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J. K. Rowling, CH, is now a Companion of Honour.
J. K. Rowling [photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]

J. K. Rowling has released the first two chapters of a new chidren’s book, The Ickabog. She wrote the story years ago as a bedtime story for her own children, and it has been sitting in an attic for decades. However, with the blessing and encouragement of her now teenagers, she has pulled the story out of storage, dusted it off, and is posting it on-line a chapter or two at a time absolutely free, for young readers (and the young at heart) to enjoy during the Lockdown.

This is an independent fairy tale, with no connection to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

“Once upon a time, there was a tiny country called Cornucopia, which had been ruled for centuries by a long line of fair-haired kings. The king at the time of which I write was called King Fred the Fearless. He’d announced the ‘Fearless’ bit himself, on the morning of his coronation, partly because it sounded nice with ‘Fred’, but also because he’d once managed to catch and kill a wasp all by himself, if you didn’t count five footmen and the boot boy.”

Certainly Harry Potter influenced the tale of The Ickabog. Lord Spittleboon and Lord Flapoon, King Fred’s closest friends, may remind the reader of grown-up versions of Draco Malfoy’s minions Greg Goyle and Vincent Crabbe.

As in C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and Rowling’s own Harry Potter books, food is an important part of the story from the greasy mutton broth eaten in the Marshlands to the exquisite pastries baked in Chouxville, the capital of Cornucopia.

“Unless a grown man’s eyes filled with tears of pleasure as he bit into a Chouxville pastry, it was deemed a failure and never made again. The bakery windows of Chouxville were piled high with delicacies such as Maidens’ Dreams, Fairies’ Cradles, and, most famous of all, Hopes-of-Heaven, which were so exquisitely, painfully delicious that they were saved for special occasions and everybody cried for joy as they ate them. King Porfirio, of neighboring Pluritania, had already sent King Fred a letter, offering him the choice of any of his daughters’ hands in marriage in exchange for a lifetime’s supply of Hopes-of-Heaven, but Spittleworth had advised Fred to laugh in the Pluritanian ambassador’s face.

‘His daughters are nowhere near pretty enough to exchange for Hopes-of-Heaven, sire!’ said Spittleworth.”

J. K. Rowling, CH, OBE, has said that the characters are not based on any particular real-life politicians. She has never been shy about expressing her opinions on international politics on Twitter. Described as a story about “truth and power,” Rowling said the tale “isn’t intended to be read as a response to anything that’s happening in the world right now. The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country.” Therefore any resemblance between King Fred or the Ickabog and Donald J. Trump or Boris Johnson is purely coincidental.

Royalties Will Be Donated

After the entire story is posted on-line, J. K. Rowling intends to publish it as a traditional book and donate the royalties to help groups affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic, She has already donated a million pounds to help the homeless and domestic violence victims, both of whom have been severely affected by the pandemic,

Children’s Illustration Contest

Artists “between seven and twelve years old, your parent or guardian on your behalf can enter your drawings or paintings into the official competition being run by J.K. Rowling’s publishers, for a once in a lifetime chance to be featured in The Ickabog book, which is published in November. The competition is now open in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, the US and Canada, and will be extended to other countries very soon.” Click here to enter the US and Canadian competition. SCIFI.radio fans in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Australia.New Zealand, or India should click here to enter their children’s artwork.

Read The Ickabog for yourself:

To read The Ickabog, click here, It’s a good story, and the price is right.

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Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

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