MuggleCast | The #1 Most-Listened to Harry Potter Podcast 3

MuggleCast 268 Transcript

Show Intro

["Hedwig's Theme" plays]

Andrew: Because we never tire of Jamie's British jokes, this is MuggleCast Episode 268 for July 28th, 2013.

[Show music begins]

Andrew: This week's episode is brought to you by Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 268. We are nearing the end of MuggleCast, but hey, we got a bonus episode out earlier this month. And as we've been telling people, we've been hoping to bring back some co-hosts who were with us previously and look who is here this week: Jamie Lawrence. Hello, Jamie.

Jamie: Hello, everyone. Aww, it's great to be back. It's weird to be back. I came on and I said Andrew sounds precisely the same as he's always sounded, so perhaps no time has passed at all.

Andrew: No, no. Harry Potter is with us forever.

Jamie: [laughs] Forever, exactly. Exactly.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, it's great to be back.

Andrew: Things have been good with you?

Jamie: Yeah, fantastic. I mean, a lot has happened in the past couple of years, but it's hard to compact it all into a couple of sentences. Life has taken me down different directions…

Andrew: Oh, good.

Jamie: …and I've done different things and, as I'm sure, everyone has. That sounded really philosophical.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: I don't know if I meant it to sound that philosophical.

Andrew: Well…

Jamie: But yeah, stuff is good.

Andrew: Good.

Jamie: Stuff is going well.

Andrew: Good. Well, that kind of reminds me of what people tell us a lot about MuggleCast, that they've grown up with the show. Which we all have, in a way. Especially when we're around it for eight years.

Jamie: That's true.

Andrew: Growing up.

Jamie: Wouldn't it be interesting to get a psychologist in and make them study how it has changed us.

Andrew: Yes.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: How it's made us develop.

Andrew: Yes. They would find in me that it has driven me crazy. I've become a madman.

[Eric and Jamie laugh]

Jamie: Perhaps they would lock you up. You know, section you.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Something like that.

Andrew: Andrew can't be on the final episode because he's mental.

Jamie: In a straight jacket, yeah.

Eric: He took Jamie's advice. It was a terrible decision.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Public Speaking 101 With The MuggleCasters

Eric: No, I think they would find that a lot of us are, at least for me, more confident and it developed our public speaking and maybe theatrics a little bit for live events and stuff.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Saying that…

Eric: So the majority has been quite positive.

Jamie: Saying that, though… yeah, I could have said it helped me develop my public speaking. Surely, it has done. But I did an event the other day for work where I had to go on stage and talk in front of two hundred and thirty people. And I talked about three things, and right at the beginning I outlined these three things and said what they were. And then I went through each one in turn. So I said the first one is this, and it's important because of this. The second one is this, and it's important because of this. Speech-making 101.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: And then I went onto the third one, and I was like, "And the third one is…" And it completely went from my head!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Oh, no.

Micah: Oh.

Jamie: I said, "The third one is…" And then I said, "And it's obviously really important, like the other two, and it is…"

[Everyone laughs]

Jamie: And I still didn't know what it was, and I just had to stand there looking stupid. And thankfully, because I'd gone through them earlier, someone from the audience called out what it was, and I said thanks and then moved on. But it was absolutely mortifying.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: You didn't have a powerpoint or anything you could refer to?

Jamie: Well, this is the thing. This is the thing. I didn't bring any notes up because when I have notes, I just tend to stare at them. But I didn't know that they were going to have LCD screens at the front of the stage that face the person speaking. If I had known that, I'd have just put the three points on there and I couldn't have messed it up.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: But because I didn't, everyone thought I was a rank amateur.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well, maybe if you had…

Eric: You should just point them to our website, Jamie. [laughs]

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: Be like, "I promise I'm good. I used to do this podcast. I was really good on it." But maybe this episode will help you refocus.

Micah: Yes.

Jamie: Yeah, maybe. Maybe. I might send them an email, actually, pointing them to the download link, and just say, "Please have a listen to this and see if it's okay." [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] So they'll invite you back.

Micah: It's funny that you say that because I have this big presentation coming up on Friday and now I'm not sure.

Eric: Don't choke, Micah!

Micah: But I do have a powerpoint.

Jamie: Oh, that's good. Yeah, that helps. I should have just done that. But I actually did a course before I did this presentation course, and the two things that I got out of it… I don't know if you do presentations a lot, but the two big lessons that the guy told me was… in terms of structure, he said, tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you've told them.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: And if you do that, people take it in because they… it's like brain stem apparent. And he also said, the ability of the audience to understand what you're saying is always slower than the speed at which you deliver it. So you need to really slow down, which I tried to do but I was nervous, so I don't know…

Micah: Well, you slowed down pretty well once you got to the third point, actually.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. Fair point.

Andrew: They were waiting with bated breath.

Jamie: I couldn't be slower, to be honest.

Andrew: But I would agree that this show has definitely helped me develop public speaking skills, just in terms of doing good at what we do here on this podcast because now we do multiple podcasts. No, it's been very beneficial, this show.

Jamie: Just to put you on the spot here, Andrew, you've done loads of podcasts since this one.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: This is still your baby? Still your favorite?

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely! We've gotten in a very good… I think Micah and Eric would agree, we've gotten in a very good vibe with this show where I don't feel pressured doing MuggleCast because I know we have a good rapport, all of us, and then when we bring on extra people as well. It's usually… the core of the show has been Micah, Eric, and I for some time, but the core… we've just been very comfortable with that, I think.

Eric: Yeah, being able to just get together, no drama, talk about whatever is happening in the Harry Potter world, is a really gratifying experience.

Andrew: Yeah. So long as there's stuff to talk about, of course. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, yeah. No. And we're not pressured to put out content more often than it is needed.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So that's really nice.

Jamie: All right, guys. Let's stop all the back-slapping. Let's be critics.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Aren't we awesome?

Jamie: What can we improve?

Andrew: No…

Eric: Oh, what can we improve?

News: Source of The Cuckoo's Calling Pseudonym Leak Discovered

Andrew: Well, a big focus of this show, of this episode, is going to be The Cuckoo's Calling because it continues to be very interesting, how it all played out. On the last episode, we recorded the day or the day after The Cuckoo's Calling was revealed to be J.K. Rowling, and now we're learning how it all came to be. There's two parts to this story. As it turns out, the reason that J.K. Rowling decided to reveal that she was the author was because The Sunday Times in the UK did their own digging after one of their writers had tweeted, "Yes, I read The Cuckoo's Calling and it was quite good." Somebody replied to her and said, "That book was written by J.K. Rowling." And The Sunday Times editor replied to this anonymous person and said, "How do you know for sure?" And the anonymous person just said, "I just know." And then, from there, they decided to do some digging. They connected the dots between… first, the publisher of The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo's Calling were both Little Brown. They sent The Casual Vacancy, The Cuckoo's Calling, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to a linguistics expert, who found significant similarities between the three books. [laughs] And after those two pieces of evidence, The Sunday Times decided to email J.K. Rowling's people and say, "Just give me a straight answer. I believe that The Cuckoo's Calling is J.K. Rowling." And then the next morning, J.K. Rowling's people replied and said, "Yes, it is. And here's a statement from Rowling." And that was that. And then, in terms of the anonymous Twitter user, whoever that was, it turns out that it was a… so the only people who knew that J.K. Rowling wrote The Cuckoo's Calling [were] J.K. Rowling; probably her husband; Neil Blair, her agent; and one or two other select people, including a couple people who were…

Jamie: I knew, too.

Andrew: Oh, you knew?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: I just didn't tell anyone, yeah.

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: Who were lawyers. So, Eric, did you throw this link in? Do you want to tell us about this part?

Eric: Yeah, yeah. So, Jamie, you showed a lot more restraint than… not to name names here, but Chris Gossage from apparently Russells Solicitors. It's one of J.K. Rowling's law firms [that] she… I'm not clear on their relationship but they had something to do with The Cuckoo's Calling as well as protecting J.K. Rowling's assets because they knew about this book being really by Rowling. And evidently, one of the partners at Russells Solicitors named Chris Gossage… and this is all in a statement which we found actually from Newsround's - or formally Newsround's, I guess - [pronounces incorrectly] Lizo?

Jamie: Lizo.

Eric: Lizo.

Jamie: No, no, Lizo Mzimba. Yeah, yeah, Lizo.

Eric: We love Lizo Mzimba. I found it on his Twitter, actually, these two statements. And basically, it appears that this guy, Chris Gossage, told his wife's best friend, like at a party or something, in confidence. He was just like, "Hey…"

Micah: Alcohol was involved.

Eric: "Hey, this is in fact…"

Andrew: Probably.

Eric: I think so, too. But he was just like, "Hey, this is really by J.K. Rowling." Well, his wife's friend is the one who then tweeted at The Sunday Times. And this all kind of came out and was revealed. They did background searches. She's a mother of two in Surrey. Living in Surrey.

Andrew: We are going to continue with today's episode of MuggleCast in just a moment, but first it is time to remind you that today's episode is brought to you by Audible is the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service, and I think you know what I am going to recommend this week. It is probably the biggest no-brainer, the easiest prediction ever: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith or J.K. Rowling. It has been available on Audible since mid-May. It's been secretly waiting for you to take a listen to. A new piece of work by J.K. Rowling. If you are going to be out and about this summer and maybe you can't get a copy of the book, maybe it's hard to get, maybe you just want to try a new way of digesting a book, Audible is the way to do it and The Cuckoo's Calling, J.K. Rowling's second post-Harry Potter novel, is probably the best book to try. Visit If you are a new subscriber to Audible, you can get it for absolutely free. and we thank Audible for their support of the show and giving you an opportunity to get J.K. Rowling's new book for free.

So, do we… whose side are we on? J.K. Rowling's side or this leaker's side?

Jamie: I mean, it's so hard to know until you know the full side of the story. I mean, one of the things, Eric, just to pick up on that, isn't it weird how in these news stories they always focus on the person? Like, you know, what Judith has done in her life.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: They just go back and trawl through all the haze…

Eric: Yeah.

Jamie: …of her past to see if there is something in there that could have predisposed it a little or something.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: It's just odd. But…

Eric: Well, that's exactly right. I mean, this article that we… I linked to from here is from the London Evening Standard or something, and it's all about this lady, this woman, Judith Callegari. They refer to her as "the Deep Throat at the centre of the [Robert Galbraith] publishing plot."

Jamie: Oh right, yeah.

Eric: It's just like they're blowing it up way out of proportion. And they actually, I believe, probably took a photo from her Facebook profile, like found this woman…

Jamie: Absolutely, yeah.

Eric: …and unmasked her. So that bit of it is actually uncomfortable, the way that names are getting named, as you're saying. But I think because of how much money is associated with this and the fact that it's J.K. Rowling's confidence that was broken in this law firm, Russells had to issue this statement, isolating that Chris Gossage gentleman. And then J.K. Rowling had to issue a statement I guess… or she did issue a statement pretty much the same time her lawyers did and I'm going to read that right now, it's very quick. It says:

"I have today discovered how the leak about Robert's true identity occurred. A tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced."

Andrew: Yeah, so…

Jamie: Yeah, I mean… oh sorry, go on.

Andrew: It's close speculation that the publisher decided to leak this on purpose, some were wondering if they did it to boost sales, which would have been understandable but I think they had a good relationship with J.K. Rowling after The Casual Vacancy and now this. And Rowling wanted to keep it a secret and then unveil it on her own accord.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: We remember her original statement a couple… or earlier this month when she said, "I was hoping to keep it a secret a little while longer." So…

Jamie: Hmmm.

Andrew: I have to be honest though. If I was at a party and I had this little secret, I don't think I could keep it in. I'd have to tell somebody that I knew.

Jamie: No, I wouldn't.

Eric: There's a part…

Jamie: I'd take pleasure in the fact that I knew something.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: I'd feel like the big cheese.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: It'd be like who killed JFK, you know?

Andrew: Right, right. Do you know?

Jamie: I do, but if I tell you, I believe I'm going to get people in suits with machine guns busting down my door anytime soon.

Andrew: Okay.

Jamie: So I really couldn't, you know?

Eric: But there is that part in all of us, and part of this story coming out, I felt like, "Oh, it's a very human mistake to make." It just felt like something that possibly, if I weren't careful, I would do because there's certain news that you just get so excited, and on Twitter… you think everything is anonymous on the Internet. You think everything is anonymous, even though her Twitter name was pretty much her real name. Jude Callegari I think it was, on Twitter. But you just think that it's anonymous and that you can get away with that, and it's just kind of like teasing somebody with your knowledge and all that, but as it turns out that Sunday Times person was determined to follow up and they did.

Jamie: No, I'm sorry, I don't agree with that, that you think it's anonymous. I mean, surely if this Snowden stuff has taught us anything is that you really can't assume you've got any privacy online whatsoever. This woman is clearly… well, I say clearly. Allegedly.

[Eric and Jamie laugh]

Jamie: Allegedly perhaps just thought she wanted to feel a bit of power for a minute. I mean, no good could come of it, I don't think. It was never going to end well when you make that first step to go on Twitter and say, "I just know." I mean, if you're saying that, you have to question her motives surely. If she's saying, "I just know," it isn't because she doesn't believe in the anonymity when it comes to authors is a good thing. And why is she doing it? It seems a bit selfish.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Do you? I don't know. I kind of imagine this to be like a drunken conversation and she accidentally did it and then realized her mistake afterwards.

Eric: Well, what happened? Why…

Jamie: Well, keep your mouth shut then, you know? [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, that's possibly true but the Twitter was deleted. The account was deleted shortly following that "I just know" tweet, which really does make me question the motives then because it's like, well, did she realize that she had done something wrong, or what happened? Because the account is removed and it was… when the Sunday Times author wanted to follow up, it was removed, it was gone, it was missing. So it felt like a mystery.

Andrew: It could have also been ignorance, like she didn't know the enormity of the secret.

Eric: Hmmm.

Micah: Hold on a second. Why are we blaming poor Judith here? I feel like if anything, she is not to blame. It's the person who told her in the first place.

Jamie: I think that's a fair point because look, she's got no responsibility. Technically, she hasn't been instructed by Rowling to keep her secret a secret.

Eric: Right.

Jamie: The partner who works for Russells is… he's paid to act in the interests of the company, and giving away this secret is not really acting in the interests of the company when they're going to lose a key client and get their name plastered all over the news. So yeah, I think that's a fair point. It's his fault.

Eric: Yeah, and I mean, J.K. Rowling I guess…

Jamie: [unintelligible]

Eric: Yeah, yeah. If we're talking about the statement from Rowling, she just… I don't want to say it's portraying her as a victim, but she does… she uses words like, "I feel very angry."

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: "It has not been pleasant." And you just wonder, "Oh okay, she's through hell." But to Andrew's question, whose side are we on? Obviously that's quite polarizing.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But my question is… [laughs] my question is about how long would have Rowling waited. And this is the problem, is that it's also coming out… and I don't know if we're going to also talk about this, but essentially she said it was either in a later statement or something that… I think it was on the website, the second book in this Robert Galbraith has been written, in this Robert Galbraith series. And my problem is if that book is complete and was set to release next year, I think it's quite likely that she wasn't going to tell anybody until maybe even after the second book was out.

Jamie: Maybe two or three books, yeah.

Eric: Two or three books? But I have a really big problem with that because I think… well, wouldn't I be angry if I found out that J.K. Rowling not just published one book but two or three? And meanwhile, there's nothing happening on her Twitter, she's completely dead to the world, silent. This author whom I love and whom I love reading is essentially not letting me read her work, is not sharing with me.

Jamie: I think that's an interesting point. I mean, it's a very interesting point, definitely. I think it all depends on how much you feel she has a sort of psychological contractual obligation to her fans from the Potter series. I don't know if you guys like Chris Rock, but he always used to say that he shouldn't have to act as a role model for young people. His job is an entertainer. It's not… just because he's in the public eye, he doesn't owe something to anyone. I mean, I don't know. It depends, yeah, what you think she owes us, really. I don't know. I agree it's a bit to have that revelation come at a later day. It does feel a bit, I don't know, like a secret is being uncovered but then I guess she can't cater for everyone. Sorry, I mean she has to cater for the general public rather than her fans, if that makes sense.

Andrew: Well, we know why she did this though. She did this because she wanted to write without the pressures of having all these people on top of her. She got to do it privately, enjoy publishing a book - her first time, really - as somebody who is an unknown. I mean, it must have been so rewarding for her to do it this way. And I don't think she owed us anything in terms of… I would have been fine with her releasing, unveiling it let's say… I bet she would have done it before the holiday [laughs] so they could get some good holiday sales out of this.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: But no, I think… if she waited even until the end of this year, I think that would have been completely fine. So, Jamie, when did you first hear about… how did you hear that The Cuckoo's Calling was J.K. Rowling?

Jamie: Oh, I think it was a news website, BBC News.

Andrew: Okay.

Jamie: And I mean, I was just stunned. To be honest, the first thing that jumped out at me was what happened after it came out rather than the story. I mean, it's a leaking story. It happens. It just has more relevance for us because we're fans of Harry Potter. But this type of stuff, I guess, happens all the time. What hit me was she sold 1,500 copies between when it came out and when it got leaked, which I've heard is great for a first time hardback author.

Andrew: Really?

Jamie: Yeah. It's a good result.

Andrew: Oh.

Jamie: It's not incredible, but I think any person should be pleased with that. And then after it came out, I think her Amazon sales rank went up like 507,000 percent.

Eric: [laughs] Yes.

Jamie: And I just think that scale is something to sit up and take note, that someone can generate that. It's just incredible.

Andrew: Yeah. She went to number one. She went straight to number one.

Eric: And that was based on name alone, again because it's like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …"Oh, it's the J.K. Rowling book."

Andrew: So did you get a copy, Jamie? Did you try?

Jamie: I haven't really yet, no. I'm…

Andrew: Are you planning on it?

Jamie: I will, I will. I don't think I'm going to get a copy yet. I want to wait for the buzz to sort of die down and I can sort of read it in my own time and just sort of...

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: Mhm.

Jamie: ...reflect on it. Have you guys read it?

Micah: Well, hold on a second. No, wait, you said that you knew. So you have actually already read the book, right?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: Yeah. I mean, you caught me there. I just didn't want to... I've just had a phone call from my agent, saying I'm in trouble.

[Everyone laughs]

Jamie: So I'm just trying to tone it down a bit.

Andrew: Boys, have you read it yet?

Eric: Micah, how far are you?

Micah: I got the book on Friday. I ordered it through It got here pretty quickly, actually. I have not read it at all yet. It's still sitting...

Andrew: And I assume your copy says "J.K. Rowling" inside.

Micah: It does. It does say "J.K. Rowling."

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: Oh, wow!

Andrew: That's the thing.

Jamie: Really?

Andrew: This is the thing. So they did this second print run with 300,000 copies. They all now say, "Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling," inside of the book. So these copies that people may have that don't say that are going to be really valuable.

Jamie: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: And as we talked about on the last episode when we first discovered that this happened, I personally ran out to my local bookstore. I couldn't find any. They said they had them in stock, but then one of my friends nearby was able to go to a bookstore and he found four copies. [laughs] He purchased all four copies...

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: Nice.

Andrew: ...gave one to me. He's holding on to an extra one, probably for eBay purposes.

Eric: Yeah. So are one of my friends. They have it sealed up.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It's unbelievable just the hype that's surrounded it. It just... but you had to act quick and not everybody was... even quite innocently, not many people were in a position to really do that, and that time between when all the copies on store shelves were missing or sold and the time that the book's second print run was fulfilled, that was a harrowing week, week and a half to two weeks, where people couldn't get the book unless they wanted to do the ebook.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Which I'm sure is quite easy to do, but if you wanted the hardcopy book you couldn't do it.

Andrew: Right. So now it's everywhere [laughs] and now it says "J.K. Rowling" inside. I've been... every time I step into a bookstore now, if I see it there, I go and look through the stack of books, in hopes that there's a lone copy without J.K. Rowling's name inside it. And if I do find one of those, you can bet I'll be buying it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: Oh, yeah. well, here's the thing. I was in a charity shop two days ago and I found a first edition paperback of Prisoner of Azkaban.

Andrew: Wow.

[Eric gasps]

Jamie: And my smartphone broke a while ago, so I couldn't look online and see if it's worth anything. So I bought it, it was only a pound, and then I went online and apparently it isn't worth anything.

Andrew: Oh.

Jamie: So it's a bit of a shame.

Andrew: Is it paperback, though?

Jamie: Yeah, paperback Prisoner of Azkaban.

Andrew: Oh.

Jamie: But first edition, I mean...

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. I think hardback's where it's at, right?

Eric: But that still came out...

Jamie: Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, maybe.

Micah: I think the Internet is lying to you, Jamie. I think it's worth something.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, maybe. Yeah.

Eric: I would hold on to it. Or maybe you could take it to a J.K. Rowling signing and it will be a little bit... worth a little bit more.

Jamie: Yeah, but I might ask her to sign it "Robert Galbraith" now.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: That's the thing, is if you've seen... if you have a signed... I have a copy of Casual Vacancy signed by J.K. Rowling from when she came to New York. But her J.K. Rowling signature is really beautiful.

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: I would like to see her Robert Galbraith signature. Just throwing that out there.

Andrew: Well, she did it. She signed, actually, a couple of copies of The Cuckoo's Calling in the UK.

Eric: Oh, really?

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Well, surely people went up to her and they were like, "Oh my God, I love your work!"

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: "You don't look like a Robert!"

Andrew: No, no. [laughs] Apparently, no, it wasn't a public book signing. It was like something... here, here, I'll... look... I mean, this one...

Eric: Yeah, I'll take a look.

Andrew: It has one bid. But I think she did this... instant message, boom. That's the signature. I bet she did it with her opposite hand because it doesn't look like Robert... J.K. Rowling's signature at all.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But this is the one I keep seeing.

Eric: Oh, wow.

Andrew: I can't remember why she signed it.

Eric: I think... yeah, it must have been...

Jamie: So it's at eight-hundred pounds at the moment.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: ...through the mail or something.

Jamie: It's quite a nice autograph, isn't it? I like it.

Andrew: Yeah, it's all right. It looks like a man's autograph.

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Jamie: Now...

Andrew: I think she did it as a thank you to the publisher or something like that.

Jamie: That's extremely sexist, Andrew.

Andrew: What?

Jamie: Why is it like a man's autograph?

Andrew: Because it's dirty and chicken-scratched.

[Micah laughs]

Jamie: I can't believe I'm hearing this. That's...

Andrew: [laughs] Just like my signature.

Eric: There's a quote from Jo saying she channeled her inner bloke. Seeing this autograph, I would agree with that. I can barely make out the R.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Eric: It's like "Robot Galbraith" is who wrote this.

Jamie: Yeah, Robot. Yeah.

Eric: It's like "Robot." Yeah, look at that. No, but I'm about a hundred pages in, to answer your question.

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: Actually, a hundred and sixteen. Love the book. I am planning on reading...

Micah: The whole thing?

Eric: ...a substantial amount. Yeah, the whole thing, as opposed to Casual Vacancy.

Micah: So, Jamie, have you read The Casual Vacancy by the way?

Jamie: No, I haven't yet. No. I need to. I was following it on Amazon when it first came out for a few weeks and the reviews were just so all over the place. Again, I wanted to let it die down before I read it, but I haven't got round to it. It came out just before I went traveling and I was going to get it for that, but it was so bulky that...

Micah: Yeah.

Jamie: ...I didn't. But no, I'm going to get it. I'm actually going on holiday in about a month, so I might take it then.

Eric: Is it out in paperback yet? Do you know?

Micah: Yes.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Yes, they just came out with it.

Micah: It just came out.

Eric: Okay. Well, then that will be hopefully lighter, for travel reading.

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: I did want to mention, though, Jamie, you mentioned that 1,500 copies is fairly successful. There is a quote somewhere - I wish I could find it - J.K. Rowling said, relating to those sales, that it was comparable to the same period of time for author J.K. Rowling. Meaning, I think, when Harry Potter first started out, that that is similar...

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: the first three months of sales for, probably, only the first Harry Potter film... or book. First Harry Potter book. Philosopher's Stone in the UK. So that is actually really exciting. And the little stories we're hearing about life before people knew are that certain people did find the book, and it was offered at their local book club or something. It was a recommended read. Kind of word of mouth, guerilla information spreading, and that this book was getting some traction. But two months is just not a lot for any of that to really happen, so it's nice to hear that it was sort of starting out. But I do feel like the reveal came a little sooner for everybody. Maybe if they had planned the release of the information, there would have been more stock in stores and another print run at the very least, do you think?

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Well, I don't know. I think so. I mean, people at work were saying, oh it's a cover-up, this was all planned from the beginning by the people who walk in the corridors of power, that type of thing.

Eric: People are so cynical.

Jamie: But yeah, I know. And also, a law firm has got smeared. I don't think any law firm is going to allow themselves to get smeared, even if they get a kickback from it. And also, like you said, there's no stock. [laughs] So if it was a PR stunt, it was crap.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, I believe that this was a legitimate accident... well, purposeful by the person who leaked it, but I believe that there was no intention of a sudden boost of sales. At least not right now.

Micah: Well, if I could compare this to something just for a minute... I mean, I'm surprised that this person hasn't lost his job.

Andrew: How do you know he hasn't?

Micah: Well, I don't but I'd be surprised if he didn't, because say it's the equivalent of me working at a sports league and I find out that this player is about to be traded to another team. And say he's a high profile player, and I'm out at the bar later on that night, and they're still working through the specifics of the contract, and I let it slip to somebody who happens to be there that this guy is getting traded to another team, and that news leaks on Twitter, and all of a sudden it blows up. And maybe things don't get finalized or the trade doesn't go through, and all of a sudden all this information is out there. I think that if that got traced back to me, I'd probably be fired.

Andrew: Right.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. I think so. I mean, can't you... wouldn't you get prosecuted as well?

Andrew: You could be.

Micah: Possibly. Possibly.

Jamie: Do you sign an NDA?

Micah: Sign a what?

Andrew: NDA.

Jamie: NDA.

Andrew: Non-disclosure...

Micah: Non-disclosure?

Andrew: You have to keep it a secret, basically. Yeah.

Micah: Well, it's just that anything that is discussed in that sense within a company, to your point, can't be disseminated to the public unless you're cleared to do so. So I think it's a similar situation with this person...

Eric: Well, especially the law firm.

Micah: the law firm. Yeah.

Eric: Especially the law firm. This information... even the information about a trader... or a player being traded, that information alone is worth millions sometimes, depending on who it is. And that's a very real financial amount to be tied to information like this when you're a law firm that is handling items with such value as the next J.K. Rowling novel. And like Jamie was saying, no law firm is going to let themselves get smudged. This is severe. I mean, Rowling herself is saying, "I expected this from Russells. I expected full confidentiality. Shame I didn't get it." And it's just complete trash talk because... but Russells looks terrible. I would be very surprised if that guy stayed on. Very surprised.

Andrew: And not to mention, J.K. Rowling is probably just not going to work with them anymore.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: That's what I would...

Micah: I wouldn't.

Andrew: Right, exactly.

Eric: But how many other businesses are also pulling out because this guy had this moment of weakness, you know?

Andrew: Right. Oh yeah, this is awful for the company. This is not fun to be that guy. Anyway...

Jamie: Although... sorry, one last point.

Andrew: Go ahead.

Jamie: Who was the guy who said, "All publicity is good publicity"? So maybe they'll get...

Eric: Probably Oscar Wilde.

Jamie: No, I think it was... was it Peter Drucker, the ad guy? Anyway, I don't know.

Eric: Oh. Well, I know Oscar Wilde said, "The only thing worse than people talking about you is people not talking about you."

Jamie: Oh, that... oh, yeah. Yeah, it's similar.

Eric: [laughs] So there is that quote.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: Well, this certainly... it's safe to say that this didn't negatively affect the book. Of course we know that [laughs] the sales have been through the roof and I'm sure the publisher is happy that it's selling so well.

Jamie: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Despite the lukewarm response to The Casual Vacancy. J.K. Rowling, as I think we've discussed previously, I think she has only so many chances for people to get so excited about each and every book. If she wrote three not great books in a row, people would be losing interest, unless she wrote more in the same theme as Harry Potter or went back to young adult. She still hasn't returned to young adult writing.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: But it looks like the reviews for Cuckoo's Calling have been very good. I'm excited to read it.

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#244 (November 20th, 2011): For the first time ever, MuggleCast has a DVD commentary! Watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 on DVD with us. We'll comment on each and every scene - it's as if we're in your living room watching alongside you!

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