These days, reading a news story about J.K. Rowling can feel a little like taking a quick peek inside the Ark of the Covenant. Fortunately, the most recent headlines concerning the Harry Potter author seem to simply be about her newest detective novel, which is … about the female creator of a popular series who is accused of transphobia and eventually murdered, possibly by an online “Social Justice Warrior.” Yikes. 

The Ink Black Heart is the latest in Rowling’s series about improbably-named private detective Cormoran Strike, which is written under the pseudonym “Robert Galbraith” (originally in secret until she was busted by a computer program). In light of Rowling’s pivot to the field of professional internet bigotry, readers were quick to point out that several of her previous Strike-based books featured transphobic plot points – and also that the name “Robert Galbraith” is suspiciously similar to “Robert Galbraith Heath” who “pioneered the field of gay conversion using electroshock treatment.” 

Now, her new book reportedly concerns a woman named Edie Ledwell, the “creator of a popular YouTube cartoon” who is doxxed and threatened by online trolls after accusations of being racist and ableist – and also transphobic, because of “a bit about a hermaphrodite worm.” When she turns up dead, the list of suspects includes … a bunch of SJWs, apparently, because this story takes place entirely inside J.K. Rowling’s brain. 

Of course, we should make it clear that we haven’t read the actual book, nor will we, for a multitude of reasons – not least of which being that it’s 1274 goddamn pages long, which people have pointed out is 600 pages longer than Dune, 200 pages longer than Infinite Jest, and 1274 pages longer than just staring at the wall in silence, which, frankly, sounds preferable. It sure seems like Rowling is attempting to turn herself into the victim of her recent cultural turbulence by turning herself into an allegorical victim and her critics into potential murderers desperate to silence her at all costs.

Rowling, too, was recently doxxed by activists and has received death threats from trolls in the past, which she claims was totally coincidental, and all happened after the book’s plotline was conceived. According to Rowling, the character “genuinely wasn’t” supposed to represent her own experiences and was instead based on the most “toxic fandom” she could find online, belonging to an unnamed cartoon that she finds both “witty and funny” (and presumably rhymes with “Schlick and Borty”).

Which is … hard to believe? For one thing, if she worked on this book in any capacity in the past three years, it should have been extremely apparent that pretty much the entire world would interpret this story as being semi-autobiographical, albeit in a funhouse mirror version of events in which the Rowling character is punished by an unruly internet mob for a harmless joke in a cartoon, and not for repeated, lengthy, fallacy-ridden attacks on the transgender community.

And also, this wouldn’t be the first time that Rowling has used her books to excise her own personal, petulant frustrations. As we’ve mentioned before, the Harry Potter books are crammed full of coded personal insults; Gilderoy Lockhart, Harry’s Aunt Marge, and the evil Professor Umbridge were all based on real people that Rowling had a beef with – hence why she tortured them using her word processor. Not to mention how she kept deliberately inserting a specific phrase in the Potter novels purely to screw with Stephen Fry, who was tasked with narrating the audiobooks – but at least those books weren’t a billion chapters long.

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Thumbnail: Wikimedia Commons/Lumita/Mulholland Books

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