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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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
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.

 

 

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:

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