Stephen Fry Recordings of Harry Potter?

A letter in my inbox this morning:

Hi John, 

My husband and I listen routinely to Jim Dale’s reading of the HP series. I wanted to also listen to the English version read by Stephen Fry.

I clicked on a website about buying a set and it took me to an obvious dark web site that started downloading something on my computer and flashing multiple popups of porn content. An unpleasant experience and scary to boot. I am now spooked about searching for it.  My local library doesn’t have it.

Do you have a suggestion for a reliable site and a reasonable price?

Thought I would ask the guru of all things Harry Potter! Thank  you!

Kathleen

Great question, Kathleen, and one I really wish I had an easy answer to. The site you refer to is akin to the HPAudioBooks.club website, the first thing to pop up in a google search for ‘Harry Potter Stephen Fry.’ It offers you the audiobooks read by Fry for free — in exchange for access to your computer’s inner workings and all your data. Some deal!

It used to be that you couldn’t buy the Fry recordings in the United States because Bloomsbury did not have publishing rights here, Scholastic did (and does), and Scholastic published the Jim Dale recordings. This agreement held over into the Audible versions available via Pottermore. End of story unless you purchased the Fry books through Amazon.co.uk as CDs and paid the trans-atlantic shipping fee (still an option if you’re willing to sign up for a UK Amazon membership). Which was tough for families that routinely listen to Dale while driving on long trips or fans who work out while tuned in to Harry’s adventures.

It seems, though, that this barrier has been relaxed, albeit at a price. The complete Stephen Fry readings of the seven Harry Potter novels can be had via Amazon for ~$275, more than 100 CDs at more than $350 off the list price. That’s no bargain if you don’t like CDs and if you’ve purchased the Audible audiobooks as read by Jim Dale for $15 each, the whole set instantly downloaded for just over $100 (and plenty of us are doing just that; 7 of the top 11 fiction books this week at Amazon.com are the PotterMore print and audio editions of Harry Potter).

Nota bene: I don’t know if that Fry ‘Complete Set’ will be available for long. It is listed as a ‘paperback’ which seems a dodge on the Amazon system controls to keep the Bloomsbury audiobooks off the American market. If you want a set and don’t live close to the Canadian border (the Fry recordings can be bought anywhere in Canada… Travis Prinzi raves on Fry’s recordings over Dale’s — he lives in Rochester, NY, so getting them did not require even a long drive for him), you may want to make the purchase promptly.

I’m no expert in this sort of thing so I open the floor to the HogPro All-Pros and whatever suggestions they may have for Kathleen and her desire to buy some Stephen Fry audiobooks. Do you know of any deals Kathleen can use to get copies of the Fry audiobooks?

Two quick Stephen Fry notes: (1) The “he pocketed it” story and (2) it was Fry who took Rowling to ‘Pratt’s Club’ in London where Cormoran Strike meets Jasper Chiswell (and Pratt’s is not happy about it?).

Comments

  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    I found a sample (not yet hunted down) Fry HP chapter in (ahem) the ‘You-usal’ place, though it sounded better at 1.25 speed… but it might be a way to see if one liked the sound, style, etc., quickly and easily…

    Mr. Fry’s pointed unpleasantness as Public Personality (e.g., attacking Christianity) puts me off enjoying his (voice-)actorly talents…

  2. Kathleen Van Every says

    I was unaware of Mr. Fry’s bias. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. It might make a difference in my efforts to locate a copy 🙂 , although I have to say, if I tried to filter my entertainment by an algorithm that considers my antipathy to particular biases, then my viewing/listening/reading list would be mighty slim!

  3. On the Straw God of Stephen Fry (David Robertson)

    Yes, he has fairly pedestrian and characteristically strident opinions about a god in whom he imagines Christians believe.

    As you say, if we restricted our reading and listening experiences to those artists who passed an orthodox litmus strip testing or even to those who didn’t go out of their way to demonstrate their ignorance of and dismissive disrespect of God-believers, we’d be living in an entertainment ghetto that might be as unhealthy as the worst of the atheist offerings.

    Still, good to know what Fry has said. He’ll go on the shelf with Tom Cruise and others that are more the subject of prayer than of admiration.

  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    That, under the terms you suggest, “we’d be living in an entertainment ghetto that might be as unhealthy as the worst of the atheist offerings” sounds unduly pessimistic (to borrow a word from Leibniz), what with three-and-a-half millennia or whatever of Abrahamo-Israelo-Judeo-Christian writings and what-not (including things like St. Basil’s “Address to Young Men on Greek Literature” (as its Wikipedia article is entitled), and the works of St. Thomas Aquinas). But it does raise interesting questions (if that’s not putting it too blandly) about what sort of ‘litmus’ might (more or less justly, consistently, permissibly, etc.) go into such a test. E.g., that a given person may be enriched in their pursuit of malice or licence as well be prayed for, as a contemporary – how might, or ought, that to weigh? Perhaps I should reread Dorothy Sayers’s Zeal of Thy House (among other things)…

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