Running Grave: Lethal White Parallels

It’s something of a Publication Week tradition here at HogwartsProfessor to provide an online space for Serious Strikers to share their discoveries as they find them, an alocal place for specific topics we have explored here in the past. The seven I am posting for Running Grave are:

As I explained in the Cuckoo’s Calling place-holder postRunning Grave should have significant echoing of the fourth book in the series, Lethal White, because thus far the six books have shown the qualities of a seven book ring cycle. Lethal White’s mysterious ‘Part Two’ page, too, being followed as it was by a near step by step retelling of the John Bristoe opening of Calling, points to that book as the story turn whose ending-echo will be found in Strike7, the closing part of the cycle (see ‘The Missing Page Mystery‘ and ‘The Missing Page Mystery, Part Two‘).

Does Running Grave feature another suicide staged by a jealous or angry family member — or a suicide that was staged by the dead person to seem to have been staged? Will we get Rosmersholm echoing with an incest revelation and a herd of spectral White Horses? What made you think, ‘Oh, this is just like Lethal White!’ as you were reading? Share your findings in the comment boxes below!

Running Grave: Cuckoo’s Calling Links

It’s something of a Publication Week tradition here at HogwartsProfessor to provide the online space for Serious Strikers to share their discoveries as they find them, an alocal place for specific topics we explore here. The seven I am posting for Running Grave are:

‘Gaffes’ are first because everyone is shocked (and excited?) to find a mistake that Team Rowling missed in their editorial and continuity checks. ‘Deathly Hallows Echoes’ come next because of the fun to be had tracing Rowling’s playful Parallel Series efforts. The next two subjects are more involved because they require some understanding of Rowling’s ring writing (see the Ring Composition Pillar Post for an in depth look at the subject).

In brief, though Rowling has said repeatedly that her Strike novels are not a seven book series, they sure act like one, by which I mean, we find the same relation between books in her mysteries that we found in the Hogwarts Saga — namely, a story turn that echoes the beginning and parallels between books 2 and 6 and between 3 and 5.

This being the case, the last two elements of as seven book ring — the latch between the first and last books and the pointers in the fourth book, the turn, to the last book — should appear in Strike 7, series finale or not. Deathly Hallows had close to fifty fairly obvious echoes of Philosopher’s Stone and there were significant Goblet of Fire parallels as well (see Harry Potter as Ring Composition and Ring Cycle for all that).


Please share in the comment boxes below the echoes you heard of Cuckoo’s Calling while reading Running Grave. Is there a faked suicide committed by a family member? Do we encounter characters from the first book in the seventh who are acting much as they were in Strike1 or in completely opposite mirror images of their earlier behavior? The floor is yours!

Running Grave: Deathly Hallows Echoes

It’s something of a Publication Week tradition here at HogwartsProfessor to put up posts for Serious Strikers to write up their discoveries as they find them, an alocal place for specific topics we explore here. The seven I am posting for Running Grave are:

‘Gaffes’ heads the list because it is the subject that generates the most reader responses. I include the Deathly Hallows parallels at #2 because the Parallel Series Idea — the theory that Rowling has been writing the Strike-Ellacott novels in playful echo of their apposite numbers in the Harry Potter series — has become such a focus of predictions and conversations here and elsewhere. (See the ‘Parallel Series Idea’ Pillar Post for the collection of evidence for the first six books.)

So, did Polworth die like Dobby did in Deathly Hallows as I predicted he would? Let us know the Strike-Potter Book Seven links you see in the comment boxes below!

Running Grave: The Gaffes

It is a feature of to post seven open threads on the day a Rowling-Galbraith novel is published, thereby creating spaces for readers to comment as they make their way through the new book about a variety of topics close to our hearts.

The seven I am posting for Running Grave are:

Of these, I place ‘The Gaffes’ in the lead position because it has generated by far the most responses in the past. (Check out the Gaffes posts for Lethal White, Troubled Blood , and Ink Black Heart if you doubt me on that score.) In the two previews we were given — Rowling, Inc’s greatest gaffe jamboree to date, both having to be pulled promptly after publication — the chapters given included several mistakes that readers have noted.

So, have it in the comment boxes below! This shouldn’t need to be said, but of course those concerned about spoilers should not read this thread.

Guest Post: The Father in Running Grave

Spoilers ahead! The subject is taken from a brief mention of a play two characters in London attend, an event in the excerpted Running Grave chapters released last week. If you don’t want to know about that, go no further.

Running Grave, Chapter 9

If you are like me, you let the reference to the play, The Father, in the extended excerpt that was briefly available to readers last week (available now only via screenshots like the above) skip right past you. I had not heard of the play or the movie adaptations so there was no ‘hook’ to catch my attention.

Lana Whited, though, one of the very few members of the Royal Society of Rowling Readers to have made significant contributions to Potter Punditry in all three of its critical generations, doesn’t need hooks; she knows that such asides in a Strike novel are almost surely meaningful. She sent me a brief note this morning about it and I asked her if I could share it here as a Guest Post. Enjoy!

While I definitely don’t consider myself to be a “Serious Striker,” I am intrigued that the play Robin and Murphy are seeing is Florian Zeller’s The Father, and when I looked up that title, I discovered some interesting, potentially meaningful facts. The original play is Le pere, which won the Molière prize for best play in 2014 and is part of a trilogy. The other two plays are (as you might guess) Le mere and Le fils. Le pere was first performed in September 2012 and ran in the West End of London in 2015. There is a French film adaptation called Floride and a 2020 film (directed by Zeller) called The Father with Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins. The 2020 film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Hopkins won for Best Actor. 

The main character in Zeller’s play apparently has lost a daughter named LUCY in the past (to an accident, apparently) but doesn’t always recall that she is dead as his dementia progresses. Based on descriptions I’ve read, the plays’ themes seem to concern whether a person can trust their loved ones, which sounds very familiar to those of us who have read the preview chapters. There’s an adaptation of The Son on Netflix, the third play to be written (about 2018). In addition, the main character is Pierre (anglicized as Peter and also Peter in the Netflix film), which may invoke John’s “John and Peter” theory nicely. 

This is all new information to me this afternoon, and I’m still processing it. But clearly the name of the play, like virtually every other detail in Rowling’s work, functions like a hyperlink to various associations that may turn out to be relevant.

Dr Whited is Professor of English & Director of the Boone Honors Program at Ferrum College and editor of The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a Literary Phenomenon (2002), the first published collection of critical essays on the Hogwarts Saga, of Critical Insights: The Harry Potter Series (2015), and the long-anticipated third-generation (‘Generation Hex’) anthology The Ivory Tower, Harry Potter, and Beyond, to be published later this year. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her insights, check out The ‘Beasts Within’ of Fantastic Beasts: ‘Here Be Dragons (and Phoenixes).’