What Genre Is Harry Potter?

Harry Potter is part of the fantasy literature genre. Within this category, the books fall under the more specific genre of ‘urban fantasy’.

These novels are mainly dramas, but they have some aspects of black humor throughout. 

What Genre Is Harry Potter?

What Is Fantasy?

The genre of fantasy is a section of fiction that involves aspects into the narrative that are otherworldly, or magical. Fantasy novels are set in fictional locations, but they still resemble the real world. 

Why Is Harry Potter So Popular?

While the series was initially intended to be teen fiction, the world of Harry Potter intrigued the hearts of many other age groups, too. Since the films were released, the love for the series grew, and generation after generation fell in love with the series.

The story of Harry Potter was so detailed that people fell in love with it immediately, after the films were made, the popularity just grew and grew. 

And if you’re looking for books like Harry Potter for adults, you might want to take a look at this list!

What Do Fantasy Novels Contain?

If you are writing a fantasy story, the following themes will often be incorporated into their novels:

Original Magic

There is a magic system integrated into almost all of the fantasy genres out there. A magic system is a set of laws that indicate how supernatural powers are used within a certain fantasy story. 

Often, this is the main appeal of the novel. The rest of the book is commonly based around a magic system. This is a set of laws that show how supernatural powers are used in a story. 

This is the most popular reason for people to read fantasy books in the first place. The plot and characters will be based around this fantasy narrative. This magic narrative is the main feature that separates the fantasy genre from all other genres.

Magic allows the impossible to become possible. What is not real, or can’t be real in our world, is allowed to become real in the fantasy world. 

World Building

Elaborate world building is something that fantasy authors have to construct. The author will build an intricate imaginary world where the story will be set. This world doesn’t have to fit into the everyday world, instead, the world that is created can be magical.

This is what JK Rowling does in Harry Potter. The world surrounding Harry Potter is very well built, and it has a lot of detail. 

People who read fantasy books often like the idea of escaping a different world than the one that they live in. Readers of fantasy books often want to lose themselves in the story, so having a detailed fantasy world is very important to the readers. 


It is also common for a fantasy novel to involve a dangerous quest. The characters will usually have to overcome lots of villains and obstacles. This quest is sometimes to obtain a physical object, or it is a quest to self discovery.

In the case of Harry Potter, the quest is to beat the villain. A bit of a tough task considering how old Harry is in the books.

The quest is a great way to explore who the characters are, and explore their strengths and weaknesses. The quest forces the characters to confront these weaknesses and face them, head on.

Mythical Creatures

Mythical creatures add another component to the fantasy genre. They help to reinforce the magical and supernatural aspects of the story. 

These creatures can come in many different forms, including dragons or goblins. They can also be created by the author, which is something that JK Rowling does.

Usually, the mythical creatures in a story have some basis in reality which helps to ground the novels in reality, making them more appealing to the audience.

What Genre Is Harry Potter?

What Other Genres Does Harry Potter Touch Upon?

Harry Potter contains some examples of a coming of age story. The novels contain elements of horror, thriller, adventure and romance. 

Stephen King, a very successful horror writer, sees the books as ‘shrewd mystery tales’, as the books take on the manner of Sherlock Holmes’ mystery books. This is because the novels are told from a third-person perspective with limited knowledge.

This is only broken a handful of times, for instance in the opening chapter of the Philosopher’s Stone. 

What Is The Style Of Harry Potter?

J.K Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, uses juxtaposition to pit the ordinary against the extraordinary. In her novels, there is the usual world, which is inhabited by Muggles. Muggles are non-magical people, who live in the contemporary world.

Then, there is also another world which is where the wizards live. It is not completely different from the mundane, instead, the wizards have a lot of the same mundane problems, but they just live with magic. This novel is written in the third person, limited view narrative. 

What reading level is Harry Potter, though? Quite accessible for children 8th grade and above!

What Are The Origins Of The Fantasy Novel?

Fantasy in storytelling stems back to ancient times. Back then, mythological narratives were very popular. The genre is very popular, and it has lasted the test of time, still remaining popular today.

While it is not clear where the fantasy genre originated exactly, there are some theories as to who helped to bring it to prominence, or to keep it prominent. 

What Are Some Other Examples Of Fantasy Literature?

There are a few different types of fantasy literature, all of which have hundreds of different examples.

There is high or epic fantasy which are novels that are set in their own world which has its own rules and laws. For instance, The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkein is an example of this. 

There is then the low fantasy example which is set in the real world but there are some magical elements involved. An example of this is The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Banks. 

Magical realism is another type of fantasy which shows the characters in a realistic world with just a few fantastical elements. 

Final Thoughts 

Harry Potter is a fantasy novel. It contains all the features that define a fantasy novel as it contains magic, a quest and plenty of mythical creatures.’

If you want to read about what year Harry Potter take place in or see what to read after Harry Potter, we have two guides about that. Do check them out!

Sophie Andrea