Fred and George May Be the Smartest Characters in the Series
Happy birthday to our favorite twin brothers, who made us laugh more than anyone else in the series and who, incidentally, were the cause of much heartache by the time we reached the epilogue in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (I’m looking at you, JKR). On this, the day of their birth, I wanted to talk about something that is briefly addressed in the series but not given the attention it deserves: Fred and George Weasley are really brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that they may even be the smartest characters in the series. Even though they dropped out of Hogwarts and “always felt [their] futures lay outside the world of academic achievement,” here are three reasons why they were a couple of little geniuses:
They invented a lot of stuff.
Extendable Ears. Decoy Detonators. Skiving Snackboxes. Trick wands. I could go on and on (and on!). Some of the most memorable magical objects in the Harry Potter series were not only sold by the twins but invented by them too! And let me remind you that they were around 16 or so when their creations first made an appearance in the books. When I was 16, I was dressing up as Luna Lovegood and trying to grow my hair out like Evanna Lynch’s. Guess which of us has been the most successful as an adult (hint: it’s not me). I’m not the only one who has pointed out their smarts, by the way. Harry is one person who acknowledged their talent too.
‘You know, I don’t get why Fred and George only got three O.W.L.s each,’ said Harry, watching as Fred, George, and Lee collected gold from the eager crowd. ‘They really know their stuff.’” (OotP, ch. 17)
They were witty beyond measure.
Luna may have attributed the value of wit to Rowena Ravenclaw, but I think Fred and George Weasley demonstrated it even more in their constant jokes, puns, and one-liners. Somehow, Fred and George always knew how to make light of a situation – usually when it was appropriate to do so. The pair kept me laughing throughout the books and movies and added some much-needed humor into my own Muggle life. I can just picture the dad jokes that George would someday come up with. Anyone who knew them would be lucky to be lifted by Fred and George’s wit and humor in their lives.
Things are bad enough without inventing stuff as well. For instance, this new idea that You-Know-Who can kill with a single glance from his eyes. That’s a basilisk, listeners. One simple test: Check whether the thing that’s glaring at you has got legs. If it has, it’s safe to look into its eyes, although if it really is You-Know-Who, that’s still likely to be the last thing you ever do.” (DH, ch. 22)
Because of their wit, they also somehow figured out how to use the Marauder’s Map. JKR said the following in a joint interview with MuggleNet and the Leaky Cauldron for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince publication day:
Melissa: How did they figure out how to work the map?
Jo: Don’t you…? Well. This is how I explained it to myself at the time, and this does sound glib. Don’t you think it would be quite a Fred and Georgeish thing to say in jest and then see this thing transform? Can’t you just see them?
Emerson: But the exact word combination? Is that just a lot of luck, or Felix Felicis?
Jo: Or the map helped.
Melissa: Yep, yeah. You can see them sort of answering and joking with each other.
Jo: And the map flickering into life here and there when they got closer and closer, and finally they hit upon the exact right word combination and it just erupts.
They were business tycoons by the age of 17.
Fred and George were swindling Ludo Bagman as sixth years. They were able to convince their peers (and some poor first years) to help them test their Skiving Snackboxes at a minor business cost. When most shops in Diagon Alley were closing down during the height of the Second Wizarding War, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes was flourishing. As someone who runs a couple of minor business ventures, I can’t imagine how the Weasley twins were able to balance business, life, family, and love all while Voldemort was at large – age aside.
Set against the dull, poster-muffled shop fronts around them, Fred and George’s windows hit the eye like a firework display. Casual passersby were looking back over their shoulders at the windows, and a few rather stunned-looking people had actually come to a halt, transfixed. The left-hand window was dazzlingly full of an assortment of goods that revolved, popped, flashed, bounced, and shrieked; Harry’s eyes began to water just looking at it.” (HBP, ch. 6)
So what do you think? Could these birthday boys be smarter than Hermione? Wiser than Rowena Ravenclaw, even?