In October Audible and Pottermore debuted the Audible Original audio drama, Harry Potter: A History of Magic. While a physical book exists by the same name what makes this audio drama special is that it includes a variety of voices and guests, a bit like a documentary piece. This work is divided into a variety of different sections, which take their inspiration from courses and books that the witches and wizards of Hogwarts would experience. This fantastic collection of history, both of magic and of the Harry Potter universe, is something every Harry Potter fan needs to listen too immediately.
Natalie Dormer acts as the primary narrator of the piece and introduces each of the various guests, artifacts, and stories that are the focus for the audio drama. Yes, that’s right I did say artifacts. What is wonderful is that Dormer provides a description of physical objects to the listeners in order to share with them what exactly it is that they are discussing. This element acts a bit like an audio tour would at a museum, which makes complete sense when you realize this work is tied to an exhibit that was created by the British Library. There are pieces from J.K. Rowling’s own collection that tied back to the creation of the books, including her personal sketches and a letter written to her concerning the first book being published in the United States. Not only are there pieces from Rowling, but a variety of experts discuss items like Apothecary signs, cauldrons, and so much more.
My personal favorite element within the work appears in the first chapter. When I was growing up my mom decided to check out the Harry Potter books since I really liked them and she happened to volunteer at a library and wanted to know more about what people were borrowing. At the time she was primarily listening to audio books, we spent a lot of time in the car going between practices and events so that was really the only time she could enjoy a book. This meant that whenever she decided to listen to Harry Potter I would hear the voice of Jim Dale. I grew to love that voice and within Harry Potter: A History of Magic I was able to hear more about his experience as the audio book performer for the American audio books. Stephen Fry was also a fun guest for the audio book, but I did not connect as strongly with his discussions of the books because I didn’t grow up hearing him as the voice of the Harry Potter universe. I also love the discussion of the illustrations in the books, which often also includes insight from Jim Kay. As the illustrator of the series he brought us the original versions of the characters and hearing what led him to create the visuals for these characters was a delight. You can start listening to Harry Potter: A History of Magic right now!
Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.