"Beedle the Bard" came to the Big Apple Wednesday (December 3) -- J.K. Rowling's U.S. editor Arthur A. Levine put his personal, original, handwritten and illustrated-by-the-author copy on display at the New York Public Library, a day before the mass-production version hits stores. The unveiling, Levine told MTV News, was "dramatic" and not without plenty of security measures.
"That's my personal copy," he said. "There's a protective case and a guard standing next to it. But the library has many extremely valuable books and pieces of art, so they're experienced at these things. But I have to trust in the loyalty of the fans and the security of the New York Public Library [that it doesn't get stolen or defaced]."
That's why you're not going to see Levine's copy pop up in the film version for "Deathly Hallows" when Dumbledore bequeaths Hermione a copy of the fabled book -- let someone else's original copy get a turn!
"As much as I trust it to be under glass and next to a guard at the library, I'm not sure I would feel as comfortable with it dragged around a forest in the wizarding world by the actors who play Harry, Ron, and Hermione," Levine admitted, "as much as I admire them. Ron, Hermione, and Harry read that book in very gritty circumstances."
But even if someone's copy of the book appears in the film, Levine said, it wouldn't really be product placement. "You know why?" he laughed. "Because the cover of the book for sale is not the same as the book Jo made me or anyone else."
The version to be available in stores, Levine said, comes with commentary by Albus Dumbledore, and "he has quite a lot to say, about the historical context of these tales within the wizarding community and personal anecdotes, like when some of these tales [such as 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune'] were performed as plays at Hogwarts." Hogwarts having a dramatics department? News to us!
Dumbledore's insights aren't scribbled in the margins like Harry's in his schoolbook, or Snape's comments in his infamous potions book in "Half-Blood Prince." "This is a professor formally putting his thoughts down," Levine said. "Perhaps he was intending to publish an analysis, but as many of us know, he never got to. But he's lucid and funny, often bitingly funny."
But Hermione would not have been helped, at least not directly, had she had Dumbledore's commentary for the "The Tale of the Three Brothers" available in her copy. "I don't think his commentary functions that way," Levine said. "J.K. Rowling wouldn’t create a book in essence that would undermine the pleasure of reading 'Deathly Hallows.'"
Are you looking forwarding to reading "Beedle the Bard"? Which copy do you think they should use in the film?