Book Review: ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ by J. K. Rowling

Posted: 17 May 2016 in Book reviews
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Synopsis

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the most current and up-to-date retranslation by Hermione Granger of the much loved tales of the Wizarding world. Along with each translation is commentary from none other than previous Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

The first tale is ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot.’ It’s about a wizard who aided people with his magic pot. When he died, the townspeople came to his son with their problems. Unlike his father, he didn’t care for their concerns. But as he turns people away, the magic pot begins exhibiting their maladies. The only way to return the pot to normal is to help the people he spurned. He does this and soon all is brought right again.

The second tale is ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune.’ Once a year, people vie to be chosen to bathe in the fountain. A trio of witches and a knight are taken into the garden. As they climb to the fountain, they encounter various obstacles that prove particularly challenging to certain individuals in the group. When they reach the top, one lucky member of the group bathes in the coveted waters of the fountain.

The third tale is ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart.’ A warlock who disliked the attitudes of those in love uses the dark arts to lock his heart. He figures himself lucky until overhearing two servant express their opinions on his loveless life. He resolves to find love and the very next day he does. He attempts to woo the woman, but she doesn’t believe he has a heart. He reveals his encased heart. She is horrified and asks him to put it back where it belongs. He does and the feelings he has long suppressed take control of him resulting in disaster.

The fourth tale is ‘Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump.’ A King desires to be the sole user of magic so he hunts down all the magic users. When he requires an instructor in the magical arts, a con artist accepts the position. When a washer woman laughs at them, the King demands to perform his new abilities. The con artist blackmails the washer woman, a real witch, to which she agrees. The King fails to bring back a dog to life and the witch is outed. After they cut down the tree they think she turned in to, she gets the con artist to out himself and threatens to curse the King unless he erects a statue of her on the stump and issues a decree to protects all witches and wizards in the realm.

The fifth tale is called ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers.’ Three brothers come upon a river and use magic to build a bridge to cross. Death bars their way and offers them each a reward. The eldest requests the most powerful wand in the world, which someone kills him to steal. The second asks for something to bring back the dead, which results in his suicide after bringing back his dead fiance. The third asked for an item so death could not follow him. Many years later he passed on his cloak of invisibility to his son and died.

My Thoughts

If you like the Harry Potter books, then you’ll love this. This was another book that I found at Bookoff for $1 that I obviously couldn’t pass up. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a very quick read (finished on the ride to and from work), and it was fun diving back into that world.

Unlike the other reviews, I cannot really break it down into the different categories I typically do. This is due to the fact that this ins’t a typical book. In my opinion, these tales are like the fairy tales we grew up reading and knowing in that the point of the tale is to portray a certain moral. For instance, the first tale is about karma (in my opinion). He wouldn’t help others so bad things happened to him. Once he started helping out the other villagers, his problems went away and things were good.

In the second tale, relief to our problems won’t always come as we expect them to. The witches all had different maladies and desired to alleviate them with the waters of the fountain, but that didn’t happen. So it is with life. We feel that if we attain certain things or points in our life that it will solve the issues we are dealing with. What we don’t know is that often it is during the course of the journey that the answer to our problems is discovered. As long as we are working towards a solution, we will always find our answers if not in the way we think we will.

The third tale is about not suppressing our emotions or denying ourselves the things we need. Like love. Because, as what happened to him, when we finally allow ourselves to have or feel those things, we overindulge. Or go crazy. Not always, but it can happen. It is something I know from personal experience and it was by no means a good thing. Thankfully I didn’t go crazy or feel the need to make up for lost time.

The fourth tale is a bit challenging. There are a couple different morals depending on the character. The King was selfish and covetous. He sought to destroy certain people out of jealousy. But he had no affinity for magic making him easily manipulated and deceived by the con artist and the witch. Then there is the con artist who deceives the King until the witch outs him. Then there is the witch who laughs at the King and is nearly killed, but outwits them all. If I was going to give it one overarching moral, I think it would be to not be a dick to others. It could come back to bite you in the ass. Don’t laugh when people are making effort to learn, don’t oppress others, and don’t deceive people. Just be nice.

The last tale is about trust and choices. The first two brothers trusted Death and made requests not thinking what might happen thus resulting in their deaths. The third brother didn’t trust Death and made a choice to keep him safe from him until he decides his time is over. So basically, be wary who you trust and make good choices to keep you safe.

So these are only my personal opinions on the meaning behind the tales. Each one might mean something different to another person. That’s the beauty behind the fairy tales. Some have one blatant meaning, while others can could have multiple. If you have a different opinion, please let me know in the comment section. Otherwise, if you haven’t had a chance to read this yet, do. Enjoy 😉

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