Thursday, January 7, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling (audio)


I'm pleased to finally be able to write this review. 17 discs is a pretty long haul, especially when we only listened to it in the car, and only when all three of us were in the car, and only when we didn't have some sort of drama to discuss (alot of those recently). It was worth it, however. Terrifying, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, with a few hormones thrown in just to prevent tears. From here on out in Harry's journey, you must remain buckled securely, remove all loose articles from your person, and find a safe place to hide for the remainder of the series. It's getting ugly.

The party is essentially over at Hogwarts. The dark mark is cast into the sky, indicating a call to all followers of Lord Voldemort to prepare themselves for his return. Someone secretly enters Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire, ensuring his participation in the dangerous Tri-Wizard Tournament, perhaps with his death being the end game. He must battle against dragons, sea creatures, Blast-Ended Scroots, his first crush, a muck-raking reporter, and dark forces determined to get the best of him. Ultimately, he witnesses the re-birth of Voldemort, which ends in a tragedy that will haunt Harry for the rest of his life. Lines are drawn between the Ministry of Magic, who refuses to believe the Dark Lord has returned, and those who know the truth. Armies are being formed on both sides, and the war between good and evil is on the horizon like a big black cloud.











It is with this book that we see a serious departure between the written word and the movie. Entire plotlines are disregarded, understandably to keep the movie from becoming a four-hour behemoth. Rowling's political views also start to peek through, with a bit of time spent on racial biases and inequities between humans and other "species". There are definitely less than subtle messages planted amongst the magic and the mayhem. My only criticism, which I didn't really have with the hard book itself, was that the audio felt a little longer than it needed to be. There seemed to be some extraneous detail. I'm not sure if audio naturally highlights these faults, or it was the circumstances in which we were listening.

The narration by Jim Dale continues to thoroughly entertain. Mr. Dale rips through the voices and the dialogue with such ease and familiarity, it sounds like it is totally second nature for the guy (it probably IS at this point). Not only does he have the comedic timing that keeps us laughing, he can narrate a grieving parent in the same breath that is so painful it is uncomfortable to listen to. This series wouldn't be the same without his voice.


4.5 out of 5 stars


22 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

It is great that you are still enjoying the series after all those discs! Jim Dale is a fantastic actor, although I still fondly remember him from his Neighbours days. Do you get Neighbours in America?

Katherine said...

I've only been following your blog for a few weeks but have thoroughly enjoyed reading back over many of your book reviews. I absolutely and totally agree with your review of this audio book. I own all the Harry Potter audio books except the last one and Jim Dale does not disappoint. I cannot imagine the books being read by anyone better. You're making me want to go dig out my CDs to listen again!

If I may make one suggestion unrelated to this review... could you add the tag "audio" to your audio book reviews? I was actually trying to search your blog for audio book recommendations the other day and having a hard time.

Regardless, LOVE your blog! Keep up the great work!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have heard from others how much enjoyment is to be had from the audio versions. I might have to get one for our next car trip. It sounds like it would be very helpful in keeping us awake (always an important consideration on a long car trip!).

Sandy Nawrot said...

Jackie - I've never heard of Neighbours. I am assuming that is a TV show? I don't watch alot of TV, but I don't think we have it here. I do love Mr. Dale though - he is amazing.

Katherine - I'm glad you are enjoying them. You have a great suggestion there. I guess it occurred to me to add the tag, but never did. I've gone through all of my posts going forward and tagged them. Thanks for the suggestion!

Jill - If you are a HP fan, you will be enthralled with these audios. They would be perfect for a road trip. In fact, my kids would love nothing more than to just go driving across the country, if only to listen to these audios.

Molly said...

loved reading this review of the series! I am listening to the Sorcerer's Stone while doing my daily walk and thoroughly enjoying Jim Dales narration as well -- especially the voice of Mr. Dursley (it cracks me up!)

I am just not sure how to review an audio book (I can't include quotes) and don't know how to review an entire series. I think you are doing a marvelous job on both accounts.

caite said...

I read the first book...didn't quite get the appeal.
Started the second just to be sure...yep, didn't get it.

Now I know I may be VASTLY outnumbered, but I am not a HP fan.
Hey! Who threw that stone?? ;-)

bermudaonion said...

I keep reading great things about Harry Potter in audio - we've got to give them a try. We usually don't go on really long car trips, though.

Amy Reads Good Books said...

Glad you finished it! I'm currently bogged down in this one. I hope I get it finished and back on track with the challenge!

Anna said...

I read and enjoyed all of the Harry Potter books. I'm thinking that when I decide to re-read them, audio is the way to go!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Catherine Ensley said...

I'm with Caite. It feels like sacrilige to admit it (being that I'm a children's librarian, and have hosted no less than three hugely attended HP parties), but I couldn't get into the series, nor the movies. Just not a big fantasy fan.

Stephanie said...

I am currently read HP 2 to my daughter - it will take us a while to get through them but she is so enthusiastic. I'm enjoying them as much as the first time I read HP!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Molly - I know, when I hear Mr. Dursely's voice, I automatically laugh! Reviewing audio books IS generally difficult. I don't take notes most of the time, so I have to go with emotions, impressions and basic plot. (Try reviewing a 48 disc audio book!)

Caite - well, I guess you can't win them all! No stones thrown!

Kathy - we really don't take long trips either, just shuttling to kids' events. Still we get through these eventually. The current one (#5) is 23 discs long. It will be interesting to see how long it takes!

Amy - it did take us awhile to get through this one. It's long! Plus, like I said to Kathy, we only listen in the car.

Anna - the audios are a whole new experience, even for my daughter and I who have read the series several times through AND have seen the movies dozens of times.

Catherine - nothing wrong with that! I'm really not a fantasy fan either, so it really befuddles me why I love this series so much.

Stephanie - that is wonderful! Even though my kids are 10 and almost 12, I still read to them. They love it!

Melody said...

I'm currently reading this book, and it's also the first time I'm reading it (though I had watched the movies a few times!). I hope to finish reading the entire series before the final instalment of the movies is out!

Frances said...

You are so right about Dale's voice! Extraordinary. Also agree about the subtle political orientations here with much to recall of Nazi Germany.

Will you go on to the fifth installment on audio book as well?

dolcebellezza said...

I have a friend who told me that the audiobooks of Harry Potter are a Must. I really would like to listen to them sometime. If only audio didn't make me so darn sleepy!

Alyce said...

I absolutely love this series! I think they could have made the movies longer and most of us fans who are completely devoted wouldn't have minded a bit. :)

Alice Teh said...

I'm glad that the narrator is making the story even better for you. I really should try listening to audiobooks again. I know I've enjoyed the ones I did listen to previously. :D

heidenkind said...

I think you're right--narrating HP does start to seem second nature for Jim Dale with this book. And I totally forgot to talk about the political thing in my review! That's actually one of my favorite parts of the series.

Kathleen said...

This is one book I didn't read before I saw the movie. Once I see the movie, I'm just not motivated to read the book. It sounds like I would enjoy the book since there is so much more than what is in the movie. Truth is, I probably forgot most of the movie anyway!!

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I love, love, love these books on audio....I've collected all of them (in hardback and on audio) for my kids, but at the rate I'm wearing them out, the kids will never get the pleasure, lol.

Jeane said...

My husband really likes the movies, and he's re-reading part of the series now. He got really annoyed when he found out how far the film version of this one had veered from the book, and how different some of the scenes were. I don't remember being bothered by it; I knew they could never cram everything into the film so it was bound to have some differences.

Zibilee said...

I read this series awhile ago, and can't remember if this is the book where Harry has a bad attitude for the first half of the book or not. I really enjoyed the series overall and think it would be really interesting to listen to on audio. I'm glad it was such a good experience for you!