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

Spenserian Hopes for Troubled Blood with Sneak Preview Chapters

Amazon.com: Troubled Blood (A Cormoran Strike Novel (5)) (9781549157745): Galbraith, Robert, Glenister, Robert: BooksWe’ve only a few days to go before the arrival of the eagerly awaited fifth Cormoran Strike installment! My local independent booksellers have my copy safely in stock, ready to hand over to me on September 15, like the professionals they are (and like people who still miss the thrill of Harry Potter book release parties in the old days). In the meantime, we’re having a grand time with the tantalizing almost-10-chapter preview of Troubled Blood, which has confirmed many of our suspicions and also left us wondering what the other 63 chapters hold. From Joni Mitchell to Marilyn Manson, the range of musicians who appear to be inspiring this adventure is an impressive one, and the literary scope promises to be just as rich. If you have not kept up with Bea Groves’s beautiful insights on the Literature Game of the Strike series, catch up before Tuesday! As we’ve been hoping since the title drop, it looks like Edmund Spenser’s glorious magnum opus The Faerie Queene is a major pillar of the complex literary scaffolding we’ve come to expect from The Faerie Queene (Penguin Classics) by Edmund Spenser Paperback Book The Fast 9780140422078 | eBayRowling/Galbraith.  While we wait for Tuesday, you may or may not be in the mood to read the entire six books and a bit of The Faerie Queene’s planned twelve books that Spenser was able to complete before his untimely  death in 1611(C.S. Lewis reportedly said that he hoped he would discover, upon reaching heaven, that Spenser was there waiting with the remaining six books). Whether or not you are a Spenser fan, here are six and a bit hopeful possibilities for the way Spenser may be woven throughout Troubled Blood, based on what we have so far!

 

[Read more…]

Reading, Writing, Rowling 45: Alchemical Weddings in Harry Potter and Beyond

No, I have not returned to podcasting at MuggleNet! This podcast was recorded before The Ickabog show but that one was edited and posted first before the text of the “political fairy tale” was taken offline. Enjoy!

From Laurie Beckoff’s introduction at MuggleNet.com:

Why did Ron and Hermione, Remus and Tonks, and Bill and Fleur end up paired together? Literary alchemy holds the symbolic answers. Katy and John talk this month with Elizabeth Baird Hardy (Mayland Community College) and Beatrice Groves (Oxford University) about the alchemical pairings of elements that reveal themselves in the Harry Potter series and beyond.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Top Ten Pointers to the Trilogy

Amazon.com: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games ...

It’s been an exciting past week or so here for serious readers, from J.K. Rowling’s new slow-release of The Ickabog to the release of the new Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. We’ve already taken a few looks here at the new prequel, which will doubtless continue to yield further treasures upon repeated readings. If you have not yet checked out The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, I hope you will, and that you will join our conversation on its many layers. One of the most interesting features is the way in which the novel uses foreshadowing for events that we, savvy readers of the original trilogy, already know well. Although set 64 years before Katniss Everdeen’s name comes out of the Reaping bowl in the well-manicured hand of Effie Trinket, this novel should only be read by those who have already completed the trilogy. Like the Star Wars prequels, with moments like Obi-Wan Kenobi chiding his friend Anakin Skywalker, “You’re going to be the death of me,” BSS  is an experience that only works if the readers know what is coming. This is a useful technique in literature and film. After all, we cannot gasp with horror when Oedipus declares that the murderer of Laius will be exiled and live in misery, unless we are familiar with the myth, so we know he himself is the man he seeks and that he will indeed be ruined and miserable.  We cannot mentally headslap people in Titanic when they declare the ship’s invincibility if we do not know that the ship is going down, along with many of its passengers and their hubris.

So here are our first “top ten” moments and themes of The Ballad of Songbirds Snakes that point to and set up the trilogy we already know, some of us quite well. This is just the start to a much longer list, one that I am sure will grow with each reading. [Read more…]

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, First Thoughts on a Sad, Familiar Song

When I first started using The Hunger Games in my college English 111 courses, it was an obscure little book, and I was the only one in any of my classes who had read it before the first day. But times have changed over the past Hunger Games': All about the new 'Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'decade. I still use the book in my classes, mainly because I have not found anything else that works so well. In that time, movies have been made(with some of my students as extras), popularity has swelled, and my students who don’t pay attention to my constant harping on the importance of the number three in the trilogy (they are confused by four films), keep saying they want a “fourth” book. Instead of spoiling the beautiful symmetry of the original trilogy, the master Gamemaker herself brings us a prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is both its own special sort of creature and a perfect companion to the original trilogy.

If you haven’t yet read Suzanne Collins’s just-released prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy, fear not, spoilers won’t crop up until after the break, but, if you have read the novel already, or don’t mind the spoilers, join me for a quick round-up of first thoughts, using the three major elements of the title, Snakes, Songbirds, and Ballads, but in reverse order (why? There are many reasons, actually, but I may fall back on the old excuse that I am an ornery mountain woman with excessive book learning). There will be many more posts to come, but we’ll start the dance here.

[Read more…]