MuggleNet Academia: Cormoran Strike and the Invisibility Cloak – Happy Birthday, Harry Potter and Jo Rowling!

Cuckoo 1JKR hits the big Five-Oh today, Harry turns 35, and MuggleNet Academia rolls out its first show devoted to the elephant in the common room, Cormoran Strike, the Doom Bar Detective. What do these mysteries tell us about Harry Potter? About Jo Rowling as a writer? Are they a key, as the books suggest, to what the author thinks her previous books meant? Who are the bad guys of these books — and are they bad enough that Rowling chose to write under another name to avoid their wrath?

CareerOfEvil-UK-US-800x611Dolores Gordon-Smith, accomplished mystery maven and author of the Jack Haldean ‘Golden Age’ detective thrillers, and Karen Kebarle, English professor at Algonquin College and Potter Pundit, join Keith Hawk and me in a discussion of my paper ‘Five Reasons Jon Rowling Didn’t Want You to Know She Writes the Cormoran Strike Mysteries’ (you can download that provocative essay here).

It’s a rollicking, free-wheeling back and forth between serious readers about the new books by the best selling author of our times, of all time. Give it a listen, read the free pdf, and let me know what you think in the comment boxes below!


  1. A great podcast as always. You’ve all convinced me to give the first Strike story another look, and to try the second story as well.

    Karen Kebarle said “There’s a theme that I’m interested in that seems different from the Harry Potter books, and that is the theme of the sacrificial lamb, the character who sort of shows the consequences of class callousness, of class privilege….” I know you answered this by “Harry Potter!”, but I’m not sure he fits the victim of class callousness, even though there’s no denying he’s a sacrificial lamb. The two characters who I think fit better (and line up more with Kebarle’s example of Krystal Weedon) are Kreacher and Merope Gaunt. Both are victims of circumstances directly relating to class callousness/privilege. And having been victims produces disastrous consequences: Tom Riddle Jr. as Voldemort, and the death of Sirius.

    Given that you argue the Strike books mirror HP, and that the books are about Rowling herself, it sounds as though another similarity carrying over is the role of parents. Fathers are often absent or distant, and mothers are incredibly important. Harry, Voldemort, Draco, Barty Crouch Jr., Snape, and the Dumbledores (father and sister) all seem to reflect this. Mothers seem to be a key, and often a key to redemption. Based on what you said about Strike’s relations with his parents, this may well be The Case Of The 7 Books for him as well.

  2. I filled out the form, clicked the button, it thanked me and…. No file to download

  3. The pdf is being sent to your email address, Amy! Thanks for writing — and please let me know what you think of the paper.

    Grateful John

  4. Had I exercised just a bit more patience I would have seen the email before posting here, but thanks for your quick response!

Speak Your Mind