|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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- Harry Potter: "Yeah, but if Dumbledore was alive, why wouldn't he show himself? Why wouldn't he just hand us the sword?"
- Ronald Weasley: "Search me. Same reason he didn't give it to you while he was alive? Same reason he left you an old Snitch and Hermione a book of kids' stories?"
- — Harry Potter speculate on the meaning behind this gift and Dumbledore's others.[src]
Hermione Granger owned a first edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which was bequeathed to her by Albus Dumbledore in his will. This book had been marked with the sign of the Deathly Hallows on the page where The Tale of the Three Brothers started, and it was thus via this book that Dumbledore was able to inform Harry, Ron and Hermione about the Deathly Hallows after his death.
Creation and early history
The Tales of Beedle the Bard was penned by Beedle the Bard sometime during the 15th century. He wrote it in a runic script which had fallen out of common use by the 20th century. A copy of the first edition of this book was kept in decent, readable shape throughout the centuries, and eventually found its way into the possession of Albus Dumbledore.
Using this book, Dumbledore took a series of extensive notes on the book's various stories, providing his own interpretations of the stories' events, as well as recording significant historical background to how the stories had been changed or adapted over the years from this first edition. These notes would be left to the Hogwarts Archives after Dumbledore's death. As well, prior to his death, he made the decision to leave this book to Hermione Granger in his will, and thus inform Harry of the existence of the Deathly Hallows. He marked the page where The Tale of the Three Brothers started with the sign of the Deathly Hallows, presumably confident Hermione would read the book extensively and eventually discover it.
Hermione Granger's possession
- "To Miss Hermione Jean Granger, I leave my copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, in the hope that she will find it entertaining and instructive."
- —Rufus Scrimegeour quotes from Dumbledore's will.[src]
The book came into Hermione's possession on 31 July, 1997. Prior to this, it had been examined for thirty-one days by the British Ministry of Magic on the orders of Minister Rufus Scrimgeour, who was suspicious of the nature of the items Dumbledore had bequeathed in his will. Even after a brief interrogation of Hermione, he was unable to determine any significance the book may have, and thus was forced to turn the book over to her.
As Hermione accompanied Harry on their journey to find Voldemort's Horcruxes, she read this book extensively, using what she learned in the Study of Ancient Runes to translate the book's original runic script to English. Eventually, she discovered the mark Dumbledore had left, and connected it to a necklace worn by Xenophilius Lovegood. The three then travelled to the Lovegood house.
Once there, Hermione read out the original version of The Tale of the Three Brothers, and, with additional information from Lovegood, the three learned of the existence of the Deathly Hallows. This information would later be used to determine that Voldemort was seeking the Elder Wand.
Sometime after the Second Wizarding War, Hermione completed her translation of the runic text. This translation, together with Albus Dumbledore's notes on the book, were complied and published by J. K. Rowling for both wizarding and Muggle readers, the later containing additional commentary by Rowling defining wizarding terms for Muggles.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Mentioned only)