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“I’ve Just Died Here”: James and Oliver Phelps Relive “Deathly Hallows” Bombshell

There are some moments in life you just can’t forget. For Harry Potter fans, one of the biggies was coping with the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts during that first reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And it’s safe to say that the death of Fred Weasley stung many readers the hardest.

But if you think you were shocked, devastated, and angry, just imagine how James Phelps felt.

You might assume that the actors whose characters were destined to die for the cause in the final installment of the film series would have been given a heads-up prior to the publication of the book. You would be wrong. As James (Fred Weasley) and twin Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) told Metro this week, they discovered Fred’s fate right along with the rest of us. James clearly recalls the moment:

I was actually doing some travelling in Japan. The book had just come out that day, so I found an English copy. I was actually on a bullet train, and I read the part when Fred died – so I’m a bit shell-shocked at this point, because I didn’t realise how attached I got to the character. That caught me by surprise. I was surprised that he died.

We don’t mean to belabor the point, but for those of you in the back row: The guy didn’t even get advance notice that his character was doomed! And to add insult to fatal injury, the bullet train staff wasn’t all that sympathetic.

So I’m kind of all going over these different emotions. At the same time, the ticket officer is coming around asking for tickets. And he just kind of prodded me saying ‘ticket, ticket’. All I could do is look at him, and I actually said, ‘Mate, come on, I’ve just died here, let me have a bit of time to myself!’

Speaking of not being all that sympathetic, Oliver was just relieved that George made it through despite being one ear lighter.

I’ve spoken to a few other cast members, and some people say they went through the same thing, and others say they just read it as a story. But whenever I read the book for the first time, it would almost be almost like a quick read. And then you’d see the character name and be like, ‘Right, what’s happening with George right now?’ And then at the beginning of the story when he gets his ear blown off, I was actually thinking, ‘Oh no, this is awful! What’s happened? Oh no!’ And then obviously reading what happens to Fred a bit later on, I thought, ‘…Well, it could have been worse.’

As Oliver went on to point out, however, “I suppose in one way, at least it wasn’t the first film!” It’s important to have a glass-half-full attitude these days.

How did you take it the first time you read about Fred? Let us know in the comments! And if your spirits are in need of lifting now, you can watch the Phelps twins explore LEGO’s new Diagon Alley set.

 

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Brienne Green

I'm a passionate journalist, feeding my wizarding world obsession on MuggleNet by night, forever trying to find ways to work "Potter" references into high school sports stories by day. When not writing, I can be often be found making quiche at 2 a.m., playing Queen tunes on the piano, or talking (and talking and talking) about Sirius Black.