Magical fairy tales from Hogwarts

2008-12-24 00:00

Perhaps there is a whiff of jumping on a bandwagon about this book. But then, J. K. Rowling did not become one of the world’s wealthiest women by being unaware of what the market wants. Now that Harry Potter’s saga has reached its conclusion, and Rowling left the boy wizard with nowhere to go so the chances of another book in the series are apparently nil, there are a lot of Potter fans out there who are keen to have more insights into the world of Potter, Hogwarts and wizarding.

So now Rowling has written this slight volume of wizarding folk tales, apparently translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger and with notes by Professor Dumbledore. One of the stories of course appeared in the final Harry Potter book — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Rowling originally produced seven handwritten copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and one was sold at auction last year for charity, raising $4 million dollars. Now that the book has been published, proceeds from the sales will go the the charity founded by Rowling to help children living in institutions.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard has become the fastest selling title of the year, with more than 2,6 million copies sold worldwide in less than two weeks, so Rowling and her publisher have obviously got their sums right. Rowling, who has become the world’s wealthiest writer, originally hand wrote and illustrated seven copies of Beedle the Bard, six of which she gave away as gifts and one which she sold at auction in 2007, fetching $4 million for the charity.

Proceeds from sales are for a good (if not local) cause, the stories are entertaining and the production is attractive, with Rowling’s original illustrations. If you have a Potter fan who needs a stocking filler, you could do a lot worse.

Margaret von Klemperer

• The Tales of Beedle the Bard is on Exclusive Books List for 2008.

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