The Ickabog: Rowling Facebook Event

Hat tip and many thanks to our friends at!

Troubled Blood: Mythic Cornwall

Structure is a big deal in Strike Studies, right? Much of what I wrote in my Part-By-Part reading of Troubled Blood was explanation of Rowling-Galbraith’s borderline OCD ring artistry in Strike5, but there are other structural elements that order and organize the novel’s progression start to finish.

The most obvious one, I think, is gift-giving at holidays and birthdays. Robin’s birthday is a marker in Parts one and seven, Christmas is the turn in the front half of the book, Valentine’s Day the novel’s pivot point in Part four, and Easter and its observance in Cornwall is the parallel with Christmas in the ‘back half’ of the book. Each marks the status quo in Strike’s struggle to change, to become more giving and understanding of others, rather than just the Agent of Vengeance and Justice. That’s worthy of a long post and I will add it to the list of more than fifty Troubled Blood post ideas I drew up this weekend (I kid you not).

The structural idea I want to explore today is that of Cornwall and how Cormoran’s trips there serve a “mythic function.” His four trips to Cornwall and his thoughts about and contact with same in the closing chapters, as with the gift-giving holidays and birthdays, are markers of Strike’s spiritual transformation, his experience of the nigredo, and his journey, if you will, to a transcendent realm. More after the jump! [Read more…]

Fantastic Beasts Bumped, Depp Dumped

There were two big bits of news this last week in Warner Brothers’ Fantastic Beasts film franchise.

The first is that the third Beasts film, still not named, has been pushed back from its November 2021 release date to sometime in the summer of 2022. Variety covers that story here.

The second is the announcement that Johnny Depp will not be playing the role of Gellert Grindelwald in Beasts 3. He was asked to step down after losing a libel case against his ex-wife and he agreed to do so sans protest (which suggests he was bought out with a generous settlement). From that story’s Variety report:

“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and I have respected and agreed to that request,” he wrote Friday on Instagram.

Depp’s exit from the “Harry Potter” spinoff series comes days after he lost his libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that published an article in 2018 alleging he was a “wife beater.” Depp said he plans to appeal the ruling.

TIME magazine has run a piece already with the title, ‘Just Cancel the Fantastic Beasts Franchise Already.’ The reasons they offer for the cancellation are all Critique related, which is to say, that the franchise is forever tainted by accusations against principal players of violating Social Justice Canonical Law. The secular fundamentalists policing our culture assert that Depp’s supposed acts of violence against his wife, Ezra Miller’s supposed attack on a woman in an Iceland bar, and Rowling’s supposed transphobia add up to three strikes against the series.

I agree with the conclusion but differ with every piece as well as the logic of their argument. [Read more…]

Beatrice Groves: Two New Strike Posts!

Beatrice Groves, author of Literary Allusion in Harry Potter and a Research Fellow and Lecturer at Trinity College, Oxford University, is a Serious Striker and Potter Pundit of Renown. She writes for,, as well as for HogwartsProfessor — links to all her brilliant posts and podcasts have been collected on this Pillar Post page if you want to binge! — and I know that our readers here look forward as I do to everything new she has written.

This week she has posted two pieces at, her first articles I think since that website chose to ‘cancel’ J. K. Rowling and cast her out of Harry Potter fandom discussion; they did this for the thought-crime of transgressing acceptable opinions about transgender overreach and excesses in the United Kingdom. Professor Groves is the only writer at Leaky-Cauldron and MuggleNet that mentions She Who Must Not Be Named at those fan sites and Rowling-Galbraith’s new works, the Cormoran Strike mysteries.

The two pieces that went up this week, consequently, have something of the flavor of evangelical material; each introduces and explains the brave new world of Cormoran and Robin’s adventures to Harry Potter readers at Leaky-Cauldron who may not yet be aware of  the five books in print, which explanation and example of the fun to be had by Rowling Readers serves as an excellent invitation to the Galbraith series. And that’s an important effort, even if current evidence shows such outreach may be pearls before swine.

For Serious Strikers here at HogwartsProfessor, the two new posts are both an excellent review of much of what Prof Groves has written about the Peg-Legged PI previously and a delightful helping of bon mots of Troubled Blood interpretation that we have not yet seen. Enjoy!

**Harry Potter and the Mysteries of Cormoran Strike: Part 1 (Introductory Ideas)

**Harry Potter and the Mysteries of Cormoran Strike: Part 2 (Cratylic Names)

Troubled Blood: The Seal and Three Men

In chapter two of Troubled Blood, Strike has a smoke outside The Victory before climbing the hill for another uncomfortable night and early morning wake-up at the Nancarrow homestead. His reflections and cigarette smoking are interrupted by Anna Phipps and Kim Sullivan who ask him to consider taking on the cold case of Margot Bamborough’s disappearance.

Two images are offered repeatedly through this discussion: a seal in the water beneath the sea break and three young men catching a boat-ride. After the jump, I’ll review the times seals and the three drunk youths appear in the text and their probable source in Christian iconography, specifically, images from the life of St Maudez for whom St Mawes, Cornwall, is named. [Read more…]