Queen City Mischief and Magic goes online for The Year That Shall Not Be Named.

I have been part of this festival since it debuted (as Queen City Potter Party) in 2016.  What was originally hoped to be a few hundred fans gathered to celebrate the publication of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child wound up attracting a several thousand visitors and shutting down the the streets of Staunton VA for the day.

This year, with the COVID situation, the festival has gone online.  This is sad news for us locals who have enjoyed the in-person fellowship for that past four years, but good news for those of you who can’t routinely travel to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.  Please check out the offerings on Facebook:  In particular, Hogpro readers are invited to attend my lectures on Muggle Scientists and Magical Names and Hermione, Katniss and Tris: Which two are most alike?  And stay tuned here, because I am still hoping for a Cormoran Strike talk from our Headmaster.

 

Troubled Blood Compilation #5: Flints, Errors and Head-scratchers. Spoiler Alert

When J.K. Rowling kept Marcus Flint around for an 8th year in Hogwarts, the term “flint” was adopted as a word for an error or continuity mistake in the Harry Potter series.  Some, such as James and Lily emerging from Voldy’s Wand in the wrong order, were even corrected in later editions.

The Cormoran Strike series, sadly, is not immune from this tendency. We have, for instance, heard Strike muse about having both eight and seven half-siblings. Ciara Porter of Cuckoo’s Calling mysteriously changed her surname to Parker by Lethal White.  And so on…  

I’m starting this post for readers to make note of any errors they spot when reading and re-reading Troubled Blood.  I’ll start my list after the jump; please be aware there could be spoilers there or in the comments section.

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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

Troubled Blood Week Placeholder Post #4: Parallels with other Harry Potter material. Spoilers once again.

This is the final place for any Troubled Blood parallels with any Harry Potter material other than Order of the Phoenix—  or any other Rowling writing, for that matter.  Fantastic Beast allusions welcome. Bonus points for anyone wanting to make comparisons to Casual Vacancy or the Ickabog. 

But, just as we expect lots of parallels between Cuckoo’s Calling and Troubled Blood, we are particularly interested in parallels to the first book in the Harry Potter series.

I’ll just point out one…  and I won’t even spoiler protect it since it is on the cover.  From the opening chapter of Philosopher’s Stone: 

It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge.

Sounds a lot like the Hampton Court Astronomy Clock.

 

Troubled Blood Week Placeholder Post #3: Parallels with Cuckoo’s Calling (and other Strike Books). More Spoilers.

Because of the many parallels between Philosopher’s Stone and Order of the Phoenix, Headmaster John has speculated we could see a lot fo echoes of Cuckoo’s Calling in Troubled Blood.  Did you find any?  If so, add them to the comments.  Somehow, I doubt we’ll break the Lethal White record, but who knows?

Spoilers after the jump.

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