A Ravenclaw’s Round-Up: Louise’s Nearly-Annual Report from the Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Academic Conference

As I do almost every year (save my college reunion years that end in 8 and 3:  it’s usually the same weekend! ), I attended and presented at the Annual (in this case, 11th) Harry Potter Academic Conference. Though I attended online the last two years (my talks can be seen here and here), this was my first time back on the beautiful campus since 2019, given that the College was responsible enough to move the conference online for the worst of the COVID pandemic.

I’m happy to report that the conference is still going strong, despite the triple threats of COVID, the demise of the fan festival the helped launch the conference, and the concerns of many scholars, including myself, whose concerns about J.K. Rowling’s public anti-transgender rhetoric have caused them to rethink the wisdom of promoting her writing. But, conference founders and organizers Drs. Patrick McCauley and Karen Wendling report that the Colllege’s new president is enthusiastic about the conference and wants it not only to continue, but to expand, so I am optimistic that the HPAC is here to stay.

Onto this year’s highlights after the jump.

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Error corrections in The Ink Black Heart Kindle: Can anyone verify if any of our “gaffes” are fixed?

I just saw a Facebook posting where someone shared a recent communication from Amazon:

Dear Customer,
We recently learned that due to circumstances out of our control, the version of The Ink Black Heart: The Number One international bestseller (Strike 6) that you purchased had some quality issues. The content has been reviewed by our quality team and the errors have been corrected.
You can download the new version of the ebook file by going to the “Manage your content and devices” page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/…/contentlist/booksAll/dateDsc/. Find the file in your Kindle Library and click on “Update available” next to the title. To finalize the download, make sure your device is charged and that your wi-fi connection is active.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and thank you for your patience.
Customer Service Department
I know some people have noticed typos, and that there have been complaints from some e-readers that the online chat print was too small to read comfortably. However, I am mainly curious to see if any of the gaffes Hogpro readers and writers have noted have been fixed already. As the case of the mysterious Mia Thompson shows, sometimes a correction can mean major new material.
Have any of our Kindle readers (specifically from the UK) gotten this communication?  If so, please share what is fixed.


Is Ryan Murphy Part of the Strike Pantheon…. As Poseidon?

I haven’t dived into the mythic elements of Cormoran Strike as much as my fellow faculty here, mainly because it is out of my area of expertise.  However,  a couple of my comments on one of John’s lengthy posts on the topic, I speculated that:

  1. If Strike and Robin are stand-ins for Cupid and Psyche, their eventual child should be a girl with a name meaning “Pleasure.” and
  2. Charlotte could be an anti-Psyche in the same way Morris was an anti-Eros.  That thought let to the idea that her daughter with Ross might have a name meaning “Pain” or “Sorrow”– a moniker fitting for Jago’s fourth unwanted not-the-heir-child. I suggested Lolita, both short for Dolores and a nod to Nabokov’s most famous female protagonist.

As usual, I wasn’t exactly right, but the child’s name is “Mary,” for which one meaning is “bitter.”  More importantly, this makes Charlotte’s daughter a namesake to the original “Our Lady of Sorrows.”  (Aside:  her brother’s name, James, derives from Jacob and means “supplanter”–  fitting for one who is destined to receive the full inheritance at the expense of his siblings).

With the small amount of confidence that half-guess gave me, I’m going to plunge into a raging ocean of speculation:  that Robin’s new beau, DCI Ryan Murphy, will also play a mythic role in the series. Furthermore, he will play the role of that ill-tempered deity of oceans and horses, and father of Percy Jackson, Poseidon (Neptune to Romans).

Find out why after the jump. [Read more…]

Updated Sporcle Quiz for Strike: Now with ‘The Ink Black Heart’ Characters

OK, Trivia Buff(ypaws), the Sporcle quiz on the top 100 most-mentioned Strike characters has been expanded and updated, and now has 130 names, including characters from The Ink Black Heart. I must admit, I don’t fully understand how they counted, given that Gus Upcott, Anomie and Paperwhite all have separate entries. I also don’t know if things like Twitter handles are included.  Does every mention of anomie@anomiegamemaster count as two?  Does @RealPaperwhite also go into Paperwhite’s tally?

In any case, it’s fun.  My first run through I got 85%, and would have gotten a few others, except that I’ve been listening to the audiobook and was therefore off on a few spellings. My record is 127/130, with apologies to Evan Duffield, Seb Montgomery and Madeline’s son Henry for forgetting them.

Check it out!

The Ink Black Heart: Parallels to The Cuckoo’s Calling.

As John has pointed out, there are expected Book 1- Book 5 parallels in the Harry Potter series. As such, we went looking for connections between The Cuckoo’s Calling and Troubled Blood. But, with 5-6 flip, we ought to expect some connections between CC and The Ink Black Heart as well as between IBH and CoE,  Do we find them?

A few I can think of:

  1. The murder victim is a female former foster child who earned a large amount of money at a young age (Lula through her modeling career, Edie through the cartoon). Both were on the verge of signing a lucrative new contract when they died.
  2. Both murder victims had money-grubbing uncles who wanted little to do with their niece until the niece got rich.
  3. Both murder victims had druggie boyfriends with whom they had recently broken up (Evan Duffield, Josh Blay).
  4. The murderer had responsibilities for a seriously ill parent.
  5. A child-related conflict destroys Strike’s love for Charlotte (anger over the lies about her alleged pregnancy (or abortion or miscarriage?) in CC; unwillingness to protect the twins from Jago in IBH.)
  6. A victim’s missing cell phone is an important clue to the case.

What others can our readers come up with?