The Running Grave – Fandom Sleuthing Roundup

On the 17th of January J. K. Rowling tweeted a picture- the completed manuscript copy of the seventh instalment in the Strike series.

Quickly seeing that type from the page below was visible The Rowling Library posted a contrast enhanced image that showed the opening lines from Dylan Thomas’ poem When Like a Running Grave and a passage from The I Ching.

The Epigraphs

Here at Hogwarts Professor, close reader Percy Lin identified the I Ching passage as the comment of Wenyan Zhuan (文言傳, “Commentary on the Words”) on Hexagram 2  (坤 kūn, “Field”): “其所由来者渐矣。由辨之不早辨也”

It took a long time for things to go so far. It came about because things that should have been stopped were not stopped soon enough.

We are fortunate to have more than one I Ching irregular here at HogPro with close reader Luis E Andrade adding their analysis:

Curiously, the Wenyan Zhuan, the so called Seventh Wing of the Yijing, and not part of the core text of the Zhouyi but part of Han Dynasty exegesis added when it was canonized as one of the five Confucian Classics to become the “Yijing” (易經), only extends to the first two hexagrams in the received, and so called, King Wen sequence. The commentary goes on at length for the first hexagram but it is much shorter for the second, 坤, translated as The Receptive by Wilhelm/Baynes. In particular, the quote used, refers to the portion dedicated to comment the first line of H2 and translated as “When there is hoarfrost underfoot, solid ice is not far off.” Using that as reference, you can see why the comment talks about events that should have been dealt with in time but have run out of their control by neglecting to do so.

The Running Grave Publication Date

This is not the first time that Rowling has tweeted a completed manuscript on Twitter. On 23trd March 2018 she announced that Lethal White was completed. Perhaps because of a noted lifelong struggle with printers, this was illustrated with a USB memory stick. Lethal White was published on the 18th September 2018. On 25th January 2020 Rowling posted a picture of the, as yet unnamed, Troubled Blood manuscript. Troubled Blood was published on 15th September 2020. No manuscript tweet for Ink Black Heart, but she tweeted that it was finished on 3rd December 2021. Ink Black Heart was published on 30th August 2022.

For most recent Strike novels we have a time between completion and publication ranging from 179 days for Lethal White and 270 days for The Ink Black Heart. For The Running Grave, that means a publication date between 15th July and 14th October.

Here’s hoping for an early Summer release!


  1. Thanks very much for doing the maths Nick!
    Either way it will be only a year between novels unlike the 2 years which has been the regular pattern recently (2018, 2020, 2022). I expect the publishers will be sticking with an autumn release – here’s guessing Sept 2023.

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    I’ve just learned that, 11 days after JKR confirmed the title, Marianne Mantell, née Roney died at 93. I found out from someone quoting her Wall Street Journal obituary (by James R. Hagerty), which includes:

    “Men who ran record companies often asked her for ideas about what they should record—but rejected all of her suggestions. One day, in exasperation, she blurted: Why not poetry?

    “Then she decided it was an excellent idea.

    “With one of her former Hunter College classmates, Barbara Cohen, she founded Caedmon Records in 1952 to record poetry and other spoken works. Their first recording—of Dylan Thomas reading poems and one of his stories, ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’—proved a hit. […] Dylan Thomas, given to late-night carousing, was hard to pin down. The Caedmon founders learned he was staying at the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan and met him there. He agreed to record an album for a $500 advance and a 10% royalty, according to ‘The Untold Story of the Talking Book,’ a 2016 history by Matthew Rubery. Caedmon sold more than 400,000 copies of Dylan Thomas recordings by 1960, Time magazine reported.”

    Do we know if Caedmon Records has been part of JKR/KG’s – and for that matter, Cormoran’s Strike and/or Robin Ellacott’s – life?

  3. D.L. Dodds,

    Sadly, I’ve been unable to find anything to do with Rowling and the Caedmon label. Though I do think you might be onto something. In particular, you’ve got me wondering if it’s at all possible that maybe the character of Jack Jones from “The Christmas Pig” might have at least something of the childhood Dylan Thomas in him, as recounted in the “Wales” Holiday memoir vignette.

    What I have been to find is a helpful DT resource that features an interview with none other than Barbra Holdridge (nee, Cohen) speaking about how she got him one of the first ever major audiobook recording deals in history. It turns out to be the very one you mentioned above. In addition, a few snippets of a song Thomas composed for his radio play, “Under Milkwood”, goes a long way towards demonstrating how the Welsh poet was able to influence the then burgeoning American Folk Countercultural scene.

    Speaking of “Milkwood”, that’s the one effort of Thomas’s that I always see as being close to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, as both Hobbiton and Thomas’s secondary town are the literary products of intertwined memory and Mythopoeia combined. The documentary I mentioned can all be found here:

    Hope this was helpful in some way.

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