Guest Post: Is ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ the Prophecy of the Cormoran Strike Series? Strike5 and Treasure Island

Whodunit?: Some Thoughts on the Strike Finale by Chris Calderon

While predicting the future of a popular book series is something I’ll probably never be entirely comfortable with, the fact is I’ve got a rough idea of what could be in store for some of the main characters of J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike Mysteries. It all boils down to two ideas which, taken together, could form the briefest potential outline for the over-arching meta-narrative of the series: Who Killed Leda Strike? The rubric for this narrative involves echoes of one specific work from the Literary Canon. A good overall descriptor label for it might be:

The Treasure Island Scenario

The two ideas that make up this prediction go as follows.

(1) The solution to the mystery of Leda’s death could revolve around one giant, three part hunt for a definitive clue that will reveal all of the guilty parties and all potential motives. The nature of this Clue Treasure Hunt could be confined to just Books 6 and 7 or else it could always start with Strike 5 depending on how the author decides to move forward with her meta-narrative.

(2) This hunt for the vital clue would essentially make the final triad in the Strike series a literary riff or parody of R.L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island. This is what the basic outline of one possibility for the next three books amounts to. Strike and Robin might uncover a piece of information, possibly through one of Shanker’s contacts, that Leda left behind some very incriminating evidence that would throw open all the answers to her death. From there, “Mystic Bob” and His Gal Friday would be off on a hunt for the location of the major stash of hidden evidence along with hoping to uncover any reliable information as to its whereabouts.

Is Treasure Island a stretch for Rowling to use as her model? That book is a ring composition, as is the author’s Kidnapped, Rowling lives in Edinburgh, a city which lionizes its Stevenson legacy everywhere, and he is best known for his children’s books as is Rowling.

The Nature of Leda’s Clue

I have a very specific idea of what kind of clue would make sense on both a surface and thematic level that would help tie in Strike’s narrative with that of Harry’s. It all revolves around one of the inspirations Rowling has pointed to in the making of her books. It’s the hit single Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. The reason why the song could serve as a useful series maguffin has to do with the nature and meaning of the song itself. [Read more…]

Who Do You Think You Are, Daniel? Happy 30th Birthday, Daniel Radcliffe

Read about the show here. Hat tip to Kelly!

Final Round-Up: A Hogwarts Professor Visits Universal.

After a week of reflecting about the trip, I wanted to come back and summarize some final thoughts.

Do I recommend Universal as a pilgrimage destination for Potterheads? Merlin’s beard, yes! The Wizarding World attractions are amazing, and they are, of course, only part of a much larger theme park, which has some incredible rides, especially if you like the 3D and 4D type. Favorites of ours outside of the Wizarding World included the Hulk rollercoaster and the Transformers 3D ride.

Having experienced the park for a single evening on my own in 2014, I was particularly happy to share this multi-day adventure with my family. In a way. I felt like the fictional parents of the Wizarding World, beaming with pride at seeing my son purchase his wand at Ollivanders and learn to cast spells. Judging from the number of families who were enjoying the park together, I’m not alone. As the earliest child-readers of the series grow up and have their own families, I predict the park will only grow in popularity.

More random thoughts after the jump! [Read more…]

‘Cursed Child’ Three Minute Clip

The Clip Introduction —

The Closing Feast: A Hogwarts Professor Visits Universal, Day 5.

Date:  11 July 2019

T-shirt choice: “Always” (with Deathly Hallows symbol for A).

Status of Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure: Open on and off most of the day, but no way were we braving that line again.

Today was our last day in the park, and the plan was to arrive at a reasonable time, and stroll through both parks to do some favorite rides, provided the lines were reasonable. We started with the Hulk coaster in Islands of Adventure and worked our way up to Hogsmeade by midday.

Happily, I was able to see both of the shows that were rained out the previous evening. The Frog Choir was as 4-person (and 2-amphibian) a cappella group that did a short set of 3 songs, two of which were familiar from the movies: “Something Wicked This Way Comes” from Prisoner of Azkaban and “Dance Like a Hippogriff,” from the Yule Ball of Goblet of Fire. The frog puppets seemed to provide a bit of back-beat. Overall, a good, although short performance.

The Triwizard Spirit Rally was next and consisted of a group of three Durmstrang and four Beauxbatons students, performing a dance routine reminiscent of the schools’ entrance in Goblet of Fire. The guys did some acrobatics and a martial arts quarterstaff routine to the movie music, without the fire-blowing. The ladies did a ballet-style dance to the Beauxbatons music (no butterflies!) and of course, both groups were attired in their movie costumes. Again, a nice performance, but very brief.

The Forbidden Journey ride claimed a 60 minute wait time, so we decided that was worth another round. It was just as good as I remember and I was glad to refresh my memory on a bit of it before blogging about it. However, the wait time was again underestimated a bit: it was more like an hour and 15 minutes.

I picked up the Marauder’s Map scarf I’d had my eye on at the gift shop, mailed my postcards, then we got the Hogwarts Express over to Diagon Alley, so my son could visit the Magical Menagerie store. This place carries almost every creature you can think of from Harry Potter in plush form; you can buy not only Hedwigs, but Errols and Pigwidgeons. I was partial to the hippogriffs, but my son ultimately selected a stuffed niffler. Having done our second round on Escape from Gringotts the previous night, I didn’t do much else there but say hi to Stan Shunpike and toast the end of the adventure with a frozen Butterbeer.

We worked our way back through the rest of the Universal Studios park, did a few more rides, then were ready to go back to the hotel by 8 PM or so.  Part of me wanted to double back and spent the last couple of hours in the Wizarding World, but common sense, and an early morning flight prevailed.

I’ll be back tomorrow for some closing thoughts.