Just when it looked to be a summer without Harry Potter hoopla, the boy wizard’s fans have something new to celebrate on this, Harry’s (and J.K. Rowling’s) birthday. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of wizarding fairy tales handwritten and illustrated by Rowling, will be published on December 4 by Children’s High Level Group, the English children’s charity co-founded by Rowling and Emma Nicholson.
Rowling initially produced only seven copies of the handcrafted project, last December. Six copies were given as personal gifts to Rowling’s friends who supported her through Harry Potter’s seven-book, 17-year journey. The seventh copy was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in London where it fetched a record £1,950,000/$4 million for CHLG on December 13, 2007. It was soon revealed that Amazon was the auction winner, and the online retailer created a Web site allowing fans to view the book electronically.
Three editions of The Tales of Beedle the Bard will go on sale December 4 and all proceeds are earmarked for CHLG. Rowling’s Potter publishers, Bloomsbury in the U.K. and Scholastic in the U.S., will release an edition (£6.99/$12.99) that contains commentary from Professor Dumbledore and an introduction by Rowling. Amazon is producing up to a maximum of 100,000 copies of a collector’s edition, said to closely resemble the look and feel of the original and priced at £50/$100.
Rowling commented in a statement: “There was understandable disappointment among Harry Potter fans when only one copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was offered to the public last December. I am therefore delighted to announce that, thanks to the generous support of Bloomsbury, Scholastic and Amazon (who bought the handwritten copy at auction)—and with the blessing of the wonderful people who own the other six original books—The Tales of Beedle the Bard will now be widely available to all Harry Potter fans.... The new edition will include the Tales themselves, translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger, and with illustrations by me, but also notes by Professor Albus Dumbledore, which appear by generous permission of the Hogwarts Headmasters’ Archive.”
Beedle the Bard is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as a prized possession of Albus Dumbledore, that he bequeathed to Harry cohort Hermione Granger. Hermione uses clues from the stories to assist Harry in his ultimate battle with Voldemort.