Why Do People in the Wizarding World Get Married So Young?
When I was younger, I pictured Harry’s parents looking like they do in the movies — mid to late 30s, mature, adult. When I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, however, I realized that they were only 21 when they died, and Harry was already a year old by that point. That means that they probably got married when they were around 19 or 20, only a couple of years out of Hogwarts.
They aren’t the only couple in the wizarding world to get married at such a young age. Fleur Delacour is at most 21 when she marries Bill Weasley, who is a bit older, at 26. Although we don’t know exactly when Harry and Ginny get married, Ginny was 22 and Harry was 23 when they had their first child, which means that we can probably guess that they got married a year or two earlier than that. Hermione and Ron have their first child when they are a little bit older, at 25. Still, all of these numbers are much lower than the average age of marriage in the Muggle world at that time, which was 29 for women in the United Kingdom and 32 for men. This is especially surprising because wizards, on average, live longer than Muggles, so the promise of “till death do us part” is a bit more of a commitment.
Why, then, does wizarding culture lean toward younger marriages? It may be because the wizarding population is so small, so people tend to meet all the wizards of their generation while they are at Hogwarts. I think it’s also likely to be a recent development of the two wizarding wars, since wizards’ life expectancy becomes much lower during that time. Mrs. Weasley says as much about Bill and Fleur’s hurried engagement: “It’s all this uncertainty with You-Know-Who coming back, people think they might be dead tomorrow, so they’re rushing all sorts of decisions they’d normally take time over. It was the same last time he was powerful, people eloping left, right, and center -” (HBP 93). She admits that the same was true of her and Arthur’s marriage, which occurred shortly after they left school. Although Tonks and Lupin are both a bit older, we see them get married within a month of starting to date, which is almost certainly out of a fear that they will not survive the war.
Harry’s generation was already finished with war before it became time for them to choose whom to marry, yet they still married their high school sweethearts at a fairly young age. I think this may also be an aftereffect of the wizarding wars. Hermione and Ron, and Harry and Ginny, had been through so much together by the time they reached the age of 17, and nobody else would really be able to understand all the traumas they had experienced. Having faced the possibility of losing each other, I think these couples became even more aware of how lucky they were to still be together. There are some things you can’t share without ending up married, and defeating Voldemort together is one of them. I expect that the next generation of wizards will probably wait a bit longer before deciding to tie the knot.