Ink Black Heart: Anomie and the Veil – A Question of Connection and Isolation

‘Anomie and the Veil: A Question of Connection and Isolation’ is by Shakespeare scholar Kurt Schreyer. Professor Schreyer’s last post at HogwartsProfessor was one he co-wrote with Beatrice Groves,The Mystery of the Ink Black Heart.‘ His twitter posts about the Cormoran Strike novels at @Kasstl1 have been admired by Rowling-Galbraith on her twitter platform, albeit obliquely, and his contributions here on comment threads in addition to his posts and on the HogwartsProfessor moderator channels have made him a valued member of our community. What follows are his first thoughts about the mammoth Ink Black Heart, a brief essay that attempts to draw out the through line of Rowling’s ideas about death and life worse than death that runs through her Potter novels and Strike mysteries. Enjoy!

‘Anomie and the Veil: A Question of Connection and Isolation’

L’enfer, c’est les autres.” – Sartre

“Evil, defiantly chosen, can no longer imagine anything but itself.” – W. H. Auden

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers for The Ink Black Heart.

Since finishing The Ink Black Heart, I’ve been trying to put into words why the figure of Anomie is so ominous to me apart from his obviously hateful, violent misogyny. I find Anomie perhaps more disturbing than any of the criminals, dark wizards and witches, monsters or all-around baddies that J. K. Rowling has created, and I think I have – partially – figured out why that is: the answer lies, of all places, in the Department of Mysteries. Anomie’s radical sociopathy extends beyond the grave and should remind Harry Potter readers of the opposing views of death held by Voldemort and Dumbledore. [Read more…]