The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Children’s High Level Group in association with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
“You’ve never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?’ said Ron incredulously. “You’re kidding, right?” ~ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
J.K. Rowling’s talent for creating a hidden new world is phenomenal. Not only did she create a secret world of witches, wizards and magnificent animals, she created a magical government called the Ministry of Magic, a popular sports game called Quiddich, and to top it off, a collection of bedtime stories called The Tales of Beedle the Bard which to the magical world is just as well known as the Grimm Brothers stories are to non-magical humans (Muggles).
The last tale from the collection played a critical role in the last installment of the Harry Potter series which in the end helped Harry, Ron, and Hermione defeat the antagonist Lord Voldemort and his wicked followers the Death Eaters. Rowling’s gift for creating richly woven narrative and well-structured prose is further acknowledged after the release of her canon to the Harry Potter series.
The collection contains five tales which include ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’, ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’, ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’, ‘Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump’, and ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ respectively. The tales are similar to regular fairy tales in many respects; for instance good is usually rewarded and wickedness is punished. However, magic is at the heart of each tale and the witch or wizard in question must learn that sometimes magic is not the answer for all of life’s troubles.
Rowling’s versatility is astounding in that she captures the tone and form of traditional fairytales. Her versatility in tone is particularly notable in ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’ and ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’. Each tale is no longer than ten pages in length with some illustrations throughout which are also by Rowling.
Although Rowling has had profound success with the Harry Potter series, The Tales of Beedle The Bard would generally only interest Potter Fanatics. It would not stand on its own as a successful collection of short stories in modern society without the original backing of the Harry Potter series and a following of fans who want the world of Harry Potter to continue.
Rowling’s knack for storytelling and thoughtful structure throughout the Harry Potter Books has allowed her to raise profits to help her charity called Lumos (initially called Children’s High Level Group). A not-for-profit helping millions of children in institutions around the world regain their right to a family. Whether or not it was her initial intention to have The Tales of Beedle The Bard published while initially weaving the concept into the structure of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows we may never know. Rowling is truly a master of structure and prose. Although proceeds from The Tales of Beedle The Bard went to Rowling’s charity; it is a profitable concept to adopt for other publishers and authors wishing to extend the following of a series with a large fan base, and certainly a great read for delving further into the Harry Potter world of magic.