A grand tour

Fred’s twin shook Harry’s hand energetically.

Extract from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J.K. Rowling

'Giving him the tour? Come through to the back, Harry, that’s where we’re making the real money – pocket anything, you, and you’ll pay in more than Galleons!’ he added warningly to a small boy who hastily whipped his hand out of the tub labelled: Edible Dark Marks – They’ll Make Anyone Sick!

George pushed back a curtain beside the Muggle tricks and Harry saw a darker, less crowded room. The packaging on the products lining these shelves was more subdued. ‘We’ve just developed this more serious line,’ said Fred. ‘Funny how it happened ...’

‘You wouldn’t believe how many people, even people who work at the Ministry, can’t do a decent Shield Charm,’ said George. ‘Course, they didn’t have you teaching them, Harry.’

‘That’s right ... well, we thought Shield Hats were a bit of a laugh. You know, challenge your mate to jinx you while wearing it and watch his face when the jinx just bounces off. But the Ministry bought five hundred for all its support staff! And we’re still getting massive orders!’

‘So we’ve expanded into a range of Shield Cloaks, Shield Gloves ...’

‘... I mean, they wouldn’t help much against the Unforgivable Curses, but for minor to moderate hexes or jinxes ...’

'And then we thought we’d get into the whole area of Defence Against the Dark Arts, because it’s such a moneyspinner,’ continued George enthusiastically. ‘This is cool. Look, Instant Darkness Powder, we’re importing it from Peru. Handy if you want to make a quick escape.’

‘And our Decoy Detonators are just walking off the shelves, look,’ said Fred, pointing at a number of weird-looking black hooter-type objects that were indeed attempting to scurry out of sight. ‘You just drop one surreptitiously and it’ll run off and make a nice loud noise out of sight, giving you a diversion if you need one.’

‘Handy,’ said Harry, impressed.

‘Here,’ said George, catching a couple and throwing them to Harry.

A young witch with short blonde hair poked her head round the curtain; Harry saw that she too was wearing magenta staff robes.

‘There’s a customer out here looking for a joke cauldron, Mr Weasley and Mr Weasley,’ she said.

Harry found it very odd to hear Fred and George called ‘Mr Weasley’, but they took it in their stride.

‘Right you are, Verity, I’m coming,’ said George promptly. ‘Harry, you help yourself to anything you want, all right? No charge.’

‘I can’t do that!’ said Harry, who had already pulled out his money-bag to pay for the Decoy Detonators.

‘You don’t pay here,’ said Fred firmly, waving away Harry’s gold.

‘But –’

‘You gave us our start-up loan, we haven’t forgotten,’ said George sternly. ‘Take whatever you like, and just remember to tell people where you got it, if they ask.’


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
By J.K. Rowling