Anne Rowling, Queen Elizabeth, and Honors at Buckingham Palace

Rowling said in this 2018 interview with the cast of ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ on the ‘Today Show’ that her late mother Anne Volant Rowling, if she had lived to see it, would have been over the moon about her daughter receiving honors at Buckingham Palace. Nick Jeffery wrote a beautiful review of the times Rowling has brushed up against royalty through the years, ‘J. K. Rowling and the Queen;’ what I think the interview segment above highlights about those contacts is how much the Royal Family acts as a shared reference, the almost supernatural or extra-temporal pinnacle of the societal hierarchy, for everyone in the UK, to include those who despise the monarchy as a Medieval relic. [Read more…]

Ink Black Heart: The Mythic Backdrop

I originally planned this ‘Mythic Backdrop’ post as one of the ‘placeholders’ to be put up at HogwartsProfessor while everyone finishes reading the book as a place for those who are already done to share their thoughts about key subjects (see the homepage Pillar Post column’s ‘Ink Black Heart Discussion‘ on the upper left for the collection of those conversation starters and insight collectors). I think now, though, that, while welcoming feedback and insights from Serious Strikers, I will file this on that page devoted to Strike6 discussion under ‘Analysis and Theories’ rather than ‘First Impressions.’

I do this because it seems more than credible to me that the reason Rowling-Galbraith switched the places of Troubled Blood and Ink Black Heart, a move that Louise Freeman’s literary detective work has made very hard to deny (see her brilliant compilation of the Strike6 evidence for the 5-6 Flip if that is news to you), is that the mythic backdrops of the Strike series, ‘Leda and the Swan’ and ‘Cupid and Psyche,’ all but require that the action and events of Ink Black Heart follow rather than precede Troubled Blood.

Join me after the jump for a review first of Rowling’s neo-mythological backdrops to her Strike series and then exposition of the Ink Black Heart events that make it the seamless continuation of what happened in Troubled Blood from the perspective of the myths in play. [Read more…]

Queen Elizabeth II: Requiescat in Pace

Posting at HogwartsProfessor will pause today and resume tomorrow.

Ink Black: Headless Hunt in Highgate?

I wrote in my pre-publication ‘Nine Guides to Ink Black Heart that serious readers should be on the look out for ghosts haunting the sixth Strike novel. Fans of the Hogwarts Saga are used to crowds of departed souls appearing here and there, even enjoying some cranial polo on special occasions, but those who re-read the Strike series know the dead are ever present in these books as well:

You don’t hear so much about the ghosts of Cormoran Strike, though, right? Which is a shame. Ghosts are a big deal in these mysteries and are all but certain to play a role just out of sight in Ink Black Heart. In addition to The Ghosts Haunting Troubled Blood, see Louise Freeman’s posts on the Ghost of Charlie Bristow in Cuckoo’s Calling and the Ghost of Freddie Chiswell in Lethal White. I have to think the cartoonist that is murdered in a cemetery will be haunting the investigation of her death — and inspiring the detectives with a nudge here and there. Given the meaning of Vanessa Ekwenzi’s first name vis a vis Nabokov (the “black Vanessa” butterfly), I’ll be especially attentive to her inputs if any on this case.

The text within the text, after all, is set in a graveyard, and an especially spooky one at that. Of course there will be ghosts…

Well, it was nothing like Troubled Blood with its persistent references to Margot Bamborough’s thoughts and the perceptions of the Creed victims pictured on the cover of The Demon of Paradise Park. And Vanessa and the Nabokovia butterflies were absent, full stop. I expect she and Oliver wed during the months of Ink Black Heart and will re-appear in Strike7 or 8 with a child or two — which, with Ilsa and Nick’s baby (and Strike and Madeline’s?), will ramp up the Murphy-Ellacott possibilities, naturally.

But ghosts? I found this one tease that makes believe there are many more I missed on my first reading. The first thing said at the gathering in the Artists Club of the Strike Agency partners and Maverick Films’ Richard Elgar, Grant and Heather Ledwell, and the agent, Allan Yeoman, is Yeoman’s belief that “I know Edie would be glad we’re meeting” (157). That may seem to be a throw-away for tossers to break the ice, but has been a commonplace in the previous Strike novels for invoking or noting the presence, wishes, and even activity of the dead; review Greg Talbot’s repeated references to his father’s hopes and influence on events in the revived investigation of Bamborough’s disappearance.

The subject for discussion, then, is what signs have you seen (or heard) in your experiences of Ink Black Heart of supernatural influence? What wild and wacky coincidences that favor the revelation of the guilty parties happen are there in Strike6 which may suggest ghosts on the move, manipulating the ether and the thoughts of the living to act out their revenge?

Ink Black: Has Strike Conceived a Child?

Yesterday, Louise Freeman laid out the compelling evidence that Troubled Blood was originally meant to be Strike6 and Ink Black Heart Strike5. Using Ring Theory, Literary Alchemy, and the Parallel Series Idea in addition to her own detailed timeline, she offered the cogent argument that, for whatever reason, Rowling decided to switch the two. Speculation has already begun about why she might have shifted the two.

This morning Serious Striker J. S. Malekson offered a plot possibility that would make flipping Strike novels 5 and 6 almost a necessity and bring the Rokeby drama back into clear focus: Strike’s dalliance with Madeline in Ink Black Heart has resulted in her pregnancy.

Along the lines of things that were expected to happen in Strike 6 that didn’t happen, a thought struck me that something was going to happen in Strike 6 that had never occurred to me before Strike 6: Madeline becomes pregnant with Strike’s baby.

[Read more…]