Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Arthur Weasley
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
|Related Family||wife Molly (née Prewett), children Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny|
|Loyalty||Albus Dumbledore, Order of the Phoenix|
Overview[edit | edit source]
Arthur Weasley is the head of the Weasley family, and so is father to Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny. He worked at the Ministry of Magic in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office when Cornelius Fudge was the Minister of Magic. Arthur was then promoted to head the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects when Rufus Scrimgeour became the Minister. After Scrimgeour leaves the Ministry, this Office is likely abolished, but we do not learn where Arthur is reassigned; he does continue working for the Ministry. Arthur is a thin man, going bald, but the little hair on his head is as red as any of his children’s. His dearest wish is to find out how Muggle airplanes stay up.
Arthur Weasley's birthday is apparently 6 February.
Role in the Books[edit | edit source]
It is mentioned that Mr. Weasley, Ron Weasley's father, works with the Ministry of Magic, however he otherwise plays no part in this book.
Mr. Weasley first appears when he arrives home from an overnight Ministry raid searching for Dark magic objects to find that Fred, George, and Ron have rescued Harry from the Dursleys'. Mr. Weasley is intrigued, first, by Harry's presence, and second, by the Twins having used his flying car. "How did it go?" When his wife, Molly, sternly reminds him their behavior was bad, Mr. Weasley weakly chastises them. Ron and Harry depart, and Mrs. Weasley's yelling can be heard even from Ron's attic bedroom.
Mr. Weasley accompanies the group to Diagon Alley to shop for school supplies. Heated remarks, partly motivated by Hermione Granger's Muggle parents being present, are exchanged with Lucius Malfoy at Flourish & Blott's, and result in a brawl from which Mr. Weasley emerges slightly the worse for wear.
All of the Weasley children, plus Harry, ride from The Burrow to London in Mr. Weasley's flying car; Mrs. Weasley comments on how there seems to be so much room inside, unaware that Mr. Weasley has charmed it so that the inside is larger than the outside. At King's Cross Station, Ron and Harry are unable to pass through the barrier at Platform Nine and Three Quarters. They fly Mr. Weasley's car to Hogwarts, where it crashes into the Whomping Willow. The car ejects them before wildly driving off into the Forbidden Forest; it re-appears later, saving Harry and Ron from the giant spider, Aragog's, children.
We next see Mr. Weasley after Ginny Weasley is rescued from the Chamber of Secrets. Mr. Weasley chastises her: "How many times have I told you not to trust something, if you can't see where it keeps its brains?"
Mr. Weasley accompanies his family (Mrs. Weasley, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny) to Diagon Alley for school supplies. After dinner, Harry returns to the lounge to look for the Rat Tonic Ron bought for Scabbers, his pet rat. He overhears Mr. and Mrs. Weasley discussing whether or not Harry should be told that Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban. Black apparently intends to murder Harry. As students board the Hogwarts Express the next day, Mr. Weasley takes Harry aside to tell him about Black; Harry admits he overheard the previous night's conversation. Mr. Weasley asks Harry to promise he will not go looking for Sirius Black, but the train departs before Harry can respond, leaving him confused about why Mr. Weasley thinks he would want to look for Black.
Mr. Weasley procures tickets for the Quidditch World Cup, and Harry and Hermione are invited to attend with the family. After Harry receives Uncle Vernon's grudging permission, Mr. Weasley arranges to collect Harry. Mr. Weasley, unaware the Dursleys boarded over their fireplace, has had it connected to the Floo network. When he arrives with Ron and the Twins in this constricted, closed space, Mr. Weasley determines that his only way out is to blast a hole in the wall, terrifying the Dursleys. The situation remains strained, even though Mr. Weasley attempts to engage Vernon and Petunia in a friendly conversation about electricity. Fred accidentally-on-purpose drops some Ton-Tongue Toffee, and Dudley Dursley picks it up and eats it, massively enlarging his tongue. Mayhem ensues, with the Dursleys, clearly blaming anything to do with the Wizarding world, attacking Mr. Weasley with china figurines even as he tries to help them.
Returning to the Burrow, Mr. Weasley is angry enough to scold the Twins for their behavior, warning them that these type of pranks damage Muggle-Wizard relationships. He threatens to tell Mrs. Weasley, but when she, entering, demands, "tell me what?" he backs off sharply, though apparently not sharply enough. From Ron's bedroom, Harry and Ron can again hear Mrs. Weasley yelling.
Early the next morning, Mr. Weasley, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Fred, George, and Ginny walk to Stoatshead Hill, where, along with Amos Diggory and his son, Cedric, they find the Portkey that will transport them to the match. Arriving at the campground, they set up camp, with Mr. Weasley enchanted by such common things as matches and the mallet used to drive in tent pegs. Tea and breakfast are finally ready, just as Bill, Charlie, and Percy arrive from the nearby woods, where they have Apparated in. Throughout the afternoon, Mr. Weasley exchanges greetings with other Ministry wizards passing by, while identifying them for the others. Ludovic Bagman stops by, taking bets on the match's outcome, and asking if Mr. Weasley has seen Bartemius Crouch; shortly afterwards, Bartemius himself stops by, and they discuss problems Ludo is having with the Bulgarian delegation. They also mention some event that will be happening at Hogwarts; Mr. Weasley and Percy evidently know what this event is, but reveal nothing to the inquisitive students.
Mr. Weasley escorts Harry, Hermione, and the Weasley children to the top box, where Mr. Weasley has a small run-in with Lucius Malfoy. During the game, Mr. Weasley has to restrain his sons and Harry, who are entranced by the Bulgarian mascots, the Veela. He promises that the Irish mascots are even more impressive: leprechauns appear, showering the crowd with gold coins. When the competition between the Quidditch teams turns ugly, so does the conflict between the team mascots; the Veela, throwing fireballs, start turning into bird-like creatures with cruel beaks, displaying their true appearance. Mr. Weasley wisely comments that women should not be judged by looks alone.
After the match, a riot breaks out; Mr. Weasley, along with Bill, Charlie, and Percy, leave to battle the mob of apparent Death Eaters, while Harry, Ron, and Hermione hide in the woods; someone nearby invokes Voldemort's Dark Mark that appears in the night sky. Shortly after, they are surrounded by wizards casting Stunners in all directions. Mr. Weasley rushes in and defends Harry, Ron, and Hermione against Bartemius Crouch's accusations that they summoned the Mark. After the confusion has abated, Mr. Weasley ushers Harry, Ron, and Hermione back to their tents, reassuring them along the way. After a short night, everyone catches an early Portkey back to Stoatshead Hill and the Burrow. Mrs. Weasley, reading about the riots in the Daily Prophet, is relieved to see them all safe.
Later, hack journalist Rita Skeeter publishes an article in which she deliberately misquotes Mr. Weasley, and for the rest of the summer, he works long hours at the Ministry, attempting to repair the damage. Mr. Weasley is at the Ministry when Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Fred, and George leave for Hogwarts.
When Harry reaches Number 12, Grimmauld Place, Mr. Weasley is already there, ensconced in a meeting with other Order of the Phoenix members. The Weasley children warn Harry against mentioning Percy, who has recently broken up with the family. Otherwise, Mr. Weasley breaks whatever he is holding and Mrs. Weasley bursts into tears. Harry has dinner along with the other Weasleys, Hermione, Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black.
When Remus asks Harry after dinner if he has any questions about Voldemort, Molly Weasley protests; Mr. Weasley, supporting Lupin and Sirius, avers that Harry has a right to know. Harry's insistence that he will only tell Ron and Hermione anything he learns earns them, Fred, and George permission to stay and listen as Harry's questions are answered. Defeated, Mrs. Weasley still sends a protesting Ginny to bed. Between them, Lupin, Sirius, Mr. Weasley, and Bill explain what the Order of the Phoenix is, and what they believe Lord Voldemort is attempting to do.
Mr. Weasley accompanies Harry, charged with using underage magic, to the Ministry of Magic for his hearing. Mr. Weasley suggests they travel by non-magical means to make a better impression, so they commute by subway. Mr. Weasley is enthralled by the ticket vending machines (even though they are broken), and by the escalators. He and Harry use the Ministry's visitor's entrance, then travel through the Ministry and the Auror branch, to his office, an over-filled converted broom closet. When the hearing starts, Mr. Weasley escorts Harry to the courtroom, then waits outside until Harry returns, cleared of all charges. As he and Harry are discussing the trial, Percy Weasley exits the courtroom; he apparently fails to notice Mr. Weasley, who says nothing to him, though his expression tightens. Mr. Weasley and Harry see Cornelius Fudge talking with Lucius Malfoy as they pass through the Ministry Atrium; spotting Mr. Weasley and Harry, Lucius suggests they finish their discussion, which apparently concerns a large donation Malfoy will be making, to the Minister's office.
Just before Christmas holidays, Harry has a vision of Mr. Weasley being attacked by Nagini the snake. Harry alerts Professor McGonagall who takes him to Professor Dumbledore; Dumbledore, in turn, dispatches the Headmaster portraits to raise the alarm. Mr. Weasley is found alive, but seriously injured, and taken to St. Mungo's. The Weasley children and Harry are sent by Portkey to Grimmauld Place; after a tense night, Mrs. Weasley sends word that Mr. Weasley will survive. Shortly after, the family visits him in the hospital. Mr. Weasley effusively thanks Harry for saving his life, though Harry is uncertain how much gratitude he deserves; having witnessed the attack through the snake's eyes, he believes he may have been the agent of the attack on Mr. Weasley. Later, while Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, Tonks, and Moody are discussing the incident, Harry overhears Moody saying that Harry may be possessed by Voldemort.
On Christmas, the family visits Mr. Weasley again. Arthur is enchanted by Harry's gift, a collection of screwdrivers and fuse wire. It seems that he and an apprentice healer have been experimenting with Muggle healing techniques, and have tried something called "stitches" on Mr. Weasley's wound. This has apparently been less than successful. Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave as Mrs. Weasley starts winding up to yell at her husband.
Shortly before school starts again, Mr. Weasley returns to Grimmauld Place, fully healed. His arrival, with all his family, interrupts an incipient duel between Sirius and Snape, though Mr. Weasley believes that the situation was not as serious as Harry thought.
Finally, Mr. Weasley is present at King's Cross station when Harry returns from school. Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, Tonks, and Moody, along with Ron, Harry, and Hermione, speak to the Dursleys, saying that they expect to hear regularly from Harry, and if they do not, they will be visiting to see what is wrong.
At The Burrow, Mrs. Weasley tells Harry that Mr. Weasley has been working extremely long hours at the Ministry. Mr. Weasley arrives later, extremely wearied. Being a Ministry employee, and feeling he must set a good example, before Mrs. Weasley lets him enter, he confirms who she is and insists that she do the same. In this exchange, we learn that his dearest wish is to learn how Muggle airplanes stay up.
As he is working long hours, Mr. Weasley is seldom seen while Harry is at the Burrow, though he accompanies Mrs. Weasley, Harry, Hermione, Ginny, and Ron to Diagon Alley to buy school supplies. He is scandalized that vendors are offering phony anti-Dark magic charms, saying if he was on duty, he would run them in. Mrs. Weasley asks him to remain calm. The family splits up, with Harry, Ron, and Hermione going to Madam Malkin's for robes, escorted by Hagrid, while Ginny and her parents head to Flourish & Blotts for textbooks. They regroup later to visit Fred and George's store, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
Mr. Weasley escorts Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny to the Hogwarts Express. On the platform, Harry privately tells Mr. Weasley that he followed Draco Malfoy to Borgin & Burkes in Knockturn Alley. While there, Malfoy spoke about some Dark magic object that he needed repaired. Mr. Weasley says they have thoroughly searched Malfoy Manor and found nothing.
Ron later passes Mr. Weasley's message to Harry saying that Malfoy Manor was searched again, and still nothing was found.
We see Mr. Weasley during Christmas at the Burrow. Harry says he overheard Malfoy and Severus Snape discussing some task the Dark Lord has assigned Draco, and about an Unbreakable Vow Snape made to Draco's mother, Narcissa Malfoy. Mr. Weasley believes Snape may be trying to determine what Draco's mission is, to report it to the Order of the Phoenix; Remus Lupin echoes this opinion.
Later, upon hearing that Ron was poisoned, Mr. Weasley comes to Hogwarts with Mrs. Weasley, and compliments Harry for saving Ron's life.
We hear that Mr. Weasley visited the Dursleys with Kingsley Shacklebolt, advising them to accept the Order's offer to hide them when Harry turns 17 and the protective charms that Lily Potter's death provided end. Unimpressed by Mr. Weasley, who half-destroyed the parlor when he last visited, Vernon Dursley, nonetheless, accepts guidance from Shacklebolt, possibly because he has seen him on TV, standing behind the Prime Minister.
Mr. Weasley is among the protectors accompanying the six Harry Potter decoys used to confuse the Death Eaters when Harry leaves Privet Drive shortly before his 17th birthday. Additionally, Hagrid mentions that the defensive modifications to Sirius Black's motorcycle, the one which the true Harry will be riding, were done by Mr. Weasley.
On arriving at the Burrow, Mr. Weasley rushes in to see what is happening, and is dismayed that George's ear was severed by a spell, but relieved there is no other injury.
Mr. Weasley assists Mrs. Weasley in preparing for Bill and Fleur's wedding. When Mrs. Weasley assigns Harry and Mr. Weasley the job of cleaning the chicken coop, Mr. Weasley tells Harry not to bother; Ted Tonks has sent Sirius' wrecked flying motorcycle, which Mr. Weasley has stored in the chicken coop, hoping to figure out how brakes work when he puts it all back together.
When the Ministry falls and Death Eaters attack The Burrow, Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape, eventually taking refuge in Grimmauld Place. Mr. Weasley sends his Patronus there, letting them know the family is safe and to not reply, they are being watched.
Before infiltrating the Ministry to search for Voldemort's Locket Horcrux, Harry, Ron, and Hermione secretly observe its operations for a month. They watch Mr. Weasley going in with the other Ministry workers each morning and returning home in the evening. When they actually enter the Ministry to locate Dolores Umbridge, who has the Locket, Harry is on a lift (US: elevator) with Mr. Weasley when Percy steps on. Percy, seeing his father there, quickly gets off at the next floor; Mr. Weasley confronts Harry, who is disguised as Albert Runcorn, and tells him that if he provides information against any other wizards as he did against Dirk Cresswell, he will be in deep trouble. Harry warns Mr. Weasley that he has a trace on him, but Mr. Weasley thinks "Runcorn" is threatening him.
Mr. Weasley also participates in the final battle at Hogwarts. Kingsley Shacklebolt assigns him, along with Lupin and himself, to lead squads on the Hogwarts grounds in the battle. We then see him and Percy, who has reconciled with the family, together dropping the healed Pius Thicknesse, and later with the other Weasleys following the battle, consoling each other over the tragic loss of Fred in the battle.
Strengths[edit | edit source]
Arthur Weasley appears to be a talented and competent wizard. The Weasleys are one of the Old Wizarding Families, pureblood as far back as they can trace. However, Mr. Weasley, and the entire family, shun Voldemort's "pure-blood" superiority ideology, believing their ancestry should grant them no particular advantage or status over Half-bloods, Muggle-borns, or even Muggles. Many Pure-blood wizards consider this a betrayal, and have branded the Weasleys, and those like them, with the epithet "blood traitor". This "betrayal of the blood" has resulted in Mr. Weasley receiving verbal abuse from pure-blood wizards, who also generally mock his relative poverty. Mr. Weasley's strong character shows in his unflinching response to these assaults. As late as the final book, we see him not only standing his ground against these attacks, but challenging Albert Runcorn (who unknown to him is actually Harry Potter in disguise), a high-level official in the now Death-eater dominated Ministry of Magic.
A devoted husband and loving father, Mr. Weasley always puts his family first. His main strength is his affable, calm demeanor and also his compassion. Lucius Malfoy claims Mr. Weasley is, "a disgrace to the name of wizard," because he helped author Muggle Protection Laws that he now enforces.
Mr. Weasley feels that everyone should be given a chance. This even extends to allowing others to possibly place him at risk: while hospitalized after being attacked, Mr. Weasley agreed to allow an apprentice healer to experiment with new Muggle wound-healing methods on him.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
It could be argued that Mr. Weasley's inability to control the Twins, or other family members, is a weakness. However, whenever a Weasley child needs any correction, he is swift to apply it; witness his reaction when he discovered one of the Twins inveigling Ron into making an Unbreakable Vow, an act that can result in death. It is perhaps more likely that he feels very deeply about his children, to the point that, particularly after Mrs. Weasley's usual browbeating, he feels it is unreasonable or unnecessary to additionally scold or punish them.
In Lord Voldemort's eyes and the Death Eaters, of course, his love for his children is a weakness, as is his fondness for Muggles and their technology. To Percy Weasley and others in the Ministry, Mr. Weasley's lack of ambition is clearly considered a deficiency. He, however, is happy with his job, and though it may pay less than he would like, he feels he is doing something that benefits Wizardkind; he has no desire to advance to a post that would take him away from his beloved Muggles.
However content Mr. Weasley may be with his stalled Ministry career, his underachieving nature has created a hardship for his wife and children. His meager salary barely supports the family, and Molly and the seven offspring have always had to make do with few extras—used and hand-me-down goods are a Weasley tradition. The older boys hardly seem bothered by this, but Ron's self-esteem is particularly affected. He, being the youngest of six sons, is often the last to inherit family possessions that have exchanged many hands. And though Ginny is younger than Ron, she, being a girl, has different requirements, or, by the time Ron is ready to pass on something to her, it may have become so shoddy as to be unusable and must be replaced, likely with a better second-hand item. Mr. Weasley does accept a promotion later in the series, allowing him to better provide for the family, particularly after the older boys have moved out.
Readers have little feel for Mr. Weasley's magical abilities. Given the charms he is able to work on the Ford Anglia, and on Sirius Black's flying motorcycle, one guesses that he is at the very least capable. The flying car, in particular, is quite a magical feat, apparently becoming sentient enough to recognize family members, and it later rescues Ron and Harry in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; it is unclear if Mr. Weasley ever intended for his charm to have such a profound effect on it, and he may actually possess powers he fails to recognize or has never taken the initiative to fully develop. From his selection by Moody as a protector for the seven Potter decoys and selection by Kingsley to lead troops into the grounds at the Battle of Hogwarts, he must be a reasonably strong duelist and skilled with defensive spells, though we never directly see him in battle.
Relationships with Other Characters[edit | edit source]
Arthur Weasley is a devoted husband who enjoys a loving relationship with his wife, Molly. As the family patriarch, Mr. Weasley is supposedly called in when Molly is unable to control the children. He is rather remarkably ineffective at this, however, unwilling to punish his offspring more than they have been already. The only time we see him angry is after the Twins tricked Harry's cousin Dudley with Ton-Tongue Toffee. It is mentioned that, in the past, he was furious enough to strike Fred for inciting Ron to make an Unbreakable Vow, a potentially lethal act.
Arthur does seem more than a little overshadowed by his wife, though that may be simply the viewpoint from which we see them. Throughout the series, Harry, despite eventually reaching his majority, is treated by the Weasley family more or less as one of their own children, and so he, and we, will understand Arthur and Molly's relationship through a child's eyes. A more mature reader may guess that Arthur has followed a somewhat old-fashioned parenting path, leaving the daily child-rearing duties to Molly and acting primarily as the family bread-winner. Given the odd hours he is required to be working, this is likely a workable solution, though it does put rather a strain on Molly. We are only given occasional hints of their interactions when the children are not present, but what hints we are granted do suggest that Arthur and Molly remain devoted to each other, even after seven children and at least twenty five years of marriage.
The Weasley children dearly love their father, though even they may consider him rather eccentric. When Percy, the third eldest son, becomes obsessed with his Ministry career and mindlessly follows their anti-Harry Potter agenda, he estranges himself from the family. Mr. Weasley becomes particularly upset over Percy's behavior. Percy eventually reconciles with the family, and Mr. Weasley immediately accepts him back.
Mr. Weasley is also close to Harry, treating him much like a son, though their relationship is never as strong as the ones Harry shares with Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Albus Dumbledore, or even Rubeus Hagrid. Harry is always a welcome visitor at The Burrow, but with seven children, it would seem unlikely that Harry would receive any special attention other than as an honored guest. Presumably their relationship grows much closer after Harry marries Ginny Weasley.
Muggles endlessly fascinate Mr. Weasley, particularly the strange items they use in lieu of magic, and their resulting lifestyle. Mr. Weasley constantly queries Harry Potter about his life while at the Dursleys; he is also curious about Hermione Granger's and her Muggle parents' lives; his attempts to discuss Muggle technology with the Dursleys when he visits there terrifies them. He has a very open, congenial character, and always attempts to engage someone in conversation.
It is his fondness for Muggles that has Mr. Weasley often at daggers drawn with Lucius Malfoy. Their ongoing feud erupts into a physical altercation in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Mr. Weasley is an Order of the Phoenix member, and he appears to be well liked and regarded by other Order members; Dumbledore apparently places the utmost trust in his abilities and loyalty, and recognizes the important role he plays in not only protecting Harry, but providing him a surrogate family life.
Analysis[edit | edit source]
We can see that Arthur is intended to be something of a father figure, from the first time we meet him. He is overshadowed by Dumbledore, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin, who are either more closely connected to Harry (Sirius is his godfather), or because they spend more time with Harry (Dumbledore and Lupin are at the school, where Harry spends the major part of his time). Arthur's fatherly influence is largely limited to what Harry picks up from Arthur's interactions with his sons, but Harry's feeling at home in The Burrow clearly means that he accepts Arthur's nominal head of household position there.
Many of the names given to characters in the Potter series clearly are meant to carry some indication of the personalities involved. In the case of Arthur, one wonders if the association one is meant to draw, consciously or otherwise, is with the legendary English king. There are definitely some similarities in the feelings of the characters of Arthur Weasley and the Arthur portrayed by T. H. White in The Once and Future King; notably, Arthur Weasley shares King Arthur's preoccupation with the rule of law and the rights of all people, not just the birthright "nobility," represented in the Potter series by the "pure-blood" wizards. This connection is somewhat tenuous, so while it could be quite interesting to explore, it may be beyond the scope of this work. One does rather wonder whether Molly is meant to represent Guinevere in this case, exactly who would be filling the roles of Merlin and Lancelot, and whether Percy is an analog for Mordred.
Questions[edit | edit source]
- How and where did Mr. Weasley purchase the car in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that he charmed into flying?
- Mr. Weasley starts off as something like the deputy head of a Ministry department, even if a relatively unimportant one, and is a competent Ministry official who "could have had promotion any time", eventually does get promoted, and has been on first-name terms with the highest officials (e. g. Bartemius Crouch) all the time. How does this square with the constant theme of the Weasleys' poverty? What is the implication concerning civil servants' salaries in the magical community?
Greater Picture[edit | edit source]
It is interesting to note that in the original plotline for the seven-book series, the author intended that Arthur Weasley would not survive Nagini's attack at the Ministry in book 5. In the ongoing pattern of father figures falling to Voldemort, Arthur Weasley was supposed to fall in this book, along with Sirius Black. It is uncertain why Arthur was spared, but it certainly seems to tighten the bonds between the Weasley family and Harry when he becomes the instrument that saves their father. The author has later stated that Mr. Weasley's death would have radically changed the dynamics between the Trio, effectively nullifying Ron's good humour, which helps to balance and bind the group. She also has stated that he was one of the few good father figures in the series, and so should be able to survive, and also that his survival made the deaths of Remus and Nymphadora Lupin necessary.