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A book-by-book guide to prepare you for Harry’s final bow > I July 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books.

A lot has happened since readers met Harry Potter almost a decade ago. He’s gone from a pre-teen orphan who didn’t know he was magical, to the best-known teen wizard in the world.

In fact, so much has happened since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published in 1997, it’s hard to keep up with all the twists in Harry’s saga. It wouldn’t be surprising if some readers were struggling to remember what happened in Harry’s first few years at Hogwarts.

You could comb through several thousand pages of Harry’s adventures in anticipation of reading the final installment, which hits stores July 21, but let’s face it, that’s a big commitment. Instead, read our crib sheet, which hits the high points of what’s happened to Harry and his friends.

BOOK ONE > Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

Major new characters: Harry Potter, a young wizard and an orphan; Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry’s best friends; Rubeus Hagrid, Hogwarts gamekeeper; Draco Malfoy, a fellow student and Harry’s nemesis; Severus Snape, Potions master who dislikes Harry; Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts; Lord Voldemort, an evil wizard almost universally feared; Quirinus Quirrell, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

Major plot points:

• On his 11th birthday, Harry learns he is a wizard. For most of his life, he’s been living with his cruel relatives, the Dursleys, who have kept his magical past a secret.

• Voldemort killed James and Lily Potter but was unable to kill their baby son, Harry. Harry is known throughout the wizarding world for surviving Voldemort’s attack, which left a lightning bolt-shaped scar on the boy’s forehead.

• Harry attends his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is assigned to Gryffindor, one of four houses. He shows a natural talent for playing the wizard game Quidditch.

• Harry learns that Voldemort is trying to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone, which grants its owner wealth and immortality. He, Ron and Hermione fight to keep the stone away from Voldemort.

Memorable quote: “If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign … to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” Dumbledore to Harry.

BOOK TWO > Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Major new characters: Gilderoy Lockhart, author and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher; Dobby, a house-elf (servant) in the Malfoy home; Tom Riddle, a former student with a staggering secret.

Major plot points:

• On his 12th birthday, Harry receives a visit at the Dursleys’ home from Dobby, the Malfoys’ house-elf. Dobby warns Harry not to return to Hogwarts for his second year.

• Harry returns to school anyway, where strange things start to happen. Several students turn up petrified, and a message scrawled on a hallway wall warns, “The chamber of secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware.”

• Harry and his friends learn that Salazar Slytherin, one of Hogwarts’ founders, built the chamber to house a horrible creature that would purge the school of all non-pureblood wizards.

• Harry finds a diary, and through its pages, begins to correspond with its owner, a former student named Tom Riddle.

• When Ginny Weasley is taken into the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron go on a mission to rescue her. Their journey results in a perilous battle and a startling revelation about Riddle.

Memorable quote: “Harry Potter asks if he can help Dobby … Dobby has heard of your greatness, sir, but of your goodness, Dobby never knew.” Dobby to Harry.

BOOK THREE > Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Major new characters: Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher; Sirius Black, an escaped convict; Peter Pettigrew, one of James Potter’s closest friends.

Major plot points:

•After another awful summer, Harry escapes the Dursleys to Diagon Alley on the Knight Bus.

•Harry learns about Black, who escaped from the wizard prison Azkaban. Black was put there for killing 13 people with one curse. He is rumored to be after Harry.

•Harry takes private lessons from Lupin to learn the Patronus charm to defend against Dementors, which affect Harry more than others because of his horrible past.

•Hermione announces that Lupin is a werewolf.

•Lupin figures out that Black was falsely imprisoned, and he and Black confront the true murderer. But Lupin turns into a werewolf and runs into the woods. Black, Harry and Hermione chase after Lupin, but Dementors attack them. Harry’s Patronus charm fails, but they are saved by a Patronus that appears out of nowhere.

Memorable quote: “Didn’t make any difference? It made all the difference in the world, Harry. You helped uncover the truth. You saved an innocent man from a terrible fate.” — Dumbledore to Harry.

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