Features

6 times Fred and George’s pranks went too far

It’s all fun and games until someone nearly dies!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Loveable scamps Fred and George Weasley are two of our favourite characters from the Harry Potter series… but they terrorised and nearly murdered their fellow Hogwarts students. How adorable! Here are a few occasions when Fred and George should have maybe known when to stop…

Selling Draco Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder

Given the troubling times, the twins should really have put up a ‘Draco Malfoys not allowed’ sign in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco used their shop’s stock to create instant darkness while letting Death Eaters into Hogwarts, thus preventing Dumbledore’s Army from fighting them out of the school.

‘Anyway,’ Ginny went on, ‘he must have been checking whether the coast was clear to let the Death Eaters out, because the moment he saw us he threw something into the air and it all went pitch black–’
‘–Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder,‘ said Ron bitterly. ‘Fred and George’s. I’m going to be having a word with them about who they let buy their products.’
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 2015, taken from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Illustrated Edition

Transfiguring Ron’s teddy into a spider

When it came to Ron’s pathological fear of spiders, there was one person to blame: Fred Weasley. After seeing spiders behave in an odd fashion, a deeply uncomfortable Ron revealed to Harry and Hermione exactly what had happened to give him lifelong arachnophobia.

‘It’s not funny,’ said Ron, fiercely. ‘If you must know, when I was three, Fred turned my – my teddy bear into a dirty great spider because I broke his toy broomstick. You wouldn’t like them either if you’d been holding your bear and suddenly it had too many legs and…’
He broke off, shuddering.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Fred, it was a toy. Honestly!

Illustration of a Acromantula from the new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Acromantula by Olivia Lomenech Gill © Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 2017.

They fed Harry’s already-abusive family member Ton-Tongue Toffee

We always enjoyed it when Harry’s wizard friends casually wreaked havoc on the Dursleys because it was nothing less than they deserved. However, when the Weasley family destroyed their living room while trying to visit Harry via Floo powder, Dudley ended up getting a foot-long tongue after eating Fred and George’s carefully dropped sweets.

Harry wheeled around. Dudley was no longer standing behind his parents. He was kneeling beside the coffee table, and he was gagging and spluttering on a foot-long, purple, slimy thing that was protruding from his mouth.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This time, the boys went too far. Not only did this sort of thing do nothing to help Harry with his terrible home life, but as Mr Weasley pointed out, it also meant that the Dursleys weren’t about to soften up towards wizardkind because of their antics (not that they would have anyway, admittedly).

‘It isn’t funny!’ Mr Weasley shouted. ‘That sort of behaviour seriously undermines wizard-Muggle relations! I spend half my life campaigning against the mistreatment of Muggles, and my own sons –’
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Weasleys burst through the Dursley's fireplace.
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Montague and the Vanishing Cabinet

We’re not saying that Montague didn’t deserve to go head-first into that Vanishing Cabinet, courtesy of the twins. After all, he had been throwing his weight around as a member of the Inquisitorial Squad, and had attempted to deduct house points from the pair. However, the move was nearly fatal for him – he was badly injured after trying to escape by Apparating without a licence, and ended up lodged in a toilet. He was spotted by Harry being spoon-fed by Madam Pomfrey weeks, (yes, WEEKS) after the initial incident.

Despite causing Montague serious harm, the twins were entirely unconcerned by their actions, a move that seems a little worrying. After all, even James went to Snape’s aid when Sirius suggested he visit the Shrieking Shack on the night of a full moon. And Montague was missing for weeks! Why weren’t the twins arrested?

The twins’ behaviour also proved to be a terrible move because Montague later relayed the experience to Draco, giving Draco the epiphany that there were two linked Vanishing Cabinets connecting Borgin and Burkes to Hogwarts. This ended up providing him with the perfect way to get Death Eaters to infiltrate the school.

‘He never managed to get all the words out, due to the fact that we forced him head-first into that Vanishing Cabinet on the first floor.’
Hermione looked very shocked.
‘But you’ll get into terrible trouble!’
‘Not until Montague reappears, and that could take weeks, I dunno where we sent him,’ said Fred coolly.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The vanishing cabinet in the Room of Requirement
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Ron’s Unbreakable Vow

Fred and George once tried to make Ron take an Unbreakable Vow as children. Shockingly, this would have meant certain death if Ron hadn’t fulfilled whatever it was they were trying to get him to promise – we can only imagine what they’d chosen! Chances are that the twins didn’t fully know what they were doing either (being only about seven at the time), but being part of a wizard family means they definitely should have known better than to do any underage magic at all! Luckily Arthur caught them at the last minute, or who knows what could have happened?

‘An Unbreakable Vow?’ said Ron, looking stunned. ‘Nah, he can’t have... are you sure?’
‘Yes, I’m sure,’ said Harry. ‘Why, what does it mean?’
‘Well, you can’t break an Unbreakable Vow…’
‘I’d worked that much out for myself, funnily enough. What happens if you break it, then?’
‘You die,’ said Ron simply. ‘Fred and George tried to get me to make one when I was about five. I nearly did, too, I was holding hands with Fred and everything when Dad found us. He went mental,’ said Ron, with a reminiscent gleam in his eyes. ‘Only time I’ve ever seen Dad as angry as Mum. Fred reckons his left buttock has never been the same since.’
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Weasley's in school uniform
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Feeding sickness sweets to first-year students

As Hermione rightly said, the twins (and Lee Jordan) had no right to feed their Skiving Snackboxes to first-year Gryffindors to test them out. In most educational establishments across the world, using younger students for experimental trials is generally frowned upon, and this case is no different.

Although nobody was harmed in the end, the pair weren’t 100 per cent sure that everyone would have the same reaction to the sweets; which is probably why only first-year students joined the trials, because they didn’t know any better! It’s a good thing that Hermione was around to threaten to tell the twins’ mother, thus getting them to behave themselves.

‘Excellent,’ said Fred happily, but the next second Hermione had snatched both his clipboard and the paper bag of Fainting Fancies from his hands.
‘It is NOT excellent!’
‘Course it is, they’re alive, aren’t they?’ said Fred angrily.
‘You can’t do this, what if you made one of them really ill?’
‘We’re not going to make them ill, we’ve already tested them all on ourselves, this is just to see if everyone reacts the same –’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When you think about it, the boys were lucky to have gotten away with what they did! Casually instilling lifelong phobias, ruining Slytherin lives (not to mention accidentally aiding Voldemort) and using other students for experiments weren’t exactly their finest moments. It’s a good thing they were so loveable the rest of the time...