Louise Rolls Two Strikes on Career of Evil

bowlingI was looking through some of my old Strike writings and found two marginal predictions that materialized, at least partially, in Career of Evil, admittedly among many more gutter balls.

Spoilers, ho!

First: Strike claims to have eight half-siblings. The Wikipedia article on his rock-star daddy lists 6 through his father; we also know his sister Lucy. Either Rowling miscalculated or Supergroupie Leda still has one more offspring out of there we haven’t heard about yet.

We learned in COE that Cormoran does have a much younger sibling: Leda’s child with Whittaker, who was raised by the paternal grandparents.


Far more of the plot of PoA was spent on establishing Harry’s vulnerability to Dementors, and in his eventual mastery of the Patronus Charm to vanquish them. It is fairly common knowledge that the Dementors were inspired by Ms. Rowling’s own experience with clinical depression, and anyone who heard my Mugglenet Academia guest appearance knows, the Patronus Charm is derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, the treatment Ms. Rowling successfully received. I am thinking the mystery might involve either someone being treated for mental illness or a therapist, in which case, Robin’s background in psychology may come in handy, Either that, or there could be a subplot involving either Cormoran or, more likely, Robin struggling with clinical depression. Breaking up with a fiancé, even one as pathetic as Matthew, can certainly do that to a person.

Granted, it was a revelation from the past rather than a subplot in the present,  but we also learn that Robin had an emotional breakdown of some sort after the rape and went through a time of refusing to leave her room–probably trauma-induced depression or agoraphobia– and it sounds like she used a CBT-like treatment to help get her out of it. The skills she learned to cope with that (particularly the self-defense) saved her this time around.

wormtail waveThere was also a nice PoA parallel at the end with Robin having to choose to save the innocent Angel, even though it led to the Brockbank* getting away, much as Harry had to choose to let Wormtail escape to save Sirius.

I missed in by prediction that Strike’s godson, little Timothy Cormoran, would be involved in the plot, though it was interesting to hear that Strike has a second godson out there.  Has no one figured out that this guy doesn’t like kids yet?

salute-to-the-stadium-the-opening-ceremony-the-city-of-london-illumination-olympic-gamesFinally, I do need to note that the building of the Olympic stadium was mentioned in this volume, so I will stand on my prediction that the 2012 London Olympics will in some way form the backdrop for Cormoran Strike IV.

Overall a great read.  I found it a much harder-to-put-down plot than the first two, so I am optimistic that the series will go places.

*was I the only one who kept mis-reading this as Buckbeak?


  1. Mrs. Freeman,

    Well, I kinda hope your right about Strike No. 4, in a way. The idea of a scandal and under-handed dealing (very poor sportsmanship) at the Olympics sounds like just the right premise for a Crime Thriller.

    One thing that I’ll admit “COE” does have in its favor is that for anyone who’s only heard of the band from FM radio, Rowling’s text is almost a kind of crash course in the Best of Blue Oyster Cult.

    I’m just sorry Ms. Rowling didn’t include a song like “Dancing in the Ruins. I know (now, anyway) that’s not a popular song with a lot of fans, but, heck, I just think its wiser than given credit for.

  2. Susan Stacy says

    I enjoyed this post and am looking forward to John Granger, and others, posts that analysis Career of Evil and finding the parallels to the Hogwart’s Saga. I am not so good at identifying these points on my own, but I find that after reading everyone’s wonderful analysis I can go back and reread Rowling’s work with a much greater appreciation. I am so grateful that Professor Granger and all the other Potter Pundits continue to provide the fan base with the benefit of your work.

  3. Just found two interesting links related to “COE.”

    One is a series of interviews Ms. Rowling has given to NPR. She seems to have given three consecutive chats, and each one I’ve listened to seem interesting. Some of what she says may lend support to some of the ideas regarding Rowling’s themes for the Strike series:


    Also, of final interest is this article for the Chicago Tribune that places Ms. Rowling in a long line of Women Mystery Writers:


    All in all, there’s a lot to chew on, here.

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