In December 2007, J.K. Rowling unveiled The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a very special book of five fairy tales illustrated by the bard herself, embellished with silver ornaments and mounted moonstones. Amazon was fortunate to come into possession of one of the original copies, and it was our privilege to share images and reviews of this incredible artifact. Now J.K. Rowling is giving millions of Harry Potter fans worldwide cause for celebration with a new edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, available December 4, 2008.
Offering the trademark wit and imagination familiar to Rowling's legions of readers--as well as Aesop's wisdom and the occasional darkness of the Brothers Grimm--each of these five tales reveals a lesson befitting children and parents alike: the strength gained with a trusted friendship, the redemptive power of love, and the true magic that exists in the hearts of all of us. Rowling's new introduction also comments on the personal lessons she has taken from the Tales, noting that the characters in Beedle's collection "take their fates into their own hands, rather than taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe," and "that magic causes as much trouble as it cures."
But the true jewel of this new edition is the enlightening and comprehensive commentary (including extensive footnotes!) by Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who brings his unique wizard's-eye perspective to the collection. Discovered "among the many papers which Dumbledore left in his will to the Hogwarts Archives," the venerable wizard's ruminations on the Tales allow today's readers to place them in the context of 16th century Muggle society, even allowing that "Beedle was somewhat out of step with his times in preaching a message of brotherly love for Muggles" during the era of witch hunts that would eventually drive the wizarding community into self-imposed exile. In fact, versions of the same stories told in wizarding households would shock many for their uncharitable treatment of their Muggle characters.
Professor Dumbledore also includes fascinating historical backstory, including tidbits such as the history and pursuit of magic wands, a brief comment on the Dark Arts and its practitioners, and the struggles with censorship that eventually led "a certain Beatrix Bloxam" to cleanse the Tales of "much of the darker themes that she found distasteful," forever altering the meaning of the stories for their Muggle audience. Dumbledore also allows us a glimpse of his personal relationship to the Tales, remarking that it was through "Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump" that "many of us [wizards] first discovered that magic could not bring back the dead."
Both a wise and delightful addition to the Harry Potter canon, this new translation of The Tales of Beedle the Bard is all that fans could hope for and more--and an essential volume for the libraries of Muggles, wizards, and witches, both young and old.
The Children's Voice Campaign
The Tales of Beedle the Bard is published by The Children’s High Level Group (CHLG), registered charity number 1112575, a charity co-founded in 2005 by J.K. Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP to make life better for vulnerable children.
All net proceeds from the sale will be donated to The Children's Voice campaign.
The Children's Voice campaign is run by CHLG. It campaigns for child rights across Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe where over a million children and teenagers are growing up in institutions, often in unacceptable conditions. In most cases they are without adequate human or emotional contact and stimulation, while many only just survive without life's basics such as adequate shelter and food.
CHLG's Children's Voice campaign helps around a quarter of a million children each year through education activities; outreach work in institutions; and a dedicated telephone and email help line.
Also Available: The Collector's Edition, Offered Exclusively by Amazon
Amazon is thrilled to be the exclusive seller of the Collector's Edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard featuring an exclusive reproduction of J.K. Rowling's handwritten introduction, 10 new illustrations, metalwork and clasp, replica gemstones, and tucked in its own case disguised as a wizarding textbook from the Hogwarts library. (Available in limited quantities)
Standard Edition Product Features:
• All five fairy tales from the original The Tales of Beedle the Bard
• A new introduction by J.K. Rowling
• Illustrations reproduced from the original handcrafted book
• Commentary on each of the tales by Professor Albus Dumbledore
Read this review and description in: Italian | Korean | Portuguese | Russian | Spanish [PDF]
Amazon Reviews the Original Handcrafted Edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard
The following is Amazon's original December 2007 review. Please note that the review and images below pertain to the handmade book purchased at auction:
There is no easy way to define the experience of seeing, holding, or reading J.K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard, so let's just start with one word: "Whoa." The very fact of its existence (an artifact pulled straight out of a novel) is magical, not to mention the facts that only seven copies exist in all the world and each of the never-before-told tales is handwritten and illustrated by J.K. Rowling herself (and it's quite clear from the first few pages that she has some skill as an artist). Rowling's handwriting is like the familiar scrawl of a favorite aunt--it's not hard to read, but it does require attention--allowing you to take it slow and savor the mystery of each next word.
So how do you review one of the most remarkable tomes you've ever had the pleasure of opening? You just turn each page and allow yourself to be swept away by each story. You soak up the simple tales that read like Aesop's fables and echo the themes of the series; you follow every dip and curve of Rowling's handwriting and revel in every detail that makes the book unique--a slight darkening of a letter here, a place where the writing nearly runs off the page there. You take all that and you try and bring it to life, knowing that you will never be able to do it justice. With that, let's dig in and begin at the beginning, shall we? --Daphne Durham
Caution: the full reviews contain spoilers!
Please note that the review and images below pertain to the handmade book purchased at auction in December 2007.
|"The Wizard and the Hopping Pot"||"The Fountain of Fair Fortune"||"The Warlock's Hairy Heart"||"Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump"||"The Tale of the Three Brothers"|
More images from the original handcrafted edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Please note that these are images of the handcrafted book purchased at auction in December 2007. Click thumbnails to open full-size images in a new window. See more on our original The Tales of Beedle the Bard pages.
Find out more about Harry's creator in our exclusive interview with J.K. Rowling.
|Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone |
|Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets |
|Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban |
|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire |
|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix |
|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince |
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows |
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
|* Harry's first trip to the zoo with the Dursleys, when a boa constrictor winks at him. |
* When the Dursleys' house is suddenly besieged by letters for Harry from Hogwarts. Readers learn how much the Dursleys have been keeping from Harry. Rowling does a wonderful job in displaying the lengths to which Uncle Vernon will go to deny that magic exists.
* Harry's first visit to Diagon Alley with Hagrid. Full of curiosities and rich with magic and marvel, Harry's first trip includes a trip to Gringotts and Ollivanders, where Harry gets his wand (holly and phoenix feather) and discovers yet another connection to He-Who-Must-No-Be-Named. This moment is the reader's first full introduction to Rowling's world of witchcraft and wizards.
* Harry's experience with the Sorting Hat.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
|* The de-gnoming of the Weasleys' garden. Harry discovers that even wizards have chores--gnomes must be grabbed (ignoring angry protests "Gerroff me! Gerroff me!"), swung about (to make them too dizzy to come back), and tossed out of the garden--this delightful scene highlights Rowling's clever and witty genius. |
* Harry's first experience with a Howler, sent to Ron by his mother.
* The Dueling Club battle between Harry and Malfoy. Gilderoy Lockhart starts the Dueling Club to help students practice spells on each other, but he is not prepared for the intensity of the animosity between Harry and Draco. Since they are still young, their minibattle is innocent enough, including tickling and dancing charms.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
|* Ron's attempt to use a telephone to call Harry at the Dursleys'. |
* Harry's first encounter with a Dementor on the train (and just about any other encounter with Dementors). Harry's brush with the Dementors is terrifying and prepares Potter fans for a darker, scarier book.
* Harry, Ron, and Hermione's behavior in Professor Trelawney's Divination class. Some of the best moments in Rowling's books occur when she reminds us that the wizards-in-training at Hogwarts are, after all, just children. Clearly, even at a school of witchcraft and wizardry, classes can be boring and seem pointless to children.
* The Boggart lesson in Professor Lupin's classroom.
* Harry, Ron, and Hermione's knock-down confrontation with Snape.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
|* Hermione's disgust at the reception for the veela (Bulgarian National Team Mascots) at the Quidditch World Cup. Rowling's fourth book addresses issues about growing up--the dynamic between the boys and girls at Hogwarts starts to change. Nowhere is this more plain than the hilarious scene in which magical cheerleaders nearly convince Harry and Ron to jump from the stands to impress them. |
* Viktor Krum's crush on Hermione--and Ron's objection to it.
* Malfoy's "Potter Stinks" badge.
* Hermione's creation of S.P.E.W., the intolerant bigotry of the Death Eaters, and the danger of the Triwizard Tournament. Add in the changing dynamics between girls and boys at Hogwarts, and suddenly Rowling's fourth book has a weight and seriousness not as present in early books in the series. Candy and tickle spells are left behind as the students tackle darker, more serious issues and take on larger responsibilities, including the knowledge of illegal curses.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
|* Harry's outburst to his friends at No. 12 Grimmauld Place. A combination of frustration over being kept in the dark and fear that he will be expelled fuels much of Harry's anger, and it all comes out at once, directly aimed at Ron and Hermione. Rowling perfectly portrays Harry's frustration at being too old to shirk responsibility, but too young to be accepted as part of the fight that he knows is coming. |
* Harry's detention with Professor Umbridge. Rowling shows her darker side, leading readers to believe that Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven for young wizards. Dolores represents a bureaucratic tyrant capable of real evil, and Harry is forced to endure their private battle of wills alone.
* Harry and Cho's painfully awkward interactions. Rowling clearly remembers what it was like to be a teenager.
* Harry's Occlumency lessons with Snape.
* Dumbledore's confession to Harry.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
|* The introduction of the Horcrux. |
* Molly Weasley asking Arthur Weasley about his "dearest ambition. "Rowling has always been great at revealing little intriguing bits about her characters at a time, and Arthur’s answer "to find out how airplanes stay up" reminds us about his obsession with Muggles.
* Harry's private lessons with Dumbledore, and more time spent with the fascinating and dangerous pensieve, arguably one of Rowling’s most ingenious inventions.
* Fred and George Weasley’s Joke Shop, and the slogan: "Why Are You Worrying About You-Know-Who? You Should Be Worrying About U-NO-POO--the Constipation Sensation That's Gripping the Nation!"
* Luna's Quidditch commentary. Rowling created scores of Luna Lovegood fans with hilarious and bizarre commentary from the most unlikely Quidditch commentator.
* The effects of Felix Felicis.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
|* The revelation of Snape's nature (especially Snape’s Patronus and the emotion behind it). It serves as a reminder that it is love (requited or not) in all its forms that drives many of our actions. |
* Harry asking if the conversation with Dumbledore was real or happening in his head, and Dumbledore responding "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
* Ron gifting Harry a book on dating witches, a subtle reminder that they are still teens, after all.
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