Posted by: mzbitca | January 4, 2009

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

“Another notable difference between these fables and their Muggle counterparts is that Beedle’s witches are much more active in seeking their fortunes than our fairy-tale heroines. Asha, Altheda, Amata and Babbitty Rabbitty are all witches who take their fates into their own hands, rather than taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe.  The exception to this rule-the unnamed maiden of “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”-acts more like our idea of a storybook princess, but there is no ‘happily ever after’ at the end of her tale.”  
“The Tales of Beedle the Bard”, J.K. Rowling, 2008

This little tidbit is just in the introduction of Rowlings newest book (that restored my belief that kids do want well rounded characters by knocking “Breaking Dawn” out of the number 1 spot).  Rowling’s new book is light-hearted on the surface but takes a very clear stance on things like racism and sexual censure in ways the the Harry Potter series never truly did.  Also,  we find out that Minerva McGonagall is now Headmistress of Hogwarts and Hermione Granger is the one who translated the copies and made it available to us.

There are five stories in this small book but they pack a large message.  The first deals with a social consciousness and sends the message that the have’s should help the have not’s because it is the right thing to do when you are given an advantage by chance.  In other words, recognize your privilege and work to mitigate it.  She also includes a backstory of how others, who wanted to hoard the wealth(magic), have twisted the story to make it seem that the needy were demanding and the wizards were the persecuted (Welfare queens anyone? The entire Republican Party platform?).   Those wizards that helped others were called names that insinuated that they were less than a real wizard (bleeding heart liberals raise your hands as well as other not real Americans).  This theme continues throughout with Dumbledore’s and Rowlings’ reminders that the wizards that believe they are better than others are not good people and have lied and manipulated to continue their negative beliefs.

The other awesome theme deals with a witch who has decided the books are improper and to ooffensive to children and works to censure them.  I imagine that this is a slight dig at the people who claim Harry Potter is anti-religious and promotes offensive lifestyles.  The back story involves a woman who was enamoured with the sexual adventures of others and who was punished to the point that she repressed her memories and works to “save” other children from the negative views in these fairy tales. Rowling even has this witch saying she wants to protect the children’s “flower of innocence.”

Combine these messages with Rowlings ability to create a world that seems more real than ours, her ability to tie in both footnotes explaining more history about the Wizarding world, comments from Dumbledore ,and excellent fairy tales and you have an amazing book and one I would advise anyone to purchase.  Plus, all Royalties from the book are going to Rowling’s Charity the Children’s High Level Group which works to help children stay out of institutions and orphanages and to get good life experiences.



  1. Despite being a big Harry Potter fan I didn’t really have much interest in The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Well, until now! Your review makes me want to read the book. And the fact that it kicked Breaking Dawn down a notch just warms my heart.

  2. I know, I loved it!

  3. Great review! I have linked it to my page about The Tales of Beedle the Bard at at


    Sorry if I have sent this message twice. I cannot tell if it went through the first time.

  4. I haven’t read my copy of it yet, but it looks like I’ll enjoy it. I felt a bit disappointed that Rowling hadn’t tackled some themes more noticeably, (though if I was writing the story, I suspect there would be NO subtlety whatsoever so I’m not saying her job is easy) so it will be good to see a bt more of the ethics behind the series explored in more detail.

  5. I got this for The Kid for yule, and we haven’t read it together yet, though she has been thumbing through it on her own. Now I am more excited than before.

    The Guy also picked it up for me, not knowing that I had picked it up. Lol.

  6. I hadn’t really given this book much consideration until stumbling upon your review. I’m not really a Potter fan, but am a massive fairytale geek, so may have to give it a look.

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