Lethal White: Daddy Chiswell Evidence

Joanne Gray yesterday shared the possibility that Cormoran Strike’s real biological father was not Jonny Rokeby but Jasper Chiswell. Her argument turned on the most famous photograph of Rokeby and Leda Strike, the only one of them together, which picture includes a “playboy aristocrat” and “art dealer.” Both of these men are dead (one by suicide…) so of course the “aristocrat” pictured could not be Jasper Chiswell in the flesh, but the picture points to such a person being a potential answer to the question, “If Rokeby is not Cormoran’s father, who might be?” It turns out, too, that there are several pointers to a Chiswell-Strike relation and resemblance embedded in Lethal White — and Joanne shares many of them below. Enjoy!

Here are five further items found in Lethal White that can be seen to add weight to my theory in yesterday’s post, “Bookending the Past: Cormoran Strike’s Real Father?,” that hidden inside a paragraph on page 456 of Cuckoo’s Calling (UK pb Part Four, Chapter 11) about the most famous photograph of Leda and Jonny, is a mention of a “playboy aristocrat,” the sort of person who could be the actual father of Cormoran Strike.

The following quotes below from Lethal White, are just some of the parallels that the author hints are between Cormoran and the aristocratic Jasper Chiswell. It’s not implied that these parallels are biological (although there’s no demonstrable proof either way), but rather that they point to connections that have not yet been revealed.  

There are enough of these parallels to alert the careful reader that they are more than just coincidence… [Read more…]

Lethal White: Cormoran’s Real Father?

Joanne Gray was the first to reveal the mythological underpinnings of the Cormoran Strike mysteries. Today she makes a bold speculative leap from the idea that Jonny Rokeby isn’t Strike’s father: could the pivotal fourth book in this series include an embedded story about the real father of the Peg-Legged PI? Be prepared for a shocker, ye Serious Strikers, because Prof Gray may have blown open the core mystery of Strike’s life, that is, how Leda Strike died and Jonny Rokeby’s involvement with her death. Enjoy!

Bookending the Past

One of the first things that the long time readers of the Cormoran Strike series would have noticed while reading the latest book, Lethal White, is that just when they arrived at the place where they would normally find the introduction of the novel’s main mystery, they were instead greeted by Billy Knight, a clearly distressed individual showing signs of mental illness. Billy had shown up in Cormoran’s office insisting he needed him to investigate a crime that may or may not have taken place twenty years ago. The reader is knocked off balance on several levels (though not as much as Denise, the new secretary) but enough to make them wonder where this could be going.

It turns out that the answers would be a long time coming because Billy only stayed long enough to begin his disjointed and jumbled version of what he could remember, before bolting out of the office and before giving Strike either a phone number or an address.

It soon becomes evident that Billy’s story isn’t the main case but is instead serving as a leitmotif, threading through the rest of the book, making periodic intrusions into the slowly unfolding main mystery. These periodic reminders of Billy’s case come in the guise of frantic phone calls that Cormoran misses more often than he picks up. Through most of the book the ever elusive Billy remains beyond just being physically located (much like the deeply repressed memories that will no doubt trouble Strike throughout the fifth book).

Billy’s story that begins before the book’s main mystery, isn’t resolved until after the resolution of the main mystery during the book’s epilogue. It forms bookends around the main story, which revolves around the book’s murder victim, the aristocratic Minister of Culture, Jasper Chiswell, and his extended, dysfunctional family, as his gravitational pull also brings in those who orbit around his family.

I think Billy’s “bookended” past mystery acts like a test run for book five which looks like it will involve a journey into Cormoran’s own deeply repressed memories of his mother’s murder. Memories that have haunted him, much like Billy’s own tormented thoughts have done, for almost twenty years. [Read more…]

Guest Post: Three Reasons to Believe Dumbledore’s Sexuality will NOT be a Highlight of the Fantastic Beasts Films

Christina Semmens, a Potter Pundit I have known and whose work I have admired since our first meeting at the innaugral LeakyCon in Boston years ago, writes about the role ‘Gay Dumbledore’ will or will not play in the ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ movie and later films in that series. She last shared her thoughts at HogwartsProfessor in a post on the hits and misses on the mobile app Harry Potter game. Enjoy her challenging thoughts below about why DDore’s sexuality will be downplayed in future feature films about his past!

Three Reasons I Believe Dumbledore’s Sexuality Will NOT Be a Highlight of the Fantastic Beasts Movie Franchise

Recently, I was sharing with a friend my excitement about the upcoming November 16th release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. His response was very subdued, and when I queried him as to why, he responded, “I’m just not interested in seeing the whole Dumbledore-Grindelwald love story on screen.” I quickly assured him that I highly doubted that such a thing would happen, particularly since JK Rowling is the one writing the screenplay.

Although my comments seemed to mollify my friend enough that he was willing to go see the movie, his reaction caused me to reflect that perhaps other people might be having similar reservations. It seems a real possibility that people may shy away from seeing the upcoming Crimes (and the subsequent three movies in the franchise) due to the concern that instead of these “family movies” that are focusing upon the great struggle to decide what the proper interaction and treatment of all magical and non-magical beings and creatures in the wizarding world should be (and therein a commentary on our own world), that it will devolve instead into focusing upon the romantic interest of one of the most beloved characters of the Harry Potter world, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

First is the reality that the occasion on which Jo Rowling revealed Dumbledore’s sexuality was not a planned one, but rather was in response to a question about whether Dumbledore had ever fallen in love himself. Her response at the time in 2007 was: [Read more…]

M. Evan Willis: The Mythic Context and Hermetic Meaning of Cormoran Strike

We’ve been discussing the Greek myth underlying the Cormoran Strike mysteries, namely, Leda and the Swan, since Joanne Gray and I wrote up the many links between the Strike story-line and the mythology of Castor and Pollux (and the White Horses!). M. Evan Willis, who has been reading Cormoran Strike in mythic and hermetic terms as he did Harry Potter, writes today about the revelations of Lethal White and why he thinks they re-set the mythic setting of the stories and make the events of the coming novels predictable; he says to look for a Matthew-Charlotte alliance a la the Leucippides to thwart Robin and Cormoran, the Castor-Pollux stand-ins, the pair who stole their prospective spouses.

Stand by to have your minds blown as he lays out Rowling’s re-telling of the age-old myth and what we can expect in not only novels four to seven but also why there will necessarily be more than seven Strike mysteries! Enjoy!

With Lethal White just published, I have a handful of thoughts concerning the use of myth in the series as revealed by the new book. Familiarity with my earlier guest-post on Hermes will be assumed as background information.

I’ll start with two points on method:

[Read more…]

Guest Post: Have We Misunderstood Blood Status in the Hogwarts Saga?

Have We Misunderstood Blood Status?  David Martin

Introduction – A Reminder that Harry Potter is British.

Because we Americans share a language with Britain (mostly), and because we love the Harry Potter novels so much, it is easy for us to forget that Harry Potter is a British story, intended originally for British readers, and set in a British context. In spite of many similarities, British culture is not the same as American culture. There are differences, some small and some large, some subtle and some obvious. When we read these novels from an American viewpoint, we are in danger of misunderstanding and misinterpreting some of the details and themes in the novels. In particular, I believe we have misunderstood blood status.

I will claim a small advantage over most Americans on this point because I had the privilege of living in Britain for 18 months back in the 1970s. This hardly makes me an expert in British culture – please don’t ask me to explain cricket – but it was enough to make me aware of some of the differences.

A Short Side Trip – An Example of Missing Something

Before we get into what I think blood status, and the whole pure blood mania, is all about, let’s take a short side trip and talk about a different story for a minute. Let’s talk about Beauty and the Beast. Let me ask a simple question: What is that story about? Apart from the fantasy, what are the real human issues and meanings in that story? [Read more…]