Ink Black Heart: Intro to Epigraphs 101

It’s been a week or two since Ink Black Heart was published and the grunt work is beginning to appear. Louise Freeman had sent me her first notes about names in Strike6 a day or two post publication and I wrote her tonight, if a true cryptonym guide was weeks away, to ask just for a character list that included their various identities on the moderator channels and the various social media platforms. I checked my twitter feed an hour later and discovered that had already posted one. Cheers for that!

We’re probably still a month or two away from Beatrice Groves’ analysis of the Part and Chapter epigraphs Rowling-Galbraith used in Ink Black Heart, but, while we wait for that, let me share some numbers, percentages, and Wikipedia links to introduce the subject of the epigraph artistry and meaning beyond the asides in various posts that discuss them already (see here and here for that).

Having just read through the epigraphs and taken notes on a table-sized chart of the book’s structure, I think it fair to say that, as disappointed as I was that Strike6 was not a one-epigraph-source novel as were Lethal White and Troubled Blood, the author’s choices made in Ink Black Heart for epigraphs are at least as rich in meaning and as reflective of the story being told as Rosmersholm and Fairie Queene were to those mysteries.

To get at that, though, means learning the basics about Gray’s Anatomy, identifying the poets whose poems are used for 108 epigraphs, especially the poets cited repeatedly and the poem that is quoted most often, and last but not least, noting the predominant elements in the epigraphs, namely, the heart and vision. Join me after the jump for this ‘Introduction to Ink Black Heart Epigraphs, Strike Studies 107.’ [Read more…]

Ink Black Heart: Anomie and the Veil – A Question of Connection and Isolation

‘Anomie and the Veil: A Question of Connection and Isolation’ is by Shakespeare scholar Kurt Schreyer. Professor Schreyer’s last post at HogwartsProfessor was one he co-wrote with Beatrice Groves,The Mystery of the Ink Black Heart.‘ His twitter posts about the Cormoran Strike novels at @Kasstl1 have been admired by Rowling-Galbraith on her twitter platform, albeit obliquely, and his contributions here on comment threads in addition to his posts and on the HogwartsProfessor moderator channels have made him a valued member of our community. What follows are his first thoughts about the mammoth Ink Black Heart, a brief essay that attempts to draw out the through line of Rowling’s ideas about death and life worse than death that runs through her Potter novels and Strike mysteries. Enjoy!

‘Anomie and the Veil: A Question of Connection and Isolation’

L’enfer, c’est les autres.” – Sartre

“Evil, defiantly chosen, can no longer imagine anything but itself.” – W. H. Auden

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers for The Ink Black Heart.

Since finishing The Ink Black Heart, I’ve been trying to put into words why the figure of Anomie is so ominous to me apart from his obviously hateful, violent misogyny. I find Anomie perhaps more disturbing than any of the criminals, dark wizards and witches, monsters or all-around baddies that J. K. Rowling has created, and I think I have – partially – figured out why that is: the answer lies, of all places, in the Department of Mysteries. Anomie’s radical sociopathy extends beyond the grave and should remind Harry Potter readers of the opposing views of death held by Voldemort and Dumbledore. [Read more…]

Rowling Ink Black Heart Q&A Bonanza: Twenty Four New Strike6 Comments

Patricio Tarantino has posted the twenty seven questions and answers about Rowling-Galbraith’s Ink Black Heart as one continuous film on The Rowling Library YouTube channel (see above). The page for this conversation includes a full transcript, albeit one that is broken up in drop down sections beneath each question.

How are we to mine this rich vein of commentary from The Presence? Beatrice Groves on the moderator channel suggested I post an open thread of sorts for Serious Strikers to share their thoughts about favorite parts of Rowling-Galbraith’s discussion. I will share two or three of my reflections after the jump and then give the open microphone to our readers here in the hope that they, to include our adjunct faculty and full professors, will jump in with their observations, corrections, disappointments, and delights. [Read more…]

Five Predictions for JKR Q&A Today

Yesterday I posted three questions I hoped someone would ask Rowling-Galbraith during the “interactive” question and answer session today, This morning I rush to put up five predictions of what questions she will be asked and what her answers will be. Apologies all around for not posting this earlier to encourage the Serious Strikers here to share their ideas of what The Presence will and will not say; it only occurred to me as I began reviewing and writing up my latch notes on the novel’s beginning and end.

Prediction 1: My idea that this will be “interactive” in the sense of her engaging with readers in any back-and-forth way will be shown as ridiculously naive.

I want to start my prognostications with an almost sure-thing and that  I was wrong yesterday to think Rowling-Galbraith would engage with fans in a meaningful way is just that. Patricio Tarantino of The Rowling Library wrote to me on the moderator channels to explain that “interactive” here most likely meant that the “pre-recorded, not live” event  involves those who tune in being asked “to vote for two questions and then they will see the video with the answer to the most voted one and so on.” He expressed disappointment in advance with this format because it suggests “there will be recorded answers that we won’t see.”

If he is right (and, frankly, Mr Tarantino is right more often than not in a spooky Anomie kind of omniscient way with these things…), then the “interactive” Q&A will be a kind of online game akin to the Drek’s Game of Ink Black Heart, one that requires repeated visits to the site to explore its various possibilities, in this case, all the questions and answers. I have little doubt that all the information will be available to the persistent — and that Rowling-Galbraith is having a little fun here with life-imitating-art, the discussion of the book in a curious fashion reflecting the action of the book.

More speculative guesses after the jump! [Read more…]

Three Questions for JKR Q&A Tomorrow

I am not sure what Rowling, Inc., means by “interactive” but it suggests there is a possibility that The Presence will be taking questions from her listening audience. If true, this would be a first-time-ever event for the Strike series and something Rowling has only done before during Potter-Mania, something she did with children readers.

Except one event. The last time she answered questions from a live audience of adults (rather than from pre-screened cards), if memory serves, was in Carnegie Hall, the night she revealed she had always “thought of Dumbledore as gay.” I’m pretty sure that’s not the sort of publicity she’s hoping to generate for Ink Black Heart through her “interactive” Q&A.

Given the number of Rowling Revilers in the world today, too, that would attempt an ambush of her in any “interactive” environment, I have to doubt that her handlers, being sane, would expose her to this credible danger. If it is a live Q&A, though, and you could get through to ask her one question about Ink Black Heart — and it has to be about Strike6, remember, nothing about her A-Levels reading list, protestors in Iran, or The Christmas Pig diamond earrings — what would you ask her?

I share three ‘off-the-top-of-my-head’ questions after the jump and hope you’ll write yours in the comment boxes. Who knows? Maybe Team Rowling will choose one or two questions from Serious Strikers for a change! [Read more…]