The Tales of Beedle the Bard show

As the clock ticks down to the grand opening of Universal Orlando’s The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion, more details are being revealed. The newest bit is that author JK Rowling‘s The Tales of Beedle the Bard will be brought to life as part of the park’s new entertainment options. The trunk show, an adaptation of the first two stories from the children’s book (“The Fountain of Fair Fortune” and “The Tale of the Three Brothers”) will be performed by a troupe of four from the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts using “scenic pieces, props and puppetry fabricated by Emmy-award-winning designer Michael Curry.” You can get a first look at The Tales of Beedle the Bard show after the jump.

Universal Orlando has also revealed a second show that will be offered in the Wizarding World, more details about the entrance to the new expansion and information on how Muggles will be able to exchange currency at the Gringotts Money Exchange. All this and more, after the jump.

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a children’s storybook that was mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. JK Rowling decided to write the book within the book, and auctioned seven limited edition handwritten and illustrated copies to charity. One of the copies, the moonstone edition, sold to Amazon for $3.98 million. On July 31st 2008, it was announced that the book would be published and made available to the general public, with the proceeds going to charity.

The book contains five fairy tales, each with an Aesop-like lesson, illustrated by the bard herself. Amazon will exclusively be offering a luxuriously packaged Collector’s Edition designed to evoke the spirit of J.K. Rowling’s handcrafted original (pictured above).

“Tucked in its own case disguised as a wizarding textbook found in the Hogwarts library, the Collector’s Edition includes an exclusive reproduction of J.K. Rowling’s handwritten introduction, as well as 10 additional illustrations not found in the Standard Edition or the original. Opening the case reveals a velvet bag embroidered with J.K. Rowling’s signature, in which sits the piece de resistance: your very own copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, complete with metal skull, corners, and clasp; replica gemstones; and emerald ribbon.”

“But the true jewel of this new edition is the enlightening and comprehensive commentary (including extensive footnotes!) by Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who brings his unique wizard’s-eye perspective to the collection. Discovered “among the many papers which Dumbledore left in his will to the Hogwarts Archives,” the venerable wizard’s ruminations on the Tales allow today’s readers to place them in the context of 16th century Muggle society, even allowing that “Beedle was somewhat out of step with his times in preaching a message of brotherly love for Muggles” during the era of witch hunts that would eventually drive the wizarding community into self-imposed exile. In fact, versions of the same stories told in wizarding households would shock many for their uncharitable treatment of their Muggle characters. Professor Dumbledore also includes fascinating historical backstory, including tidbits such as the history and pursuit of magic wands, a brief comment on the Dark Arts and its practitioners, and the struggles with censorship that eventually led “a certain Beatrix Bloxam” to cleanse the Tales of “much of the darker themes that she found distasteful,” forever altering the meaning of the stories for their Muggle audience. Dumbledore also allows us a glimpse of his personal relationship to the Tales, remarking that it was through “Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump” that ‘many of us [wizards] first discovered that magic could not bring back the dead.’ “

You can preorder the standard hardcover edition for $7.59 or the Exclsuive Collectors edition for $100 on Amazon.com.

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