Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Weasley Family
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
The Weasley Family is one of the older pure-blooded families. Many of the prejudices held by and associated with the "old" families are not held by the Weasleys, nor do the Weasleys take pride (or shame) in their heritage of pure magical blood.
The Weasleys' house is the Burrow, a multi-story magical dwelling located in the fictional village of Ottery St. Catchpole, Devon, United Kingdom (possibly based on the real town of Ottery St Mary).
The Weasleys are considered blood traitors because of their charitable dealings with muggles in general. This is exacerbated when they welcome Hermione Granger (a "muggle-born") and Harry Potter (a "half-blood") into their home.
Role in the Books
The Weasley family in general play a very large role in the books; we will simply mention when they are introduced and some small details of the role the family as a whole plays for each book. For detail, please see the individual articles on the Weasleys.
We see Mrs. Weasley and Ginny, and are introduced to four of the Weasley boys: Fred, George, Ron, and Percy. We hear of two others, Bill and Charlie, from Ron, and we hear Ron's dismay at being the sixth Weasley child to pass through Hogwarts. A large part of Ron's worries are caused by the fact that so many of the earlier Weasley children had excelled in some way or other.
We first see the Weasley family and their home as a whole when Fred, George, and Ron extract Harry from captivity in his Uncle Vernon's home. We see the arrival at the Weasley family home, and we get to meet Mrs. Weasley; and shortly afterwards we meet Mr. Weasley. While we see Ginny on a number of occasions, she seems to be largely in retreat; Ron comments that this is unusual, in that she ordinarily never shuts up. Ron does not seem to be aware that Ginny is suffering from a classic schoolgirl crush, possibly because he has lived with Harry for so long that he no longer finds Harry's presence intimidating. Ginny's nervousness in Harry's presence does not abate throughout this book.
The Weasley family meet Harry and Hermione in the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley, where they are doing their school shopping. The events of the previous year have burned away some of Ginny's nervousness, but she still is not entirely at her ease speaking with Harry. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley understand from the Ministry that Sirius Black is trying to reach Hogwarts, and it is believed his intent is to kill Harry. The Weasleys have evidently volunteered to protect him until he is actually on the Hogwarts Express. They are of two minds on the mission, however; Mr. Weasley feels that Harry ought to know what is going on, while Mrs. Weasley would prefer to keep him unworried. Harry overhears their conversation, and so Mr. Weasley's platform revelation is not news to him.
We meet the remaining two Weasley children, Bill and Charlie. The whole clan has gathered as Mr. Weasley has managed to get tickets for the Quidditch World Cup, and apart from his own family he has elected to include Harry and Hermione in the invitation.
Knowing that Harry's own family, the Dursleys, would not be interested in seeing Harry compete in the Third Task, Mrs. Weasley comes to the school to watch, more or less in loco parentis. She brings Bill with her.
Many of the members of the family are at Number 12, Grimmauld Place, when Harry arrives there. The exceptions are Percy, who has had a falling out with Mr. Weasley over the Ministry's treatment of Albus Dumbledore, and Charlie, who is still in Romania working with dragons. Again we see that Mr. Weasley is in favour of telling Harry what is going on, while Mrs. Weasley prefers to have him unworried. We see the whole family's joy at Harry's successful defence at his hearing for underage use of magic. And when Mrs. Weasley's attempts to subdue a Boggart fail, we see her worst fears: in turn, each of her family members and Harry, dead. This last, as little else could, shows how Harry has become like one of the Weasley children in Molly's mind.
Harry's position in the family is reinforced when Harry has a vision of the attack on Mr. Weasley at Christmas. His quick action saves Mr. Weasley's life, and earns him the gratitude of the entire Weasley family.
Harry spends most of his summer vacation at The Burrow, happily staying with the family he has come to appreciate more than his own. The only flaws are the presence of Fleur Delacour who is engaged to Bill, and who does seem to be upsetting Mrs. Weasley; and the occasional presence of Tonks, who seems to be coming around occasionally for solace from Mrs. Weasley, but who forcefully reminds Harry of the death of Sirius.
With Fred and George graduated, the family does not gather much at the school; however, Ron conveys an invitation to Harry to join the Weasleys at Christmas, an invitation that he readily accepts. The ongoing battle of wills between Mrs. Weasley and Fleur does cause some tension, and Harry remains irked by the fact that the twins are able to get through their chores rapidly by means of magic, while he and Ron cannot. However, it is still the best family Christmas Harry has ever had.
The Weasley family gather together again to provide escape and a safe house for Harry in the days between his escape from Privet Drive and the day of Bill and Fleur's wedding. During the escape, George loses an ear. Harry's birthday, of course, falls into the time that Harry is at the Burrow, and Harry, dismayed at how much work his mere presence has caused, says he doesn't want anything. Mrs. Weasley, however, feels that a wizard's coming of age must be celebrated, and provides a cake and gifts, including a watch. Mrs. Weasley apologizes for the watch, it had been her brother Fabian's. Apparently she had given her other brother Gideon's watch to Ron; the fact that she is giving Harry this precious a family treasure is a clear indication, if we needed one, of how much Mrs. Weasley has come to accept Harry as a family member.
All of the Weasley family take part in the final battles for Hogwarts – Charlie arrives with the massive reinforcements for the second half of the battle. In the preparations for the battle, Percy comes back to the family, admitting that he was a deluded fool and asking if the family will accept him back; they promptly do. During the battle itself, Fred is killed by falling masonry.
The Weasleys are a true family group, taking strength from each other, and standing largely as a unit. They have their differences, as any family does, but largely due to the influence of Molly Weasley, they overcome them, dealing with problems as they arise. The Weasley family are presented here as an example to Harry of what family life can be, at its best, and as a contrast to the unhealthy family group he is attached to at the Dursleys'.
As Arthur Weasley seems to have very little ambition beyond helping the course of Muggle relations, the family is not exceptionally well off economically; in fact, one of the issues brought up repeatedly by Ron is his feeling of financial impoverishment. The continual need to "make do" does rather tax the resources of all family members.
Relationships with Other Characters
Arthur's parents were apparently Septimus Weasley and Cedrella Black, and they had another son, Bilius Weasley. Uncle Bilius was apparently somewhat older than Arthur; he had passed away rather recently, leaving no children.
Another distant relative mentioned is Auntie Muriel. It is never mentioned whether she is related to the Weasleys or the Prewetts.
Although he cannot see it directly, Harry senses a very great contrast between his life in the Muggle world with the Dursleys, and Ron's life in the Burrow. The Dursleys have a determinedly lovely house in a determinedly lovely suburb, with all the right business contacts and all the right accessories, but for all its material richness, it is sterile, even for Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley, people who nominally belong there. Harry's treatment as an outsider only makes this worse. To contrast this, quite apart from the magic everywhere, the Burrow is impoverished with lots of make do or make it yourself, cramped, and incredibly cheerful. Harry immediately feels at home, this is the sort of family he has dreamed about being a part of for twelve years... and to top it off, they accept him instantly as one of their own. (Although it must be noted that Mrs. Weasley never scolds Harry, that we hear; every one of her own children, and even her husband, catches the rough edge of her tongue sooner or later, but Harry does not seem to.)