Novel: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale
Release Date: November 20, 2015
Publisher: Pottermore from J.K. Rowling
Format: Digital Audiobook
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Pottermore | Audible
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.
I could not for the life of me find a decent description of this amazing book, so I provided the usual Goodreads one above. Regardless, everyone should have read Harry Potter by now, so in terms of content, you already know it’s magnificent. (If you haven’t read or didn’t like Harry Potter… Well, I’m quite sorry for your loss. Perhaps this review will inspire you to give it a go!)
So I’m going to be discussing the audiobook version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the pleasure I got from listening to it this month. Until this March, I hadn’t listened to an audiobook in ages. I think the last time had to have been 8+ years ago; I have The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis on CD, but I don’t think I ever finished it. I’m not an auditory learner, so I’ve always avoided audiobooks, and I’ve had my doubts as to whether listening to a book can really be considered reading. Regardless, I want to re-read the Harry Potter series this year (it’s been far too long) and my trip to Harry Potter World in Orlando in mid-march had me on a time crunch to start. I ended up checking out Audible again (I’ve browsed here and there over the past two years) after watching Christine’s review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. She re-read the series via audiobook and completely sold me on trying out the experience. ANYTHING FOR HARRY POTTER.
Let me just say, I loved it.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the entire Harry Potter series for that matter, is such a good story. I never quite realized it until I listened to it, but it’s as though this book was made to be heard. Reading it is magical; listening to it brings it to life. I felt like a little kid listening to a bedtime story, and it was hard to turn it off when I had to go to class or leave my car. The plot, characters, and narration of the novel make it prime material for read aloud narration. Brilliant!
Jim Dale is an artist. I know there’s a lot of debate as to which narrator is better—Jim Dale (American editions) or Stephen Fry (British editions). I listened to several samples of both, and I think they’re both excellent—you really can’t go wrong either way. However, due to copyrights and all that, my only option was the Jim Dale versions and I am so happy with his narration so far. He has a lovely British accent and narrates the story wonderfully. His particular strength is his character voices; he does a different, yet distinguishable voice for each character, which makes following the book really easy. Yes, sometimes he makes Hermione sound too whiny, and he also made Firenze’s voice much higher-pitched (and Scottish?) than I imagined. But after adjusting to his interpretations, they’re fine. He also narrates the Quidditch matches really well! I want to listen to other audiobooks narrated by Jim Dale now, especially Peter Pan and the Peter and the Starcatchers series.
The audiobook version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is about 8 hours and 15 minutes long. Additionally, it includes a bonus 16-minute sample of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I think Jim Dale’s pacing is perfect; Stephen Fry reads slower, and though I didn’t notice it much (it didn’t bother me at all), when it comes to the longer books, the time adds up! Dale reads at an easy pace: not so quickly that you’ll miss anything, but not so slowly that you want to speed it up. I’d describe it as a leisurely stroll. The pacing really helped me absorb the story; I felt like I was watching the book as a movie, with no changes, or actually living it.
In summary, I really loved listening to the audiobook of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I enjoyed Jim Dale’s narration and voices, and the story seemed more magical than ever before. The audiobook truly brings the story, characters, and wizarding world to life in a way I’d never imagined—and for Harry Potter, which is already so real to so many of us, that’s really saying something.
Thanks for reading.