How to Get Ready for ‘Troubled Blood’

What is the best way to get ready for the publication of Strike5, Troubled Blood?

I think, based on my experience with previous Rowling releases, at least three efforts will yield the best results.

First and most obvious: re-read the books that precede the new entry. Rowling is a maestro of narrative slow release, one who plants clues and foreshadowings of coming attractions in the first books of a series. I enjoy listening to the Robert Glenister audio-books of the Strike novels for a fun review (and I keep a notepad with me while I listen if something catches my attention).

Second: review the HogwartsProfessor posts and MuggleNet podcasts on the books in question. You won’t find discussion of subjects from mythology and alchemy to the links with parallel numbers in the Harry Potter series and the ring composition of each book and the series as whole anywhere else. Get yourself up to speed with the conversation that has been happening here at Serious Reader Central about Cormoran, Robin, and Company.

Third: Join that conversation! There are the comment threads here, of course, and now the #StrikeReadAlong for you to jump in and share your questions, insights, and critique. The more the merrier — and it’s never too late!

How are you preparing for Troubled Blood? Has anyone tackled Faerie Queen or a prolonged listen to Marilyn Manson albums?

Rowling Retweets Swan Reunion

For Serious Strikers out there, this is a point of interest because… well, The Swan Symbolism in Lethal White. See also Elizabeth Baird-Hardy on the subject and Joanne Gray.

Swans separated and re-united may be the single most important image or metaphor for the Cormoran Strike-Robin Ellacott relationship.

Discuss.

 

Reading, Writing, Rowling 37: Troubled Blood? Spencer, Manson, and More!

 

From the MuggleNet write-up by Laurie Beckoff:

In this bonus episode John and Katy predict what will happen in the next novel in the Rowling/Galbraith Cormoran Strike series with the help of Elizabeth Baird Hardy (Milton, Spencer, and the Chronicles of Narnia) and Beatrice Groves (Literary Allusion in Harry Potter). Given the Strike 5 title Troubled Blood, John explains Rowling’s reliance on the blood motif in Harry Potter and ponders its recurrence in Cormoran Strike. We speculate about the possibility of Marilyn Manson epigraphs through the book, how Manson lyrics could connect with key characters, and whether this blows apart the potential for repeating the chiastic structure of the Harry Potter series. Other clues point to the phrase “troubled blood” in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene. Like Rowling, Spenser mixes genres, with literary allusions abounding. Britomart, Florimell, and the Redcrosse Knight provide hints for the plot and characters of Strike 5: women in danger, Robin in disguise, depression and suicide, doppelgängers. From tattoos to Twitter headers, we leave no clue unexamined! Are we on the right track? What do you think?

Rowling’s New Twitter Header Means The Faerie Queene is a Strike 5 Theme?

As many of us are anxiously looking forward to the release of the fifth Cormoran Strike novel, Troubled Blood, this September, the latest change to J.K. Rowling’s Twitter account may have some clues. The novel’s title has several possible origins, including Edmund Spenser’s epic poem The Faerie Queene. With her recently changed Twitter header, which includes an image from a beautifully illustrated 1890s edition of The Faerie Queene, Rowling and her crime-writing alter-ego Robert Galbraith may be laying the groundwork for a Spenser-scaffolding installment in the adventures of the ever-fascinating Strike and Robin Ellacott. Some of us truly hope that is the case.

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Three Thoughts about ‘Troubled Blood’

(1) The only purpose of releasing the title of a book and its release date is marketing, i.e., it creates buzz which generates pre-orders from booksellers. ‘Buzz’ from a book title alone these days means speculation and conversation about the book beyond, “Ooh, cant’wait.” I confess to being a little resistant to furthering marketers’ ends but, hey, we were already discussing the possibility that Strike5 would have Marilyn Manson title and epigraphs before we were given the title. I might as well continue along that line, no?

If you’ve been following the comment threads here at HogwartsProfessor since the announcement (here is a link to Louise Freeman’s handy collection of same in a post), you know that Marilyn Manson is still in the game because the words “troubled” and “blood” appear in his ‘Mind of a Lunatic‘ and similar tortured rock groups lyricists use the words (cf., Miss World’s album of that name and Love Me Destroyer’s ‘Add Vice’). Nick Jeffrey found ‘troubled blood’ in an Edmund Spencer poem and another reference in a George Chapman play, the latter of which ChrisC tied into previous speculation about Keats. I’ll be delighted if it’s Manson because of the clear parallel with Strike3’s Blue Oyster Cult epigraphs; I’ll be at least as relieved if Rowling departs from ring formula, though, and gives us another Silkworm journey down a neglected part of the Western Canon and English literature.

(2) I’ve been doing a re-read of all the Rowling novels this past month, Strike, Potter and Vacancy, and you’d have to blind and deaf not to be struck by all the references to blood and specifically the eugenic agonies of ‘pure blood.’ Not only is blood-status a recurrent back-drop to the core conflicts of the Hogwarts Saga, it plays out as well in the Wizarding World film franchise spin-off Fantastic Beasts. Harry’s victory over the Dark Lord in Hallows turns as much on Voldemort’s mistaken calculation about using Harry’s blood to reconstitute his body in Goblet as it does on the wand lore surprise.

And Strike? Well, Serious Striker Joanne Gray has already written about this. Strike’s parentage makes him a de facto mud-blood to Charlotte’s clan but the inbreeding of the aristocracy seems to have caused more than a touch of madness in Jago Ross and the Campbells as well. The observation by the old friend that Strike’s mysterious attractive power that works on the flighty women drawn to him is their hope for an infusion of “carthorse blood” is an echo of this blood-line back-drop. Troubled Blood, whatever the reference source turns out to be, is a natural for Rowling’s concerns as a writer.

(3) The publisher’s announcement promised a cover and a story blurb “very soon” which I expect will give us a much better idea about the origins of the Troubled Blood title. It also will provide a story outline of sorts, the central conflict, as a taste-teaser to create further buzz and bookstore orders in advance. So what? Well, if you want to take a guess about the plot line of Troubled Blood, you’d better make your guesses yesterday; you won’t get any credit for predictions made along the lines of the story the cover blurb or excerpt points us to. Please review Louise Freeman’s predictions for Strike5 as the baseline for last minute speculation!

And here is the helpful page you’ll want to keep at hand: Countdown to Troubled Blood