Guest Post: Agatha Christie’s The Clocks – TV Adaptation a Source for Strike?

In 2019 I wrote about Agatha Christie’s 1963 Poirot novel, The Clocks, a send up of the James Bond spy-thriller then in vogue: Agatha Christie’s ‘The Clocks’ or ‘Arabella Figg Meets Hercule Poirot.’ Chris Calderon thinks that the 2009 teevee adaptation of this novel for BBC1’s series ‘Poirot’ has a lot to tell us about the Cormoran Strike series that Rowling may have been plotting and planning at the time.

Make the jump to read the connections he has found between the show and the series! [Read more…]

Guest Post: ‘Twas Charlotte Killed Leda

In my post reviewing the likeliest suspects for ‘Murderer of Leda Strike,’ I dismissed the idea that Charlotte Campbell did the deed as a looney-tune gambit. A Serious Striker writing as ‘Fiona’ posted a fun response that defended this fan theory. Lest it take over the discussion on that post’s thread (and be forever lost to future Rowling-Galbraith students wanting to identify who first figured out the over-arching mystery of the first seven Strike books), I have bumped the comment up to ‘Guest Post’ status to draw your attention to ‘Fiona’s argument and to invite your response.

I confess to loving the fan-fiction motive — and all such speculation have to come with a heavy helping of fan-fiction, more or less credible — if I’m missing why Charlotte would be moved by the revelation to kill Leda rather than the person who gives her the bad news. I look forward to reading what you think, especially if you believe Charlotte a better bet in the ‘Who Killed Leda?’ sweepstakes than Dave Polworth or Ted Nancarrow! Enjoy ‘Twas Charlotte Killed Leda‘ by first time post-er ‘Fiona’…

Hey, I have also thought about the idea of Charlotte as Leda’s killer! I know it sounds nuts, but it would certainly provide the required twist at the end of the series.

Firstly I’m basing this on other theories that have been posted on this site. I apologise for not remembering the names given to the theories and whether it was John or other contributors who introduced them. By these theories I mean the ones concerning Leda mirroring her mythological namesake concerning Zeus, the double father idea, and twins. Also the idea that the “aristocrat” in the photograph that Strike says is the only known picture of his parents together is the father of both Charlotte and Strike.

Now consider: Strike has gone to Oxford, and therefore already met Charlotte when Leda dies. (We know he meets her almost immediately.) At some point while at Oxford our chaos-loving Charlotte says, ‘Next weekend, come home and meet the family,’ mainly for the sake of shocking her upper class parents with her rough-around-the-edges boyfriend. They arrive chez Charlotte and she triumphantly says something to the effect of “Hi, Mummy, Daddy, meet my new boyfriend! His father is a crazy rocker and his mother is an even crazier drug addict!”

Mummy Charlotte is suitably unimpressed but Daddy Charlotte practically loses it. He takes Charlotte aside and says, “You need to break up with that boy, NOW.” Charlotte laughs and says “I knew you wouldn’t like him.” But her father insists he has good reasons for what he says and if she only knew what he knew she would end it. Charlotte, however, insists she loves loves him and nothing in the world could make her end it (assuming this is all just snobbery on her father’s part.)

So her father realises he will have to tell her the truth. And he does, but first makes her swear not to share a word of what he tells her to anyone. He tells her about his (presumably brief) affair with Leda, and the resulting pregnancy which threatened to ruin his reputation, relationship, and possibly derail a political career. How he (as theorised by others here) convinced Jonny Rokeby to take the responsibility for the baby, in return for arranging that Jonny faces no consequences for actions/crimes of his own. (This presumably all took time to arrange, hence the delay in Jonny accepting paternity, with the paternity test in turn being offered as an excuse for this delay.) [Read more…]

Guest Post: On the Naming Fear & Jinxing in Harry Potter (Pratibha Rai)

Pratibha Rai is an Oxford University graduate and she has been a Harry Potter partisan since 2001. Her research today mostly concerns the sociology of collecting in early modern Europe. She enjoys finding parallels between Harry Potter and history of art. This time last year she shared with us what she discovered about that life-saving short-cut antidote, the Bezoar; today she shares her thoughts on ‘Naming Fear and Jinxing’ in the Hogwarts Saga. Enjoy!

Words have more power than any one can guess; it is by words that the world’s great fight, now in these civilized times, is carried on.”

When Mary Shelley penned this line in her penultimate novel ‘Lodore’ (1835), she was advocating the power of words in the context of bringing about social change. Words do not lifelessly sit on a page but are actionable and combative in “the world’s great fight”. In this martial metaphor, we can assume that words can either be a weapon or a defence – determined entirely by the speaker. This double-edged nature of words is echoed in Proverbs 18:21 from the Bible, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”. Nowhere is this more literally true than in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter universe where speaking or not speaking Voldemort’s name is a matter of life and death. In this article, I shall explore J.K Rowling’s passionate interest in the power of words in battle primarily through the active Taboo cast on Voldemort’s name; a device that highlights the role that Fear has over silence and speech. [Read more…]

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…]

Guest Post: Will Troubled Blood Have A Spenserian Story Scaffold?

Chris sent me this speculative post before the seven chapter preview of Troubled Blood was available on Apple Books — and it holds up rather well in light of Strike 5’s first Part. The idea that Spencer’s Faerie Queene will play an outsized role in understanding Troubled Blood, a possibility first suggested here by Nick Jeffery when the Strike 5 title was announced, was certainly confirmed by the preview in which Faerie Queene passages begin the book and each chapter!

A Spenserian Story Scaffold for Troubled Blood?

By ChrisC.

After giving it some thought, the best “working idea” I’ve got about Strike 5, Troubled Blood, has to do with its story scaffolding. My theory is best put in the form of a question. “What if Rowling were to pattern Troubled Blood, at least in part, on Book 1 from Spenser’s Faerie Queene?” There’s a lot to examine on this topic, so why not join in after the jump?

[Read more…]