Piecing Together Cormoran Strike’s Childhood: Could Rokeby be the Snape of the Series?

We know Cormoran Strike had a nomadic childhood, being dragged to squats and other less-than-desireable homes by his free-spirit mother, alternating with more stable periods with his Cornish aunt and uncle when his mother fell too far off the wagon. He can remember attending seventeen different schools; and thinks that may be an underestimate of the total. So far, most of the details we have been provided are from around the ages of 8 to 9.  As I have re-read and re-listened to the series, a couple of questions have popped up:

  1. What happened at the Norfolk commune that made it the worst place Leda had ever taken him?

2. How did the itinerant and poverty-stricken Strike wind up at the same school as Charlie Bristow, son of a “Sir” and a “Lady?”

Reconstructing Strike’s childhood involves piecing together items from multiple books, and, just for fun, I’ll throw in some hints from the TV series as well. I’ll also assume the author is being careful with her dates, which is by no means a given. Adding a generous dose of my own speculations leads me to rethink what role Jonny Rokeby might eventually play in the series.  [Read more…]

BBC’s ‘The Silkworm’ Adaptation Posted

The Silkworm was the first Cormoran Strike novel according to Rowling but appears second because the hero needed a big case that would propel him into the public eye in spectacular fashion; solving the death of a novelist whom few knew was still alive wouldn’t cut it. Having said that, as the point of origin and the Strike novel about novel writing and the reading of novels, The Silkworm is what Rowling is all about in her Galbraith series.

But why watch the adaptations for the BBC? Shouldn’t we confine our reading to the book about reading rather than than waste time watching the small screen fare meant to entice non-readers to pick up the books?

Believe me, I’m all for another reading of The Silkworm or to listening again to Robert Glenister’s brilliant recorded version. The BBC adaptations, though, are done by Bronte Studios, Rowling’s production company. As we saw yesterday in Louise Freeman’s discussion of the Career of Evil adaptation for the BBC, there were the usual absurd cuts to the story for the sake of abridgment but there were also novel add-ons, Brittany Brockbank in a commune most notably, that are important pointers to important events to come in the written stories.

So have another look at the BBC version a la Bronte Studios of The Silkworm. Is there a scene in there, say, about the IED explosion that all but killed Cormoran Strike, a scene which tells us something we have not been told in the written version? Check it out while the adaptations are still up for free on YouTube — and let me know what you think!

The BBC’s Career of Evil: Hits, Misses and Clues to the Future of the Series?

This post began as a comment on the Career of Evil TV series post, but ballooned to something longer than I had anticipated. So, at the request of our Headmaster, I’m re-posting it as a post of its own, with a few expansions. 

This TV adaptation was probably the most butchered book of the lot so far, in terms of leaving things out. The BBC needs to devote at least 3 episodes to do one of these novels justice, which is why I am very glad to hear the Lethal White will be four episodes.

The neuroscientist in me was most disappointed in the dropping of the Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) plot line in favor of  the much simpler “Kelsey has a crush on Cormoran” angle. I assume this move was made both to save time and to avoid accusations of insensitivity that would arise from having our hero call people suffering with this genuine neurological disorder “nutters” on screen. Although, if you pause at the scene of Strike reviewing his fan site, you can see the screen name “NowhereToTurn” and “I heard he did it himself” message. The “schoolgirl crush” approach also put more emphasis on the killer’s efforts to set Strike up as a suspect, and made the Met much more inclined to accept that as a possibility.

But that was just the beginning of the cuts that were made to Strike3 — not to mention the changes and flat-out additions that point to possibilities in coming novels.

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BBC ‘Career of Evil’ Episodes Posted

Enjoy them while they’re up! Hat-tip to Rebecca for the find.

London Production of Rosmersholm: Starring Tom Burke (Cormoran Strike)

Every chapter-heading epigraph in Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White is taken from Henrik Ibsen’s Rosmersholm. As we have discussed here, it would be hard to overlook the importance Galbraith/Rowling attaches to this play about the haunted lives of people living in the wake of a woman’s suicide for which they were responsible. That longish post and the conversation that followed with Joanne Gray in its comment thread — ‘Lethal White: Ibsen’s Rosmersholm — offered five reasons beyond the ‘white horses’ for Serious Strikers to study the play.

Joanne Gray wrote me today to share the news that there will be a new production of the Ibsen classic in London this summer. Tom Burke, the star of the Strike novel adaptations for the BBC, will be playing the lead role of John Rosmer. As Professor Gray noted, he will be on stage with Rosmersholm just before he returns to filming Lethal White, the only Strike novel not yet transformed into little screen fare.

I’m not a big fan of the teevee production or Burke’s selection to play Strike; the shows are truncated, devoid of nuance, and he, though a fine actor, is far too short and trim to play the Cornish giant. Having said that, learning that he will carry a memorized knowledge of Rosmersholm into the filming of Lethal White, I am much, much more enthusiastic about this adaptation of a Galbraith novel than I have been about any of the others.

I hope friends in the UK will get tickets to see the show and let us know if the “new adaptation” is faithful to the original or a pointed political interpretation. The invitation to see the fresh staging because “The piece sees West try to undermine Rosmer’s idealism and get him to understand a more free-thinking way of life on the eve of a major election” is not encouraging in that regard. Let me know what you think — and thanks to Joanne Gray for the news!