We’re reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as part of the Wizarding World Book Club, and this week’s theme is Humour. Naturally, we’re looking at Fred and George to help us out.

Fred and George infographic image

Spoilers abound…

If there was ever a time the wizarding world was in need of light relief, it’s in the dark days of Voldemort’s rise. Lucky, then, that Fred and George Weasley always have a trademark quip in the back pocket, along with a Puking Pastille, probably.

Here are a few of our favourites:

‘You haven’t got a letter on yours,’ George observed, ‘I suppose she thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid – we know we’re called Gred and Forge.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Ah, looking identical must have its perks, and Fred and George never waste one second of their twin powers. But although they may take the mick with Mrs Weasley, it’s always with an underlying warmth.

Harry helps Ron, Fred and George de-gnome the garden of The Burrow
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

‘If we’re not careful, we’ll have another Head Boy in the family. I don’t think I could stand the shame.’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

So says George about elder brother Percy. He and Fred are extremely unconcerned about anything that necessitates acting responsibly, providing Ron with a standard to live down to – which is a good alternative, considering the outstanding example of his other older brothers.

‘Yeah, he’s nipping off to the Chamber of Secrets for a cup of tea with his fanged servant,’ said George, chortling.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

People are getting Petrified, you’ve discovered you share a talent for snake language with Voldemort, everyone thinks you’re Slytherin’s Heir – but never mind, Harry, here are Fred and George to take your mind off your troubles. The Weasley twins’ lighthearted response to the rumours swirling around in Chamber of Secrets reveals they are possessed of a deep-seated loyalty and a readiness to defend their friends with the best weapon in their arsenal: humour.

Inside Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

‘Oh, shut up, Weatherby,’ said Fred.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

When Percy’s desire to climb the ranks sees him working for Mr Crouch, he becomes even more insufferable – but Fred and George are there to keep him right. Their attempts to embarrass Percy make him just about bearable. It’s when he leaves school that Percy really starts to pull away from his family.

‘You don’t want to bottle up your anger like that, Harry, let it all out,’ said Fred, also beaming. ‘There might be a couple of people fifty miles away who didn’t hear you.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When Harry greets Ron and Hermione at Grimmauld Place by letting out weeks of pent-up frustration, it’s a little bit awkward. The Weasley twins’ sudden appearance and cheerful acknowledgement of his anger quickly diffuses the moment, and it feels effortless.

‘Time is Galleons, little brother,’ said Fred.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Passing their Apparition test – with distinction, apparently – means Fred and George can magically travel wherever they want. So they do it all the time. They know it’s annoying. They admit it’s annoying. And still they do it.

‘Size is no guarantee of power,’ said George. ‘Look at Ginny.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

As the youngest Weasley and the only girl, Ginny was the last to attend Hogwarts but Fred and George know it would be a mistake to underestimate her. They’re happy to admit it, too, with their usual gentle mockery.

‘What are Fred and I, next-door neighbours?’ said George indignantly.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

It might hurt a little bit, when your own mother is so excited about having another prefect in the family she momentarily forgets your existence, but neither Fred or George are ones to wallow in self-pity. Pithy sarcasm is more their bag.

‘“E” for “Exceeds Expectations”. And I’ve always thought Fred and I should’ve got “E” in everything, because we exceeded expectations just by turning up for the exams.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

George’s explanation of the O.W.L. exam marking system raises a valid point – while simultaneously revealing their ambivalence towards education…

‘George,’ said Fred, ‘I think we've outgrown full-time education.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

… so we can’t say we were that surprised when Fred and George decide to leave Hogwarts. They never seemed as bothered as Ron about living up to their older brothers and are only half-concerned about pleasing their mother. When the things they valued are threatened by Umbridge, it isn’t too much of a shock when they take decisive action.

‘Give her hell from us, Peeves.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

The manner in which they leave is glorious, though. When Fred and George make their minds up to do something, they don’t do it by halves – and they also know how to play the fool to their friends’ advantage, distracting Umbridge and allowing Harry the chance to speak to Sirius. And Fred’s last line to Peeves – well.

‘You’ll be able to tell us apart now, anyway, Mum.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

As two of the seven Potters, Fred and George do their best to alleviate the task of transferring Harry with their usual stream of jokes. Even when George loses his ear, it doesn’t stop him. Making jokes in dire circumstances shows how brave George is: giving his family permission to laugh, and showing that the injury hasn’t changed him.

‘Well, we do look to our prefects to take a lead at times such as these.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

For all their teasing, family is important to the Weasley twins, and Percy’s behaviour raises uncharacteristic flashes of anger in both of them. But they’re also quick to forgive. A quip in a battle might seem blasé, but laughter is a way to find light in the darkness, and so Fred and George – laughing to the last – share their inexhaustible supply of humour effortlessly, whenever and wherever it is needed.

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