Beatrice Groves – Secrets of the Red Room

With The Hallmarked Man on the horizon and J. K. Rowling treating us to a new Twitter Header, 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: Secrets of the Red Room. 

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Rowling Studies Podcast – Sark, Snark and Censorship

Join John and Nick as they explore the strange and quirky island of Sark, take a look at the latest J. K. Rowling twitter storms and stand in admiration of her heroic stand against judicial free-speech suppression in Scotland. Sark, Snark and Censorship.

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File:Brecqhou - Barclay Brothers Castle.jpg

The Barclay Brothers Faux Gothic Castle on Brecqhou -Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


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Roses from Rowling – A Solution at Last!

Wizarding News™ on X: "Harry Potter author JK Rowling sent ...Way back in December 2021 I posted about the enduring mystery of the roses that were sent to Marilyn Manson nearly a year before. 

My conjecture then was:

1. Assistance in developing or correcting the occult/demonic/satanic aspects of Troubled Blood. He doesn’t appear in the acknowledgments, but perhaps this is understandable given Rowling’s experience of the American evangelical backlash to Potter.

2. Thanks for supporting Johnny Depp, or in response to Manson’s thanks to Rowling for standing with him.

3. Something to do with The Ink Black Heart.

None were particularly compelling, and The Ink Black Heart turned out to be a bust. Much like the mystery of the 50 roses in Career of Evil I had assumed this may be a mystery that would never be solved. That was until last Sunday, when at last there was a plausible explanation.

A Twitter user posted that the roses were for the 1980’s British and Jamaican pop singer Marilyn. Marylin has been a long time supporter of J. K. Rowling and has received more than a little push back from fellow gender non-conforming men as a result.

The story goes that the error was made (presumably by her office, Marilyn not exactly well known outside of his fanbase) and Rowling contacted him to apologise. The story was related by Marilyn himself during a Twitter space, and has this Rowling student convinced. Let me know in the comments what you think, does this close the case?


Beatrice Groves – The Hallmarked Man

J. K. Rowling has revealed the title to Strike 8 whilst sharing her appreciation for her visit to Sark:

This was followed later by a change in header, very quickly identified by Pools of The Strike and Ellacott Files as an early 20th century hallmarked silver Neff. A decorative sailing ship used as a container in grand dining rooms from the 13th century onwards.

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: The Hallmarked Man. Join Dr Groves after the jump for an exploration of hallmarks, saints and Sark!

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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
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.