I'm trying to decide between Jim Dale (US) and Stephen Fry (UK) audio book version.

What, if any, are the differences between the two versions of the audio books? How well were they received?

English is not my first language if it makes any difference.

  • You can read about some of the differences at mindtherant.blogspot.com/2012/04/….
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 20, 2016 at 18:49
  • 4
    Aside from the two different narrators, music, and text? ;) IIRC - Jim Dale makes an effort to 'perform' different voices whereas Fry is doing a more straight reading of the text with less variance between the characters. If you enjoy hearing a 60+ yr old man attempt to voice a 12 yr old girl then Jim Dale is the way to go.
    – NKCampbell
    May 20, 2016 at 19:29
  • 1
    Jim Dale does this very very well, just by the way. May 20, 2016 at 20:09
  • For someone who isn't English, is Stephen Fry's accent going to be more difficult to listen to?
    – System
    May 21, 2016 at 8:10
  • 1
    @System If you can understand English/Scottish/Irish accents of actors in the movies without subtitles, I suppose you would be alright.
    – Aegon
    May 21, 2016 at 10:07

2 Answers 2


Both are really easy to understand even for a foreigner as myself. Both readers are comedian with a very good pronunciation.

I prefer the Jim Dale version because of the various voices he is performing. Hagrid is a very convincing half-giant and I'm loving McGonagal scottish's accent. And the sorting-hat's songs...

I found as well to my great surprise that the text read by J. Dale is much more extensive than the one read by S. Fry. It even includes some text not present in the French translation for instance.

Steven Fry is better at using inflection in order to outline part of the text. This is sometime very pleasant and really missing from Dale's version.

The last point is that J Dale is reading faster than S Fry. To me it looks like a "plus" as I am finding audiobook way to slow. (Especially as compared to my reading speed which is easily 4 time faster.)

Hope it will help you find the version you will like the most.

  • thanks! I ended up alternating between the two before settling with Fry in the end! I agree with your comments on both versions, I somehow found Dale a bit tiring...
    – System
    Jul 4, 2016 at 13:31
  • I like Stephen Fry's performance of the Sherlock Holmes series quite a bit, but for Potter, I prefer Dale's version. I've listened to both versions of Potter at least twice each (actually, twice for Fry, and like 15 times for Dale!)
    – iammax
    Jul 23, 2017 at 23:08
  • UK uses the British version of the book, and pronounces words in the British pronunciation (ie 'lieutenant' as 'left-ten-ant')
  • US uses the US (Scholastic) version of the book, using American pronunciation (ie 'lieutenant' as 'loo-ten-ent'), despite using a British accent

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