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This morning, J.K. Rowling and Little, Brown unveiled the cover for her next book The Casual Vacancy.

A few other details were announced, including a correction to the name of the one character we already knew about.

Barry Fairweather’s last name was changed to Fairbrother. Little, Brown UK cited an “error” on their part, but something just doesn’t add up.

How could everyone involved with the copy for the initial press release, from the publisher to Rowling’s representatives, have missed such a blatant “error?” “Fairweather” was listed on the publisher’s site, Rowling’s new site, iTunes, Amazon, and endless other places. As of this writing, iTunes and Amazon have the new cover but not the name change.

Simply put, I don’t believe it was an error.

My first and somewhat cheeky guess for the change was that Little, Brown was upset that I personally purchased BarryFairweather.com when the book was announced. You may remember when I proudly announced this news on Twitter:

But I no longer think this to be the case, as BarryFairbrother.com has yet to be purchased by the publisher or anyone else (this is your chance!). I’m considering asking Little, Brown to give me the $10 I paid for that now useless domain. It’s a collector’s item, I suppose.

My real guess? After further discussions, the name was changed for either a legal reason or for protection in the future. The name Fairweather may conflict with another property (a Google search doesn’t reveal anything blatant). Little, Brown wouldn’t want to announce that Rowling changed the name of a character after it had already been announced, so the easier solution is to just take blame for a typo.

While the name change itself isn’t an issue, it’s a blunder that looks like it was taken straight out of Pottermore’s playbook.

Now for the most important question…

Which name is better?

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  • http://twitter.com/StarkidSims Simone

    Interesting I just assumed ‘Barry’ was the part that was getting changed when I first clicked the link to this, for obvious reasons.

  • ChocolateClarinet

    I don’t like either name. I don’t think either really has a ring to them.

  • Samuel

    I don’t know if the actual name Barry Fairbrother, whatever, will have much importance in the book considering he dies at the start. He might not even be the main character. 

    • :)

      From the blurb, I just thought he was the catalyst for the events.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Wilkinson/792210064 Ryan Wilkinson

    I’m not really a fan of any of the names released so far: “Barry” is too similar to “Harry”, “Pagford” is too similar to “Padfoot” and “Fairbrother” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue… =/

    • N_HarryPotter7

      “Pagford” also reminds some people of “Pigfarts”. ;)

      • akacj18

        yum! yum! yum!

        • N_HarryPotter7

          Here I come! Gotta love Lauren Lopez!

      • Rumbleroar Luna

        OMG I didn’t think of that.

  • http://twitter.com/xhpfanatic Grace Chen

    ahaha, a collector’s item :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/thecoolguy4ever Ahmed Tarek Saad

    Maybe it has something to do with Barry being a “fair” brother if you know what I mean

  • http://twitter.com/stevenrankin Steven C.G Rankin

    why did you buy the domain anyway? seems sneaky.

  • http://hypable.com Selina

    My guess is still that the name Fairweather was deemed too Lord of the Rings-esque. But the Fairbrother change is ridiculous. Fairbrother doesn’t in any way sound like a real name.

    • Johanna

      that could be- but i like that feel! i like the whole hobbit-shire-esque feel i got, at least from the summary…

  • http://twitter.com/NatashaPeartree Natasha Pereira

    I actually think it makes a lot of sense.  From the discription of the character “Fairbrother” seems to match him pretty well and we all know how Rowling likes to match traits with names.  And as far as all those sites having the same name, there’s just one press release that goes out and is basically copied-and-pasted everywhere.  So maybe it was just a mistake.  The only thing that would make me think otherwise, however, is that it wasn’t caught sooner…. so, idk.

  • DreamNox58

    I would def be asking for my money back or something,kind of funny.  I didn’t like the name Barry Fairweather when it first came out in public but it eventually warmed up to me.  Now they go and change the name to something completely stupid and they don’t even give a real reason.

    I will say, As of late, I have begun to lose faith in JK Rowling.  I really hate admitting this but it is true and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Nothing about any of this seems “her” if you know what I mean.  It’s not the same magical feeling or the same excitement.  I realize it’s not the same book but you expect to feel the same excitement anyway and with all this boringness of it, I’m not as excited as I’d like to be.  I still plan on buying her book the day it comes out because she is still an amazing writer and I hope no one kills me for what I just said.

    • akacj18

      Entertainment Weekly published a vaguely interesting blurb on just what you’re complaining about, basically saying it’s a smart move on the part of the publishers not to set expectations too high and set themselves up for a let down. for all intents and purposes, she’s a “new” author – albeit one with a built-in fan base. instead pushing the new material on her fans, let the fans come to the new material. that’ll be the real mark of success, if she wins readers by positive word of mouth rather than mere hype.

  • Glaciusx

    Fairbother…? WHAT ARE YOU DOING, JO? D:

  • Pixie

    Since this is a book about politics, Fairweather would’ve been a better name…you know ‘fairweather friend’…also, Fairbrother is a real surname, at least in England.

  • B.

    Not seeing the conspiracy here. Why buy the domain? That’s seems strange when you could just post news about TCV here on Hypable and MuggleNet. Just because you bought it and the name has been changed doesn’t mean Little Brown owes you anything.  

    • Katie

      I’m 99.9% the bit about wanting $10 from Little Brown was a joke….

      • B.

        I figured it was, but with all the snark around here, you never know! It just seemed really out of place for Andrew to say.

        • chaelainev

          it’s OBVIOUSLY a joke, get over it.

  • Katie

    I prefer fairweather but in the end I’ll survive. 

  • Delena

    Fairbrother doesn’t sound like a last name! I like Fairweather better, but ah well. I’m just happy she’s putting out a new book.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607519910 Catherine Lai

    The name change is really weird and I have no explanation.  As for which is better, it depends on the nature of the character.

  • http://twitter.com/Factuality Factuality

    Maybe it’s a reference to the character Rev. Farebrother in Middlemarch? Or maybe ‘Fairweather’ is too blatant of an irony considering what happens to him in the book?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_72TDYOGTQX5TPTA2B3HV55XCAQ Corin

      I sort of enjoyed the irony of the name given what the summary says about him. 

  • WeasleyWrock

    I just liked that Barry used to have the same last name as wrocker and vlogger Lauren Fairweather (Maggiacomo).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=531808242 Courtney Gibson

    poor wizard rock artist Lauren Fairweather. She was so excited when the characters name was released and now its a ‘typo’. really? I don’t really believe it. 

  • Maroon Wombat

    I think a lot of people are saying this- but having his last name be “Fairweather” would just be so cool for Wrock fans- Lauren Fairweather! It would continue the legacy of her name now that’s she’s taken on Matt’s. But really, it doesn’t make that much of a difference in context of the book. I do think it’s a bit cheap, though, changing it after releasing that official press release so long ago. If it had really been a mistake, they should have corrected it way before now.

  • Elphaba Thropp

    Maybe she thought it sounded too much like Fairyweather. Girlish, and it also sounds like Merryweather, the fairy in Sleeping Beauty.

    That’s me. Bringing everything back to either Doctor Who or Disney.

  • http://twitter.com/Snapescape Laura Cain

    I still don’t get why you purchased those domains though. Were you planning on using them?

    • Snape


    • scar1026

      he could potentially make some money if Little, Brown wanted that domain; they’d have to give him something in exchange

      • B.

        ….And that’s kind of shady. Hence my other comment below.

        • Joshua Redwine

          It’s called domain-squatting and it is a pretty standard practice nowadays. Good way to make a buck if you’re in the know. Some may call it shady, but I think it’s better to see it as investing in the brand early.  lol

        • Marjorie

          To be fair, JKR’s or the publisher’s team could have bought those domains before they released information to the public. It was silly of them not to.

        • BritishHobo

          That’s true enough. I have to hope he was joking about the asking for $10 thing, because it’s already shady enough he bought three of the domain names. He’d only need one for a news website.

  • GinnyWeasley002

    Seriously? That’s crazy. You can’t make a “TYPO” that big. 

  • http://twitter.com/vonchambers Devon Chambers

    There is nothing worse online than domain squatting, trying to make a fast buck on somebody else’s work.

    That said it seems more likely a typo than a complete name change – it is likely the books are already in print and so to go through and change every reference of Fairweather to Fairbrother would not be impossible but extremely taxing. 

    • Georgia

      Nothing worse? reallly? I can think of a few things … the holocaust, world hunger, Justin Bieber ….

  • http://twitter.com/G30rg13_R Georgie R

    I definately think that:
    a) They changed it due to Andrew’s quick typing and web-surfing and buying the domains (obviosuly!)
    and b) Barry Fairweather is a MUCH better name (as the poll suggests) than Barry Fairbrother. It is more fluent and has a nicer ring to it. JKR would have most definately liked Fairweather better, so it must be for legal reasons of some sort.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_72TDYOGTQX5TPTA2B3HV55XCAQ Corin

    While I don’t care why the name changed I do think Fairweather rolls off the tongue better than Fairbrother. 

  • Joshua Redwine

    Interesting analysis, Andrew. The name change was absolutely not a typo. And that’s not a good way for Little Brown to come out of the gate with JKR’s texts.

    If it’s a mistake, it shows this publisher can’t quite handle Rowling caliber press. If it’s a name change it either means Little Brown’s legal got nervous or Jo made a poorly-received last minute change. I sincerely hope she wouldn’t be that stifled by outside concerns, but I hate the new name either way. 

    • Marjorie

      Little, Brown is one of the biggest and most reputable publishers there is. I would imagine they’d be able to handle it just fine. :)

  • Rebecca830

    But really? From Harry to Barry? I’m still getting over that.

  • Rumbleroar Luna

    To me, Fairbrother seems awkward and not… natural, I guess. But Fairweather sounds too generic. JKR just should’ve named him Barry Notter or something (or would that be too obvious?) :P

  • http://frankifoni.tumblr.com/ Frankie94

    I agree with everyone else. Fairweather has a better ring and is smoother to say than Fairbrother. Especially when you add the Barry to it. Barry Fairbrother is just too clunky, as my English teacher would say.

  • pamela

    Andrew, keep the Fairweather site! I just took a screenshot of my Amazon pre-order for CV and it reads “When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly…” – which cracked me up…this name change may be a fun glitch about this book in the future, collector’s item stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/biblegirl Ashley Brouillette

    I almost wonder if Fairweather was too “Potterish” for the new book. I know a lot of fans got excited because of wizard rock star Lauren Fairweather. 

  • John

    Who cares….its just a name.

  • ihm08

    I prefer fairweather, it simply flows nicer than fairbrother. However, I find it ridiculous this guy thinks of himself so highly as to consider asking Little, Brown for reimbursement for a now useless domain with the initial intention of trying to strong arm them in the first place.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=618921791 Alistair Ian Dgb Brownlee

    I read an article a while back that quoted Rowling saying Barry Fairweather was a character she was going to use in Harry but scrapped him. She’s re-hashing old ideas.

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