The Truth About Percy Weasley
Percy Weasley is a character whom you either love or hate. He has many disagreeable character traits, but he is part of the Weasley family – whom we all cherish. Over the span of the seven books, Percy goes from being Ron’s irritating older brother to being utterly infuriating in his quest for power. Considering all this, I have often wondered whether the Weasley family was too quick to forgive his deplorable behavior.
Percy has always seemed to be at odds with his family – he clearly does love and care about his family, but he resents his father’s lack of ambition. Although he doesn’t seem to be fond of public displays of affection or affirmation, we see a crack in Percy’s exterior in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As Ron emerges from the lake after the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, Madam Pomfrey has to rescue Ron from Percy’s grip, and he is described as looking “very white and somehow much younger than usual.” This act seems very out of character for Percy but goes to prove in the end that he does love and care about his younger brother.
Percy has always been incredibly ambitious; however, it is often at the expense of his family. He chooses to act in a way that furthers his aims, and he doesn’t consider the impact that this has on his relationship with his family. We see this come to a head in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Percy storms out after the fallout with his father. The argument is a crucial element to the Percy debate that influences my ability to forgive and forget his behavior. It is in Chapter 4 of Order of the Phoenix that we hear about the terrible things that Percy said to his father and the reason for the fallout. Now, I’m not suggesting that arguing with your parents is a rare thing, nor am I suggesting that family relationships are never complicated, but it is the viciousness of what Percy says that I have found difficult to digest.
From the very beginning of the series, we had been aware of Ron’s embarrassment regarding his family’s financial situation. However, we rarely saw Ron address this, let alone blame his parents for it. In a stark contrast to this, Percy shouts at his father –
He said he’s been having to struggle against Dad’s lousy reputation ever since he joined the Ministry and that Dad’s got no ambition and that’s why we’ve always been – you know – not had a lot of money, I mean –
We have always known Arthur Weasley as the calm (except for when dealing with exciting, new Muggle artifacts), level-headed, and quietly authoritative father figure of the series. For Arthur to have such a reaction and Molly Weasley to be the quiet one, we know that what Percy has said hurt his family.
Percy also targets Harry Potter in his outburst, although we are unclear as to why he feels this way about him. Okay, Harry may get himself into difficult situations and end up getting Ron muddled into it as well, but he has always had a strong relationship with the Weasley family.
The fallout seemingly ends just before the Battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In an act of solidarity, Percy bursts through the door into the Room of Requirement to fight Voldemort and his supporters. In a brief moment, it appears as though all has been forgiven when Fred shakes Percy’s hand and the family reunites. However, I do sit and wonder whether instead of it being the end of the story for Percy, it is in fact only the beginning of the healing process. The family has a lot to go through after the Battle and a lot of problems to overcome. We are left at the end of the Battle wondering what happens. We have an inkling that Percy and Harry never move forward in their relationship in the “Nineteen Years Later” section, but it is hard to judge whether, in other circumstances, Harry would have wanted to talk to Percy anyway.
Maybe I am stubborn, but the cruel words and actions of Percy have made it difficult for me to understand the way in which he is embraced back into the family. However, given the circumstances of the looming Battle, perhaps I would have acted in the same way.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Were the Weasleys too quick to forgive, or am I being stubborn?!
For those of you who are in the UK, Chris Rankin (who plays Percy Weasley) and others are appearing at the World of Wizardry convention on August 6-7 in Nottingham, England.