Running Grave: 7 Placeholder Posts

My two copies of Running Grave were delivered late this morning and I have yet to open mine. My son Zossima is almost half-way through and has confirmed that my enthusiastic judgment of the first eleven chapters, that this was the strongest start of a Rowling novel ever, was spot on. He reports that “It starts well and doesn’t let up one bit.”

I’m very excited to join him in reading Strike7, as I know all of you have been, but I need to do some house-keeping chores here at HogwartsProfessor and to prepare for my reading first. Number one on my list is putting up seven placeholder posts for Serious Strikers around the world to write up their thoughts as they read on specific subjects that are signature points of discussion on this weblog.

Why bother?

It’s something of a Publication Week tradition here at HogwartsProfessor to provide an online space for Rowling Readers to share their discoveries as they find them. It’s a community gathering place — and each placeholder creates a record of findings for topics that otherwise become hopelessly jumbled in the threads of various posts. The seven I have just finished posting for Running Grave are:

These will be the only posts that are ‘up’ for at least several days at the weblog. I hope you will share your thoughts on each subject on the comment threads.

I will be writing up my thoughts at the Substack HogwartsProfessor page as I work my way through Running Grave; the plan today is to write posts after I finish each of Strike7’s nine parts. The HogwartsProfessor team has effectively gone silent in the last month and avoided all social media and book reviews so that we might come at the book without prejudice or spoilers, beyond of course the eleven chapters that were shared pre-publication. Nick Jeffery, Evan Willis, and Elizabeth Baird Hardy will be sharing their first thoughts on the Substack page as well.

I have two other tasks I hope to get to before I start the business of enjoying my first reading of Running Grave.

I want to write a short piece about the greatest gaffe in the history of Rowling, Inc., namely, the debacle of incompetence displayed in the chapter releases on Amazon and then on Apple. One of the reasons we chose to say nothing about this almost incomprehensible repeated unforced error until the whole book was available was the concern that Rowling’s legion of enemies would figure out that her handlers had opened all of the unreleased book for their inspection and exploitation; they could have flooded the internet with Strike equivalents of the “Snape kills Dumbledore on the Astronomy Tower!” shouts in LA at crowded book stores the night of Half-Blood Prince‘s release, news the Spoiler Set had learned from readers in London who were able to buy the book eight hours earlier. [That post is up.]

And I have to draw up charts for the structure of Running Grave, one for the whole book and one for the first Part. Ink Black Heart was published on the day of my viva voce PhD oral exams and I decompressed from that exercise in all-or-nothing thesis defense by just reading straight through. The business of writing my corrections and working full-time meant I never got around to charting Strike6. I’m determined to avoid that mistake in planning this time around, and, unless the story just carries me away (the way it has my son!), I will try to repeat the method I used to read Troubled Blood, Part by Part with copious commentary along the way.

Let the fun begin!

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