The Tales of Beedle the Bard has a small drawing from J.K. Rowling at the start of each story. I found some of these difficult to interpret.

The most puzzling one is the drawing at the start of “The Warlock's Hairy Heart” which shows what looks like an assortment of objects: a stringed instrument (lute or similar), a book, a door key, a goblet with some dark liquid spilling out of it, and a cross-shaped object (perhaps a dagger).

What is this drawing supposed to depict, and what is its significance related to this story?

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  • 1
    Rowling also drew a lot of illustrations which weren't included in the published book. – ibid Nov 9 '16 at 0:45
  • @ibid - That's a much better collection. Still scans, but much better. – Valorum Nov 9 '16 at 0:47

They're simply an assortment of objects that are referred to in the text of the story. There doesn't appear to be a specific theme.

From left to right;

  • A book of poetry
  • A lute
  • The key to the Warlock's dungeon
  • Fine wine
  • The silver dagger that the Warlock inadvertently kills himself with.

The table was laden with silver and gold, bearing the finest wines and most sumptuous foods. Minstrels strummed on silk-stringed lutes and sang of a love their master had never felt. The maiden sat upon a throne beside the warlock, who spake low, employing words of tenderness he had stolen from the poets, without any idea of their true meaning.


The warlock smiled, and told her that she need not fear on that score. Bidding her follow, he led her from the feast, and down to the locked dungeon where he kept his greatest treasure.


Before the horror-struck eyes of his guests, the warlock cast aside his wand, and seized a silver dagger. Vowing never to be mastered by his own heart, he hacked it from his chest.

  • I always assumed that it was a key to the chest containing the heart. – ibid Nov 9 '16 at 0:21
  • @ibid - The heart was in an "enchanted crystal casket" which he opens with his wand. There's no indication, however, that the "locked dungeon" was anything other than a simple locked door, one which required a key to open. – Valorum Nov 9 '16 at 0:26
  • I guess that makes. The key was always puzzling, because although never explicitly mentioned in the text, Rowling seemed to be oddly fixated on it, as if it an essential element to the story. – ibid Nov 9 '16 at 0:29
  • @ibid - Possibly it had greater significance in an earlier version of the story. – Valorum Nov 9 '16 at 0:40
  • Assuming you have an extra £500,000 or so, you'll soon be able to find out. – ibid Nov 9 '16 at 0:54

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