(Harry Potter #1)
Author: J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
Published: March 29th, 2012 by Pottermore
Genres: young adult, fantasy
Format: Audiobook, 8 hours, 33 minutes
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!
Audiobooks used to be (and still kind of are) really hard for me. I have a wandering mind. (Seriously, it’s bad.) So I’ve steered clear of them for a long time. A couple of years ago, I’d had an Audible account for several months and had lots of built-up credit, so I got the first five Harry Potter audiobooks with them.
With this audio version of the first Harry Potter book, I mostly listened to it while on my commute to and from work. There were many times where I would still catch my mind drifting away from the story, and I would have to reel myself back in and sometimes rewind the narration a little bit. It’s safe to say, I think, that audiobooks are best listened to when it’s a story I’ve already familiarized myself with. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is already a well-loved tale of mine, so when my mind has taken a little detour, I’m usually able to jump back in and know exactly what’s happening in the story, and what to expect next.
However, it has been SO long since I’ve read this book. (Sure, I’ve seen the movie more than a dozen times, but I think I read the book when I was in middle school, which was more than 15 years ago.) I’ve forgotten just how different the movie was from the novel!
The movies, in my opinion, did the series a great justice! (Although, I only read up to book five pleasedon’tlookatmethatway!) Once I finished this audiobook, I dug out my box of DVDs that is still hanging out in the garage from when we moved into our house two years ago and pulled out the first movie.
The Minor Differences between movie and book
- In the book, we get more of a background to the Dursley’s at the get-go. Vernon goes about a normal day, except for some odd occurrences.
- Once we’re a little further into the chapters, and it’s Dudley’s birthday, the Dursley’s are loathe to find out that Harry must accompany them to the zoo, along with Dudley’s friend.
- In the movie, Hagrid takes Harry to King’s Cross station after a day of shopping for all of his school supplies. But in the book, another month has to go by before Harry can board the Hogwarts Express, and so the Dursley’s have to drop him off at the station, leaving him in bewilderment trying to find Platform 9¾.
- Harry meets Draco at Hogwarts in the movie, but in the book they meet at a robe shop, and it is here where Harry learns the term “quidditch” and the names of the school houses.
- Meanwhile in Diagon Alley, Hagrid sticks with Harry while they enter Olivander’s wand shop. And honestly I would’ve liked to see the actor play a more crazed character like he seemed in the book, replacing wand after wand in Harry’s hand like a mad man! But I do like how the movie determined the wand wasn’t a fit after Harry gave it a wave. Also Harry learns about Voldemort before meeting Olivander in the book, but in the movie, Olivander initially tells Harry about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
The Major difference between movie and book
- Hagrid’s baby dragon, Norbert, was discovered by Draco in both the book and the movie, but how they transfer Norbert to Romania was vastly different. In the book, Ron sends an owl to his brother Charlie, asking if he could somehow get Norbert to Romania before Hagrid got in trouble for having him, and when they sneak out at night, they are all caught and get detention, including Neville. But in the movie, Draco, Ron, Hermione and Harry get detention just for being out of bed, and Hagrid simply says that Dumbledore sent Norbert to Romania.
There are many other small differences of course, but incorporating every single thing written in the book would make for a very, very long movie — although, who in their right mind would complain about that? Not me.
Jim Dale is a VERY talented narrator, and I think I had to get over my struggle of listening to audiobooks to recognize that. I’ve been let down by so many narrators in the past that I’ve become very picky. When Hermione was introduced, I was a bit annoyed with how he voiced her. It just sounded very…irritating. But once I thought about it…Hermione was supposed to be irritating when Harry and Ron are initially around her.
Once I got over that, I realized just how brilliant and skilled he is. He really did an excellent job bringing each character to life. Hagrid and McGonagall were some of my favorites.
I would highly recommend you to listen to Jim Dale’s rendition of the first Harry Potter audiobook if you ever find yourself interested. His spot-on inflections and the way he tells the story is simply magical! (Pun intended.)