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How to Save the Fantastic Beasts Series

Yesterday Elizabeth Baird-Hardy masterfully summarized the latest news out of Hollywood about the Fantastic Beasts movies in a post fittingly titled, No More Fantastic Beasts Films? In brief, the word is that the CEO of Warner Brothers-Discovery has lucrative franchises on his mind, wants to work with Rowling to revive the comatose Harry Potter golden goose, and that he hinted Rowling was not interested. He did not mention the Fantastic Beasts movies, which as Prof Baird Hardy noted, is in keeping with the revenues generated (or, more precisely, not generated) by the first three Beasts films.

She ended this post by asking, “If Newt’s big screen adventures are over, will there be book adaptations to connect the dots between the prequels and the beginning of Harry’s story? Do you care?” I think it is fair to say that I don’t care, maybe even obligatory to mention as I haven’t yet read the third screenplay or seen Secrets of Dumbledore. Trapped on a British Airways flight recently, I thought I would have a chance to watch it but the screening technology for the seat-backs failed, a turn I took as providential.

do care, though, about what Rowling writes, so here are my answers to those end of post questions, answers that include a more or less clear path forward to revive and reinvigorate the Beasts franchise. [Read more…]

Rattenbury–The Sequel: Puns Surrounding the Lethal White Killers.

J.K Rowling’s novels employ multiple types of humor. One of the more subtle is her fondness for puns. For example, Vernon Dursley, drill-maker, is described as wearing his most “boring” tie. The use of the word “serious” in the text upticks significantly in Prisoner of Azkaban, compared to earlier books, pointing to the importance of Sirius Black. The Cormoran Strike series also includes such word-play. For example, in Lethal White, the Norfolk commune is described as “still, for Strike’s money, the worst place that Leda had ever taken them.” As we learn later, this is one of several places that Leda frittered away Rokeby’s child support payments, meaning, she was literally giving them Strike’s money.

After several listens through the Ink Black Heart audiobook, I have begun working back through the rest of the series, in reverse order. I am currently finishing up Lethal White. During my last listen, I spied some puns relating to Raff, Kinvara and the Rattenbury murder, for whom the noisy young Chiswell terrior is named. If you are unaware of this connection, please read my first post on the topic, then come back here to continue after the jump.

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Rowling and the Scottish Enlightenment

Three quick questions and answers about this telling tweet after the jump! [Read more…]

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…]

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 theStrike 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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