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!

Charlotte Campbell: The Broodmare of Lethal White?

It would not be a J.K. Rowling–or Robert Galbraith–novel without doppelgangers, echos and inversions. With horses popping up all over Lethal White, we should expect multiple equine connections to characters. And we see plenty, overwhelmingly female: Ilsa, delighted over her Olympic dressage tickets, Robin, the former pony-rider who knows the nuances of equine coat color terminology, Tegan. the stablehand turned racecourse worker.

But the most obvious horsewoman in the text is Kinvara, who, after the tragic stillbirth of her own baby, seems to have thrown herself into breeding the finest horses possible. Despite owning at least two stallions herself–which she unwisely keeps in the same field–she apparently has repeatedly begged her husband to spend money he can ill afford on stud fees to impregnate her favorite mare, Lady. Unfortunately, Lady’s death from laminitis ended that plan, even if Jasper had been persuaded to cough up the funds.

But there is another “Lady” in the text who appears to have been successfully “put in foal”– Strike’s ex-fiance, Charlotte Campbell. I’ll examine Charlotte’s pregnancy, and argue that her condition echos and inverts that of Kinvara’s broodmare, after the jump.

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Lethal White: Every Goblet of Fire Link?

One of the first things I was obliged to write after a hurried reading of Lethal White was whether there were links between Strike4 and Goblet of Fire, the fourth Harry Potter novel. Does Lethal White Echo Goblet of Fire? It has been an ongoing topic of conversation here that Rowling-as-Galbraith seems to be a writing a series in parallel with and commentary on the corresponding number in the Hogwarts Saga with each Cormoran Strike mystery. My first report was that Lethal White certainly did in fact parallel Goblet in fascinating ways. I listed seven points that popped up on my first trip through the book; Louise Freeman, who had guessed two years ago that the London Olympics would serve as a Quidditch World Cup/Triwizard Tournament equivalent background in the fourth book, and Evan Willis contributed several more on that post’s comment thread. You can read or review via this link that first Goblet-Lethal post on HogwartsProfessor.

I resolved to re-read Goblet of Fire after reading Lethal White several times to see what parallels I’d missed, if any. I am putting together the Pillar Post for Lethal White now and have to finish off and put up all the draft posts in queue on that subject before I do. After the jump, then, a list of the thirty-three (33!) echoes and correspondences between Potter4 and Strike4 for your consideration, correction, and co-operation; please add the ones I missed in the comment thread by clicking on ‘Leave a Comment’ above!

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