“Now, you two – this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you’ve – you’ve blown up a toilet or –”
“Blown up a toilet? We’ve never blown up a toilet.”
“Great idea though, thanks, Mum.”
― Fred and George Weasley talking to Molly, J.K. Rowling,
If there’s one thing that has always defined the Harry Potter franchise, whether it’s the books or the movies, it’s the comedic antics of Fred and George Weasley, the older twin brothers of Ron Weasley. They frequently become helpful allies to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix throughout the story, in between their many pranks and personal endeavors. But what did they get up to all this time? What did the movies leave out of their antics and past? Find out more about them below!
24. Please Welcome…
When it comes to the movie adaptations, the Weasley twins are played by real-life twins James and Oliver Phelps. They also provided voices for their characters in the Harry Potter video games.
23. A More Fitting Birthday There Never Was
Fittingly, the Weasley twins were born on April Fool’s Day. Safe to say that should have given their parents all the warning they needed on what sort of fellows Fred and George would turn out to be.
22. Find the Mole!
Despite the recurring jokes that not even their parents can tell Fred and George Weasley apart, the Phelps twins have a telltale sign to identify them apart from each other. Oliver Phelps has a mole on the side of his neck, which Fred does not have. However, not even that stopped them from jokingly switching places with each other one day during rehearsal.
21. We Were Too Busy Being Hilarious
Of all Molly and Arthur Weasley’s sons, Fred and George are the only ones who didn’t become prefects at Hogwarts.
20. Twins Run in the Family
In addition to playing Fred and George Weasley, James and Oliver Phelps also played the Weasley twins’ uncles! Molly Weasley’s brothers, Gideon and Fabian Prewett, were part of the original Order of the Phoenix before Voldemort famously disappeared after trying to kill an infant Harry Potter. The Prewetts sadly died in battle with five Death Eaters, and Fabian’s watch was eventually given to Harry Potter by Molly on his 17th birthday. The Phelps twins briefly stood in for the Prewetts’ cameo in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Fans have also pointed out that Fred and George share the initials of their deceased uncles.
19. Being a Favorite Isn’t Quite All That…
J.K. Rowling has stated that Fred and George Weasley are among her favorite characters. We can certainly understand her choices, but it’s telling that that didn’t stop her from killing one of them off and mutilating the other!
18. Those Rascals…
Of all the members of the Weasley family, the twins arguably had the worst relationship with their older brother, Percy. However, being such a bossy stickler for the rules led Percy to be a frequent victim of the twins’ pranks. On the family’s trip to Egypt, Percy found out that he’d been chosen as Head Boy, and his gloating caused the twins to try trapping him inside a tomb within one of the ancient pyramids.
17. The Royal Treatment
Some fans have pointed out a strange parallel of the names of Fred and George Weasley to real-life history. George III of England only became king following the death of his brother, named Frederick. Not only that, George III happened to have been deaf in one of his ears. We’re not sure if we’d be more impressed if it turned out Rowling was that attentive to historical detail, or if it was all just a big coincidence.
16. Your Ticket’s Up
Many people were deeply affected by the tragic death of Fred Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Naturally, one of those people was James Phelps, who played him in the films. Allegedly, Phelps was reading the book while he was on a train in Japan. He was approached by a ticket person just as he got to Fred’s death scene, prompting him to tell the ticket person “I just died, mate, leave me alone!”
14. ‘Ear ‘Ear!
George Weasley famously has his ear cursed off by Severus Snape during the early events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The books make it clear that his loss of an ear is permanent, but George only needs a few minutes to come up with an ear-related joke to lighten the mood.
13. Such Nice Brothers
Although the twins generally get along with their younger brother, Ron, they have subjected him to a number of damaging pranks. They once gave him an Acid Pop that burned a hole in his tongue (ouch), and after a young Ron broke Fred’s toy broomstick, they turned his teddy bear into a large spider. The latter prank left Ron with a crippling fear of spiders for the rest of his life.
12. Ton-Tongue Toffee
When it comes to the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, they omitted the first chapters where the Weasleys pick up Harry from the home of his relatives, the Dursleys. Arthur, Fred, George, and Ron all arrive at the home, leading Fred and George to trick Harry’s cousin Dudley into trying a candy they’ve been developing for their future joke shop. Dudley’s tongue swells to about three feet long before Arthur can persuade Dudley’s parents to let him shrink it back to regular size.
11. What Are the Odds
As you would know from the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Weasley twins are the ones who give Harry the Marauder’s Map, an enchanted map that reveals the location and movement of everyone inside Hogwarts. The map is credited to four “Marauders” known as Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. Little did the twins know (at the time), their heroes were actually Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black, and James Potter, Harry’s own father.
10. Prankster Princes
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the twins become mortal enemies of Professor Umbridge for their refusal to bow down to her tyrannical takeover of Hogwarts. Among their many pranks at her expense, they set off a cavalcade of fireworks throughout the school and block off one of the halls with a Portable Swamp of their creation.
9. Fight Fight Fight Fight…
In what must have been a bizarre episode in the making of the Harry Potter films, one of the twin actors who played the Weasleys was involved in a staged brawl between himself and Mike Newell, the director of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The fight went on until Newell suffered a fractured rib! According to Newell, he did it as a hands-on style of direction for what he wanted, as well as an undermining of his own “authority figure.” Go figure.
8. Stick Together
Something interesting about the Weasley twins is that bad things tend to happen to them whenever they aren’t together. George’s ear mutilation and Fred’s death both occur when the twins are apart from each other.
7. A Record’s a Record
James and Oliver Phelps are two of only 14 people to appear in all eight of the Harry Potter films.
6. Imposter Gingers
James and Oliver Phelps are not natural redheads. Both are brunettes who had to dye their hair for filming.
5. Art and Life Mingling
During the filming of the eighth and final film in the series, the death of Fred Weasley proved very difficult for the twins to portray. For Oliver Phelps, who played George, acting out a scene where he had to see his brother dead reportedly led to him have an emotional breakdown.
4. Don’t Taunt a Grieving Mother
Interestingly, Fred Weasley’s name is the last word spoken by Bellatrix Lestrange before her death in the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. During her duel with Molly Weasley, Bellatrix taunts Molly over the death of her son “Freddie.” Shortly after that, Molly defeats and kills her.
3. We Pranked the Dark Lord!
In the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, there is a short bit of exposition that explains that the Weasley twins get into trouble during the winter months for bewitching snowballs to pelt the back of Professor Quirrell’s head. Little did they–or anyone else at the time–know, they were inadvertently throwing snowballs at Voldemort’s face.
2. A Bittersweet Epilogue
A lot of information has been provided by Rowling to explain what happened to the characters after the defeat of Voldemort. In the case of George Weasley, he ended up marrying Angelina Johnson. They had two children, including a son whom they named Fred. George continued to run the joke shop and never completely got over his twin brother’s death. And who would?
1. Make Your Choice
Rowling was allegedly convinced that a member of the large Weasley family had to die during the Battle of Hogwarts, but she wasn’t sure which one it would be. After sparing the life of Arthur Weasley in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, she again considered killing him off, but she couldn’t bring herself to kill off one of the few good fathers in the story. After contemplating the idea of killing off Ron, Rowling ultimately went with his older brother, Fred. This decision was partly motivated by the emotional anguish it would give his twin brother, George, since it apparently wasn’t enough to have one of his ears cut off.