Rags to Riches: We Are The Weasleys

Over the years, plenty of families have fallen in and out of favor. The idea of “The Sacred Twenty-Eight” often draws criticism, and one family has even forsaken the title that was once the ultimate mark of prestige. They don't buy into the concept of blood purity, and they've withstood the test of time. They've weathered their share of loss, and in return they are closer than ever. This is the story of love, laughter, and loyalty. This is the story of the Weasleys.

I interviewed each of the Weasleys one by one and got their take on what makes their family an ongoing symbol of strength. First, I sat down with the members who started it all. Patriarch Arthur Weasley is now the Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office. His wife, Molly Weasley (neé Prewett) can often be found with one of their many grandchildren or knitting in a quiet nook.

Upon arrival at their home, lovingly known as “The Burrow,” I am ushered into their home with open arms. They give me a brief tour of their home, offer me a cup of tea and some delightful biscuits baked by none other than Molly herself. We settle in on the sofas of their living room near the roaring fireplace. I find myself enthralled and entranced by the comfortable, laid-back atmosphere. With my sock covered feet tucked up beside me and my quill charmed and ready, I ease into what is perhaps the most relaxed and welcoming interview I have had the pleasure of conducting thus far.

Bri: “Thank you for sitting down with me Mr. and Mrs. Weasley!”

Arthur: “Please, call us Molly and Arthur.”

Bri: “Certainly, Arthur. You have quite the lovely home, here! I've never seen anything quite like it! It's absolutely enchanting!”

Molly: “Thank you, dear! We are quite fond of it ourselves.” her beaming smile is one of pride and genuine happiness.

Bri: “Let's jump right in, shall we?  Most people would say it's impossible to get by the way your family did. So how did you do it?”

Arthur: “Well, it certainly wasn't easy raising seven children on a single ministry salary, but we made it work.”

Arthur pauses and scratches his balding head. There's a nostalgic sheen to his green eyes as he looks back upon their life.

Arthur: “We worked hard. Very hard. I took extra hours, and Molly found odd jobs baking cakes or making commissioned knitting pieces.”

Molly: “In situations like those, you learn what is truly important. You learn the difference between necessity and commodity, and you learn how to prioritize the things you need over the things you want.”

Bri: “How did it go when the kids headed off to school? Hogwarts can get quite costly.”

Molly: “It wasn't so bad when the first three, Bill, Charlie and Percy, went to Hogwarts. They didn't get into too much trouble and got excellent grades. They were fine with second hand books so long as they got to chase their goals. They worked hard for their education  and followed their dreams as any parent hopes their child will.”

Arthur: “Once Fred and George got there, everything changed. They hated being compared to their brothers, and always had a flair for the grandiose. They spent most of their Hogwarts years in detention. But their penchant for pranks and mischief led to great success, even if it caused us many headaches over the years. They were making trouble as soon as they could toddle. We knew their school years would be different, but nothing can prepare you for that many letters from Minerva McGonagall. They were constantly damaging things; I can't tell you how many sets of robes they caught on fire.”

Arthur shakes his head with a fond grin, and I can almost picture the smoking Hogwarts garb myself.

Molly: “Ronald, I think he had it the hardest. The last of the boys, I think Ron used to feel as if he were second best. As if he couldn't quite keep up with the rest of the boys and Harry. We don't blame Harry, of course, quite the contrary! But we do wish we had been able to get Ron more things of his own.”

Arthur: “He… he often got teased and bullied because of our lack of wealth. His robes were often too short and a bit tattered; Had to be if they survived the twins. Ron’s the tallest in the family and he grew like a weed. We couldn't quite keep up, but he took it all in stride. He didn't let it get to him often, and has this sort of laid back strength about him that I have admired since he was small. Few people have that, particularly so young.”

Molly: “When we had heard what happened in the corridor his first year, we were both shocked and entirely unsurprised. The teachers had hidden the Philosopher's stone in the school for its own protection against You-Know-Who. Several of them had placed protections on it. At the time, Ron, Hermione and Harry believed that Snape was after the stone- He wasn't, but Quirinus Quirrell was -and when they heard that Dumbledore had left the school, they were certain that he would go after it. They managed to get past a few of the obstacles, and Ron has always been a brilliant strategist, particularly when it comes to chess. It seemed very fitting that he had sacrificed himself on the giant wizarding chess board set by McGonagall. Somehow, it just made sense in an odd sort of way. It was that surprising.”

Arthur: “Flying the family car into the Whomping Willow was quite a shock, though.”

Arthur struggles to hide his chuckle from his wife's disapproving glare.

Molly: “By their second year, we nearly had a heart attack. Fred and George were still terrorizing the school with their pranks, and that was the year of all the attacks. Turns out that Ginny had been possessed by an old diary that had belonged to Voldemort. It forced her to release the basilisk that was within the Chamber of Secrets. By the end of it, she had been taken down into the Chamber. While the professors were in the process of shutting down the rest of the school, Ron and Harry snuck away to save her.”

Molly: “After Ron and Harry went to save Ginny in the Chamber of Secrets, we knew they were going to be nearly as much trouble as Fred and George, but in a much more concerning way. The twins, their pranks were relatively harmless. But Ron and Harry, thick as thieves those two. Where one went, the other followed, and Hermione was never far behind. Unfortunately, trouble seemed attracted to Harry like Nifflers to Gringotts.”

Arthur: “And when Ginny got to school, she was an entirely different set of issues. Her first year aside, there was little trouble from her for her first few years. She was so young when she was possessed by the diary, we can hardly hold her accountable for it. But when she turned fourteen, we started getting letters home about boys.

The grimace Arthur wears now is comical and all-too-relatable to any parent with a teenage daughter.

Arthur: “By her fifth year, her relationship with Harry was getting serious until the war sort of exploded. She was very…..”

Molly: “Precocious.”

Arthur: “Yes, that.”

Molly: “But she was an excellent student, and a great athlete. She has always adored quidditch. Ginny made friends easily, and was even quite popular. She did quite well.”

Bri: “On a more serious note, how has the war directly affected you and your family?”

Arthur: “There's not a day that goes by where we don't miss Fred. His death…. war is hard enough without loosing a child. He was such a bright presence in our lives.”

Arthur's arm is now around his solemn wife's shoulders. Tears fill Molly's eyes, and it is moments like these that make my job so difficult. Their pain is palpable, and I wish I could take my question back, but to do so would be a disservice to the memory of their fallen son.

Molly: “As-aside from us and George, I think it hit Percy the hardest. He told us once that he blamed himself for distracting Fred during the battle, but no one could have predicted the wall falling. He carried that burden for a long time. I'm not sure he will ever let go of that unnecessary guilt.”

Molly shakes her head sadly, but seems to rally and refocus as she takes a deep breath.

Molly: “The war changed us, for better and for worse. In the start of it all, I lost both of my older brothers, Gideon and Fabian. It saddens me that my children don't remember their uncle's. They were both such good men. The war divided us from Percy for a while, but eventually he found his way back home.

Arthur: “Bill was lucky to survive after Greyback's attack. The kids managed to summon us and the other members of The Order of the Phoenix the night that Dumbledore died. We arrived too late to save him, but the Death Eaters were still in the school. Greyback was absolutely deranged, you see, and he bit Bill, even though it wasn't a full moon. His face was permanently scarred, and though he is not a werewolf in full, the bite changed him. His moods are influenced by the moons cycle, and he grows quite agitated near the full moon.”

Molly: “We are so thankful to have his wife Fleur as a part of our family. They met here at Hogwarts during the Triwizard Tournament while we were visiting Harry, then worked together at Gringotts, at first, we were very worried of how she would react, but she handled the attack quite well. She helped take care of him while he recovered, and we couldn't ask for a better match for Bill.”

Molly: “Charlie visits more since the war ended. He still lives at the dragon reserve in Romania, but he is here at least twice a month instead of just on the holidays, and he absolutely adores his nieces and nephews.

Arthur: “George and Ron have been managing the joke shop since Ron left the Auror force. The products they come up with never cease to amaze me. They've got several lines of products made specifically for the Auror forces. They hope that their products can help the Auror's prevent future wars.”

Molly: “Indirectly, I think the war still affects Ginny the most. There are so many people who are quick to forget that Harry is a person, not just a war hero. Ginny still remembers how it felt to be possessed by the diary, and I think she has a bit of anxiety over it and Harry's career choice. She fears something similar could happen to him, but we know he loves his job. There are days where we can tell that the two of them just need some space, and we often remind them that we are always available to babysit during the summers. They visit us several times a week.”

Throughout their response the mood has lightened. Their fond smiles are contagious as I continue.

Bri: “What is it like now that they have grown? Are you enjoying the empty nest?”

Molly: “Honestly, we couldn't have been blessed with better kids. They help us out at every turn, and we talk to them all several times a week. It's nice to have some space for a change, but by Wednesday, we miss them all. We look forward to our weekends with all of the kids and grandkids.”

Arthur: “Though, most of the grandkids are away at Hogwarts for the year. They call us when they can, and we see them every Holiday.”

Bri: “If there was only one piece of advice you could give, one thing you could share with the world as a standard you live by, what would it be?”

Molly: “Family. Family always comes first. What is the point of having tons of money if you've got no one to share it with? Without family, what is there in life?”

Her answer is immediate and spoken with deep-seated conviction. The passion burning in her eyes is as undeniable as the love they clearly share.

Arthur: “And not just blood family, either. Blood is just a small part of it. Family is a feeling of belonging, of peace. Long before they married in, Harry and Hermione were a part of our family. Family is about the people who love you unconditionally, and there is nothing greater than that. We may have more galleons in the bank than we used to, but if we had to choose between our vaults and our family, we would happily choose the later without hesitation.”

Molly: “All we need to be happy in life is our family. No matter how old we are or they are, they know that we will always be here to help them. They always have a place to go that they can call home.”

There you have it, folks! Stay tuned for our next interview with Bill Weasley!


          


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