Tales of Beedle the Bard

Opening line: ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of stories written for young wizards and witches.’

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a modern ‘edition’ of the original runic texts, ‘translated’ by Hermione Granger and with an introduction by J. K. Rowling. After each of these short tales are Professor Albus Dumbledore’s notes. In this ‘edition’ you can find ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’, ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’, ‘The Hairy Heart’, ‘Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump’, and ‘The Tales of Three Brothers’. Each story is a delightful fairy tale that can easily be read alongside our own, mundane ‘Muggle’ tales.

I read The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling in preparation for chairing a panel at the recent Harry Potter conference held at my university. Overall, I felt that it was a charming book to read. I liked Dumbledore’s notes after each story and JKR’s introduction. I used inverted commas for ‘translated’ and ‘edition’ in my description above because, of course, the entire work is a work of fiction written by J. K. Rowling. I’m somewhat disappointed that she didn’t play the ‘these stories were translated by Hermione Granger’ farther. There were no notes or commentary from ‘Hermione’ at all. I would have liked to see JKR’s ‘introduction’ recast as the preface, and see an introduction written by ‘Hermione’ about her translation techniques and the literary background to the tales, and then to see her footnotes alongside Dumbledore’s in his notes. But alas, no such paratext exists. Yes, I am fully aware that it is my role as an academic, and a medieval one at that, that sees me automatically looking for meaty introductions and extensive footnoting in translated editions.

My favourite story of the collection was ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’ and ‘The Tale of Three Brothers’.

chocolate helps

When one wakes up in the morning in pain in all of one’s joints; when after an hour even the pain killers aren’t helping; when one doesn’t have a bath in order to soak in and one is not well enough to stand in the shower, what does one do?

One eats chocolate. One drinks hot chocolate. One especially drinks hot chocolate in one’s magical ‘I solemnly swear I am up to no good / Mischief managed’ mug. One drinks hot chocolate out of this mug while watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and one eats chocolate whenever one sees a dementor and whenever Professor Lupin gives Harry a piece of chocolate. ‘Eat this. It helps, it really helps.’

Rheumatoid arthritis is frustrating, painful, annoying, draining, tiring. I’ve spent most of the day in bed. I’m about to take more medication, and then I am going to eat chocolate ice cream. Remus Lupin was onto something: If I am going to be miserable, then I am at least going to eat chocolate.

Five thousand-words

For lack of anything else going on, five thousand-word pictures from the last few weeks:

Marking essays.


Sunrise (around 8.00 AM now).

Dinner and dessert.


Our fruitbowl runneth over.


When my housemate gets home from Evensong, she and I and a group of other brave souls are going into the town centre on Raisin Sunday, where we shall dodge drunken undergraduates and skip over prone bodies to get to the cinema, where we will gleefully watch the first installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

September 2010

Books read in September 2010:

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling.
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling.
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling.

Well, it’s one more book read than last month. You can expect to see more Harry Potter on these lists as I reread the series in preparation for the seventh film(s). It’s been two years since I’ve read any of the series, and it’s surprising how many details I’ve forgotten. The first two are still my least favourite, but Prisoner of Azkaban… for me, that’s where the real story begins.