The Tales of Beedle the Bard review

14 Aug

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is part of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter collection. It’s a small book that quite happily sits alongside other books in the Harry Potter Franchise such as Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, I guess you have pretty much read this already, but let’s go through it again shall we? It is a very short book, 105 pages to be exact, containing a foreword by Rowling herself, five short wizarding fables, and notes from Albus Dumbledore himself. The nice thing about this book is that it fits well with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and makes such a good addition to the series.

The stories are short, written in a style unlike Rowling’s own as she’s pretending to write as a different person, in this instance Beedle the Bard. The stories have a simplistic writing structure as if you were to read them to a child as bedtime stories, yet are not uninteresting.

Like muggle (note: a muggle is a non-magical human in the Harry Potter world) fairy stories there are morals about being good, brave and clever triumphing over selfishness, foolishness and evil. Of course one of the stories is already well known as it forms the backbone of the seventh Harry Potter book. The Tale of the Three Brothers is about three wizards who wish to cheat death and fail through their own boastfulness and desires. You get to see the difference between the brothers and understand the choice of their gifts and the outcomes because of their choices.

For anyone who knows the seventh book very well, the Tale of the Three Brothers should come as no surprise to you. The notes from Dumbledore that succeed the tale are by far some of the most extensive in the book; which is a surprise as the legend itself is quite short but once again we come back to the fact that this account  is the one that links back so strongly to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Dumbledore’s notes make for interesting reading, almost a look into the folklore of the Harry Potter universe. You get a real feeling for the richness of the world that J K Rowling sorted and this little book adds wonderfully to the collection.

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My favourite of the five is second one where three ailing witches and a luckless knight set out to bath in a fountain of “Fair Fortune”. This fountain is supposed to allow a person to change their life in one way.

The three witches and a knight (who is never named as more than “the Luckless Knight”) have to complete challenges to reach the fountain and then at the end, their goodness and unselfishness means that everyone receives their wishes from the Fair Fountain.

It’s a nice little story that helpfully reminds people that you get more from being hardworking, good and generous. It would be interesting to see what young children thought if you read them these stories; because that is who the books are aimed at. It just happens that a lot of people who first grabbed this book and read it so eagerly would have been from the Harry Potter generation.

These stories, even though they have a magical element, should be considered worthy of a children’s bedtime story any day.

I know that last time I reviewed J K Rowling for you, I was less than impressed and The Tales of Beedle the Bard pretty much cements my belief that Rowling is certainly better suited to her fantastical writings. Of course I have not yet had a chance to sit down and read Rowling’s book A Cuckoos Calling under the name Robert Galbraith. I look forward to seeing if her second foray into adult fiction was better than her first.

The only thing I do take issue with is that the stories are not longer, and that there are not more of them. When I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I imagined the book that Hermione got given to be a lot heftier and thicker than on the one produced. It would be nice, if Ms Rowling gets inspiration and time for it, to have a bigger book full of Wizarding folklore to dip in and out of. Just a thought! (Copyright Stephanie Woods 2013 😉 )

Ms Rowling is an incredible woman as we all know, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard demonstrates her considerable talent as well as Harry Potter did. So if you haven’t read it, pick up a copy and give it a go because it gets a magical four wands out of five!

About the writer: Stef is a 22 year old graduate who has a lifelong obsession with books and reading who also loves music and live theatre. You’re most likely to find her in a book shop or out in London standing at a theatre stage door. She can be found on twitter and running The World of Blyton.

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