For those children (and adults) who have been craving JK Rowling's magical touch since last year's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the wait is finally over: Rowling's new book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, is published today.
As every Potter-fanatic will tell you, this book played a key role in the conclusion of the Deathly Hallows. Professor Dumbledore bequeathed this collection of fairy tales compiled by a 15th-century bard– the wizard world's equivalent of the Grimm brothers – to Hermoine, with the hope that she would find it "entertaining and instructive". Later she reads out from it "The Tale of the Three Brothers", a fable about what happens to those who try to cheat Death.
This tale and four others are now brought together in a short book, which was published in a limited edition last year. As an added bonus this edition contains the notes of Professor Dumbledore himself, whose annotations, Rowling informs us in her introduction, were found among his papers in the Hogwarts Archives.
In the first story, "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot", a kindly old wizard makes potions to solve the problems of all his neighbours – even the muggles. After he dies, he passes his "lucky cooking pot" onto his son who proves less generous with his spells. Soon the pot becomes plagued with "hungry slugs" and horrible odours that will remain until he does the right thing.
A later tale, "The Warlock's Hairy Heart", draws on a similar kind of symbolism. A fearsome wizard hides his heart in an enchanted crystal casket, so that he can pursue his worldly ambitions without the encumbrance of love. One day he decides to restore it to his chest, but by this time it has grown so shrunken and hairy that it cannot temper his violent instincts.
Older children and adults will probably enjoy Dumbledore's notes (which make up about half of the book) as much as the stories themselves. Commenting on "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot", he says that previous editors of such tales often bowdlerised the text. One Beatrix Bloxam (1794-1910) was horrified as their "unhealthy preoccupations with the most horrid subjects, such as death, disease, bloodshed, wicked magic, unwholesome characters and bodily effusions and eruptions of the most disgusting kind". Bloxam tidied up the tales in order to protect the "precious flower" of "children's innocence". No one ever read those versions, notes Dumbledore, in a sharp response to Rowling's more priggish critics.
"The Fountain of Fair Fortune" is the blandest tale in the book. Three witches and a knight set off on a quest for a fountain that will cure their ills; as ever, though, it turns out that the journey is more important than the destination. The notes to this story, concerning a theatrical adaptation of this tale at Hogwarts, will please only the hardcore fans. "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump" is a variation of "The Emperor's New Clothes", except that the king in this story pretends to be able to perform magic.
Those who know their Harry Potter will turn straight to the notes of the final tale, "The Tale of the Three Brothers". Dumbledore mentions that the legend of three brothers who cheated Death and were rewarded with an unbeatable wand, a stone that brings the dead to life and an Invisibility Cloak, might have an element of truth in it. At this point all Potter fans will be shouting out loudly in response.
Don't Expect Great things, and you'll be surprised.
I heard about Joanne Rowlings little side book when I looked up her WikiPedia page. Having read the '7 volumes on the life of Harry Potter'; I thought it a novel idea to purchase one of the books referenced (rather heavily) in the last Book.
I will admit I bought the book because I loved the premise of the final tale, "The Three Brothers" which the Deathly hallows is based..
I didn't expect much, something along the lines of a magic central version of Aesops Fables.. but, I was surprised. the book itself is rather skinny.. it contains five short stories (of odd titles-- mostly) and each one is rather original; it's explained by the author the differences in the foreword.
it's presented charmingly, and written as if translated by Hermione Granger, pertaining that Harry Potter is a factual event, and that the book was the one left to Hermione in the final volume of Harry Potter.
it includes Albus Percivil Wolfric Brian Dumbledore's notes, (he comes off as a fairly arrogant man though). Personally... I'm 21, and enjoyed it, I don't pretend it's not for children though, and I would love to read it to my future children. but, it is.. a wonderful charming little book of fables.
I loved it, great value for money
| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
I have read all of the Harry Potter books and have loved them all, i came across the Tales of Beedle the Bard and remembered them from Harry Potter, I knew the tale of the three brothers from Harry Potter and loved the story so I bought this book. This book contains 4 other amazing small stories like the three brothers and contains a moral in all of them. I loved reading these tales and would definitely recommend them to Harry Potter lovers!