The Short Version:
Things get a little darker with this one in the series at the same time the kids are growing up and adding the complications of more adult relationships and general teenage traumas to the already complicated mix.
Why I Read It:
I’m just enjoying the heck out of listening to these as a method of re-reading. It’s increasingly unlikely that I’ll finish all of them by the end of the challenge, but I really don’t care.
As I’ve said before on the re-read via audio posts, I’m not going to bother with any kind of plot summary. By now you either know it or you don’t want to know.
As always, Jim Dale does an exceptional job of reading this series. The minor quibbles I have with some of the voice characterizations he uses are either becoming less pronounced or I’m getting used to them.
The Quidditch World Cup and Tri-Wizard Tournament were a nice way to expand the scope of the story to include characters beyond Hogwarts and the wizarding folk in England. The introduction of other Wizarding schools and characters from other countries expanded the cast and world of Harry Potter in a good and interesting way. It also reinforced the breadth of the influence of Voldemort.
The fun is bigger, but the dark side of the story is bigger too. As the main characters age the story gets more complex and the themes darker and Harry is forced to face things and experiences that are more than kids (even wizard kids) his age should not have to face.
Although it’s not going to make it any likelier that I’ll finish listening to the entire series by the end of July, I did try something a bit different toward the end of this one. I listened to the last two CD’s with my ipod audiobook playback set to the ‘faster’ setting. I’ve never tried that before and had presumed it simply speeded up the whole recording and changed the reader’s voice so that it would be like listening to the Chipmunks. Then I ran across a discussion post in the Audiobooks group on Goodreads where the faster playback was described as not significantly altering the narration, but shortening the spaces between words so I decided to give it a try. By this time I’m quite familiar with Jim Dale’s reading and knowing that with 17 cds for this book and 23 for the next book (followed by 17 each for the final two books) decided that speeding up the process was worth a try. It took a little bit of getting used to but I think it might be a good way to shorten some of the listening time for the remainder of the series. I wouldn’t do this with every audiobook, but with a re-read of a story I’ve already read once, it works.