Ink Black Heart: Jung or Shakespeare?

Rowling describes herself as an “intensely spiritual person,” her core belief is in an “eternal soul,” and her obsession is with “mortality and morality.” Psychomachia, the soul’s preparation for death and eternal life in the spirit, consequently, is what she writes. Look for it in Ink Black Heart.

But what kind of spiritual exteriorization do we find in Strike 6? Is it Shakespearean allegory, the dynamic of a man and woman, each soul being spirit to the other, or a Jungian anima-animus integration for psychic unity and integrity?

In Cormoran Strike, unlike the Hogwarts Saga’s soul triptych, this is represented as a Shakespearean soul-spirit male-female pairing a la Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Desdemona, and Antony and Cleopatra in which each is a suffering soul to which the other is spirit. Robin, who plays the part of Psyche or ‘soul’ to Strike’s Anteros and Castor in the mythological drama (see 5 below), is the smaller bird for the most part to her partner the sea-giant Cormorant, but also is Una or spirit to his Red Crosse Knight.

Given the heavy Jungian pointers in Troubled Blood (see ‘Troubled Blood: A Jungian Reading’ for that), it will be tempting to read Ink Black Heart  as a Jungian might — and perhaps this is exactly what Rowling is hoping we do. The psychomachia can be a Jungian anima-animus allegory of archetypes and I will be reading Strike6 with one eye focused on seeing if this is where she goes.



  1. Is Shakespearean allegory, each soul being spirit to the other, another way of thinking/talking about Jungian anima-animus integration for psychic unity and integrity? Are they similar paths from different times? I ask because when I wonder where Dumbledore is in the Strike novels, I often see him as either Robin to Strike or Strike to Robin. They are Dumbledore, the sage archetype, to each other. But Robin is clearly acting from the animus within her in IBH. She’s heroic. She’s leading others, even while undone over her personal epiphany. And Strike is finally forced to deal with his anima, which for him is devastating weakness ( not unlike what most women deal with, and tragically, are taunted with regularly) but which is also gentle and quietly convicting. His anima reveals his hypocrisy and blindness. So I guess I see a beautiful Shakespearean poetic Jungian integrity.

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