Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling. Read by Jim Dale
I was one of those people who sat outside a bookstore for hours waiting for the last book. In fact some friends and I organised a Harry Potter tour of the UK for members of a website in the two weeks leading up to the release. I make sure I re-read the books every so often. Over the summer I managed to get my hands on almost all the US audio books and I have been listening to them off and on since, mainly when I go for my walks or while I eat lunch. I have just finished the Order of Phoenix.
This is one of my favourite books mainly because it is the introduction of one of my favourite characters: Tonks. I also love the deliciously evil Dolores Umbridge and the mischief of Fred and George. It is a funny book but at the same time dark. I find the balance between the two perfectly managed in this book. I also find Harry's burgeoning realisation of what friends really are to be an important lesson to be learned. The fact that at the start of the book he wants to be seen with the cool kids but towards the end he reaches an understanding and appreciation of Luna and Neville, two of the not so cool kids.
Audio version: I am a bit meh about this audio version. I listened to the British Stephen Fry version a few years ago and I suppose I fell in love with it. What I find particularly grating in this one is the accents. Dale reads Dean Thomas with a Scottish accent. As a Harry Potter fan who has lived in the UK I find this grating since Dean Thomas is an Aston Villa fan and therefore, in my mind, from London. He should not have such a Scottish accent. I also do not read Bellatrix to have such a french accent. To me she was British too. She is probably one of the few characters in the book where I really see the actress who played her because that was so very well cast. Helena Bonham Carter is PERFECT in the role. But that isn't what I was going to talk about. Yes so I have a problem with the accent. One day I will definitely buy the British versions instead.
The Penguin in the picture is called Gred. He was our mascot on the aforementioned trip. And if Mor ever reads this, send me your address and he will be returned to you.