Ink Black Heart: Gilderoy Gleenings

Have you ever been reading a book and been surprised by notes being struck that seem like the author is teasing you, maybe even laughing at you personally? As if he or she knows you?

Me, neither. At least not until I read Ink Black Heart.

I am asked at least once at every public talk I give or long conversation I have with a Rowling reader if I have met The Presence or if she knows I exist. I have not met her, have no reasonable expectation to meet her (she has refused for twenty years all interview requests from Potter Pundits and Serious Strikers), and she has not acknowledged the books I have sent her as a courtesy (she did reply to Penguin Books, sort of, when they proposed to give her an advance copy of Harry Potter’s Bookshelf; they were sent a note from her office accepting the offered book and another six weeks later to say Rowling did not have time to read it).

She has, though, made unpleasant comments to The New York Times about writers who have detailed the Christian content of her work, criticism she said that put her off reading book-length studies of her novels. I have, consequently, little to no reason to believe what we do here at HogwartsProfessor or what I have written or said here, in books, or in other venues are ideas or discussions about which Rowling is aware.

It may strike you as a little bizarre, given the investment of my time in the ‘Rowling Artistry and Meaning’ project and how much my public identity is twined with this study, but this ‘No Contact’ status has been no small blessing. I doubt very much, given the chasm separating our religious and political beliefs, not to mention the Grand Canyon between our financial conditions, that we could be friends. The work that I do, too, in examining her novels largely depends on at least the pretense of objectivity, something even access to her office for confirmation or denial of biographical details, one motivation I have had recently for wanting to contact her, might damage or Disapparate.

This being the case here in Gilderoy Glen, more than once during my reading Ink Black Heart  the story made me — and fortunately for my sanity, made others on the moderator channels as well — think Rowling was making reference to things I’ve written or said about her work. If this is of any interest to you, you’re probably a close friend or correspondent; join me after the jump for these very personal, well, reflections. [Read more…]

Robyn Gomillion – Sonnet Theory and Robert Galbraith

I am very proud to present for the very first time on Hogwarts Professor – a brand new Rowling scholar – Robyn Gomillion.

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer- John Keats
Robyn is an education consultant and technologist and avid reader working in programming, technology integration, curriculum and professional development in K12 schools, and will be familiar to readers here for her profound and erudite contributions in the comments section. On the 5th September Robyn presented in the comments to Prof Grangers post about the potential structure of a 10 book series the theory of “Sonnet Corona”. We are all fortunate to have Robyn write up this up as a new post, which you can read after the jump, and which we hope will be the first of many. 

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Mercury Markers, History and Theory

In my last post I went over the story of my read-through of Ink Black Heart. I focused on my claim that each of the Strike books has had its primary villain secretly indicated by a hidden reference to various Hermes-related figures, what may alliteratively be called “Mercury Markers”. This, aside from its predictive value, seems to be, on the face of it, a very strange thing to expect an author to do. I wish to make the claim that a move of this type is common for any author like Rowling who writes within Hermetic or Alchemical traditions. The central motif of the Hermetic tradition is this: a hidden word or sign, that will make itself readily apparent only to the “initiated” who have been informed to expect the word or sign, brightly highlights a Deeply Important Something that is going on “behind the scenes.” Below, I plan to track the main places I see similar effects being used and provide a more detailed account of where I see this being used in the Strike novels.

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Beatrice Groves – Ink Black Heart: Hits and Misses

Beatrice Groves, Research Lecturer and tutor at Trinity College, Oxford, and author of  Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, has written a Hogwarts Professor Guest Post: Ink Black Heart: Hits and Misses.

Prof. Groves has posted three prediction posts on the run up to publication:

Ink Bottles, Anodos and Anomie

Ink Black Corvids: Magpies, Alchemy and Ink Black Heart

Ink Black Heart Predictions

And a post publication look at the parallels with Half Blood Prince in the Rowling Library Magazine:

The Ink Black Prince

Join me after the jump to read Prof. Groves round up of her prediction hits, misses and expectations yet to come!

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Ink Black Heart: Intro to Epigraphs 101

It’s been a week or two since Ink Black Heart was published and the grunt work is beginning to appear. Louise Freeman had sent me her first notes about names in Strike6 a day or two post publication and I wrote her tonight, if a true cryptonym guide was weeks away, to ask just for a character list that included their various identities on the moderator channels and the various social media platforms. I checked my twitter feed an hour later and discovered that had already posted one. Cheers for that!

We’re probably still a month or two away from Beatrice Groves’ analysis of the Part and Chapter epigraphs Rowling-Galbraith used in Ink Black Heart, but, while we wait for that, let me share some numbers, percentages, and Wikipedia links to introduce the subject of the epigraph artistry and meaning beyond the asides in various posts that discuss them already (see here and here for that).

Having just read through the epigraphs and taken notes on a table-sized chart of the book’s structure, I think it fair to say that, as disappointed as I was that Strike6 was not a one-epigraph-source novel as were Lethal White and Troubled Blood, the author’s choices made in Ink Black Heart for epigraphs are at least as rich in meaning and as reflective of the story being told as Rosmersholm and Fairie Queene were to those mysteries.

To get at that, though, means learning the basics about Gray’s Anatomy, identifying the poets whose poems are used for 108 epigraphs, especially the poets cited repeatedly and the poem that is quoted most often, and last but not least, noting the predominant elements in the epigraphs, namely, the heart and vision. Join me after the jump for this ‘Introduction to Ink Black Heart Epigraphs, Strike Studies 107.’ [Read more…]