Review #39: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a book of folklore stories set directly in the world of Harry Potter. It is the compilation of oral tales from the final book of the HP series, and cleverly introduces Harry, Hermione, and Ron to the “Deathly Hallows” through “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” In the Harry Potter universe, The Tales of Beedle the Bard are the equivalent of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, each with a moral lesson, and well-known by all Wizarding kids. The book is presented to us as a printed version of Hermione’s rune translation, with each of the five tales accompanied by analyses by Albus Dumbledore (Hogwarts’ headmaster). The stories get successively more intense, mature, and gruesome (for lack of a better word), which is very consistent with the growth of the Harry Potter series. The book is essentially designed to bring us directly into the Harry Potter universe, as if we too were wizards and simply reading an updated version of the Tales.
This is a short book, just over 100 pages, but it is a lovely palate cleanser from all the thrillers (murder, mystery, killer, horror) I’ve been reading lately. I definitely stick to a variation of the thriller/mystery/horror genre with an occasional foray into young adult or literary fiction, and it can be easy to get wrapped up in some of the heaviness and darkness and wind up craving something light and lovely. Thankfully, Beedle the Bard was exactly what I needed to wipe a clean slate before returning to the Kindle and all the books I have “scheduled” to read there. Some of the Tales were definitely darker than I expected (Woah, Hairy Heart), but told in such a beautiful fashion that they were actually delicious to read. I loved Dumbledore’s take and discussion of the various stories as well. Who doesn’t love a little Dumbledore in their life?
Can we also talk for a second about how gorgeous that cover is? It almost appears three dimensional, and has elements from each of the Tales in it. If I had a kid, I’d probably frame it for their bedroom wall!