This past May, the Hay Festival was held in Wales. The festival hosted various events and among them was the panel of Stephen Fry, where the actor and writer was presenting his third book on the re-telling serie Mythos and Heroes.
The book follows the story of Troy in Greek mythology, and is accompanied with live illustrations by Chris Riddell, the same man behind the illustrated deluxe version of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. So, it was not a surprise that Fry was approached about his work on the audiobooks of Harry Potter.
That’s how he started recalling how his agent called him to do a children’s audiobook, it was ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, unless you’re american, where the word ‘philosopher’ would terrify you and it’s called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, in America’, joked Fry, who admitted to think that the book was rather good once he finished reading it. He accepted the job and went to met with Joanne Rowling, he recalls her to have been very nice.
It was on his second day at the job, when Rowling told him that she was writing the second book. ‘Good for you!’ he remembered answering her, maybe not imagining what was going to happen. ‘By the third one this had become something of a phenomenon, as you can imagine, and by the fourth it was insane’. And here is where his memory goes a bit low. He recalls that while working on the audiobook for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban there was a phrase that was like a tongue twister for him. The phrase in question was ‘Harry pocketed it’
However, we did our research and we found out that that phrase was not part of Prisoner of Azkaban. The phrase ‘Harry, however, pocketed it’ is first said in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it was the scene where he finds Tom Riddle’s Diary at Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. Stephen Fry told that Rowling, in some sort of retaliation for his approaching her that first time in hopes to have her permission to modify the phrase, added the tongue twister phrase in the consequent books a few times. And although we really love Stephen Fry, we have to refute his statement.
‘Harry pocketed it’ was phrased two times in Goblet of Fire and that was it. There were indeed other phrases where Rowling uses ‘pocketed it’, but nothing that could be compared to the ultimate tongue twister.