Strike on Twitter – Poetry Please

Since J. K. Rowling tweeted the epigraph to chapter 1 on Friday, our curious cast of twitter accounts have been busy posting their own verses. Friends and Faculty here at Hogwarts Professor are divided on what these accounts are. Could they be directed by Rowling? Are they a marketing campaign guided by advance copies of the book? Are they super-fans teasing knowledge they don’t have? Either way they are incredible fun. After the jump, review the tweets yourself, and let me know what you think!

Lucy was first on Sunday:

Followed by Anomie:

Followed by Robin on Monday, but I’m not yet convinced this account is part of the same set:

Pat posted just before midnight (BST) Monday:

Izzy posted just after midnight (BST):

Followed by Ilsa:

And the Deadbeats with a competition:

Finally even Dave Polworth got in on the act:

Izzy’s tweet is the outlier here (yes, even more so than the Milligan verse). This is not a published poem, that I can find, neither is the author known.

What wrought we here, by love’s embrace?
No marsh more vile than we.
Ahinoam! Send seven sons!
And we’ll still cursèd be.


Ahinoam is biblical, but very obscure. Could this be a code?



  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    This reminds me of Nemo’s Almanac…

    That last one has the sound of some real poem – but then a pastiche might achieve that effect. E.g., “seven sons” is a good Biblical phrase – and apparently much and variously discussed… Rabbi Dr. Meir Levin has an interesting August 9, 2006 post which includes Sephirotic references…

    Again, when is that diction likely? Nineteenth-century archaism? – or pastiche?

  2. Nick,

    In an ARG, a good rule of thumb is to always be alert for a possible code.

  3. Many references to birds in these tweets. Anomie wrote, some days ago and referring to the new cover, “The trick is always to look beyond the silhouettes and look in the shadows”, and there I see another bird. Am I seeing clues (or baits) where there are none?

  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Speaking of M.E. Cattermole and M.E. Coleridge, my wife immediately thought of a possible literary nod on JKR’s part – Violet Cattermole in Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night. And some initial Cattermole searching found the prolific writer, editor, and artist, the Rev. Mr. Richard Cattermole, F.R.S.L. (as later, JKR), and indeed, Secretary from 1833-52, and – friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Coleridge became godfather to Richard’s son, George Richard Coleridge Cattermole, in 1828. (Hat-tip to Sandra Cattermole’s 2018 post, “Cattermole – What An Odd Name!”) Cattermole’s Sacred Classics series includes Sacred Poetry of the Seventeenth Century, and his later Literature of the Church of England includes selections from Cambridge Platonists in its second volume. And then there’s his brother, George Cattermole, R.W.S., “friend of Charles Dickens and many other literary and artistic figures” according to his Wikipedia article (with lots of examples in the linked DLB article by William Cosmo Monkhouse).

  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    That was following up my comment at the First Epigraph post: I have not seen any Nineteenth-century poetry Cattermole connections, but one wonders how widely and or eclectically read Mrs. Murray is in no-longer-familiar Nineteenth-century writers.

  6. Vessilla,

    I made sure to note what you say about the looming presence of birds in a lot of the poetry that Rowling (I’m going with the assumption that all the poetry snippets are her specific choices, and that they will factor in on a thematic level in Book 6) has given out in the last few days.

    The reason it’s begun to stand out to me is because according to Lyndy Abraham’s “Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery”, “Bird of all kinds appear in alchemical texts (23)”. Her definition of “birds” basically boils down to them being images, or representations of the motto “Solve et Coagula”, or what’s known more commonly known as the resolution, union, or unity of opposites. It’s a term that I think is more common in literary circles these days. Though it’s also a survival of older, medieval doctrines.

    Under this definition, birds are depicted as symbols of, or officiaries at an achievement known as the “Chemical Wedding”. What it all means in practical, life-size terms is merely the ordinary process that happens when two aspects of any given mind, psyche, or soul (specifically the emotions and intellect) are able to be harmonized with each other in a stable and sane pattern. In even more down-to-earth terms, it’s really all a metaphor for trying to sort one’s own life out, little more or less. The goal here might best be described as order in one’s own self, and (hopefully) order in the public sphere. A good Renaissance term I’ve heard for this process is that of the microcosm aligning with the macrocosm.

    Nothing all that fancy, in other words, yet I’ll admit there’s a lot of usefulness in such symbolism. The point is birds have often been used as a helpful and potent symbol of the “sorting out” process. Beyond this, there is also the literary usages of birds in folklore. The one that sticks out to me the most is the superstition of birds as servants of the afterlife. The most familiar version of this trope is known as the Psychopomp. In folklore, the role of birds filling these functions was to act as escorts, or emissaries for and from the land of the dead. It was believed that birds could traverse the two realms, back and forth. As such, they would be on hand, either to escort a departing soul to the Otherworld, or else to deliver messages from the Dead Zone. It wouldn’t surprise me to see birds in this Alchemic Psychopomp aspect playing a vital thematic and narrative part in Book 6.

    Also, D.L. Dodds,

    Thanks for the Cattermole discovery in regards to “Gaudy Night”. What makes this gratifying is that for the longest time now, I’ve become convinced that it is Dorothy L. Sayers who is exerting the biggest influence on the Denmark St. Mysteries. This influence, I maintain, is greater than even that of P.D. James, or Agatha Christie. It’s clear right down to the basic characteristics of Strike and Robin, as they can be seen as latter-day versions of Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. So with this in mind, thank you for the spotted reference.

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