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'Tales of Beedle the Bard' Elegant Perfection
Wizarding fairytales satisfy Harry Potter fans after long wait
Claire George (aeogae)     Print Article 
Published 2008-12-07 10:06 (KST)   
Harry Potter fans welcomed a new addition to their bookshelves last week when The Tales of Beedle the Bard hit UK stores. This elegant collection of wizarding fairytales was first released in 2007 in a limited edition run of seven handwritten copies.

J.K. Rowling presented six of the books to friends but auctioned off the seventh, raising 占1.95 million for children's charity CHLG. Proceeds from the new commercial version of the Tales will also go towards the charity, which works with youngsters in European residential institutions.

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From the start major British bookstores were selling the Tales for a much more modest sum, with many halving the 占6.99 cover price. The deal is symptomatic of efforts by UK retailers to pull in shoppers during the credit crunch. Many large clothing chains also held sales last week, slashing prices by up to 30 percent.

There is much in the Tales to make even the most hard up consumers forget their woes, if only for an hour or two. Rowling's latest production is just 109 pages long -- with pictures -- and some fans expressed disappointment at its brevity.

So what's it all about?

The tales take the form of five short stories written by a 15th-century wizard and translated from the original runes by Harry Potter sidekick Hermione Granger. They are accompanied by Hogwarts headmaster Professor Dumbledore's personal notes, which are both academic and amusing.

Each story is a carefully crafted jewel written in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm. Readers not yet familiar with the Harry Potter series may find some references confusing, but on the whole the tales are capable of standing independently of the Hogwarts stable.

They truly show that J.K. Rowling knows what storytelling is all about. Beautiful witches, heartless warlocks and wise old hags troop across the pages in perfect simplicity.

Each story has a clear moral that teaches young witches and wizards about the limitations and uses of magic. Muggle readers will also appreciate the old fashioned wisdom at the heart of the tales, which tell us among other things that love is necessary for a wholesome life and that no one can cheat death.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Claire George

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