The Tales of Beedle the Bard Review

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

When I received the notification from Audible that The Tales of Beedle the Bard was ready to download, its safe to say my day got a little bit brighter!

I was blown away by Audible’s last Wizarding World audiobook adaption, Quidditch Through the Ages, so with a high standard already set by Andrew Lincoln and Co last time out, does The Tales of Beedle the Bard live up to expectations? – YES! And then some!

Synopsis:

Written by J.K. Rowling. Read by Sally Mortemore, Warwick Davis, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs, Bonnie Wright, Noma Dumezweni and Jude Law.

Performed by talented actors from across the Wizarding World, this is the first ever audiobook edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which was originally written in 2007 by J.K. Rowling and has raised money for her children’s charity Lumos ever since.

As familiar to Hogwarts students as “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty” are to Muggle children, Beedle’s stories are a collection of popular fairy tales written for young witches and wizards. So, if you’re wondering what’s in store in this brand-new audio edition…well, your ears are in for a treat.

So, where to start?

I usually spend a good portion of these Audible reviews gushing over the production quality, so much so that I could easily copy and paste the same text from all my previous reviews! So this time, I will keep it short. Once again, the audio quality is perfect and the production, editing and sound effects all enhance the listening experience. Audible original productions are the gold standard of audiobooks, its as simple as that!

In terms of the story, I have previously read them in book form, and I think it is an essential ready (or listen) for any Wizarding World fans. This is not just a collection of stories being read out loud mind you! The addition of Professor Dumbledore’s notes help paint the tales in a new light. While not very long, coming in at just under an hour and half, this is certainly worth your audible credit or one-off purchase, if not for the story alone, but for the performances!

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When I said this was an all-star cast, I meant it! The cast covers both stage and screen, and with such a diverse cast, this audiobook feels like an event! So, lets look at the cast more closely.

The book starts with Sally Mortemore (Madam Pince) reading J.K. Rowling’s introduction, she also adds the supplementary explanation notes throughout the audiobook. While not featured heavily in the films, Mortemore more than earns he place here, mainly thanks to her wonderful voice that is simply made for the audiobook format. Jude Law reprises his role as Albus Dumbledore, he bookends each short story reading Dumbledore’s notes offering his thoughts of each tale. Law delivers Dumbledore’s musings with great charm and humour. Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick, Griphook)  reads ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’. As per usual, Davis gives it his all and you can tell, not only with his perfect timing and delivery, but his full range of character voices. Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)  is up next, reading ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’. Her soft and gentle voice was perfect for the story she was reading.

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Now, don’t expect Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) to bring his sinister Lucius  voice here, but his delivery, of the more darker tale of  ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’, was perfect. I think if they had directed him to do it in the familiar voice we all know, it would have been a little too on the nose. Another wonderful performance! Up next is Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)  who reads ‘Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’. I’m not sure what I was expecting from Bonnie, but the end result was pure joy! I was staggered at the gravity and pompousness of her character delivery. It was Brian Blessed-like performance, such volume and range. It was astonishingly good! The final tale is left to Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger) who has the daunting task of reading the most famous of the stories, ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’. I find it fitting that it is Hermione reading the story, it acts as a nice parallel from the movie. Noma is perfect, drawing you deep into the story with her excellent narration. Her naturally deep and raspy voice gave this dark tale a sinister undercurrent that was deliciously appealing. So there you have it, not a bad performance in the lot, everyone brings their A-game and I can honestly say this was such a beautifully narrated audiobook!

A stunning audiobook that draws you straight back into the Wizarding World. The all-star cast deliver outstanding performances bringing this collection of short stories to life. High quality production and phenomenal performances, of these wonderful short stories, makes The Tales of Beedle the Bard a must listen for all Harry Potter fans!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is available now on Audible UK.

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