By this point, Larkable doesn’t have to tell you how amazing Harry Potter is, you just know. But do you know how amazing it is when narrated by Jim Dale?
One of the very first audiobooks I listened to was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. An 8 hour car ride seemed painfully long and while I have hours of music to listen to, why wouldn’t I listen to Harry Potter instead? Yeah, exactly, that’s an excellent argument, right?
Audiobooks were the thing old people listen to, like my Dad. The narrator has the same voice for nearly everyone, it’s hard to follow along, and boring as all get out. But I’ve already read all the Harry Potter books, so it wouldn’t be hard to follow along, right? I already knew what happened, I just wanted to revisit it. And so on a whim to hear Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I shelled out the money for this CD set.
Oh. My. Gosh.
Audiobooks are no longer for old people.
If you have never heard Jim Dale’s voice, your life is probably not missing much. If you haven’t heard Jim Dale’s voice as Professor McGonagall, your life is incomplete.
Jim Dale is a multiple award winning narrator for children’s audiobooks and as soon as you hear him perform the Harry Potter series, there will be no doubt in your mind as to why. There is no doubt when it is Hermione, Ron, or Harry speaking; Hagrid is gruff and hairy, McGonagall sounds just like Maggie Smith (well, I mean, as we would have imagined Maggie Smith from a 10 year old’s perspective), and Dumbledore sounds like the late Richard Harris, rather than Michael Gambon like most of us are used to. which is actually kind of nice, it’s like a tribute to the remarkable actor who we all lost too soon.
Audiofilemagazine.com has this to say regarding Dale’s reading style:
When J.K. Rowling has Hagrid boom, Dumbledore hum, and Aunt Marge belch, listeners can hear exactly what that sounds like, thanks to Jim Dale’s spellbinding narration. He gives voice to every wizard, muggle, house elf, goblin, giant, and hundreds of other characters who pass through Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and the other magical environs of the Harry Potter series. He is a major part of why these fantastical volumes are among the top-selling audiobooks of all time.
After listening to the audiobook with my then boyfriend, we went through and listened to the entire Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale (I ended up marrying that man–a guy who hungers for books is definitely a winner). It was amazing, wonderful, and whenever the day may come when we want to have kids, we’re going to have the entire Harry Potter series for them to fall asleep to.
What about Stephen Fry, you might ask? Yes, Stephen Fry also narrated the Harry Potter series. While I’ve already spent literally hundreds of dollars on the Jim Dale version as well as the books and blu-ray editions of the movies, the spending must end there. But I have friends who swear that Stephen Fry is the best narrator for Harry Potter, even though they’ve never heard the Jim Dale version. So, with that, it would appear whoever you choose to read to you, there is no wrong choice. Both Jim Dale and Stephen Fry are going to leave you very, very happy.
There isn’t much else to say on the subject. The plot and purpose of Harry Potter is well known, so there’s no sense in beating a dead horse, but if you’re wondering about the quality of the Harry Potter audiobooks, rest assured, the listener is going to have an excellent audio experience in the hands of Jim Dale.
For a taste of what Jim Dale has to offer, watch this clip of a Harry Potter Reading at a Barnes and Noble Party:
Larkable gives The Complete Harry Potter Series a thumbs up!