As many people around the world return to the beloved series by J.K. Rowling for a comforting read or a watch party during the pandemic, there are two Harry Potter characters who are often underrated. They are, of course, Fred and George Weasley, the redheaded identical twins whose pranks and witty one-liners provided much levity for the series.
Sure, their younger brother, Ron Weasley, was busy fighting the evil wizard Lord Voldemort alongside Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, but Fred and George’s joke shop was equally important to the story. After a tough day of battling Dementors and Death Eaters, who wouldn’t want to cuddle up with a Pygmy Puff and watch a display of Weasley’s Wildfire Whiz-bangs?
Here are five moments when the Weasley twins deserved their own Netflix comedy special.
- Fred or George?
The fact that no one, not even their own parents, could ever tell the Weasley twins apart became a running gag throughout the series. The actors who portrayed Fred and George in the films, real-life twins James and Oliver Phelps, said in an interview with Cosmopolitan, that after landing the roles, even they were confused as to who was playing who (it was resolved when the casting director decided James would play Fred, and Oliver would play George).
Following in the steps of their mischievous on-screen counterparts, James and Oliver have admitted to playing a few pranks on the Harry Potter set. In the words of the Marauder’s Map, “Mischief managed!”
- Being Rebellious Teenagers
The fourth installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, saw Fred and George take their prankster antics to a whole new level. For the tournament, Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore used magic to ensure that no underage student could put their name into the goblet of fire that would decide who’s in the tournament. Unfortunately for Fred and George, this age limit meant that they could not enter the tournament.
Always eager to thwart authority — and hoping to take home the tournament winner’s prize money — Fred and George drank an aging potion to trick Dumbledore’s enchantment…
Which backfired and resulted in them ageing decades and growing Santa-esque beards in a matter of seconds.
A fight ensued between the prematurely-aged brothers as other students gathered around, cheering them on. Luckily, Dumbeldore and the school nurse were easily able to remedy the situation. While the Weasley twins failed to enter their names in the tournament, they did succeed in giving us all a good laugh. When Harry Potter ended up winning the Triwizard Tournament, he gave them his prize money to fund their dream of running a joke shop.
- Weasley Twins: 1. Dolores Umbridge: 0.
Apart from Lord Voldemort and his group of Death Eaters, Dolores Umbridge was one of the most antagonistic characters Harry and Co. ever faced. When Dumbledore and Harry were facing scrutiny from the Ministry of Magic over their claim that Voldemort had regained power, Umbridge had been sent to Hogwarts to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts while spying for the Ministry.
With her penchant for illegal punishments and truth serums, the loathsome Umbridge quickly incurred the wrath of the Weasley twins. After being subjected along with the other members of Dumbledore’s Army to writing lines with pens that used their own blood as ink, Fred and George decided it was time for their Hogwarts schooling to come to an end.
In one of the most satisfying school walkouts (or, in this case, flyouts) in film history, the Weasley twins interrupted Umbridge’s class with a bombardment of fireworks. One of these fireworks took the form of a massive dragon that chased Umbridge before sending her prized educational decrees crashing to the floor!
With Hogwarts momentarily emancipated, the students ran outside to give Fred and George a raucous round of applause as they flew away; becoming legends at Hogwarts…
- The Joke Shop on Diagon Alley
Fainting Fancies. Nosebleed Nougat. Extendable Ears. These are just a few of the products sold in Fred and George’s joke shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. With the seed money from Harry, the twins were able to purchase a storefront on Diagon Alley shortly after leaving Hogwarts.
Other notable items in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes include Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder (“handy if you need a quick getaway,”) and adorable fluffy creatures called Pygmy Puffs for sale (Ginny Weasley had one as a pet). Not to mention the family “discount” of paying ten Galleons for a product worth only five if you’re Ron.
- Keeping Things Light (Spoiler Alert Below)
Unlike most books aimed at young readers, Harry Potter did not shy away from difficult subject matters such as grief and war. This is especially true in the last installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where we were forced to say a tearful goodbye to Fred Weasley after his untimely death at the Battle of Hogwarts. After Fred’s death, George persevered and kept the joke shop running as a tribute to his brother’s memory.
Throughout the series, the Weasley twins managed to find ways to create laughter in the bleakest of times. Especially in the coronavirus crisis, their prankster antics and witty remarks serve as a reminder of how therapeutic laughter can be when the future seems uncertain.
Photos: Her Campus Media Library