Rowling Posts Demonic Twitter Cameo

J. K. Rowling has the largest twitter following of any author on planet earth. She uses her platform and access to 14.5 million tweeters to deliver Lumos pronouncements and push charity drives, to scold those on the political right for being stupid or Donald Trump as well as those with her on the left when they disappoint The Presence (especially the Corbyn inspired anti-Semitism sadly resurgent in the UK today), to share art by women, and to promote the Wizarding World film franchises, Cursed Child, and, on rare occasions, something Cormoran Strike (usually, alas, a BBC1 teevee adaptation advertisement). We sometimes even get a retweeted announcement with film when a dog breaks the world canine long jump record. Mostly, though, it’s Lumos.

She has told us that she tries to make the larger ‘masthead’ picture above her page reflect what she is thinking about. Those of us who collect these pictures — wait, am I the only one? — had all sorts of grins and giggles during our reading of Lethal White because so many of the scenes in the book were either in the masthead at sometime in the last three years or suggestive of the gist of that scene. The fates, the white horses, the chapel-crypt in Parliament, et cetera.

Within the masthead, Rowling embeds a cameo picture of herself. These are not casual selfies but production numbers appropriate to the size of her audience and the importance of creating a strong and positive impression of the author on her minion millions to advance the message of the day. Until yesterday, she changed masthead and cameo at the same time. There is no set period for pictures to stay up; in my little over a year of snipping pictures from the page, the average duration of a masthead-cameo combo is two to four weeks. One set this past August, though, only lasted five days. Once last February she switched out her cameo from full glam to girl-next-door the same day.

From 19 August to 27 September this year, the masthead was a billboard promoting the 18 September release of Lethal White. It looked like this:

On 27 September it changed to this:

I wrote an email about this new picture to my Super Striker micro-mailing list and asked if any of them had an idea of what the backdrop was about. Was it a black swan? A crow? Rowling had tweeted a picture of a crow as her masthead in 2017. M. Evan Willis responded:

Reversed image Search on Google to find the original, to see if the title of the stock photo might reveal anything. It comes up on shutterstock.com, a royalty free image site, with the unenlightening title of “Black feathers close up of black textured surface”. [smile enoji] https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/black-feathers-close-textured-surface-216240412?src=H4dj0sYdBclPRvlAI5ScqQ-1-4 Full photo from Google Images attached. That said, the color would fit if we are to expect the alchemical Nigredo in book 5.

The attached file was a match with the masthead foto. I filed it away.

Today I checked @JK_Rowling and noticed that the masthead was still “Black Feathers Close Up” but that the cameo had changed. My, oh my, had it changed. It looks like the image on the left now. My three guesses are (1) it’s a Halloween Ball mask from Venice she is excited about, (2) she wanted to highlight the ‘Beast Within’ theme of Fantastic Beasts that critics and speculators are neglecting in the run-up to the release of Crimes of Grindelwald next month, and (3) she felt obliged to remind those in Russia who think Harry Potter will save their country that she is a prisoner of demons and her work is the gateway to the occult. Or maybe it is just a show of support for the witches gathering in Brooklyn on 20 October to hex Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh?

Anyway, pretty doggone scary cameo, especially against that same black masthead backdrop. Here’s hoping that it is either a warm up for Halloween — or that you know what it is all about! Is it Jo the Minotaur from the Theseus myth beneath the Newt series? That eye is definitely similar to the ghoulish eye of Gellert Grindelwald, no? Please do share your best guess in the comment boxes below. Lemmeno what you think!

Comments

  1. Forrest Leeson says:

    Harry Potter-Evans-Verres, the savior-candidate of Russia in question, is not to be confused with the leading brand.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Very interesting, thanks once again for sharing your thoughts!

    I always thought that the black feathers (and by extension the picture of the crow from 2017) is at least in part related to Fantastic Beasts. According to the Lestrange-family tree that was in one of the trailers (the white glowing graph in the French (?) sewers), many members of the Lestrange family are called “Corvus”, which is Latin for crow. If you look closely at the picture, even Credence’s birth name seems to be Corvus.

    Her Twitter header could then be seen as the highlighting of Credence’s role in the upcoming film and it also ties in nicely with the ‘Beasts Within’ theme you suggest.

  3. Beatrice Groves says:

    I know!

    I like your ‘beast within’ idea.

    I suspect though that she has decided to go a bit all out for Halloween – it is something Potterheads enjoy after all. So I expect we’re stuck with it till Nov.

    (I’m confident, by the way, that it isn’t a mask – just a computer generated image. And as it is – I’m pretty sure, Satan – she might be enjoying an ironic gesture at the Harry haters/now political opponents who have pasted her as such).

  4. Nick Jeffery says:

    I think it’s makeup from last year, there is photo of her with Blondie wearing it.

  5. Louise Freeman says:

    Looks like a Krampus mask to me.

  6. Kelly Loomis says:

    The crows are reference to the Lestrange family in Fantastic Beasts as many are named Corvus including Credence at birth. Many images of Leta released for the film have crow/bird images on them.

  7. Nick Jeffery nails the source of the mask — it’s from a Bonfire Night party that Rowling threw and had Blondie there as a guest (link to article with picture of mask). See my follow-up post here.

    And the corvus-crow link sounds good to me, Sebastian and Kelly!

  8. Thucydides says:

    The demon mask means she is writing.

    I think it is a reverence to George Orwell and a reference to this quotation.

    “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

    I used to talk to JK Rowling a lot on Twitter (I am permanently banned now) to inspire her to write books and to make sure she would not be unhappy. I hope she used some of my book plots that I tossed to her. Her greatest powers are in writing books.

  9. Brian Basore says:

    In Matthew Fitt’s 2017 Scots edition of PS, “Ravenclaw” transliterated to “Corbieclook”.

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