Unicorn Hunting in Secrets of Dumbledore


Beatrice Groves has talked of the importance of the Asian unicorn – the qilin, and its European equivalent in Secrets of Dumbledore. This is dramatically represented in six paintings of unicorns at battle in the restaurant scene. The clearest images I can find of the final five painting are in the ‘behind the scenes’ trailer posted by Film Riot (hat tip Beatrice!).

Now super sleuth Vincenzo Leone has identified the inspiration behind the first of the paintings (credit again to Dr Groves’s wonderful spot!):

Death of the Consol Publius Decius was painted by Rubens in 1616 as one of a set of eight models for a series of tapestries. The painting depicts the death of Decius in the battle of the republican Romans against the Latins in Italy. At a crucial moment in the battle the Consul sacrifices himself by charging his horse into the enemy as an act of spiritual devotion foretold in a prophetic dream.

Do any of the other paintings seem familiar? Let me know in the comments down below.

Beatrice Groves – Secrets of Dumbledore: First Thoughts

In the wake of the UK theatrical release of Fantastic Beasts: the Secrets of Dumbledore and the (long awaited) US release on 15th April, Beatrice Groves, Research Lecturer and tutor at Trinity College, Oxford, and author of  Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, has written a Hogwarts Professor Guest Post: Secrets of Dumbledore: First Thoughts. Many spoilers after the jump…….Beware!

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What does the German Title for Ink Black Heart Mean?

Yesterday, twitter user ChrisMarple shared that the German translation title has been released, and it is Das tiefschwarze Herz. This struck me as a bit odd, as I couldn’t see the German word ‘tinte’ for ink.

As beautiful as the English language is, it can be somewhat imprecise. Depending upon which word is stressed The Ink Black Heart can mean:

A black heart made of ink.

Ink in the shape of a black heart.

An inky-black heart.

The heart may be the bodily organ, or may refer to the centre or core of a thing. All of this of course will be great fun for an author such as Rowling to create multiple reflections and resonances of the title. So what of the German title?

Das tiefschwarze Herz means ‘The deep-black [or jet-black] heart’, with no mention of ink. Another possible translation could have been Das tintenschwarze Herz, the lack of capitalisation making clear that ink-black / tintenschwarze is an adjective, and not to be confused with the noun druckerschwärze meaning printer’s ink.

So what does this mean for the new instalment? For German readers at least, this book is about an inky-black heart, and less likely about a tattoo. As a cautionary note, my German is at schoolboy level at best, any comments and corrections are welcome.

J. K. Rowling – There’s No Smoke Without Fire

As our Headmaster showed yesterday, J. K. Rowling enjoyed a lunch in London with some of the women she has been corresponding with over the last year. Several newspaper headlines and thousands of twitter comments later, my attention is still on the minutia of what the photographs show us.

Rowling is wearing a red badge of the type worn by school prefects in the UK as a badge of authority. The wording in schools will be either ‘PREFECT’ or ‘HEAD GIRL[BOY]’ depending on office, and the colour will be usually related to the house the prefect belongs to. The writing is indistinct but it seems J.K.R has been elected Head Girl of Gryffindor.

Simultaneously Dr Beatrice Groves and myself spotted that she is also seen holding an electronic vaporiser or vape pen. On her homepage there is a mysterious plastic bottle, next to some hand cream and hair bands. I have long thought that this might be a bottle of nicotine solution, but the lunch party is the first evidence that Rowling vapes.

Dr Groves has predicted that we will see Cormoran vaping in In Black Heart, and my guess is that he will be using, rather than a vape pen, something much more industrial, emitting clouds of distracting vapor and useful as a missile in a fight.

Fantastic Beatrice – and Where to Find Them

In the run up to the cinematic release of Fantastic Beasts 3: The Secrets of Dumbledore Dr. Beatrice Groves, Research Lecturer and tutor at Trinity College, Oxford, and author of  Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, has written five articles exploring the influences and allusions J. K. Rowling may have woven into the new film. The first two of these were hosted on Hogwarts Professor and the final three in Bathilda’s Notebook hosted by Mugglenet.

In anticipation and celebration of the upcoming release, now is the time brush up on all things Beasts, collected for your reference below:

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