Troubled Blood: Mythic Cornwall

Structure is a big deal in Strike Studies, right? Much of what I wrote in my Part-By-Part reading of Troubled Blood was explanation of Rowling-Galbraith’s borderline OCD ring artistry in Strike5, but there are other structural elements that order and organize the novel’s progression start to finish.

The most obvious one, I think, is gift-giving at holidays and birthdays. Robin’s birthday is a marker in Parts one and seven, Christmas is the turn in the front half of the book, Valentine’s Day the novel’s pivot point in Part four, and Easter and its observance in Cornwall is the parallel with Christmas in the ‘back half’ of the book. Each marks the status quo in Strike’s struggle to change, to become more giving and understanding of others, rather than just the Agent of Vengeance and Justice. That’s worthy of a long post and I will add it to the list of more than fifty Troubled Blood post ideas I drew up this weekend (I kid you not).

The structural idea I want to explore today is that of Cornwall and how Cormoran’s trips there serve a “mythic function.” His four trips to Cornwall and his thoughts about and contact with same in the closing chapters, as with the gift-giving holidays and birthdays, are markers of Strike’s spiritual transformation, his experience of the nigredo, and his journey, if you will, to a transcendent realm. More after the jump! [Read more…]

Beatrice Groves: Two New Strike Posts!

Beatrice Groves, author of Literary Allusion in Harry Potter and a Research Fellow and Lecturer at Trinity College, Oxford University, is a Serious Striker and Potter Pundit of Renown. She writes for Leaky-Cauldron.org, MuggleNet.com, as well as for HogwartsProfessor — links to all her brilliant posts and podcasts have been collected on this Pillar Post page if you want to binge! — and I know that our readers here look forward as I do to everything new she has written.

This week she has posted two pieces at Leaky-Cauldron.org, her first articles I think since that website chose to ‘cancel’ J. K. Rowling and cast her out of Harry Potter fandom discussion; they did this for the thought-crime of transgressing acceptable opinions about transgender overreach and excesses in the United Kingdom. Professor Groves is the only writer at Leaky-Cauldron and MuggleNet that mentions She Who Must Not Be Named at those fan sites and Rowling-Galbraith’s new works, the Cormoran Strike mysteries.

The two pieces that went up this week, consequently, have something of the flavor of evangelical material; each introduces and explains the brave new world of Cormoran and Robin’s adventures to Harry Potter readers at Leaky-Cauldron who may not yet be aware of  the five books in print, which explanation and example of the fun to be had by Rowling Readers serves as an excellent invitation to the Galbraith series. And that’s an important effort, even if current evidence shows such outreach may be pearls before swine.

For Serious Strikers here at HogwartsProfessor, the two new posts are both an excellent review of much of what Prof Groves has written about the Peg-Legged PI previously and a delightful helping of bon mots of Troubled Blood interpretation that we have not yet seen. Enjoy!

**Harry Potter and the Mysteries of Cormoran Strike: Part 1 (Introductory Ideas)

**Harry Potter and the Mysteries of Cormoran Strike: Part 2 (Cratylic Names)

Troubled Blood: The Seal and Three Men

In chapter two of Troubled Blood, Strike has a smoke outside The Victory before climbing the hill for another uncomfortable night and early morning wake-up at the Nancarrow homestead. His reflections and cigarette smoking are interrupted by Anna Phipps and Kim Sullivan who ask him to consider taking on the cold case of Margot Bamborough’s disappearance.

Two images are offered repeatedly through this discussion: a seal in the water beneath the sea break and three young men catching a boat-ride. After the jump, I’ll review the times seals and the three drunk youths appear in the text and their probable source in Christian iconography, specifically, images from the life of St Maudez for whom St Mawes, Cornwall, is named. [Read more…]

Troubled Blood Sound Track: Eternal Father, Strong to Save (Joan’s Funeral)

Joan’s funeral service finished with the hymn most beloved of sailors, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.” While the congregation sang the familiar words, Ted, Strike, Dave Polworth and three of Ted’s comrades in the lifeboat service shouldered the coffin back down the aisle of the simple cream-walled church, with its wooden beams and its stained-glass windows depicting purple-robed St. Maudez, for whom both village and church were named. Flanked by an island tower and a seal on a rock, the saint watched the coffin-bearers pass out of the church.

O Savior, whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walked upon the foaming deep,
And calm amidst the rage did sleep…

Today, a little music. Tomorrow, some thoughts about the saint and the “seal on a rock.”

Troubled Blood: The Acknowledgments

Troubled Blood: The Acknowledgements’ is a HogwartsProfessor commissioned (“explicitly requested”) Guest Post. Its author, Nick Jeffery, is a longtime and frequent contributor to this website both in the post comment threads and as Go-To-Person for questions the staff here have about Rowling-Galbraith. It is a delight to welcome him to the Faculty Lounge to share his findings about all those named in the Troubled Blood Acknowledgement Page and about a few not mentioned as well. Enjoy!

I confess that one of the first things I do when faced with a new Robert Galbraith mystery is to immediately flip to the last pages. Not to spoil the mystery, or even to see how far the Robin-Cormoran relationship will develop, but to peek at the acknowledgements and its glimpse into the private world of J. K. Rowling’s still astonishing life.

Of necessity there were no acknowledgements in Cuckoo’s Calling lest the pseudonym be exposed but every book since has a page that lists her thanks in sometimes plain and sometimes intriguing language.

Join me after the jump to take a look at the acknowledgements in Troubled Blood. [Read more…]