Beasts2 — and Phantom of the Opera?

A thought from Randall:

Just re-watched the 2004 Warner Brothers film version of “The Phantom of the Opera” and was struck by (anti-)parallels to the 2018 Warner Brothers film, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”

In “Phantom,” Erik is a deformed boy imprisoned in a freak show in Paris. A young girl (the future Madame Giry) feels pity for him, so when he strangles his handler/jailer, she helps him escape into a crowd. Erik becomes the Phantom, living underground in the dark, and continues to kill.

In “Crimes,” Nagini is a blood-cursed girl imprisoned in the Circus Arcanus, in Paris. A young man (Aurelius Dumbledore) feels pity for her, so when she attacks her handler/jailer (Skender), he helps her escape into a crowd. Nagini eventually becomes permanently trapped in snake form, serving Lord Voldemort, living concealed in mostly dark places, and continues to kill.

Maybe we will see more (anti-)parallels, if and when J.K. Rowling publishes more of the “Fantastic Beasts” story. Maybe others have noticed these (anti-)parallels; I did a search but did not find any mentions of them.

This reminds me of the reader who wrote that the Gloria Conti “termination” of mobster Luca Ricci’s child was a simple re-telling of the Godfather, Part II, plot in which Katherine “Kay” Corleone (née Adams) aborts the child of her husband, Michael Corleone. Rowling-Galbraith’s character enjoys a much happier fate than Kay. I cannot find the email or post comment in which the reader shared this; apologies all around on that point.

I wonder if Potter Pundits and Serious Strikers, in our common denominator text-source focus are not overlooking the influence of much more popular culture, blockbuster movies, on Rowling’s imagination. I know it’s something I never choose to explore, largely because I know very little about movies (I have not seen either Phantom of the Opera or any of the Godfather films) and I am not a fan of the medium.

The thing is, Rowling drops repeated references to the Godfather movies and their influence on Gloria Conti in Troubled Blood, to include that character’s resistance to seeing Part II. If these had been book teases, I would have definitely been reading them because of the strong indicators that these references were bread crumbs dropped by the author as helpful clues.

A movie? It never occurred to me to watch the Godfather films or even read about them on Wikipedia.

Thank you, Randall, for throwing light in my most glaring media blind-spot!

Rowling Library Magazine: Cuckoo’s Calling Anniversary, Ten Years of Strike

The Rowling Library Magazine is out with a new issue and a new look! The cover story celebrates the tenth anniversary of Cuckoo’s Calling‘s publication and the cover itself reveals the TRL partnership with Otter Studio for a reimagination of the Magazine’s appearance. Editor Patricio Tarantino explains:

Our redesign is more than just a cosmetic update. We have reimagined the magazine’s layout, typography, and graphic elements to create a more engaging and immersive reading experience. We’ve worked hard to ensure that every page is visually stunning and easy to read, with crisp typography and eye-catching visuals that draw you in.

You can download the PDF or just read TRL Magazine Issue #76 via this link. In addition to the Cuckoo’s Calling anniversary celebration, you’ll find articles on Half-Blood Prince, the page of notable auctions, a fascinating review of Hogwarts Legacy and its connection with the canonical Saga (Phineas Nigellus Black in all his glory, for one thing), and news about the Tokyo Harry Potter Studio opening. Enjoy!

Bid on Original Rowling Poem (2001)!

You can read the funny ditty at TheRowlingLibrary as well as the story of its composition.

If you want to own the certified authentic original poem by the Presence, you need to bid now in the online auction taking place on the 30th at 10:00 AM BST. The starting bid seems to be 300 pounds and they expect to get between 500 and 600 (read all about that at the auction page).

I’m not a collector, but I can see the thrill of owning an autographed poem even if the writing is typed. 

Hat-tip to Patricio at TheRowlingLibrary for the head’s up!

Celtic Cross Tarot Spread Video: A How-To-Do-It YouTube Film Post-Placeholder

I promised yesterday that I’d be posting a look at the cards in Talbot’s Celtic Cross  tarot spread, the one in his True Book, the embedded text of Troubled Blood. I am learning just how much I don’t know about the tarot courtesy of my reference texts (see above). This is going to take me quite a bit longer than I thought.

So, today’s post is a placeholder video on how to lay out a Celtic Cross card spread and what each card means (see below). I’ll be studying the history of the cards and various ways to interpret Talbot’s spreads, the Celtic Cross and the three card readings hidden on his illustrated pages. Thank you for your patience!

S. T. Coleridge Poem Not For Export

A friend who reads The Guardian as does The Presence has sent me the story that a recently discovered poem that Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote as a college student, in Greek, and as something of an abolitionist well before that was an accepted political or moral position to champion has been protected from export by the UK Ministry of Culture. See Export ban on Coleridge anti-slavery manuscript as British buyer sought’ for the whole fascinating story.

It seems the country holding the Elgin Marbles hostage in a museum for the better part of two centuries has the right to forbid the sale to foreigners of what it considers national treasures. Hypocrisy aside with respect to imperial pillaging still in captivity (but there are encouraging signs about the Parthenon Scupltures…), I get it, even to the point of confessing admiration for the protective action.

Why should Rowling fans care about Samuel Taylor Coleridge, besides Rowling having used a distant female descendant and poet for the lead epigraphs of Ink Black Heart? That’s a long story, but I have argued since Deathly Hallows Lectures was published in 2008 that STC is the most important author besides Dante that Rowling-Galbraith has never mentioned in an interview or via cryptonym. See here, here, here, and here from the HogPro archives for more on that link.

Or just enjoy The Guardian’s Estecean articles! I was delighted by the one on the poet-theologian-philosopher’s mortal remains and their current lodging in a wine cellar as well as by the speculation about Victorian Women poets enjoying a relaxing bit of opium (laudanum) to foster their reception to the Muse. None of those poets claimed to have used the drug in the hopes of being inspired to write a poem like Kubla Khan.