Patricia Baker: Chamber-Silkworm PSI

In my first post on the Parallel Series Idea (PSI) last week, I advised readers reviewing older posts we have written, especially those on Goblet and Lethal White, to “Be sure to read the comment threads on those posts because some of the best parallels are reported by readers there.” The problem is I didn’t take my own advice in reading the comments. Well, I did but it lead me to where I had not.

Louise Freeman commented on yesterday’s Chamber and Silkworm PSI post, “I think I remember a list of parallels from our first Strike podcast on Reading, Writing, Rowling.” I looked up that podcast, “Lighting Up ‘Strike’ – ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Cormoran Strike’,” in hopes of finding some great Career of Evil and Prisoner of Azkaban interior echoing for the post I’m working on. The conversation about PSI starts at 50:00 and it’s pretty good. I’ll have to go back and include as comments the Stone-Cuckoo links I heard there I didn’t make in the post dedicated to that pairing — and my Career-Prisoner piece will be much better for this blast-cast from the past.

The embarrassing thing? Katie McDaniel, the host of ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ asked me in that episode to share the most compelling evidence for the Parallel Series Idea and I obliged her — by sharing a comment made by Patricia Baker in 2014 in response to my first suggestion that the Potter and Strike series were being written in parallel. In her comment, she lists a host of Chamber-Silkworm echoes that are the same as, as good as, or better than the six I listed yesterday.

In recognition of her great catches (and of my failure to read the comment threads I recommended readers check out), I’m devoting this post to her finds, which you’ll find listed below the jump. I will update yesterday’s post with an Addendum with links to the original comment and to this post — and I will write Patricia Baker to apologize for my oversight and to invite her to share her Stone-Cuckoo and Prisoner-Career lists!

After the jump, then, Patricia Baker’s 2014 Chamber-Silkworm PSI correspondences and one more idea about where to look for parallels Serious Strikers have found and written up.

Patricia Baker listed the parallels she saw between Chamber of Secrets  and The Silkworm on Bastille Day, 2014:

In both books:

  • Someone sneaks a false book to others in order to cause harm.
 Although people try to hide and destroy this book it is impossible to eradicate.
  • The last time each “author” had influence a young woman died.
  • The protagonist defends a person who loves and cares for someone who is unpredictable and feared or avoided by most people. (Hagrid- Aragog, Leonora – Orlando).
  • People are struggling to determine whether they will be who others say they are or who they themselves choose to be. (Harry and Robin)
  • Harry and Cormoran both struggle with how to respond to having famous parents and being well known as a result of events they did not cause.

In addition:

*Ron and Harry hit the Whomping Willow and are “found out” for taking the Ford Anglia.
*Robin and Cormoran almost hit a tanker and are “found out” when Robin remarks on a newspaper article about the accident.

  • Hogwarts students find petrified classmates with messages written on the walls near them.
  • Cormoran finds Owen in a setting that has been staged to point people to the false book.

*Michael Fancourt (“god like one” who courts fans) seems like a Muggle version of Gilderoy Lockhart.

  • Tom Riddle uses an accomplice who does not fully understand the impact of what she is doing (Ginny) to release the Basilisk.
  • Liz Tassle uses an accomplice who does not fully understand the impact of what he is doing (Owen) to release and publicize the false Bombyx Mori (Silkworm)

*In Chamber, Harry summons GIlderoy Lockhart to help him face the Basilisk.
*In Silkworm, Cormoran summons Michael Fancourt to draw out Liz Tassel

  • Near the end of Chamber, the villain is trying to kill red haired Ginny.
  • Near the end of Silkworm, the villain is trying to kill red haired Robin.

Two years later, Kenny Idan Rub shared two more parallels:

In both [Chamber and Silkworm] a character at the end is given a white object (envelope/sock) to release them from their duties and servile status: [a course registration in an envelope releases] Robin from being a secretary (helper) to become more of an investigator [and a dirty sock releases] Dobby from being a slave (helper) to become free.

[All of The Silkworm] has to do with water just like Chamber did. This whole book is set in the rain and snow and winter. The guts were found underwater, same as the Chamber.

Three thoughts:

(1) These aren’t perfect, of course. I am hesitant to think of Robin’s near miss in the snow with her car the equivalent or a parallel for the Anglia’s crash into the Whomping Willow and I’m of two minds about Dave Polworth’s diving to find the goods on Liz Tassel is akin to the Chutes and Ladders descent to the Chamber of Secrets beneath the Lake. But the lists include an almost Goblet-Lethal like number of parallels, most of high grade resonance.

(2) They inspire new ideas, no? If Liz Tassel is Silkworm’s Tom Riddle, Jr., the idea that she is a memory fixed in a book and a person fixated and lost in the past having to guard the secret of her role in Fancourt’s first wife’s suicide comes into clearer focus. Her version of Bombyx Mori is more effectively weaponized to kill her target than Riddle’s Diary was in his misdirection in killing Harry.

(3) Patricia Baker’s and Kenny Idan Rub’s finds certainly foster my intention to review the places where Serious Strikers may have discussed PSI and shared their finds. I think I once signed into the StrikeFans forum page and tried to generate discussion there (and traffic to posts here!) by creating a thread about the Strike books reflecting their parallel number in the Potter books. I never followed up so maybe it did, maybe it didn’t! If you’re a StrikeFans Platinum Card Member, please do check out those old bulletin board conversations to see if the re-readers there rose to my bait with some great finds (or just expressed cynical disdain for the whole PSI concept).

Please share your PSI finds on the Stone-Cuckoo and Chamber-Silkworm posts rather than at this one lest they be forever neglected and lost.

I’m off to writing the Prisoner-Career PSI post with the hope I won’t find a great cache of connections after publishing my own list!

Speak Your Mind