Not Just “Goin’ Through the Motions”

A Galbraith Update: I originally wrote this article 5 years ago. Since then, J.K. Rowling’s actively transphobic comments on Twitter have become a problem, and to be honest have been a problem for a while now. I finally decided to add this header here to note that, much as I had reservations about Rowling’s depictions of LGBT+ folk here, recent events have made me less and less inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.

In particular, I have become aware that the Robert Galbraith pseudonym overlaps disturbingly with Robert Galbraith Heath, a psychiatrist whose work included implanting electrodes in a patient’s brain in order to attempt a form of gay conversion therapy. Whilst it is entirely possible this is a coincidence – supposedly she arrived at the pen name from combining the names of Robert Rowling and J.K. Galbraith – I feel like when an author chooses a pseudonym it’s just good due diligence to give it a quick Google to make sure the name isn’t associated either with an existing author or a controversial figure.

Did she fail to do this, did she Google it but fail to find the information, or did she Google it, find the information, and just not care enough to change it? I’m not sure it matters. If it’s not a coincidence, it’s awful. If it is a coincidence, then it’s a coincidence so apt to her recent statements that it’s almost poetic justice that this has been exposed.

At any rate, I no longer encourage anybody to read this book. There is no shortage of detective fiction out there, there is no reason why anyone should read this series in preference to any other one written with equal or greater competence and less cringeworthy aspects.

Continue reading “Not Just “Goin’ Through the Motions””

J.K. Rowling’s Naked Lunch

A Galbraith Update: I originally wrote this article 6 years ago. Since then, J.K. Rowling’s actively transphobic comments on Twitter have become a problem, and to be honest have been a problem for a while now. I finally decided to add this header here to note that, much as I had reservations about Rowling’s depictions of LGBT+ folk here, recent events have made me less and less inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.

In particular, I have become aware that the Robert Galbraith pseudonym overlaps disturbingly with Robert Galbraith Heath, a psychiatrist whose work included implanting electrodes in a patient’s brain in order to attempt a form of gay conversion therapy. Whilst it is entirely possible this is a coincidence – supposedly she arrived at the pen name from combining the names of Robert Rowling and J.K. Galbraith – I feel like when an author chooses a pseudonym it’s just good due diligence to give it a quick Google to make sure the name isn’t associated either with an existing author or a controversial figure.

Did she fail to do this, did she Google it but fail to find the information, or did she Google it, find the information, and just not care enough to change it? I’m not sure it matters. If it’s not a coincidence, it’s awful. If it is a coincidence, then it’s a coincidence so apt to her recent statements that it’s almost poetic justice that this has been exposed.

At any rate, I no longer encourage anybody to read this book. There is no shortage of detective fiction out there, there is no reason why anyone should read this series in preference to any other one written with equal or greater competence and less cringeworthy aspects. In addition, given Rowling’s recent statements on trans issues, I am even less inclined to give her any benefit of the doubt on her use of such themes in this novel than I was at the time.

Continue reading “J.K. Rowling’s Naked Lunch”

A Rowling In the Nest

A Galbraith Update: I originally wrote this article 7 years ago. Since then, J.K. Rowling’s actively transphobic comments on Twitter have become a problem, and to be honest have been a problem for a while now. I finally decided to add this header here to note that, much as I had reservations about Rowling’s depictions of LGBT+ folk here, recent events have made me less and less inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.

In particular, I have become aware that the Robert Galbraith pseudonym overlaps disturbingly with Robert Galbraith Heath, a psychiatrist whose work included implanting electrodes in a patient’s brain in order to attempt a form of gay conversion therapy. Whilst it is entirely possible this is a coincidence – supposedly she arrived at the pen name from combining the names of Robert Rowling and J.K. Galbraith – I feel like when an author chooses a pseudonym it’s just good due diligence to give it a quick Google to make sure the name isn’t associated either with an existing author or a controversial figure.

Did she fail to do this, did she Google it but fail to find the information, or did she Google it, find the information, and just not care enough to change it? I’m not sure it matters. If it’s not a coincidence, it’s awful. If it is a coincidence, then it’s a coincidence so apt to her recent statements that it’s almost poetic justice that this has been exposed.

At any rate, I no longer encourage anybody to read this book. There is no shortage of detective fiction out there, there is no reason why anyone should read this series in preference to any other one written with equal or greater competence and less cringeworthy aspects.

Continue reading “A Rowling In the Nest”

Harry Potter Cover Art Analysis

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

So, the UK cover art for the last Harry Potter book has been released – you can check out a big picture of it here. Obviously, this has triggered an avalanche of speculation – here’s a quick summary of the hottest theories.

  • Harry, Ron and Hermione are clearly covered with some sort of shiny substance. The precise nature of this goop is unknown. Obscure references in The Half-Blood Prince suggest that they’re the victims of one of Voldemort’s famed Delicious Glaze Coating spells, and are fleeing from hungry bees, but an Lubricatus Obscenius spell has also been suggested.
  • Every single character in the book is going to go bald and have to wear magical wigs. Harry and Ron’s almost work – magicians have been working on the problem of male pattern baldness for years – but Hermione has to make do with one of the caretaker’s spare mops.
  • Harry and his friends are depicted flying through a gateway into the Dimension of Unusually Sized Treasure. Note how that the breastplate and helmet – both made out of glass – are designed for a man who has either a tiny torso or a massive head – quite possibly both.
  • Actually, it’s not clear whether Ron and Hermione are flying into or out of the gateway. Harry seems to be half-submerged in the treasure. Some fans are theorising that Harry has just cast a Solongus Suckas spell on his chums, so that he can keep the loot to himself.
  • Harry’s scar, which has shrunk little by little ever since the first book, has also moved around on his forehead. This has led some Potter-spotters to suggest that Harry’s forehead is made of clay, and that he draws on the scar every morning.
  • Check out Harry’s left arm – the tell-tale trackmarks of the heroin junkie are there to behold. How long has he been on smack? While most fans are assuming he becomes addicted partway through The Deathly Hallows, many have pointed out that the bizarre mood swings that began in The Order of the Phoenix might be a subtle clue to the beginning of his problem. Sirius could well have been Harry’s original dealer; it is possible that Harry still gets regular consignments of the good stuff from the land of the dead.
  • Look out Harry! There’s a hand grenade right in front of you!
  • If you look carefully, you can see that Dobby the House-Elf is vigorously sodomising Harry. He is waving a sword around, presumably in the process of slapping our hero’s buttocks with the flat of the blade. Those fans who were agitating for a Harry/Dobby pairing will be well pleased with chapter 16 of The Deathly Hallows, entitled “One Night In Elfland”.
  • The symbol on the spine is a red herring: it refers to the bit where Professor McGonagall, in her capacity as replacement headmaster at Hogwarts, makes a rambling speech at the start of the school year about how the eye in the pyramid on the dollar bill means that the Jews secretly control the world. The Jewish Wizards’ Association raises an entirely-justified hue and cry, and McGonagall resigns in disgrace. She isn’t very popular after that; there’s a scene where Harry bumps into her while shopping in Daigon Alley and feels terribly uncomfortable and won’t make eye contact with her.
  • JK Rowling has mentioned in interviews that, after clumsily losing his virginity to Hermione in the prologue, Ron weeps uncontrollably for the entire duration of the novel. The cover artist has done an excellent job of capturing Ron’s inadequacy-inspired blubbering for posterity.
  • For their final examinations at Hogwarts, students have to demonstrate their mastery of the Conjure Chin spell. All three of our heroes have passed with flying colours.
  • In their first confrontation with Voldemort in this book, Harry, Ron and Hermione suffer the effects of a paraplegia spell. Ron and Hermione lose both of their legs, and Harry is left with only his left leg, bent at an absolutely absurd and grotesquely painful angle.
  • Harry dies on page 613.