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How Fred and George Weasley surprised everyone with common sense

Fred and George Weasley were the irrepressible pranksters of Hogwarts – but there was also method in their madness.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Whether stumbling upon secret passageways out of the castle, or using their natural talent for causing chaos to help undermine Voldemort, there was more to ‘Gred’ and ‘Forge’ than just managing mischief. Their tricks often required intelligence, bravery… and sometimes even, most shockingly of all, common sense.

They proved that two heads were better than one

The twins may have only achieved three O.W.L.s each during their Hogwarts exams, but those boys were smarter in ways far deeper than the academic sense. When inventing, trialling and perfecting the various products they sold at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, for example, they proved they had more brain power than most.

And when the products started to sell, even their family were surprised. As Ron says in Goblet of Fire, ‘It was brilliant, I never knew they’d been inventing all that...’

‘We’ve been hearing explosions out of their room for ages, but we never thought they were actually making things,’ said Ginny, ‘we thought they just liked the noise.’
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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

We solemnly swear that they were secret hard workers

When the twins revealed the existence of the Marauder’s Map to Harry in Prisoner of Azkaban, the reader never questions how the twins actually figured out how to use the map. Fred and George were almost the ‘Marauders’ of a new generation, after all.

But when you think about, it must have taken Fred and George no small amount of investigating, testing and spell-casting to discover that the phrase ‘I solemnly swear that I am up to no good’ was the key to unlocking the map. Did they stay up ‘til the early hours just saying various rebellious catchphrases until they fell upon the right one? This all just goes to show that Fred and George were able to apply themselves and work hard on the things that really mattered. Like spying on people.

‘And you know how to work it?’
‘Oh yes,’ said Fred, smirking. ‘This little beauty’s taught us more than all the teachers in this school.’

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

They had creative solutions for their problems

Some wizards just shout ‘stupefy’ whenever a problem comes their way. (Harry, we’re looking at you.) But if Fred and George were to write a curriculum vitae, there’s no doubt that ‘creative problem-solving skills’ would be listed under personal attributes. The twins had a way of coming up with chaotic, incredible solutions to problems that no one else would even want to tackle.

For example, when faced with a problem such as Professor Umbridge, what could be a more logical response than placing a Portable Swamp in the hallway outside her office?

‘So!’ said Umbridge triumphantly. Harry realised she was standing just a few stairs in front of him, once more looking down upon her prey. ‘So – you think it amusing to turn a school corridor into a swamp, do you?’
‘Pretty amusing, yeah,’ said Fred, looking up at her without the slightest sign of fear.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Fred and George inside Weasley Wizard Wheezes.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Their plotting was positively Slytherin-esque

We’ve already established that the twins were far smarter than their O.W.L.s suggested, but some of their more nefarious schemes involved a great deal of strategy – and a ‘get out of Azkaban free’ card.

When Fred and George gave Dudley Dursley his comeuppance in Goblet of Fire, they did so in a way that meant Dudley was the architect of his own misery – so that they were not entirely culpable. When the Weasleys picked Harry up from number four, Privet Drive for the Quidditch World Cup, and the twins ‘accidentally’ dropped toffees they were carrying and Dudley was quick to dive in.

A bag of sweets had spilled out of Fred’s pocket and the contents were now rolling in every direction – big, fat toffees in brightly coloured wrappers.
Harry wheeled around. Dudley was no longer standing beside his parents. He was kneeling beside the coffee table, and he was gagging and sputtering on a foot long, purple, slimy thing that was protruding from his mouth.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

They commanded respect from the most unlikely of suspects

Fred and George’s names weren’t exactly synonymous with ‘respectability’ – but that all depended on who they were trying to get respect from. While the teachers of Hogwarts didn’t hold the twins in very high esteem (although we suspect that Professor McGonagall secretly loved them), there was one figure in the castle who certainly listened to what the twins had to say.

When Fred and George made their dramatic exit from Hogwarts in Order of the Phoenix – unable to take any more of Umbridge being in charge – Peeves took their parting words to heart.

‘Give her hell from us, Peeves.’

And Peeves, whom Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Their pranks had something of a snowball effect…

Fred and George carried out innumerable pranks during their years at Hogwarts – some more memorable than others. But even their smaller tomfooleries had serious potential... Take, for example, the time in Philosopher’s Stone when 13-year-old Fred and George bewitched snowballs to follow Professor Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.

Professor Quirrell. Back of turban.

The twins repeatedly hit Voldemort in the face.

The Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs, so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone