The Writer’s Psyche

First of all let me make clear that I am a huge fan of J.K. Rowling. She is a brilliant writer and, from all I’ve read about her, a pretty decent human being as well. Those two don’t always go together, so it’s worth noting.
But her Cormoran Strike novels (written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith), while they are entertaining and well written and certainly worth a read if you’re into detective stories, will never count for half as much as the Harry Potter books. No way. They don’t even do anything to revolutionize the detective genre, which has basically been the same formula since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Brilliant and intuitive (but somewhat flawed) detective sees things nobody else did. Sometimes, a plucky and dedicated assistant is involved.
Then, I was reading ‘The Silkworm’ and was struck by this passage: The room seemed much smaller with his arrival. Next to Kathryn, Strike appeared huge and almost unnecessarily male; when she had swept it clear of Christmas ornaments, he dwarfed the only armchair. Pippa retreated to the end of the sofa and perched on the arm, throwing Strike looks composed of defiance and terror.
‘D’you want a drink of something?’ Kathryn threw at Strike in his heavy overcoat, with his size fourteen feet planted squarely on her swirly rug.
‘Cup of tea would be great,’ he said.
I couldn’t help but think of this passage immediately: The giant squeezed his way into the hut, stooping so that his head just brushed the ceiling. He bent down, picked up the door and fitted it into its frame. The noise of the storm outside dropped a little. He turned to look at them all.
‘Couldn’t make us a cup o’ tea, could ye? It’s not been an easy journey…
Of course, Rowling has created hundreds of characters and written millions of words so it’s not too surprising that there should be some similarities. Also, I do sometimes see connections which aren’t really there, and if Cormoran Strike is really Hagrid, then Pippa (a neurotic transsexual with homicidal tendencies) becomes Vernon Dursley, which is a bit of a stretch.
But it’s enough to make me wonder if there was some particularly memorable moment in Rowling’s life when a large and intimidating man entered into a small room, intimidating everybody, and then calmly asked for a cup of tea.

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