The 'Harry Potter' saga thus far ...
Harry's adventures have brought him to excitement and the brink of danger.
By KAREN MACPHERSON
A summary of the action so far in the first five "Harry Potter" books:
1. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
For 10 miserable years, since his parents were killed, Harry Potter, a bespectacled, tousle-haired boy, has lived with his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon Dursley. The Dursleys dote on their selfish, overweight son and loathe Harry, whom they reluctantly agreed to raise.
When he turns 11, Harry suddenly discovers he is a wizard who will spend the next seven years honing his skills at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He also learns that his parents weren't killed in a car accident, as his aunt and uncle insisted, but were murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort in a battle that left the infant Harry with the lightning-shaped scar on his forehead.
At Hogwarts, run by a genial and powerful wizard named Albus Dumbledore, Harry finds that he is a legend in the wizard world, and meets Draco Malfoy, a sneering bully who will become his enemy. He also learns about the game of Quidditch and meets his best friends: freckled, redheaded Ron Weasley, a courageous, if hotheaded, boy, and Hermione Granger, a girl sometimes too obsessed with school but also with more than her share of bravery.
By the end of the book, Harry has survived an encounter with Voldemort and begins to understand that the battle between the two of them is far from over.
2. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"
The book opens near the end of Harry's miserable summer "vacation" at the Dursleys. One night, he is visited by a strange, impish creature named Dobby, who begs him to stay away from Hogwarts if he wants to live. Harry quickly learns that Dobby is right: Someone is trying to kill him, or at least maim him, even as other Hogwarts students are turned to stone.
As Hogwarts' staff struggles to keep its students protected, Harry, Ron and Hermione decide to take action. After a series of adventures, coupled with the usual misadventures, the three uncover the culprit, but not before Harry nearly loses his life.
3. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
Returning to Hogwarts for his third year, Harry finds that the school is being guarded by the deadly Dementors. There's been a breakout from the horrific wizard prison called Azkaban, and the Dementors have been sent to keep the school safe from Sirius Black, the escaped prisoner.
Before the book ends, Harry learns the truth about Sirius Black. He also learns that he must guard against the power of the Dementors, who will suck out people's souls if they are allowed. Also, Harry once again must find a way to conquer Voldemort, who has used a servant to try to gain power over the boy wizard.
4. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"
Harry is troubled by pain in his scar all summer, and when he returns for his fourth year at Hogwarts (after attending the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasley family), the pain gets worse. Harry understands that his scar somehow links him with Voldemort and he anxiously wonders what the increased pain might mean.
Still, Harry is able to put aside his worries as his interest in girls increases. He also has another concern: He's somehow become one of two students from Hogwarts who must compete with students from two other European wizarding schools for the Triwizard Tournament.
In the contest, the students must use their wits and learn to complete three seemingly impossible tasks. However, things go haywire in the end, a student dies and Harry again finds himself face-to-face with the increasingly powerful Voldemort.
5. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
Harry finds himself in the midst of a magical world that is bitterly divided over whether Voldemort really has returned to strength. Harry has seen this for himself, but others in the wizard world, including top government officials, refuse to see it.
Meanwhile, Harry has other problems. His efforts to date Cho Chang are only intermittently successful. Even more disheartening, Hogwarts has been taken over by a Ministry of Magic official named Dolores Umbridge, who sadistically delights in physically and verbally abusing students.
Eventually, things come to a head and there is a deadly battle between Harry and his friends and Voldemort's servants. The consequences of the battle will change Harry's life forever.