Mr. and Mrs. Weasley: A Mystery
An original editorial by MIranda Rensberger
I have recently become very curious about Molly and Arthur Weasley specifically about what they did before their children were born. They are clearly older than they look, because when Molly and Bill come to visit Harry before the third task in the Triwizard Tournament, Molly "[reminisces] at great length about the gamekeeper before Hagrid, a man called Ogg" (GoF 617; all page numbers refer to US editions). If Molly knew the gamekeeper before Hagrid, and does not know what Hagrid was expelled for, this means she must have graduated before Hagrid became gamekeeper. Hagrid has had this job for 52 years in GoF, meaning that Molly must be at least 70 when she says this (assuming she graduated at age 18). Therefore, she was at least 57 when Ginny was born, and in her 40s already when she had Bill. I think Arthur is even older, because Molly says that the Fat Lady "gave me such a telling off one night" (GoF 616), not "your father and me", when she got back from a date with Arthur at 4:00 a.m. Arthur was caught by the caretaker (and still has the marks). But they were both in Gryffindor, so they should have been walking back to the tower together. Why didnt they both get caught by the caretaker and told off by the Fat Lady? And why did their date have to be in the dead of night anyway? Perhaps because Arthur had already graduated and was sneaking back onto the grounds to see Molly; he was caught as he was leaving.
JKR has said that witches and wizards live longer than Muggles (Dumbledore is about 150), so I am perfectly willing to believe that they look younger than Muggles of the same age, and that witches hit menopause at a later age than Muggle women. But if Molly and Arthur were dating already in school, why did they wait until they were in their 40's to start having kids? Lily and James, by contrast, were 20 when Harry was born. Did the Weasleys put it off because they were so poor? In that case, having practiced some form of contraception that was good enough to prevent any accidents for 25 years or so, why did they then have seven kids when they were still poor? Maybe the real reason they delayed having children was because they were doing something that was too dangerous. Molly would certainly not want to risk exposing children to any potential harm. However, we know Molly wasnt in the Order (OotP 177), although Arthur could have been; besides, being in the Order did not stop the Potters or the Longbottoms from having kids.
The animosity between Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley seems to have deeper roots than simply Luciuss contempt for Arthurs poverty. In CoS, Lucius (presumably under instructions received from Riddle through the diary) specifically targets Ginny as the scapegoat for opening the Chamber of Secrets. We know this was planned in advance because of Dobbys warning to Harry to not return to Hogwarts. The idea did not just happen to occur to Lucius in Flourish and Blotts, nor did he just happen to be carrying the diary around that day; it was premeditated. Lucius somehow knew exactly when the Weasleys would be buying their school things. He probably intercepted the owl from Hermione telling them what day to meet in Diagon Alley; no one would notice Errol had been attacked because he always collapses on deliveries. So why go to such lengths to target a Weasley kid? Not just to undermine Arthur's Muggle Protection Act, surely; Lucius could simply use bribery, blackmail, and threats for that. Harry is not the only target, either; if Riddle just wanted to get rid of Harry, it would have been easier to tell Lucius how to open the Chamber and have him pass the information on to Draco. Instead, Ginny is used for apparently no good reason. Maybe, Lucius has more against Arthur than what we know about.
When Amos Diggory summons Arthur to deal with Moody's dustbins, it is clear from their conversation that Arthur and Moody know each other personally: Diggory says, Arthur, you know Mad-Eye (GoF 159); not You know what Mad-Eye is like, but You know him. It is true that they worked on the same floor of the Ministry before Moody retired, but this seems like more than just a casual greeting-each-other-in-the-hall type of acquaintance. Yet it is unlikely that Aurors would often work side by side with the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office. Furthermore, in the first class with the fake Moody, Ron mentions that his dad told him about the Imperius Curse. Moody/Crouch says, "Your father would know that one" (GoF 212). Why? Just because he is in the Ministry? Again, this doesn't sound like something the Muggle Artifacts people would deal with too often. It seems possible to me that Arthur was once an Auror. His affection for Muggles would make him want to catch Death Eaters who were attacking them. Conversely, his fascination with Muggles could have developed while he was working for their protection. He would have had to be a highly effective Auror to be so afraid that he couldn't even have children. Perhaps Arthur had to leave the Aurors office when it got too dangerous and moved over to the safer Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office instead.
It is also odd that Molly is so distraught when everyone returns from the Quidditch World Cup (GoF 146). Certainly the entire wizarding world is terrified of the Dark Mark; but she must know from her clock that none of her family members were ever in danger, and she can infer from this that Harry and Hermione weren't either. This suggests to me that Molly has special reason to fear her family being attacked by the Death Eaters. JKR says on her website that Molly's maiden name was Prewett. There were Prewetts in the Order; it took five Death Eaters to kill them (OotP 174). Voldemort personally killed some Prewetts as well (SS 56 paperback). If Mollys family was highly active against the Death Eaters, and Arthur is an ex-Auror, this would give Voldemort and his followers strong reasons for wanting to attack their children.
So what exactly did all these Prewetts do to make the Death Eaters and Voldemort
hate them so much? And what were Molly and Arthur doing for 25 years before they
started their family? I can only hope we find out more about this in books 6 and 7.