Arthur in the doghouse

Mrs Weasley is less than impressed with her husband's tinkering

Extract from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling

Mr Weasley was slumped in a kitchen chair with his glasses off and his eyes closed. He was a thin man, going bald, but the little hair he had was as red as any of his children’s. He was wearing long green robes which were dusty and travel-worn.

‘What a night,’ he mumbled, groping for the teapot as they all sat down around him. ‘Nine raids. Nine! And old Mundungus Fletcher tried to put a hex on me when I had my back turned ...’

Mr Weasley took a long gulp of tea and sighed.

‘Find anything, Dad?’ said Fred eagerly.

‘All I got were a few shrinking door-keys and a biting kettle,’ yawned Mr Weasley. ‘There was some pretty nasty stuff that wasn’t my department, though. Mortlake was taken away for questioning about some extremely odd ferrets, but that’s the Committee on Experimental Charms, thank goodness ...’

‘Why would anyone bother making door-keys shrink?’ said George.

‘Just Muggle-baiting,’ sighed Mr Weasley. ‘Sell them a key that keeps shrinking to nothing so they can never find it when they need it ... Of course, it’s very hard to convict anyone because no Muggle would admit their key keeps shrinking – they’ll insist they just keep losing it. Bless them, they’ll go to any lengths to ignore magic, even if it’s staring them in the face ... but the things our lot have taken to enchanting, you wouldn’t believe –’

‘LIKE CARS, FOR INSTANCE?’

Mrs Weasley had appeared, holding a long poker like a sword.

Mr Weasley’s eyes jerked open. He stared guiltily at his wife.

‘C-cars, Molly, dear?’

‘Yes, Arthur, cars,’ said Mrs Weasley, her eyes flashing. ‘Imagine a wizard buying a rusty old car and telling his wife all he wanted to do with it was take it apart to see how it worked, while really he was enchanting it to make it fly.’

Mr Weasley blinked.

‘Well, dear, I think you’ll find that he would be quite within the law to do that, even if, er, he maybe would have done better to, um, tell his wife the truth ... There’s a loophole in the law, you’ll find ... as long as he wasn’t intending to fly the car, the fact that the car could fly wouldn’t –’

‘Arthur Weasley, you made sure there was a loophole when you wrote that law!’ shouted Mrs Weasley. ‘Just so you could carry on tinkering with all that Muggle rubbish in your shed! And for your information, Harry arrived this morning in the car you weren’t intending to fly!’

‘Harry?’ said Mr Weasley blankly. ‘Harry who?’

He looked around, saw Harry and jumped. ‘Good Lord, is it Harry Potter? Very pleased to meet you, Ron’s told us so much about –’

Your sons flew that car to Harry’s house and back last night! ’ shouted Mrs Weasley. ‘What have you got to say about that, eh?’

‘Did you really?’ said Mr Weasley eagerly. ‘Did it go all right? I-I mean,’ he faltered, as sparks flew from Mrs Weasley’s eyes, ‘that was very wrong, boys – very wrong indeed ...’

‘Let’s leave them to it,’ Ron muttered to Harry, as Mrs Weasley swelled like a bullfrog.

‘Come on, I’ll show you my bedroom.’ They slipped out of the kitchen and down a narrow passageway to an uneven staircase, which zigzagged its way up through the house. On the third landing, a door stood ajar. Harry just caught sight of a pair of bright brown eyes staring at him before it closed with a snap.

‘Ginny,’ said Ron. ‘You don’t know how weird it is for her to be this shy, she never shuts up normally –’


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By J.K. Rowling

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