Lethal White Publication Date At Last

Coming on September 18… The official blurb-synopsis below points to the original Lethal White speculation here when the title was announced that it is about the equine genetic disease called by that name —

‘I seen a kid killed…. He strangled it, up by the horse.’

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that.

There seem to be correspondences between Books 1 and 4 already in the story set-up. Please share your thoughts below!

Guest Post: Crimes of Grindelwald, Locks of Love, and Nicolas Flamel

A Guest Post from Oxford’s Beatrice Groves, author of Literary Allusion in Harry Potterabout the lock with Nicolas Flamel’s initials that can be found on the Crimes of Grindelwald screenplay cover. Enjoy!

When MinaLima’s new cover art for The Crimes of Grindelwald dropped on Pottermore at the end of May, the write-up stressed the Parisian nature of its design.

Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima spoke to Pottermore about the creative process behind the heavily detailed cover, and how important it was to portray France in their designs.

‘The Art Nouveau aesthetic is so strong in this film… So while there are Easter eggs and hidden gems in here, they’re all knitted in with these swirls and flourishes that really follow that traditional aesthetic.[1]

Paris is going to be an important setting for Crimes of Grindelwald – and the Eiffel Tower (central to the cover design) has been shown on a postcard in a previous photo drop. But I was interested how strongly Paris was stressed in the Pottermore write-up of the cover given that other than the Eiffel Tower and general Art Nouveau aesthetic, there is nothing else obviously Parisian about it. So, is there a Parisian Easter egg perhaps?

            Five objects stand out as breaking the symmetry of the image – the Dark Mark-style skull at the top, the quill-knot-lock above the title, and the trio of a pendant, a stone in a display case and a ‘NF’ locket below it. Let’s take a look at that stone and locket for a possible Paris connection.

[Read more…]

Reading, Writing, Rowling, Episode 10: Adeel Amini Discusses Re-Release of His Interview With J.K. Rowling in 2008

“Reading, Writing, Rowling” Episode 10: “Adeel Amini Discusses His Interview With J.K. Rowling in 2008”

I’ve explained in another post how important Adeel Amini’s 2008 interview with J. K. Rowling is. She says in it, flat out, for instance, that seeing the Christian content of the Hogwarts Saga is reading the books with your eyes open. It’s an astonishing piece of journalism from a prodigy reporter who only this year agreed to re-release the interview. Read my post for more about that.

From the MuggleNet page for the podcast With Adeel Amini:

What happens when a student journalist meets a famous author? Ten years ago, journalism student Adeel Amini spontaneously asked J.K. Rowling for an interview for the University of Edinburgh newspaper. Having spotted her in a coffee shop in 2008, he successfully landed the interview and produced a unique character study of our favorite author in the wake of Book 7’s publication.

Guest Beatrice Groves (author of Literary Allusion in Harry Potter), John, and Katy discuss the revealing and distinctive interview on its tenth anniversary with Adeel, now the owner and editor of PressPLAY OK. We talk about how Adeel handled the interview and the unusual moment during which he was able to gain this level of access. His article provided much new information about Rowling’s thoughts on the Christian imagery in the books, her response to the media frenzy over her revelations about Dumbledore’s sexuality in 2007, and her earlier experiences with depression.

Adeel quickly took down the interview as a result of the furor over Rowling’s revelations about her struggles with mental health, and he tells us about that decision as well as why he has decided now to release the interview once again. Adeel’s interview reveals Rowling as a fellow human being who, like the rest of us, has struggles and concerns about what is happening in the world in the 21st century.

Join us to hear about Adeel’s reflections, ten years later, on his conversation with her along with our speculations about queer readings of the Harry Potter books (and Fantastic Beasts), Rowling’s continual revisiting of the wizarding world and subsequent creative efforts, and her relationship with her fans and the media.

Let me know what you think!

A Cratylic Cormoran Strike Fan Theory: Is Robin Doomed? The Dobby Link

From the mailbag!

Dear John,

My name is Joseph A and I have been reading and enjoying your books thoroughly since I found The Hidden Key to Harry Potter way back in 2003. Your books have certainly given me a new set of eyes to scan J.K. Rowling’s text.

In light of J.K. Rowling’s apology for killing Dobby yesterday I want to share a concern that I have.

I was researching Robin’s surname Ellacott and came across this:

Ellacott is prominent in Devon, Cornwall, and Wiltshire, is of Anglo-Saxon and Cornish origin.This placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name “Ella”, a short form of various compound names with the first element “aelf”, elf, and the Olde English “cot, cote”, a cottage, shelter for animals. Read more. 

Is it reasonable to interpret Robin’s name as Elf House or House Elf?

In the Galbraith books Cornwall is referenced in connection to Cormoran (The Cornish Giant) and Robin through her surname. Cornwall is only is used once in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; Shell Cottage is located on the outskirts of Tinworth, Cornwall and is the final resting place of Dobby. What could this be pointing to?

In fear for Robin’s safety,
Joseph A

Great letter, Joseph! Three quick thoughts to jump start the conversation here: [Read more…]

Guest Post: Ludonarrative Dissonance and the New Hogwarts Mystery Game

Special Guest Post from Elspeth Gordon-Smith in the UK on Ludonarrative Dissonance and the new Harry Potter ‘Hogwarts Mystery Game’! Enjoy —

We’ve all played Monopoly right? The gameplay – buy properties from rent collected from the other players, build on the properties, collect more and more rent until the other players are impoverished and cast out to where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth – is fully immersive. How many times have you stared into the faces of the most cherished, most beloved people in your life, and gloried in their demise and failure as you snatch the last penny from their feckless grasp?

Monopoly’s gameplay works with an unspoken narrative of rampant, unchecked capitalism and, by winning, you become the cruellest, most vicious capitalist of them all. Monopoly cannot be won by playing it safe with the train stations and waterworks; only by covetously collecting the big prizes can you beat the other players. Your win probably came with you gloatingly counting your millions and toting up your hundreds of houses whilst the other players quietly grimace in barely contained jealousy. At their expense, you are richer and, according to the game, better than those miserable peasants surrounding you.

Fun for all the family!

Monopoly works because it pits you against your friends and family within the gameplay. Monopoly is one of many examples of a game giving you a full ludonarrative experience. But what is ludonarrative? [Read more…]