In Chapter 5, the Weasleys continue to be the absolute best and I am so glad that Harry is with them now. Let’s go!
I will continue to wax poetic in my love for the Weasley family. They are just the most wonderful thing, but I think my favorite thing about them is that, despite this being a fantasy story and the fact that they are indeed a magical family, they are just so . . . normal. Well-meaning parents who love their children, despite being angry or frustrated with them at times. Siblings who are very tight knit, but still get on each others nerves and play pranks. With one glaring exception (I’m looking at you, Percy), this is a group of people who will stick together no matter what and face whatever the world throws at them. I absolutely adore them.
But let’s get to the chapter at hand. Harry arrives at the Burrow and Fred asks about Dudley and the sweet, which Harry confirms that Dudley ate.
“Ton-Tongue Toffee,” said Fred brightly. “George and I invented them, and we’ve been looking for someone to test them on all summer . . .”
We also get to meet the eldest two Weasley brothers, Bill and Charlie. Charlie is the one who works with dragons in Romania who, if you remember, Ron had contacted to make arrangements for Hagrid’s baby dragon, Norbert, to be sent to. Bill, who is way cooler than Harry expected, works for Gringotts and, apparently, his main job is to search for treasure. He’s the one they went to visit in Egypt last summer.
Mr. Weasley finally arrives, after taking care of Dudley’s tongue, which had grown to four feet. He is not happy at all. The Dursleys were horrified and this type of thing makes Mr. Weasley’s job at the Ministry harder, undermining wizard-Muggle relations.
“We didn’t give it to him because he’s a Muggle!” said Fred indignantly.
“No, we gave it to him because he’s a great bullying git,” said George. “Isn’t he, Harry?”
This is actually an important distinction to make. As we learn in later books especially, there are plenty of wizards who flat out hate Muggles because they see them as inferior and would do things to bait them or mess with them (or worse). But that’s not why Fred and George did this to Dudley. Being Muggle had nothing to do with it.
I do think it’s funny that even though Mr. Weasley threatens to tell Mrs. Weasley about what they did, as soon as she walks into the room, he backs off. No one wants to face Molly Weasley’s temper. No one. And she is plenty angry. Enough that Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione (who has also arrived to go to the World Cup) feel the need to escape upstairs. They discuss that Fred and George have been doing more than just making explosions in their bedroom – they’ve been inventing things. Mrs. Weasley had found order forms for “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes” showing where they were hoping to sell their wares at school – “fake wands and trick sweets, loads of stuff.”
Mrs. Weasley wants them to go work for the Ministry, like a respectable wizard, but the twins want to open a joke shop instead. Honestly, I don’t understand why she doesn’t support them in this – they would obviously be brilliant at it and, depending on how well they rolled it out, they could make some serious money. Zonko’s always seems to do pretty well.
We also see Percy, who graduated from Hogwarts last year and is working for the Ministry. He is irritated because they are being noisy and he is working on something for his job. He is also feeling very high and mighty about it, since he obviously knows something that will be happening at Hogwarts, something very big. He also positively worships his new boss to the point of being completely annoying.
Also, the tiny owl that Sirius had given Ron has a name – Pigwidgeon. Pig, for short. A tiny owl named Pig.
They set up for dinner outside, since eleven people won’t fit in the house, and have a wonderful meal of Mrs. Weasley’s cooking. Another thing that I love about these books in general is how they portray women. Hermione is very ambitious, clearly, and wants to have a career somewhere in the wizarding world. In the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which I know some people don’t want to take as canon, but it has JKR’s seal of approval, and that’s good enough for me), Hermione actually becomes the Minister of Magic. She is, in many ways, the polar opposite of Mrs. Weasley, who is content to stay at home and take care of her house and family. And you know what? Both of these are portrayed as respectable and honorable in this series. These books don’t try to pigeonhole girls and women into a certain set of roles. They can do anything. It’s really amazing.
Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
During dinner, they discuss many things about the upcoming Quidditch World Cup, in particular Percy’s distain for the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, Ludo Bagman. Ludo Bagman was cut from the movies, and I’m still a little sad about it, but we’ll talk more about him once we actually meet the man. Ludo is a bit disorganized all over the place, which offends Percy to no end. A witch who works in Bagman’s department has been missing for over a month and Bagman hasn’t done anything about it. The witch in question? Bertha Jorkins. You might remember her from the first chapter. We know that she is dead, but no one else does at this point. It’s still a mystery.
During all the commotion at dinner, Ron asks Harry if he had heard from Sirius, which Harry confirms that he has, twice, and Sirius seems to be doing fine so far.
They get ready to go to bed since they have to be up very early to leave in the morning. Mrs. Weasley plans on buying everyone’s school supplies since the last World Cup lasted for five days, and they may not have time to go shopping before school starts if that happens again. Harry thinks that would be amazing and hopes that it happens again.
“well, I certainly don’t,” said Percy sanctimoniously. “I shudder to think what the state of my in-tray would be if I was away from work for five days.”
“Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?” said Fred.
“That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!” said Percy, going very red in the face. “It was nothing personal!”
“It was,” Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. “We sent it.”
Oh, Fred. It’s times like this that I wonder if these sorts of pranks on Percy, who always seems to get dunked on, are what helped him turn his back on his family in later books when things got rough. At the Ministry, he found acceptance. In his family, he seems to be the odd person out constantly. Still doesn’t make it right, but it makes it make sense. Oh, well.
See you next time for chapter 6!