"Harry -- yer a wizard."
—Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
The best-selling book series of all time.[when?]
This series of seven children's and young adult novels by J. K. Rowling exploded onto the world literary scene in the late 1990s and has become a phenomenon unlike anything seen before in publishing. Blending fantasy with the nearly extinct British Boarding School genre, it made a literary superstar out of its ex-schoolteacher author, and the characters and settings she created have permanently entered popular culture the world over. Needless to say, there is a multimedia franchise revolving around them, consisting of a series of films, video games and various other merchandising tie-ins, but at the heart of it are the books.
The basic story is simple: Harry Potter is a seemingly normal schoolboy, living with his resentful, abusive aunt and uncle after being orphaned in his infancy, who on his eleventh birthday discovers he isn't really normal at all. His parents were both powerful wizards, and Harry himself is the renowned defeater of Voldemort, would-be Evil Overlord of the wizarding world. Voldemort had attempted to kill Harry when the latter was only a year old, but for unknown reasons, the curse he cast at the boy afflicted himself instead, killing him... sort of.
Harry goes to Hogwarts, the great school of magic, and is happy. There are the normal school troubles -- bullies, unpleasant teachers, the three-headed dog guarding a mysterious something -- but nothing serious, until he sees a dark shadow creeping through the forest. Investigating, he eventually discovers that Voldemort did not truly die. Though his body was destroyed, his spirit clung to life, seeking ways to return from death and resume his campaign of terror.
That year Voldemort is defeated, but each new year brings a fresh confrontation between Harry and the forces of evil. Harry grows stronger over the years, mastering his magic, but so too does Voldemort as he recovers from his death. The wizarding world slips back into war as a final battle looms and a prophecy approaches fulfillment.
Books in the series:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Sorcerer's Stone in the United States)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
As the novels are the defining works of the franchise, tropes defining the Wizarding World are listed on the main franchise page. Tropes specific to individual novels are listed on the novel's page. Tropes specific to the film series should be listed on the series page or the pages for the individual films.