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JK Rowling: What the ‘new Strike TV adaptation’ The Ink Black Heart is about and why it’s controversial

The Independent logo The Independent 3/8/2023 Ellie Harrison
JK Rowling feared first husband would 'burn first Harry Potter manuscript’

The BBC is reportedly preparing to renew its crime drama Strike, based on the books written by JK Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Season six – which is yet to be confirmed by the corporation – would adapt The Ink Black Heart, the sixth novel in the detective series.

It would likely see Tom Burke reprise his role as the gruff private investigator Cormoran Strike, alongside Holliday Grainger as his sidekick Robin Ellacott.

The Ink Black Heart, published in August 2022, involves a storyline about a woman who is killed after being accused of transphobia.

In recent years, Rowling has made headlines for sharing her controversial views on transgender rights. She was first met with a backlash in June 2020 after calling out an article’s use of the phrase “people who menstruate”.

Since then, Rowling has repeatedly come under criticism for various comments, which many have accused of being transphobic.

Rowling has rejected the idea that she is “transphobic” and has said that she “knows and loves” trans people.

In the novel, which is a whopping 1,012 pages long, a YouTube cartoonist called Edie Ledwell is turned on by fans and trolls after her work – which includes a scene featuring a hermaphrodite worm – is criticised for being antisemitic, racist, ableist and transphobic.

‘Strike’ stars Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger (BBC One) © Provided by The Independent ‘Strike’ stars Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger (BBC One)

The story sees internet trolls post photos of Ledwell’s home online and target her with death and rape threats. She is ultimately found stabbed to death in a London graveyard.

In a 2022 interview with Graham Norton on Virgin Radio, Rowling insisted the book was not about the backlash she has received over her views or the threats she has been subject to.

“I had written the book before certain things happened to me online,” she said. “I said to my husband, ‘I think everyone is going to see this as a response to what happened to me,’ but it genuinely wasn’t.

“The first draft of the book was finished at the point certain things happened.”

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