Saturday, November 10, 2007

Future Auction of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard"

This is week-old news, but J.K. Rowling has handwritten seven copies of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard"; six will be given as "'thank you' presents for the people who have been most closely involved with Harry Potter over the years" while the seventh will be auctioned on December 13, 2007. The starting bid is £30,000 (or $62,000).

As every reader of Deathly Hallows knows, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" are a bound collection of folktales, which Dumbledore bequeathed to Hermione in his will. One of the stories, "The Tale of the Three Brothers" had special relevance to the last novel as Harry Potter was tempted to find the Deathly Hallows. The four other stories are:

  • "The Fountain of Fair Fortune"
  • "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot"
  • "Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump"
  • "The Warlock’s Hairy Heart"

The first three were mentioned in the last novel while the last is a new story (presumably with the collection in Dumbledore's copy, but never mentioned in the novel itself). Unfortunately this collection will not be published although I am hoping she will include these stories in her Harry Potter Encyclopedia. Whoever those six "real insiders" are, they are lucky. Even more important is that proceeds from the auctioned copy will go to a good cause:

I have therefore decided to auction the seventh book for The Children's Voice (previously the Children's High Level Group), the charity I co-founded to campaign for the rights of institutionalised children.

Each of the seven copies of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" has a different dedication; all are leather-bound and embellished with silver and different semi-precious stones. The seventh book (the Moonstone edition) will be auctioned at Sotheby's in London on December 13th 2007. The book will be on display to the public for a short period before the sale, and catalogues will be sold, all profits going to the Children's Voice.

There is a special commemorative catalogue of the item being auctioned; this 48-page catalogue includes photos of the soon-to-be-auctioned manuscript and a message from JKR herself and is only $16.00. Finally while we are on the subject of "Tales of Beedle the Bard", I want to reference two past articles at Sword of Gryffindor. The first is my own "The Pardoner's Tale in Deathly Hallows", which draws a parallel between the "Tale of the Three Brothers" and Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale" (a parallel that JKR herself suggested). The second is written by Dave, "The Tale of the Three Brothers", which examines JKR's usage of literary metanarrrative in this tale and its interpretation by several characters in the last novel, before concluding that perhaps JKR is topying with her readers and that:

It’s both the literal and figurative fulcrum of Deathly Hallows over which Harry teeters, dragging us along with him.

Forgive my shameless plugging of these two articles by the Blogengamot. Wink, wink.

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