J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe has come a long way since “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was released way back in 1997.
Right now, there are ten books, eight movies, and one play — and it’s getting even more complicated.
To help you out, here’s a handy guide to all the material in the Harry Potter universe. The release years are included to give you an idea of how everything unfolded.
There are ten books in the Harry Potter series: seven main story arcs, and three shorter, supplementary ones. Here are the main ones, which tell Harry’s story:
- “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (1997, published as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in the UK)
- “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (1998)
- “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (1999)
- “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2000)
- “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2003)
- “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2005)
- “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (2007)
And then there are the three supplementary books. They fill out more of the Harry Potter universe, but they’re not, strictly speaking, essential to read for you to understand the story. Rowling actually gave all of their proceeds to charity. Here’s what they are:
- “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2001) — A book written by Rowling under the pseudonym Newt Scamander. In the series itself, the book is a textbook for Harry’s Care of Magical Creatures class in his third year at Hogwarts, assigned by Hagrid. The same title is being used for a movie and script written by Rowling, due later this year. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.
- “Quidditch Through the Ages” (2001) — Also a book written by Rowling, under the pseudonym Kennilworthy Whisp, with a foreword “written” by Albus Dumbledore. The book appears several times in the Harry Potter series proper. It’s a history of the magical sport of Quidditch.
- “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” (2008) — A story book, annotated by “Dumbledore” (but written by Rowling), of five fairy tale-like short stories by Beedle the Bard, who’s kind of like the magical world’s Brothers Grimm. The book plays an important role in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” giving clues to the nature of the three magical “hallows,” objects that Harry seems to need to defeat Voldemort.
Those are the ten books that are already released. We know for sure that we’re getting two more Harry Potter books later this year. Here they are:
- “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — Parts One & Two” (July 31, 2016) — A book version of a new play written by Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. The story takes place 19 years after the events of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” It centres on Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but the actors in the stage version aren’t the ones from the movie.
- “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay” (November 19, 2016) — The screenplay for the movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which will be released a day earlier. The story is about Newt Scamander, who’s the author of the book with the same title in the original Harry Potter series, getting into trouble in New York. It takes place several decades before the events of the main Harry Potter story.
The eight Potter movies that have been released so far are based on the books. There’s one for each book, released between 2001 and 2011, with the exception of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which was split into two movies. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” were released in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Next, we’ll get a trilogy of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” movies. The release dates are subject to change, and the two sequels don’t have finalised titles yet. There’s also a chance we’ll get a “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” movie down the road.
- “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (November 18, 2016) — The movie will be about Newt Scamander, a British wizard played by Eddie Redmayne who arrives in New York around the year 1920.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Part 2 (2018)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Part 3 (2020)
Complicating the Harry Potter canon even more are the bits and pieces of material Rowling has released over the years. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Harry Potter prequel short story — In 2008, Rowling wrote and sold to charity an 800-word short story that takes place before the series’ events. It’s about a confrontation between muggle (read: non-magical) police officers and Sirius Black and James Potter, Harry’s dad.
- Pottermore — Since 2011, Rowling has published some work on Pottermore, a Harry Potter-centric website. There’s all sorts of stuff there. It has everything from background information on the Malfoy Family, to an illuminating profile of Professor Minerva McGonagall, to a 5,000-word short story about American wizardry. You can also do things like take a quiz to get sorted into a Hogwarts or Ilvermorny house.
Other J.K. Rowling works:
That sums up pretty much everything written by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter universe. But if you’re a Rowling completist, she’s written four non-Potter books worth seeking out.
After “Deathly Hallows,” she released “A Casual Vacancy” in 2012. It’s a non-magical novel about the politics and relationships of a couple of towns in the English countryside. It was later adapted into a pretty solid miniseries.
Under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, Rowling is writing the “Cormoran Strike” series, another non-fantasy story. They’re about a detective by the same name who solves mysteries and struggles with romance in London.
There are three of those books out right now, published each year between 2013 and 2015: “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” “The Silkworm,” and “Career of Evil.” Rowling said she plans to write more Cormoran Strike books than Harry Potter books, but they haven’t quite taken hold of the public imagination in the same way.
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