Remember a few months ago when I replaced a ton of minor character’s lines with other people’s voices? And I thought I’d never have to go back and do that amount of revision again? Turns out I was wrong. I was recently contacted by a listener of Indian descent who received an unpleasant shock when she came across the Patil twins, due to the accent used.
It’s a strange walk that got me to this point. A lot of HPMoR is comedy, especially the first half. When I was doing all the voices myself I did a lot of goofy accents. In addition to highlighting the comedy, it also was fun for me, and it helped to differentiate all the characters when I was the only one doing the voices (both in my head and, I presume, to my listeners). Millicent Bulstrode had a ridiculous French accent, Dean Thomas had a spaghetti-western Cowboy drawl, Seamus was a cross between the Lucky Charms leprechaun and Groundskeeper Willy, and Zabini still has a crazy Eastern European/Russian accent (because I refused to let anyone else take him on. I just loved doing him too much, and as an Eastern European immigrant myself I feel I have some license to those jokes). It was all part of the silly fun.
But as more and more voices were replaced by people using their own, distinct voices, the silly fake accents disappeared. With very few exceptions the accents that are now in the podcast are natural accents from people who aren’t native English speakers.
The actress who voices the Patil twins was a friend of mine, who has since moved away, and who was merely following my precedent of voicing the twins with an Indian accent. She did some research beforehand and did her best to be authentic, but she didn’t employ a voice-coach. As a result she is a white woman putting on an Indian accent, and doing so in a less-than-perfect manner. It was far enough off to cause pain to a listener. The listener mentioned that such accents were affected at her school to belittle her. Given the Patil’s prominence in the anti-bullying SPHEW arc, I found that particularly upsetting.
Fortunately, Amanda is more than happy to rerecord the Patil lines without the accent, so this will be fixed in the near future! To anyone who came to the show recently and was jarred by the one goofy accent in a sea of normal voices – I apologize. That was entirely my fault, please don’t hold it against anyone else.