I’m moving along quite nicely on my Harry Potter Reading Challenge. I mean, the thing’s an entire year long, started in August, and I’ve already finished 3 of the books. Who knows, I might just finish in 2009! With “The Chamber of Secrets” and “Prisoner of Azkaban” I delved into the world of the Harry Potter audiobooks. I somewhat intended to do the entire challenge in audio, but needed something else to read while I was at my parents’ house in August, so picked up the print version of the first book.
For years and years I have been hearing how amazing the Jim Dale-narrated Harry Potter audio books are and I figured that this challenge would be the perfect time to give them a try. His narration is quite good, but I had it over-hyped in my mind. Basically I think I was expecting unicorns to drive my car for me and all of Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s incantations to actually work as I listened. Jim Dale is good, but he isn’t THAT good. Seriously, though, here are some of my thoughts as I listened to Jim Dale:
- Initially it was hard to reconcile the voices of the characters because I’ve seen the movies so many times. The actors’ voices ARE the characters’ voice for me.
- I HATE his Hermione. Not all the time, but when she says Harry’s name “Harreeee” and a few other times when her sentence ends with a vowel it gets really drawn out and whiny and drives me mad.
- Listening instead of reading draws out some of the awkward and repetitive phrases Rowling occasionally uses
- The audi0 invites a lot more comparisons to the movies and the movies’ dialog for me than does reading the books because of the auditory nature of the thing
I know those are mostly negative, but although they are what stands out the most, my experience with these audiobooks are mostly positive. Once I got over the difference with the character voices and got into them, I really enjoyed them (other than the occasional Hermione whine). I found that listening to this series, which I’ve read so many times, brought out new things I either had never noticed or hadn’t noticed for awhile and helped me catch much of Rowling’s foreshadowing for the later books.