The Harry Potter Movies Ranked from Worst to Best.

Two weeks ago I decided to re-watch all the Harry Potter movies. The television marathons I usually rely on have been notably absent and my withdrawals were too great to ignore. It was time to crack out the DVDs.

I spent 20 hours watching Daniel Radcliffe, building my trivia knowledge, and forgetting that I am a merely a muggle whose greatest problem is deciding what to eat for lunch. To round out my time in Harry Potter land, I’ve decided to create a list for you all – my personal list of the Harry Potter movies from least favorite to the absolute best in the world.

There are no bad Harry Potter movies. Just movies that are slightly less awesome than the rest. Movies where being an angsty teenage overshadows the thrill of facing death every year of your life in new and inventive ways.

I feel I must emphasize that this list is completely personal and based entirely on the whims of a twenty-something who habitually buys theater tickets based on the likelihood of seeing an attractive man. With that in mind, please enjoy.

8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I know, this shocked me too. I used to enjoy watching the kiddos get all dressed up and conquer the battle against puberty, but suddenly I’m over it. As I age I begin to realize that Robert Pattinson isn’t, in fact, all that attractive and that Cedric Diggory’s death was probably the least climactic of all the deaths in all the Harry Potter movies – even less than the death of Harry’s owl, Hedwig. Voldemort finding his way into a body with no nose was the most exciting part of this movie. Booo.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

It’s not this movie’s fault that everything we care about happens in the second part. However, I still reserve the right to hate watching our beloved characters endure the great emo phase of their teenage years. Except worse! Remember high school emo? Now add in the dead of winter, camping in the middle of nowhere, waiting to hear your family is dead, and the necklace of sadness. It’s too much. Also, this is the movie where they try really hard to set the stage for a Ron and Hemione romance…I don’t buy it!

6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I still chuckle when I think about Harry Potter on lucky juice. Slughorn: “Harry!” Harry: “Sir!” See, I just laughed out loud again. Then again, I still get pissed when I think about Ron dating that annoying blonde chick. (Such a pity she had to die in the final battle.) Personally, I was disturbed by Harry using that sectumsempra spell, even if he didn’t know what it was. You can’t just go around making people bleed out, especially when they’re kids dealing with major emotional crises like how to go from a teenage bully to a Dumbeldore killer. Harry Potter and Dumbledore both fell from grace in this movie.

Pick a 'Harry Potter' animal.

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Oh, Dobby. How we learned to love you. But oh how I hated you when you first appeared at Privet Drive. Still, this movie was pretty fun. Phoenixes flying around, students getting petrified, young, handsome Voldemort. Thrills throughout. Plus, there was major plot point here: the first horcrux!

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4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Thank the magical realm for Sirius Black. He was rabid most of this movie, but it was awesome simply to see his face – we only have precious few moments with him after all. The timeline shift was a bit annoying (I expected the movie to end about 40 minutes earlier) but at least the Hippogriff survived. We must also pay homage to the moment Hermione punches Draco in the face and that scene where Harry Potter produces that kick-ass patronus.

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3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Hedwig is dead. Mad Eye is dead. Dumbledore is dead. Fred, Remus, and Tonks die. Snape dies. Oh, and Harry Potter dies too! It’s basically the end of times, but  I still enjoyed the mess out of this movie. It was extremely satisfying watching our team finally make some progress on that horcrux hunt and make their way back to Hogwarts. And Snape’s redemption was absolutely EVERYTHING. I remember being in line at the bookstore back in the day and having to choose between two stickers: should we trust Snape or is he the absolute worst? I always knew he was the realest! Also, the fact that Harry ended up the “master of death” brought me great joy. (Thanks, Dumbledore!)

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2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Back to Sirius Black. Harry Potter has family for a whole sixty seconds, but it still warms my heart. Harry’s all like, “hey Mrs. Weasley, I know you’re like a mother to me, but my godfather is standing there so I’m gonna ignore you while I hug away all the pain of 12 years of loneliness.” So adorable. And then Harry Potter takes badassery to a new level by sassing Professor Umbridge (“I must not tell lies”), defying the establishment, and teaching the most consistent Defense Against the Dark Arts course Hogwarts has seen in years. Lastly, Dumbledore. In his office. With the phoenix exit. So much swag!

BONUS: Remember that one time Harry Potter gets pissed at being ignored and yells at Dumbeldore? I love it.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone

I picked the very first film as my favorite because it really is the most magical. Maybe it’s because of the joy I get from watching Hagrid wreak havoc on the Dursley’s and help Harry make a major come-up. Maybe it feels that way because it takes me back to when I was ten years old and wishing I could get a letter from Hogwarts. Maybe it’s simply because they’re all so young that it takes you back to simpler times. When all you wanted was to make the team or win the pizza party. I will probably always enjoy watching this movie first for the same reasons I weep for my childhood.

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Now let’s argue. 😛

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I can’t wait until they fix my eyes.

This Saturday morning, somewhere between dreaming and being awake, I found myself out of sorts. In my mind, when I woke up I’d be able to see everything around me and it would be the most glorious thing. I’d see my dog’s eyes peeking at me, the numbers on my alarm clock, whether some creep had snuck in while I was sleeping…In actuality, I’m not getting LASIK for another 6 days, so I wouldn’t be able to see shit until I put my glasses on and I had to be okay with that.

When I finally woke up a couple hours later – I know, it’s a gift – I had to deal with the fact that this is gonna be a rough week. Until Friday, or what I have affectionately termed LASIK Day, I am going to be in a constant state of excitement/anxiety. Could I possibly deal with this every morning for the next 6 days? Dreams of waking up, the crushing reality of waiting. The complete distraction of the future, and inadequacy of the present. It sounds like I’m joking, but I’m not. Instead of doing something productive with my time, all I feel like doing is seeing. So I wander around the house waiting for someone to interrupt my thoughts and make time pass more quickly.

An hour later, I’m still anxious, so I’m realizing I’ll have to take some of this into my own hands. I’ve started compiling a list – these are just a few of the things I could do besides wait for LASIK Day:

  1. Re-watch all the Harry Potter movies or re-read all the Harry Potter books.
  2. Find another unnecessarily complicated recipe to create that requires ingredients from not one, not two, but at least three different grocery stores.
  3. Plan my future. What color is my parachute? Who will go with me to the land of the stray dogs? How will I make my first million?
  4. List out all the things I want, but can no longer afford because I’m getting LASIK. Is it too soon to ask for birthday presents?
  5. Write a blog post about it.

So here we are. I might actually try one or all of these. Ok, I did try at least one, and once I’m done I’m going to be in a “right state” as I figure out what to do next. Wish me luck guys.

Write like you love it.

One of my greatest, most irregular joys, is getting a notification from FanFiction.net that someone liked one of my stories. It doesn’t matter if they favorited me, favorited the story, or just followed it, but it temporarily gives me a high. Someone’s reading my work! And they really like me!

I haven’t written Sailor Moon stories since I was maybe 14 years old. I don’t remember any of the ploys and I wouldn’t even recognize my own writing. Still, there’s magic and motivation in those unexpected notifications.

At the same time I was writing Sailor Moon fanfiction, I was reading tons of it. One of my favorite authors was super legit. She didn’t have an AIM username, she had a real name, first and last. And she wrote tons of well-written stories. Like it was her job to write fanfiction that met all my heart’s desires.

So, when she commented that one of her own stories was being published I loathed her. I mean, I was happy for her, but also incredibly jealous that she snuck her legitness to new levels like that. The ugly green monster kept me from reading one of her books for a while, but eventually, I cracked it open and fell back in love.

Her books were even better written than her fanfiction and still kept all the elements I loved in my Sailor Moon stories – romance, intrigue, and magic. When my local library announced that she was coming to town for a book signing, I leaped at it.

Either headshots are really deceiving or she really glammed up since her first novel was published. I almost didn’t recognize her when I saw her, but she was there speaking, and they set her up to sign all the folks’ books, so I knew it was her. And I waited in line like a timid sixteen-year-old.

I spent about thirty minutes brainstorming the most meaningful comment to make. Should I compliment her books or tell her how long I’ve been a fan? Should I just compliment her or ask a question?

Eventually, the pressure was on, and I was standing in front of her, precious seconds before me. What came out of my mouth was, “Do you think you’ll write anymore Sailor Moon fanfiction?” Now, looking back, it may not have been my best angle, but you gotta understand, I thought we’d be best friends after that. She’d recognize how legit of a fan I was and give me some insider info on whether I can expect to learn more about my favorite couple (Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, obviously) in between reading her original novels, which I was clearly investing in.

But she said, “No, I like getting paid.”

I was shattered and shuttered. No more Sailor Moon fanfiction. No great bonding moment. All that was before me was a writer who wrote to pay the bills. And I was disgusted.

I couldn’t put my finger on what my actual problem was at first. She wasn’t rude or saying anything wrong. It made sense that her writing would be dedicated to whatever her publisher told her to crank out. But it undoubtedly rubbed me wrong.

I mulled it over, and months later, it still irks the shit out of me. I almost don’t want to read another one of her books. I haven’t since that day.

And I think I finally get it. It’s not about Sailor Moon, it’s about writing. As a writer, I don’t expect writers to be enamored with all forms of writing. I don’t expect them to go all starving artist and forsake all funds for the love of writing. I, personally, would love to get paid to write. But is that gonna keep me from writing I feel like writing? Nope. I don’t write because someone tells me to. I write because some idiot part of myself compels me to. And because someone once told me that there may be people out there who need what I have to say.

So when another writer tells me they write to get paid, they’re telling me that they don’t care about the art of writing. Their purpose, their audience, their impact. They just care about dollars. It’s like finding out that Apple doesn’t care about customer service, or LeBron James doesn’t care about winning, or Santa Class does what he does for the ad money. It’s hard to be a fan of that.

Unfortunately, this leaves me with another problem: contentment. Money is one of the great motivators, but for now, I’ll just have to write for you…and for the culture.

Food is killing’ me!

You could say that eating right is a pretty big deal to me. “Right,” to me, is anything that doesn’t make me clutch my stomach and wonder how long I have until death finds me. Since I’m allergic to nearly everything, this means that my ideal lifestyle is vegan – no eggs, no dairy, no beef, and definitely no McD (apart from fries, because fries are unstoppable).

I finally decided to give a plant-based diet a serious try when two things happened. First, a lovely store called Fresh Thyme moved down the street and introduced me to a world of substitutions. Did you know you can find substitutes for butter, eggs, cheese, pizza, ground meat, fish, ice cream, yogurt, and almost anything else you can think of?! It’s lit! I made mac and cheese for Thanksgiving and ate it completely guilt-free. Blessings on blessings on blessings.

The second thing that happened was an incident at a networking event. Imagine my excitement, my eagerness, upon spying delicious brownies at the table right next to my table. Now imagine my horror – oh, the horror – at my stomach cramping up thirty minutes later. Imagine me, wincing, looking like I’m hating every moment of my time there. I mean, I did, but I can usually pretend for a while.

So, I started eating differently. Less meat, more smoothies and veggies. Less butter, more olive oil. And lots of rice. Rice for life. Rice for a butter-free life. Rice for all those feelings hurt by all the steaks and sweets that have forsaken me.

What could go wrong?

Well, I’ll tell you what can go wrong. You can live your life thinking you’re living your best life and then happen upon a book called The How Not to Die Cookbook. You can buy this book and start perusing the recipes. You can look up ‘white rice’ in the index and then scratch your head because it’s only mentioned in the introduction and exactly 0 recipes. And then you can read that white rice is the devil.

Okay, so it didn’t say it’s the devil. It just said white rice is polished. Yep, polished free of all the great nutrients of the world. I immediately began to mourn my chipotle lime rice. But what of brown rice? Well, for one thing, it’s disgusting. And for another, it apparently has a higher arsenic content than it’s polished counterpart. What’s a girl with a rice cooker to do?

I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. Try harder. Also, continue not being perfect. I couldn’t eat rice and broccoli forever. I need to branch out in the world of plant-based nutrition. Find some more safe foods in the world. And then eat rice and chicken when the spirit moves me.

A girl’s gotta live, ya know?

New year, new me.

I’m not the same person I was last year. That chick was perfect. Anything she wanted to do, she just up and did it, no problem. And her routine was impeccable. For a month straight she woke up at 4:00 am and wrote and worked out. She had a fire for life. I am not that person.

This year I have a whole new routine. I wake up, then sit in my bed contemplating my past decisions. More specifically, why did I buy that 10-class hot yoga pass? You see, my past self was more ambitious about commitments than my 2018 self. My 2018 self feels totally disrespected.

Let’s rewind.

On Black Friday 2017, I got an email that I didn’t delete quickly enough. It told me I could get twice the yoga classes for half the price. Even though this was slightly before Mercury went into retrograde, I swear there was a disconnect between the natural inhibitors I so dearly depend on and the part of my brain that likes buying things. I committed.

Two visits in, I realized I had eight classes, almost no motivation, and less than two months to go. What was I gonna do? This is what:

  1. Wait until it’s almost time to wash my hair and feel guilty for not scheduling a hot yoga session. If I sweat my hair out, it ought to be well-timed.
  2. Look at the schedule to note that there are about 15 convenient classes I could attend.
  3. Get mad about it.
  4. Sit and stare at the wall trying to will a good excuse upon myself. Maybe there’s a sore throat somewhere? The weight of a thousand men?
  5. Then, text someone I trust, “should I go to yoga today?,” read the reply, “yes,” and think “this is bullshit” as I get up and put on the cute new tights I got for Christmas.
  6. Thirty minutes later, find a space for myself among a bunch of strange yogis and wait for the moment I can see the sweat dripping from my face.
  7. Shortly after, feel good about the fact I did it but make no plans to do it again.
  8. Repeat.

This scenario is almost metaphorical in its applications across my life right now. Bunches of plans were laid in 2017 that my new self broods over before subsequently enjoying them. This tells me that my interests are actually the same, just buried. I think this is what Steven Pressfield the author of The War of Art calls Resistance.

Today, I played the dance again and beat Resistance. I made it to yoga somehow and even to my computer to get my fingers moving again. But you know what else I did? Whined. Promised myself I wouldn’t get up no matter how my dogs begged for attention. Took a nap close to my bedtime.

I blame all the pressure to make each new year a better year. It’s got me growing backwards, but I can’t be alone, and hey, maybe we can help each other. The next time I ask, “should I get up and do that thing I don’t want to do,” it’d be great if you could just say “yes.”