Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Author: J. K. Rowling
Originally published : 2008
Length: 111 pages
Personal Enjoyment Rating: 4/5
Amazon Rating: 4/5 (323 Customer Reviews)
Goodreads: 8,453 ratings, 3.83 average rating

My life has been devoid of Harry Potter since I finished The Deathly Hallows soon after it came out, so it was good to leave the Muggle world for a bit and enjoy these tales, which range from lighthearted to gruesome. The highlight was Dumbledore's commentary after each one. The collection would have been pretty frivolous without his humor and insights.

My favorite tale is "The Fountain of Fair Fortune." I love that the witches find solutions to their problems within themselves. The most memorable tale is "The Warlock's Hairy Heart." I'm not sure if a couple of my children would appreciate this story that much yet, with hearts being cut out and and an illustration of the result, but I appreciated the message. Dumbledore comments, "No man or woman alive, magical or not, has ever escaped some form of injury, whether physical, mental, or emotional. To hurt is as human as to breathe."

"The Tale of the Three Brothers" concludes the book. This of course was already recounted in Deathly Hallows, but it was good to hear again. Dumbledore says in his commentary of this one, "The moral of [this tale] could not be any clearer: Human efforts to evade or overcome death are always doomed to disappointment." This is a bit off topic, but this is why I have a problem with the Twilight series (which I enjoyed, don't get me wrong.) It's pretty ingrained in me from many books that I love (such as Tuck Everlasting and Harry Potter) that death is inevitable and necessary. I guess my motto would be "Choose Mortality." I do enjoy books that introduce a character that has somehow overcome death, to be used as a tool to introduce truths about life. But I had better stop my rambling...

All in all, Beedle's tales are entertaining, but they ended so abruptly it left me wanting more. Dumbledore says that Aberforth's favorite story was "Grumble the Grubby Goat." Well, I want to hear it too! Where is it? Surely the children of the wizarding world had a much longer collection of stories.

Would I recommend this? It's short enough, you might as well give it a try. But only if you're a fan of Harry Potter.


  1. This sounds like a fun slip back into a comfortable world, albeit brief. Fun review! I haven't picked this up, yet. I may just have to, now.

  2. The Fountain of Fair Fortune was my favorite, too. I loved this book, but then again, I love the HP series. I think most of the point is lost if you aren't an HP fan, yes?

  3. Fuzzy Cricket,
    It's definitely worth an hour or two of your time, and if you decide to buy it, the net proceeds go to the Children's High Level Group, which sounds like a great organization--theirs an explanation of what it does at the end of the book.

    I love the series as well, and was so sad when it ended. It's nice to have some supplemental material, although I've never read the others, like Quidditch Through the Ages and the one about the "beasts."

  4. Sounds like it would be perfect for the read-a-thon, but I can understand wanting more--this is so short! I've heard from others too that the highlight is Dumbledore's commentary.

  5. I'm going to read this book for the read-a-thon! Can't wait!

  6. I agree that dumbledore's commentary is essential. My favourite was the hopping pot, with the totally ridiculous 'sanitised version'!

  7. Even though I love HP I wasn't particulary interested in this book until I listened to The Deathly Hallows recently and realized what Beedle the Bard was supposed to be. I knew this book had something to do with HP but when I realized it was the book that Dumbledore had left to Hermione then I suddenly became much more interested.

  8. I agree that dumbledore's commentary is essential. My favourite was the hopping pot, with the totally ridiculous 'sanitised version'!