Catching Up With: That Guy Who Does the Voice of Harry Potter

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The New York Times has a piece on Jim Dale, who reads the Harry Potter audiobooks. Man, Dale must have positively reeked of Felix Felicis the day he got that gig. He’s a stage actor who had never before done a published audiobook (though he’d done one that hadn’t been released). Now look at my man! Look at his apartment, in that picture! That’s on Park Avenue, people!

The reason I bothered to read this piece is that I’ve actually been listening to the HP audiobooks — I’m just squeezing out the last few minutes of Half-Blood Prince. I never used to use audiobooks, but I sort of like it — I’m walking around all the time with a slow drip of Harry Potter trickling into my ears. I’m very choosy about how people read — I hate the way some authors read their own works — but I don’t have a problem with Dale, though I’m curious about the Stephen Fry versions sold in the UK. (Gina? Do folks at the LC have a preference?)

I do think his Hermione is a little funny. (“Oooohhh, Harreeee!) And he tends to give Death Eaters lower-class British accents, which I think is all wrong: the Death Eaters are snobs, they’d have — or at least they’d affect — patrician accents! But it’s nice to know Dale’s producers are hardcore:

The producers are sticklers for absolute fidelity to the text. “If she says ‘someone laughs, ha, ha, ha,’ and I do four ‘ha’s,’ I am stopped and told, ‘Just do three,’ ” Mr. Dale said.

p.s. Having reread-slash-listened to the relevant scene, I kind of don’t think Dumbledore’s dead