(1) Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, (2) The Chamber of Secrets, (3) The Prisoner of Azkaban, (4) The Goblet of Fire, (5) The Order of the Phoenix, (6) The Half-Blood Prince, and (7) The Deathly Hallows
So, how do I rank the books in comparison to each other? For the most part I have liked each one more than the next, but I would say The Order of the Phoenix is the best.
The curious thing about the series is that you can tell when the editors started to back-off with their comments, or JK just didn’t listen to them as much. The Goblet of Fire is significantly longer than the previous three books, and all the later books kept growing from there. Did all that added length diminish the books? Obviously not based on book sales. Was all that added detail necessary? It’s a matter of opinion. For the most part I liked the added details, but there were certain tangents that should have been excised. One example is all the Dumblebore history. That could have easily been its own book, and its exclusion from the final one would not have harmed the story.
How do the films compare to the books? They compare favorably. The challenge of movies based on books is to find the main point of the story and focus on that. The films have done this very well. I also have no problems when the film veers from the book. These are two different art forms; what works on the page may not work on the screen. That being said, I am looking forward to seeing how the film deals with the final battle between Harry and Voldermort. Frankly, I thought the book’s resolution was overly convoluted and weak. I’m expecting the film to be much better. We shall see.