Creosote-Colored Tea Leaves: Louise’s First Musings for Cormoran Strike 5

As has been pointed out multiple times by John Granger and others, the Cormoran Strike series seems to be following a pattern of parallels to the Harry Potter series, with Book 2 centered on the havoc wreaked by a mysterious autobiographical book, Book 3 on a notorious escaped criminal stalking the protagonist and Book 4 on patricide of a government minister, set against the backdrop of a major sporting event. For this reason, we should expect echoes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Cormoran Strike 5.

John has also pointed out the multiple ring structures in the Harry Potter series, with similar themes in books 1, 4, and 7; 2 and 6; and 3 and 5. The large number of parallels seen between Cuckoo’s Calling and Lethal White suggest the pattern is continuing with the Cormoran Strike series. Thus we should expect echoes from both Career of Evil and Order of the Phoenix in the next installment of Robin’s and Cormoran’s adventures.

With that in mind, I’m going to start a few preliminary muses about themes, ideas and storylines that might come up. Keep in mind this is pure, very early speculation. More after the jump. [Read more…]

Misattribution of Arousal: More Evidence of Robin’s Psychology Training

As most Hogpro readers know, I am a psychology professor/ neuroscientist/ behavior analyst, and therefore love looking for psychological themes in fiction. Most of my commentary has involved depictions of mental illness, though the Hunger Games and  Divergent provided a mountain of other themes, from personality theory to fear conditioning to neuroscience. Naturally, I was delighted to learned that Robin Ellacott had planned to major in psychology, prior to dropping out of uni, and I take special note of any use of her psychology training on the job.

This segment of Lethal White, where Robin tries to sort out her feelings for Cormoran, really jumped out at me.

Wasn’t it possible, she asked herself, when she was cried out at last, that she was confusing gratitude and friendship with something deeper? That she had mistaken her love of detection for love of the man who had given her the job? She admired Strike, of course, and was immensely fond of him. They had passed through many intense experiences together, so that it was natural to feel close to him, but was that love?

Whether she consciously remembers her coursework or not, Robin is demonstrating knowledge of a well-known psychological phenomenon, misattribution of arousal. More after the jump. [Read more…]

The Flobberworm’s Flat: Is Robin Entitled to a Share of the Proceeds?

As happy as many Serious Striker’s were to see Robin finally walk out on the Flobberworm, it was painful to see her searching, for the second time, for tiny rooms in shared houses. Personally, I’m quite glad Nick and Ilsa had a friend conveniently in need of a roommate. But what if she is not *quite* as financially bad-off as she thinks?  I will admit I don’t know the first thing about British marital property laws, but I was intrigued about this little aside from Lethal White:

“Matthew had objected when Robin first suggested renting again, but she had overridden him, saying that she could not stand another year in Hastings Road while further purchases of overpriced houses fell through. Between the legacy and Matthew’s new job, they were just able to make rent on the smart little three-bedroomed house, leaving the money they had received from the sale of their Hastings Road flat untouched in the bank.”

So—  they sold an apartment, roughly a year after they married, and deposited the full amount in the bank.  I have to assume there is no such thing as a cheap apartment in London, certainly not one that Matthew Cunliffe would deign to inhabit. Ergo, this is a tidy little sum—  certainly way more than the 5000 pounds Robin told Raff would make a huge difference to her.

The question is, is half of that sum Robin’s? Did Matthew purchase their flat before Robin joined him in London circa early 2010, right before their engagement? Or did they buy it together? Is Robin’s name on the deed? Was “their Hastings flat” really “theirs” in the legal sense–  and can Robin demand her half now? Certainly Ilsa, the hotshot attorney, can give her some advice on this. Of course, Robin being Robin, she may be reluctant to claim a share of the bank account that she hasn’t personally earned. But, as I said, there are no cheap flats in London– even if she only took a quarter, or a third, it would make her transition easier. As despicably as the Flobberworm treated her in that final scene, I wouldn’t mind seeing Robin take him to the cleaners. And Vanessa “keep her bleeding earring and turn it into a pendant” Ekwensi will probably chime in with some good girlfriend advice. Between Vanessa, Ilsa and Cormoran, Robin’s got some good people in her corner.

The question is, if she does come into this money, what will she do with it? Could it be a deposit on a place of her own? Or—  if, as hinted in the last book, the agency may be in danger of losing its Denmark Street digs,  thanks to the building being sold to a developer, maybe Robin will wind up helping to finance housing for the business, rather than herself. I hope they somehow manage to keep the old office— I’d miss that rickety old metal staircase and broken birdcage lift—  probably more than Robin would.

The Silver Doe: Life Imitates Art


Did someone say, “Expecto Patronum?” Is this a remake of the Silver Doe in the Forest of Dean scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?  

No, it’s a rare albino deer, photographed during today’s snowstorm in Central Virginia. The magical creature was captured on film by Julia Richie and submitted to Charlottesville TV station NBC29’s Weatherpic feature.

Maybe it turned up expecting to attend one of Virginia’s many wizarding festivals?  Has anyone seen any ruby-hilted silver swords lying at the bottom of any nearby ponds? Has Phineas Nigellus Black been blabbing again?

In any case, I challenge any Harry Potter reader to look at this and not think, “Always….”

 

 

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…]