Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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The Harry Potter news has been pouring in so fast that fans like me can hardly keep track of what keeps them awake at night due to excited anticipation. This time, the news is that the book of fairy tales, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, that was first mentioned in the seventh and last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is being published and will be released to the public on 4 December of this year — just in time for the holidaze! This book’s release date will no doubt make holiday shopping easier for millions of people around the world this year.

“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,” said JK Rowling, British multi-millionaire author of the hit series of books.

“I am therefore delighted to announce that, thanks to the generous support of Bloomsbury, Scholastic and Amazon — 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 Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of five popular wizarding fairy tales, was a gift from the deceased Professor Dumbledore to the brilliant Hermione Granger in the last of the Harry Potter books. It was meant to assist her and Harry to accomplish their quest to defeat Lord Voldemort for good.

“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,” said Rowling.

The book is being published by Bloomsbury in Britain and Scholastic in the United States [Amazon: $7.59], and Amazon plans to sell 100,000 leather-bound collectors’ editions priced at 50 pounds [Amazon: $100.00, pictured below with the original] — these collectors’ editions are available only from Amazon. These collectors’ editions are intended to replicate the look and feel of the original hand-written book that Amazon purchased last December (although, they are not trying to replicate it too much, since the replica looks a lot bigger than the original — I wonder, will the replica include replicas of the entire book in Rowling’s handwritten pages?).

Image: Amazon.

Sales from this book are anticipated to exceed $8 million, all of which will go to The Children’s High Level Group charity, which supports institutionalized children throughout Europe. This charity was co-founded by Rowling in 2005.

Rowling initially produced just seven copies of this book. She handwrote the tales and drew the pictures herself in a specially-made volume that was bound in brown Moroccan leather and decorated with silver and inlayed with semi-precious jewels, moonstones. Six copies were gifts to Rowling’s close friends while the seventh was auctioned off in December. Amazon.com Inc, the Web retailer known for selling books, purchased this book for roughly $4 million — all of which went to charity.

The published book will contain all the tales in the seven original hand-written editions of the book, along with a forward by Rowling and — a bonus! — it will also feature additional commentary on each fairy tale ostensibly written by the late (and beloved) Professor Dumbledore himself.

Of the five stories in the 157-page book, only one, “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” is retold in the Potter novels. It appears in the final Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Rowling, whose Harry Potter books have sold more than 400 million copies and have been translated into 64 languages, wrote the Beedle tales after finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final work in the series last year. When the last Harry Potter book was released, it broke all sales records as the fastest selling book in history.

Rowling describes The Tales of Beedle the Bard as a distillation of the themes found throughout her series of seven Harry Potter books [or imported from England], referring to it as her goodbye to a world she lived in for 17 years.

Comments

  1. #1 stogoe
    July 31, 2008

    I always expected they’d be published eventually. Looks like something’s on my holidaze wish list already…