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Author Topic: Presenting Our New celebrity ... Cormoran Strike  (Read 7843 times)

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September 25, 2013, 01:53:45 AM

HealerOne

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Our New celebrity …
Cormoran Strike


How sweet it is to have a new main character from J. k. Rowling! The Cuckoo’s Calling introduces us to Cormoran Strike a hulking, massive 6’3’ retired military Intelligence Investigator. He now is struggling as a Private ‘Eye’ Detective. We become privy to his background and personal demons as the story progresses. We also begin to see that this is a detective that has some real talent. This is the thread in which we can debate and discuss this flawed giant of a character. So let’s begin with some general questions:

~ What was your initial impression of Cormoran Strike – especially his physical description? What can we learn from his name?

~ What do you think of the many nicknames he has such as ‘Stick’, ‘Monkey Boy’, ‘Bluey’, Mystic Bob’, ‘Pubehead’, or ‘Oggy’?  Do you think this speaks to the many facets of his personality or are they mostly derogatory names? The results of endearments or bully’s taunts?
 
~ There are many likenesses to great literary detectives in Cormoran. How do you rate him next to the greats like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Philip Marlowe, Miss Marple or Sam Spade

Bonus Question:

~Do you see any likenesses to any of JKR’s other characters?
 
Come on in and express your opinion about this fabulous flatfoot! Let the clues fall where they may!



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September 28, 2013, 08:34:14 PM
Reply #1

Dreamteam

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Strike first appears as a "massive", "dishevelled" man with the appearance of a grizzly bear but soon turns out to be considerate - he tries to avoid "accidental contact" as he shows Robin into his offices and later checks that she's ok after he had grabbed her although "carefully not looking at the site of the injury".  So, yes, he did remind me a little of Hagrid.

So many nicknames makes me think that perhaps Strike has been able to compartmentalise his life to a large extent with many friends, acquaintances, colleagues, contacts, etc throughout his life who know him but not necessarily each other.  Some of the names give us no clue to their origins or even who uses them.  Some suggest his physical appearance, such as Stick - Lucy's name for him - suggests, probably he had been tall and thin as a child.  I'd love to know why Charlotte called him Bluey, apparently it's Australian slang for a redhead but we're never told the colour of his hair and I got the impression that her family was English but it's not actually stated I don't think.  The name that made me smile was the one used by Anstis, Mystic Bob, which I had to wonder might be J K Rowling's little joke on the pseudonym she'd chosen  ;D

He does remind me a little of other literary detectives who tend to notice things that no-one else does (although I don't think I've ever read any Sam Spade stories and the Marlowe stories I've read were more years ago than I like to remember) and then tell us in the conclusion what those things were. 

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October 01, 2013, 10:48:52 AM
Reply #2

Kickassnoodle

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OK, I have to preface this stating that I absolutely love Cormoran Strike as a character. He's so subtly constructed, it's astounding. So, with that out of the way, let's see ;D

Interesting note about Bluey, Dreamteam. Somehow I imagined that he has black hair, I don't know why. Red hair adds, um, even more character to his appearance, so to speak  :fredgeorge: I think, it's great that Strike has a disability, not for him as a person, of course, but because you don't see that many lead characters with disabilities in books where it's not the primary focus. So, bonus points for diversity (tho I really wish Jo would write a book with a female lead, but that's a different topic).

I also love the fact that while outwardly Strike is very masculine and macho and all those other descriptors (he's huge, he boxes, he was in the army), he's also very sensitive and subtle, for the lack of better words. I mean, he's very tactful with Robin and he senses very well how to approach different people. I loved the bit that says that due to his moving around a lot as a child he learnt how to blend in and be accepted by different groups of people, especially considering that his appearance would make him a pretty good target for ridicule and bullying.

And actually, Strike reminds me of Remus Lupin quite a bit. I mean, even though outwardly those two are totally different, but they've both suffered through difficult times (money-wise and friend-wise - I imagine they didn't have that many close friends, even though apparently Strike has a lot of social contacts he can ask for favours), they appear to be kind of lonely, they both have health problems which can physically incapacitate them from time to time, and they also both seem pretty tuned into other people - I mean, they are sensitive and know how to approach different circumstances, I think. And I love Remus Lupin (he's one of my absolute favourite characters in Potterverse), so I'm starting to think it's not so surprising that I like Cormoran Strike so much as well  :luna:
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 10:50:27 AM by Kickassnoodle »
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October 01, 2013, 12:03:23 PM
Reply #3

RiverSpirit

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I'd love to know why Charlotte called him Bluey, apparently it's Australian slang for a redhead but we're never told the colour of his hair.

As soon as I saw this I guessed he was a redhead. It is quite normal for a redhead to be nicknamed Bluey here (or a very tall person to be called Tiny) ;)
  
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October 03, 2013, 04:04:01 PM
Reply #4

paint it Black

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...And actually, Strike reminds me of Remus Lupin quite a bit. I mean, even though outwardly those two are totally different, but they've both suffered through difficult times (money-wise and friend-wise - I imagine they didn't have that many close friends, even though apparently Strike has a lot of social contacts he can ask for favours), they appear to be kind of lonely, they both have health problems which can physically incapacitate them from time to time, and they also both seem pretty tuned into other people - I mean, they are sensitive and know how to approach different circumstances, I think. And I love Remus Lupin (he's one of my absolute favourite characters in Potterverse), so I'm starting to think it's not so surprising that I like Cormoran Strike so much as well  :luna:
I don't think that Strike thoroughly reminds me of any other JKR character, but I did also see a bit of similarity here.  I see Strike as someone who is very clever, but is perhaps underestimated by some people.  He is also someone who chooses to reveal very little of his true self.

I think Dreamteam has a good point about his nicknames showing the compartmentalization of his life; I think each of the people who have given him a nickname see their own version of him, and very few of them perhaps see the real Cormoran.  I think Robin may be the only person that we see address him directly as "Cormoran" (that is, after he had let his guard down to her while he was drowning his sorrows).  I also wondered why Charlotte called him "Bluey" (I didn't know about the redhead slang); I thought maybe she was more of a party girl and she would tease him sometimes for being more serious or somewhat of a buzzkill (maybe he'd be a bit depressed at times and have the blues)?  But now I think the redhead story is more likely.  And Spanner, the IT guy, calls Strike "Frederico" -- where could that have come from?  :crabbegoyle: Much of the time in the story, we see Strike as being "on duty", so that colors somewhat how we see his interaction with other characters.  One of the few times he let loose a little was when he got personal with Ciara Porter; that was fun.  I loved when he asked her the name of her perfume.  :fleur: It was a way of getting more intimate with her, but it also reflected his preferred style of communication (asking questions to get information from people).

I wonder how much Strike's career in the military formed his character.  I believe he says that he liked the military life, but got out before he became fully entrenched in it.  It will be interesting to see if, in future Strike novels, he has more flashbacks, or other connections to his life as a soldier.  Knowing how well Jo can leave a small bit of information lying around and then have it become important several volumes later, I'm curious to know what will become significant in the books to come!  :hermioneread:

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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October 03, 2013, 05:53:00 PM
Reply #5

HealerOne

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I find Cormoran Strike to be a fascinating name. The name Cormoran "is the Cornish name of the sea giant associated with St. Michael's Mount in the folklore of Cornwall (Jack the Giant Killer.)" (The Baby Name Wizard) The last name 'Strike' is indeed related to the measuring of corn. "an early medieval English occupational surname for someone who was employed to maintain the accuracy of a measure of corn by passing a flat stick or "strike" over the rim of the vessel holding the grain, thus leveling the grain and removing any excess." (The Internet Surname Database). I wonder that the nickname 'Stick' could have come from that also. There are many many definitions of strike - one being: "To make a military assault" several others being; " To produce or play by manipulating strings or keys" and " To affect keenly or forcibly; impress."

From the physical description in the book, it called to my mind a combination of Hagrid and Mad-Eye. I actually like the idea that Cormoran is a giant of a man, his bulk rather overwhelming. It's like no one can really overlook him or take him lightly. I was not aware of the nickname 'bluey' to be slang for a redhead - my thought was that he might have blue eyes but I don't recall that the color of his eyes was described.  The nickname 'Mystic Bob' might be a reference to Bob Marley the Jamaican singer-songwriter who wrote the song Natural Mystic. The opening words:
"There's a natural mystic blowing through the air;
If you listen carefully now you will hear.
This could be the first trumpet, might as well be the last:
Many more will have to suffer,
Many more will have to die - don't ask me why "

Could be JKR's tribute to the Cormoran Strike series? That the mysteries will all be about murders? (Of course it also could mean maybe Cormoran likes Bob Marley!)


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June 23, 2014, 06:20:30 AM
Reply #6

paint it Black

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With the publication of The Silkworm, we have one more volume to get to know our new favorite detective!  :sherlock:  Do you have any new thoughts to share on this complex character?  What is the most interesting thing that you've learned about him from this latest book?  :ron:

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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June 24, 2014, 04:59:43 PM
Reply #7

Evreka

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The first thing that struck me about this new book, already in the pre-publication exerpt (ie the first two chapters), and which I think, held true for a large portion of the book was a shifted perspective. While Cormoran was always the center figure and the detective, in CC; in it we see much of the plot as well as life at Denmark Street from Robin's point of view. This time the main focus switched to seeing most events from Cormoran's. Ironically, this also make us see less of him, if instead we know more about his feelings and thoughts.

He seems to have got wiser as far as his ex-fiancé is concerned. And the love theme (for Cormoran) seems to be toned somewhat down in The Silkworm, I think? It's clear though, that he appreciates Robin on many levels; and had it not been for Matthew...   :-\ things might have got charged... :-*

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July 29, 2014, 12:46:19 AM
Reply #8

paint it Black

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I'd love to know why Charlotte called him Bluey, apparently it's Australian slang for a redhead but we're never told the colour of his hair.

As soon as I saw this I guessed he was a redhead. It is quite normal for a redhead to be nicknamed Bluey here (or a very tall person to be called Tiny) ;)
Interesting note about Bluey, Dreamteam. Somehow I imagined that he has black hair, I don't know why. Red hair adds, um, even more character to his appearance, so to speak  :fredgeorge: ....

Again in The Silkworm, Strike is described as "dark" -- not specifically dark hair or eyes or skin, but "dark" -- and I think it is specified that he differs from his father in this.  I cannot remember if there is a physical description of Strike's mother in A Cuckoo's Calling, but given this description plus the fact that he has kinky hair, I've started to wonder if perhaps Cormoran is biracial...?

I was surprised to read that Cormoran admitted (to himself) a prejudice against women drivers, which made me wonder; could the driver in Afghanistan on the day that he lost his leg have been a woman?  At any rate, Robin has no doubt cured him of this impression!

In general, I think of Strike as a good guy (and I think most readers do as well), but I was definitely disappointed in how disposable he found Nina.  He knew she was more interested in him than he was in her, but he found her desire of him useful when he wanted information from her, or someone to take his mind off of Charlotte's wedding.  Tsk tsk.  :shake:

I noticed that the death of Strike's mother was mentioned again in this book, and it was described as a "mysterious overdose".  I wonder if Cormoran will ever investigate that mystery...  :hmm:

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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July 29, 2014, 11:35:19 PM
Reply #9

Evreka

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I was surprised to read that Cormoran admitted (to himself) a prejudice against women drivers, which made me wonder; could the driver in Afghanistan on the day that he lost his leg have been a woman? 
I may well be wrong, but I think that we know that that driver in Afghanistan was male? We've seen this scene a couple of times from Cormoran's memory, and I think we know this?


In general, I think of Strike as a good guy (and I think most readers do as well), but I was definitely disappointed in how disposable he found Nina.  He knew she was more interested in him than he was in her, but he found her desire of him useful when he wanted information from her, or someone to take his mind off of Charlotte's wedding.  Tsk tsk.  :shake:
Yeah, that isn't a very good character trait - but I'm afraid it is realistically... :(
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August 02, 2014, 10:23:48 PM
Reply #10

Dreamteam

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I was surprised to read that Cormoran admitted (to himself) a prejudice against women drivers, which made me wonder; could the driver in Afghanistan on the day that he lost his leg have been a woman? 
I may well be wrong, but I think that we know that that driver in Afghanistan was male? We've seen this scene a couple of times from Cormoran's memory, and I think we know this?


In general, I think of Strike as a good guy (and I think most readers do as well), but I was definitely disappointed in how disposable he found Nina.  He knew she was more interested in him than he was in her, but he found her desire of him useful when he wanted information from her, or someone to take his mind off of Charlotte's wedding.  Tsk tsk.  :shake:
Yeah, that isn't a very good character trait - but I'm afraid it is realistically... :(
This is one of the things that I love about JKR's characters - they're so well rounded and realistic, rarely is anyone entirely good or bad.  It's something we saw over and over again in the Harry Potter series with "good" guys having not-so-good traits (e.g. Harry's arrogance and willingness to use the Unforgivable Curses when he felt justified in Deathly Hallows) and "not-so-good" guys having good traits (e.g. Snape's loyalty to Lily's memory and Dumbledore).  In the Strike books we're seeing a less desirable side to Cormoran in his treatment of Nina but on the other side of the coin we're beginning to see a better side of Matthew in that he hadn't known about Robin's dream of being a detective but, now that he does, is supportive of her. So I agree that the way Nina was treated was poor, to say the least, but making Cormoran some kind of angel would probably become tedious in the end. 

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May 14, 2016, 11:43:17 PM
Reply #11

lucas8926

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What do you think of the many nicknames he has such as ‘Stick’, ‘Monkey Boy’, ‘Bluey’, Mystic Bob’, ‘Pubehead’, or ‘Oggy’?  Do you think this speaks to the many facets of his personality or are they mostly derogatory names? The results of endearments or bully’s taunts?

Here are my thoughts:

I think Cormoran Strike is mixed race, Caucasian and black first off, a comoran is a black bird.
Stick: When he was in shape (when he was younger and before he lost his leg) he was probably thin and tall (6'3") hence the nick name stick
Monkey Boy: Because of his prosthetic leg Striker probably had a simian like gait and monkey boy is a derogatory term for a black male.
Bluesy: red head (kinky Afro)
Mystic Bob: Bob Marley who was also mixed race (Caucasian and black)
Pubehead: kinky hair (red Afro)
Oggy: has nothing to do with race but where he's from, Cornwall. An oggy is a pasty from Cornwall.

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May 16, 2016, 01:58:48 AM
Reply #12

paint it Black

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Welcome lucas8926:welcome:

What do you think of the many nicknames he has such as ‘Stick’, ‘Monkey Boy’, ‘Bluey’, Mystic Bob’, ‘Pubehead’, or ‘Oggy’?  Do you think this speaks to the many facets of his personality or are they mostly derogatory names? The results of endearments or bully’s taunts?

Here are my thoughts:

I think Cormoran Strike is mixed race, Caucasian and black


I had thought this same thing too at one point, but several things in the latest Strike novel Career of Evil have put me off this theory.  (I don't think any of these things are spoiler-y of the plot, but you can skip this paragraph if you do not want any kind of preview.)  For one, we learn that Strike's middle name is Blue, due to his mother's love of the band Blue Oyster Cult.  Until I learned that I was going along with the idea that he was called Bluey due to it being Aussie slang for a redhead.  Also, Robin at one point in Career of Evil looks up Eric Bloom (a member of BOC) and finds, "that he had Strike's exact hair: dense, dark and curly." (Ch. 6)  From the black and white photo Robin sees of Strike's mother, we know that she has dark hair and is fair enough to be able to easily read words that are tattooed upon her.  Also, in Strike's memory of her funeral, he describes her as pale.  And I'm not sure, but I think I remember reading in one of the first two books that Strike did not resemble his father very much.  So I'm not seeing very much evidence that Strike or either of his parents were dark skinned.  And I could be wrong, but I do think that by this point, the author would have mentioned it if he or they were.

... first off, a comoran is a black bird.
A cormorant is a black bird; Cormoran is a legendary giant in Cornish folklore.  :hagrid:

Stick: When he was in shape (when he was younger and before he lost his leg) he was probably thin and tall (6'3") hence the nick name stick
Monkey Boy: Because of his prosthetic leg Striker probably had a simian like gait and monkey boy is a derogatory term for a black male.
Bluesy: red head (kinky Afro)
Mystic Bob: Bob Marley who was also mixed race (Caucasian and black)
Pubehead: kinky hair (red Afro)
Oggy: has nothing to do with race but where he's from, Cornwall. An oggy is a pasty from Cornwall.

I hadn't known the one about Oggy; thanks!

Perhaps some conclusion can be drawn about Strike as a result of so many people having nicknames for him.  (I'm guessing that most people have zero or one nickname.)  Is it because he has an unusual first name and people are timid about saying it aloud in case they've got it wrong?  Is it that people feel instantly comfortable around him and find it easy to treat him informally by using a nickname?  Is it that he knows such a large and varied group of people that the odds are that some are bound to use a nickname for him?  Or could it be something else?   :ron:



Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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May 19, 2016, 10:29:13 PM
Reply #13

HealerOne

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Thanks for he new information on Oggy, lucas8926. Looked up some other interesting trivia about the Cornish Oggy:

"A pasty is known as a "tiddy oggy" when steak is replaced with an extra potato, "tiddy" meaning potato and "oggy" meaning pasty and was eaten when times were hard and expensive meat could not be afforded."

And this: "The word "oggy" in the internationally popular chant "Oggy Oggy Oggy, Oi Oi Oi" is thought to stem from Cornish dialect "hoggan", deriving from "hogen" the Cornish word for pasty. When the pasties were ready for eating, the bal maidens at the mines would supposedly shout down the shaft "Oggy Oggy Oggy" and the miners would reply "Oi Oi Oi."

One more interesting thing about that culinary delight - the pasty:

"In contrast to its earlier place amongst the wealthy, during the 17th and 18th centuries, the pasty became popular with working people in Cornwall, where tin miners and others adopted it due to its unique shape, forming a complete meal that could be carried easily and eaten without cutlery. In a mine, the pasty's dense, folded pastry could stay warm for several hours, and if it did get cold, it could easily be warmed on a shovel over a candle.

Side-crimped pasties gave rise to the suggestion that the miner might have eaten the pasty holding the thick edge of pastry, which was later discarded, thereby ensuring that his dirty fingers (possibly including traces of arsenic) did not touch food or his mouth."

Who knew?
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