January 8, 2009

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is no fairy-tale

Another enchanting book is The Tales of Beedle the Bard, an accompaniment to the last of the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hollows, created by no other than, J.K. Rowling of course. This time she gave her creative pot half a stir more for a more fanciful take on an otherwise typical fantasy book and brewed a whimsical read with a twist, just like she did with the books Quidditch through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As if Harry's world truly existed alongside ours, yet unseen by us muggles, us commoners who are bereft of any magic like the Dursleys of Privet Drive, we are given a peephole to the wizarding world's children stories, which are comparable to our fairy tales. It's all good. There's nothing wrong with a great imagination.

Anyway, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is rather profound for a brief read. Though concise with only five tales—however, it is, again, a supplement to the Harry Potter story—it certainly isn't lacking in moral depth. Instead, it probes into humanity's heart and soul, as it examines more deeply the same morals which we, common folks, are all too familiar with and oftentimes neglect.

  • Tolerance for our differences and compassion for the meek are the underlying lessons in The Wizard and The Hopping Pot.

  • The Fountain of Fair Fortune depicts the importance of an active pursuit of ones dreams, wherein real fortune lies, contrary to our fairy tales' princesses, whose inclinations are "taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe" in the words of the author—no, not Beedle, but Rowling. (This role-play is starting to get a bit confusing for my intention.)

  • The Warlock's Hairy Heart warns of the dangers of protecting oneself from the pain that goes with loving someone. As in the words of Professor Dumbledore, "To hurt is as human as to breathe." To see love as a weakness makes the heart cold, or worse, leads to destruction.

  • Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump exemplifies how blind obsession and ignorance can easily lead to gullibility.

  • Lastly, The Tale of the Three Brothers epitomizes what could be perhaps the most difficult truth in life that "wizards and muggles alike…with a lust for power" dare deny, that death is inevitable and that it is futile to even attempt to elude it. (Even Dumbledore, by his own admission fell prey to the temptation of trying to avoid death, when he admitted that he "[remains] just a big a fool as anyone else".)

  • But at the core of this book is the hard truth that virtue, not magic, can overcome problems and that "magic causes as much trouble as it cures."

J.K. Rowling has done it again and cooked up a delightful creation. How The Tales of Beedle the Bard is cleverly and meticulously woven into the Harry Potter plot is remarkable, and the clues are certainly brewing in this book. And while Professor Dumbledore's commentary definitely provided the meat, Hermione Granger's translation of Beedle's tales was surely an essential ingredient in this concoction. I must warn you though that The Warlock's Hairy Heart is quite gruesome even for a mature reader like me. So, to the adults with children to share this book with, you've been forewarned.

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