What is the Place of Pottermania in the Cormoran Strike World?

In the first Reading Writing Rowling podcast on Cormoran Strike, we speculated about whether the Harry Potter phenomenon would ever be mentioned in the Robert Galbraith series. The series is well-known for including mention of contemporary news stories in the series: William and Kate’s engagement and marriage, the shutdown of the News of the World amid the phone-tapping scandal, the London Olympics. But, there has been no mention another major news event of the time: the premiere of the final Harry Potter movies. Deathly Hallows Part 1  opened on the day of the Roper Chard party in The Silkworm; Part 2 would have premiered during the prologue of Lethal White, when Robin was nursing Matthew back to health after his encounter with the sea-borne bacteria.  Save a mention of Emma Watson on a real-life magazine cover–at the same time Charlotte Campbell graced the cover of the fictional Tatler–there has been no hint of the Harry Potter phenomenon in any of the Strike books. It was Dr. Karen Keblare’s opinion, and I think the rest of us concurred, that Mr. Galbraith would probably avoid the awkwardness that mention of Ms. Rowling’s creation would bring.

That doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t wonder, though.  Overlapping key Harry Potter dates on the Strike books’ timeline shows that Robin would have been prime Generation Hex age, as a twelve-year-old schoolgirl at the time of Philosopher’s Stone’s publication. As a straight-A student with an inquisitive mind and a thirst for mysteries, it is highly likely she would have been a fan of the series. Moreover, she would have been near the end of secondary school and preparing for university when the three-year book drought was broken by the publication of Order of the Phoenix. This puts the start of her university career, the rape, and Matthew’s first betrayal during the gap between Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince. 

Once you realize that, it becomes easy to imagine Robin as a Potterphile, and even speculate that she, like many other readers, found the series a source of comfort after trauma. I’ll admit that idea has been percolating in my head for some time.  Therefore, when I saw a fan-fiction challenge to write a short, romantic story with the prompt of “That Touch of Magic,” I saw an opportunity to flesh out this idea a bit.  Thus, I have written my first real fan-fiction in probably a quarter of a century, and the first not to involve a DC Comics character. As you can see, I took the opportunity to plug Hogwartsprofessor.com, pull an extensive Mary-Sue on Robin by letting her write my own paper, and even give Strike a chance to meet his own author.

Please check it out and comment, here or there.  It is quite G-rated, except for a few of Strike’s usual swear words. And be assured, I have no intention of contributing further to his particular genre.

Chosen Ones Quotation Release

Hot on the heels of the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes excerpt, we get a thesis statement from Veronica Roth about her new book.

The author goes on to say, on her Facebook post:

Every book I write has a couple quotes that are almost like thesis statements. It’s not intentional; I find them when I’m done, these moments of writing when I really figured out what I was trying to say and winnowed it down to just a few words. This is one of the Chosen Ones thesis statements. *
*
Sloane isn’t the one who says this, it’s one of the other Chosen Ones, the one for whom this sentiment is the most appropriate…but it speaks for all of them. The book is FUN, and funnier than anything else I’ve written, and it’s also about this– about the cost of shouldering burdens at a young age, the cost of surviving that. The cost of saving the world. They paid it so other people didn’t have to.

Have I mentioned I’m looking forward to this?  Oh yeah, I have. Between this and the Hunger Games prequel, I’m going to be partying like its 2011.

Add a possible Cormoran Strike 5 and I might just swoon.

 

Blizzard Warning: Excerpt from Hunger Games Prequel Posted.

Barely three months from the publication of the Hunger Games prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, readers have been treated to a sneak preview. The excerpt is short: less than 1000 words, but has already created a sensation. If you haven’t read it, go here before reading further.  Spoilers, ho!

[Read more…]

New Journal on Fantasy and Fan Culture

Attention fans, writers, scholars, and all combinations thereof!  A new scholarly publication, The Journal of Fantasy and Fan Culture has just premiered, sponsored by the English Department of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  Their first volume will focus on (what else?) Harry Potter! The deadline for submission of scholarly papers is April 1, so check out the guidelines here.  Special note:  no PhD’s allowed.

Still, sounds like a great opportunity for students and masters. I am certain that many of our Hogpro readers could make thoughtful contributions.

Hogwarts Mystery Barely Scores an Acceptable Owl.

Besides reading Harry Potter in Spanish over the holiday, I picked up Hogwarts Mystery for the first time in months and started playing again. I started the game shortly after it was released, and played regularly for a while, but it is the sort of activity I find it hard to sustain long-term.

The Pro’s:  You definitely feel immersed in the world of Hogwarts.  My character is Thelma Peterswarren, and she is currently a fourth year Ravenclaw.  She has mastered the Animagus-form of an eagle and recently learned her Patronus is a Winged Horse (the fact the the two creatures are supposed to be the same notwithstanding..)  Bill Weasley is one of her best friends, and she is not getting to know Charlie, so she wrangled an invitation to the Weasley’s for Christmas this year (via Flying Ford Anglia!). And, like me, she is just now getting to her first Quidditch game; unlike me, she immediately decided to try out for the team.

The “mystery” itself is mildly interesting…  the brother of my character, Jacob, was expelled from Hogwarts, and has since disappeared.  The disappearance is related to the mysterious “Cursed Vaults”, which the protagonist is as determined to find as Harry was the Chamber of Secrets. Between searching, she gets to hang out with friends like Rowen, Penny, Ben and Tonks, and tangle with her arch-enemy, Slytherin Merula and a nasty Professor Snape.

The downside of the game is the pacing.  The bulk of the tasks are the same, whether they are classes, side quests or special events.  Basically, you look at graphics and tap things outlined in blue. Each tap costs a point of energy, and each energy takes 4 minutes to regenerate…  so it takes over three hours to fill up; my storage gets me through maybe 1/2 to 1/3 of a task.  If you are away too long, your “stars” expire and you have to start over. So, if you are not checking in every 2-3 hours around the clock, your progress is painfully slow.  You earn coins, jewels, books, etc along the way, but it can take weeks to save up for the next thing you want to buy—  like nifty new Ravenclaw gear for your room–and any you spend there is less you have to spend on emergency energy if you come up short.  You can always pay Muggle cash to move faster, but I swore, like in Pokemon Go, I was not going to do that.

The dueling is fun if you like a good game of Rock Paper Scissors.  There are cute touches, like getting to choose the name “Fang” for Hagrid’s new puppy. There are other tidbits that may or may not be relevant:  why are Merula’s parents in Azkaban?  Why did a werewolf kill Penny’s sister?  But overall, the game is too frustrating for me to play it too often— only when I have nothing better to do.  I sometime wonder how long before I just go look up the mystery solution online.

In other news, thanks to the support of a number of Potter Pundits and friends of this blog, I am 80% to the way of my goal for the Ecuador Skillcorps 2020 team.  (ignore the strikeout, the link works!)  The Hufflepuffs are leading the way in donations, in support of Dr. Laura Crysel’s personality theory work. I have five more days of my campaign, so please help me fill the Gringott’s vault. It isn’t cursed.  You can also get my magical, house-colored shirts at my Bonfire Store, but the Make Magic variety is only available for a day or two longer.