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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