Troubled Blood: The Dark Sides to Two Old Mates

One of the most notable moments of Troubled Blood was when Strike acknowledged Robin as his “best mate.” Up until that moment, Robin had assumed that title belonged to Dave Polworth; other readers might have assumed it was Nick Herbert. By the end of Troubled Blood, however, both men have shown their darker sides. It is easy to see why Robin has been promoted to best bud as well as detective partner.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Dave’s service in this book. His assistance to Joan, Ted, Strike and Lucy was admirable, He provided physical help– everything from home repairs to taking them food in the flood to, most importantly, leading the team that escorted Lucy and Strike through the floodwaters so they could be at Joan’s deathbed. And, he gave Strike and Ted emotional support, through his pub invitations, serving as a pallbearer and his presence at the scattering of Joan’s ashes. He is a loyal friend, through and through. 

But, like Strike, he’s a bit of a jerk at times. His hyper-nationalism, to to point of wanting to restrict the purchase of property in Cornwall to those who can prove ancestry, is off-putting, even to Strike. He’ll win no awards as either Husband- or Father -of-the-Year. He’s an excessively permissive parent, allowing his girls to run wild, even at a funeral wake. He had no qualms about quitting his job and uprooting his family, without even the decency to consult his wife about the plan first. And, in his opening scene in the book, he laid his misogynistic streak bare for the world to see, acknowledging that he saw marriage, first and foremost, as a cheap and convenient path to regular sex. All in all, despite his service to the Nancarrows, I found myself liking this version of Dave Polworth less than I did the guy who made several icy dives in search of Liz Tassel’s typewriter. 

But, there’s another “old mate” of Strike’s who goes down several notches for me in Troubled Blood: his London schoolmate and man of the always-free-spare-room, Nick Herbert.  I’ll tell you why after the jump. 

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2020 Harry Potter Academic Conference Recorded Talks Are Now Available Online

Updated to include keynote address by Dr. Timothy Snyder!!

One of the advantages of the Harry Potter Academic Conference at Chestnut Hill College going online this year is that people from further away could attend, and that several presenters who pre-recorded their talks are sharing them through Youtube, personal websites or other venues.

I am including the link to my humor talk here (‘Beyond Zonko’s: Psychological Explanations of Humor in the Wizarding World’). In addition, I have listed several others below the jump and will continue to add more as I become aware of them.

All opinions expressed in the several talks described and linked to below are those of the individual presenters and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any of the HogwartsProfessor faculty members.

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Lethal White TV Production: Louise’s Review of the Bronte Strike 4 Adaptation

We interrupt the fascinating discussion of Troubled Blood for a brief review of another recent Cormoran Strike release:  the Bronte Film and Television production of Lethal White for the BBC. It premiered on August 30 in the UK, and, at four episodes, was the longest Strike season to date. The most notable bit of casting was Robert Glenister, brilliant narrator of all five Strike audiobooks, as Jasper Chiswell. We Yanks haven’t had official access to the production yet, though it, like the other Strike series, will presumably turn up on Cinemax.

But, a YouTuber calling himself Nikolas Ravenclaw has posted all four episodes (with Greek subtitles) as well as the two Career of Evil episodes. US Strike fans might be well-advised to seek it out before the copyright police step in.

I have watched the series a couple of times and have written out my impressions here after the jump.  Many spoilers ahead!

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Tune into Queen City Mischief and Magic for the Hogwarts Professor’s first public talk, post-Troubled Blood

I was fortunate enough to be able to recruit our Headmaster for a Zoom-recorded conversation on the Cormoran Strike Series for the online Queen City Mischief and Magic festival, in this, the Year that Shall Not Be Named. This is, to my knowledge, the first public speech he has given that mentions Troubled Blood, its place in the Strike series and its connections, as predicted, to both Order of the Phoenix and Career of Evil.   

The talk was aimed at convincing adult Harry Potter fans who have not yet checked out the series to do so, and, as such, we avoid major spoilers.  There is no mention of the the killers in each book and the major developments in romantic relationships of the protagonists.

Nonetheless, Serious Strikers are invited to tune in to Facebook see the presentation.  Please leave your comments on the festival page (and hashtag your favorite Hogwarts House to earn festival points!) but please no spoilers.

Thank you, John!

Queen City Mischief and Magic goes online for The Year That Shall Not Be Named.

I have been part of this festival since it debuted (as Queen City Potter Party) in 2016.  What was originally hoped to be a few hundred fans gathered to celebrate the publication of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child wound up attracting a several thousand visitors and shutting down the the streets of Staunton VA for the day.

This year, with the COVID situation, the festival has gone online.  This is sad news for us locals who have enjoyed the in-person fellowship for that past four years, but good news for those of you who can’t routinely travel to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  Please check out the offerings on Facebook:  In particular, Hogpro readers are invited to attend my lectures on Muggle Scientists and Magical Names and Hermione, Katniss and Tris: Which two are most alike?  And stay tuned here, because I am still hoping for a Cormoran Strike talk from our Headmaster.