The Greatest Fantasy Novels of All Time Part 3

J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling

Today we add another entry onto our list of the greatest fantasy novels of all time. As we discussed with our first two entries, each novel will be selected based on the evidence.

Evidence can be flawed, and it can vary from novel to novel. Some novels may make the list based on the awards they received. Others will appear on the list based on their impact to society and culture.

Before we get to this week’s entry, let’s review our list so far.

The Greatest Fantasy Novels of All Time


  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (Best Novel Awards: International Fantasy Award 1957, Prometheus Hall of Fame Award 2009)
  • Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 2004, Locus 2004, Nebula 2004; Nominations: Mythopoeic 2004)



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. RowlingTitle:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Author: J. K. Rowling

First Year Published: 2000


  • Hugo Award for Best Novel 2001


Every novel in the Harry Potter series is a true heavyweight in the fantasy genre, but only Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won the Hugo Award. Fans of Harry Potter might argue that other novels in the series are better, but we will use the Hugo as a separator between The Goblet of Fire and the other six books.

While some suggest that J. K. Rowling does not have the writing skill of others in the industry, her storytelling ability has captured the minds of the world. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in her seven book series about the growth of a young orphan named Harry Potter. Unlike some other fantasy series, each of her novels has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Reading the Goblet of Fire on its own could be satisfying to any fantasy reader, but the novel has more impact if read in series with the other Harry Potter novels.

More than 450 million books have been sold in the Harry Potter series. Although the series targets young adults, readers of all ages clamor to learn more about the young wizard and his friends. Parents and their children have been able to bond with their shared enjoyment of the fantasy world.

Tens of millions found their way into the fantasy genre when Harry Potter exploded into the world. All seven novels were made into feature films, earning billions of dollars at the box office. Amusement park rides and an endless supply of retail merchandise franchised the books beyond anything seen before.

Harry Potter has impacted more than culture and reading lists. It has reshaped the publishing industry.

In 2000, The New York Times Book Review was forced to change the industry’s most hallowed benchmarking tool. With the anticipation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire hitting book stands in the summer, The New York Times Best Sellers List decided to create a best-seller list for children.

The Goblet of Fire was scheduled for a staggering initial print run of 3.8 million books. With its arrival, all four of the Harry Potter novels were predicted to have a stranglehold on the list. The NYT Book Review decided it needed some space for adult books, so the industry changed.

The Harry Potter theme park opens in Japan.
The Harry Potter theme park opens in Japan.

In the wake of Harry Potter’s success, countless authors and publishers flooded the children’s market with fantasy and science fiction. The industry expanded attracting more and more new readers.

Beyond the market impact and worldwide success, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is just pure fun. It entertains young and old alike while causing a few true believers to squint out of the corner of their eyes for signs of the wizarding world in real life.

All of the books in the Harry Potter series are entertaining, but Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire truly marked the arrival of the series. Harry Potter has become an icon and a fond memory of millions of childhoods. For these reasons and more, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time.

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