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Monday, July 4, 2011

Muggle Monday (13): Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

It's time for Muggle Monday, in which I post a quote, a video, or a significant piece of news from the Harry Potter franchise. This is somewhat inspired by the Mundane Monday posts by The Mundie Moms.

But let's be real as to why I made up this meme: I just want the opportunity to post something about Harry Potter.

This week, I'm posting my completely unbiased review of The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling:

Publisher: Children's High Level Group
Published: December 4, 2008
Pages: 180
Source: Bought, Collector's Edition
Rating: 6 STARS

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

What an absolutely brilliant showcase of Jo's talent. This woman is a genius. Jo has crafted Wizarding fairy tales that could pass for actual fables, like the ones written by Aesop or the Brothers' Grimm. Not only was she able to create enlightening, witty, and moral tales, she did so based on the titles alone! For those who don't know, when Jo wrote Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she only wrote "The Tale of the Three Brothers" in full within The Tales of Beedle the Bard. She randomly made up four other strange and silly titles that make up the other tales in the book ("The Wizard and the Hopping Pot," "The Fountain of Fair Fortune," "The Warlock's Hairy Heart," and "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump").  When she decided to write The Tales of Beedle the Bard, with all royalties going to Children's High Level Group (which has since changed its name to Lumos), she used her insanely brilliant imagination to make up fables for those nonsensical titles.

Not only does The Tales of Beedle the Bard contain these wonderful five Wizarding fairy tales, but Jo also wrote commentary for each story as Dumbledore. Dumbledore's commentary offers amusing anecdotes, intelligent insights, and interesting tidbits of Wizarding history. We also learn that, just like Muggle books that are deemed unsavoury by parents for their children, The Tales of Beedle the Bard has been challenged by many people, for different reasons. Beatrix Bloxam rewrote the stories in her book "Toadstool Tales" as she felt the tales were too mature for children and they needed to be protected. And Lucius Malfoy requested the tales be modified or banned from Hogwarts shelves for their themes of tolerance towards Muggles. Amusing to read, considering how many times the Harry Potter books have been challenged for ridiculous reasons as well.

I bought the special Collector's Edition from Amazon (pictured above) for much more money (but who cares when the proceeds are going to such a great cause). It's pretty dang cool. It looks like an actual Hogwarts textbook! It also includes ten full page illustrations. Did I mention that The Tales of Beedle the Bard is illustrated by Jo herself?! I highly recommend The Tales of Beedle the Bard to any huge Potter fan. It is truly a special gem of a book, absolutely spellbinding in its brilliance.


  1. Wow, six stars! I have yet to read this addition to the Harry Potter world, but if it's as good as you say it is, I need to get on that! Thanks for the review! :)

  2. Heh, yeah I needed some way to indicate that I love this book even more than the books I've given 5 Stars to so I gave it 6 (completely unbiased) Stars. It's my blog so it's allowed, right? :D

  3. Fabulous! I can't believe that I have never read this...considering what a big HP fan I am. I really need to fix that.

  4. I really liked this book. It's so imaginative and, you're right, they really do feel like "real" fairy tales or fables. I read a library copy, but that collector's edition must be absolutely gorgeous!

  5. Completely unbiased? o.O

    I love that you feel comfortable calling Ms. Rowling Jo.

    I'm sure Dumbledore has a lot of wisdoms to share. It must be fun reading from his POV. He has always been one of my favorites... in the movies. ;)

    You made me curious, so I looked up the special edition price and O.O

    You're awesome.

    I didn't know Jo was an artist. Pretty cool.

    I'm glad you are so happy with your Hogwarts textbooks.

  6. Wow, I had no idea she did the illustrations herself, that makes this even cooler:) Love the special collector's addition, it's such a beautiful book:)

  7. Her true fans call her Jo ;)

    The special edition is indeed gorgeous. I would have never have bought it myself based on its price - which is why I asked for it for Christmas the year it came out. I love it ever so much.

    Jo is insanely talented in many ways. This is truth.

  8. I actually have never read this.. can you believe it?? I need to get on that asap.

  9. Oh! I had the hardest time finding these in my country - they were only selling them in Spanish but I wanted them in English because I didn't like the spanish cover.

    But it was worth it.
    I love the tales :D

  10. I loved this book. Which was your favourite tale? I liked The Fountain of Fair Fortune

  11. That collector's edition looks so nice!

    I haven't read this one and actually didn't know much about it so it's great that you reviewed it. I'm sure Dumbledore has lots of interesting things to say.

  12. I really could not say which tale is my favourite. They are all so clever and moral. The Fountain of Fair Fortune was definitely well done! I might have to say The Tale of the Three Brothers just because of its importance in the series.

    It was so fascinating to me to read about Dumbledore's thoughts. And amusing. I loved how Dumbledore referred to himself a few times as one of the most powerful wizards of all time but somehow managed not to make it sound arrogant :) Love him.

  13. She has to be one of the most creative and well-organized authors ever. It amazes me the volume of stuff she comes up with! Great review!

  14. You know, she's not terribly organized in the traditional sense. She has tons of notes scrawled on random notebooks and notepads. She's organized in the sense that she knows all her characters' histories and such, but all that information cannot be found in one neat little pile.

  15. I'm positively drooling over that beautiful leather-bound edition! It does as though it could have been pulled off a Hogwarts library shelf-- gorgeous.

    I also enjoyed Dumbledore's commentary. Only wish I could see those full-page illustrations by Jo in this edition! It's amazing that she's such a quirkily talented artist as well as, you know, the world's greatest author. (In my also entirely unbiased opinion. ;)

  16. I'm ashamed to call myself a HP nut because I haven't read this! I must read it now...six stars?! Unheard of. Fab review, Aylee :)

  17. Now, really. Is 6 stars truly unheard of when it comes to J.K. Rowling ;)

  18. Oh, I love this book! My parents gave it to me (knowing how obsessed I am) and I just fell in love with these fairy tales!
    And 6 stars is most certainly not unheard of when it comes to HP. :D