New Rowling Twitter Header: What Is It?

Last month’s new Twitter Header was a puzzlerand HogPro All Pros Joanne Gray and Nick Jeffery not only found out in record time what it was (St John’s Gate in Cherkenwell) but Mr Jeffery also nailed in short order the origin of the illustration (Illustrated News of the World, 1859).

This month’s entry is not even a head scratcher; it’s from London’s largest Christmas lights display on Regents Street. You can find more pictures and the story of the Illumined Angels here and here. With Rowling’s super re-touched red-head cameo, this goes on the Top Ten list for most attractive headers she has put up to date.

My safe bet is that, like the demon mask header in October, this month’s picture is a seasonal item for the weeks before Nativity.

A more adventurous guess is that she is writing about the death of a major character in one of the books and screenplays she is writing  –  or about the influence of the dead-who-never-leave-us on events in those stories, potustoronnost in Nabokovian language, and something of a theme in Rowling’s work.

Your thoughts?

‘An Absolutely Remarkable Thing’

A dear friend – and a Harvard PhD whose works on ‘how literature works’ inform my PhD thesis – wrote me yesterday to say I had to read Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing because it is “right up your alley” and “You are the one to interpret it!” I bought the book online and read it off my computer screen last night and this morning. I am writing a short review here — a break from Crimes of Grindelwald and Lethal White! — to recommend you read it, too, and that you think your way past the hard parts to consider its allegorical message about art (hence the title acronym), about the political and technological landscape in which we live, and about the agony of escaping the errors of our age for communion with transcendent reality.

After the jump I will write a brief synopsis of the wonderfully page-turning story (without spoiling it!), my thoughts about its meaning, and why reading it, when more than a few times in my case I persisted only with gritted teeth and eyeballs rolling, taught me something important about the difficulty the Harry Haters experienced in seeing the Christian content of the Hogwarts Saga.

[Read more…]

Agatha Christie: Ginny-Ginevra Source?

One of my first mistakes as a Potter Pundit was in the names chapter of Hidden Key to Harry Potter (2002) in which I asserted that Ginny Weasley’s first name was obviously an affectionate diminutive for ‘Virginia.’ The book wasn’t out for more than a few weeks before Rowling explained that Ginny’s given name at birth was ‘Ginevra,’ an archaic form of ‘Guinevere.’ Given the King Arthur elements if the Chamber of Secrets finale, that was a delightful bit of back story I added to the updates to Hidden Key (now How Harry Cast His Spell).

And I thought that was all I would ever need to know about Ginny Weasley’s name. If you check out the ‘Ginny’ pages at The Harry Potter Lexicon, at Wikipedia, at Harry Potter Wiki, and at PotterMore, ‘Ginevra’ is what you get without much further explanation beyond ‘Guinevere.’ Unless you think it being the Italian word for the Swiss City ‘Geneva’ is a big deal.

I was researching some things Rowling has said about her fondness for detective stories and Agatha Christie in particular yesterday, though, and found a real treasure in an unexpected place. First, though, what Rowling said about Agatha Christie in her Val McDermid interview about Cormoran Strike (2014): [Read more…]

New Rowling Twitter Header: What Is It?

J. K. Rowling chose the day of the official Crimes of Grindelwald premiere in many countries to change her twitter header from the Rio de Janiero postcard view she put up at the beginning of the month to the black and white etching above. What is it? A quick search of the internet via Google’s image search yielded nothing beyond “Triumphal Arch,” which it almost certainly isn’t, and pages of seventeenth and eighteenth century engravings.

Three notes:

(1) It is the third time in the past year that Rowling has posted a cameo of herself in black and white rather than in color (December 2017 and 14 August 2018 being the others). It is the first time that the backdrop picture in any of her headers has been black and white, if the 14 August picture this year below seems black and white.

(2) The friend who alerted me to the change thought it looked “Dickensian.” I admit my first association when I saw it was “Pickwick!” Which is odd because the lettering on the store signs seems Arabic. The picture to the left is ‘Pickwick Christmas.’

(3) As regular readers of this blog know, we try to figure out what Rowling’s twitter headers are because she has said they reflect what she is thinking about at the time it is posted. We saw how true this was in Lethal White, a book in which specific scenes, plot points, and story symbolism had already been the subject of Rowling’s previous year’s headers. The Crimes crowd in junket interviews are discussing Rio as the site of the third Beasts film today but that was last month’s thought to Rowling.

So of what place do you think this is an engraved picture? Or is it the scene from a book or play? Let me know your best bet and what link it might have to Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts film franchise (say that three times fast…), to Galbraith’s next Cormoran Strike mystery, or to the mysterious new children’s book Rowling has promised for years but is now renewing her vows to finish. Might it be set in Dickens’ London? Constantinople in centuries past? Is it a time travel book?

We are waiting until the weekend to begin discussion here of Crimes of Grindelwald and its secrets. See the film a couple of times and check back in — or write a Guest Post review of the film of 500-1000 words for me to post here as part of a blurb cascade or in full! Let me know what you think on the Crimes of Grindelwald discussion post thread going up tomorrow…

‘Luna’ Lynch Rumbas to Country Music

How about a break from Lethal White and Crimes of Grindelwald interpretation and speculation for a day? How about watching Evanna Lynch, forever ‘Luna Lovegood’ to Harry Potter fandom, rumba-ing her heart out to live country music on Dancing with the Stars?

Sure thing. Enjoy her perfect ’30’ and advance with partner Keo to the next round.