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There are many different Harry Potter works including:

  • books
  • short stories
  • movies
  • card games
  • video games
  • toys
  • amusement parks

Which ones are considered to be canon?

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Related - scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/23956/… – Jane S Feb 10 at 5:24
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Man, you get away with all kinds of list questions. I never seem to be able to. :/ – RedCaio Feb 10 at 5:38
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@RedCaio Yeah, ibid is a ferocious asker, dope! :D – Dawny33 Feb 10 at 5:40
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A new book is coming: pottermore.com/news/… – David Banner Feb 10 at 17:01
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@ibid I don't know how he finds the time. – Elliott Frisch Feb 17 at 6:06
up vote 20 down vote accepted

As Stu Wilson said, there's no "official corporate position" of JKR on the topic; so the exact hierarchy of canonicity is somewhat subjective and personal.

Having said that, I would like to offer what my personal preference is, together with objective explanation of why that order was chosen. (For other commonly accepted opinions, see @ibid's answer)

  1. Pottermore.

    • This is more canonical than interviews for 3 reasons:

      A. Interviews are spur of the moment things where JKR may say something off the cuff. She made mistakes in interviews before. Pottermore is "official" content she spents time to think through.

      B. Much of Pottermore content is much newer than a vast bulk of JKR interviews.

      C. JKR officially noted in 2012 that Pottermore is currently a replacement for her originally-planned HP Encyclopedia.

    • Pottermore is also more canonical than books for the reasons B and C above.

    • Note: This only applies to Pottermore content by JKR. Pottermore content NOT known to be by JKR slides down to same level as films.

  2. Original JKRowling.com website.

    I view it as Pottermore-lite, except that it was much earlier AND wasn't billed as "official encyclopedia stand-in".

    This also includes things like W.O.M.B.A.T.S. and various "gazette" type promotional materials that were at some point posted by JKR.

  3. JKR interviews where JKR clearly announced that the book is wrong (or where there's no discrepancies with the books).

    This includes things like "No, Harry wasn't a Horcrux, no matter what Dumbledore said in DH".

  4. JKR interviews and Wonderbook content where JKR contradicted the books but didn't actually acknowledge that the book was wrong (and the book was earlier than interview)

    But in case of conflict between books and interviews; I view the situation as more of "needs deeper digging" than easy and obvious "book is wrong" kind of dilemmas.

    Note: Wonderbook content not 100% known to come from JKR slides down to just above the films.

  5. HP books 1-7

    Also on this level will be the Fantastic Beasts screenplay if it is proven conclusively to be 100% in JKR's control.

  6. Supplemental JKR books (Beedle the Bard, QTTA, HP Prequel story about the bicycle, Fantastic Beasts, Daily Prophet, Wonderbook content)

    I don't have a very good reason to view main HP books as more canonical than supplementary books; so I can easily agree if someone insists on switching them in the hierarchy. As we know from this excellent asnwer, there are some discrepancies so the order may mattter.

    Also on this level is the Famous Wizard Cards from the EA games which have been confirmed to be written by JKR.

  7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

    This has been marketed as "Book 8", but wasn't written directly by Rowling.

  8. JKR interviews where JKR contradicted them in later books

  9. Wonderbook content which is NOT 100% known to come from JKR

  10. Fantastic Beasts Film where not proven to be from JKR screenplay

    Higher up than the other movies as JKR exercised greater creative control.

  11. HP Movies 1-8

    Personally, I don't really consider movies canon almost at all. BUT, they are marginally canonical in a sense that JKR did approve a lot of things in the movies and had feedback into them. Some people consider them to be almost as canonical as books. I consider them significantly LESS canonical.

    CAVEAT: The only case where a movie is full canon is when it's a details that's KNOWN to be approved by JKR explicitly.

  12. Facts sourced from Harry Potter amusement parks and Video Games

    This is even less canon than movies but probably a shade above fanfics if there's a reasonable suspicion JKR approved of a specific fact.

  13. Assorted fan fiction

    This is NOT canon at all as JKR didn't approve any of it.

High level, my hierarchy is:

  1. 100% sure JKR word that is planned writing, acknowledging discrepancies with prior canon (e.g. Pottermore content by JKR, jkrowling.com). Pottermore is higher within this subgroup due to being considered an official replacement for encyclopedia
  2. 100% sure JKR word that is ad-hoc (interviews/twitter), acknowledging discrepancies with prior canon
  3. JKR word where there are NO discrepancies, or they aren't acknowledged, and is planned writing
  4. JKR word where there are NO discrepancies, or they aren't acknowledged, and is ad-hoc
  5. Books 1-7
  6. Supplemental books + any material 100% authored by JKR if proven so (screenplays)
  7. JKR's prior word, contradicted by LATER info in #1-6
  8. Info from works that are under some level of creative control of JKR, but not proven to actually come from her fact-wise (movies #1-8; FB movie; Cursed Child). Within this, ordered by the degree of JKR control, e.g. #1-#8 are lower since she exercised less control.
  9. Tertiary works (Video games, Parks)
share|improve this answer
    
I happened to read this on Twitter today -- J.K. Rowling's author site is now jkrowling.com. All things Potter have been redirected to Pottermore, if I'm understanding correctly. It used to be that jkrowling.com was only about HP, but now that she's written more novels that aren't Potter-centric, jkrowling.com is her generic authorial site. You can access the original HP-centric jkrowling.com by the Way Back Machine -- there's some good info hidden away there. I agree - fan fic is never canon, even if it's extremely canon-compliant. – Slytherincess May 1 '14 at 2:09
    
You might want to note that, while JKR obviously hasn't "approved" any fanfic, she has said in general terms that she doesn't object to it, IIRC. – Kevin Feb 11 at 5:02

Officially, there is no official position; however I would list the following as canon in this order:

  • the books
  • associated works written by JKR (this includes Pottermore.com)
  • jkrowling.com
  • Interviews

The movies I would not consider canon at all, even though they do follow the books closely, there are enough inconsistencies to merit removing them from canon.

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J.K. Rowling has stated multiple times in multiple interviews that when the books were being adapted to film, she was conscious of the fact that the books are "here" and the films are "there": They form two separate universes or versions of the one story - even though the original is obviously in the books. Therefore, to me, any book that J.K. Rowling has written within the universe of Harry Potter belongs to the only canon that exists. The films, which I still love, are not really part of the same universe and so are simply adaptations. Video games etc are just merchandise. – Arachno-Sapien Jan 30 '14 at 0:32
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Why are people upvoting this? There are at least two much better answers? – ibid Feb 11 at 8:11
    
@Arachno-Sapien: A typical attitude among British authors is that there are all canon. Authors just want to tell stories and if canonicity gets in the way then canonicity is ignored in favour of using the correct technique for the given medium. The best way to reconcile this is to use the Marvel/DC formula and just take that the two versions are just different universes that happen to contain similar people/characters. – slebetman Feb 17 at 10:37

Neither J.K. Rowling nor Warner Bros has made any official policy over what constitutes Harry Potter canon.

There are differing opinions among fans.

Here are the canon policies of two of the most popular Harry Potter fansites: (Note: A detailed list of all of Rowling's Harry Potter writings can be found here.)

The Harry Potter Lexicon

Information which has come directly from JKR in either written or spoken form is considered canon. All other sources, including the film version from Warner Bros., are NOT considered official or canon

  • Primary canon

    • The seven Harry Potter novels (Bloomsbury editions, with corrections)
  • Secondary Canon

    • Other Harry Potter books by Rowling (the Scholastic editions, the companion books, the text from the Sony Wonderbook games)
    • Other writings by Rowling (including the old jkrowling.com, Pottermore, The Famous Wizard Cards, The Daily Prophet newsletters, The Black Family Tree, & The Harry Potter Prequel)
    • Anything from the movies, games, park, etc. which is specifically known to come from Rowling
    • Illustrations by JK Rowling, illustrations on Pottermore
  • Tertiary Canon (considered to be canon where they don’t conflict with the above sources)

    • online chat and interview transcripts where Rowling is quoted exactly (including Twitter)
    • Harry Potter and Me
    • other interviews where Rowling is not quoted exactly, but her comments reported
    • deductions made from canon, where such deductions are self-evident or virtually certain.
  • Non-Canon
    • Everything else (including Movies, Games, Parks, fanfiction, etc.)

Harry Potter Wikia

Basically put, everything is canon unless specifically contradicted by a "higher" source.

  • Tier 1 - JKR (These sources come from J. K. Rowling herself. When J. K. Rowling contradicts herself, the newest source is to be taken as the "most" canon.)
    • Books (The 7 Harry Potter novels, Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Tales of Beedle the Bard)
    • Other writings by Rowling set within the Harry Potter universe, i.e. the Harry Potter Prequel short story.
    • J. K. Rowling's Official Website
    • Pottermore
    • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
    • Interviews
  • Tier 2 - JKR Involved (These sources do not contain information directly from the "mouth" of J. K. Rowling, yet they are projects in which she was involved.)
    • Movies (The 8 Harry Potter films, The Queen's Handbag skit)
    • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
    • The Making of Harry Potter
    • Harry Potter: The Exhibition
    • Harry Potter Film Wizardry and Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey
  • Tier 3 - JKR Licensing (These sources are where J. K. Rowling licensed the use of the Harry Potter universe to another company or individual.)
    • Video games (The 8 Harry Potter video games, Tie-in video games, such as Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7)
    • Wizard Cards
    • Harry Potter Trading Card Game
    • Other official merchandise
  • Non-Canon
    • Fanfiction
share|improve this answer
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Should we start a meta discussion about SFF's canon policy for Harry Potter? – ibid Feb 10 at 7:30
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+1 for a meta discussion! – Dawny33 Feb 10 at 8:37
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One infamous example of "other official merchandise" is the first name of Gregorovitch (supposedly Mykew), which comes from Harry Potter Wall Art (a rather distantly affiliated source that happens to be officially licensed). – January First-of-May Feb 10 at 8:37
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scholastic versions are secondary cannon even though theyhave more text then the bloomsbury edition? – Himarm Feb 10 at 13:20
    
@Himarm The Bloomsbury are the primary versions of the text. Rowing wrote all of the English editions, however, so the Scholastic ones are still canon. – ibid Feb 10 at 14:09

Books:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
  • Quidditch Through The Ages
  • Book of Spells
  • Book of Potions

Short Stories:

  • The Harry Potter prequel story 'Drumsticks'

Pottermore website

Miscellaneous information from J. K. Rowling

  • Interviews
  • Tweets

The movies are not considered canon as on several points they conflict with the books.

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At this point, I would say only the books should be considered canon.

For me, any "revelation" that JKR has made since the publication of each individual book has been irrelevant or inconsistent with the characters, and the movies made a lot of terrible mistakes. (For example, at the end of the second film, after Dobby is freed, Lucius Malfoy begins to say "avada-" and is then blasted by Dobby. It's safe to assume the next word would have been "kedavra", which is not consistent with Lucius's character, or the setting - outside of Dumbledore's office, broad daylight - .)

Additionally, JKR was a bit sloppy and didn't recheck the books for plot holes, and then made up silly excuses in interviews to cover them up (Fred and George not noticing Pettigrew!) . She has also been inconsistent with her answers (For example, when asked about the number of students at Hogwarts, her answers are all over the place.)

All in all, I personally believe after a book is published the author can't change it. If any of the sources other people mentioned here either expand the universe or clarify the books, then they are probably fine. If they attempt to change what was written, or contradict the original text, they are not canon.

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This seems very opinion-based. – Valorum Oct 8 '15 at 11:52

Some which I can think of are:

  • Pottermore content
  • The HP series
  • Other HP related books from JKR
  • The Harry Potter wikia (Debatable, but most of their content have genuine canon sources which are the others in the bullet points here. They also link their sources in the footers)
  • Any info from JKR. Be it from her interviews, tweets, blogs, etc.
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Harry Potter wikia is not canon. It's a fairly unreliable secondary source (at best) which interprets the movies, games, and other non-canon as genuine canon sources. – ibid Feb 10 at 5:41
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@ibid Yeah you are right, and that's why I've added debatable :) But they do add genuine canon sources for most(or some) of their info in their footers! – Dawny33 Feb 10 at 5:45
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Harry Potter Lexicon is far more reliable. (However, their old site is ugly, and their secret new site doesn't work yet.) – ibid Feb 10 at 5:48

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