Friday, 10 May 2013
"The only surviving woodcut shows that he had an exceptionally luxuriant beard."
When I signed up to the Harry Potter readalong of true awesomeness, I was expecting the usual- awesome discussions, arguments about various characters (*COUGH* Sirius *SPLUTTER* Snape), and mutual agreement that Luna and Neville are The Best. I've definitely gotten all of this and more, but the one thing I wasn't expecting was to get EXTRA HARRY POTTER- apart from, you know, the viewpoints of many people, I thought I pretty much knew what was what in the Potter-verse.
BUT. Clearly, I missed a crucial part of it.
Alice, and we can all rest easy now knowing that I have read Beedle the Bard.
I don't have a clue how to go about this post, but I'm just gonna take each story and say things about it (ok, I'm mainly going to say things about Dumbledore's notes. Yeah.)
The Wizard and the Hopping Pot
BE NICE TO PEOPLE is the clear message of this story, but also, you know, SHARE your skills if you can use them to help others, ok?
ALSO, that witch who rewrote the stories in a GROSS way? Love her. Or, more specifically, this: "Mrs Bloxam's tale has met the same response from generations of wizarding children: uncontrollable retching, followed by an immediate demand to have the book taken from them and mashed into pulp."
The Fountain of Fair Fortune
Ok, so this story was kind of like The Wizard of Oz? You know, that end bit where they get symbols of the things they wanted because they actually already HAD them? And also no magic was really involved anywhere? This story was like that, at least in my brain.
Also: "This exchange marked the beginning of Mr Malfoy's long campaign to have me removed from my post as Headmaster of Hogwarts, and of mine to have him removed from his position as Lord Voldemort's favourite Death Eater." Shit, Dumbledore, I think I love you...
The Warlock's Hairy Heart
I seriously dug this story because it has the kind of gruesomeness that I'm never not going to want. (Talk about a stupid sentence. I clearly mean 'I like tales of gruesomeness.' Duh.) It also hits all the Dumbledore-loves-Love buttons and yes. I like.
I was also REALLY pleased with JKR's footnote re: Warlocks, because did we have a discussion where we didn't know the difference between a Wizard and a Warlock? Or did I just have that conversation with myself? Either way- a Warlock is basically just a Wizard who is extra awesome. Which, I think we'll all agree is a very good thing to know!
Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump
Now THIS is pretty much The Emperor's New Clothes, amiright? Or at least it is to begin with, and then it turns into a kind of 'Haaa, aren't muggles silly?' kind of story. Which, I'm sorry, but how is a witch turning into a rabbit more likely than her turning into a tree? Exactly.
The notes talk a little bit about wizard-death and things, but Alley and I have been discussing how the paintings work (as in, are they a little bit alive after they're dead? Or just a kind of imprint of the dead person? Or... Something else?) and even though they're brought up here, they're still not really fully explained, so that was slightly disappointing.
BUT- it was all ok, because Professor McGonagall is the current Headmistress (we must assume) of Hogwarts! And that is just awesome.
The Tale of the Three Brothers
This story obviously has the most direct relevance to Harry Potter, even if it does kind of start off like The Three Billy Goats Gruff. (Juuust had to link to that because, what if you don't have that story in America?!) But yeah- technically it's the most interesting of the book because of that, but in a way it was also the least interesting, because I pretty much knew the story anyway.
BUT- One of my favourite parts of all of Harry Potter, I think, is when Harry, Ron and Hermione are discussing the Deathly Hallows and talk about which of them they'd choose, and their answers are SO reflective of their characters that it's just excellent. I just...
Favourite Footnote: "No witch has ever claimed to own the Elder Wand. Make of that what you will."
So, The Tales of Beedle the Bard! I will never miss it out again when I read Harry Potter. Aaaand, now I can read the Deathly Hallows, right? RIGHT?! (How can we only have one book left? I will be bereft after this. BEREFT.)