Listening to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone narrated by Stephen Fry
Publication: November 20th 2015 by Pottermore from J.K. Rowling
Format: Audiobook
“Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter ‘H’.” 
Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!’ – Pottermore 

This is not a review of the Harry Potter series but rather a review Stephen Fry’s narration of Harry Potter.

It’s been a really stressful week. I managed to destroy my Macbook screen (yes, I died) and only just got it fixed today so I’m back onboard with blogging! I’ve got some ideas lined up for posts (other than just reviews) and can’t wait to get started on them now!

I’ve been looking forward to talking about this audiobook with you guys. I was one of the millions of children that stayed up all night eagerly anticipating the arrival of the new Harry Potter book. The process of diving into the world of Harry Potter was magical in itself and every time a new book found its way into my hands, I wouldn’t leave the Potterverse until I’d reached the last page.

Sadly, reading a fantastic book too quickly is like eating a delicious meal too quickly; you regret not savouring it afterwards. In the case of Harry Potter, I’d have to wait for the next book to get that buzz again. It wasn’t until Harry waved goodbye to his children on Platform 9 ¾ that I realised I was never going to experience that rush of excitement ever again (*cries forever*). So basically, I’ve always been a bit envious of those who have only just delved into Rowling’s series of children’s books. You lucky, lucky beans.

Since the publication of The Deathly Hallows, I have re-visited the Harry Potter series a ridiculous amount of times and, although I still love the books despite their tattered pages, the thrill of reading a Harry Potter book for the first time has obviously gone. I read all the books, watched all the movies, even trawled through Pottermore to read the additional snippets written by Rowling (they’re soo good) but, I hadn’t given the audiobooks a try.

I had a monthly subscription on Audible, so I went ahead and downloaded Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone narrated by Stephen Fry. There’s also a Jim Dale version but I prefer Fry’s voice in general, and it was the best decision ever. Fry’s performance brought the series back to life; I hung onto every word even if I was listening at the end of an exhausting day.

Listening to the audiobook felt like reading the book with a fresh pair of eyes (or ears in this case). Fry’s performance was gripping, and he carried me into the story beautifully. I was in stitches at the beginning where Dumbledore explains that he has written a letter to the Dursleys to explain the whole Harry on their doorstep situation. Fry was spectacular at carrying emotion through his narration, he truly acted with his voice, hearing Hagrid sob while leaving Harry was touching.

The Quidditch scenes were particularly dramatic and lively; it was hilarious hearing Lee Jordan’s commentary. I was impressed by the way Fry performed these scenes and look forward to hearing more in the subsequent books.

General criticism of Fry’s performance in comparison to Dale’s has been that Fry’s version of Voldemort does not match up to Dale’s. I do agree that Dale’s performance as Voldemort is more chilling and in-line with the movie-version by Fry’s was closer to how I’d envisioned Voldemort from the books alone. Although Voldemort’s character is portrayed as cruel and terrifying, he’s also supposed to be pathetic really; that’s why I was happy with Fry’s version. I was especially pleased by his performance as Hagrid and Dumbledore, spot-on! I’m interested to hear what Fry does with Dobby and how he handles Parseltongue in The Chamber of Secrets.

I’d highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who’s a Harry Potter fan; it’ll bring back that long-lost excitement. Try to pace how much of the story you listen to this time so you don’t devour the series too quickly!

P.S. If you sign up for an Audible trial you can download a book for free for keepsies. I’d suggest downloading this book! You can always cancel the trial later…