Thursday, September 10, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling (audio)


We are a family of Harry Potter-ites. I've read the series, with the exception of the 7th book, three times. My daughter has read the series once. We have seen all of the movies (the earlier ones ad nauseum), and even have a Harry Potter Scene It game. But the one untouched bit of media was the audio book. I'd heard the narration was beyond compare. So when the Harry Potter Reading Challenge presented itself, I thought it was time to give it a try. I will listen to all of the audios in the car with the kids.

I know that it is not necessary to rehash the plot. I don't think there is a red-blooded human on earth that doesn't know the premise of Harry Potter. So I will just move on to my musings!

It is always interesting to me that with each reading of HP, I notice small details that I missed in previous ones. The book is chock full of clever little nuggets of humor and plot, and I never tire of the discovery. Also, knowing the ultimate fate of the characters, it is almost eerie to see how it all began so innocently. Ironies and foreshadowing are not lost on me, and more than once found myself with goosebumps. In a recent review of this book in blogland, the comment was made that the story seemed more childish now than when first read, which is absolutely true. Knowing what we know about the destiny of Harry, his friends and enemies, the Sorcerer's Stone seems like a playful, magical romp. I am content to stay snug under the protection of the invisibility cloak, knowing that it won't be long before all hell breaks loose and the magic turns dark.

The audio is absolutely brilliant. In the hands of Jim Dale, the narrator, the story is not only an edge-of-your-seat experience, it is laugh-out-loud hilarious. I always appreciated Rowlings' wit, but on the audio it comes alive. Interestingly, I noted that while this audio was produced long before the movie, the "voices" of the characters are uncannily similar to the ones on screen. How did they do that? My only explanation is that Mr. Dale has such an innate sense of the spirit of the characters, with the help of Rowling's vision, that his voice embodied what we see now on the silver screen. It isn't surprising to learn that Jim Dale has a long, successful history of experience on the stage, on television and at the movies. He is masterful. Here is a brief clip of Dale talking about the beauty of the Harry Potter audio experience:







Another dimension indeed. If you think you've had enough Harry Potter to last a lifetime, but haven't tried the audios, I would highly recommend them. You have never experienced Harry Potter like this before!

So, what do you think? Are you up for it? Have you listened to the audios already? I'd love to hear your opinions!

22 comments:

Melody said...

"It is always interesting to me that with each reading of HP, I notice small details that I missed in previous ones." I felt the same way too! Take an example of my recent read of the second installment: I questioned a particular scene which I didn't notice it during my first read. I suppose the more we re-read it, the more we are trying to look at the book differently, haha.

Anyway, I had only tried listening to the audio once and didn't really enjoy the experience. Nothing compares with a book IMO but of course I know it is good when you're multi-tasking!

Literary Feline said...

If ever I get that iPod I've been wanting for a couple of years now, this is the series I'd like to first listen to on audio book. I am glad you enjoyed it, Sandy!

farmlanebooks said...

I enjoyed reading Harry Potter as the books were released, and have seen all the films, but haven't gone back to re-read any yet. I think I'll wait until my boys are older and then read it with them. I can imagine that the audio books are wonderful and look forward to listening to them in the future.

I thought this was an amazing post! I haven't added video to my blog yet, but I think your clip really added to what you were saying.

Nymeth said...

Like Melody, I completely agree with the bit she quoted. There are new times to discover every time, which is one of the marks of a great series!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Melody - yes I saw you are right in front of me with your Harry reads! We are actually only listening to the audios when the kids and I are in the car. It will take a little longer to listen to, but hey! No fighting, no whining. They beg me to turn it on!

Wendy - oh, these audios are a stroke of genius. Pure, unadulterated joy for me and the kids.

Jackie - I just did learn how to imbed youtube into my html...thanks to C.B. James. We love listening to audios together, but have to say this is the most fun we've had in a long time!!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Nymeth - oops, I missed you! Rowling is really a phenomenon. Tiny little details pop out even now, my fourth time through the series!

Beth F said...

I'm going to revisit HP on audio this year too -- and I haven't yet heard Jim Dale but you have reinforced my understanding: he is fabulous.

Jeane said...

I love that sense of rediscovery, too. But I've only read the entire series twice! It's about time to go through them all again.

Never listened to an audio book, yet.

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I'm doing my first HP audio right now with Chamber of Secrets. It took me some getting used to because I've seen the movies so many times that those actors are my understanding of the characters and their voices. I'm starting to appreciate how great Jim Dale is, though. And his Hagrid is nearly identical to the voice of the actor!

Molly said...

Well, I have said it many times on my own blog but I will comment here: Jim Dale is my hero :)

I have never been able to listen to audio books before (my mind wanders too much) and the Harry Potter books just didn't "float my boat". However, on a whim last spring I decided to try the combination of listening to Harry Potter and I absolutely LOVE it.

I have only listened to the first 3 books, but now that school is back in session, I hope to get back into my car "reading" routine again.

GREAT post!

Amy said...

Great post, Sandy. Every time I read a Harry Potter book I am in awe of J.K. Rowling. The detail she included from the classroom scenes to times spent in Hagrid's hut to scenes in the hospitail and is amazing and what makes the books so enjoyable. I never thought about litening to the Harry Potter books but it's a fantastic idea!
Thank you!

~ Amy

Iliana said...

You guys are definitely Potter-ites! Love that word :)

Can you believe I've never read a single one? I think when the first books came out I was in my "I don't read YA books phase". That's changed but the problem is that I've seen most of the films and just don't know if I would really enjoy the books any more.

Anyway, so great that you still enjoy the books.

Brittany said...

We took a road trip to Florida a couple of weeks ago and listened to the first two HP audiobooks. Wow - they were better than I even expected! We laughed SO much. What a fun way to re-experience the books. I'm not sure if I'll listen to the whole series (I get so impatient), but I'm certainly glad we listened to some of them.

Andreea said...

I've only read the first HP book when I was a teenager. I don't know why I haven't read the others.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Beth - being an audio afficionado, you would greatly appreciate these. An amazing experience.

Jeane - I would tell you that even if you have read the books and seen the movies, this is a whole new frontier.

Jen - I know...it seems like you are listening to the actor himself!

Molly - I remember you saying that, and you were right. This guy is a talent!

Amy - like I said, it is a completely unique experience. If you love the series, you must give this a try.

Iliana - seriously the movies are nothing compared to the books. As the movies go along, more and more is missing. Huge plot lines are witheld, simply because you cannot translate everything to film. The movies are like a 2 hour trailer for the book, just a preview!

Brittany - yes, the humor is excellent. I laugh every 3.5 minutes. The humor of the book never struck me as this genius when I was reading it, but really comes through in the audio.

Andreea - if you picked up the series, it would be a fast read. My daughter is re-reading the series for the second or third time, and has gotten through six of the seven books in about a month.

ds said...

We, too, are a household of confirmed Potter-ites (CS has practically grown up alongside Harry).They are among the few books that all three of us have read multiple times. And the movies, well...I had heard that Jim Dale's audio versions were wonderful; your enthusiasm and the clip have convinced me. I may have to try this for a future excursion!
Thanks!

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I think I must be one of the last people on earth to read these books! I have the entire set, but just haven't gotten to them. I did sign up for the HP Challenge so maybe that will help!

Carrie K. said...

My kids and I are on disc 6 of this one right now - and absolutely loving it! I signed up for the HP Challenge, and thought the audios would be a good way to do it - plus a good way to show my kids how much they're missing by only seeing the movies.

Frances said...

The solution to all long car rides! I also love this audio book. My family is a group of Potter repeaters like yours too.

Sandy Nawrot said...

ds - I promise you won't be disappointed, especially if you are already a fan of Potter. My kids have grown up with it as well. My daughter was reading the series in 2nd grade!

Melissa - these books are pure fun. Once you start, you won't be able to put them down. Just block out a few weeks to knock them out!

Carrie - that is awesome! Yeah, there is no comparison between the books and the movies. I do appreciate how hard it must be to translate to the silver screen, but there is just no comparison.

Frances - even my husband is blown away by these audios. I almost wish I had a long road trip ahead of me...

Anna said...

I'd definitely be willing to listen to the audio versions! I'm the only one in my family who's read all the books. My hubby read the first 2, and my daughter is just expressing an interest in reading them. Glad to hear they are good.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

strike said...

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a adventurous and family movie directed by Chris Columbus.... the winner of a high-stakes search for a director to bring the first in a hoped-for franchise of Potter films to the screen by Warner Bros. Upon his 11th birthday, Harry Potter , who lives in misery with an aunt and uncle that don't want him.This is very interesting movie....

Download Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie