Break me off a piece of that ginger snap
By Francesca Toscano
The multi-billion dollar Harry Potter franchise centers around the courageous and loyal titular character, but in the backdrop there is a fiery collection of supporting roles that have allowed Harry to succeed throughout the series. No, I am not referring to the Goblet of Fire or Dumbledore’s phoenix that periodically bursts into flames. I am speaking of the Weasley family—the underrated ginger dynasty that have collectively enhanced the Harry Potter franchise.
“Without Ron and the other Weasleys, the Harry Potter series would suffer,” insists Emily Burns, a Weasley-obsessed freshman at American University. “Because of the Weasleys, Harry gets a sense of what a real family is, since he never really had one.” Burns’ statement is verifiable: Weasley parents Arthur and Molly were selflessly welcoming to Harry from the moment they met him at Platform 9 and 3/4, and throughout the series, they have provided Potter with shelter, necessities and endless love. After years of Harry’s entrapment in a cupboard under the stairs, the humble and warmhearted Weasleys allowed him to understand the power of a familial bond.
Continuing her support for this ginger genealogy, Burns states, “The Weasleys add humor and light to an overall dark story, and you have to offer audiences a little relief.” Fred and George, the famed jokester twins, could always be relied on to bring joy and witticisms to an otherwise chilling and mysterious series. Ginny, the youngest of the Weasley brood, brought light into Harry’s life and happiness into the hearts of readers as she became Harry’s love interest and ultimately his wife. And naturally, Harry’s best friend Ron provided Harry with the perfect conjunction of hilarious missteps and courageous strength, which allowed Harry to achieve his life’s quest while maintaining his sanity. “Ron is the comic relief,” Burns said. “Though Ron may be Harry’s sidekick, he is an essential part of Harry’s battles against Voldemort. Ron really is a hero.”
Though there are seven Weasley offspring, Ron, Ginny, Fred and George are best known because of their pivotal roles in the works. However, the other Weasley siblings have also positively influenced Harry’s journey. Bill Weasley, the oldest progeny, played a crucial role in the destruction of the death eaters in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Charlie, the Weasley who submitted himself to a life among dragons in Romania, assisted Harry, Ron and Hermione when they needed assistance with the dragon Norbert in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Percy, who played a prominent role in the first book but was then alienated from the family after an intense dispute, returned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to make amends with his family and fight for the survival of both Hogwarts and Harry. “[The Weasleys] are a perfect blend of humor and sincerity,” asserts Burns. “And the perfect model of a quirky and loving wizard family.”
Burns is not the only person to support this crimson-haired clan. On social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, the fan sites for the Weasleys are both infinite and popular. Countless websites are devoted solely to fan art of the family, particularly featuring the romance between Ron and Hermione, known affectionately as “Romione.” The obsessed are also given the opportunity to be J.K. Rowling themselves on “fan fiction” sites, through which Potter addicts submit their own stories involving the Weasley family’s antics.
The influence that the Harry Potter series has had on the world is undeniable, and Harry Potter himself has become a renowned and esteemed heroic figure. However, the central protagonist could never achieve his fullest potential without support of those around him. “The Weasley family is selfless, charming and brave,” Burns said. “Without them, the entire franchise would suffer.” The Weasleys have allowed Harry Potter to understand the power of family, love and infinite support. Nevertheless, this lovable ginger family has transcended the bounds of books and given countless readers a compassionate family to escape into. Fortunately, living in a cupboard under the staircase is not required.
Francesca Toscano is a freshman IMC major who wants to Accio Fred Weasley. Email her at [email protected].