‘The Casual Vacancy’ is the last JK Rowling book I consumed. That was way back in 2012. Five years prior to that, in 2007, I had finished a borrowed copy of ‘Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows’ in three days. Most of it was read in the bathroom after my parents went to sleep, because I was in an important school year and mom had banned me from reading fiction.
So reading ‘The Tales of Beedle The Bard’ by Rowling stirred a wave of nostalgia, especially because each tale has an afterword from Dumbledore, an important character from the Potter world. In fact, I enjoyed reading Dumbledore’s thoughts on the fables from the wizarding world more than the stories themselves. It was like hearing an old friend. But the stories are interesting too, even though a little shorter than expected.
The first one titled “The Wizard and The Hopping Pot” is perhaps the most quintessential children story with the age-old moral “love thy neighbor”. It’s about how a wise wizard teaches his hard-hearted son a lesson in kindness and forces him to help the muggles(non-magical humans) in their times of misery.
While this is supposed to be a children’s book, there is one tale titled “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart” which is a little too dark for kids. It’s safe to peg this as a 13+ book. The twist in the end is unexpected and could give kids quite the nightmare if they read it before going to bed. I remember clutching my heart while reading the climax, just wasn’t expecting such a gory twist in a children’s story. But it is also my favorite tale of the lot.
Just when I was beginning to enjoy the book, it ended and I was quite disappointed. Wish Rowling had put in a few more tales for us to read. This reminds me – while Rowling might have us believe in the foreword that the book has strong women characters, unlike the fairy tales of the typical human world, that’s not the case. Except for the story with the three witches who are out to seek a magic fountain, the rest of the stories are all largely male-dominated, even the one about Babbity the witch. Not like I have a problem with the poor women representation, just that I don’t like how Rowling pretends that the book is more than it really is.
Well, keeping aside the author’s airs about the book, “The Tales of Beedle The Bard” is a pretty quick fun read, both for 13+ children and older adults. Especially for the Potter era kids, who wouldn’t mind a slice of the wizarding world they grew up reading. It’s basically a collector’s item for ‘Potterheads’.