Tag Archives: J K Rowling

“The Cuckoo’s Calling”, By Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling

Most likely I would not have read this book or even came across this if J. K. Rowling was able to keep it a secret. Once the secret was out, there was no way I would have missed reading it. She had written this book under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith and the secret was known to very few people but somebody ended up giving a hint. I read somewhere that somebody did a writing pattern study using some complex algorithm to figure out that it was actually written by same person who wrote Harry Potter. I am not sure whether this is true or not but I am sure glad that the secret came out.

The cuckoo’s calling is a detective mystery series in the similar tradition of Sherlock Holmes. Here the detective is Cormoran Strike and sidekick is his secretary Robin. First book is the story about supposed suicide of supermodel Lula Landry. Her adopted brother hires Strike to investigate the suicide. As it happens with such mystery stories, the investigation starts to unravel unknown facts, details that police could not find and eventually a very unlikely ending.

I like mystery series like this once in a while but more importantly I liked the interactions of Strike and Robin. She joins as secretary but slowly Strike realizes that she is much more valuable and is an asset in the investigation. Their personal equation also evolves during the story. It is not romantic since Robin already has boyfriend but it borderlines on getting there. It may not be the intention of author but I will definitely look forward to some romance happening between Robin and Strike down the line.

Of course this book is not comparable to Harry Potter and probably no book will ever be. But the aura of Potter series is such that I will read everything that Rowling ever writes.

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Filed under Books, Detective, Fiction, Mystery

Harry Potter And King’s Cross Station

While reading Harry Potter once again I was hoping to finally understand the mystery of King’s cross chapter in last book when Harry gets “killed” by Voldemort’s Avada Kedavara curse and meets Dumbledore in someplace that looks like Kings cross station. But the mystery still continues. I have still not understood what all is happening in this part of the story.

Of course it is clear that the last remaining soul of Voldemort that attached itself to Harry while he tried killing him for the first time gets destroyed this time and Harry comes out of this as whole. But why does he himself not die. Is it the magic of resurrection stone that saves him or is it just that the curse can kill only one soul and ends up killing the parasite soul and not Harry. We read about a small helpless child crying next to Harry. Who is that child? Is it indicative of Voldemort’s fragment of soul or something else.

How Dumbledore end up meeting Harry at this stage. Why does Dumbledore not come out when Harry’s parents, Lupin, Sirius come out to help him when he rotates resurrection stone in forbidden forest while he is going to offer himself to Voldemort. Also, in the end Harry asks Dumbledore whether it is real or happening just in his mind and Dumbledore tells him that it is happening inside his mind but why does he think that it is not real. Now this is a very profound statement for a philosophy book but does not really help in this story.

I wonder whether others have also found it difficult to understand this particular chapter or is it just me. It is true that the story here moves in the realm of death and life and everything may not be easy to explain. Perhaps, J. K. Rowling intentionally wanted to leave it that way but I would have really liked to understand it better.

Maybe I still need to read it more to understand or I may find some explanation on the Internet. If you understand it better, please share.

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Harry Potter; Reading Again And Discovering More

It has been sometime since I read or watched Harry Potter movies again for the umpteenth time. Finally my craving was too strong and I decided on a marathon reading of all the books once again and as usual I was not disappointed. It is a great feeling when you know the story by heart and still end up discovering nuggets that were hidden somewhere or finding something that you had not really appreciated earlier. Here I am going to focus on such simple things that I discovered.

This being a long series of books you wonder how J. K. Rowling managed to maintain consistency across characters and events. But the truth is that she did maintain it. It was a pleasure to come across the name “Lovegood” in book four “The Goblet of Fire” before the introduction of Luna in book five. But that mention tells you how Ron will remember that “Lovegoods” stayed close to “Burrow” in book seven. Similarly reading about Peverell coat of arms in book six while Dumbledore takes Harry to meet with Gaunts in memory was interesting since the actual meaning of Peverells gets clear only in book seven.

The most amazing discovery was during the final fight between Harry and Voldemort when I realised that during second round of fight nobody from Harry’s side gets hurt since he had already sacrificed himself to save everyone else and it was same sacrifice that her mother had made for him. Somehow I had missed that finer detail during earlier readings of the book in the excitement of final battle.

I also found one inconsistency in book four. I am not sure if it is a well-known mistake or not. It comes towards the end of the book four by when Harry had already faced Voldemort and seen the death of Cedric Diggory. He uses horseless carriages to return from Hogwarts to train station to catch the train at the end of the year but does not notice the invisible creatures “Thestrals” pulling on the carriages. In book five he notices them on arrival at Hogwarts and the explanation we are given is that he can see them since he has seen death. But he should have seen them in book four itself or he should have used another means of transport to return to train station.

I am sure I will find more such nuggets as I read it again sometime in future and it will amaze me once again. This is a great story however many times you read it.

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“The Casual Vacancy”, By J. K. Rowling

Even though it was the first book that too meant for adult audience that J. K. Rowling had written after Harry Potter series, I waited for sometime before picking it up. I guess I did not want to be too disappointed. After all, there is no way she could have created the magic of Harry Potter series once again. Of course there was lot of media attention for this book and I ended up reading reviews and watching endless discussions. Finally, I could not wait and picked it up with the understanding that it is not going to be like Harry Potter but it still may be very good book and to a great extent I was not disappointed.

This story is about election for a council seat in a small British town and how it affects all aspects of society and brings out the best and worst in people. The characters here are powerless (pun intended) against the push and pull of societal pressures and their own shortcomings. Interesting part is that here also young children come out on the top as compared to their adult counterparts. Two of them Krystal and Sukhvinder stand apart from the rest. Krystal is teenage daughter of drug-addict mother but has dreams of coming out of it. Sukhvinder is daughter of respected Doctors in the community and has her own secrets.

I liked the detailing and development of characters in the story. It was also interesting to see how few young kids could hack the council website and post incriminating content. I would have liked a different and happy ending to the story but it is author’s prerogative and probably closer to reality.

“The Casual Vacancy” is not magical (again pun intended). At the same time, it is a realistic story told in engaging style.

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Filed under Fiction, Humor, Tragedy

Timeless Characters And Their Names In Books

I was wondering why some characters and their names in the books become so famous and why some of them are completely forgotten even though the book itself may be quite famous. In some cases the title of the book itself makes the name of the character very famous like Harry Potter or Eragon but in other cases it is the strength of the character that makes it famous like Howard Roark in Fountainhead. But there are other books where you will find it very difficult to remember the name of the character. As an example, I do not remember the name of main character in Five Point Someone or Love Story. I guess it has also to do with the narrative style of the story as well. If the story is written in first person the name is used less often making it less memorable.

Is it necessary for the name of the character to reflect the nature? I guess not. I wonder how J. K. Rowling decided on Harry or Hermione or Ron. She has given lot of thought while deciding names of spells but she seemed to have picked up really common names for her main characters. Even the Bella of Twilight is a very common name. On the other hand, some books come up with very uncommon names like Eragon. Something that you have never heard of. If the name is so common, do we still start relating that name with the type of character if that character becomes famous. Will we think of very intelligent and sharp girl if we meet some real life Hermione?

There is another aspect of naming that I have found very amusing. When books are translated from other languages to English, the native names are still taken in and then it becomes difficult to remember those names like it happened with me while reading War and Peace. I guess many non-Indians will find difficult to remember names if they were to read Mahabharata in English.

I guess the naming of characters is a complicated process in the minds of author and mostly they also do not realize how it can turn around depending upon the success of that book.

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