Is Strike6’s Title ‘The Last Cries of Men’?

Patricio Tarantino of The Rowling Library shared with me last night his discovery of the trademark for The Christmas Pig being registered in 2012. I was delighted to have this information because it supports my theory that this story was in long development, and was the novel described in the Q&A on her website.

The company that registered the trademark is Shastan Ltd, and after checking with Companies House in the UK it appears it’s sole purpose was to register this trademark with no obvious link to Rowling. This is the same tactic used for registering the trademark for The Ickabog, using in that case Portree Regent Ltd. Both Shastan and Portree Regent share a director, and Professor Granger suggested looking at the other companies this director is listed for.

Then things started getting really exciting. Join me after the jump to learn about a possible title for the next Cormoran Strike novel, one trademarked in 2015: The Last Cries of Men.

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A Mythological Key to Cormoran Strike? The Myth of Eros, Psyche, and Venus

Tuesday I discussed seven points in Troubled Blood that suggest a Jungian reading of Strike5 and perhaps the entire Cormoran Strike series is what Rowling-Galbraith wants her readers to attempt. As I concluded in that post, I do not think Rowling is necessarily a Jungian herself but her mentioning the Swiss psychologist in the text by name, her repeated references to Jungian signatures in the story-line, most notably archetypes and symbolism, synchronicity-coincidences, and persona-identity, and the embedded ‘True Book’ that seems a story-cipher for Jung’s mysterious ‘New Book,’ individually and taken together are a big push towards interpreting Strike through a Jungian lens.

Today I want to take the second and follow-up step in that effort in the hope that I have succeeded via yesterday’s post in justifying a Jungian approach. In the post that follows, I will review Rowling’s soul-focused artistry and then argue that her Strike novels are in large part her retelling of the myth of Psyche and Eros as the Jungian school understands it, that is, as an allegory of, as Erich Neumann puts it, “the development of feminine psychology.” This post is preface to the third step in my Jung argument, namely, that the Strike series is an “externalization” or allegory of the integration of anima and animus in its male and female character leads.

This second step-post will have four parts: 

  • a discussion of Rowling’s stated beliefs about the soul and how it is the focus of her story-telling,
  • a review of her psychological artistry in Potter and the post Potter novels and screenplays,
  • a synopsis of the Eros and Psyche myth, and
  • a point to point look at the parallels in the story thus far with speculation about novels to come.

See you after the jump! Forty illustrations taken from traditional paintings and statues of Eros and Psyche…

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Strike’s SIB 1: Hatherill of the Yard

At the start of The Cuckoo’s Calling, as Cormoran and Robin are still recovering from their collision of a meeting, Strike gives Robin the password to the office computer: Hatherill23. Any password needs to be memorable, so who or what is Hatherill?

Strikefans.com were the first (I think) to identify Detective Chief Inspector George Hatherill of Scotland Yard, so join me after the jump to find out more of his remarkable career, and why he may be so important to Strike.

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Troubled Blood: A Jungian Reading

Before we begin any involved job, be it one of building a yurt or considering the work of a given author, we make sure we have the right tools for the job. As we continue our efforts to come to terms with Rowling-Galbraith’s longest and most involved work to date, Troubled Blood, it’s worth the time to ask ourselves if we are using the right tools, the appropriate methods for examining any of her work. In this post I want both to review the evidence within Troubled Blood and Rowling’s interviews that she wants us to be thinking about the interpretative perspective of Carl Jung, legendary psychologist and to suggest the value and limitations of this approach.

I have resisted believing or saying that this a valuable approach in the past for reasons I will discuss in my conclusion. It certainly is an approach others have used before with greater and lesser success.

Gail Grynbaum’s ‘The Secrets of Harry Potter,’ published in 2000 and revised in 2013 was the first, and, though incomplete, remains the best of the truly Jungian readings of the Hogwarts Saga.  Jordan Peterson, perhaps the most famous Jungian today, perhaps even the most influential psychologist, spoke about the archetypal qualities of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in one of his most popular videos. Fandom critics have tried to link Jung’s ideas on alchemy and the Shadow with elements of Rowling’s work (see here and here) and there are a slew of readers who have posted about the Hero’s Journey — Jungian elements via disciple Joseph Campbell — and archetypal characters in her work.

After the jump I offer seven reasons evident in the text of Strike5 for believing that Rowling-Galbraith is highlighting Jung, his signature tools, and suggesting that they are appropriate for a close reading of Troubled Blood. I’ll conclude with three take-home ideas about what this means for Serious Strikers and Potter Pundits, both more and les than you might think.

First, though, the seven reasons to believe Rowling has read Jung or at least wants her serious readers to think of him on their revisits to Troubled Blood. [Read more…]

Career of Evil and Strike Speculation 100: Untangling the Timeline of Donald Laing

The errors associated with Donald Laing’s history have already been mentioned on this site (see John’s ‘The Trouble with JKR/Galbraith Dates’). So, how are readers to make sense of it all, especially when we are looking to Cormoran Strike’s own past as the key to the “big mystery” of the series: who killed Leda? Since Laing’s army career intersected with Strike’s twice, figuring out his history informs us on Strike’s.

For convenience, I list below 25 passages from Career of Evil that make some sort of actual or implied claim on the timeline of Laing’s life. Remember that Career is set in April-July 2011. Strike is 36, going on 37 in November. 

  1.  “I got him life…Out in ten. He’s been on the loose since 2007.”
  2. “I’m pretty sure he was at an address in Corby in 2008, but he’s moved on.”
  3. “He had not seen Brockbank for eight years, Laing for nine.
  4. “He was before I knew you. King’s Own Royal Borderers. Knew him in Cyprus.”
  5. “He’s the Scot I landed in jail for ten years.
  6. “…who had been only twenty when they had first met.
  7. “…whom he had first met eleven years previously in a boxing ring.
  8. “the younger man perhaps faster on his feet, Strike superior in technique.”
  9. His senior officer had accepted Laing’s plea of mitigating circumstances…he had entered the ring deeply distressed by news of his fiancée’s miscarriage.
  10. Three years later, Strike had arrived in Cyprus to investigate an alleged rape.”
  11. “Donald Laing had been sentenced to sixteen years’ imprisonment for what he had done to his wife.”
  12. “He came back to see his mother a few years back.”
  13. “Och, four or five years ago, that would’ve been.”
  14. “He turned up on her doorstep, forced his way into the bungalow.”
  15. “When Rhona first took up with him—she was fifteen and he was seventeen—
  16. “He wanted tae join the army. Good riddance, I thought. I hoped she’d forget him if he left. Then he came back. He got her pregnant but she lost it… she went and married him on his next leave…Off to Cyprus together.
  17. Six months she lived in fear of him turning up and then one day he did.”
  18. “She and Laing had a baby, didn’t they? The kid must be, what, ten by now?
  19. “Have you got any idea where Laing went after turning up at Rhona’s?” “Yes.  Apparently he went to Gateshead, but I don’t know whether he’s still there.”
  20. “He spent a decade inside and I doubt they managed to rehabilitate him. He’s been out over four years: plenty of time to commit murder.”
  21. “It’s only twelve miles from Corby. We could swing by and see whether the Laing who was shacked up with a woman there in 2008 is our Laing.”
  22. “How long were you together?” “Ten months.
  23. “Unsolved murder in Leeds, 2009. Prostitute, originally from Cardiff. Then, last year, a girl was killed and mutilated in Milton Keynes. Sadie Roach, her name was.
  24. “He thought about Laing, living alone in his grim Wollaston Close flat, claiming his disability benefit, overweight and infirm, looking far older than his real age of thirty-four.”
  25. “Police have charged thirty-four-year-old Donald Laing with the murders of Kelsey Platt, Heather Smart, Martina Rossi and Sadie Roach.”

It is already obvious that not all 25 time references can be accurate.

  • Laing could not be sentenced to both 16 years (11) and life (1).
  • If Laing is 34 at the time of Career (24, 25), and 20 (6) at the time of the boxing match, the match did not happen 11 years ago (7), but 14.
  • If Laing was released in 2007 after serving 10 years (1, 5, 20), he would have been jailed in 1997. This presents multiple problems:
    • It puts Strike 3-4 years off in his estimate of the age of the baby he rescued (18).
    • For the boxing match to occur three years before the arrest (10), it would have happened in 1994, when Strike was 19 (for most of the calendar year, anyway), and therefore not older than 20-year-old Laing (6, 8).
    • This would also have Strike first meeting Laing in the ring a full 17 years ago, not 11 (7). In 1994, Strike would likely not even be in the Army yet, much less promoted to Corporal and boxing in a tournament. 

So, unless Donnie is a time-traveler as well as a sociopath, or the Red Caps boxing team illegally imported some Oxford students, some of the above must be in error. The question is, is there a way to make sense of most of it, given what else we know about Strike’s history?  See my efforts on that front after the jump.

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