My Harry Potter re-read is complete and I have FINALLY, finally narrowed down my Top 10 HP Chapters (it was impossible to pick only 7 this time, sorry bout it)! I’m so happy that I was able to do a re-read this year because I’ve missed my boy and it had been too long since my last trip to Hogwarts. This series will always have a special place in my heart and it will never not make me emotional. I have also been re-listening to Binge Mode HP throughout my re-read, which has made everything a thousand times more enjoyable/heartbreaking/sob-inducing/hilarious. I love Jason and Mal so much and they feel like good friends (MY CLOSE PERSONAL GOOD FRIENDS JASON AND MAL) to me at this point.
Though I’ve always pushed Deathly Hallows a bit further down my rankings when I think of favorite HP books, that’s not to say that this book isn’t amazing. It’s actually REALLY FRICKIN’ GOOD. What a series finale. It’s incredible to think of what an achievement this book is- to have to wrap up one of the BIGGEST book series of all time, to stick the landing and produce this book with such a satisfying ending is a master class in writing (it’s really unfortunate and horrible that Rowling has turned out to be such a garbage person). I cried FIFTEEN TIMES, which (ding ding ding ding) makes Deathly Hallows the book I cried the most during!!!! Actually surprising to me but in hindsight with all the deaths I should’ve seen it coming. There’s so many shocking moments in this and plot points that pay off in the best ways. Excluding the epilogue which I have a few problems with, it’s just a perfect ending. I was just in awe throughout the last few hundred pages because it just does not stop and it is so thrilling. I wish the movie had paid off in the same way (WTF WAS THAT FINAL HARRY/VOLDEMORT BATTLE I MEAN WHAT WAS THAT)
It was so frickin’ hard to make this list. In all of my book wrap-ups I’ve been taking notes of my favorite 3-5 chapters from each book so that I could better compile this final list, but it still proved near impossible. I felt like I was changing my mind every other week. I would have to go back through each wrap-up multiple times to see what I had written about each chapter and where it should go on this ranking. TOO MANY DECISIONS. To recap, here’s my top 3 chapter rankings from each book (except for Deathly Hallows, which lists 7 since I haven’t said them before). Note that since I posted the wrap-ups, a couple rankings have changed:
Sorcerer’s Stone: The Mirror of Erised, Halloween, The Boy Who Lived
Chamber of Secrets: Dobby’s Reward, The Heir of Slytherin, The Rogue Bludger
Prisoner of Azkaban: Owl Post Again, The Servant of Lord Voldemort, Flight of the Fat Lady
Goblet of Fire: Priori Incantatem, The Second Task, The Parting of the Ways
Order of the Phoenix: The Lost Prophecy, The Only One He Ever Feared, The Hogwarts High Inquisitor
Half-Blood Prince: Horcruxes, The Cave, Will and Won’t
Deathly Hallows: The Forest Again, The Flaw in the Plan, King’s Cross, The Prince’s Tale, Kreacher’s Tale, The Will of Albus Dumbledore, The Silver Doe
Without further rambling… my Top 10 Favorite Harry Potter Chapters (if it’s a repeat of a chapter from my previous wrap-ups, I’ve included my old summaries for them in italics):
1 The Forest Again
I anticipated this being my number one and I was absolutely correct. You get the immediate fallout from The Prince’s Tale and it’s just… THE Harry chapter. Harry has finally gotten the final puzzle pieces that allows him to see Dumbledore’s grand plan, and though it’s a crushing blow, it’s a BEAUTIFUL chapter. Every word is perfection. From his decision not to see Ron & Hermione, to telling Neville about Nagini, to turning away from Ginny, to his final walk into the forest… it’s incredible. Not to mention everything that happens IN the forest- THE RESURRECTION RING, “You’ll stay with me?”, walking to Voldemort, and the moment the killing curse hits (which is actually super well done in the movies)!!! Absolute crushes me every time and I just sob throughout the whole thing. There’s a REASON that I got “Stay close to me” tattooed on me, because it’s an ALL TIME CHAPTER!!!!!
2 The Flaw in the Plan
When I was originally thinking about my ranking I completely forgot about this chapter and oh my GOD what an idiot. The actual final chapter of the entire series and it’s AMAZING. Harry is on another frickin’ level in this chapter. I’m forever mad that the movies fucked up this chapter so badly, because the TENSION and the DRAMA and the SASS that happens in the conversation-duel between Harry and Voldemort is so great. Also, Hagrid carrying Harry back through the forest, the reactions to Harry’s “death” and the mini-battle before Harry and Voldemort’s is all outstanding. UGH ITS SO GOOD.
Harry gets Slughorn’s memory and he and Dumbledore get to view it in its entirety, Harry (and Dumbledore) get full clarity about the extent of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, Dumbledore says Harry can come with him to destroy the next one he finds, PLUS… the last four pages of this chapter are probably some of my favorites of the entire series. It always makes me cry. Harry’s realization of what lies ahead that I won’t even try to paraphrase: “But he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents — that there was all the difference in the world.”
4 The Lost Prophecy
I always love the facetime with Dumbledore chapters, but this one is just SO MUCH. I sob multiple times during it because everything is just so raw, and we finally get some answers and insight into Dumbledore’s planning. It’s A LOT to take in, but it’s so, so great.
5 The Cave
GOOD GOD. I mean, it’s THE CAVE. I can’t even go into detail about this chapter without crying, but this chapter’s ending is one of the quotes that instantly, no fail makes me frickin’ SOB. I mean, the entire last 2 pages wreck me, but this is absolutely GUTTING:
“It’s going to be all right, sir,” Harry said over and over again, more worried by Dumbledore’s silence than he had been by his weakened voice. “We’re nearly there… I can Apparate us both back… Don’t worry…”
“I am not worried, Harry,” said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. “I am with you.”
6 King’s Cross
No surprise that this makes my list, since it’s literally an entire chapter of just Harry and Dumbledore talking. We FINALLY (finally!) get all the answers from Dumbledore. “You beautiful boy. You brave, brave man” WRECKS ME. I think the stretch of Prince’s Tale/The Forest Again/King’s Cross/Flaw in the Plan might be the chapter set that makes me cry the most. I can’t even really go into all the details about this conversation that I love but everything is perfect. Plus, my fave HP quote- “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
7 Priori Incantatem
Harry and Voldemort dueling for the first time? YESSSS. (Also lemme just say that the previous chapter’s final line of “Now untie him, Wormtail, and give him back his wand” is CHILL INDUCING.) Perfect set up for this lovely chapter where Harry demonstrates his Gryffindor courage and it’s just a ALL-TIME Harry chapter. I was totally crying when the wand-ghost-spirits all are encouraging him to hold on. SO GOOD.
8 The Prince’s Tale
This making my list is in no way because of Snape, whom I hate, but because of the craftsmanship behind the chapter. I would give anything to have a clearer memory of reading these final chapters for the first time. All I can remember about reading Deathly Hallows is opening to the chapter page for this chapter in my room late at night, and that’s IT. I have no idea what my reaction to finally learning all of the answers was and it’s a frickin’ tragedy. The fact that the entire series basically hinges on this chapter is incredibly satisfying and it’s a feat of genius.
9 The Only One He Ever Feared
The immediate fallout of Sirius’ death PLUS the Dumbledore/Voldemort duel- the beginning has some of the hardest passages in all of HP for me to get through. “Sirius had never kept him waiting before” will never NOT make me cry. Because of how absolutely painful and heartbreaking this entire paragraph is for me to read, I’ve included it below, just because of how much it hurts me:
“Lupin dragged Harry away from the dais, Harry still staring at the archway, angry at Sirius now for keeping him waiting —
But some part of him realized, even as he fought to break free from Lupin, that Sirius had never kept him waiting before… Sirius had risked everything, always, to see Harry, to help him… If Sirius was not reappearing out of that archway when Harry was yelling for him as though his life depended on it, the only possible explanation was that he could not come back… That he really was…”
10 Owl Post Again
It NEVER fails to make me cry. We get everyone’s reactions to Sirius and Buckbeak escaping, Lupin and Harry chatting, Dumbledore’s “you think the dead we loved every truly leave us” talk with Harry, SIRIUS’ LETTER (when he gives permission for Harry to go to Hogsmeade I immediately break down into sobs) and Harry telling the Dursleys that he’s got a convicted murderer for a godfather… wow. Legendary.
WHEW. That was difficult (and very long). I’ll be posting my final HP wrap-up soon, which will include my final book power rankings! Before I go, here’s my final fave chapter art from DH (this was a hard one to pick!):