Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes
Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes
Harry arrives at the Weasleys' home and is introduced to Bill and Charlie, the two oldest Weasley brothers. Charlie works with dragons in Romania, while Bill, a one-time Head Boy at Hogwarts who now works for Gringotts Wizarding Bank in Egypt, is a surprise: he sports a pony tail, an earring (with what looks like a fang), and Dragon-hide boots.
Fred and George are having a row with their father over them dropping a Ton-Tongue Toffee, apparently deliberately, and causing Harry's cousin Dudley's tongue to grow several feet long. Mrs. Weasley enters the argument, demanding to know if it had anything to do with Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Hermione and Ginny enter the room behind Mrs. Weasley; Hermione, to avoid the family argument, suggests they show Harry where he is sleeping.
On the way to Ron's bedroom, Ron and Hermione explain to Harry about "Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes", which are magical tricks and jokes the Twins have invented. What they just escaped was an ongoing battle: Mrs. Weasley wants the Twins to work for the Ministry of Magic, but they want to open their own joke shop.
Ron's room is much the same as it was two years ago, except for his new owl, given to him by Sirius Black, which is bouncing excitedly in its cage. Ginny named it Pigwidgeon, which Ron often shortens to "Pig."
When the fight between Mrs. Weasley and the Twins has apparently ended, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny return to the kitchen, where they catch a small rant about Fred and George from Mrs. Weasley while she prepares dinner. Outside, Charlie and Bill are jousting with the picnic tables and Crookshanks is chasing Gnomes. As evening falls, the Weasleys, Harry, and Hermione enjoy a lovely dinner in the garden, with home-made strawberry ice cream for dessert. Conversation at the table ranges widely, covering the upcoming Quidditch World Cup, Bill's personal appearance, Sirius Black's whereabouts, a missing Ministry Witch named Bertha Jorkins, and a top secret event that Percy mentions in apparent hopes that someone will ask him about it, so he can enhance his own importance by refusing to tell them about it.
The story is only advanced slightly in this chapter. Much time is devoted to reintroducing the Burrow's atmosphere, the Weasley family home, and contrasting its somewhat grubby friendliness with the Dursley household's overly antiseptic aloofness. This is also the first time the entire Weasley clan has been seen together, and the differences between the seven siblings are evident. The more Bohemian and unconventional Bill and Charlie, displaying an irreverent sense of humor similar to the Twins when they are seen dueling each other with the picnic tables, are a stark contrast to the authoritarian Percy, whose starchy and bossy personality irritates his siblings. Ron is neither rowdy nor sedate and usually feels overwhelmed and intimidated by his talented older brothers. Ginny, being the youngest and the only girl, is able to develop her own magical abilities and strong-willed persona despite from her doting and protective family, though she may feel slightly isolated being the only female child.
Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes is introduced. The Twins are planning to open their own joke shop after leaving Hogwarts, although Mrs. Weasley, who constantly chastises them for wasting time with their incessant pranks, strongly disapproves. Failing to recognize their unique magical talents and entrepreneurial abilities, she instead wants them to pursue more conventional and secure occupations. For American and international readers, it should be noted that a "wheeze" in England can be a joke; the idea is that you laugh so hard it leaves you wheezing.
There is independent confirmation regarding some events in Harry's "dream" from Chapter 1 as well: specifically, that Bertha Jorkins, a Witch who works for the Ministry of Magic, has unexpectedly not yet returned from a vacation in Albania. Bertha appeared in Harry's dream, even if Harry is unable to remember it; and Albania has been mentioned before in conjunction with Voldemort. This is an indication that Voldemort is alive as a separate entity, and that, as predicted, Wormtail has returned to his service.
- Why does Ron feel overwhelmed by his brothers, while Ginny apparently does not?
- What secret might Percy be hinting at? Why does no one want to ask him about it?
- Why is Mr. Weasley so angry about the Twin's prank?
- Why might Bertha Jorkins be missing? Is anyone actually concerned? Explain.
- It is only two days since Harry's "dream", and Bertha Jorkins' name, mentioned in that dream, has just come up in a conversation that she was in Albania and is now missing. Recalling the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Professor Dumbledore's sources say that Voldemort is hiding in Albania. Why might Harry not have recalled his "dream", with so much prompting?
- Why is Mrs. Weasley so strongly opposed to the Twins opening their own joke shop? Would working for the Ministry of Magic, as she wants them to, be a good career option for them? Explain.
- Why does Mrs. Weasley object to Bill's appearance?
- Compare and contrast the Weasley children's personalities. How does Ron compare to his siblings?
The dinner table conversation is intriguing in that it foreshadows events in this book, and, to a certain extent, later books.
Mrs. Weasley's ongoing battle with Bill over his long hair will continue until he cuts it for his wedding in book 7. Harry suspects at that time, though, that once Bill is safely out of Mrs. Weasley's range, his hair will be long again.
Percy, meanwhile, is apparently "hiding" some secret, though he seems to be hoping that someone will ask about what he is hinting at, only so he can inflate his own status by refusing to answer. It is revealed later that several characters at the table already know the secret, specifically, Mrs. Weasley, Charlie, and Bill. We can safely assume that it was Mr. Weasley who provided them this information, as we find out later it came from the Ministry. It is interesting to contrast how Percy handles this confidential information with how his family members do. The secret in question is the Triwizard Tournament, a dangerous competition that is being revived after many years. It will form the axis on which the entire book turns, ensnaring Harry in a dangerous plot.
The conversation about Bertha Jorkins, as mentioned, somewhat confirms to us that Harry's dream actually reflected real events. Pettigrew, we will learn, brought Bertha to Albania, where she was then murdered by Voldemort. Before being killed, she revealed information about the Tournament to Voldemort, while also revealing that Barty Crouch Jr., a fanatically devout Death Eater had escaped Azkaban. Bertha further revealed that authorities believed Barty was dead, where he was hiding, and what would be necessary to make him available to execute Voldemort's plan to capture Harry.
Sirius is some distance away. As mentioned, his last few messages were delivered by tropical birds. Harry has sent him a note about his scar hurting, and as soon as he receives it, Sirius will return to England, much against Harry's wishes. Sirius' actual location, though, remains unknown until he arranges to meet with the Trio outside Hogsmeade village.
The Twins' joke shop will be in full operation by Harry's sixth year. It has been mentioned that each twin earns only a handful of OWLs (later revealed to be three apiece), but throughout this book and the next, we will see that the Twins are extremely deft practical Wizards, creating and selling magical materials of amazing quality. In fact, some of their magical wares are so good that the Ministry buys them to protect their less-able Wizards. Harry, Ron, and Hermione will also make significant use of their wares throughout the later part of the series.
- Bill's hair will be the despair of Mrs. Weasley, as it has been for so many other mothers of long-haired boys, throughout this visit. She will not comment on it during her visit to Hogwarts with Bill later in this book, possibly because she is present to see Harry compete in the Third Task, but she will convince Bill to cut his hair for his wedding in the seventh book.
- While we first saw original magical artifacts created by the Twins in the previous chapter, we now find out that these are to be the basis of their chosen career, innovators in the magical jokes field. The process of financing the start-up of their joke shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, will be a subplot throughout this book, and testing of products for that shop will be a subplot in the next book, as well as something of a bone of contention between the Twins and Hermione. The shop itself will be launched, and we will see it in the following book, at which time we will learn that some of the Weasley products are in use by the Ministry in the battle against Dark wizards.