Arthur Weasley: Harry’s Most Underappreciated Father Figure?
This Father’s Day, I want to honor one of Harry’s less celebrated father figures: Arthur Weasley. Arthur is the most consistent father in Harry’s life: steady and dependable, often in the background, but always around when Harry needs him. Arthur, unlike Sirius Black, does not encourage Harry’s impulsive and reckless behavior, but he also never treats Harry like a child. In doing so, he manages to guide Harry safely into manhood.
From Harry’s very first time at the Burrow, Arthur works hard to make Harry feel at home and useful. I believe that Arthur questions Harry about Muggles not just because he loves them but also because he wants to help Harry feel like an expert in a strange and unfamiliar place. At the Quidditch World Cup, he specifically asks Harry for assistance with using Muggle money and putting up a tent even though Hermione is also present. He knows that Hermione is always the one who is able to answer questions, but Arthur gives Harry these small victories.
Even so, Arthur is not so in love with Muggles that he’s blind to the Dursleys’ faults. When he picks up Harry from the Dursleys’, he refuses to leave until they say goodbye to Harry. “‘You aren’t going to see your nephew till next summer,’ he said to Uncle Vernon in mild indignation. ‘Surely you’re going to say good-bye?'” (GoF 48). Arthur is not a confrontational person, but he will not stand by and let anyone be rude to Harry.
While his wife, Molly, works hard to protect Harry’s childhood, Arthur recognizes the ways that Harry is already an adult. He trusts that Harry is old enough to handle important information, such as the knowledge that Sirius Black is after him. When Harry is staying at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, Arthur backs up Harry in his desire to know about what the Order is doing to fight Voldemort. In both of these cases, Arthur stands up to his wife (whom he is otherwise afraid of angering) for Harry’s right to information concerning Harry himself.
This trust in Harry pays off when Harry shows an equal trust in Arthur. When Harry sees Draco acting suspiciously in Diagon Alley, he goes straight to Arthur and explains what he saw. Arthur does not agree with Harry’s theory that Draco is a Death Eater and that he’s hiding something in Malfoy Manor, but Arthur goes to search the property nonetheless, risking ridicule in the Daily Prophet. This proves to Harry that Arthur will not ignore him even when he doesn’t agree with him. As a result, Arthur is the first adult Harry goes to when he hears that Snape made an Unbreakable Vow to help Draco. In this instance as well, Arthur expresses his skepticism but does not try to undermine Harry.
Arthur not only supports Harry and stands up for him but also acts as a role model for the type of man that Harry can be. Arthur is a person who respects everyone regardless of their differences, who is non-confrontational without being a pushover, and who listens to other people’s opinions even when he doesn’t agree with them. Harry clearly admires Arthur for all these qualities and tries to emulate them in his own life.