Last fall, I saw an episode of The Office during which Michael had the office divide up into teams. Dwight named his team Gryffindor and Jim named his Voldemort. I decided that if Harry Potter had pervaded pop culture so much as to be alluded to on The Office, then I needed to do some reading.
The first two books were OK, but I really started to enjoy the series after reading the third one. The fourth one, too, was pretty good, especially the scene near the end between Harry and Voldemort. At the beginning of that scene, somebody dies. I remember stopping and thinking that I couldn't believe a children's book had a death like that. But after reading the fifth book, I've got it figured out. Harry Potter ≠ children's literature.
I mean, sure, kids love it, the language isn't the most complex, and the hero is a young teenager, but it's just not children's lit. It's far too complex and dark. But, hey, that's real life.