Harry Potter in Audio: Books 1 and 2

hprclogoFor the Harry Potter Reading Challenge, I decided to re-read the Harry Potter series in audiobook format.

I’d just like to pat myself on the back now, and say, “Good decision, Belle”.

I’ve always had a sort of strange envy for people who decided to start reading the Harry Potter books after book seven was published. I think to myself how delightful it would be to have that opportunity to sit down, new to Harry’s wizarding world, and polish off the entire series from beginning to end, one lovely book after another.

And now, listening to the books in audio, I feel like I’m getting the chance to experience the books that way, too. (Well, almost, anyway.) Jim Dale, the narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks, is a superb narrator;he ably brings each story to vivid life, and I find myself caught up in the books almost as if I didn’t quite know what was about to happen.

I normally listen for an hour or so before bed, and it’s like my own personal bedtime story. Once again, I find myself drawn into Harry’s story, and there’s just such a good feeling when I come to the end of one book, and know that the next book is there for me, waiting for me to start it.

When it comes to audiobooks, I have a tendency to favor books I’ve already read before. That way, there are no surprises. I know beforehand that yes, I do like the book (and no, there aren’t any scenes that are too intense for me to handle in print, much less in audio, where you can’t flip through the next page or two, eyes closed).

So the books in the Harry Potter series are perfect for an audiobook re-read. Although they’re pricy (and I noticed that Audible isn’t currently carrying them, either), I discovered that my library has a few copies of each volume.

Audiobook bliss. That’s about all I can say.

And the Harry Potter challenge is definitely one that I will be completing (I’m afraid I’m going to have a generally woeful post coming up soon about the state of my reading challenges). So far, I’ve listened to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (that’s the UK title) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (finished that last night, smiling all the while at Dobby’s reward). I also started Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban last night.

One thing, though: I do find that the images in my mind resemble to a great degree the images I remember from the movies. If you’ve re-read the Harry Potter books, do you find this happening too?

24 thoughts on “Harry Potter in Audio: Books 1 and 2

  1. andrea

    I’m also listening to the audiobooks! It’s taking me a long time because I listen in the car but usually only when I’m alone… I’ve just started Goblet of Fire last week. I love that I remember the books but at the same time I discover new things that I’d forgotten…

    1. Belle

      That’s what I’ve been discovering too! There are bits and pieces that I don’t remember. I think partly it’s because when I was reading the books previously, I was racing through them to get to the end.

    1. Belle

      Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone is 8.2 hours, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is 9 hours. Right now I’m on Prisoner of Azkaban, and that’s 11.7 hours. I think they all increase from here on :)

  2. Audrey

    I really wished that I had gotten the opportunity to finish all 7 books before watching the movies – because I had these great images in my mind of what the characters and their surroundings looked like, and after seeing the movies, all o these were suddenly changed. I hate it when that happens.
    At least in this case, the movie images were close.

    As for audiobooks, I have never actually listened to one. They sort of scare me.
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..I’m So Excited!!!! =-.

  3. Molly

    Well, count me as one of those who had no interest in the series until after the 7th book was published. I started listening to them last spring and managed to quickly “finish” the first three. I absolutely adore Jim Dale’s narration and I find that this is the first audiobook that I can easily follow (my mind does not wander).

    Now that school is in full swing – I need to start listening with book #4 and finish the series. I still harbor hopes of reading all 7 someday – but right now there is just not enough time.
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..Musing Monday 9.21.09 =-.

  4. Stephanie

    I would think Harry Potter would be great to listen to. I’ve only read the first three HP books and seen the first movie. Although I saw the movie about seven years ago, the characters are still fresh enough in my mind that I think I’d have the same issue as you–as I heard or read the books, I’d be envisioning the movie.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Giveaway!! =-.

  5. Kari

    This is a very good idea. Once I caught onto HP with books 1-3, I read the rest as soon as they were released. And since those were the days before I blogged and actually remembered what I read, I usually forgot what happened in the prior books and it took me a while to get back up to date. I’m with you, I’m super envious of the people who re-read all in a row. It’s like when you discover a great TV show and can watch the whole series on DVD in a week.

    Now you’ve inspired me to find the audio of these on the NYPL site and listen at work. And when I saw the first movie, I remember it being eerily close to the pictures in my head. I remember the school and all the moving stairs being almost exactly the same. Though my only problem with it now is that I can’t get the movie version out of my head, and I automatically picture those characters and settings. Luckily I haven’t seen them all, so I guess I can still leave a bit to my imagination. Dontcha hate when a movie ruins your own mental image?
    .-= Kari´s last blog ..Review: I had a farm in Africa =-.

    1. Belle

      The really nice thing with Jim Dale’s reading of the books is that his rendition of several of the characters is quite close to the movie characters – it’s kind of eerie, really, because the books were recorded before the movies.

  6. Caitie

    I listened to one on audiobook and it was great!

    I have reread the books several times and have been able to keep my own images for some of the characters, especially Hermione. Daniel Radcliffe matched what I thought Harry looked like, so that worked out well. Maybe it is because I dislike the movies and have only seen them once, but my images still prevail!
    .-= Caitie´s last blog ..The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – Review =-.

    1. Belle

      Daniel Radcliffe matched what I thought Harry looked like, too, which helps immensely. It’s good that you’re able to keep your own images for the characters. I enjoyed the movies, too, so it hasn’t worked out too badly that I keep seeing all those images in my mind when I’m listening!

  7. Zee

    I just listened to most of the Harry Potter books on audio over the summer. I find that when I listen to the books I hear things I hadn’t noticed before. I NEVER got the clue from the sphinx in the Goblet of Fire until I heard it read by Stephen Fry. It was great.
    .-= Zee´s last blog ..Fall into Reading 2009: Reading List =-.

    1. Belle

      Oh, me too! I think listening to them in audio really made me slow down – when I read the books, I have this tendency to tear right through them because they’re so exciting.

  8. Memory

    I’ve been thinking about trying the audio books. I’ve heard nothing but praise for Jim Dale’s narration, and I’m sure my library must have them. But at the same time, I love being able to whip through these books fast as anything, so I’m not sure how I’d react to the slower pace. I guess I’ll find out!
    .-= Memory´s last blog ..129. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte =-.

    1. Belle

      I’ve been finding that I’m picking up on some things I hadn’t noticed when I read the books, so there’s actually an advantage to the slower pace of the audiobooks. And Jim Dale really is so very very good, Memory. I hope you’ll give at least one of the books a try in audio!

  9. Michelle

    You are so much further along than I am! I haven’t even had a chance to start reading the first book yet. I have to say, though, that I imagine that as I’m reading the book I’ll likely envision the actors in the movies. I’ve not seen any of them from start to finish but I imagine you’d have to be living under a rock to not have seen some of at leas one movie or at the least magazine articles with everyone’s pictures!

    Congrats on completing the books and moving closer to challenge victory!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Joy Preble – Dreaming Anastasia =-.


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