Relationships Quiz and Pointer to Charlotte’s Bedales Time

I check the Robert Galbraith website every few months because, though I signed up for update messages to be sent to my email address, I have never received one. The posts there as a rule do not contain new information but the summaries given almost always reward a reading.

I learned, for example, from the ‘Charlotte and Strike’ page there that Milady Beserko had run away from the Bedales School at age fourteen. That detail is in the books  — “… made headlines in her youth when she went missing from Bedales for seven days, causing a national search… admitted to rehab at the age of 25…” (Silkworm, ch 24) — but it never caught my attention.

Turns out that school was not chosen at random or invented by the author but is a real place and a perfect match with what the godless Campbell aristocrats would think of as a perfect training ground for their offspring. 

Bedales — pronounced ‘Bee-dales’ — was completely secular, no chapel from the start, and co-educational, too, from the get-go and relatively “enlightened” about boy-girl relationships.

[Founder John] Badley took a non-denominational approach to religion and the school has never had a chapel: its relatively secular teaching made it attractive in its early days to non-conformists, agnostics, QuakersUnitarians and liberal Jews, who formed a significant element of its early intake. The school was also well known and popular in some Cambridge and Fabian intellectual circles with connections to the Wedgwoods, DarwinsHuxleys, and Trevelyans. Books such as A quoi tient la supériorité des Anglo-Saxons? and L’Education nouvelle popularised the school on the Continent, leading to a cosmopolitan intake of Russian and other European children in the 1920s.

I suppose, liberal and tony as the school seems to be, the question has to be why Charlotte would have felt the need to run away? We know Charlotte’s family was bonkers but that seems insufficient explanation for her peculiar madness. Some students have written about how they hated it there.

Is it credible that Charlotte, as with Strike and his itinerant childhood, Robin with the rape at university, and Rowling with her Bad Dad, is who she is consequent to abuse of some kind at her boarding school? As beautiful as she is, forgive me, it might be more remarkable even she hadn’t experience abuse or assault from an older student or from a teacher.

Check out the Wikipedia page for Bedales alumni and let me know if you recognize any characters that resonate with Charlotte Campbell.

All that to say that surfing the Robert-Galbraith site can trigger reflections on the story and characters you might not have had otherwise.

There’s also a Relationships Quiz which was fun. I got 19 out of 20 and I bet you can guess the one I missed (it’s the trick question meant to trip up know-it-alls that are in a hurry to finish the test as quickly as possible). I recommend you check it out, not only for the satisfaction of outscoring me, but also as a point of reflection.

As with the Charlotte and Cormoran page, the quiz emphasizes the relationships aspect of the story more than, y’know, the murder mysteries or the Leda Strike seeming-suicide. If you think that is accidental or an arbitrary emphasis, you’re making the mistake that kept me from the perfect score on the quiz! Cheers!

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