The Harry Potter books may be “children’s books,” but that doesn’t mean that you could sit down and read them all in a day like you could a stack of Dr. Seuss books. There are seven primary Harry Potter books, not including the short stories and spin-offs, and they are long books. So how long would it take to sit down and read them all?
Assuming an average reading speed of 250 words per minute (WPM), it would take approximately 72.27 hours to read the original seven Harry Potter books. Together, the books contain 1,084,170 words, which would take around 4,336.68 minutes to read at 250 words per minute.
This article will break down how long it would take the average reader to read each individual Harry Potter book, how long the series would take if you included the additional spin-off books, and how many words are in each book. It’ll also discuss how long it takes to watch all the currently available Harry Potter movies. Keep reading to learn more!
Reading Times for the Original Seven Books
The following is a list of each of the original Harry Potter books, along with their word counts and how long it would take to read them at an average reading speed of 250 words per minute:
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: 76,944 words; 5.12 hours
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: 85,141 words; 5.67 hours
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: 107,253 words; 7.15 hours
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 190,637 words; 12.7 hours
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: 257,045 words; 17.13 hours
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: 168,923 words; 11.26 hours
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: 198,227 words; 13.21 hours
The longest book in the series is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the shortest is the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. These word counts are for the original US editions of the books.
If you read the UK versions of the books or later copies with edits, the word counts may vary slightly. However, there are no significant differences in any of the various printings of the books, so you can expect the reading times to remain relatively similar.
It’s also important to keep in mind that these times are based on the average WPM of a person who reads 250 WPM. However, Harry Potter is considered middle-grade fiction, meaning its target audience is children ages nine to 12. The average reading speed of children this age is between 107 and 204 WPM. Therefore, it could take significantly longer for them to read the Harry Potter books.
Reading Times for Harry Potter Spin-Offs & Sequels
There have been many Harry Potter-related books published since the original series ended. These include “behind the scenes” books, cookbooks, books detailing the characters’ wands, etc. However, for this article, we’ll look at the most popular fictional spin-offs and an estimate* of how long it would take to read them.
*Note: All estimated reading times come from HowLongToRead.com, assuming an average reading speed of 250 WPM.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: 2 hours and 33 minutes
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: 1 hour and 22 minutes
- Quidditch Through the Ages: 2 hours and 7 minutes
- Tales of Beedle the Bard: 1 hour and 11 minutes
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: 6 hours and 50 minutes
So, if you read all seven of the original Harry Potter books and these five spin-offs, it would take you a total reading time of over 86 hours! That’s over three and half days of non-stop reading time – with no breaks for food, sleep, or anything else!
Runtime for the Harry Potter Movies
Reading the Harry Potter books is the way to go. They’re phenomenal, full of magic, mystery, and tons of other good stuff. They are superior to the movies in every way. (As a bibliophile, I may be a little biased.)
Still, the movies are also a lot of fun.
And once you finish reading the books, you may not want your Harry Potter journey to end. In that case, it’s time to break out the Blu-Rays and watch the films. Because the producers split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two movies, there are actually eight of them.
You may be disappointed if you decide to sit down and watch them in a back-to-back marathon, though. While technically, you could watch all eight movies in one sitting, it would be a long process, and you wouldn’t get much sleep.
The combined runtime for the eight original films is 19 hours and 39 minutes. Trying to cram that into a single session would be tough.
The better option would be to pick one movie a night for a week, perhaps watching the two Deathly Hallows flicks together. That would allow you to watch the entire series in a single week.
As of April 2022, there are also three Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies to add to the collection. Their respective runtimes are as follows:
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: 2 hours and 13 minutes
- Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald: 2 hours and 14 minutes
- Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore: 2 hours and 23 minutes
Watching these three films would add another 6 hours and 50 minutes to your total marathon! That would put you firmly over the 24-hour mark!
If you decide you want to read the Harry Potter books, it will definitely take you some time. The good news is that it’s certainly time well spent, especially if you love to read about magical worlds, wizards, fantastical creatures, and more.
If you’re the kind of person who loves to immerse yourself in a good series and rarely come up for air, Harry Potter is great. Just be sure you give yourself plenty of time because it’s not something you’ll be able to do overnight.