Friday, August 3, 2007

Harry Potter RIP

No ... that is not a spoiler!! Although I did find the body count to be a bit excessive I shall refrain in this space from revealing any info that folks might just want to find out themselves. However, it is definitely the end of Harry Potter (the Hogwarts years) and that is a sad, sad thing. I did so enjoy the brief run in the comic Sally Forth (I don't know if that link will be permanent?) that had Hillary not wanting to start Harry Potter VII because when she was finished, there would be no more.

At any rate, considering I was feeling a little Hillary-ish about this book, I finished listening to all 21+ hours in a little more than a week. I was helped by the terrible time my internal clock had adjusting back to Pacific Daylight Time as I was awake for many hours in the night and just lay in bed and listened to the story in the hopes of dozing off (was it the Deathly Hallows that kept me awake?). Then I had another cross-country plane trip, and ... before I knew it ... Harry, Ron and Hermione were at Hogwarts engaged in a Narnia-like last battle. Very exciting stuff ... and an extremely satisfying end.

And Jim Dale was ... well, you know ... fantastic. Earlier this summer, we learned from the staff at Listening Library that each character he has created for the series has been saved in a digital file. And when he needs a little reminder of a particular character's voicing, he just asks them to serve it up and off he goes. So, we got snatches of Dobby and Kreacher, of McGonagall and Snape, even of Dumbledore and Sirius Black. And each was a pleasure to hear again. In addition to his voicings, I think that Jim Dale is so skilled at setting mood with pacing and volume. He knows when to speed up for an action scene, but he can also calm us all down when we need it and really let us feel Harry's sadness and sense of abandonment.

I've listened to all the Potters but the Half-Blood Prince and -- perhaps more than anything else -- these books have made me an audiobook reader. I would listen to Jim Dale read the phone book (I think I've said that before). It looks like there's going to be one more Peter Pan prequel (in October ... I wonder if we'll get it in time for committee consideration). Then, I wonder what he'll read next?

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