EXCLUSIVE: Jason Isaacs Discusses ‘The Tales of Beedle The Bard’ Audiobook, Lumos & The Power of Storytelling

Mar 31, 2020

Posted by: Emma Pocock

Audio Books, Books, Charity, Companion Books, Davis, Exclusives, HP Cast, Interviews, Isaacs, Isaacs Interviews, J.K. Rowling, Law, Lumos, Lynch, News, Noma Dumezweni, Pottermore, Tales of Beedle the Bard, Wright

The Tales of Beedle The Bard audiobook, written by J.K. Rowling and released via Audible, released TODAY, and we had the chance to interview Jason Isaacs on narrating one of the stories in the collection, and his work with Rowling’s children’s charity, Lumos (whom the collection benefits).

The audiobook unites the voices of Noma Dumezweni (the original Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) , Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), and Warwick Davis (Flitwick / Griphook), narrating the five stories of Tales of Beedle The Bard, all in support of Lumos.

Wright narrates Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump, Evanna Lynch narrates The Foutain of Fair Fortune, Noma Dumezweni narrates The Tale of the Three Brothers, Jason Isaacs narrates The Warlock’s Hairy Heart, and Warwick Davis narrates The Wizard and the Hopping Pot.

Jude Law (who portrays Albus Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts films) also narrates notes from Albus Dumbledore throughout the audiobook, as well as an introduction from the author narrated by Sally Mortemore (Madam Pince – the Hogwarts librarian)! Having listened to the audiobook, it’s fair to say they got the casting for Young Dumbledore spot on – the whimsy with which Law reads Dumbledore’s notes is perfect, and the entire audiobook is a joy and a comfort for any Wizarding World fan to listen to – just as wizarding world fairytales should be!

Potter fans will likely be most familiar with The Tale of The Three Brothers as it features in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and though Ron Weasley tells Harry the collection is a delight in any wizarding family, those new to the collection may be surprised by the dark undertones to many of the children’s stories….

(Clip of Jason Isaacs reading from ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’ is from Syfy)

Jason Isaacs reads the darkest and most gruesome tale in The Tales of Beedle The Bard: ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’, about a Warlock who hides his heart away, and turns into a vicious beast when he eventually returns the hairy heart to his chest and kills the witch he is trying to woo – it’s a dark tale, and Isaacs reads it brilliantly!

Isaacs told Leaky that the magic, of course, is in Rowling’s mind, being able to weave these tales that feel like they belong in the wizarding world, and yet remain familiar to us muggles:

“The thing about stories generally, is that we have some sort of sense of a good one. Whether we’re watching a movie, a series on the TV or listening to a podcast or book, we have a sense of where things will go, and a rough idea at the ending. There’s always some internal blue print somewhere. Until you’re left in the hands of someone like Jo, who can just take you anywhere she wants, and it feels like you were always inevitably going there but you had no idea where it was going. That’s the magic of Potter, with all its twists, and she uses the same mastery over each story here. 

“There are only two or three patterns for stories – they’ve been around since people gathered round fires, and then every now and again some otherworldly being comes along who can break those patterns, and yet they seem completely familiar and correct.
“Music has this thing called the home note – when you hear a hook for a great song, and it feels like you’ve been hearing it all your life but you’ve just heard it for the first time. [Jo] can do that with narrative.”

The tale just before The Warlock’s Hairy Heart is The Fountain of Fair Fortune, read by Evanna Lynch. At the end of this tale, Dumbledore (Jude Law) includes some notes about one Lucius Malfoy writing letter upon letter to Dumbledore (to no avail) trying to get the tale banned for including a marriage between a wizard and a muggle. I asked if Isaacs had heard this connection to his character in the audiobook just before he reads his own story, and Isaacs was surprised – he recorded his tale a year or so ago, and said he’s looking forward to listening to the full collection, and will be sure to listen out for the mention of Lucius Malfoy!

Isaacs insisted that there’s no better time for this audiobook to be releasing, with the COVID-19 pandemic leaving many isolated and in lockdown:

“This book is exactly what we’re needing now… I’ve been trying to avoid the news and listen to audiobooks and podcasts more, so what better time. If it wasn’t for this monstrous virus, the actors involved would probably be able to promote this more together!”

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We asked if he had any recommendations, and though Isaacs was hesitant to recommend a specific film, book or podcast for fear of leaving out projects his friends have made, he told us this was a time for revelling in the power of connection and storytelling::

“Choose ANYTHING – find a new book, or a book you like, a podcast you like, and don’t sit there listening to the news all day. Unless you can affect something, watching this enormous tragedy unfolding 24/7, you’ll hurt yourself by constantly immersing yourself in it all constantly.”

Proceeds from The Tales of Beedle The Bard go towards funding J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity, Lumos, and we know Isaacs has been involved in promoting the work of the charity in the past. He explained the charity’s mission to reunite children with families and deinstitutionalize orphanages around the world:

“Many countries now foster and encourage adoption, but there’s just overwhelming evidence provided by Lumos as to the problems caused when children are locked up and not cared for by families. There are more malicious senses, where children are victims of trafficking or abuse, but even just being homed in an orphanage, statistics show that children coming out of orphanages  do end up more likely to self harm, commit suicide or end up involved in crime and in prison.

“Lumos are doing amazing work in de-institutionalising countries and getting children fostered and adopted, and changing these systems. The incredible staff there have taken on a gargantuan challenge, and they’re making huge headway. It’s appropriately named Lumos, for shining a light on children in need.”

Just the other day, Isaacs took part in a video call with on-screen Malfoy son, Tom Felton, as part of the British Red Cross #phoneafriend campaign to keep people connected during isolation. Isaacs said on this:

“They do an amazing number of things all year round, as well as addressing the needs of refugees, vulnerable people and lonely people, sending supplies out and encouraging volunteers to be a point of contact and connection for people who are extremely isolated, which is especially crucial in a time like this.”

“Even just agreeing to phone people who are by themselves is a huge gift, what’s amazing is that when you do something like that, however briefly, you stop thinking about yourself. It’s a blissful relief in times like this, when it’s easy enough to become self pitying – as soon as you reach out to others you realise how much better it makes you feel!

“I love Tom anyway, I speak to him all year round, and the fact that the Red Cross encouraged me to do that was glorious for both of us – hopefully we’ll do it again!”

We’re so excited for everybody to listen to The Tales of Beedle The Bard! Download the audiobook now via Audible.com or Audible.co.uk, and listen to an exclusive clip below:





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