Harry Potter is one of the most popular book series of all time, captivating readers of all ages since the first book was published in 1997. But just how long are the Harry Potter books? How many words did J.K. Rowling use to tell the story of the Boy Who Lived? Let’s take a closer look at the word count for each book and for the series as a whole.
Word Count for Each Harry Potter Book
There are 7 books in the original Harry Potter series. Here is the word count for each book:
|Number of Words
|Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
|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 you can see, the word count increased dramatically as the series progressed. The first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is only about 77,000 words. But the longest book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is over 257,000 words, more than triple the length!
This makes sense, as the plot became more complex as Harry grew older. The earlier books focused on his introduction to the wizarding world and confrontations with Voldemort. But the later books included more mature themes and new mysteries for Harry to solve.
Total Word Count for the Harry Potter Series
If we add up the word counts for all 7 books, what is the total number of words in the Harry Potter series? Here is the math:
Philosopher’s Stone: 76,944 words
Chamber of Secrets: 85,141 words
Prisoner of Azkaban: 107,253 words
Goblet of Fire: 190,637 words
Order of the Phoenix: 257,045 words
Half-Blood Prince: 168,923 words
Deathly Hallows: 198,227 words
That adds up to a grand total of 1,084,170 words across the entire Harry Potter series!
That is an immense number of words. For comparison, the average novel is about 80,000 to 100,000 words long. So the full Harry Potter series is about 10 or 11 average sized novels put together. That is a lot of reading and writing for both J.K. Rowling and fans of the series!
Word Count of the Harry Potter Books Compared to Other Popular Book Series
How does the length of the Harry Potter books compare to other beloved book series? Here is a comparison of total word count for several well-known series:
|Total Number of Words
|A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)
|Lord of the Rings
|Hunger Games Trilogy
The Harry Potter books are on the longer side, but not the longest. The A Song of Ice and Fire series that was adapted into the Game of Thrones TV show takes the top spot at over 1.7 million words. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is much shorter at around 473,000 words. The Twilight Saga is comparable to Harry Potter at over 1 million words.
Word Count of the Harry Potter Books Compared to Individual Novels
The Harry Potter series word count also dwarfs most individual novels. Here’s how it stacks up against some famous single books:
|Number of Words
|Harry Potter (complete series)
|The Great Gatsby
|The Grapes of Wrath
|The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
|The Catcher in the Rye
Even longest novels like The Grapes of Wrath at just over 169,000 words seem short compared to the full Harry Potter series. The Great Gatsby, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Catcher in the Rye are all under 75,000 words – shorter than even the first book in the Harry Potter series.
How Long Would it Take to Read the Full Harry Potter Series?
We’ve established that Harry Potter clocks in at over 1 million words across 7 books. But how long would it actually take for the average reader to read the entire series? Here are some estimates:
- For a fast reader who can read 300 words per minute, it would take about 61 hours to read the full series.
- For a moderate pace of 200 words per minute, it would take about 91 hours.
- For a slower reader at 100 words per minute, it would take 182 hours or about 7.5 days of reading non-stop.
Most people take much more time than that to read the series, as those estimates involve reading for hours at a time without break. But it gives you a sense that for an engaged reader, the full Harry Potter series could be completed in a week or two of dedicated reading. However for younger readers just starting the books for the first time, it may take a month or longer to work through the entire series.
To summarize the key facts:
- There are over 1 million words across the 7 Harry Potter books.
- The series word count is comparable to other long series like A Song of Ice and Fire and The Twilight Saga.
- The Harry Potter books are 3-10 times longer than the average novel.
- For a dedicated reader, the full series could be completed in 1-2 weeks.
The extensive length of the Harry Potter series is a testament to J.K. Rowling’s complex world-building and character development. She used over one million words to create a magical universe that still captivates readers today. The books grew in length as the story became more layered and intricate over the years. While daunting, the long word count simply reflects how engrossing and immersive the Harry Potter books truly are for readers.