Watch Daniel Radcliffe (& Other Celebrities) Read "Harry Potter" To You
The Harry Potter star, plus David Beckham, Stephen Fry, and more, are reading from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" to bring the wizarding world to people staying at home.
You can now watch the (actor who played the) boy wizard himself read "Harry Potter" to you, thanks to the efforts of J. K. Rowling and #HarryPotterAtHome.
On May 5, Rowling's Wizarding World team announced that "some of the best-loved faces from global entertainment, music and sport have lent their voices to the story they love by recording videos of themselves reading the timeless first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone."
A video of Radcliffe, who played the title character among the series' eight movies, reading the first chapter of the first book was posted along with the announcement. You can watch that roughly 25-minute video here, or listen to the audio version on Spotify.
Wizarding World also posted a teaser video featuring various celebrities, including David Beckham, Stephen Fry, and Dakota Fanning, to announce that they'll all be reading chapters of the first book as well in the coming weeks. (Who could resist David Beckham in a Gryffindor scarf?)
The seven celeb readers announced May 5 are Radcliffe, Beckham, Fry, Fanning, as well as "Fantastic Beasts" star Eddie Redmayne, actress Claudia Kim (also in the same franchise), and Noma Dumezweni, who originated the role of grown-up Hermione Granger in the stage play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child."
The rest of the series reading will feature "more surprises and special appearances from across the Wizarding World and beyond to come," according to the announcement. "Each will be reading different sections of this iconic book – with its themes of family, friendship, courage and overcoming adversity – to families around the world."
The video readings also feature artwork from fans around the world of all ages. People can submit their own illustrations for future chapters using the #HarryPotterAtHome hashtag.
ORIGINAL STORY, published April 1, 2020:
J. K. Rowling, in collaboration with the publishers Scholastic, Bloomsbury, and a few other organizations, announced on Wednesday a new website called ‘Harry Potter At Home’ — a free, magical resource to keep readers of all ages entertained while staying at home.
“For over twenty years now, Hogwarts has been an escape for all,” an introductory post on the website reads. “During the strange times we now find ourselves in, we want to welcome you back to Hogwarts, where you will find a friendly retreat for you, your family and those you are caring for.”
The new “Harry Potter At Home” hub lives on WizardingWorld.com — the official site for all things Harry Potter, including the “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” franchise. Wizarding World already offers people a variety of interactivity, including the "Wizarding Passport," where you can get sorted into a Hogwarts House, find a wand, and even discover your Patronus. (If you remember hearing about “Pottermore,” that site has been folded into the WW website as well.)
The site’s creators, acknowledging that people are spending a lot more time at home, have added new activity kits, “nifty magical craft videos,” quizzes, puzzles and more. Rowling and co. also promise that the website will be updated regularly with new recommended activities.
As part of the new effort, Audible is also making the first book in the "Harry Potter" series free on its new platform. It will be available to listen to in six different languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese. The digital library OverDrive will also have a free eBook version of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (Sorcerer if you’re American) available for people to download and read.
Earlier in March, after the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, Rowling relaxed her copyright rules and granted an open license for teachers to post videos of themselves reading the Harry Potter books to their students. Prior to that, even videos uploaded to YouTube where teachers were reading the books aloud were taken down because of copyright restrictions.
And if you’d rather play on your phone more than anything else, there are always the Wizarding World Portkey Games: Wizards Unite, aka the Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go, and Hogwarts Mystery, a role-playing video game. Niantic, the makers of Pokemon Go and collaborators on Wizards Unite, have also adjusted to the new staying at home reality. A major feature of those two games is exploring your neighborhood and communities in order to unlock special features, but Niantic has now adjusted gameplay to allow people to participate without ever having to leave their couch.