Pillar Post Updates

The Hogwarts Professor has now amassed 2,774 posts (and counting) and regularly achieves more than 2,000 unique visits per day. There are scholarly articles of literary analysis both from our own eminent faculty and guest posts from leading lights among our close readers. This vast trove of material is a valuable resource for students of J. K. Rowling’s work and artistry (such as myself), but it can be frustrating to quickly find that article you know you read – but can’t remember the title. It is fun of course, to find that one new sweet at the bottom of the bag you thought you’d finished. My aim is to better signpost where those sweets might be hiding. Join me after the jump to find out more:

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Ink Black Heart Discussion

HogwartsProfessor.com will be focused for some time on discussion of Rowling-Galbraith’s Ink Black Heart. To facilitate Reader discussion of anticipated subjects in the first weeks and the easy access to the many posts about Strike6 that are almost sure to come, I have created a placeholder for everything written here about this author’s longest work to date under a single link, ‘Ink Black Heart Discussion,’ that can be found at the top of the site’s home page’s Pillar Post left column. Enjoy!

First Impressions:

The Gaffes

Silkworm Parallels

Half-Blood Prince Parallels

The Alchemical Albedo

Psychomachia: Jung or Shakespeare?

The Epigraphs

The Tell Tale Heart

Rowling and Fandoms


Rowling’s “Double-Voiced” Text: A Literary Vocation vs Biology and Culture

Strike Characters on Twitter


Structural Notes and Speculations

‘Strike Extended Play’

5-6 Flip IBH Update


Analysis and Theories

‘Daddy Strike:’ Have Strike and Mads Conceived a Child?

The Scent of Narciso: the Mythic Backdrop

Updated: Ring Composition Pillar Post

I was unable, believe it or not, to discuss at any length Rowling’s signature structure, which is to say ring composition or chiasmus, in my PhD dissertation. I alluded in its conclusion both to the published notes of a talk I gave on the subject in 2010 and to a HogwartsProfessor Pillar Post on the subject in which links were collected to what I have written here as well as other Rowling Readers.

The problem was that I hadn’t finished that Pillar Post. Would I be able to complete anything like a complete collection of HogwartsProfessor posts and podcasts on the subject before the thesis readers looked for it?

I won’t know the answer to that question until my viva voce examinations at the end of the month. The good news, though, is that I have updated the page and it’s a decent compendium and introduction to the subject, if I say so myself. I explain, for instance, the connection between ring composition and Rowling’s psychomachia and literary alchemy.

The Ring Composition Pillar Post awaits your comments, corrections, and suggestions of pages here and elsewhere I have neglected.

Parallel Series Idea

In my second post about The Silkworm post-publication in 2014, I launched the idea that Rowling-Galbraith was writing her Cormoran Strike series in parallel with the seven Harry Potter novels. I wrote:

Reading The Silkworm, consequently, it’s only natural that we serious readers of the Hogwarts Saga be sensitive to what we hear or experience in this detective novel that seem to be echoes from the Boy Who Lived’s magical adventures.  I want to make three observations for your comment and correction here, thoughts that will not include a list of fun correspondences (did you flinch when you read that you can “hear the rumbling of the traffic on Charing Cross Road’ from Strike’s flat? Me, too), but all of which, I think, put the Cormoran Strike novels in a new light.

First, as noted in my ‘first thoughts’ post that I put up after reaching the half-way point of Silkworm, there are several rather jarring correspondences between this mystery and the second novel of the Harry Potter series, Chamber of Secrets. The key to the case, as Strike observes more than the once, is the book within the book, namely Bombyx Mori, and its transparent depictions in story of the suspects in the murder of the book’s author.

Along the way to discovering whodunnit, we are given a short course in the difficulties and inevitable mistakes to be made in drawing dot-to-dot correspondences that seem obvious and are not. Readers of Chamber of Secrets, perhaps the best stand-alone Potter novel, will recall a similar book-within-a-book experience there with Riddle’s diary and how we are to understand what we learn from reading or entering into it. Hagrid is sent to Azkaban because of what is misunderstood about the events depicted — and the woman whose “purity of desire” makes Strike sure she is not guilty, an echo of Harry’s surety about the Gameskeeper, is also jailed unjustly and then liberated.

My first idea for your consideration is this: Ms Rowling is writing this seven book series in parallel with her previous seven book series. {emphasis in original}

My second and third points in that post were that she was doing this so “this parallel series can act as the key to a right understanding of the first series, the Hogwarts adventures” and, that in doing this, she “invites her readers to understand her fiction as a psychological distillation of her experiences, which is to say, we are to read them through the filter of her biography if we are to get at the heart of their meaning.” The second point, like the first, has been confirmed by each new book, and the third, which seemed a stretch even to me at the time, has been supported by the author in her remarkable contribution of “inspiration” to the Museum of Curiosity in 2019.

The idea of a Parallel Series has become something of a touchstone or premise here at HogwartsProfessor. Louise Freeman predicted years before Strike4 was published, for instance, that Lethal White would take place against the background of the 2012 London Olympics just as Goblet of Fire used the TriWizard Tournament even though this seemed unlikely given the time spacings between the books, Cuckoo to Career. Beatrice Groves, similarly, guessed that the ‘Trelawney’ song would be sung in Troubled Blood because of the important place of Professor Trelawney’s prophecy in Order of the Phoenix. The Parallel Series idea (hereafter ‘PSI’), in other words, not only has interpretative value but can be and has been used to predict future book plot points.

The links below are to HogwartsProfessor posts detailing the parallels or echoes to be found between the Strike novels and the corresponding number in the Potter series. This is an ongoing discussion, so please share your thoughts in the comment threads beneath each post!




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