It was the Azkaban arc that finally cemented in my mind that I was going to do this audio-book/podcast project. Before I had only been thinking “Man, I really wish this was in audio form so I could listen to it while working.” Afterwards I thought “Wow. This has to be done. No one else is doing it… what’s stopping me?”
I almost wanted to just jump straight to the Azkaban arc and do it right away. But there was simply no way for the arc to have the effect it does without all the groundwork laid down by the previous chapters. It’d be like listening to “Still Alive” without having played through Portal first. It’s still a good song, but all the emotional context is gone. I needed to have put out all the preceding chapters first in order to do the Azkaban arc now. Fortunately, it’s easy to change the distant past if you get started early enough. :) A year later it was the present again, and I wanted to do the Azkaban arc, and this time all the preceding audio work had already been done!
I’m glad there were so many episodes to do first – I learned an amazing amount on my way to chapter 52. So much so that I had to eventually completely redo the early chapters. The Azkaban arc would have been a shameful and wretched thing had I not gotten the dozens of hours of reading and hundreds of hours of editing experience in beforehand. Instead, I can note it as a huge success.