[Book Review]: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling

3950967Book Title: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Children's High Level Group
Available Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy
Year: 2007
Page Count: 105
ISBN: 9780747599876
Find it at: Bloomsbury / Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Price: GBP6.29 / IDR50,000
Add to your Goodreads shelf.
My rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

The first part of this novel is the introduction from the author itself. Ms. Rowling explains how the magical fairy tales differ from the Muggle one. While magic is only seen as the hero or heroine's troubles for the Muggles, in magical fairy tales, magic is both weapon to shield and cure them, and troubles too.

This premise is shown in the five stories of this book. The Wizard and the Hopping Pot tells us about a son of a kind wizard who inherits a cooking pot, a magical cauldron which can spring out potions, charms and antidotes for helping and curing people. But the son is in a very different disposition to his gentle father, who does not believe that they should waste their magic for Muggles. Soon after, he refuses every person who comes into his doorstep, asking for help.

The second story is The Fountain of Fair Fortune. There are a knight and three witches; Altheda, Asha and Amata. Together, they fight their way to the Fountain, bathe in its waters and receive Fair Fortune. They pass three obstacles before finally reach their destination. But suddenly Asha, who is sick of a malady no Healer can cure, falls to the ground, close to death. There is only one person who can bathe in the Fountain of Fair Fortune. Which of them who finally gets the opportunity?

The next story will be The Warlock's Hairy Heart. It is about a young warlock who refuses to not fall in love, instead employs Dark Arts to ensure his immunity. One day, he overhears a conversation between his lackeys about how they pity the warlock for he is yet beloved by nobody. Feeling wrathful and insulted by the servants, he then resolves at once to take a wife.

Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump tells about a king who wants to have the power of magic. He therefore hires a cunning charlatan for a Brigade of Witch-Hunters post, who only wants the sack of gold and gemstones which the King gives. The charlatan gives a twig, which he snaps from the palace's trees, to the King, claiming that it is a wand of tremendous power. The King, as ignorant as a King shouldn't be, asks for practicing nearly every day with the charlatan as his guide. One morning, they suddenly hear a cackling out of nowhere, which is from an old washerwoman who lives in a hovel on the edge of the grounds. Insulted by the the woman, who is apparently a witch in disguise, the King threatens the charlatan if he cannot perform magic in front of the court, then he will have the charlatan beheaded. The charlatan then finds out about the washerwoman and her disguise, and demands her to help him deceiving the King.

If you have watched the two final set of Harry Potter movies, then you will be familiar with the last story, The Tale of the Three Brothers. The story recounts us about three magical brothers who encounters Death as they are passing a river too deep and dangerous with the help of their magic. Masking his wrath of being cheated, Death pretends to congratulate them upon their magic and gives each of the three brothers a prize. The oldest brother asks for a wand more powerful than any existence. The second brother, with his conceit, wants a power to recall others from Death. The third brother does not trust Death easily, so that he asks for something that will enable him to go forth from that place without being followed by Death. What will the Death give to them and how will the three brothers employ it?

No doubt, this is my most favorite fairy tale among the other existing one. Being a spin-off of Harry Potter, every of each tale has its own unique which differs it from the variety of its story. The main idea of all the stories in this book is that how each character employs magic in their daily lives.

Between the five, the stories I love the most would be The Wizard of the Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Tale of the Three Brothers. Many things I learned from the three stories. The first one a bit reminds me of the Malfoys who have been Muggle-haters forever. The old kind wizard teaches his anti-Muggle son through the hopping pot on how a human should love and help the others when they have abilities regardless of their varied background. The Fountain of Fair Fortune tells us that magic can never overpower kindness and sacrifice and the last story delivers how we should live humbly and not to boast on our power and be greedy. Rating four is appropriate to appreciate Rowling's skill to deliver us the messages within the magic.

Here are my favorite quotes from the book:

"To hurt is as human as to breathe."

"The heroes and heroines who triumph in his stories are not those with the most powerful magic, but rather those who demonstrate the most kindness, common sense and ingenuity."

"Truth... is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution."

Trivias about the book:
  • The book was originally produced in a limited edition of only seven copies, each handwritten and illustrated by J. K. Rowling. One of them was offered for auction through Sotheby's in late 2007 and was expected to sell for £50,000 (US$103,000, €80,000); ultimately it was bought for £1.95 million ($3.98 million, €2.28 million) by Amazon, making the selling price the highest achieved at auction for a modern literary manuscript. The money earned at the auction of the book was donated to The Children's Voice charity campaign.

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