The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling

As you have probably deduced from recent posts, I am not a big JK Rowling fan, yet with the release of her first adult novel The Casual Vacancyi felt like i needed to give her another chance, because let’s face it; she is one of or the biggest selling authors of all time. So after my trip to the local library resulted in me picking up this collection of short fables from the Harry Potter world, i decided that i didn’t really have anything to lose really, did i?

Now actually, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is not actually a bad book and i was pleasantly surprised by how addictive these little stories were. The book actually consists of five short fables with a summary of each penned by none other than Professor Albus Dumbledore, with finer points/corrections made by JK Rowling herself.

I think it is safe to say that yes as predicted this little book is ideal for any fan of the Harry Potter books and not really aimed for a quick pick up and read from a non Harry Potter reader; although there were points i enjoyed. I think the little things will make the series’ fans smile, such as the inscription at the front which reads ‘Translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger.’ But alas, apart from through Dumbledore’s summary, no actual Harry Potter character appears within these fables and that works well for the book; simply because it adds a new dimension to a world already created.

After reading the first story ‘The Wizard and The Hopping Pot’ i thought oh no, i really am not going to like this. Yet to my surprise, my favourite of the five has to be the second story ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’ which oddly enough gives off so much character and charm without the need for extravagant detail, and it is because of this that you realise that actually JK Rowling has pulled it off. If you compare this to all of the classical fairy tales we know, it is written in such a similar manner that it becomes instantly memorable and very readable.

I also liked some of the darker, more mature themes that run through the stories such as ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’ which questions our very own humanity and although it is very obvious where she got her idea from for this, it does leave us with a sort of tragedy guise.

Strangely enough, i quite enjoyed the summaries by Dumbledore too as they came across ever so witty, yet at times sarcastic too, which is such a great British gift, it’s almost a travesty not to chuckle at.

It isn’t without it’s faults though; two of the five stories were unoriginal and if i am honest, quite boring and lame. As they are so short to read, it makes the weaker stories stand out so much more and with themes like good vs evil and characters so obvious, it’s a shame as to what is otherwise a cute little collection.

There is one huge qualm i had with this however and that was through JK Rowling’s very own notes throughout Dumbledore’s pen. This book’s royalties were all donated to a children’s charity which is commendable. However, like most ref. books and classics that have Author’s notes she tries to explain various points and terms. I couldn’t stand to see another ‘*see my other book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘. This is just plain plugging and it astounds me that a lot of reviewers missed this.
Anyhow, overall i was pleased i read this as it has motivated a little spark within me to read more JK Rowling. I can remember the first three Harry Potter books and i think i owe it t one of the world’s greatest authors that i continue to read the series in its entirety. The Tales of Beedle the Bard are short, quite charming, endearing at times with humorous anecdotes from Harry Potter characters and has something that will appeal to someone. Harry Potter fans will love this, non Harry Potter fans less so, but it is definitely worth one read through.
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