Blending fantasy with the nearly extinct British Boarding School genre, the series was the debut work of Rowling, an ex-schoolteacher. 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 aunt and uncle after being orphaned in his infancy. On his eleventh birthday, he learns 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, a three-headed dog guarding something mysterious — but nothing serious, until he sees a dark shadow creeping through the forest. Investigating, he eventually discovers that Voldemort didn't truly die. Though his body was destroyed, his spirit clung to life, seeking ways to return from death and resume his campaign of terror.
The Harry Potter book 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
The spin-off books
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Quidditch Through the Ages
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — stage play by Jack Thorne picking up the story 20 years later