Part V of Spenser and Strike: The Knight of Justice Comes up Swinging with Britomart Triumphant

Moorthi Sukumar : Faerie Queene - Edmund SpenserAs we head around the bend toward the back of the novel and the back of the year, the closing of the mystery and of the timespan that is clearly our stage, it’s time to take a peek at some of the best Faerie Queene  cues in Part Five. If you haven’t caught up to our thoughts on Troubled Blood so far, there is time, so check out our Hogwarts Professor takes on a wide variety of angles for this novel so far. I’m having a grand time keeping the Spenser score running, looking at ways in which our intrepid detectives are mirroring elements of The Faerie Queene, and I hope you’re having as much fun as we are! Follow me after the jump for five Faerie Queene  take-aways from Part Five! Remember, spoilers galore, so stop here if you need to get past chapter 59! [Read more…]

Troubled Blood  and Spenser–Part Four Thoughts

The Faerie Queene - WikipediaApologies for the late post today! With these hefty readings, I’m falling behind nearly as much as my students, but I dare say I’m having more fun with my reading than they are with theirs! I hope you’re enjoying the threads we’ve thus far discovered that tie Troubled Blood to its literary inspiration, Edmund Spenser’s epic Faerie Queene. If you have not been following along with our multi-faceted coverage of the new Cormoran Strike novel, I hope you’ll catch up, and then I hope you’ll come with me after the jump as we enter the next season, both literally and figuratively, in the latest installments of the adventures of our modern-day knights Artegall and Britomart, Strike and Robin.

As we are all racing toward what is sure to be a thrilling conclusion, it is sometimes hard to slow down long enough to process the artistry being exhibited by Rowling/Galbraith, but as we reach the end of Part 4, here are the four most interesting Spenser connections that both show the depth of our story’s connections to The Faerie Queene and may offer us clues for the journey ahead.

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Strike and Spenser Part 3-Names, Beasts, and Stars (and more!)

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know we are traveling on a day-by-day first-read-through journey of Troubled Blood, and I am your tour guide for the Spenserian bits of the trip, pointing out interesting Faerie Queene­-related scenery as we go past it. Of course, the weeks, months, and (likely) years to come will yield much more exciting discoveries, as our author, under whichever name she chooses, Alumnus Donates Rare 1611 Edition of “The Faerie Queene” | Bluff Stuffwrites book series that hold up under multiple reads, with new treasures revealed each time.

Join me today for thoughts on Part 3, the Winter section, with Discontent aplenty and some great Spenser connections! Spoilers after the jump, brave travelers, so if you’ve made it past page 344, keep reading below!

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Spenser Thoughts on Troubled Blood Part 2

Now that serious Strikers have our copies in hand, we’re off with our part-by-part commentary, and I am delighted to be taking the role of Spenser Color Commentator! I’ve loved The Faerie Queene since I first joined Redcrosse on his quest in my teens, and I’ve always claimed The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenserthat the only reason it wasn’t as popular as the Lord of the Rings was because of Spenser’s use of Chaucerian language, a feature that makes him seem far more ancient than his contemporaries, like William Shakespeare. With the horrible monsters, the beautiful ladies, and the constantly battling knights (one of whom is also in the aforementioned group of beautiful ladies), it’s a recipe for blockbuster gold, so I’m thrilled to see how Galbraith/Rowling is taking  Spenser’s epic as her scaffold for Troubled Blood. Beyond the epigraphs that begin each chapter and section, she has also woven in beautiful connections to the allegorical adventures of Spenser’s knights. Join me after the jump for observations on Faerie Queene connections in part 2 of Troubled Blood. We’ll be spoiler-free up until page 153, so if you aren’t there yet, catch up, and join us for an initial look into our Spenser-flavored mystery!

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Troubled Blood Day Of Publication! HogwartsProfessor Posts for Week One!

At last, 15 September has arrived! We should all have our copies of Troubled Blood in hand today or tonight for our first hurried reading of the 944 page delight that it will surely prove to be. I couldn’t be happier or more excited about the discussion to come here in the following weeks!

We have a plan for the very first week of HogwartsProfessor conversation that I hope will make your reading experience and appreciation of Rowling-Galbraith’s artistry and meaning that much richer. Every one of the HogwartsProfessor faculty is signed on for specific tasks specific to their skill set and our concerns here.

I will, for example, be charting each of the novel’s seven parts and sharing my thoughts day by day this first week. Today I will only have to offer a link to the thoughts about Part One that I posted last week; tomorrow I will put up thoughts about Part Two, Thursday, Three, Friday Four, Saturday Five, Sunday Six, and on Monday Part Seven. As time allows, I will try to untie clues as I go along to see if a relatively slow careful reading in keeping with Rowling-Galbraith’s characteristic narrative delayed release and misdirection allows the reader to figure out the hidden story before or as soon as Strike does. I’ll definitely post my predictions about the mystery’s resolution after charting Part Four on Friday; in the first four books, the villain has been revealed in the story center. Wish me luck — and, please, do not email me spoilers until next Monday night. Thank you in advance for that!

Elizabeth Baird-Hardy, author of Milton, Spenser, and the Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C. S. Lewis Novels, will be continuing as a series her first post about the Spenser epigraphs that head each Part and chapter of Troubled Blood, a series in parallel with my Part-by-Part, day-by-day reading. Is Robin a second Britomart? Deputy Headmistress Baird-Hardy, Spenser scholar in residence, will give us a running record of the most in-your-face of Rowling’s literary allusions.

Louise Freeman has taken on the yeoman task of putting up and monitoring four different posts on the comment threads of which we hope readers will share the links and echoes they discover between Troubled Blood and previous works of Rowling-Galbraith. It is a public hypothesis and treasured theory of HogwartsProfessor that the author is writing a series that is not only a seven part turtle-back ring composition itself but one in parallel with the Harry Potter equivalent numbers (see ‘Three Things Every Harry Potter fan should know about Cormoran Strike‘ for more on that). The four posts will be on Troubled Blood and (1) Career of Evil, (2) the other Strike novels but especially Cuckoo’s Calling, (3) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and (4) the other Harry Potter novels but especially Philosopher’s Stone. You are all invited, begged really, to share the links you find on these four threads as you read Troubled Blood and then as you re-read it.

Professor Freeman, too, as our resident psychology professor, licensed behavior analyst, and expert on the psychological qualities and content of imaginative literature, will be writing a review of the reviews of the book with respect to the inevitable controversy about Rowling’s depiction of any character outside heteronormative boundaries. I confess I’m really looking forward to reading that next week when I’ve finished the book and my seven Part-by-Part posts! No one gets the writer or this issue more profoundly than Louise Freeman, and, though I suspect I’ll disagree with her (that’s just the nature of our relationship!), I know she will disabuse me of several delusions I have on the subject and I will learn quite a bit along the way.

Evan Willis has written the most challenging ideas about Rowling-Galbraith’s hermetic understanding and use of mythology. See his ‘The Mythic Context and Hermetic Meaning of Cormoran Strike‘ for an introduction to that perspective on Rowling’s work. He returns to share his thoughts about Troubled Blood and whether Strike 5 upsets or confirms his take on Rokeby, for example, as the principal Hermes figure in the series.

You are invited to join me and Professor Baird-Hardy in our One-Part-per-Day reading and reflection if you think you can hold off on the straight-through reading binge. The more the merrier! Thank you, though, in advance. if you wish to join us, for not posting about Parts we have not yet read or posted on. Spoilers rather ruin the test of whether Rowling-Galbraith’s internal structure and external story-echoes are sufficient to solve the mystery alongside Strike and Ellacott.

That’s a lot, I know, but we’ve waited a long time for today! Here are the first entries in the series that Elizabeth Baird-Hardy and I will be writing and links to the four Parallel Discovery Posts by Louise Freeman — Enjoy!

Day One, Part One: Charting the First Seven Chapters of Troubled Blood

Day One, Part One: The Spenserian Epigraphs of the Pre-Released Troubled Blood Chapters

Parallels Between Troubled Blood and Career of Evil

Parallels Between Troubled Blood and Other Strike Novels, Especially Cuckoo’s Calling

Parallels Between Troubled Blood and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Parallels Between Troubled Blood and Other Potter Novels, Especially Philosopher’s Stone