Ten Post Projects: Vote Your Preference

I have been working on thesis tasks the last six months but that effort is finally at the stage of awaiting judgment from the external and internal readers. My  unforced sabbatical from posting at HogwartsProfessor did not mean that I wasn’t thinking about articles I would be working on except for the need to review and revise work I had already written.

Today I sketched out the ideas that have most been haunting me and tried to figure out where to begin; my preference is with the Troubled Blood subjects but a writer is obliged to think of his audience. Hence the question of this post: What do you want to read?

Let me know by email, contact page, or in the comment boxes below which posts from the following list or about which topics of your own interest you would most be interested in reading. I’ll consider your votes, believe me, as I try to catch up from half a year of neglected posting.

  • Harry Potter

J. K. Rowling’s Natal Chart and the Asteroid Origins of ‘Hermione Granger’

A professional astrologer has written me with her interpretation of J. K. Rowling’s natal astrological chart, something I hadn’t known even existed, and some of the fascinating angles and house placements of her planets in it. Oh, yeah, and the asteroids in a highlighted relationship with the curious but very familiar names.

An Astrologer’s View of the Hogwarts Saga’s Seven Novels as Planets

This same astrologer and a friend tackled the thorny subject — it has been tried at least twice before — of assigning planets to novels in the Harry Potter adventures, a la Michael Ward’s assignments to the seven Chronicles of Narnia in Planet Narnia. Is there actually an astrological relationship to be found in the Hogwarts Saga’s individual books? And what does this tell us about the alchemical stages in each? Cormoran Strike?

  • Troubled Blood

The Celtic Cross Tarot Card Spread in Troubled Blood

The primary embedded text of Troubled Blood is Bill Talbot’s illustrated ‘True Book.’ The many parallels between the detectives’ struggles to understand this book and that of The Silkworm to interpret Bombyx Mori are the strongest evidence that the series is an asterisk rather than a turtle-back in shape. The most important and in your face occult revelation in the ‘True Book’ besides the astrological chart is the Celtic Cross tarot card spread (249) which Strike and Ellacott never bother to interpret. Was the answer to the Bamborough case mystery — whodunnit and where is she? — in the cards?

The Embedded Three Card Tarot Spreads in Talbot’s ‘True Book’ Illustrations

Robin does two three card spreads in Troubled Blood and notes that “she knew from her exhaustive examination of his notes that Talbot had sometimes tried to see his way through the investigation by laying out just three cards” (539). Readers were not shared anything of Ellacott’s “exhaustive examinations” beyond the astrological chart of Bamborough’s disappearance; the aside her not only introduces Robin’s first three card spread but encourages the attentive reader to look for Talbot’s embedded spreads in his illustrated pages (537, 632, 774). They’re there.

  • Ink Black Heart

The Alchemical Symbolism of Ink Black Heart

It’s either the darkest albedo or the second nigredo novel of the series; I have several re-readings to do before I want to wade into this subject, though it is perhaps the most neglected aspect of Rowling’s longest novel’s interpretation thus far.

Aurora Leigh: Poetic Template of Ink Black Heart?

Rowling confirmed the guess first made in this ‘Epigraphs 101‘ post that Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s epic poem, Aurora Leigh, serves as something of the starting template for Strike6. Was she just joking, though, teasing her hyperactive readers and their search for literary allusions, real and imagined? The parallels and differences between the two stories reveal a challenging answer to that question.

The Chiastic Structure of Ink Black Heart

Again, this takes multiple re-readings with an eye and ear cued to see and hear the internal parallels. I’ve drawn the chart but not done the requisite study to draw the connecting lines. I’ll be very disappointed if Rowling drops from the stratospheric standard she set in Troubled Blood of writing both the book as a whole and its individual part/chapter sets as rings.

Ink Black Heart as Act IV of a Shakespearean Romance

Rowling’s literary alchemy and chiastic writing are the structure and style supports to her psychomachian allegories. Most members of the Royal Society of Rowling Readers are on board with the hermetic and Christian symbolism, the ring composition, even the Parallel Series Idea; relatively few, however, accept the Platonic/Patristic soul triptych of the Potter novels, the Shakespearean soul-spirit drama being acted out in the Strike-Ellacott relationship, or the Christmas Pig Morality Play drama in Power’s castle. The patterns of Shakespeare’s chief soul-spirit allegories that are man-woman romances — think Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, even Othello — may find their reflection in Ink Black Heart.

  • The Parallel Series Elephants in the Room

Are the Cormoran Strike Novels a Ten Book Series or a Seven Book Series with Add Ons?

Rowling is six for six now in writing her Cormoran Strike novels in parallel with her Harry Potter analogue numbers, with the last three books being remarkable echoes of their Hogwarts equivalents. So what? Beyond the unexplored questions of why she is doing this, assuming it is meant as more than a playful game she is playing with her attentive and loyal readers, or whether she is highlighting specific neglected ideas and themes the two series share, there is the obvious problem of the end-game. Rowling-Galbraith insists that she has three Strike novels plotted post Running Graves; if she isn’t being strategically dishonest (let’s not inflame the true believers by listing the several times she’s lied about the Strike novels), then the Parallel Series Idea heavily suggests that the seventh book will be in essence the climactic novel in keeping with the Hogwarts series finale, Deathly Hallows. That possibility and credible alternatives merit a longish post.

Deathly Hallows and Running GravesSeven Possible Plot Parallels

Regardless of whether you think the series will be seven, ten, or seven books with three follow-ons in length, it seems very likely that Rowling-Galbraith will continue to write the Strike novels in parallel with her Harry Potter series. Which means, of course, the Strike7 will be full of Deathly Hallows echoing. Seven possible plot parallels occur to me immediately, especially in light of the Norfolk setting and the round church tower featured on The Presence’s twitter page.


  1. I’m all for your thoughts on the Elephant in the room! I’ve been desperate to know if others think this will be 7 with add-ons.

  2. Me too. Elephants in the room

  3. Bettina Iben Torndahl says

    Three cards tarot spreads… Warming up to more divination to come in Running Grave

  4. Nick Jeffery says

    I am torn… this is even harder than choosing my favourite book.
    I don’t think I can choose between Aurora Leigh and those elephants.

  5. Mr. Granger,

    Well, “It looks like a choice feast”, as someone once wrote. Based on your recent comments elsewhere, it seems pretty clear that you’re still “amongst the stars” of Bill Talbot’s True Book. So basically, my advice is to listen to Joseph Campbell and “Follow Your Bliss” on this one.

    Start out where you left off, with the Tarot and Astrology symbolism of “Strike 5”. feel free to make this a series of Deep Dive posts to your own content. I personally wouldn’t mind getting back into those elements where Rowling’s and C.S. Lewis’s work intertwine the most again.

    From there, move on to another favorite topic, the literary alchemy of “The Ink Black Heart”.

    And last, start preparing the ground (so to speak) for “The Running Grave”. This last part just makes sense in terms of the latest upcoming release.

    I just hope this comment winds up being the one that helps get things oriented in the best way possible, as the one at a time ranking just sounded like the best way to go.

    By the way, before I go, speaking of a person’s horoscope, believe it or not, someone out there actually went and did a complete astrological reading of the birth chart of a guy named Clive Staples Lewis, for whatever that’s worth. Not making a word of this up, either. You can find it all right here:


  6. I would love to hear your exploration of The Ink Black Heart and I’m intrigued by those “elephants”.

  7. Further explorations of the true book pages would be interesting. But I need to be honest that when I read Troubled Blood for the first time and saw the first “True Book” page I immediately gave up on solving the mystery. I knew I’d never have the right kind of patience to find the clues there. So I am asking for something that I would never do myself, sorry.

  8. Horatio N says

    I vote in favour of you pursuing the project “Are the Cormoran Strike Novels a Ten Book Series or a Seven Book Series with Add Ons?”. As we will in the foreseeble future, probably during 2023, be able to partake of the actual Book 7 and – I think – be in position to judge for ourselves, your development of this project would serve as an excellent measure of your analytic capabilities and to gage your other wrting accordingly.

  9. I have decided to begin this series of posts with the consensus pick here, what the backchannels conversation is calling ‘Horatio’s Challenge,’ the Elephant in the Room of ‘Running Grave’ discussion: https://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/running-grave-finale-albedo-or-what/.

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