Friday, May 10, 2013

Magic causes as much trouble as it cures

It's another Friday which means another Harry Potter day! This time though, we're taking a break from the normal Harry Potter series and reading The Tales of Beedle the Bard*. Which meant I had to go find a copy and the children's section of the bookstore is harder to navigate than I would have originally thought. Eventually I stumbled on the (giant, really obvious) shelf of all things Harry Potter, found a copy, and was on my way just before the bookstore closed. Because I do things last minute like that. I'm a little bummed it's hardback but I GUESS it's fine.

I guess there are spoilers in here, except it's for wizarding fairy tales, so yeah, you're fine. Thank you Alice for hosting this Potteralong.

I always have such a problem writing about collections of stories and I have been staring at the page for awhile trying to figure out what to write about. Do I write about each story? Just a couple? My overall thoughts? I really have no idea. and this isn't like the series where I have a billion thoughts and I sort of just takes notes as I go. But this book 100 pages with thick margins and big font and pictures, and I didn't have many notes to take. So let's see how this goes**

So, wizarding fairy tales you say.

I know Rowling mentions in the intro that the difference in these stories, unlike Muggle ones, is that magic is sometimes used for good. Which doesn't really seem right. I mean, consider Sleeping Beauty. Magic is what causes to her fall asleep for 100 years after pricking her finger on a spindle, but magic is also what keeps her alive, instead of dying when she pricks her finger. I suppose I point this out only to say that without changing things, I could see them showing up in any collection of fairy tales, Muggle or not.

"The Tale of the Three Brothers" is the best of the stories, which makes sense. I'm sure it's the one she put the most time into, given its importance in the last book. Maybe it's just because it's the last story but it's the one that felt the most natural. That felt most like a real fairy tale. And, I mean, it's the one Dumbles likes the most so OBVIOUSLY it's the best one.

I was also a fan of "The Fountain of Fair Fortune". I was going to say maybe there's something about sets of three, but then I forgot the Fountain includes that Knight. Even though he's just sort of there and doesn't really do much other than be nice and follow the witches around. Witches that also don't really do all that much. Except for Amata, who actually figured out what needed done when the water asked for treasures from the past. Otherwise the other witches just happened to cry and sweat in the appropriate place. And the knight actually tried something at each step. So I guess he's slightly more than just there. He tries, even if ultimately he can't get past any of the obstacles. I especially like Dumbles' notes at the end, especially the note about Lucius and how awful he's always been.

Dumbles' notes at the end of "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot" are the best part of this story, and I appreciate the explanation of wizard/Muggle relations. Or lack thereof. Plus it has the Umbridge-esque version by that Mrs. Bloxam lady.

I did not expect the ending to "The Warlock's Hairy Heart". I thought it would end with happiness and the warlock realizing the importance of love. I did not expect murder via heart stealing. The idea of the heart growing hair and turning into a beast I get, but I couldn't help but think of it as a moldy heart. That sort of took the edge off.

Now that I've written about all of the other stories, I may as well write about "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump" even though overall I was sort of "meh" about it. I do like the that Babbitty tricked the King into not being such a douche AND she got them to erect a gold statue of her.
Hollywood version of Babbitty

*Every time I write the title I have to correct myself. I keep wanting to call it Tales of the Beedle Bard. I'm picturing a giant insect spinning yarns.

**Not long after writing that, my computer got a virus that I had to deal with. So. Yeah. That's how things went. Sorry if this post is short, but a lot of my writing time was spent cursing at my computer.

Title quote from page VII

Rowling, J.K. The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Scholastic, 2007.