Beatrice Groves: Literary Allusion Talk and Leaky-Cauldron Christmas Posts

Christmas in ‘Chamber of Secrets’: or, why is the crowing of the rooster fatal to the Basilisk?

Christmas in ‘Chamber of Secrets’: or, why is the crowing of the rooster fatal to the Basilisk? PART 2

December 2018: Carols in Harry Potter And The Myth Of The Christmas Rose (Part 1) (Part 2)

Happy Christmas to you, Gregorians!


The Twitter Controversy as a Rowling Story: Mirroring Subtext, Narrative Misdirection, and Literary Alchemy

In my first post about Rowling’s tweet in support of Maya Forstater, I focused on two questions concerning this explosive reappearance on this social media platform: ‘why now?’ and ‘why this subject?’ The first response in the comment thread to that post, I think now, has the closest thing we will have to correct answers to those questions for some time. Nick Jeffery wrote, tying the seemingly arbitrary post to Rowling’s new Solve et Coagula tattoo (one he was the first to notice), ” It is an act of destruction and it is quite deliberate.”

I believe Mr Jeffery is quite right. To understand Rowling’s tweet and the consequent fall-out in fandom, our best course is to read the specific text in question as we would any story Rowling has written with the tools we know work best. What those tools suggest is that Rowling intentionally created her break with the Social Justice movement and its champions in Harry Potter fandom and I have to suspect with Hollywood in the months to come — and, as importantly, she is re-creating her public image and self to reflect better the person she wants to be (or the public mask behind which she is more comfortable).

Rather than the tweet being a clueless act of bigotry, what this view points to is three contrary to prevalent narrative possibilities: (1) that Rowling has written a story with real-world characters who voice the lines she know they will speak for effects she wants to happen within her narrative, (2) she has embedded clues for the attentive reader to discover, clues which reveal her true meaning as well as a lesson in reading well, and (3) that the #IStandWithMaya post she made on 19 December is a long-planned and courageous act of re-invention that frees her and her serious readers potentially from being sock-puppets for the Zeitgeist. Call this the ‘Solve et Coagula Theory.’

To see these three possibilities involves a review of Rowling’s year and most importantly the week prior to the tweet in question, a review using the tools we have in hand for interpreting Rowling’s work in a careful reading of the specific text in question and of the context of her previous work and public comments. If you want to move beyond the Daily Prophet headlines that ‘Rowling is a Transphobe!’ and ‘Inclusive Message of Hogwarts Saga Betrayed!,’ please join me after the jump for an exercise in exegesis with the tools of texts within texts, narrative misdirection, and literary alchemy that reveal Rowling as the maestro of media manipulation and personal re-invention. [Read more…]

Rowling’s Remarks at Film Premiere

Rowling’s Talk at Ripple of Hope Awards

At 8:25 in the short talk, she says she is a week away from finishing Strike5.

Rowling Returns to Twitter with a Bang!

Twitter, of course, has exploded with the predictable backlash from the political left for whom transgender people are a protected class. For the background of who Maya is and this backlash, see this piece on Cosmopolitan that describes Rowling’s tweet as “supporting a transphobic author.” For that author’s explanation of the controversy, go here.

I am left scratching my head about this re-surfacing of The Presence at her twitter page. Why now after a year of prudential silence? Is it that she says she is all but finished with Strike5 and has time on her hands to deal with online firestorms?

And why on this subject of all possible subjects? Can you think of one less likely to win her a second ‘Ripple of Hope’ award?

The science is indisputable and the PC police backlash is as predictable given the prevalent blurring of sex and gender into synonyms (sex is a function of chromosomes not organs while gender is, at least according to the Zeitgeist, what you will). Other than standing with a woman who is being treated unfairly, what did Rowling hope to accomplish here outside of a martyrdom by doxxing? [Google ‘TERF’ for the trending story.]

Why has she chosen this issue for her re-appearance? She keeps a silence through the recent elections but decides to surface on an issue that is guaranteed to cast her as a fascist trans-phobe Tory bigot (etc.) in twitter dom?

Rowling has always said that courage is the virtue she admires most — and is showing no little of that quality here. Looking at losing all she has gained in keeping quiet for the better part of a year with respect to the high opinion of fandom, Rowling stands up for a woman being pilloried for her courage to speak the counter-metanarrative biological truth about sexual reality.

I have to admire her for that; she certainly didn’t count the cost or consult with Warner Brothers and her publishers before she wrote and sent this tweet. Or, if she did, she ignored their advice. Unless they wanted the headlines on the principle that all publicity is good publicity? Forgive me for doubting that.

In addition to the questions above, does this give Serious Strikers reason to re-visit interpretations of the Career of Evil meeting between Robin and Cormoran and the young people who want to have limbs amputated because they self-identify as amputees? Her implicit critique of the NHS in Lethal White? The theme of media irresponsibility and recklessness (and how people believe whatever The Daily Prophet and its Muggle equivalents reports)?

Let me know what you think of two issues: (a) why Rowling has re-appeared to speak on this issue today rather than Brexit, etc., in the past year, and (b) how does this reflect the more conservative messages implicit in the Potter series as well as the Strike books.

Please save your commentary on your disappointment (or elation?) that Rowling has outed herself as the new Margaret Thatcher for the tweet threads and fandom posts available elsewhere and everywhere for that discussion.