An interesting question that I posed on Twitter last night, to some interesting answers. Does the Harry Potter series count as epic fantasy?
The series features the struggle between a band of plucky heroes against a Dark Lord and his minions. The Dark Lord has previously menaced the world in a prior incarnation and been defeated, but is now returning, a fact initially greeted with scepticism in some quarters.
The central hero is a chosen one whose destiny is to defeat the Dark Lord, as agreed upon by pretty much everyone (even the Dark Lord and his minions, who make the hero's termination a priority).
The series features conspiracies, political intrigue and notable magical battles.
The series is set in a well-thought-out, internally consistent secondary world with its own rules, including a magic system.
The series incorporates numerous 'standard' fantasy creatures and monsters, including centaurs, dragons and griffins.
The setting may be a secondary world, but it's closely based on the real world, meaning the author hasn't had to do that much worldbuilding.
The effects of the story are epic and wide in scope, but the majority of the story is geographically limited to one single location (Hogwarts and the surrounding region) for most of the story (six of the seven books).
A lack of guys with swords, hidden crowns or claims to a throne. Also, whilst there are significantly large magical battles, there aren't any massive clashes of sword-wielding dudes.
The lack of any maps in the books.
It's a difficult call (and ultimately a pointless display of semantics) but I think the series veers close to the standard definitions of epic fantasy. Some replies suggested it should be counted as urban fantasy, but for the most part the story doesn't take place in a traditional urban environment. There's also the question of if a fantasy can be simultaneously epic and urban rather than being limited to one definition.