By J.E.M. Hoggan and Sloan de Forest
Charlie Weasley, the next eldest boy, works with dragons in Romania, so we haven’t come to know him as well as the rest of the tribe. We’ve all heard tales about the “legendary”7 Charlie Weasley’s skills, both with dragons and on the Quidditch field. We’ve also seen him in action a few times as he sent his friends to spirit Norbert—Hagrid’s ever-growing baby dragon—away to safety in the first book and handled the fire-breathing dragons for the Triwizard Tournament in the fourth book. His old wand also played a role in the second book when it obligingly backfired a memory spell just in time to stop Gilderoy Lockhart from Obliviate-ing Harry and Ron.
Though more talked about than seen, Charlie might come back to Great Britain out of concern for his family. If Charlie does not return to be with his family, what other significant role might he be able to play? Might his bravery with dragons be a useful tool in the battle against Voldemort’s powerful army? Dragons are some of the deadliest creatures in existence so it is possible that their fire-breathing, flying, and razor-sharp talons might be controlled somehow and used to fight evil. If so, Charlie Weasley would be the one to call.
Charlie has remained in the background, but he does have a part to play or his character wouldn’t exist at all. Should we be suspicious of the fact that Charlie’s name has barely been mentioned in the past two books? Has he also already gone missing, like Bertha Jorkins, in some as-yet-unknown but horrific adventure in a foreign land? Or is he just lying low and waiting to re-emerge at a crucial time when his family or the Order needs him most? Unless he comes back to play a much more significant part in the last book, it is probable that Charlie will survive the series. He has never been significant enough for his death to have the sort of impact a main character would have on readers.
When first seen on Platform 9 ¾, Percy Weasley had just been made a Hogwarts prefect, much to the twins’ disgust and Percy’s insufferable pride. He was once seen reading Prefects Who Won Power in a second-hand bookstore and has boasted endlessly about his prestigious positions, first as Head Boy at Hogwarts, then as an assistant to Barty Crouch at the Ministry of Magic, and finally in a cushy position as Rufus Scrimgeour’s pet.
But ambition has its price. Percy started out as the seemingly harmless butt of his brothers’ jokes, but has grown increasingly cold and distant toward the rest of the Weasleys over time. He has alienated his family by clinging to the Ministry’s misdirected standards and allying himself with its vilest employees, even referring to the toad-like Dolores Umbridge as “a really delightful woman.”8 What role will he play in the fighting that will take place as the series concludes? Is it possible that Percy might even side with Voldemort if he overthrows the wizarding government? Could his ambition even lead him to join the Death Eaters themselves? If he has already sided with the crooked Ministry of Magic over his own flesh and blood, there’s no telling to what depths he could sink next.
Perhaps Percy needs to hit rock bottom before the importance of his family becomes clear to him. If Voldemort takes over at the Ministry, or at least intimidates the Minister and his staff into submission, this might be just the kick in the pants Percy needs to wake him up. If the choice should come down to the evil Dark wizard who murdered Harry’s parents or the people who raised him and cared for him, Percy might finally see the error of his ways and ask his family’s forgiveness. It is possible that Percy might be killed before he could be redeemed, but his odds for redemption are good and he might be the lucky one who was given Jo’s reprieve and allowed to live. Jo has stated “So I’d say for my main characters, yes, there’s the possibility for redemption for all of them”9 and indeed human redemption is a running theme in the books. Above all else, the Weasleys are family, and family means acceptance. If Percy takes even a small step toward repentance, his family will probably meet him halfway and welcome him back into their tribe. If he refuses to admit he made a wrong choice, he may remain an outcast and serve as a sad reminder of how easily a person with a good upbringing and good intentions can go astray.
Fred and George
If “Perfect Percy” lacks a sense of humor, his younger twin brothers compensate in abundance for his deficiency. In some ways they are the anti-Percy brothers, determined to make fun of his pomposity and to forge a different path in life. As tricksters and scientists, Fred and George have graduated far beyond mere theory into actual research and development of their own line of magical novelties. Laughter is their greatest weapon, though the twins should not be dismissed as mere comic relief.
Fred and George also make an incomparable pair of Beaters on Harry’s Gryffindor Quidditch team, protecting him against rogue Bludgers, among other things. The twins have always been there to help Harry, such as the time they “borrowed” their father’s flying Ford Anglia to rescue Harry from the Dursleys, or passed on to Harry the Marauder’s Map—the priceless artifact they expertly purloined from Filch.
Despite disappointing Molly with only three O.W.L.s apiece, Fred and George are truly gifted technologically, inventing products such as trick wands, Skiving Snackboxes, and an impressive portable swamp. It would be easy to visualize the twins inventing something as useful and indispensable as their Extendable Ears to meet the occasion, and one of their future inventions may help the Order in the next book. But will they both survive the last episode in the Harry Potter series, despite online predictions that one might die? Molly, ambushed by a boggart, definitely feared for them both. Fred and/or George are likely candidates to be wounded or murdered in their open defiance of Lord Voldemort. Considering their prowess on the Quidditch pitch, they might be needed to fight the Dark Lord’s army with physical strength as well as mental agility. The dark side may even covet some of their inventions, as they did the Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder. Could Deathly Hallows see them held hostage or used in some way for one of their brilliant, patented devices? Could their ingenuity be the very thing that puts their lives in danger?
It seems improbable that Jo would kill off both Fred and George, but might one of them be sacrificed? This would be a poignant and painful reminder of the atrocities Voldemort’s terrorism has brought about, but it may be the most heartbreaking possibility of all. One twin living without the other would be like Flourish without Blotts, the Sorting without the Hat, or Snape without his sneer. It just wouldn’t be the same. Fred and George work together, play together, fight together, and even finish each other’s sentences. Hopefully they will both survive the series and grow old together, long white beards and all.
Ever since Ron, the youngest of Molly’s six sons, risked his own life in Professor McGonagall’s life-sized chess game so that Harry could get to the Sorcerer’s Stone, Ron’s demise by the end of the series has been widely predicted. “Mostly they [kids] are really worried about Ron,” Rowling has said, “As if I’m going to kill Harry’s best friend.”10 As Jo herself hints, this will not necessarily happen. Many times in literature and films the hero’s loyal accomplice is the first one axed, so this tradition has set up what is possibly a false expectation for some Harry Potter fans. But Ron is more than the typical one-dimensional sidekick; he has his own personality, internal struggles, and lessons to learn. We care about him not because Harry cares about him, but because we’ve come to love and identify with him and his family over the course of the books.
Harry Potter’s first gesture of loyalty to Ron happened shortly after they met, when he chose to side with the freckle-faced redhead in the shabby robes over the slick junior power player named Draco Malfoy, and since then their friendship has grown stronger with every adventure they share. Ron has been given many opportunities to repay Harry’s loyalty and has never failed to defend and fight for his best friend, even putting his life on the line now and then. Jo Rowling sums up the character of Ron by saying, “He’s always there when you need him.”11 So, how will he be there when Harry needs him in Deathly Hallows? So far, he hasn’t had too many opportunities to serve directly alongside Harry in his battles, but then neither has anyone else. In the final showdown, it’s always Harry and Voldemort alone. Ron’s courage and support usually only carries Harry up to these showdowns, so it would be fitting if Ron got the chance to go the distance in the final book. Might Harry, Ron and Hermione bring down the Dark Lord together? This ending would satisfy many readers who have grown to think of the Trio as a powerful team with each member strengthening the other two.
Ron has also been nursing an as-yet-unfulfilled wish for many years now, so we can be fairly certain he will live to see this wish come to fruition. No, it isn’t the desires to be Quidditch team Captain and Head Boy he saw reflected in the Mirror of Erised in his first year at Hogwarts. He has already become a prefect and a Quidditch hero, but his love life has yet to go in the direction he would like. Will he and Hermione finally let their true feelings for each other show in the final book? In addition to being great friends (and sometimes great adversaries), will they become involved romantically? This might be the one thing readers can safely count on. Jo has dropped more less-than-subtle hints about this aspect of the books than almost any other. From her “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” comments12 to her full admission that “something’s ‘going on’ ... but Ron doesn’t realize it yet,”13 she has made it abundantly clear that Ron and Hermione will both live to snog one another at long last. If we allow ourselves to look way into the distance, we might envision an even bigger Weasley family of the future, including both Hermione and Harry… which leads us to the youngest Weasley.