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Author Topic: Comparisions Between Jo Rowling's Various Literature Ventures  (Read 1269 times)

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August 03, 2014, 06:05:46 PM

Evreka

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In the last seventeen years Jo Rowling has published  books within three very different literature genres (for want of a better word): The series of Harry Potter (HP)  :harry:, The Casual Vacancy (CV)  :reading:, and the Cormoran Strike/Robert Galbraith (CS) :sherlock: books. While there certainly are many differences between these three literature ventures, there are also some similarities between them, or perhaps between pairs of them.

Fair warning, this thread assumes that you are familiar with all of these series/books, or otherwise do not mind being spoiled!

Some possible areas where similarities might perhaps be found include:
* Characterizations
* Plot building
* The use of Red herrings & fore-shadowing
* Places
* Moral & Ethics (or lack thereof)
* Themes
* Real life messages or opinions between the lines
* "Random" or curious mentions that creates a bridge between these worlds.
(This list is not meant to be extensive.)

Which similarities have YOU spotted? Are there anything that leaps out off the pages to YOU?




One of the things that leapt out to me at the re-read of The Silkworm was just how wary Cormoran Strike is of being known as Rokeby's son, and how unwelcome any acknowledgement from others on this celebrity connection is. In short, if he had chosen to try to make money out of this connection, it is likely he would have been able to; yet he has no wish for this whatsoever. His dislike of being known for something he can not help, makes me think of another main character, who is similarly unhappy about being famous for something obscure beyond his control: Harry Potter. Neither of these main characters are happy to acknowledge fame as good thing in its own right.

Is this really a coincidence? Just a convenient plot decision in two separate and very different plots?   :crabbegoyle: Or is it, at least in Cormoran's case, a result of Jo herself not being too hapy about the level of fame she has got herself into? Or is Jo simply finding this rather unusual type of personality to be well suited for the main character's role? What do you think? Could this similarity between Cormoran Strike and Harry Potter be a coincedence?  :hmm:
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August 03, 2014, 10:58:54 PM
Reply #1

Laura W

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Well, of course there is that whole dysfunctional family thing.  Or unhappy family thing.

Re Cuckoo's Calling, Strike comes from a dysfunctional family, and both of Lula's families would be considered dysfunctional I think. And Strike's current relationship with his sister in Cuckoo's Calling is not a happy one, even though they are now grown up.

And the HP series is LOADED with examples of dysfunctional families or children growing up in unhappy circumstances.  Harry, of course (from age 15 months on), and Hagrid and Snape and Riddle and Merope and others.  (Of course there were also happy families portrayed in those books too.)

Although Jo loved her sister and absolutely adored her mother, her relationship with her father has always been strained.  When she was a child, and even more so now.  It's possible that her emphasis on dysfunctional/unhappy families in both her HP books and her first Cormoran Strike novel - I HAVE NOT YET READ THE SECOND ONE - has something to do with that.

Laura
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August 04, 2014, 04:57:39 AM
Reply #2

paint it Black

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Neither of these main characters are happy to acknowledge fame as good thing in its own right.

I hadn't thought about it much before, but certainly fame is a theme that reappears in JKR's works.  She could have easily written Strike to not be the son of a famous man.  Unlike Harry and Strike, some characters enjoy (or at least, don't mind) their fame.  The obvious example here is Gilderoy Lockhart, but Al Rokeby doesn't seem to mind having a famous father.  In Al's case, it seems to suit his personality; he's a friendly guy, and his notoriety allows him to meet a wide variety of people.  In Gilderoy's case, he uses his fame to sell books ... perhaps JKR is making a comment about celebrity authors...?

Along the same lines, The Silkworm is set in the publishing world, and we've seen JKR's take on writers and publications before in the HP series.  In addition to Lockhart, Rita Skeeter is a popular writer who thrives on self-promotion.  The Daily Prophet is a newspaper which tends to publish what it thinks its readers want to see (or, what the government tells it to :annoyed:), rather than providing unbiased, fact-based journalism.  The Quibbler is a bastion of free speech: Xeno feels free to print any outlandish story he believes in; that is, until the life of his daughter is threatened.  :(  None of these representations, in my mind, show writing and publishing in a stellar light.  :-\

Well, of course there is that whole dysfunctional family thing.  Or unhappy family thing.
[...]
(Of course there were also happy families portrayed in those books too.)


Both are true; there's some nostalgia for happier family times and hometowns in The Silkworm, and in Harry Potter (especially in The Deathly Hallows, when Harry yearns to visit Godrick's Hollow).  I don't think we saw much of this in The Cuckoo's Calling, but in The Silkworm, Strike keeps thinking of his Aunt and Uncle in Cornwall and makes plans to visit them, and Robin actually goes to her hometown to visit her family.

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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August 04, 2014, 08:51:35 AM
Reply #3

Eva Hedwig

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Laura, please do not read this post, if you havnt read the Silkworm yet, but I think its ok to include it in my commentaries,  because the topic is for ALL books.

Thanks for the new Topic  Evreka :)  I try to get my ideas ordered and may need two or three goes

I  begin with CV and TS, where I find similarities in style and ideas.

  Both books were not easy to read for me, they are a bit strange because part of the people we meet there, live and act  “outside of the normal expectance  or standard” and are not met that easily “in daily live” . Their everyday struggle isn’t much known either.  And those who seem to have a “normal” life have a (well) hidden undercover story worth telling.
Both books have kids with mental disabilities:  Krystal and Robbie in CV,  Dodo in TS, which are very important for the unfolding stories.

In Both books cutting and hurting is present,  CV  the  constant auto-mutilation of Sukvinder and in TS the cutting up of Owen.

CV:  Three teenies use Barry Fairbrother’s  old account on the Pagford council’s forum  to reveal secrets of council members and get their private vengeance.   
TS:  Elisabeth writes under the name of Owen and get her vengeance against people who didn’t please her.

The sexual live of the people in CC is more tranquil and rather un- focused, while in CV and TS sexuality and their distortion is taking up an important role.


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August 08, 2014, 05:40:45 PM
Reply #4

Evreka

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I HAVE NOT YET READ THE SECOND ONE ...
First off, I hope you can get hold of a copy and read it some time soon, because until you do, this thread is going to be a very dangerous place to read in...  :-\

In this post I will spoiler protect my comments regarding The Silkworm that was inspired by your post, so that you dare read the rest of the comments that were inspired by your post, but in general, I do not think, we can keep that up. Especially as this thread sits in here, in a Cuppa discussing The Silkworm, for a reason.


That said...
Well, of course there is that whole dysfunctional family thing.  Or unhappy family thing.

Re Cuckoo's Calling, Strike comes from a dysfunctional family, and both of Lula's families would be considered dysfunctional I think. And Strike's current relationship with his sister in Cuckoo's Calling is not a happy one, even though they are now grown up.

And the HP series is LOADED with examples of dysfunctional families or children growing up in unhappy circumstances.  Harry, of course (from age 15 months on), and Hagrid and Snape and Riddle and Merope and others.  (Of course there were also happy families portrayed in those books too.)
I kind of agree that we see far more dysfunctional families in Cuckoo's Calling (or CC, the first CS  :sherlock: book) than normal ones; although Robin's family can't be described as dysfunctional, can it? Matthew certainly could show more support for his fiancé's choices and values in life, but calling their relationship dysfunctional, is, I think, to stretch it a bit. But certainly, there are other dysfunctional families in abundance.

The interesting part is that I think that the HP story, that is very rich in characters and details of those characters, seems to have all sorts of families. There certainly are dysfunctional such, such as the Dursleys, the Gaunts, the Snapes... but many of the unhappy childhoods that we learn of might have other things wrong with them than a child growing up in a dysfunctional family. Voldemort's destiny as a child was the result of his mother dieing in child bed, Neville's of the violence that tore his family asunder, Remus' because he was bitten and contaminated with a terrible illness as a very young child... I don't think Jo would thank anyone who equated one parent families as dysfunctional ones. Fridwulfa might have created a lot of heart ache leaving her very young baby and husband, but by the sound of it Hagrid got a warm, loving upbringing by his father, until he tragically died, way too soon. As unusual as the Lovegoods no doubt were, there is not a shred of evidence that Luna's parents weren't happy together or that Xeno wasn't a good dad, yet an eccentric one, I think.

When it comes to a book full of dysfunctional families, however, my thoughts swivel immediately to CV.  :reading: Are there any functional ones?  :hmm: I guess you could say that about Kay and Gaia, again a one parent family where there certainly is opposition between them - but what teen parent does not experience that? By the end of the book, that family was almost the only one that felt as a working family. So to me, dysfunctional families reminds me far more of CV, than of HP.


Spoiler protected for Laura W's sake, as this regards comments stemming from her quote, but related to The Silkworm:
Spoiler
On the other hand, I don't think the dysfunctional family theme carried over to tS. We do have Mr and Mrs Waldegrave, but at least the father seem devoted to his daughter, enough so, to go to pieces entirely over the possibility of her not being his. Also, while Owen comes across like a jerk, it seems Orlando was loved by both of her parents and Leonora seems to have always accepted Owen as he was, so I wouldn't say this is a dysfunctional family either. Nowhere near ideal, but at least not dysfunctional.

So the CS books as such, does not seem to have that as a theme, I think.

I have a lot more things to add to this thread, and I'll be back with them later, as I really need to go make dinner now!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 06:59:55 PM by Evreka »
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August 10, 2014, 05:14:02 PM
Reply #5

HealerOne

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Which similarities have YOU spotted? Are there anything that leaps out off the pages to YOU?

There are several themes which I see running though JKR's novels. One of which is that the dead have influence over the living. That's pretty obvious in HP where the house ghosts along with Lily, and James give comfort, hope and even guidance to Harry. The opposite being true of Merope who in choosing to die instead of care for her child sets off the downfall of Tom Riddle, Jr. In CV, the death of Barry Fairbrother starts a whole cavalcade of dysfunctional families slipping into a story of small town warfare. But make no mistake, the life of Barry influences every one of those characters and how they react and live through this story. Of course in the CS novels the death of the victims in Cormoran's cases is what sets off his search for justice for them. 

I also see that characters, such as Harry and Cormoran, who have cheated death, are amazing in how they influence the living and fight to right the injustices done to others. One might also point to Sukhvinder in CV, who, in attempting to save her friend's brother, nearly died herself. Her unselfish act changes what others think and do.

The overall theme of Love Conquers All is seen to some degree or other in all her novels so far. I don't think it has been as strong in the CS novels as in the others but, I can pretty much predict that eventually we will see that as a theme coming out of this series. 

Lastly, and perhaps the strongest thing which sets JKR's writing apart from others, is her ability to make her characters full and rounded. Their character traits being not all good and (with the exception of Voldemort, but perhaps not of Tom Riddle. Jr.) all bad. She makes them believable and to some degree lovable, because they have foibles.

How did I do? Do you agree or disagree with my analysis?
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