Five Reasons Harry Potter Fandom Isn’t Excited about Cormoran Strike — Yet

Kernel's Corner Fan Art

Kernel’s Corner Fan Art

Last week, ChrisC! wrote a guest post about the Cormoran Strike mysteries, in which reflection he shared his thoughts about several reasons that Harry Potter fans have not warmed to Rowling’s latest hero and series. He was criticized for not mentioning every reason; he responded that the issue had been discussed before, both at the website and on MuggleNet Academia.

Which is true, but not as true as we’d like! Links to MuggleNet Academia’s old home on MuggleNet are dead (go here to find the elusive ‘Cormoran Strike and the Invisibility Cloak’ discussion) and the HogwartsProfessor post I wrote on the subject was linked to CormoransArmy.com, a website no longer up and running. Fortunately, I have that piece in my vaults and was able to find it to share with you here.

It was written before Career of Evil was published, of course, but 4 1/2 of the 5 reasons are still valid. I’ve updated the fifth just a touch and included the comments left at Cormoran’s Army for your reading pleasure. Be sure to read Oona Eisenstadt’s five reasons at the end for why the series will NOT ever be popular with Potter-fans. Enjoy!

Burke 1When I have given talks at Harry Potter conferences the last two years about the artistry and meaning of the Hogwarts Saga, I see big crowds, great interest, real enthusiasm. When I speak about Jo Rowling’s new seven book series, the Cormoran Strike novels, the crowds are much smaller and the prevalent attitude is a mix of curiosity and something like confusion. “Wait — there’s a new series from my favorite author? Why isn’t anyone besides John talking about that?” (Not knowing, it seems, that Karen Kebarle is also on the case….)

Which raises the question: “Why so little enthusiasm in the Harry Potter fandom for the Cormoran Strike mysteries?” Here are five reasons from the top of my head; please let me know why you think in the comment boxes below.

Five Reasons Harry Potter Fandom Isn’t Excited about Cormoran Strike — Yet

(1) There’s No Controversy.

Harry Potter was selling very well in the UK and word of mouth was growing in the US before Prisoner of Azkaban was published in 1999. But there was no mania to speak of, no Midnight Madness parties at bookstores nationwide, no covers of important periodicals, no flood of online speculation about its possible contents as there were a year later before Goblet of Fire’s appearance. What happened?

Two things: Prisoner, about which more in a second, and the Potter Panic. [Read more…]

Guest Post: Why No ‘Cormoran Mania’?

COEFans, Noir, and the Question of Violence: Speculations about the Popularity of J.K. Rowling’s Detective Fiction — A Guest Post by ChrisC!

With the impending release of Lethal White, the next volume in J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike Mysteries, an old question occurred to me.  Has there been any uptick in enthusiasm from her fanbase?  Maybe I don’t pay enough attention, however I still don’t know whether the series has yet to pick up steam.

I hope the series does pick up notice.  It’d be a mistake for her fans to neglect what so far has proven to be a more or less fine-tuned storytelling machine.  At the same time, it is possible to take a few educated guesses at just why the series might be held back from total popularity.  It can even be argued what elements of the books themselves might keep it from a wider appeal.  I bring the topic of the books’ reception up because I think that if the response to Cormoran Strike should ever turn out to be more guarded than that given to the Potter series, then it helps to understand the reasons why longtime fans might turn out to have a surprising amount of ambivalence with regard to the latest fictional exploits of their favorite author.

With that in mind, after the jump, you’ll find a list of aspects about the series, Jo Rowling’s fans, and what a potential clash between the two could mean for the series’ prospects. [Read more…]

Guest Post: Mythological Leda Strike – Cormoran, Zeus, Castor and Pollux

Leda 4A Team ‘Guest Post’ by Joanne Gray and John Granger: Mythological Leda

I think that J. K. Rowling chose the name for Strike’s mother with a specific story line in mind. A quick Google search of the name ‘Leda’ means a host of links to the Greek myth about Leda and the Swan.

Leda was a beautiful Queen of Sparta, the ancient Greek city-state totally dedicated to military supremacy. She caught the eye of the King of the Gods, Zeus. [She was not the god’s first or last mortal mate; at any given time Zeus was seducing some poor earthling. Leda seems to be the only woman, however, with whom he used his swan guise to carry out the seduction.]  

Leda 5With both her mortal husband, the King of Sparta Tyndareus, and Zeus, the immortal King of the Gods, as her lovers, Leda gave birth to two sets of twins, one set of sons and one set of daughters. (For a refresher on why the ancients thought this sort of thing was possible read the history of telegony, an obscure rabbit hole on the trail of genetics.) Leda’s two daughters, Helen of Troy via Zeus and Clytemnestra by Tyndareus, were both tragic figures in the Trojan War.

However, her sons will be the ones that concern us here. The twin boys were named Castor and Pollux. Castor was known as a horse breaker and demigod Pollux was known as a boxer. Both were also known for their horsemanship and for their willingness to help those in trouble, especially travelers, guests, and sailors. For much more on these two, see Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia and the discussion therein on A Horse and His BoyCor and Corin in that C. S. Lewis tale are Archenland royalty separated as infants who are Castor and Pollux story ciphers.

Yes, I think Rowling is writing a Castor and Pollux story inside the Cormoran Strike mysteries. Read on after the jump.

[Read more…]

Guest Post: ‘Lethal White’ Deadly Heroin

A Hogwarts Professor Guest Post by Joanne Gray

Lethal White and the Death of Leda Strike: Heroin Hydrochloride

With the announcement that the long delayed and eagerly awaited fourth book of the Cormoran Strike book series would be called “Lethal White”, those who heard the news immediately began to Google the two word title and devour the information on something called, “Lethal White Syndrome.” [See the HogwartsProfessor discussion here.]

As people absorbed the definition of “Lethal White Syndrome” and discovered it was a fatal genetic condition of…American paint horses their initial excitement about a ‘great catch’ about what the next mystery would be about faded a little, even with Rowling’s theme of eugenics. Though this ‘Lethal White’ referred to a fatal condition, it was for a different species than human beings and death-by-genetics not foul play. If this was the heart of Strike’s next murder mystery, how would one go about arresting Mother Nature?

Sometimes finding a good firm wall blocking the easy path you’ve taken, in order to research something, is actually a good thing. In my case it caused me to step back and take a broader view of things. Could ‘Lethal White’ be a reference to a major background element in Career of Evil, the mysterious death of Leda Strike?
[Read more…]

Cormoran Strike #4 Title is ‘Lethal White’

the-silkworm-cuckoos-calling2Yesterday J. K. Rowling had a contest on Twitter, the winner of which would win an autographed copy of her next Cormoran Strike mystery. The challenge was to figure out the title of this book from the clue “- – – H – – – H – – -.”

I found the clue all but impossible to grasp. Was it one word or two or three? Was it a picture of, say, a suspension bridge?

CareerOfEvil-UK-US-800x611Fortunately, there are legions of cryptographers in the twittersphere and we had an answer, the right answer, in a little over an hour, from a Rowling reader in Singapore. The title is ‘Lethal White.’ Prof Freeman informed me that, no, this was not a pointer to whose lives matter and the danger of armed Caucasian policemen (hurrah!), but the name of a fatal genetic abnormality among horses. I kid you not.

Three notes off the cuff about this title after the jump! [Read more…]