As anyone with a Twitter account will know, Harry Potter creator JK Rowling is one of the most active celebrities on the site. She’s also one of the sassiest users, clashing with Piers Morgan, Trump supporters and critics of her politics, leaving you whooping in wonder of her whip-sharp wordplay.
But when she’s not burning Presidents or bantering with fans, she’s broadening the horizons of the Wizarding World and scribbling even more stories for her legions of fans to enjoy. And she’s recently taken to Twitter to reveal a major detail about an upcoming project!
Readers who are massive “Potterheads” may be disappointed when they discover that this title-reveal isn’t related to either #HarryPotter or #FantasticBeasts — but that doesn’t mean we should get downhearted! Indeed, the announcement relates to another of Rowling’s acclaimed series: the Cormoran Strike novels!
The Cormoran Strike series centers on the titular detective, who is a one-legged, down-on-his-luck war veteran who is repeatedly hired to solve several high profile murder cases, along with the help of his stalwartly secretary Robin Ellacott. So far, JK has completed three compelling tales: The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of these page-turners, it may be because Rowling pens them under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
The Teasing of Twitter
Whilst these novels don’t have the vast popularity of Potter, they are still firm favorites among her die-hard fans, as well as crime fiction aficionados. So when the umpteenth fan asked Rowling when can we expect the fourth instalment, she decided to have a little bit of fun, and revealed a hangman-esque puzzle to her Twitter followers.
I don’t know about you, but I’d need a Marauder’s Map to find my way out of that one! Thankfully, her plucky followers were not deterred, and set to work as soon as they could. The reams of scintillating suggestions included "Gothic Chain", "Eighth Child", and "Python Shame", as well some sillier submissions such as "Mashed Chips", "Mayhem Sheep" and, ahem, "Mighty Throb".
Eventually though, with a little bit more guidance, Twitter user warpathed posited the combination of "Lethal White" — which, we soon discovered, was the correct guess.
Rowling has confirmed that Lethal White is indeed the title for her fourth Strike novel, and has even promised the lucky user a signed copy upon its publication. But whilst Rowling returned to writing Chapter 23, the rest of us are left in a state of frantic confusion.
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So What Does “Lethal White” Mean?
The title of the fourth Cormoran Strike novel is pretty specific in its focus, but it’s still ambiguous enough to avoid giving away any huge plot details. So how could the words “Lethal” and “White” relate to Strike? “Lethal” is very fitting to Strike’s stories because of the particularly gory and disturbing cases which he is in embroiled in, but “White,” ironically, muddies the water.
A quick Google search reveals that lethal white is actually a rare but serious genetic mutation found in horses, which can cause foals to die very early on in their lives. Sure it’s very specific, and unlikely to be related because Strike and Robin mainly frequent urban areas rather than the countryside. Then again, Rowling’s other Strike novels feature animals in their titles. Plus, the titular Cuckoo and Silkworm were crucial to their respective plots, so we definitely can’t rule this link out completely.
This particular combination of words may betray a more politically or even racially charged adventure for Strike. Certainly, Rowling has pushed for diversity in her adaptations, and has been very outspoken against the discriminatory rhetoric that Trump’s election and “Brexit” were won upon. We’re certainly hearing more about their racist supporters nowadays, so could we see Strike tackle a case relating to these growing tensions?
Although, let’s not forget that the color white has a huge significance in many special occasions, such as weddings. Without spoiling the plot for any non-readers, the climax of the third novel (Career of Evil) occurs in the middle of an important wedding which both Robin and Strike are attending. Could "Lethal White" allude to some more matrimony-based misfortune?
Ultimately, we’re not going to know too much until the books’ release, which, given the fact that Rowling hasn’t finished it yet, will probably be sometime in 2018 or 2019. In the meantime though, we have the upcoming BBC adaptation to enjoy, which is set to air sometime in late 2017.
Starring Tom Burke (The Musketeers and War & Peace) and Holliday Grainger (Cinderella), and, like Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and the well-received adaptation of The Casual Vacancy, its set to be a sure-fire hit! Plus with more news about the Fantastic Beasts sequel set to wash across the internet soon enough, I'd advise you to watch this space for all the latest tidbits and features!