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New Rowling Twitter Header and Cameo: Capricorn and the Battle of Hogwarts?

There were no new tweets today on J. K. Rowling’s twitter page but there was a big change. As you can see above, we have a new header for the page and a fresh cameo. Beatrice Groves, who reminded The Presence six days ago of her annual tweeted apology for the casualty-laden Battle of Hogwarts (today is the 21st anniversary of the Battle), has already identified the stars in the picture as a “close-up” of the Capricorn constellation; read about that here.

We know that Rowling is an amateur astrologer who has drawn up detailed natal charts for friends with longish interpretations. Does Capricorm have a hidden meaning in astrological lore connected with the Battle of Hogwarts? We only know of one astrological reference that Rowling is familiar with because she used it almost exclusively in the charts which have been posted online: Louis MacNeice’s Astrology (Doubleday, 1964). I own a copy but found very little in the pages dedicated to Capricorn except for MacNiece’s concern about “Capricorn’s ruler… frosty old Saturn.”  “Saturn is casting a chill or a shadow and yet he may be a liberator. If Saturn the ruler is actually in this sign [i.e., Capricorn on the natal chart], then everything is cut to the bone” (p 98).

In the discussion of the planet Saturn and its influences we find “In the Middle Ages Saturn was said to carry a scythe or a sickle because he does more execution when receding than when advancing” (p 60). It is also “much connected with magic” (p 62). Mostly, though, Saturn is bad news: melancholy, depression, illness, and death.

Which, at a stretch, is a pointer to the deaths at the Battle of Hogwarts? If you like. Saturn the planet might have been pictured rather than the Capricorn constellation if this was the message. I’m hopeful that the picture means instead what Rowling has said each of her headers reflect, what she is working on and thinking about now.

What do you make of the new header on the J. K. Rowling twitter page? Is there astrological meaning, something we will learn about in Strike5 or Beasts3, or something else? Click on the ‘Leave a Comment’ link at the top of this post and let me know what you think!

J. K. Rowling Says Goodbye to Twitter

I think we can assume, on the model of someone being declared ‘officially dead’ after disappearing for a sufficient period of time, that J. K. Rowling has abandoned her Twitter page and will not be returning to it. She has not posted since 10 January 2019, just shy of sixteen weeks ago today, and I think we are obliged to think this is not a vacation from the twitter wars but a turning away from the mindless, endless distraction of it all in order to return to her vocation as writer, both screenwriter and novelist.

Three thoughts on this occasion:

(1) The File: I keep an imaginary file in which to store ‘Things True Only of J. K. Rowling.’ You’ll find in it, if the file existed outside my interior ‘cloud,’ Rowling’s claim that she does not ‘see’ Daniel Radcliffe in her mind’s eye when she thinks “Harry Potter.” And that a film studio pledged its bankroll to make five blockbuster films on the pledge of a screenwriter who had not yet written a screenplay to write five stories, sight unseen. Add to this file Rowling’s walking away from 14.7 million followers on twitter, the largest social media platform for any living author. Forgive me for thinking that Warner Brothers, Harry Potter Theatrical Productions (Cursed Child), her various publishers, and Lumos cannot be thrilled by her decision to #JustWalkAway. I won’t mention the Remainer faithful and anti-anti-Semitism activists who will miss her daily, sometimes seven-times-a-day, notes for their causes. This is truly a remarkable decision, even if only temporary.

(2) She Told Us It Was Coming: As noted in previous tweets about Rowling on Twitter and her absence since 10 January, there have been signs. First there was the blowback from the online Harry Potter generation about Rowling’s being insufficiently ‘woke’ with respect to Jonny Depp, Nagini, Gay Dumbledore, etc. Rowling’s last picture that was posted on 10 January was a screenshot of a tweet that said the Rowling ‘Cinderella Story’ was a “lie.” [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.

What is Rowling Doing? Post Twitter, She is Starting a New Political Party

Today is the one month mark since J. K. Rowling has tweeted or re-tweeted from her bully pulpit of a Twitter platform, a venue offering her access to the minds of 14.6 million followers, by far the largest of any author or screenwriter. So what has she been up to?

The best guesses we have heard or thought of ourselves in the HogwartsProfessor faculty lounge are that she is vacationing after the tumultuous 2018, that she is hard at work re-writing Fantastic Beasts 3 in light of Crimes of Grindelwald’s disappointing box office and film reviews, that she is taking a break from politics because she has realized the vanity and absurdity of yelling into the gale of principle-free opinions with her own bon mots, and, by far the wish fulfillment option, that she is working day and night on finishing the fifth Cormoran Strike novel.

Yesterday morning The National, a newspaper in Scotland, reported that Rowling is part of a push to start a third political party in the UK, a left of center alternative to the anti-Semitism of Labour and the Brexit convictions of the Conservative party. A meeting was held in London at the offices of Neil Blair, Rowling’s right hand in all things legal and Machiavellian, and the crowd gathered was said to be enthusiastic (surprise!) about the idea of The Presence being the celebrity face of this as-yet-unnamed political faction. Jonathan Powell, an advisor to Tony Blair the former Prime Minister, supposedly was in attendance at this exploratory meeting to offer his guidance.

See other story write-ups at The Daily MailRT.com, and The Daily Express, two of which say Rowling was there, one citing the story that does not say she was present as its source; caveat lector. Rowling still has a degree of deniability but Neil Blair, despite having almost seventy clients in The Blair Partnership in addition to Rowling and Galbraith, is famous only because of his work for The Presence and holding the meeting at his offices inevitably involved her name and the media ‘hook.’ 

A Potter Pundit who will not be named assures me that ‘Dumbledore’s Army’ is a natural tag for this new party. My best guess for a name would be ‘Order of the Phoenix’ to avoid the Children’s Crusade jokes — and can’t you see Rowling in a Carolina (Brussells?) Blue cap with the words ‘Make Britain France Again’ emblazoned on it? Go, Jo, go!

Jo-king aside, I hope the several Blairs and party planners go with the name ‘Fabian Socialists,’ because, as Travis Prinzi and other Potter Pundits have pointed out through the years, this has been the Dumbledore-esque political theme of Rowling’s writings from the start, i.e., slow-but-steady growth of government control of every aspect of human life “for the greater good.” Gradualism, not revolution, is the road to societal utopia…

So what do you think? If a reality show host can be President, why or why not the best selling author of the age as Prime Minister or at least Minister for Culture? Let me know what you think of the Phoenix Party in the comment boxes below.

JKR Twitter: Three Weeks of Silence

Today makes it three weeks that J. K. Rowling has not tweeted from her platform with close to 15 million followers. We follow her twittering pretty closely because, between what she writes about her books there and the changes in the page headers, it is our best source for what she is thinking and planning.

The fandom mind about the silence — those millions of people who “follow” her daily remarks and retweets — seem to fall into two general categories. The first school is that “We are unworthy of her sharing so generously her thoughts and commentary.” This tweet from a fandom site is representative:

The second school is, as you’d expect, that “She is unworthy of us; good riddance.”

My own thoughts? I’m told by a source I trust that The Presence took almost a month off in the New Year two years ago for a retreat to her estate in Tasmania. [Update: there is no “estate in Tasmania” (see comment thread); insert “island resort hide-away”] 2018 was a crazy busy year for JKR; in addition to her Lumos and Volant charity responsibilities, she published Lethal White, participated in the roll-out of Crimes of Grindelwald, and opened the Broadway edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. She was active on Twitter throughout 2018, not only promoting all things which Rowling, Inc., was celebrating and selling that week, but participating in the ugly push-and-shove of UK politics especially surrounding Brexit not to mention the various controversies with the Social Justice wing of Harry Potter fandom.

The safest bet, I think, is that Rowling is just taking some time off to gather her energies, creative and disputative, for the coming year. She might also, of course, be involved in a re-writing of the Fantastic Beasts 3 screenplay so we once again do not have her story and the agreed upon shooting script butchered in the director’s cut. Or maybe she has just made a resolution not to feel obliged to police the world’s conscience, politics today being a fool’s game.

Your thoughts? Any guesses if or when she’ll return? Let me know in the comment boxes below by clicking on ‘Leave a Comment’ up by the post’s headline.