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Eventually I have dragged my buttocks towards the computer to start writing once more! I profusely apologise for my absence which was mostly holiday related (two weeks on a sun drenched, tropical island tends to make you not do ANYTHING but look at your glorious surroundings and take pictures of elephants washing) After having had a week or two to recuperate from the disgustingly gluttonous fortnight (which, rather surprisingly lacked any form of debauchery on my part) I have gotten thoroughly back into the way of doom, gloom and working for the public.
A couple of things have kept me from being entirely gloomy, however, and amongst the drinking, dancing, singing and screwing lies a children’s book! Ah but this is not just ANY children’s book, this is a hard-backed, fun filled Marks and…..oh wait….no….er… J.K.Rowling book! Let me explain.
A History of Hogwarts
J.K Rowling (as mostly everyone in the immediate solar system will know) is the author of the world famous Harry Potter books of which there are seven: The Philosophers Stone (renamed as The Sorcerers stone in America due to the fear that people wouldn‘t understand the original title), The Chamber of secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince and lastly, The Deathly Hallows. Currently the first six have been translated on to the big screen and so far have only mildly raped and pillaged the storyline. Rumour has it that the last addition is to be split into two movies (which most fans cannot really see the point but hey, who are we to complain?)
The books mostly follow a young wizard (Harry) through his time at Hogwarts, the school for witchcraft and wizardry. Harry is a rather famous child having been the only Wizard to have been attacked by “The Dark Lord”(a very bad man!) and lived to tell the tale.
The Good, The Bard and the Ugly
The Tales of Beedle the Bard was put on the shelves in late 2008 as an offering for fans of the Harry Potter series. All of the proceeds went to the Children’s High Level Group (a charity founded by Rowling herself in 2005 to help kids living in large residential institutions). The original hand written copy sold for nearly £2-million at auction with the money going towards the same charity (though it was operating under a different name at that point).
In the final instalment of the series (without ruining the story for those of you who haven’t read the Potter books) Hermione Granger (one of the main characters) inherits a book written entirely in Runes. This book is The Tales of Beedle The Bard. Essentially it is a book of short fairy tales written for the children of wizarding families. The Tales play an important role within the last instalment, with one of the stories being included, in full, within “The Deathly Hallows”.
Grimm reading? Hell no!
The tales of Beedle the Bard contains five short stories, all of which (like any good fairy tale) are very simple and carry a moral (usually that if you aren’t a douche-bag to people then you won’t have to deal with a shower of faecal matter for it). Four of the stories are mentioned in passing during “The Deathly Hallows” with one “new” addition. These stories are as much for children as they are for the adults who grew up reading the Potter series as they contain little snippets relating to the main body of work and build up a horrendously nostalgic feeling. Along side the shorts are also some simple (but pretty) illustrations to keep your eyes happy. Here lies a (very) quick run down of what you will find.
The Wizard and the Hopping Pot
A short tale about a wizard who refuses to help the people in his community. His magical cauldron (inherited from his father), therefore, torments him to the point of insanity because of his refusal to just bloody play nice. Eventually he cracks and fixes everyone’s problems that he can leaving us with the happy feeling inside that a little brat has been punished and has changed his ways.
Moral of the story: Don’t buy objects that can torment you unless you plan to Cop it soon and leave them to your children!
The Fountain of Fair Fortune
A group of Rag Tag witches (and an unlucky knight) set off to find the fore mentioned fountain so as to bathe in it and be forever smiled upon by the fates. After having to work their backsides off to get to it, they realise that their lives can be sorted with a little bit of their own will power, hard work and talent. Just as well really since at the end of it all the fountain turned out to have no power at all.
Moral of the story: Don’t wash in fountains, you’ll only be disappointed.
The Warlocks Hairy Heart
Possibly the more gruesome of the tales, and the only one that wasn’t already mentioned in “The Deathly Hallows”. A warlock decides that he is going to cut out his heart and keep it in a box so he doesn’t fall in love (and being that he knows some dark magic, that’s quite easy for him to do and survive) Eventually he decides that he wants a trophy wife and (obviously) the perfect woman appears the next day. Her only condition is that he puts his heart (which has grown beastly and hairy through years of neglect) back in its rightful place. He does it and driven crazy by the feeling of love (which he is no longer equipped to handle) kills her and himself.
Moral of the story: Women are trouble, don’t listen to them.
Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump
Essentially a reworked tale of the Emperors New Clothes (at least that’s what I’m reminded of). A greedy king orders all witches and wizards to be hunted down since he wants to be the sole possessor of magic abilities. He hires a Sorcerer to teach him how to perform magic (unfortunately the Sorcerer turns out to be a normal human taking him for a ride). When this rather untruthful gentleman is almost found out he demands that the local washerwoman (who is a REAL witch) helps him to trick the King. Unfortunately the King tries one trick too many and finds the washerwoman who then threatens the crap out him and his kingdom. After kacking his knickers, he reverses his order and lets all the nice little witches and wizards get on with their own business.
Moral of the story: Never mess with the washerwoman. Also, Kings are dumb-asses. Also Ms Works autocorrects Dumb-asses to Debases. Who knew.
The Tale of The Three Brothers
This is the tale that is a big part of “The Deathly Hallows” and therefore I’m not going into any detail other than to say that the moral of the story is that a big mouth gets you killed, you cant bring people back from the dead and keeping your head down is ultimately more safe than not doing so. Amazing tit-bits really!
Paddingfoot and Prongs
As a little extra padding, following each story is a commentary from Albus Dumbledore (another well loved character from the Potter series) which explores the history behind each tale, the possibilities presented and the moral of the stories (which are a little different from the ones I gave). This is the part that will most interest the avid Potter fans as Dumbledore explains not only about the stories but his feelings and reactions to them. At times he even adds in little anecdotes about his past.
How many Galleons?
Price wise you can grab a copy of this on Play.com for £5.49 (and that’s where I do all my online stuff). I would suggest that only Potterphiles will really get the most out of this book due to the connections with the story. In saying that, the tales are also a new, amusing set of fairy tales that any young child would probably love to have read to them over and over again. How annoying would THAT be??
I would have to recommend that you immerse yourself in the franchise that is Potter before you go and get this book as it will make the tales that little bit more enjoyable for the grownups among us (we will find you eventually!) Overall, though, this is a great little book that will either give you a nice little post-potter fix or something different to let your kiddie-winkles obsess over. That and all the proceeds go to a good cause. Stop being stingy! Go buy!!
Guess I should give this a miss as I have yet to read the Potter books or even watch the films. Great review though. Very informative and funny. It's good to hear that the proceeds of this spin off are going to a good cause.
Templar19 07.11.2009 13:13
Great stuff. Not a Potter fan myself but you've gotta love Ms. Rowling.