Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban (audios)

hprcI’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.

17 comments to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban (audios)

  • I’m working on my first audiobook right now (We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver)and although I don’t have much experience with audiobooks, it seems they can be tricky with the narrtion. I decided from the very start that I hated the narrator of the book and now, on disc 5, she’s starting to grow on me a bit. But I’ve realized the narrator can really color the experience of an audiobook and I would think something like Harry Potter could be exceptionally difficult since there are movie adaptions.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..BTT: Recent Sad =-.

  • You know, I agree that it can be really hard to listen to an audiobook after having already seen the movie – it is so easy to compare the two. I did think, while listening to the first two HP audiobooks, that they MUST have cast Hagrid to match Dale’s voice for him. I thought they were spot-on identical.

    And I completely agree the Hermione’s “Harreeee” is incredibly annoying. I inwardly cringed every time she said his name!

  • Zia

    I’ve listened to Jim Dale’s version of the Harry Potter books and yes his Hermione bugs the crud out of me. He is however one of my favorite audiobook narrators in general.

    I’m re-listening to the series on audiobook again but I’m listening to the UK version with Stephen Fry narrating and he is really good!
    .-= Zia´s last blog ..Booking Through Thursday =-.

  • Zee

    I am currently listening to the Half-Blood Prince with Jim Dale and I am not really a fan of his voices either. I HATE his Bellatrix and I realised today what makes it even more annoying. Bellatrix has a really strong accent (frenchy german) but her sister Narcissa does not. I really prefer the Stephen Fry versions myself but I got the Jim Dale ones cheap and beggars can’t be choosers.

    The narrator is so crucial when it comes to audio books. When I buy books from Audible I always look at the comments regarding the narrator and I always listen to an excerpt as well.

  • Thank you, thank you for this review! I trust your opinion because you are an audiobook fan and if you have something negative to say I know it’s not about the medium but about a single production or experience.

    I have heard such wonderful things about Jim Dale’s reading that it is refreshing to know that there may be some problems with his reading. I am going to try the first book on audio. We’ll see if I like it. If not, I’ll return to the print versions, which I know I love.

  • The slight upward intonation of Harreeee was the only thing I didn’t like much about Dale’s narration, but I noticed that he didn’t use it just for Hermione. His Colin gets a bit of this too, and Ron and some of the other students, too – and it’s always with “Harry!” I’ve been trying to figure out what type of emotional situation Dale’s using this device to indicate!

  • The only Jim Dale audios I’ve listened to have been new to me books. I loved his reading of the Peter and the Starcatchers series. I’m planning to give his versions of the HP books a try, but I’m a little wary because after reading the books and seeing the movies I’ve been concerned about whether his voices will ‘clash’ with what’s already in my head.

    Thanks so much for your input on this. I still need to read the last 2 HP books in book form before I really delve into the HP challenge with a full re-read of the series. I’ll at least give the first one a shot via audio, but maybe I’ll end up going back to the books for the full series re-read.

    Good food for thought here – makes me want to keep my options open.
    .-= SuziQoregon´s last blog ..Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins =-.

  • Although I do love these audio books in general, you are totally right about “Hareee” and Dale’s other quirks. :)
    .-= Heather J.´s last blog ..Ines of My Soul =-.

  • Since I’ve read the books and seen the movies, I wonder if I would enjoy these.

  • Interesting! Having seen the movies ad nauseum and read the series in hard books three times over, I am now working my way through the audios with my kids. We just started Azkaban. Personally, we feel they are absolutely brilliant. I’ve listened to probably a hundred audios, and I think Dale is one of the best. No, his voices are not quite what you get in the movies (although some are eerily close!) He NAILED Haggrid and Professor Lockhart. I feel that Dale has comedic timing. I never laughed so much when reading the hard books!

  • Chad Sayban

    I really need to read this series. I have the first one sitting on the shelf, but I just can’t seem to get to it. I’m going to just have to clear my list and do it.

  • The kids and I just finished Sorcerer’s Stone and are now listening to Chamber of Secrets. The only negatives I have heard are the whiny Hermione, which we don’t like, and that Dobby’s voice is too different from the movie. Other than that we’ve enjoyed them – but I’m a huge Stephen Fry fan, and I wish we could get the British audiobooks here without paying a bundle!
    .-= Carrie K.´s last blog ..Book Review: The Promised World by Lisa Tucker =-.

  • I just got the audio tapes at my library for Chamber of Secrets. I figured it would be good to listen to while I’m at work (although I still have to find a tape player…). I haven’t listened to audiobooks much yet, so I don’t know what to expect, but I hope I enjoy it.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society =-.

  • Jen thank you for your honest opinion. I too have heard that these audiobooks are fantabulous, but I’m pleased to see where the pitfalls are. I’ve not seen many of the movies so I don’t know that the voices of the characters will be a problem for me. Where I’ll likely struggle (if I actually choose to go audio for a book) is in the whiny. I get enough of that in real life! LOL

    Congratulations on getting book three completed you are breezing right along.

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