Freemasonry and J. K. Rowling – Strike 8

As the last days of what seemed like an interminable January faded, speculation about the next instalment of Robert Galbreath’s Strike-Ellacott series was given a welcome boost as J. K. Rowing posted a new header on her X homepage. Strike sleuths were quick to identify the Art Deco façade of Freemason’s Hall in London, which is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England, the governing body for Freemasonry in England.

Dr Beatrice Groves has written about the connection between the square and compass masonic symbol and the Deathly Hallows symbol, but the image here is the coat of arms of The United Grand Lodge of England. The compass and square is represented here on the left side of the shield aligned as a chevron. The official description given by the collage of arms is:

Arms : Per pale gules and quarterly azure and Or, dexter on a chevron between three castles argent a pair of compasses extended of the third, sinister cross quarterly of the fourth and vert between in the first quarter a lion rampant of the third, in the second an ox passant sable, in the third a man with hands elevated proper vested of the fifth the robe crimson lined with ermine, and in the fourth an eagle displayed also of the third; the whole within a bordure of the first charged with eight lions passant guardant of the third.
Crest: On a wreath of the colours, A representation of an Ark supported on either side by a cherub proper, with the motto over in Hebrew characters “Holiness to the Lord”.
Supporters: On either side a cherub proper.
Motto: Audi, vide, tace

The shield is a combination of the arms of the Masons’ Company, a London guild of operative masons granted in 1472. This is the three castles separated by the compass and square. The other half of the shield belonged to the Atholl or Antient society of Freemasons with merged with Grand Lodge to form the United Grand Lodge in 1813. The shield of the Atholl Masons is comprised of the symbols of the four evangelists, the lion (Mark), the bull (Luke), a man (Matthew) and the eagle (John). I was not the first to notice the similarity between these symbols and the Hogwarts Houses. The motto: “Audi, Vide, Tace”, means “Hear, See and be Silent” enforcing the famed secrecy of Freemasonry.

J. K. Rowling by dint of her sex is ineligible for membership. It is curious however, that she has both grown up and ended up in areas that are particularly noted for their Freemasonry. Lodges within the Masonic Province of Bristol are unusual for several reasons. All lodges within Bristol meet at the Freemason’s Hall, Bristol and despite the drop in popularity for the craft it boasts 38 Craft Lodges, 14 Royal Arch Chapters, and 7 Mark Lodges, 3 Royal Ark Lodges. It is also home to the esoteric Rite of Baldwyn comprising of seven degrees:

Iº − Craft Freemasonry
Entered Apprentice
Fellowcraft
Master Mason

IIº − Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch

IIIº − Knights of the Nine Elected Masters
IVº − The Ancient Order of Scots Knights Grand Architect
Order of Scots Knights Grand Architect
Order of Scots Knights of Kilwinning
Vº − Knights of the East, the Sword and Eagle
VIº − Knights of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta
Knights of St John of Jerusalem
Knights Templar
VIIº − Knights of the Rose Croix of Mount Carmel

The Royal Arch degree is unique in England for including the ceremony of “Passing the Veils” symbolising the path to enlightenment that a mason undergoes as he progresses in the craft. Given Peter Rowling’s upward social mobility from working class apprentice to engineer and moving from the Bristol suburbs to middle class Tutshill, it isn’t beyond reason to wonder if Peter might have been tempted by the social and career advantages that freemasonry might have offered him and exposed a young Joanne to some of the symbolism.

Edinburgh, as well as being the home of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, is also home to if not the oldest lodge in the world, then at least the one with the oldest records. Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No. 1 has minutes of meetings from 31st July 1599. There have long been arguments between this Lodge and the one in Kilwinning on the other coast of Scotland as to which is the oldest. (see IVº of the Rite of Baldwyn above)

We don’t yet know what the meaning behind the header will be for book eight, but the secrecy, symbolism and ceremony of Freemasonry would prove a fertile ground for Rowling, Robin, and Strike to explore.

 

 

Rowling Studies – The Podcast of Hogwarts Professor

The faculty at Hogwarts Professor have been busy creating a podcast to expand what we do here exploring the artistry and meaning J. K. Rowling and other great writers.

The home of the podcast is on our Substack site here, and you will never miss an episode if you subscribe. An email will wing its way into your inbox as soon as an episode is ready.

I listen to (many and many) podcasts on a pod-catcher application called Pocket Casts, so for convenience we are gradually pushing Rowling Studies to all the popular podcast aggregator sites. The sites you can currently access are:

Apple iTunes here.

Pocket Casts here.

Spotify here.

Audible here.

Amazon Music here.

Stitcher here.

Pandora here.

Google Podcasts here.

If you would like to listen to Rowling Studies on any other site, just let me know in the comments below!

Strike8: The Charlotte Campbell Murder Mystery

In the literary world crafted by Robert Galbraith, readers are accustomed to intricate plots, complex characters, and mysteries that keep them on the edge of their seats. One such enigma unfolds in The Running Grave, where the death of Charlotte Campbell raises, for me, more questions than answers. While the official verdict may be suicide, a closer examination of the details surrounding her demise suggests that Charlotte’s fate is more likely the result of foul play.

In The Strange Death of Charlotte Campbell, Nick Jeffery puts forward the idea that the structure of the series, unresolved questions of Charlotte’s character, and cryptonymic clues suggest that she was murdered.

Am I the only Serious Striker that thinks Charlotte was murdered? Could she turn out to be Snape with her death having been her final sacrifice?

John Granger concurs and further suggests a list of suspects in Strike8: The Charlotte Campbell Murder Mystery. Looking at Rowling’s inspiration, her Lake subject matter that she forms via her Shed construction into the literature we love, John finds even more evidence that suicide as murder, or murder made to look like suicide will be link that joins the book 1-7 as we know it to the 8-10 finale.

For more please visit The Hogwarts Professor Substack:

The Strange Death of Charlotte Campbell

Strike8: The Charlotte Campbell Murder Mystery

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Beatrice Groves: Strike’s Church Going

 Beatrice Groves, Research Fellow and tutor at Trinity College, Oxford, and author of  Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, has written a Hogwarts Professor Guest Post: Strike’s Church Going.  Discussing one of the most beautiful and pivotal moments in The Running Grave, in a post first shared on Hogwarts Professor Substack on the 49th birthday of Cormoran Strike. Find out more, join Prof Groves after the jump:

[Read more…]

Reading ‘Running Grave’ as the End of the Strike Series (A)

Strike7’s Parallels to ‘Cuckoo’s Calling’ Make it the Completion of a Ring Cycle

Last week I wrote a post saying that it was time to start pretending that Rowling had died or written her last book and move on to the next (and final) stage of literary criticism: ‘Is Rowling’s Best Work Behind Her Now?’ I caught quite a bit of blow-back on that intentionally provocative post, but not for the reasons I expected.

I thought Strike fandom would line-up to say what an idiot I was because the detective series is supposed to be ten books long per the author and her publisher, the Strike-Ellacott romance obviously hasn’t played out, and the last three novels have been the best in the series, no sign of Rowling-Galbraith having lost her touch. Silly me, I anticipated that readers would object to the assertion that Cormoran Strike wasn’t over, rather than quibble at my twenty-five year rule (when I listed significant counter-evidence to that rule).

For more please visit The Hogwarts Professor Substack. You do not need to subscribe to read, but if you choose to, subscription is free.