Welcome back to our ongoing interviews for “We Are The Weasley's.” After my delightful meeting with Molly and Arthur Weasley, we realized just how important the weekends are for the family. So instead of our original weekend meeting, I caught up with their eldest son, William “Bill” Weasley, at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, where Bill works as a Senior Account Coordinator. His office is just across from that of his wife, Fleur Weasley (neé Delacour) who serves as the International Account Management Director for Gringotts, transferring accounts to Britain from wizards and witches who have lived abroad.
The interior of his office feels more like a home than an office space. I am greeted by plush chairs and a variety of knick-knacks. Photos of his three children, his wife and their extended family cover the walls. There is an enormous foe detector in one corner, and a miniature clock. Modeled after the one found in his parents home, the clock contains hands with photos of himself, his wife, and his children with the hands pointing to their location. With two hands on “School,” two on “Work,” and one on “St. Mungo's,” I find myself smiling at the familial tradition and mildly concerned.
Bri: “Thank you for meeting with me, Mr. Weasley.”
Bill: “Thank you, Ms. Wilkerson for being so accommodating of our schedule and understanding of our time. It is rather refreshing. My parents spoke quite highly of you. I'm sorry that Fleur will be unable to attend today; she has had a last-minute consult come in.”
Bri: “That is quite alright. Business first! D'you mind if we jump right in, Mr. Weasley”
Bill: “Not at all! And please, call me Bill!”
I smile at his congeniality. Bill leans back in his chair, getting comfortable as I sink further into the plush black chair.
Bri: “Excellent! It's rare in this day and age to see a family have so many children. Few of us can even imagine it. What was it like growing up as the oldest of seven?”
Bill: “I'd say it's not that different from growing up with one sibling or two. There's just, y'know, more people. Especially as we grew up, there were definitely personality clashes over the years, but such is life.”
Bri: “Can you give me an example? Certainly, you have some stories to tell.”
Bill laughs, his face splitting into a grin.
Bill: “I think the biggest clashes had to be between Percy and… well, all of us.” His grin turns sheepish, his smile a bit rueful. “Percy has always been a bit more straight-laced than the rest of us. He and the twins definitely butted heads. Fred and George went out of their way to annoy him. One summer, they kept hiding his books. Percy about went ballistic before Mum and Dad stepped in.”
Bri: “Do you feel like these conflicts in personality helped you down the line?”
Bill: “If anything, I feel like I was better able to see things from multiple perspectives. I learned young how to help keep the peace, and I feel like that helped me not just in Hogwarts, but continues into my day to day life.”
Bri: “From what I understand, your Hogwarts years were quite the adventure. You were involved in the events of the Cursed Vaults, correct?”
Bill: “Indirectly. I was just helping out my friend, though it did lead me to this career path. Figuring out the vaults was a challenge, and it was one of my favorite things about working in the tombs in Egypt as a curse-breaker.”
Bri: “Sounds like you miss it,” I observe mildly.
Bill nods, looking a bit wistful.
Bill: “Ah, I do. But I also love the life I have now. I wouldn't trade it for anything, and I get to consult abroad on some interesting cases now and again. I'd much rather be here with my family.”
Bri: “Rumor has it that your family did not take to well to your lovely wife at first?”
Bill: “That is a bit of an understatement,” Bill replies with a fond grin and a nervous laugh. “Fleur is wonderful, really, but she is a very vocal person. She is blunt and direct, and oftentimes, her words are misconstrued and considered rude. In her youth, she really struggled with it, and being that English is not her native language did not help. She oftentimes struggled to find the appropriate wording, and it led to some disparities in the beginning. The worst of it resolved years ago, back during the war. War really brings out the best and worst in people, and it helped my family to see the best of her.”
Bri: “What part did you play in the war?”
“In the beginning, I was indirectly involved. When I was young, we lost my uncles in a death eater attack. Once I had met Harry at the 1994 World Cup, the war started heating up. He and Ron are so close; [they] were back then, too. I knew that Ron would end up in the thick of it all with Harry, and I wanted to be here to support them and my family. I wanted to help see Voldemort's defeat.”
Bill: “So I took a desk job here, pushing papers as a Junior Accountant. Fleur had the same job and was training to work abroad as well, and we hit it off. She joined the Order with me, and together we helped to gauge the goblins loyalties. People were terrified that [the goblins] would turn on us and deny us access to our vaults, but that fear was unfounded.”
Bill: “To my knowledge, it was during the war that you obtained those scars. Might I ask how?”
Bill: “It's a question I've come to expect. You see, Harry had always been a nosy fellow. He'll even tell you so himself,” Bill replies with a laugh. “Great bloke, Harry. When he began telling my father that he thought Draco Malfoy was involved with the Death Eaters, we didn't quite believe him. But when Ron summoned us to the castle the night that Dumbledore died, Harry proved us wrong. It was the first real battle that I had been a part of. Draco managed to get the Death Eaters in, and during their battle to leave the castle, I was wounded by Fenrir Greyback, leaving me with the scars you see on my face. However, since he was not transformed, I was spared in sharing his fate, though I have since found that I am restless near the full moon, and prefer my steaks very rare. Minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of things.”
Bill: “It was after my attack that my family reconciled with Fleur. We were engaged, and she took such wonderful care of me as I healed. Though I wouldn't have chosen this for myself, I couldn't have asked for a better caretaker and partner through it all.”
Bri: “Being that he was the one who smuggled them into the school, do you blame Draco Malfoy for your injuries?”
Bill: “Absolutely not.” There's a protective determination to Bill's expression that reminds me of my own older brother. The expression he wears when defending someone, be it sibling or not. “The only person I blame for [my injuries] is Fenrir Greyback himself. Draco has received enough flak from the press over the years. He was a scared kid who did what he thought he had to do to save his family. Had I been his age and in his shoes, I honestly think I may have made the same choice. We've spoken since it all; I actually manage his accounts now. While I can't say we are particularly close, he has grown to be a good man, who I believe has suffered enough hatred, persecution and slander over the years.”
Bri: “Forgive me, I didn't mean to appear as if I am against him or am attacking his character. I've actually got an interview scheduled with him a few months from now. But I would be remiss to not ask what I know many of our readers will want the answer to.”
Bill: “I'm not angry with you, Ms. Wilkerson. You strive to get the full story, not just one part of it. It's something that I rather respect about you. Few journalists do that anymore.”
Bri: “Please, call me Bri.”
Bill: “But of course, Bri. I appreciate your thorough interview.” He smiles brightly at me, and I am absolutely certain that my cheeks have turned pink.
Bri: “Thank you, Bill. If I may return to the topic at hand, what happened after your attack and recovery?”
Bill: “Well, the Ministry of Magic crashed our wedding. I have to say, that was quite the surprise.” I find myself chuckling at his wry smile, the tension of my possible faux-pas broken. “When Scrimgeour was killed and the Death Eaters took over the Ministry, they came to my parents house during our reception in search of Harry. Hermione was prepared for such events. -I swear that woman is prepared for everything. It's a bit scary.- She got Harry and Ron out, and then the war truly began.”
Bri: “Once you were situated back in England, how did you adjust to the war-time environment?”
Bill: “For us, there was a lot of waiting around. Fleur and I moved into my Aunt's cottage near the beach and got settled in, but war really puts a damper on the newlywed spirit. It was a constant wait for news. For word from anyone that Harry, Ron, and Hermione were okay. No news was good news, but no news is still frightening.”
Bri: “Is there a particular bit of news you received back then that sticks out in your mind now?” I ask, shifting to lean on the other armrest.
Bill: “Yes, actually. Ron showed up at our place that Christmas. An item of dark magic that he had come in contact with had driven him to leave Harry and Hermione. He wasn't with us long, but it was clear he regretted leaving. He wasn't in his right mind when it happened, but it was nice to get some solid information. Nothing very specific, but to have [news] from a first-hand source was a nice change of pace. Once he left, things were quiet again until April.”
Bill: “When they narrowly escaped Voldemort at Malfoy Manor, Ron brought Harry, Hermione and a few other prisoners to our place. For about two weeks, we were taking care of everybody while they recovered and rested. It was a relief to be doing something, to feel like we had some hand in it all. After they left, it was less than twenty-four hours before the final battle. Harry, Ron and Hermione had their infamous Gringotts break-in and breakout, and by that evening, Fleur and I were at the castle with our family for the final battle.”
Bri: “I can't imagine going from such a slow pace to the final battle that quickly was easy.”
Bill: Bill nods in agreement. “It was surreal, how quickly everything built up. There was no time to think about anything, we just acted. It didn't feel like the end of a war, just another battle, one with many young lives on the line. Fred- I don't think we'll ever stop missing him. He was such an intelligent and lively man. His life was cut far too short. Twenty-one is so young for a wizard to die, and he wasn't even the youngest lost in the battle.” The distant expression he wears now is fathomless, and I find myself struggling to find a less upsetting topic.
Bri: “Your eldest daughter, Victoire, was born on the anniversary of the battle, correct?”
Bill: A small smile quirks his lips. “Yes, she was. It's crazy to think that was more than nineteen years ago. She graduated from Hogwarts last summer.”
Bri: “Forgive me if the question is too forward, but,” I begun as I gesture to the clock upon his desk, “I see her clock hand is pointed at St. Mungo's. Is she alright?”
Bill chuckles. “Victoire is training to become a Healer. Her hand doesn't show as 'work’ because her position is an apprenticeship. If she were apprenticing anywhere not listed on the clock, she would show as being in school. But Vic is excelling in her studies, and is on track to be a fully trained Healer by the time she turns twenty-one.”
Bri: “Oh, marvelous! I'm glad she is alright, and that she is doing well! I wish her nothing but the best! And what of your younger children, Dominique and Louis?”
Bill: “Dominique is in her final year and Hogwarts, where she is currently trying to decide between several professional quidditch teams. Several scouts have approached her about going pro, though she is leaning towards the Holyhead Harpies, her Aunt Ginny's alma mater. Female beaters are in high demand, though, so she isn't counting anything out yet. Dom has until September to decide so that she can train up for next season.”
Bill: “Louis is busy preparing for his O.W.L.'s. He's very much the bookish type, and hopes to become an Unspeakable in the future. He is working diligently on achieving the highest scores he can, and I have no doubt that he will succeed. Fleur and I are extremely proud of our children and their ambitions.”
Bill: His pride bleeds through into his smile, and I find myself smiling back. “I look forward to seeing more from them all in the future. It seems that our time is just about up. You are a busy man; I don't want to keep you too long. I just have one final question for you. 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?”
Bri: “A Muggle once said, ‘Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.’ So many people keep jobs they hate and let it drag them down. Then they take that negativity home, and struggle through their day to day. Fleur and I love what we do, and I feel that it helped us foster a positive and healthy environment for our kids. All we want is for them to be happy. Life is too short and too precious to spend your days unhappy.”
Stay tuned for our next interview featuring Charlie Weasley!
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