Running Grave Excerpt Released: Seven Questions for Serious Strikers

Yesterday, the first six chapters of Running Grave were published via the ‘Look Inside’ feature of the book’s page on The Rowling Library has posted the pages as a pdf and created a forum for those wanting to discuss the revelations. If you wish to remain spoiler free until the day of actual publication, you’ll want to steer clear of those pages and all of what follows. Farewell to those heading to the exits!

I have seven questions consequent to a late-night reading of the excerpts which questions I post below for anyone interested. My very tentative attempts at answers are posted at the Substack site, where I have invited my colleagues there to check in with their own perspectives if they are so inclined.

Without further ado, then, here are my seven questions:

  1. Do you think Rowling, Inc., meant for Amazon to release the first fifty-three pages of text this way? Was it Troubled Blood that had an unintentional big drop via Apple in a similar ‘mistake’? Or is this just super clever marketing, a ‘found treasure’?
  2. There’s no Dylan Thomas epigraph; what happened?
  3. The novel begins with an epistolary montage of letters between a distraught family, lawyers, the disaffected son, and the anti-cult survivor. What did you think of it as a story-starter? It’s been a while since we had the case presented so forcefully in the opening — since Cuckoo?
  4. What do you make of the baptism reception for Robin and Strike’s first appearance? 
  5. Egad, The Universal Humanitarian Church or UHC! Would you have guessed the first religious target of Rowling’s treatment would be a group like this? 
  6. Kevin believed there is authentic capability to contact or conjure the dead; given the history of Rowling’s pointers to spectral influence in her novels a la Nabokov, do you think we’ll be ‘going there’? Seances, tarot card readings, I Ching consultations, say, to hear from Kevin? From Leda?
  7. Here’s the grab-bag question: Do you see anything here that suggests parallels with Deathly Hallows? Cuckoo’s Calling? Lethal White? Career of Evil? What about our mythological templates and Evan’s ten book theory? Are we on our way to a separation in the finale, one that will last two books?

Feel free to comment below, though the main discussion will be over at the HogwartsProfessor Substack site!

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