Creosote-Colored Tea Leaves: Louise’s First Musings for Cormoran Strike 5

As has been pointed out multiple times by John Granger and others, the Cormoran Strike series seems to be following a pattern of parallels to the Harry Potter series, with Book 2 centered on the havoc wreaked by a mysterious autobiographical book, Book 3 on a notorious escaped criminal stalking the protagonist and Book 4 on patricide of a government minister, set against the backdrop of a major sporting event. For this reason, we should expect echoes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Cormoran Strike 5.

John has also pointed out the multiple ring structures in the Harry Potter series, with similar themes in books 1, 4, and 7; 2 and 6; and 3 and 5. The large number of parallels seen between Cuckoo’s Calling and Lethal White suggest the pattern is continuing with the Cormoran Strike series. Thus we should expect echoes from both Career of Evil and Order of the Phoenix in the next installment of Robin’s and Cormoran’s adventures.

With that in mind, I’m going to start a few preliminary muses about themes, ideas and storylines that might come up. Keep in mind this is pure, very early speculation. More after the jump. [Read more…]

Rowling Returns to Twitter – Maybe?

There are two re-tweets this morning and a pinned note that links to Rowling’s website and her answers on the linked to page to frequently asked questions about writing. This is the first activity since 12 January, a silence of just over two months. The page header and cameo remain the same pictures that went up on 7 January.

Three notes:

(1) Is she still alive? Maybe. Maybe Not. The pinned link from 7 January is generic though written in her voice and is not new. The two re-tweets tell us nothing except that someone has the password and access to her Twitter account. I’ll feel confident she is among the visibly living when we have a confirmed sighting or post in her inimitable voice. Or just some explanation of where she has been? 14.6 million followers want to know.

(2) Ironic Re-tweet. Rowling re-tweets a comment from Oz Katerji who calls out YouTube for not sufficiently purifying its platform in the name of combatting “f-ing Nazis.” Americans differ from Brits, of course, in our conviction that silencing free speech even of deplorables and terrorists is one of the telling symptoms of fascism. Still, not a proof that Rowling is back and well. Everyone is reeling from the Christchurch murders.

(3) Signature Re-tweet. The other re-tweet is a call for the Daily Mail  to pull a murder video off its website because it represents “a new low in clickbait.” Now that sounds like a particularly Rowling-esque concern, i.e., disdain for the insensitivities of the news media in the name of profit and gaining readers. Of course, throwing the f-bomb and calling people whom she despises “Nazis” is something she has done, too. Maybe she really is back!

If true, so much for the idea that she had decided in the New Year not to be a Progressive Firebrand and Lightning Rod on her twitter feed. We’ll know for sure she’s back, though, and given up on this resolution only when or if she returns to the Brexit Follies currently running on the UK political stage without intermissions or restroom breaks. Today’s reappearance may be only an understandable outburst from her hermitage consequent to the tragedy in New Zealand.

Investigating ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’: Reading, Writing, Rowling Episode #20

 

Straight from the MuggleNet page announcing the release of the Reading, Writing, Rowling podcast on Crimes of Grindelwald! Read all about it — then tune in for some cutting edge conversation about the second Beasts film.

This month, join us at alchemist Nicolas Flamel’s house, where we’re searching for answers to the profound questions raised by the second film in the Fantastic Beasts series. Spoilers abound!

Crimes of Grindelwald, the second movie in the Fantastic Beasts film series, left a lot of fans and critics scratching their heads. With our guests Elizabeth Baird Hardy (Mayland Community College), Megan Kelly (SpeakBeasty), and Lana Whited (Ferrum College), Katy and John investigate the mythic, literary, and alchemical references in this movie to answer key questions and decipher where the series may be headed next.

Elizabeth points out that Newt’s case – which is bigger on the inside than the outside – is our first clue that this series contains much more than it appears to on the surface. Megan also reminds us that these films give us the opportunity to revisit the “Harry Potter glory days,” when we were waiting for the next installments and weren’t sure what would ultimately happen; we have the excitement of looking for clues to help us predict the series’ trajectory.

We consider the criticisms of the film: in theme, plot, and character. Is this film true to J.K. Rowling’s artistic vision? Fans are frustrated with the way the series retcons certain characters and even undermines the original wizarding world vision from the Harry Potterstories. Despite the flaws (which Elizabeth likens to poisonous fangs) in this beast of a movie, there are important and meaningful ideas that enrich our view of the wizarding universe.

More after the jump!

Lana explains her groundbreaking theory about Grindelwald as a dragon (compared to Dumbledore’s phoenix), the literary and historical tradition of dragons and phoenixes, and what this hidden aspect of Grindelwald may mean for the next episodes in the series. We reflect on the meaning of Dumbledore’s Mirror of Erised scene, specific beasts like the Kelpie and Pickett the Bowtruckle, Dumbledore’s Chocolate Frog card (and the twelve uses of dragon’s blood), Nagini the Maledictus, “Aurelius” Dumbledore, and Rowling’s views of the beastly potential of humanity. We also explore the movie’s alchemical symbolism (water, fire, gold, and Flamel’s role in the film’s climax), ties to King Arthur, humoral theory, and Shakespearean pairings.

Hear what we think about major puzzles: What do we know about the deleted scenes and how they affected both Leta’s and Nagini’s character arcs? What is going on with Queenie? Why is Newt so important to Dumbledore’s mission? Where and when will the next film be set? J.K. Rowling has said that the end of the movie is not all that it seems, and we explore the narrative misdirection at the film’s conclusion. A treasure trove of provocative theories awaits you in this episode!

Please also join the conversation via email (ReadingWritingRowling@gmail.com), Twitter (ReadWriteRowl), or our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you.

Or share your thoughts here by clicking on the ‘Reply’ button up by the post headline! Join in the conversation and let us know what you think about Crimes of Grindelwald.

Luna Lovegood Interviews Beasts Cast

Note three points especially:

(1) Jacob’s destiny to become a Wizard or Elder Wand master is revealed, almost;

(2) Jude Law agrees with Lana Whited about Dumbledore’s self-understanding being that he is a Fantastic Beast in need of careful training and restriction; and

(3) Theseus and Leta… What a shame that their story was not shared in the film released as it was written and filmed! Double for the Theseus-Newt relationship scenes.

Bravo to Ivanna Lynch for asking the best questions to the players to date.

Misattribution of Arousal: More Evidence of Robin’s Psychology Training

As most Hogpro readers know, I am a psychology professor/ neuroscientist/ behavior analyst, and therefore love looking for psychological themes in fiction. Most of my commentary has involved depictions of mental illness, though the Hunger Games and  Divergent provided a mountain of other themes, from personality theory to fear conditioning to neuroscience. Naturally, I was delighted to learned that Robin Ellacott had planned to major in psychology, prior to dropping out of uni, and I take special note of any use of her psychology training on the job.

This segment of Lethal White, where Robin tries to sort out her feelings for Cormoran, really jumped out at me.

Wasn’t it possible, she asked herself, when she was cried out at last, that she was confusing gratitude and friendship with something deeper? That she had mistaken her love of detection for love of the man who had given her the job? She admired Strike, of course, and was immensely fond of him. They had passed through many intense experiences together, so that it was natural to feel close to him, but was that love?

Whether she consciously remembers her coursework or not, Robin is demonstrating knowledge of a well-known psychological phenomenon, misattribution of arousal. More after the jump. [Read more…]