I first spoke about a possible Harry Potter book reading in my Oh-My-Gosh-I’ve-Discovered-Audio-Books!!! post. Click here if you’ve missed it.
And so I did it – I entered the wizzarding world of Harry Potter and here’s what I have to say:
Title: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Author: J. K. Rowling
Published: November 20, 2015 (Audible, UK)
Format: Audio Book, unabridged
Narrator: Stephen Fry
As I have already mentioned in my above mentioned post, I’m one of the few species who grew as old as I am without reading the Harry Potter books. Not because I think they are crap. Five bazillian happy readers and die hard fans from all ages can’t be wrong. I just thought this is not my cup of tea. Not my genre.
But then came audio books. Or better: then I finally discovered audio books. And that discovery changed quite a lot. It makes me want to check out books I wouldn’t have had the desire to read as a real book or e-book. I’m still not sure why that is, but it is like it is. I would seriously like to know if other audio book fans have made the same experience.
And so I found my way to Harry Potter by checking an audio sample and joyfully listening to Stephen Fry’s wonderful narrating. I’m not denying though, that the way he narrates the stories, played a big part in convincing me to finally head over to platform 9 ¾ and hop on the train to Hogwards.
I don’t see any point in telling you here and now, what the Harry Potter books are all about. I don’t think there’s anything that hasn’t been said about them or is not known. Let’s just say, since it’s the first book in the series, we get to know all (many of) the beloved characters, learn about why Harry lives as an orphan with his awful Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursley and their even more awful son Dudley, we learn about the greatest evil of all time,
Lord Voldemort He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and what he has to do with the death of Harry’s parents, we take the train from platform 9 ¾ for the first time, meet all the new friends (and enemies) in Hogwards, are assigned by the Sorting Hat to our house (I’m a Gryffindor, by the way, what about you?), learn everything about Quidditch and meet Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonnagall and of course Professor Snape! We hear that the only known bank of this wizarding world is the Gringotts Wizarding Bank and that it is run by goblins. There’s beloved half-giant-half-human Hargrid and malicious Draco Malfoy, we enter a world where trolls, ghosts and centaurs are a regular sight and Muggles are not exactly popular. I could go on and on…
I was familiar with the story because I have seen all of the movies. Wouldn’t have been able to tell you exactly what happened off the top of my head but as the story continued I saw the movie scenes playing out before my eyes. Those who know me will also know that I’m a firm believer in reading a book first and then see a movie because normally I lose interest in a book after I’ve seen the movie. So why do I check out the books now, even though I’ve seen the movies? Well… it would have never occurred to me that I would even read them. Blame it on the audio book format and blame it on Stephen Fry’s narrating. It’s just too much fun. Also… it’s been years since I saw the movies, so…
Loved it! These books are VERY well written, the characters so loveable (or hateable … I know that’s not a word LOL), the whole HP universe… Hogwards… all the magical stuff… it’s irresistible! Yes, it’s aimed at the younger readers but who wants to bet how many adults have read them? And loved them? Now, at least after book #1, I see why that is. I’m hooked! You can not NOT love this. Never thought I’d say this but it’s the plain truth.
One last word about Stephen Fry: you can’t narrate this story any better. His voice, his wonderful So-Very-British accent and the way he’s portraying all these characters is PERFECT. Doesn’t get any better.
So if you’re one of those still wondering whether this could be something for you, don’t hesitate, give it a try, be open, embrace the magic, start reading (listening) and get carried away!
I’m a registered member at www.pottermore.com now. Just sayin’ :-D.
PS: In case you’re wondering: the title of the book in the USA is “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. I wondered why that is and found this on Wikipedia
Scholastic Corporation bought the U.S. rights at the Bologna Book Fair in April 1997 for US$105,000, an unusually high sum for a children’s book. They thought that a child would not want to read a book with the word “philosopher” in the title and, after some discussion, the American edition was published in September 1998 under the title Rowling suggested, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Rowling claimed that she regretted this change and would have fought it if she had been in a stronger position at the time. Philip Nel has pointed out that the change lost the connection with alchemy, and the meaning of some other terms changed in translation, for example from “crumpet” to “muffin“. While Rowling accepted the change from both the British English “mum” and Seamus Finnigan’s Irish variant “mam” to “mom” in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, she vetoed this change in the later books, which was then reversed in later editions of Philosopher’s Stone.
Insert major eye roll here…