“My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford,” sneers Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. That may be true, Draco, but the true worth of this magical clan isn’t summed up by their beauty or wealth. Throughout the Potter series, the Weasley family demonstrate a strength of character that’s often lacking in other, more prestigious pure-blood families. Through courage, determination, and bravery (not to mention their excellent skills on the Quidditch pitch) the Weasleys prove themselves true Gryffindors. And through it all, these jolly gingers provide the beating heart of the series and give the orphaned Harry Potter a family he always craved. Read on for some deeper insight into Weasleys of the past, present, and future!
1. A Pack Of Proud Blood-Traitors
In the 1930s, a book called The Pureblood Directory cataloged the “Sacred Twenty-Eight” wizarding families who could still claim pureblood status—including the Malfoys, the Blacks, and, of course, the Weasleys. Although some families are proud of their inclusion in the directory, the Weasleys scoff at the classification and instead offer friendship to Muggles and wizards with no magical heritage.
2. Close Call For Ron
Early in the writing process, JK Rowling made a promise to herself: never to kill any members of the main Potter trio (Ron, Hermione, and Harry). Later though, while trapped in a bout of depression, she almost broke that promise in order to kill Ron. The author has since said that the idea came about “out of sheer spite.”
3. Saving The World While Looking Fierce
Many members of the magical community lose their fashion sense when trying to pass in the Muggle world. In Goblet of Fire, the campsite manager Mr. Roberts complains about “a bloke walking ‘round in a kilt and a poncho.” One character without these sartorial issues is Bill Weasley, who is basically the epitome of cool. He has long hair tied back in a ponytail, boots made of dragon skin (not sure his brother Charlie would approve), and jewellery made from fangs. The scars given to him by Fenrir Greyback in Half-Blood Prince surely add to his bad-boy aesthetic.
4. A Pair Of April Fools
Throughout the Harry Potter novels and films, most characters go through many changes and moods—while the Weasley twins remain consistently riotous and fun-loving. It’s just in their nature to spread mischief. Fittingly, Fred and Geroge were born on April Fools’ Day.
5. A Wizarding Enclave
The Weasley family’s homestead is located in the village of Ottery St. Catchpole, near fellow wizarding families like the Lovegoods, Diggorys, and Fawcetts. This fictional town is located in the county of Devon, England, but it may be based on the real-life village of Ottery St. Mary, which is located near Exeter—where J.K. Rowling attended university.
6. Curses And Cursing
Swear words are only alluded to in the Harry Potter books (as in, “Ron cursed”), perhaps to keep things family-friendly for younger readers. However, this all changes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. No reader can forget the moment Mrs. Weasley views Ginny caught in a deadly duel with bloodthirsty Bellatrix Lestrange and screams “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B*TCH.”
7. Mad-Eye? More Like Dad-Eye
Brendan Gleeson first appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the slightly-unhinged Mad-Eye Moody. Soon after, his real-life son Domhnall Gleeson was cast to portray Bill Weasley. This fact brings special significance to the scene in Deathly Hallows where Bill is the one who tells the Order of Moody’s murder by Voldemort.
8. Ron Weasley Is A Time Lord?
There are many fan theories about the Harry Potter universe, some more legitimate than others. One of the fringe theories is that Headmaster Albus Dumbledore is actually—wait for it—a time-traveling Ron Weasley. The evidence? Amongst the more abstract reasoning behind the theory are these gems: the two both have long noses, Albus had auburn hair in his youth, and the scar on Dumbledore’s leg is a result of Ron’s broken leg in Prisoner of Azkaban. Molly Weasley would definitely not approve of her son time traveling in this manner.
9. But Maybe He Can Glimpse The Future?
Another theory is that Ron can predict the future. He and Harry treat divination class as a joke and make up their predictions seemingly at random…but many of Ron’s forecasts into the beyond end up coming true. Ron predicts that Harry will come into some money unexpectedly, and the next year Harry wins one thousand galleons in the TriWizard Tournament. Amongst other fulfilled prophesies, Ron muses aloud that maybe Tom Riddle was honored with his special services award for murdering Moaning Myrtle (he did murder her).
10. A Birth To Celebrate A Battle
After the events of the series, Bill and Fleur Weasley name their daughter Victoire, which is French for “Victory.” She is born on the first anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, where the forces of good triumphed over Lord Voldemort.
11. Help A Brother Out
After he worked as an Auror for a few years at the Ministry of Magic, Ron left the dangerous gig to work with his brother George at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. That might seem like a step-down, but it wasn’t—the joke shop grows after the Second Wizarding War to become a massive, profitable business.
12. A Testament To Mum
Years after the story of the Harry Potter books ended, Percy Weasley named one of his two daughters Molly—as a way to honor his mother. This is especially touching since Mrs. Weasley took his self-imposed estrangement from the family (during the 2nd Wizarding War) the hardest. In the end, the Weasley’s stick together through thick and thin.
13. The Burrow Survives The Series
Although the film version of Half-Blood Prince includes a harrowing scene of Death Eaters attacking the Weasley home and burning it to the ground, Rowling never actually wrote this event. The Weasley home is a safe and cozy sanctuary for Harry on his visits, which makes it so shocking when dark wizards finally do break through the protective enchantments and attack Bill and Fleur’s wedding in Deathly Hallows.
14. The Most Elusive Weasley Son
Charlie Weasley is the second-oldest son of Molly and Arthur, and perhaps the most mysterious family member. He is a dragon trainer who works in Romania and spends his time off trying to recruit new members to the Order of the Phoenix. Hagrid has a soft spot for Charlie because of their shared love for animals, especially dangerous ones, and even entrusts Charlie with the care of his beloved young dragon Norbert.
15. The Slimiest Weasley
The Weasley Family is crammed together in the Burrow, a space issue not helped by the family ghoul who occupies their attic. Described as resembling a “slimy, buck-toothed ogre,” the Weasley Ghoul mostly spends its time moaning, thrashing, and making a commotion right over Ron’s bedroom ceiling. The Weasley Ghoul has a moment of glory, however, when it moves downstairs and masquerades as Ron (in a red wig in pajamas) in order to convince the Ministry that he is ill with Spattergroit instead of hunting Horcruxes.
16. Weasley Nomenclature
The first names of the Weasley family often reference Arthurian legends. Molly’s uncle is named Lancelot, Mr. Weasley is Arthur, Percy connects to Percival, a Knight of the Round Table, and Ginny (full name Ginevra) as a form of Guinevere. It’s likely that this choice was intentional on the part of JK Rowling—perhaps as a way to symbolize the family’s chivalry and bravery.
17. A Fair Question About Muggles
In Chamber of Secrets when Harry first meets Arthur Weasley, the Weasley patriarch grills Harry about various aspects of Muggle life. In the film version, actor Mark Williams completely improvised the “What exactly is the function of a rubber duck?” line, coining an instantly classic bit of dialogue that sums up Arthur’s characterization—and that had his fellow castmates in hysterics.
18. A Hand-Knit Souvenir
Chris Rankin, the actor who played the fastidious Percy, stole Percy’s Weasley jumper as a souvenir—but ultimately had to return it when people on the set noticed that it was missing. His rule-obeying character would definitely not approve.
19. Teenage Dream
Bill’s daughter Victoire eventually starts dating the son of Remus and Tonks, Teddy Lupin. Teddy was born during the Second Wizarding War, and Victoire was born the year after the War ended. If the timeline in The Cursed Child is correct, the pair have by then been together for upwards of seven years.
20. The Secret Name
Although she spends most of the series trying to rein in her unruly brood and keep things running smoothly, Molly gets to have her silly moments. Readers discover through Harry’s overhearing that she likes Arthur to call her “Mollywobbles” in private, harbors a huge crush on Gilderoy Lockhart, and loves the music of old-fashioned singer Celestina Warbeck because she and Arthur used to dance to her songs when they were young.
21. Who Would Ron Root For?
The Holyhead Harpies are an all-female Quidditch team mentioned several times within the series. After the Second Wizarding War, Ginny Weasley even spends several years as a professional player for the side. As a result, she likely played against her brother Ron’s favorite team, the Chudley Cannons.
Ginny did very well on the Quidditch pitch for some years, but she didn’t let that define her entirely. She later left the league to start her family and become a Quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet newspaper. When Rowling later published a recap of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup on Pottermore, much of it was written in Ginny’s voice.
23. An Outing to the Quidditch World Cup
In 2014, Rowling penned a stand-alone look at the series’ main characters in the future, including some Weasleys. Partly written in the voice of Rita Skeeter reporting on the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, Skeeter snidely reports that, “Almost all of the Weasley family are supporting Brazil. Certainly nobody can have expected Ronald to cheer on his wife’s ex-boyfriend [that would be Krum].”
24. Percy Needs a Study Buddy
Unlike his brilliant and ambitious character Percy, Chris Rankin did terribly on his A-Level exams. Rankin blames his poor performance on his own lack of self-discipline, and claimed that the on-set tutors were more preoccupied with the younger members of the cast and thought Rankin could do fine on his own.
25. A New Generation of Marauders Emerge
The Marauder’s Map was bequeathed to Harry by the Weasley twins, and plays a huge part in the series—revealing Peter Pettigrew’s faked death and Barty Crouch Jr.’s impersonation of Mad-Eye Moody—and it may continue to do so for years. Rowling has since written that she suspects that Harry and Ginny’s children probably snuck the map out of their father’s desk, although knowing Harry he probably left it unlocked on purpose.
26. Penitent Percy
Percy becomes estranged from the other Weasleys when he chooses allegiance with the corrupt Ministry of Magic over family loyalty. After several years of estrangement, he redeems himself at last by showing up for the Battle of Hogwarts and fighting side by side with his family. Percy later finds a balance between work and family and becomes the Head of the Department of Magical Transportation (he also loses his trademark red hair to baldness).
27. Brutal Cuts
Julie Walters appears as Molly Weasley in all of the Harry Potter films except for The Goblet of Fire. She was cut from that film to reduce running time.
28. Movie Magic Requires No Explanation
Of course, the films couldn’t include every detail from the books—and for the most part the changes were handled with grace. But it must’ve been confusing for some to see George and Fred Weasley go from impoverished kids to wildly successful business owners (with a central location in Diagon Alley, no less). The twins are given the money by Harry, who wins a thousand galleons at the end of Goblet of Fire. When Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes opens, Harry is told to take anything he wants for free—an offer that is not extended to their brother Ron.
29. Two Ladies Who Rule Their Roosts
Julie Walters almost lost the role of Molly Weasley to the actress Lesley Nicol—who you might know better as Mrs. Patmore in Downton Abbey. Mrs. Weasley and Mrs. Patmore happen to have many similarities as characters: They both spend most of their time cooking amazing feasts, organizing the young people around them, scolding anyone who steps out of line, and offering advice and tea to anyone who wants it.
30. A Mother and a Friend
Just like her mother Molly, Ginny Weasley has only one daughter. Her first name is Lily, named after her husband Harry’s mother. Her middle name also honors another significant woman in the pair’s life: Luna. Tough to think of a more honorable name, really, then Lily Luna Potter.
31. Ron’s Jealousy
The Weasleys experience many financial hardships as their children grow up, creating some bitterness in their youngest son about his second-hand belongings; he cannot afford a new wand when his is broken by the Whomping Willow, he has a substandard broomstick, and he has to wear embarrassing thrift shop dress robes to his first school dance. It makes for a fascinating dynamic between Harry and Ron: Harry envies Ron for having a large, supportive family, but at times it appears that Ron would trade it all for some of Harry’s riches. Ron’s attitude about money improves as he faces life-or-death struggles that have nothing to do with material possessions.
32. An Honored Name
George Weasley went on to marry Angelia Johnson, former Gryffindor Quidditch Captain. The two went on to have two children, naming their only son Fred II.
33. Weasleys Stick Together
Julie Walters and Rupert Grint (Molly and Ron) played mother and son once again in the 2006 film Driving Lessons.
34. A Hogwarts Quidditch Legend
Charlie Weasley may not have been as serious a student as his older brother Bill, or even his younger brother Pearcy. But during his time at Hogwarts, Charlie was an incredible seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He was such an impressive player that Quidditch-fanatic (and Gryffindor team-mate) Oliver Wood later remarked, “He could’ve played for England.”
35. Quidditch Player? Must be a Weasley
Could Hogwarts Quidditch even survive without the talent of the Weasley family? In their years at Hogwarts, a Weasley child has played in every position: Charlie as Seeker, Fred and George as Beaters, Ron as Keeper, and Ginny as Chaser and Seeker. While it is unknown if Bill ever played for the team, Percy definitely did not stir from his studies to hit the pitch.
36. The Weasley War Effort
The Weasley family played a significant part in the Second Wizarding War, and will certainly be included in wizarding history books for their impressive accomplishments. The oldest members joined the Order of the Phoenix, the younger family members joined Dumbledore’s Army, many fought in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower (where Bill was badly injured by Fenrir Greyback), and the whole family fights brilliantly (and offers personal sacrifice) at the climactic Battle of Hogwarts.
37. Ginny Holds Down the Fortress
Not only did Ginny Weasley survive being possessed by Lord Voldemort in her first year at Hogwarts, she also came up with the name of Dumbledore’s Army. Eventually, when Harry leaves to hunt Horcruxes, she even took over as co-leader of the rebellious group alongside Neville Longbottom.
38. Mrs. Weasley Is Always Watching
Throughout the series, there are constant references to the Weasley Clock. It’s a special and valuable timepiece that shows when family members are home, traveling—or when they are in mortal peril. Muggles in 2018 are now attempting to replicate the Weasley clock by syncing home clocks to cells phones in order to show the location of various family members.
39. Brawl In The Bookshop
Both the books and the films serve to show the animosity between Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy. It’s an old rivalry, born when Arthur first refused to believe Malfoy’s explanation of having been bewitched into joining Voldemort’s side. In the Chamber of Secrets movie, we see the two throw a few insults at each other, but things go slightly different in the book version: Arthur tackles Lucius to the ground, and the two basically trash Flourish & Blotts bookshop.
40. Method Acting
Oliver and James Phelps actually skipped a day of school in order to audition for their roles as the rule-breaking, authority-flouting Weasley twins.
41. A Case Of Typecasting
Actress Julie Walters has played a witch in two separate instances—as the formidable Mrs. Weasley in Harry Potter, and the Witch who curses the Queen in Pixar’s Brave.
42. Percy Reveals His Love of Prestige
When Percy becomes Prefect, his proud parents gift him with new robes and his own owl. Percy might have revealed his arrogance in naming the owl Hermes; Hermes is a figure from Greek mythology who is “the messenger of the gods.” Could that be a hint as to how Percy sees himself?
43. The More (Weasleys) The Merrier
By the end of the entire Harry Potter saga, the Weasley clan has gained many new members: Arthur and Molly have five new in-laws and 12 grandchildren. That’s a whole lot of knitting that Molly will have to accomplish in order to give everyone a Weasley jumper for Christmas every year!
44. Mrs. Weasley’s Sorrow
Molly Weasley gained her extreme hatred of the Death Eaters years before the novels when a group of them brutally murdered her two brothers, Fabian and Gideon, during the First Wizarding War, a tragedy of which she rarely speaks. In Order of the Phoenix, a boggart overpowers Molly and readers see that her greatest fear is the death of any more family members. In the Second Wizarding War, she loses her beloved son Fred, but thankfully the rest of her family survives.
45. Perfect For Each Other
Rowling has stated that Ron and Hermione are drawn to each other because they balance each other out. She says, “Hermione’s got the sensitivity and maturity that’s been left out of Ron, and Ron loosens up Hermione a bit, gets her to have some fun.”
46. Happily Ever After For Ron?
Most fans were thrilled with the happily-ever-after ending where Ron and Hermione married and grew a family, but most people don’t realize that their union wasn’t something J. K. Rowling believes wholeheartedly in, at least not in hindsight. In an interview that set the internet ablaze in 2014, Rowling said, “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron. I know, I’m sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”
She then went on to discuss how Harry and Hermione may have been a better fit, stating that, “In some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit and I’ll tell you something very strange. When I wrote Hallows, I felt this quite strongly when I had Hermione and Harry together in the tent! I hadn’t told [Steve] Kloves that and when he wrote the script he felt exactly the same thing at exactly the same point.”
For those that wish for the happily-ever-after life for two of the story’s heroes, Rowling did leave us with this: “Oh, maybe she and Ron will be alright with a bit of counseling, you know. I wonder what happens at wizard marriage counseling? They’ll probably be fine. He needs to work on his self-esteem issues and she needs to work on being a little less critical.”
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31