Not quite Harry, but magically Potter

27Dec08

J. K. Rowling’s follow-up to the seven-novel Harry Potter series is the new book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The short version? Luckily for us, this book is only seven bucks on Amazon—and it’s worth every penny.

Beedle the Bard is, unfortunately, too short of a book for its hype—or more specifically, the anticipation that accompanies the latest Rowling work. I understand that the book was produced to benefit the Children’s High Level Group organization, and that these are, well, simply tales from a bard named Beedle, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed with the length. (And honestly, I didn’t think J. K. could write anything this short. Seriously.)

The book is composed of five stories: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and “The Tale of the Three Brothers” (which Harry Potter fans have already read in Deathly Hallows). At only 107 pages, it feels more like fifty. The text takes up only half the page (it’s in the middle with wide margins all around it), and on top of that it’s double-spaced. Plus, half of it is commentary that is written as notes from Albus Dumbledore; simply, it’s analysis of the stories that incorporate references to creatures and different things in Rowling’s famous wizarding world. So really, you get about twenty-five pages of story and twenty-five pages of commentary on what you just read.

Despite the downsides to this very little book, it is a great read—for those who are already Harry Potter fans. Each story is wonderfully crafted, and fantastic artwork dazzles more than a few pages, adding to the fairytale feel. “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” is definitely my favorite, followed by the “Babbitty Rabbitty” story. Of course, the enchantment of the “Three Brothers” tale is still very much alive, and “Hairy Heart” is delightfully morbid. My least favorite was the “Hopping Pot” story—it was kind of cliche—but at least it’s at the beginning, kicking off what ends up being a fun and well-written addition to the Harry Potter collection.

The commentary by Dumbledore is full of good ol’ Dumbledore humor, and dotted with great references that connect the five stories to the Harry Potter world. In other words, the tales have roots in magical occurences and whatnot, so different aspects are based on things like Animagi and the Cruciatus Curse, for example. So the notes by Dumbledore actually add to the stories, insteading of beating you over the head with mundane analysis of simple but entertaining yarns.

All in all, the only downside to The Tales of Beedle the Bard is its length. The book’s monetary earnings go to a good cause, and it’s a perfect quick, fun read for any Harry Potter fan—like a magical trip back into the wizarding world we fell in love with for the adventures of seven wonderful classics that stole the hearts of those across the globe.

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