Title of Cormoran Strike 5 Released; Publication Set for September

Breaking news today that the title of the next Cormoran Strike book will be Troubled Blood.  Your Hogpro faculty were too busy to post on this earlier today, but thankfully some of our Serious Striker readers have already chimed in comments section as to what this might mean.

I’m reprinting a few of the comments here, so discussion can take place in a centralized location.

Bonni Crawford made a connection to punk rock lyrics:

Those are prominent words in ‘Add Vice’ by Love Me Destroyer:

Troubled blood, just add vice
Stand your ground and keep in check
Sharpened words your wield like knives
With a target on my back i’ll take it
I wear the bumps, live through the bruises
I’ll dodge the shards, slip through your nooses
Jagged looks from all directions, complete distrust from deadly eyes
Troubled blood, just add vice
Stand your ground and keep in check
Hypocrisy is the new messiah, everyone wants to be a savior
Celebrate the innocence lost
A toast to crime, and dance with sin
Another chance to clip our wings, and burn this night bright

Many potential links to the Strike series there!

A couple of other song titles in the same album (Black Heart Affair) jump out to me: ‘Scars make good stories’ and ‘My virus’. ‘Beautiful Switchblade Knives’, another song in the album, seems very much the kind of thing that Donnie may have thought in Strike3!

It does sound like a song written for the series!  I wonder if there has ever been a connection between this group and Marilyn Manson?

Joanne Gray points to a theme in common with The Silkworm:

The phrase ‘Troubled Blood’ does show up a couple of times in Jacobean revenge plays–like those used in the epigraphs in ‘The Silkworm.’ But my own thoughts on what the phrase may mean is that it could provide motifs (like the white horse in ‘Lethal White’) to not just the book’s main crime–but also supply the ties (finally) to the mysteries behind Cormoran’s own ‘Troubled blood’–family origins. It could hint that we are about to begin to untangle the hidden threads of his mother’s bohemian past, while consequently, uncovering some unwelcome truths about his own origins. If that proves to be the case with the plot of book 5, then I am even more excited to read it (if that’s possible!).

Nick Jeffries quickly made a connection to the poetry of Spenser and Chapman.  Hat tip also to Chris Calderon for recognizing that Chapman is also quoted in The Silkworm.

This is so very far beyond my competence, I humbly offer for your consideration the following (both I think references to Galen’s humors):

From Spencer’s Faerie Queen, book I canto IX
But when as none of them he saw him take,
He to him raught a Dagger sharp and keen,
And gave it him in hand: his Hand did quake,
And tremble like a Leaf of Aspin green,
And troubled blood through his pale Face was seen
To come and go; with Tydings from the Heart,
As it a running Messenger had been.
At last, resolv’d to work his final Smart,
He lifted up his Hand, that back again did start.
Or possibly George Chapman in Bussy D’Ambois
I long to know
How my dear mistress fares, and be inform’d
What hand she now holds on the troubled blood
Of her incensed lord. Methought the spirit,
When he had utter’d his perplex’d presage,
Threw his chang’d count’nance headlong into clouds:
His forehead bent, as he would hide his face
He knock’d his chin against his darken’d breast,
And struck a churlish silence through his powers.
Terror of darkness! O thou king of flames!
That with thy music-footed horse dost strike
The clear light out of crystal on dark earth;
And hurl’st instinctive fire about the world:
Wake, wake the drowsy and enchanted night
That sleeps with dead eyes in this heavy riddle.
Or thou, great prince of shades, where never sun
Sticks his far-darted beams; whose eyes are made
To see in darkness, and see ever best
Where sense is blindest: open now the heart
Of thy abashed oracle, that, for fear
Of some ill it includes, would fain lie hid:
And rise thou with it in thy greater light.
Hmm…  could RG/JKR be breaking the pattern and forging more links between books 2 and 5 than between 3 and 5?
Personally, I’m a bit disappointed not to find a genetics or other science connection, as in Lethal White, but all of this definitely piques my interest.  Given the overlapping of the white horse motifs in the previous book, it would not surprise me to see both rock lyrics and literary connections.

What is the Place of Pottermania in the Cormoran Strike World?

In the first Reading Writing Rowling podcast on Cormoran Strike, we speculated about whether the Harry Potter phenomenon would ever be mentioned in the Robert Galbraith series. The series is well-known for including mention of contemporary news stories in the series: William and Kate’s engagement and marriage, the shutdown of the News of the World amid the phone-tapping scandal, the London Olympics. But, there has been no mention another major news event of the time: the premiere of the final Harry Potter movies. Deathly Hallows Part 1  opened on the day of the Roper Chard party in The Silkworm; Part 2 would have premiered during the prologue of Lethal White, when Robin was nursing Matthew back to health after his encounter with the sea-borne bacteria.  Save a mention of Emma Watson on a real-life magazine cover–at the same time Charlotte Campbell graced the cover of the fictional Tatler–there has been no hint of the Harry Potter phenomenon in any of the Strike books. It was Dr. Karen Keblare’s opinion, and I think the rest of us concurred, that Mr. Galbraith would probably avoid the awkwardness that mention of Ms. Rowling’s creation would bring.

That doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t wonder, though.  Overlapping key Harry Potter dates on the Strike books’ timeline shows that Robin would have been prime Generation Hex age, as a twelve-year-old schoolgirl at the time of Philosopher’s Stone’s publication. As a straight-A student with an inquisitive mind and a thirst for mysteries, it is highly likely she would have been a fan of the series. Moreover, she would have been near the end of secondary school and preparing for university when the three-year book drought was broken by the publication of Order of the Phoenix. This puts the start of her university career, the rape, and Matthew’s first betrayal during the gap between Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince. 

Once you realize that, it becomes easy to imagine Robin as a Potterphile, and even speculate that she, like many other readers, found the series a source of comfort after trauma. I’ll admit that idea has been percolating in my head for some time.  Therefore, when I saw a fan-fiction challenge to write a short, romantic story with the prompt of “That Touch of Magic,” I saw an opportunity to flesh out this idea a bit.  Thus, I have written my first real fan-fiction in probably a quarter of a century, and the first not to involve a DC Comics character. As you can see, I took the opportunity to plug Hogwartsprofessor.com, pull an extensive Mary-Sue on Robin by letting her write my own paper, and even give Strike a chance to meet his own author.

Please check it out and comment, here or there.  It is quite G-rated, except for a few of Strike’s usual swear words. And be assured, I have no intention of contributing further to his particular genre.

Guest Post: Keats Epigraphs in Strike5?

Why John Keats “May” Provide Epigraphs (and other materials) for Strike Five

By ChrisC

A recent theory on this site is that Marilyn Manson’s lyrics will form the epigraphs for the next Cormoran Strike Mystery. I have an alternate take on that subject, however. What if the poetry of John Keats is what readers have to look forward to, at least in terms of thematic chapter-header quotes in Book 5?

My reasons for bringing this up center around one of the author’s clues and the literary subject matter attached to it. The clue was Ms. Rowling’s brochure for the Chelsea Physic Garden. It was founded by the Society of Apothecaries in 1837, and Keats was an intern there as part of his early medical studies. His notebooks demonstrate a remarkable knowledge of pharmacology, and both Hermione De Almeida and Jennifer M. Wunder have shown that Keats’ medical studies intertwined with his neo-Platonic-hermetic poetical interests. In addition to this, Keats was not the only Rowling linked artist to be related to the Chelsea Garden. There is one other author who, along with Keats, may form a major part of the fifth book’s creative compost. To find out more about this, and how Agatha Christie may have a part to play, join me after the jump. [Read more…]

Guest Post: The March Family from ‘Little Women’ and The Weasleys

David Martin has been thinking about Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, forgive me for assuming it is because of the new movie adaptation, and left his reflections about the March family and the Weasleys on a comment thread beneath my 2011 post, ‘Little Women and Harry Potter: Jo Rowling is Jo March.‘ With his permission and reformatting, I have bumped it into its own post so that more readers will see it. Enjoy!

Little Women is the story of a family more than it is the story of any one individual. Although the Harry Potter books are mostly about Harry Potter, there is also within them a story about the Weasley family. If we look at the stories of those two families – the Marchs and the Weasleys – there are a number of similarities.

Both families are ruled by the mother.

  • Molly Weasley clearly runs the Wesley family
  • Marmee runs the March family.

Both families have mostly or entirely children of one gender.

  • The Weasleys have six sons and one daughter.
  • The Marchs have four daughters.

Both families take an interest in (and almost adopt) an outsider who then spends a lot of time at their house.

  • The Weasleys take in Harry.
  • The Marchs take in Laurie.

In both family stories, that outsider has lost mother and father and is living with his relatives.

  • Harry lives with the Dursleys
  • Laurie lives with his grandfather.

Both families are poor but kind.

  • The Weasleys take care of Harry.
  • The Marchs give away their Christmas breakfast and perform many other acts of charity.

In both families, some (or one) of the children are (or is) obsessed with making money.

  • For the Weasleys, that would be Fred and George.
  • For the Marchs, that would be Jo.

Both families are in a way elite.

  • The Weasleys are pure blood.
  • The Marchs are part of the intellectual or scholarly elite.

For both families, there is a time when the father is very sick and the mother goes to be with him.

  • When Arthur Weasley is bitten by Nagini in Order, Molly goes to St. Mungo’s hospital to be with him.
  • When Mr. March is taken ill during the Civil War, Marmee goes to the hospital in Washington to be with him.

In both families, the oldest child marries, and that wedding is described in detail.

  • Bill Weasley marries Fleur Delacour.
  • Meg March marries John Brooke.

In both families, when the other children marry, it happens “off-stage.”

  • Ron, Percy, and Ginny marry, but we don’t see those weddings.
  • Amy gets married in Paris. Jo marries sometime in the “Harvest Time” chapter at the end of Little Women. We don’t see any of those wedding.

In both families, one of the children dies.

  • Fred Weasley dies in the Battle of Hogwarts.
  • The chapter entitled “The Valley of the Shadow” describes Beth’s death.

In both families, the youngest child in the family marries the outsider.

  • Ginny Weasley marries Harry. (Maybe that’s why the Weasley family needed a girl?)
  • Amy March marries Laurie.

In both families, one of the children marries a really brainy spouse.

  • Ron Weasley marries Hermione.
  • Jo March marries Professor Bhaer.

In both families, one of the children marries a foreigner.

  • Bill Weasley marries a French woman, Fleur Delacour.
  • Jo March marries a German man, Friedrich Bhaer.

At the end of the stories, we see the extended form of both families.

  • In the epilogue chapter, we see the extended Weasley family putting their children on the Hogwarts express. Ginny’s children are there. Ron’s children are there. Percy is heard, so at least one child of his must be there. Bill’s daughter Victoire is there. So that’s four of the Weasley children and at least seven grandchildren if I’ve counted correctly. And considering the news that James is eager to share about Victoire and Teddy Lupin, maybe the Weasley family will be extending further.
  • In the “Harvest Time” chapter at the end of Little Women, we see the extended March family celebrating together, three daughters, three sons-in-law, and at least five grandchildren if I’ve counted correctly.

For both families it appears that the parents (now grandparents) are alive and well at the end of the story. We are told this explicitly about the Marchs in “Harvest Time” chapter of Little Women. During the epilogue chapter of Harry Potter, Rose is warned that “Granddad Weasley” would never forgive her if she married a pureblood, so clearly Arthur Weasley is still alive. Let’s assume that Molly Weasley is too.

Maybe we should call the series The Weasley Family Saga.

—– David Martin of Hufflepuff

Aurelius and the Philosopher’s Stone

Hat tip, Kelly!