Publisher: Children’s High Level Group
I finally got to read (a standard edition) of The Tales of Beedle the Bard
by J K Rowling. At 65 112 pages, it makes for an astonishingly quick read – but it also means that you don’t get to see many illustrations which are available in the deluxe / handmade editions of the book. I won’t give a background on what the book is about because I expect people to know about it if they’re acquainted with Harry Potter lore, but you can read up about it on Wikipedia in case you need a primer.
The four fairy tales (for the lack of a better word) themselves aren’t anything spectacular by any means. After all, the original intent of the stories in the Harry Potter universe is intended as bedtime stories for kids. The interesting bits of this book lie in the commentary after each story (under the name of) Albus Dumbledore. These are the bits where you can come across some wry humor, and get to know more details on the history of the wizarding world of Harry Potter. (As as aside, the footnotes also keep on egging the reader to buy read Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them; I found that excessively crass.)
Out of the commentary on the stories, the one on The Tale of Three Brothers is worth noting. In harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is implied that Dumbledore left a copy of Beedle’s tales in his will to Hermione as a clue to the ‘tasks’ they should be doing. And indeed, the three artefacts of Death turn out to be actually existing ones. In the commentary of the J K Rowling book however, Dumbledore vigorously denies the existence of these – going as far as to mock wizards who look for them. As pointed out in the preface, Dumbledore was letting on less than he actually knew about the items.
Bottomline: An incredibly quick read (expect to wrap it up in 20-30 minutes or less) with a few non-crucial tidbits on the Harry Potter universe. Buy it only if you’re an absolute fanatic (or do what I did). It’s like those movies which you watch only on cable TV – you won’t splurge to watch it in a theatre, but would happily spend time with it in case you get it for free (borrowed / library / You Know The Othe Option).