Literature Study GuidesHarry Potter Series

Harry Potter (Series) | Study Guide

J.K. Rowling

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J.K. Rowling

Years Published






At a Glance

The Harry Potter series tells the story of a young wizard whose parents are killed by the evil Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (published in the United Kingdom as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1997) introduces 11-year-old Harry. He soon learns that he is a wizard. Furthermore, he is famous among the wizarding community as the boy who miraculously survived the spell that took the lives of his parents. This failed attempt on Harry's life has caused the disappearance of the evil Lord Voldemort. It has also left a lightning-shaped scar on Harry's forehead. This first novel covers Harry's first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and ends after Harry prevents the fabled Sorcerer's Stone from falling into the hands of Voldemort, whose disembodied spirit is still alive. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry returns to school for his second year of magical education. When students and staff are petrified in a series of mysterious attacks, Harry and his friends solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets and kill the monster that is paralyzing people. Harry's third year at Hogwarts is recounted in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999). In this book Harry is pursued by escaped prisoner Sirius Black. Harry learns some surprising details about his parents and their deaths. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000) takes place during Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts. The school is the site of the Triwizard Tournament, which pits young witches and wizards against one another in a series of challenges. All is not fun and games, however, as Voldemort hijacks the friendly tournament in an effort to regain his body. At the conclusion of this fourth book, Voldemort is back and eager for power.

The final three novels in the series detail the efforts to defeat Voldemort and prevent Lord Voldemort from regaining his former power. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), members of the Order unified to defeat Lord Voldemort, led by Albus Dumbledore, organize and prepare to resist the rise of Voldemort. Harry learns of a prophecy that reveals he is the one who has "the power to vanquish the Dark Lord." He must accept either he or Voldemort must die. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), Dumbledore reveals a plan to weaken and kill Voldemort, but Dumbledore dies before the plan can be fully accomplished. Harry continues with Dumbledore's plan in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007). With the help of his loyal friends and members of the Order of the Phoenix, he is able to conquer the Dark Lord.

Perspective and Narrator

The series has a third-person narrator with a limited point of view that focuses on the protagonist Harry Potter.


The series is written in the past tense.

About the Title

Harry Potter is the protagonist of the series. Each book spans a year of Harry's life, from age 11 through age 17, with an epilogue that takes place 19 years after the end of the series. Each book's plot revolves around Harry and the key object, location, group, or person that also appears in the book's title.


This study guide and infographic for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter (Series) offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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