Parallel Series Idea

In my second post about The Silkworm post-publication in 2014, I launched the idea that Rowling-Galbraith was writing her Cormoran Strike series in parallel with the seven Harry Potter novels. I wrote:

Reading The Silkworm, consequently, it’s only natural that we serious readers of the Hogwarts Saga be sensitive to what we hear or experience in this detective novel that seem to be echoes from the Boy Who Lived’s magical adventures.  I want to make three observations for your comment and correction here, thoughts that will not include a list of fun correspondences (did you flinch when you read that you can “hear the rumbling of the traffic on Charing Cross Road’ from Strike’s flat? Me, too), but all of which, I think, put the Cormoran Strike novels in a new light.

First, as noted in my ‘first thoughts’ post that I put up after reaching the half-way point of Silkworm, there are several rather jarring correspondences between this mystery and the second novel of the Harry Potter series, Chamber of Secrets. The key to the case, as Strike observes more than the once, is the book within the book, namely Bombyx Mori, and its transparent depictions in story of the suspects in the murder of the book’s author.

Along the way to discovering whodunnit, we are given a short course in the difficulties and inevitable mistakes to be made in drawing dot-to-dot correspondences that seem obvious and are not. Readers of Chamber of Secrets, perhaps the best stand-alone Potter novel, will recall a similar book-within-a-book experience there with Riddle’s diary and how we are to understand what we learn from reading or entering into it. Hagrid is sent to Azkaban because of what is misunderstood about the events depicted — and the woman whose “purity of desire” makes Strike sure she is not guilty, an echo of Harry’s surety about the Gameskeeper, is also jailed unjustly and then liberated.

My first idea for your consideration is this: Ms Rowling is writing this seven book series in parallel with her previous seven book series. {emphasis in original}

My second and third points in that post were that she was doing this so “this parallel series can act as the key to a right understanding of the first series, the Hogwarts adventures” and, that in doing this, she “invites her readers to understand her fiction as a psychological distillation of her experiences, which is to say, we are to read them through the filter of her biography if we are to get at the heart of their meaning.” The second point, like the first, has been confirmed by each new book, and the third, which seemed a stretch even to me at the time, has been supported by the author in her remarkable contribution of “inspiration” to the Museum of Curiosity in 2019.

The idea of a Parallel Series has become something of a touchstone or premise here at HogwartsProfessor. Louise Freeman predicted years before Strike4 was published, for instance, that Lethal White would take place against the background of the 2012 London Olympics just as Goblet of Fire used the TriWizard Tournament even though this seemed unlikely given the time spacings between the books, Cuckoo to Career. Beatrice Groves, similarly, guessed that the ‘Trelawney’ song would be sung in Troubled Blood because of the important place of Professor Trelawney’s prophecy in Order of the Phoenix. The Parallel Series idea (hereafter ‘PSI’), in other words, not only has interpretative value but can be and has been used to predict future book plot points.

The links below are to HogwartsProfessor posts detailing the parallels or echoes to be found between the Strike novels and the corresponding number in the Potter series. This is an ongoing discussion, so please share your thoughts in the comment threads beneath each post!



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