mock of the Ministry’s belief that Dumbledore is amassing power within the school for himself). Umbridge discovers the meetings, and to cover for them, Dumbledore says it was his idea, and he takes flight from the school, leaving Umbridge to become Headmistress of Hogwarts.
• Throughout the book, Harry has visions through Voldemort’s eyes. After a vision of Sirius being killed, Harry attempts to warn his godfather.
• Umbridge catches Harry during this attempt. Harry later finds out that it is Umbridge who sent the dementors after Harry during the summer, but he tells her there is a powerful weapon in the forest, and she goes to the forest and gets kidnapped by Centaurs.
• Harry, Ron, and Hermoine, along with other students, leave the school via Thestrals (flying creatures) and go the Ministry of Magic, where the D.A. members fight Death Eaters (Voldemort’s followers) with the help of Order members. Sirius dies fighting his cousin, the “weapon” shattered (it was a prophecy in a glass sphere), and Voldemort appears to dual Dumbledore while most of the Death Eaters are captured.
• Back at school, in Dumbledore’s office, Harry finds out the prophecy was told by Sybill Trelawney, a teacher at school, and it was about Harry and Voldemort: “Either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives.”
• Harry blames Professor Severus Snape – a character who throughout the series is Harry’s tormentor, but also a man who has saved Harry’s life – for Sirius’ death
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2005)
• Throughout Britain, Voldemort and the Death Eaters wreak havoc. Before school begins at Hogwarts, Narcissa Malfoy (wife of a Death Eater) brings her son Draco to Professor Snape and magically makes him vow to protect Draco and carry out Draco’s task of killing Dumbledore should Draco fail. Snape agrees.
• At school, Snape is declared the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and Dumbledore pursuades Horace Slughorn to return as Potions Master. Slughorn gives Harry a book of notes about potions that belonged to someone called “the Half-Blood Prince.” The notes help Harry – who has struggled in potions under Snape’s guidance – excell in potions.
• Dumbledore begins giving Harry private lessons in magic and teaching him Voldemort’s past. Dumbledore explains to Harry that Voldemort split his soul into seven pieces, and put six parts into six different items (each called a horcrux) so that he can remain immortal. One of the horcruxes was the Tom Riddle’s diary in book two. The other, Dumbledore has already found and destoryed.
• Dumbledore and Harry go in search of one of the horcrux which is Salazar Slytherin’s locket. Dumbledore is wounded in the search, and when they return to Hogwarts, they find the Dark Mark (sign of Voldemort and his Death Eaters) over the school and Death Eaters in the corridors led by Draco Malfoy. Former D.A. members and other students fight off the Death Eaters yet again.
• Draco is too frightened by his own actions to kill Dumbledore, so Snape does it for him. It is unclear if Snape killed Dumbledore because of the vow he made early in the book, or if he was in fact working for Voldemort.
• After Snape runs away, Harry finds the horcrux on Dumbledore’s body and discovers that it is a fake. There is a note inside that says the real one was stolen with the intent to distroy it so that when Voldemort meets the one who will kill him, he may be mortal. The note is signed with the innitials R.A.B.
• Upon Dumbledore’s death, the school is closed, and it is feared that it will remain so until Voldemort is killed. Harry is faced with the reality that he will have to leave all he knows, all safety and happiness, and find the remaining horcruxes, destroy them, and then destroy Voldemort. Hermoine and Ron insist on accompanying him.
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