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Looking to Replace Harry Potter? Try These Inclusive Fantasy and Sci-Fi Epics
For fantasy fans, it’s been disheartening and disappointing to see J.K. Rowling’s recent lack of respect for the trans community. For an author who introduced kids to and explored major themes about the importance of people speaking up against intolerance, it’s been heartbreaking to see her defend radical, toxic beliefs that dehumanize trans people.
Seeing Rowling’s transphobic tweets and comments laid bare, you may feel the need to set aside the Harry Potter series for now. If so, perhaps you’re looking for something just as engaging to replace these books with. These great series that are inclusive and diverse, welcoming characters of all orientations, genders and races. You don’t need to cancel Harry forever, but these books might help you feel a little more welcome and accepted after Rowling’s actions.
“Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone is a 2018 book by Nigerian-American novelist Tomi Adeyemi. This is the first book in a planned trilogy, which follows heroine Zélie Adebola as she brings back magic to the kingdom of Orïsha after its magic users were purged.
This work of fiction was inspired by novels like Harry Potter and An Ember in the Ashes but does a magnificent job of exposing readers to other cultures by blending in West African mythologies and the Yoruba language and culture. These elements converge to create Children of Blood and Bone ‘s world — one that’s unique yet strikingly similar to our own, considering that another major motivation for Adeyemi was the hopelessness the author felt about police brutality directed against Black Americans.
Writing the book took over 18 months and 45 drafts, but the end result has been a brilliant coming-of-age story that’s received high praise across many platforms. The New York Times has included the novel on its best-seller book list for young adults. The book has received mostly positive reviews, with critics digging deep into its examination of racism, oppression and slavery, noting how the Kosadan and Maji serve as the stand-ins for real-world groups. As Vann R. Newkirk II of The Atlantic explains, “That Children of Blood and Bone may prod readers to see a whole genre with new eyes could hardly be a more timely development.”
“Nemesis Trilogy by April Daniels
For trans excellence, look no further than the “Nemesis” trilogy by April Daniels. The first in the series, Dreadnought, is about a girl named Danny. After receiving superpowers from her idol, Dreadnought, her body changes into the feminine body she always pictured herself in. Of the supervillains she faces, the most noteworthy is a witch that is also a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), so the book could be read as an allegorical narrative reflectingJ.K. Rowling’s transphobic beliefs in our own world.
The second book in the series, Sovereign, is about a gender-queer superhero. Kinetiq grapples with the mental health implications of being a superhero. In real life, they go through familial abuse and emancipates themself from family. The book has been optioned for film by Makin’ It Up Productions, Wayne Brady’s production company. Not only are these books a great alternative to Harry Potter, but they will make great alternatives to Marvel and DC films after these books are adapted for your screen.
“Dark Star” Trilogy by Marlon James
Another newer fantasy series comes from Jamaican writer Marlon James: the Dark Star trilogy. The epic fantasy includes the titles Black Leopard, Red Wolf; Moon Witch, Night Devil; and The Boy and the Dark Star. The tales follow three characters — the Tracker, the Moon Witch and the Boy — as the three mercenaries make their way through a dark fantasy world and await their impending torture and trial in the dungeon of a dying king.
The first book was released in 2019, and the two remaining planned novels are forthcoming. The story draws from African history and mythology and explores political tensions rising between two warring states, various tribes and city-states, exploring truths, ambition, the limits of power, duty and honor in the process. The first offering in the lineup was influenced by many favorite epics, including The Lord of the Rings and the now-classic Game of Thrones.
More good news? Michael B. Jordan purchased the film rights to Black Leopard, Red Wolf before the book hit shelves, so fans can expect some exciting on-screen treatment.
“Inheritance” Trilogy and the “Broken Earth” Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin debuted her first novel, part of the Inheritance trilogy, in 2010, which elevated her to the position of one of the most prominent Black sci-fi/fantasy authors in the United States. And her novel The Fifth Season , which is part of her Broken Earth series, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, making her the first Black writer to earn this title in that category.
The Inheritance trilogy follows a cast of mortals and gods as they navigate politics, class warfare and slavery under the umbrella of twisted power dynamics, and the Broken Earth trilogy follows three connected women in a magical society in which man’s monstrous actions outweigh the horrors of the natural disasters that plague their world.
Jemisin is not afraid to double down on her characters and their identities. When a review in The Guardian misgendered one of her characters, Jemison took to Twitter to hold the publication accountable. The mistake was eventually corrected on May 17th, 2020. Rather than scare people off from her work like J.K. Rowling has, Jemisin wants queer, trans, and nonbinary readers to feel welcome turning her pages.
The “Tensorate” Series by Neon Yang
Imagine a world where every new child is nonbinary. A world without gender seems like more than enough for a story’s premise, but for Neon Yang, that’s just the beginning. Monks, magic, and prophecies converge in this series of four novellas. As the characters come of age, they eventually get to confirm their own genders and have to make the tough decision of whether or not to stay where they are or join the Rebellion.
These novellas are ideal for those who struggle with sci-fi or fantasy books that can often be hundreds and sometimes thousands of pages long (especially if you total up the number of pages in a series).
You might be a bit confused seeing the author’s name listed as Neon in this article, but JL on the books. Neon is their preferred name, chosen after the release of their first book. This happens as people develop their identities over time. As queer and trans people become more visible, expect things like name changes to become part of the norm. Yang’s debut novel, The Gensisis of Misery, is expected to be released in 2022.
“The Star-Touched Queen” Series by Roshani Chokshi
Are you looking for something a bit less violent than the brilliant Black Leopard, Red Wolf ? This series by Roshani Chokshi is a winner. The beautiful writing in The Star-Touched Queen books is lyrical and lush, bringing the characters and events to life in a vivid and mesmerizing way. This YA romantic fantasy plunges you into a captivating retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone with a deep Indian-mythology twist.
The first book follows Maya, a 17-year-old girl cursed to marry into doom and destruction. Her path crosses that of an otherworldly man who introduces her to a kingdom that holds the key to her past and future. Needless to say, Maya’s epic journey is fascinating and makes for an enlightening, page-turning read.
“Sawkill Girls” by Claire Legrand
Claire Legrand writes for adults, middle school readers, and anyone who enjoys YA. Legrand has written more than five standalone novels, the Winterspell trilogy and the Empirium trilogy. Her 2018 novel, Sawkill Girls, made waves when readers saw that not only were there young queer characters engaging each other the same way young hetero characters do — there was also an asexual character that still got to experience love and relationships.
The book, which brings fantasy elements to a horror story, centers around Maron, Zoey, and Val as they try to figure out why young women their age keep disappearing from the town of Sawkill. After some research, Zoey learns that young women have been disappearing from Sawkill for a long time. To prevent further atrocities, these three women must confront an evil that takes many different forms.
“Pet” by Akwaeke Emezi
Pet takes place in a world that is totally normal. Or, is it? Jam grew up being told by adults that monsters did not exist and were no longer a problem. When a drop of Jam’s blood causes Pet, a horned creature, to emerge from a painting that Jam’s mother had made, Jam quickly learns that the world is not what she was told. If you’ve ever had the world turned upside down on you, just like it did with Harry, you may love this one.
An emerging talent, Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer from Nigeria. She is also the author of Freshwater (2018), The Death of Vivek Oji (2020) and Dear Senthuran (forthcoming 2021).
“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas
Picture this: your family has trouble accepting your gender identity. They go as far as calling you a “brujo,” a warlock. Discouraged but motivated, you set out to prove yourself by summoning the ghost of your murdered cousin. As you set out to prove yourself, you realize you summoned the wrong ghost.
This is how NYT Bestseller, Cemetery Boys kicks off. Main character, Yadriel, summons Julian, who is a bit of a bad boy and refuses to go to the afterlife without the answers he seeks. Things get even more complicated when Yadriel doesn’t want Julian to leave.
Aiden Thomas is an Oakland native and identifies as queer, trans, and Latinx. Cemetery Boys, Thomas’s debut novel, was released during fall of 2020. Spooky yet heartfelt, Cemetery Boys can fill the wizard-sized hole that might be in your heart. The book’s release made Thomas the first trans man to debut on the Young Adult Hardcover section of the NYT Bestseller list.
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A Visual Summary of Harry Potter
HARRY POTTER A SUMMARY OF STORIES FOR ALL TYPES OF POTTERHEADS Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone IMPORTANT CHARACTERS VILLAIN Prof. Quirrell was possessed by Voldemort & tried to steal the Sorcerer's Stone. RELEASED IN 2001 Harry Potter is an orphaned boy raised by his intolerable aunt and uncle. On his 11th birthday he discovers he is a wizard. Harry also beings to learn the dark secrets of his past, including that he survived a killing curse the same night his parents were murdered by the Dark Lord, Voldemort. During his first year at Hogwarts, Harry meets friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Together, the three uncover the secrets surrounding the Sorcerer's Stone, which is hidden in the School. Harry joins the Quidditch team as Seeker Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets RELEASED IN 2002 Harry & Voldemort can talk to snakes NEW FACES VILLAINS Tom Riddle is the 16-year-old version of Voldemort that was hidden in a diary given to Ginny Weasley by Lucius Malfoy in an attempt to bring the Dark Lord back. Before Harry's 2nd year at Hogwarts, he is confronted by Dobby, a curious house elf who warns him that Hogwarts is no longer safe. Harry learns this to be true when students are being attacked by an unknown monster hidden in the Chamber of Secrets - a legendary chamber hidden in the school. As Harry, Ron & Hermione try to uncover who opened the Chamber, they learn their friend Hagrid was once accused of opening the Chamber 50 years ago. They learned it was really Ginny, Ron's sister who was possessed by Tom Riddle (Voldemort) & opened the Chamber. Harry saves Ginny and the school in an epic battle with a giant basilisk. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban NEW FACES VILLAIN Although everyone thought Sirius Black wanted to kill Harry, Prof. Lupin helped discover that Peter Pettigrew (in hiding as Ron's pet rat) was Voldemort's follower. RELEASED IN 2004 Black: Dog Lupin: Werewolf Pettigrew: Rat NEW SPELL PATRONUS ANIMAGUS: Wizard who can change into an animal Harry third year at Hogwarts begins with danger as the notorious murderer, Sirius Black, has escaped from Azkaban Prison and is believed to be after Harry. Dementors are sent to Hogwarts to look for Sirius and have a powerful impact on Harry. Professor R. J. Lupin joins the staff as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry learns that Prof. Lupin and Sirius Black were best friends with his father James. Lupin teaches Harry to protect himself from the Dementors. Eventually Harry discovers that Sirius is not only his godfather, but it was really Peter Pettigrew (who was in hiding as Ron's pet rat), not Sirius who betrayed his parents. Harry and Hermione use time travel to rescue Sirius from a tragic fate. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire RELEASED IN 2005 TRI-WIZARD CHAMPIONS VILLAIN WHO IS DISGUISED AS WITH POLY-JUICE The summer before Harry's fourth year, Death Eaters attack the Quidditch World Cup. Hogwarts this year hosts the Triwizard Tournament, a famous wizard event. Trouble arises when Harry has constant nightmares & his name comes from the Goblet of Fire, naming Harry a 4th contender for the tournament, even though is too young. Alastor Moody, the ex-auror and new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher helps Harry with the tournament tasks. This year Harry develops a crush on Cho Chang, a 5th year Ravenclaw who dates Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion. Hermione also dates Viktor Krum, the Durmstrang champion. In the last task of the tournament, Harry and Cedric end up in a graveyard where Cedric is murdered and Voldemort comes back to power. Harry escapes death once again to return to Hogwarts to find out Prof. Moody is really the Death Eater Barty Crouch Jr., a man he frequently saw in his nightmares. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix SIRIUS KILLED BY Bellatrix PROPHECY RELEASED IN 2007 Dumbledore's ARMY Before Harry's fifth year, he and his cousin Dudley are attacked by Dementors. Harry faces even bigger problems when he learns the Ministry of Magic is denying Voldemort's return and calling Harry a liar. Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry worker joins the Hogwarts staff and works to make sure students are oblivious to the Dark Lord's return and are unable to protect themselves. Harry, Ron & Hermione gather students to form "Dumbledore's Army" a secret society like the Order of the Phoenix (formed when Voldemort first came to power and included Harry's parents) to learn defensive magic. Harry learns this year that his nightmare is really a connection between Voldemort's thoughts and his own. This saves Arthur Weasley's life at one point, but leads to Sirius' death when several members of Dumbledore's Army are led to the Department of Mysteries in a ruse to uncover a prophecy that claims Harry must be the one to destroy Voldemort. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince NEW SPELL SECTUMSEMPRA FOR ENEMIES SEVERS SNAPE IS THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE RELEASED IN 2009 During their sixth year, Voldemort continues to gain power and cause destruction in the wizarding and muggle world. This year Dumbledore asks Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts to become the new potions teacher, while Severus Snape becomes the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Draco Malfoy is given a task from Voldemort, and spends the year repairing a tool that will allow Death Eaters into Hogwarts. Dumbledore and Harry revisit memories to learn about Tom Riddle's (Voldemort's) early life. Harry also has to coax Slughorn into what dark magic he told Tom about when he was student. They learn Voldemort created Horcruxes - objects containing pieces of one's soul making one immortal. Harry and Dumbledore journey outside Hogwarts to fin done, but on their return Dumbledore is murdered by Professor Snape when Malfoy fails to do so. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 The Sword of Gryffindor destroys horcruxes RELEASED IN 2010 Characters Killed Invisibility Cloak Elder Wand Resurrection Stone Harry, Ron & Hermione are not returning to Hogwarts. Dumbledore left them to find and destroy Voldemort's horcruxes. Shortly after Harry relocates to the Weasley's home, the Ministry is taken over by Voldemort. Suddenly Harry is a fugitive, mudbloods are being imprisoned, and practically no one is safe. Through the ever-growing connection between Harry and Voldemort's minds they learn of the Deathly Hallows - three magical objects that when together create a master of death. Harry, Ron & Hermione are caught by Snatchers and brought to the Malfoy home where they barely escape with the help of Dobby the house-elf, who is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange (a passionate Death Eater, Sirius's cousin and Malfoy's Aunt). Harry Potter A SUMMARY OF STORIES FOR ALL TYPES OF POTTERHEADS Harry Potter and the Sotcerer's Stone IMPORTANT CHARACTERS RELEASED IN 2001 Harry Potter is an orphaned boy raised by his intolerable aunt and uncle. On his 11th birthday he discovers he is a wizard. Harry also begins to learn the dark secrets of his past, including that he survived a killing curse the same night his parents were murdered by the Dark Lord, Voldemort. During his first year at Hogwarts, Harry meets friends Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger. Together, the three uncover the secrets surrounding the Sorcerer's Stone, which is hidden in the School. Harry joins the Quidditch team as Seeker OVILLAIN Prof. Quirrell was posessed by Voldemort & tried to steal the Sorcerer's Stone. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry 8 3 DAVILLAINS Voldemort can talk to snakes RELEASED IN 2002 Tom Riddle ia the 16-year-old version of Voldemort that was hidden in a diary given to Ginny Weasley by Lucius Malfoy in an attempt to bring the Dark Lord baok. Before Harry's 2nd year at Hogwarts, he is confronted by Dobby, a curious house elf who warns him that Hogwarts is no longer safe. Harry learns this to be true when students are being attacked by an unknown monster hidden in the Chamber of Secrets-a legendary chamber hidden in the school. As Harry, Ron & Hermoine try to uncover who opened the Chamber, they learn their friend Hagrid was once accused of opening the Chamber 50 years ago. They learned it was really Ginny, Ron's sister who was possessed by Tom Riddle (Voldemort) & opened the Chamber. Harry saves Ginny and the school in an epic battle with a giant basillisk. Potter T ond the Prjsonet of Azkaban New Faces VILLAIN Black Dog Lupin: Werewolf Pettigrew: Rat RELEASED IN 2004 Although everyone thought Sirius Black wanted to kill Harry, Prof. Lupin helped discover that Peter Pettigrew (in hiding as Ron's pet rat) was Voldemort's follower. NEW SPELL PATRONUS ANIMAGUS: Wizard who can change into an animal Harry third year at Hogwarts begins with danger as the notorious muderer, Sirius Black, has escaped from Azkaban Prison and is believed to be after Harry. Dementors are sent to Hogwarts to look for Sirius and have a powerful impact on Harry. Professor R. J. Lupin joins the staff as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry learns that Prof. Lupin and Sirius Black were best friends with his father James. Lupin teaches Harry to protect himself from the Dementors. Eventually Harry discovers that Sirius is not only his godfather, but it was really Peter Pettigrew (who was in hiding as Ron's pet rat), not Sirius who betrayed his parents. Harry and Hermoine use time travel to rescue Sirius from a tragic fate. Harry Potter The summer before Harry's fourth year, Death Eaters attack the Quidditch World Cup. Hogwarts this year hosts the Triwizard Tournament, a famous wizard event. Trouble arises when Harry has constant nightmares & his name comes from the Goblet of Fire, naming Harry a 4th contender in the tournament, even though is too young. Alastor Moody, the ex-auror and new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher helps Harry with the tournament tasks. This year Harry develops a crush on Cho Chang, a 5th year Ravenclaw who dates Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion. Hermoine also dates Viktor Krum, the Durmstrang champion. In the last task of the torunament, Harry and Cedric end up in a graveyard where Cedric is murdered and Voldemort comes back and the boblet of Fire to power. Harry escapes death once again to return to Hogwarts to find out Prof. Moody is really the Death Eater Barty Crouch Jr., a man he frequently saw in his nightmares. TRI-WIZARD CHAMPIONS WHO IS WITH DISGUISED POLY- VILL A1N AS JUICE Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix SIRIUS KILLE D BY Bellatrix PROPHECY Dumbledore's ARMY Before Harry's fifth year, he and his cousin Dudly are attacked by Dementors. Herry faces even bigger problems when he learns the Ministry of Magic is denying Voldemort's return and calling Harry a liar. Delores Umbridge, a Ministry worker joins the Hogwarts staff and works to make sure students are oblivious to the Dark Lord's return and are unable to protect themselves. Harry, Ron & Hermoine gather students to form "Dumbledore's Army" a secret society like the Order of the Phoenix (formed when Voldemort first came to power and included Harry's parents) to learn defensive magic. Harry learns this year that his nightmares is really a connection between Voldemort's thoughts and his own. This saves Authur Weasley's life at one point, but leads to Sirius' death when several members of Dumbledore's Army are led to the Department of Mysteries in a ruse to uncover a prophecy that claims Harry must be the one to destroy Voldemort. Harry Potter NEW SPELL: and the Half-Blood Prince SECTUMSEMPRA FOR EMENIES SEVERUS SNAPE IS THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE During their sixth year, Voldemort continues to gain power and cause destruction in the wizarding and muggle world. This year Dumbledore asks Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts to become the new potions teacher, while Severus Snape becomes the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Draco Malfoy is given a task from Voldemort, and spends the year repairing a tool that will allow Death Eaters into Hogwarts. Dumbledore and Harry revisit memories to learn about Tom Riddle's (Voldemort) early life. Harry also has to coax Slughorn into what dark magic he told Tom about when he was a student. They learn Voldemort created Horcruxes-objects containing pieces of one's soul making one immortal. Harry and Dumbledore journey outside Hogwarts to find one, but on their return Dumbledore is murdered by RELEASED IN2009 Professor Snape when Malfoy fails to do so. Harry Potter and the Deat hly Hallows Part 1 The Sword of Gryffindor destroys horcruxes RELEASED IN 2010 Invisibility Cloak Elder Wand Characters Killed Resurrection Stone Harry, Ron & Hermoine are not returning to Hogwarts. Dumbledore left them to find and destroy Voldemort's horcruxes. Shortly after Harry relocates to the Weasley's home, the Ministry is taken over by Voldemort. Suddenly Harry is a fugitive, mudbloods are being imprisioned, and practically no one is safe. Through the ever-growing connection between Harry and Voldemort's minds they learn of the Deathly Hallows-three magical objects that when together create a master of death. Harry, Ron & Hermoine are caught by Snatchers and brought to the Malfoy home where they barely escape with the help of Dobby the house-elf, who is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange (a passionate Death Eater, Sirius's cousin and Malfoy's Aunt). visit joinleftee.com for future updates Left.ee NEW FACES RELEASED IN 2005
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
- An orphaned boy enrolls in a school of wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world.
- This is the tale of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), an ordinary eleven-year-old boy serving as a sort of slave for his aunt and uncle who learns that he is actually a wizard and has been invited to attend the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is snatched away from his mundane existence by Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), the groundskeeper for Hogwarts, and quickly thrown into a world completely foreign to both him and the viewer. Famous for an incident that happened at his birth, Harry makes friends easily at his new school. He soon finds, however, that the wizarding world is far more dangerous for him than he would have imagined, and he quickly learns that not all wizards are ones to be trusted. — Carly
- Harry Potter is an average bespectacled eleven-year-old boy who has lived with the Dursley family ever since his parents died in a car crash. For some reason, the family has always mistreated him. On his eleventh birthday, a giant man named Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) hands him a letter telling him that he has been accepted as a student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry learns that his parents were wizards and were killed by the evil wizard Voldemort (Richard Bremmer), a truth that was hidden from him all these years. He embarks for his new life as a student, gathering two good friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) along the way. They soon learn that something very valuable is hidden somewhere inside the school and Voldemort is very anxious to lay his hands on it. — Soumitra
- Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) thinks he is an ordinary boy celebrating his eleventh birthday, but he is far from right. A giant named Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) appears, and gives Harry the all-important news. He is a wizard. Now his journey in life gets more intense as he travels to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry to learn the trade of being a wizard. Here, he meets his friends who would be by his side for many years to come. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) is not a very brave friend and Hermione (Emma Watson) is the smart friend. But not everything is quiet at Hogwarts as Harry suspects someone is planning to steal the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone. — simon
- On his eleventh birthday, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) discovers that he is no ordinary boy. Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), a beetle-eyed giant, tells Harry that he is a wizard and has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In his first year of magical education, Harry tackles a fully grown mountain troll, learns to play Quidditch, and participates in a thrilling "live" game of chess.
- Lord Voldemort, an evil and powerful dark wizard, has just been defeated. When he tried to kill a one-year-old boy, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), the killing curse rebounded upon him, destroying his body. Harry is left an orphan with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, Voldemort having killed his parents, Lily (Geraldine Somerville) and James (Adrian Rawlins) Potter. Professors Dumbledore (Richard Harris) and McGonagall (Dame Maggie Smith) and Gamekeeper Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) leave him on the doorstep of his ultra-conventional, insensitive, negligent Muggle (non-magical) relatives, the Dursley family, who take him in. Harry's relatives decide to conceal his magical heritage from him and make him live in a cupboard under the stairs for ten years. Shortly before Harry's eleventh birthday, he receives a letter addressed specifically to him. His outraged uncle, however, reads and burns it before Harry has a chance to look at the contents. The sender does not give up, and the Dursleys receive successively larger numbers of the same correspondence. Soon, his Uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths) becomes so paranoid that the Dursleys, with Harry in tow, hide in a hut on a small island to escape. That night (which happens to be before Harry's birthday), he is visited by an enormous man named Hagrid who bursts through the locked door of the hut. With Hagrid holding the Dursleys at bay, Harry finally reads his letter, in which he learns he has been invited to study magic at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The next day Harry and Hagrid head to Diagon Alley in London (the secret magical location hidden behind the famous wizarding pub The Leaky Cauldron). Harry enters the wizarding world for the first time, learns to his surprise that he is famous, and meets the new Hogwarts Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrell (Ian Hart). Hagrid takes Harry to Gringott's Bank, where Harry learns that he is quite wealthy. Following this, Hagrid stops at a different vault to retrieve a small, wrapped parcel for Dumbledore. Using his newfound money, Harry buys everything he requires for his first school year, including and owl, and a wand. Interestingly, the wand that chooses him is the brother wand of the one that was used to kill Harry's parents and give him the scar. He then takes the train to Hogwarts from Platform Nine and three-quarters, befriending Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and meeting Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), a Muggle-born witch. Upon arrival, the Sorting Hat places Harry, Ron and Hermione in Gryffindor House. Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), an arrogant and elitist student, gets placed in Slytherin. At the end of their first week at Hogwarts, Harry and Ron discover that Gringotts, the wizarding bank, was broken into and a vault that Harry and Hagrid visited had been the subject of the robbery. Later, Harry discovers he has a talent for riding broomsticks, and after an incident with Malfoy, is recruited to join Gryffindor's Quidditch team as a Seeker, much to Malfoy's displeasure. Harry, Ron, Hermione explore Hogwarts late at night and accidentally stumble across the door to a corridor. A three-headed dog, christened Fluffy by Hagrid, guards a trapdoor. On Halloween, Quirrell informs everyone that a troll has entered the castle; Harry and Ron fight the troll to save Hermione, who is trapped in the girls' bathroom, and the three become best friends. At Harry's first Quidditch match, Harry's broom becomes possessed, nearly knocking him off. Hermione sees Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), the sinister Potions master and head of Slytherin House, staring at Harry and mouthing words, making her believe that Snape has caused the broom to misbehave with a dark curse. Hoping to save Harry, Hermione sets Snape's robes on fire, distracting him and others and allowing Harry to survive. At Christmas, Harry receives an Invisibility Cloak, once belonging to his father, which renders its wearer invisible. Harry uses it to explore the Restricted Section in the library to research information on Nicolas Flamel, a name Hagrid lets slip when confronted about his knowledge of Fluffy. Eventually, Harry learns that "Nicolas Flamel is the only known maker of the Sorcerer's Stone, which produces the Elixir of Life which will make the drinker immortal." Harry sees Snape trying to get information from Quirrell about getting past Fluffy; Quirrell says he does not know what he's talking about. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are sure that Snape is trying to steal the Sorcerer's Stone in order to restore Lord Voldemort to power, but Hagrid denies it. While at Hagrid's hut, the trio discover a dragon egg Hagrid was nursing in a fire. Later the egg hatches a Norwegian Ridgeback dragon, and Hagrid decides to call him "Norbert". The friends are nervous for Hagrid, since dragon breeding had long been outlawed in the wizarding world, and Hagrid had something of a reckless nature, who has long since nursed a strong desire for a dragon. Finally, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are able to convince Hagrid to let Norbert go live with other dragons of his kind in Romania. Harry, Hermione, Ron and Draco are caught out late at night, and are forced to serve detention with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest. Harry sees a hooded figure drink the blood of an injured unicorn, which makes Harry's forehead scar start burning. Firenze, a centaur, tells Harry that it is a monstrous thing to slay a unicorn, let alone drink its blood. He also tells Harry that unicorn blood will keep one alive, and that the hooded figure is in fact Voldemort. Harry, Hermione and Ron find out that Hagrid has told a hooded stranger how to get past Fluffy, and they believe the theft of the Stone is imminent. Rushing to finally confide in Professor Dumbledore their news, they meet Professor McGonagall, who is shocked to find out how much they knew about the Stone, but reassures them all the same that it is safe in the castle. She also tells them that Dumbledore has been sent away on an important mission by the Ministry of Magic. Positive that Dumbledore's summons was a red herring to take Professor Dumbledore away from Hogwarts, the trio make plans to thwart Snape's theft of the stone. They set out to reach the stone first, navigating the security system set up by the school's staff, which is a series of complex magical challenges. The three make it through together until finally, Harry must enter the inner chamber alone. There he finds that Professor Quirrell, not Snape, is attempting to steal the Stone. Realizing that Snape was trying to protect him from harm all along, Harry confronts Quirrell and survives a second encounter with Lord Voldemort, who has possessed Quirrell and appears as a ghastly face on the back of Quirrell's head. Quirrell crumbles when he touches Harry's skin, and Harry passes out because of his close proximity to Lord Voldemort. Voldemort then pitilessly abandons Quirrell, who dies in the aftermath of his possession. Harry wakes up in the hospital wing. Dumbledore reveals to Harry that Harry's mother died to protect Harry as an infant. Her pure, loving sacrifice provides Harry with an ancient magical protection from Voldemort's lethal spells and also prevents Voldemort from touching Harry without suffering terribly. Dumbledore also says that the Sorcerer's Stone has been destroyed to prevent future attempts by Voldemort to steal it. Finally, at the end-of-year feast, the House Points totals are given: Gryffindor is in last place. However, Dumbledore gives a few "last-minute additions", granting points to Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville for their bravery and service towards school, so that Gryffindor wins the House Cup. Harry returns to the Dursleys for the summer, happy to finally have a real home in Hogwarts.
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Harry Potter: The Most Important Storyline Of Each Installment
Each Harry Potter novel and movie had a role in elevating the series, whether it be through world-building or pushing the story forward
The Harry Potter series is filled with overarching storylines and subplots that help build out the wizarding world and contribute to world-building. However, in each installment of the series, there are storylines that are set apart from the rest as being the most prominent of that novel or movie or the most significant in regard to the series as a whole. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone needed to set a foundation for what the franchise would grow into. Without a solid understanding of what to expect from the wizarding world immediately, the series could have floundered later on as the world shifted into a much darker portrayal.
The following novels and movies continued to grow out the expanding world Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone had put in place. However, it also expanded it to help fill in the blanks of the past or emphasize the beginning of massive change. Although Voldemort's resurrection only occurs toward the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire , it is teased throughout the story that Voldemort will be essential to the plot, and his return is the start of the following and much darker chapter in Harry and his friends' lives.
Related: Important Questions Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Finally Revealed
7 Sorcerer's Stone: Introduction To The Wizarding World
Had the first installment not done a solid job setting up the wizarding world, perhaps audiences may not have latched onto it so tightly, even years after the novels and movies have finished. Hagrid's reveal that Harry is a wizard sparks his journey to Diagon Alley and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the book, the political state is a little more clear as Hagrid describes the Minister for Magic to Harry. However, it is a small moment compared to Harry receiving his wand, reaching the Hogwarts Express, and his introduction to the school.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone also has the job of teasing Harry's history with Voldemort, explaining that Harry is the only person to survive the killing curse. Harry's fame is acknowledged as is the beginning of grasping the Hogwarts houses and the significance of blood status.
6 Chamber of Secrets: Harry Speaks Parseltongue
When Harry speaks to a snake at the zoo, it is played off quickly as something he can do because he is a wizard. It is a moment played for laughs as Dudley gets the short end of the stick when the glass pulls a brief disappearing act. But, in Chamber of Secret s, it becomes clear fast that this is no ordinary ability. Speaking Parseltongue is not something everyone can do. Practically no one is known for it other than Salazar Slytherin and Voldemort.
Harry's ability to speak the language does give him an advantage over the Basilisk. It is also the key to entering the Chamber of Secrets to save Ginny and kill the snake, as well as unknowingly destroying the Horcrux that Voldemort placed in his diary.
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5 Prisoner of Azkaban: Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew
Finally, Harry catches a break from back-to-back years of confronting Voldemort. However, when Harry discovers Voldemort's Death Eater, Sirius Black, is after him, it already sets up another, not-average school year. However, throughout Prisoner of Azkaban , specific details seem to pop up, such as Sirius going to Azkaban for betraying James and Lily and how he had killed Peter Pettigrew during a confrontation that resulted in twelve dead muggles. However, Prisoner of Azkaban later reveals many of these details were false while explaining the connection between Sirius, Peter, and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin.
By revealing Sirius, Remus, and Peter's friendship with James and explaining that Peter had been the traitor, not Sirius, it fills in more significant gaps about the mystery of James and Lily's past. The result of the installment's end gives Harry deeper connections to Sirius and Remus, and his decision to save Peter's life returns to save his and Ron's lives in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry calls in the debt.
4 Goblet of Fire: Voldemort's Resurrection
The extent of Voldemort's plan is not revealed until Harry and Cedric appear in the graveyard. Although Harry had gotten snippets of Voldemort throughout the year, this is finally the moment everything comes together. Voldemort's resurrection requires Harry's blood, which would be a crucial detail later.
However, it is also the turning point for a massive tone shift in the series in the shorter term. Harry's previous experience with Voldemort is nothing compared to what is coming now that Voldemort has a fully functioning body of his own and many of his followers back at his beck and call. However, given Cedric's death, the subsequent installment relies on Harry's word without the backup of another eyewitness.
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3 Order of the Phoenix: Harry And Voldemort's Mind Connection
What connects Harry and Voldemort? Harry knows Voldemort is after a weapon, and throughout the year, Harry wishes for more information than he gets. However, one of the more consistent things to occur is Harry and Voldemort's mind connection, as Harry can feel Voldemort's emotions, and they can look into each other's minds.
Voldemort uses the mind connection, and knowledge of Harry's weakness, to his advantage, and Harry falling into the trap results in Sirius' death. However, by the conclusion of Order of the Phoenix , the prophecy connecting Harry and Voldemort is finally revealed. However, the valid reason for the mind link would not be revealed until Harry views Snape's memories during the Battle of Hogwarts.
2 Half-Blood Prince: Tom Riddle's Backstory
Since Harry knows the prophecy, Dumbledore can devote Harry's sixth year to showing him memories featuring a young Tom Riddle . Dumbledore's theory is that Voldemort's Horcruxes are hidden within cherished items, and Harry needs to understand Voldemort's history to better find what he would have turned into a Horcrux and where they would be. However, the entire year is not as simple as watching memories.
Dumbledore also tasks Harry with getting the real memory of Tom Riddle discussing Horcruxes with Professor Slughorn from the professor himself. Slughorn had manipulated the memory, horrified by what truthfully had happened. However, Harry gaining the real memory gives Dumbledore a far more precise picture of what Voldemort did and how to deal with it.
1 Deathly Hallows: Horcruxes and Hallows
Finally, the Horcrux hunt commences. Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend the year searching for Voldemort's Horcruxes and destroying them. But, on their journey, Harry can not help but be distracted by the potential the Deathly Hallows have. So, what is the better way to defeat Voldemort? Horcruxes or Hallows? Harry's dilemma and obsession are skipped in favor of a much more direct approach in the movie.
But, in the novel, Harry is far more conflicted about how to do it. Harry's eventual decision to stay on the route of Horcruxes, the guaranteed way to defeat Voldemort, is a relief. But, the three Deathly Hallows do continue to play a role, with Harry at one point being the owner of the Resurrection Stone, Elder Wand, and Invisibility Cloak. The major reveal that Harry is a Horcrux, explaining his connection to Voldemort, means Harry must sacrifice himself to destroy Voldemort's Horcrux before the final battle can commence.
‘Harry Potter’ From The Beginning
It all ends. Thanks, Warner Bros. for choosing such a depressing tag line to promote the last Harry Potter movie. We know it’s the last one. You didn’t have to remind us. Legions of fans around the world are simultaneously excited and melancholy about the release of ‘The Deathly Hallows, Part 2’. We’ve had the next film to look forward to for ten years. Because I had the movies, I wasn’t as sad when the last book was released. We do have the promising Pottermore website ahead, but I can’t really wear my Ravenclaw threads to the opening night of a dot com. I’ll wear my blue and silver tie proudly on Friday. It won’t be the last time I’ll wear it, but it probably won’t happen again in a movie line in the company of dozens of others dressed the same way.
If you are a fan of the Boy Who Lived, you probably made time for a marathon viewing of the other seven films recently. However, if you didn’t plan accordingly and haven’t watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone since 2001, you might need a refresher. Let’s pull out the highlights of each film.
The Sorcerer’s Stone
Meet Harry Potter. The young wizard-to-be is an orphan living with his surly relatives. They tried to keep him from getting his acceptance letter to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but they couldn’t withstand the power of magic. The Boy Who Lived is whisked away by the half-giant Hagrid. He learns that he is famous in the world of magic users. He survived an attack by the darkest wizard of them all, Volde… You-Know-Who. He bears a lightning bolt scar on his forehead from the spell gone awry. He is awed and amazed at the world that has opened up to him. He plays Quidditch, makes friends, meets Headmaster Albus Dumbledore and encounters Voldemort for the first time.
The Chamber of Secrets
Harry has returned for his second year at Hogwarts, but events are taking a darker turn. The mysterious Chamber of Secrets has been opened at the school and not for the first time. Bloody notes are left scrawled in the hallways of the massive school. Students end up petrified. Mudbloods, wizards and witches of an impure bloodline, are threatened. With Ron and Hermione’s help, Harry is able to find out how to get in the chamber. He learns that Tom Riddle, a.k.a. Voldemort, opened the chamber the first time and left part of his soul behind to manipulate Ginny Weasley into doing so in the present. Harry fights off the basilisk that lives in the tunnels and uses one of its fangs to destroy the diary that allowed Tom’s soul to live on.
The Prisoner of Azkaban
The biggest takeaway from the third movie? Harry is not alone. He has a godfather. For most of the movie he thinks Sirius Black, madcap escapee from Azkaban, is out for blood. Harry believes that Sirius betrayed his parents and gave away their location to Voldemort. Dumbledore isn’t around full-time to protect him this year either. Harry goes after Sirius looking for revenge. He learns that the fugitive is friends with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin. Incidentally, Lupin is a werewolf. The old friends are together to fight the person who actually betrayed Harry’s parents: Peter Pettigrew. The loathsome man was in hiding in Animagus form as Ron Weasley’s rat. In the end, Sirius is recaptured by the Dementors – the wardens of Azkaban – and they plan to take his soul. He is saved only by Harry and Hermione going back in time to save Hagrid’s Hippogriff. Sirius reveals to Harry that he is his godfather before he escapes Hogwarts on the back of the winged Buckbeak. Harry has to return to the horrible Dursley house for the summer.
The Goblet of Fire
The movie opened with a sporting event of epic proportions. The Quidditch World Cup hosted thousands of attendees, Death Eaters among them. One of the supporters of Voldemort sent up the Dark Mark and wreaked havoc on the wizard encampment. This sets the stage for an action packed and dark film. Hogwarts is hosting the Triwizard Tournament. Delegations from two other schools of magic visit to participate in the competition. Harry’s name is somehow entered even though he is under the required age. He has to go through with the challenges that involve dragons, merpeople, and a deadly maze. Also, there is a Yule Ball and Hermione looks stunning. The Triwizard Cup at the end of the maze ends up being a Portkey that transports Harry and classmate Cedric Diggory right into Voldemort’s lap. Voldemort has shape again, and he is terrible and frightening. He kills Diggory, and Harry barely escapes. He was set up by the latest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Sort of. A Death Eater has been sucking down Polyjuice Potion and pretending to be Mad Eye Moody.
The Order of the Phoenix
Voldemort is back. Dumbledore and Harry Potter are mocked by the entire wizarding community for making public statements about the Dark Lord. Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Lupin, and more have gone underground and revived the Order of the Phoenix. It’s a secret club that exists solely to stop Voldemort. At Hogwarts, Harry is frustrated by the newest Defense Against… teacher Dolores Umbridge. She refuses to teach them defensive magic. In defiance, Harry forms Dumbledore’s Army with his classmates. They use the Room of Requirement as a training center. Harry keeps getting visions that are really him seeing through Voldemort’s eyes. They have a connection. Because of this, he sees Voldemort torturing Sirius at the Ministry of Magic. Harry and his mini-army sneak out of Hogwarts to save the day. They hold their own against Voldemort’s followers and the Dark Lord himself, but they do not win. They are saved only by the arrival of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore. Voldemort still manages to kill Sirius. The wizarding world finally understands that Voldemort is a threat.
The Half Blood Prince
Dumbledore pulls Harry closer than ever and asks for his help in the battle against Voldemort. The movie unravels the history of Tom Riddle. They find out that Riddle learned how to create horcruxes. The physical objects that hold pieces of the soul are the key to defeating Voldemort. He didn’t just create one horcrux; he created seven. The dangerous race is on to find the horcruxes before Voldemort realizes what his enemies are planning. He is so arrogant that he can’t conceive of anyone uncovering this plan. The quest proves to be deadly for Dumbledore. Draco Malfoy was given the assassination assignment by Voldemort. When he was unable to commit the deed, Severus Snape stepped in.
The Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Harry has to move forward without Dumbledore. He believes his mission is collecting the remaining horcruxes and destroying them. Voldemort and his followers control the Ministry of Magic. Nowhere is safe. Harry, Ron, & Hermione can’t return to Hogwarts. When they are attacked at Ron’s home they disappear and start life on the run. The trio has to constantly stay on the move and protect their location carefully. They expend much effort only to destroy one horcrux and to learn about the Deathly Hallows. They make narrow escape after narrow escape and dear friends die. Meanwhile, Voldemort finds the most powerful wand ever made.
Warner Bros. had the same catch-up sentiment. You can look back with this goosebump-inducing video:
Given that set-up, you can expect the last movie to be charged with action and emotion. Check back on Monday for Dave Taylor’s review of the film.
Don’t forget to carry your wand with you on Friday. It all ends.
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- Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe)
- Hermione Granger (Emma Watson)
- Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
- Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris)
- Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane)
- Severus Snape (Alan Rickman)
- Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith)
- Professor Quirinus Quirrell (Ian Hart)
- Lord Voldemort (Richard Bremmer)
- Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton)
- The Dursleys (Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths and Harry Melling)
- Argus Filch (and Mrs. Norris) (David Bradley)
- Nearly Headless Nick (John Cleese)
- Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis)
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Analysis See All
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Summary
After spending his life in the luxurious accommodations provided by his horrible Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, young Harry Potter gets an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—a very insistent invitation, as Petunia and Vernon learn.
Naturally, they try to keep him from attending, prompting a deluge of letters, a retreat to a distant lighthouse, and a pig's tail for their son Dudley courtesy of Hogwarts's gigantic groundskeeper Hagrid…who finally arrives to take Harry away from them.
It seems that Harry belongs to a secret society of witches and wizards. But there's more: he's a celebrity there for somehow vanquishing the evil Lord Voldemort when he was just a baby.
(It's a pity he can't remember how, because Voldemort ain't done with him just yet. But we'll get to that shortly.)
In the meantime, Harry has classes to attend. A quick trip to the magical Diagon Alley sets him up with a nifty wand and a pet owl named Hedwig, while the train trip to school introduces him to a pair of new friends: studious Hermione Granger and goofy-but-stouthearted Ron Weasley.
Arriving at Hogwarts, Harry is soon placed in Gryffindor house—the literal home of the brave on campus—and starts learning more about his magical powers. He also picks up on the wizarding sport of Quidditch, which he's apparently incredibly good at.
Along the way, he has spells to learn, rivals to vanquish and a mystery to solve: a magical device called the Sorcerer's Stone which Voldemort wants and the rest of the world really, really hopes he doesn't get. The school's headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, is keeping the Stone safe. But when Dumbledore leaves school to attend to important business, it's anything goes time.
Harry, convinced that the not-at-all-pleasant Professor Snape is behind it all, goes after the Stone with help from his friends. Turns out, Snape, though excessively irritating, isn't actually to blame. Instead, Voldemort has cunningly disguised himself as the world's grossest boil on the head of another professor—Quirrell—and reached the Stone just before Harry does. Harry's got a nasty surprise for him, however, and in a flash of very expensive visual effects, sends Voldemort packing.
Secure with his new friends, awesome mentor, and all the good things a hero needs, Harry returns to the normal world for the summer holidays...or until his agent finishes negotiating the rights to appear in the sequel.
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