Search Results for: Khaytman

MuggleNet Reviews ‘Ink Black Heart:’ Harry Potter Fandom Reversing Course?

Irvin Khaytman, author of Dumbledore: The Life and Lies of Hogwarts’s Renowned Headmaster: An Unofficial Exploration and longtime columnist at (where he writes under the pseudonym hpfanboy13), has written a review of Ink Black Heart. [The original article was taken down after I posted this piece; it can still be read at The Wayback Macine archive.] I recommend it with enthusiasm for three reasons.

First, Khaytman is worth reading about anything Rowling writes because of his profound grasp of Potter canon, his wit, and his capacity to turn a phrase to delight and cuff the chin of his reader. An ‘hpfanboy13’ piece on Potter, Fantastic Beasts, or the Strike series is sure to challenge the reader, maybe even make her or him raise either a fist or a toast, and to re-think whatever subject Khaytman explores, to contradict or support his argument.

Second, he knows his Cormoran Strike, though not as well as he does Harry Potter, alas, and is familiar with some of the ideas we discuss here, most importantly, the Parallel Series Theory and the Seven Book Ring. His takes on the echoes of Half-Blood Prince in Strike6 alone are worth the time invested, as you’d expect from this caliber Potter Pundit, and make his decision to write the review for MNet before reading work others have written here and elsewhere seem well-founded.

His ignorance of how ring composition works, of the 5-6 Flip idea, of literary alchemy, of mythology, and of Strike Extended Play, however, will leave those who have been part of the Ink Black Heart conversation here scratching their heads when reading his confessed confusion about some topics and his certainty about others (he’s sure about how 100 pages could be cut from Troubled Blood without affecting the narrative, for example; only someone clueless about the clockwork structure and inner relationship of the Strike5 story parts could say this without blushing). Rowling’s intertextuality or literary allusion, too, outside of references to the apposite Potter book, seems to have totally escaped his consideration.

Despite those failings and blind-spots, I loved Khaytman’s review and his subsequent conversation in the post’s comment thread with Beatrice Groves. I laughed, I groaned, I rubbed my chin and re-read parts that were especially thought-provoking. He is sui generis and a boon to Serious Strikers, a breath of fresh air, really, and a welcome voice. [Read more…]

Surprised Grindelwald is Clairvoyant? That’s Not the Screenwriter’s Fault

Irvin Khaytman, author of Dumbledore: The Life and Lies of Hogwarts’s Renowned Headmaster and who writes at as ‘hpboy13,’ wrote a dyspeptic and dismissive review of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. ‘The Real Secret is No One Cares’ begins with something like an assertion that Grindelwald’s ability to grasp the future in this film was inserted in the third film to explain the disconnectiveness of its own plot points:

while Secrets of Dumbledore is a VAST improvement over its predecessor… it still isn’t any good. To those withholding judgment from Crimes of Grindelwald in the hope that the franchise would course-correct enough to redeem that film, I would be very curious if that hope is still alive after this installment. Because while this film is not as bleak and boring as the last one, it still is in no way coherent.

The creators are aware of this and engage in a bit of lampshading to wave it away. Apparently, Grindelwald has the Sight or some magical ability to see the future. The only way to combat that is to have a plan that is so chaotic and makes so little sense that he won’t be able to puzzle out what’s going on. Yeah, sure, and that has nothing to do with heading off criticism that the events of the film are chaotic and make no sense!

If like me you did not know what “lampshading” is, the article to which Khaytman links defines it this way:

Lampshade Hanging (or, more informally, “Lampshading”) is the writers’ trick of dealing with any element of the story that threatens the audience’s Willing Suspension of Disbelief, whether a very implausible plot development, or a particularly blatant use of a trope, by calling attention to it and simply moving on.

The sarcastic conclusion that Grindelwald’s “magical ability to see the future” has been inserted here  to head “off criticism that the events of the film are chaotic and make no sense” takes as its unstated premise that we have not been told that Grindelwald has this ability until Beasts 3. Which is true.

But that isn’t Rowling’s fault. We know that this information was in the shooting script for the first Fantastic Beasts film, that the scene revealing this capability was shot, and that it was cut from that movie before its release. Kelly Loomis discovered this in December 2016 and it was written up here in a post titled Fantastic Beasts’ Seventh Deleted Scene Grindelgraves’ Vision in MACUSA Office.

This seventh deleted scene in Fantastic Beasts was one Kelly found in an interview Colin Farrel, the actor who plays Percival Graves in the movie, did with ‘Inside Reel.’ He says: [Read more…]

Fantastic Beasts Secrets of Dumbledore: A Collection of Reviews and Asides

No, I still have not seen Secrets of Dumbledore and probably won’t for a week or two, believe it or not, between a son’s wedding in a different time zone and thesis deadlines.

I know, though, that readers are coming here for discussion and brilliant commentary on the latest Fantastic Beasts entry, so, because I haven’t posted anything this week about the movie, I have put together a list of seven interesting online pieces about Secrets for you to surf — and, I hope, a list to which you will append your favorite reviews, YouTube exegetes on fire with theories, or Hollywood rumor. It’s open microphone night at HogwartsProfessor.

Enjoy this smorgasbord of sorts, seven special opinion slices, and share some of your own!


Christmas Pig’s Chapter Thirteen

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Rowling has read aloud more than one chapter of The Christmas Pig. I learned today from The Rowling Library, our most dependable source for news about The Presence herself and about Rowling, Inc., that she had been filmed reading Christmas Pig‘s thirteenth chapter, ‘The Night for Miracles and Lost Causes.’ The reading above is from the The Rowling Library YouTube channel.

You might think this is no big deal and that would be understandable. Serious Potter Pundits, though, would raise an eyebrow at the mention of chapter 13. This is because Irvin Khaytman, author of Dumbledore: The Life and Lies of Hogwarts’s Renowned Headmaster and who writes at as ‘hpboy13,’ long ago revealed that Rowling always drops an essential event and clue about the finish in the thirteenth chapter of her books. For a detailed review of his argument on this score with respect to the Potter books, go here. In brief, he says:

In the Potter books, Chapter 13 is always a turning point. Two things always happen in Chapter 13. First, we learn about a magical item or specific type of magic that ends up being the “how” of the central mystery. Second, we are misdirected with a false suspect, but (with hindsight) we actually find evidence of the real culprit. In the first four books, there is a third element: Draco Malfoy gets bested by Harry and co.

This is brilliant work, frankly, and I have to think it was discussion like this on fan sites about the villain always appearing on Halloween in the first four books that had Rowling abandon the plan for the last three. It’s obvious that our noting that the killer in each Strike novel appears in the center chapter, often in some kind of disguise, has not become sufficiently well known because she has persisted through Troubled Blood.

I don’t know if Mr. Khaytman has explored the Strike books’ chapter 13s; his work on the Strike novels has not as a rule been as insightful as his exploration of patterns in the Hogwarts Saga was (though, disappointing as articles like this one might be, that’s to judge at a very high standard — hpboy13 and Beatrice Groves are the staff writers at Mugglenet worth reading, full stop). If he has not explored the Strike chapter 13s, I hope one of our serious readers will look for a pattern.

I bring all this up only because Rowling chose to read The Christmas Pig’s chapter 13, ‘The Night for Miracles and Lost Causes.’ It is the beginning of Jack’s adventures in the Land of the Lost though it takes place entirely in his bedroom. In this chapter, the seven year old boy learns that his beloved toy DP is in the Land of the Lost, about the Loser, and that on this night, Christmas Eve, if he is brave enough, he can enter a world known only to small Things, big Ideas, and human capacities that have been lost. He accepts and, in the next chapter, shrinks and gets lost after a run-in with Toby-Cerberus.

At the very end of chapter 13, however, the Christmas Pig delivers his “one condition” for helping Jack, a condition he does as a ruse to fool the boy about his real aim. “The old Matchbox car began to say something, but the Christmas Pig threw him a nasty look and the car fell silent” (46). We’re not told what he’s done until DP spills the belly beans on the Island of the Beloved (229-230). The marker, though, is dropped in chapter thirteen, just as Mr. Khaytman’s theory predicts it would be.

Though not a turning point in the sense that we use that phrase in our discussions here of ring composition, Christmas Pig‘s chapter 13 certainly is a big shift in the story, in which we learn of and about the world we will soon enter. To repeat myself, I hope a HogwartsProfessor reader will either find what hpboy13 has written on this subject about Casual Vacancy, The Ickabog, and the five Strike novels or, if he has not written that up, that our serious reader will take a look and write us a Guest Post on the subject. The pattern is clearly more than a tick or one-off restricted to Harry Potter.

Is Strike6’s Title ‘The Ink Black Heart’?

Three days ago we identified the possibility that the next Strike Title might be ‘The Last Cries of Men’, a quote from the remarkable Devotion Upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne. A correspondent of Prof Granger identified a further title ‘The Ink Black Heart’ registered from the same group of companies. Over the weekend I have uncovered further links between this group of companies and Rowling Inc. that has convince me that both these titles and the unlikely ‘Love Stories for the Rich and Desperate’ are all projects of J K Rowling.

Join me after the jump for a tiptoe through the trademarks.

[Read more…]