Monday, 27 July 2015

In Defense of Molly Weasley: The Oft Forgotten Heroine of the Potterverse


As a lifelong Potterhead, I've read the entire Harry Potter series several times now, and I love being able to find something new about the characters each time I revisit them. Every time I reread the novels it's like coming home to a set of people who know and love you, and can't wait to make you feel welcome again. But now that the series is over, all the pieces are in place, and there's more time for reflection of the story's major themes and players, I've been bummed to see that Molly Weasley often gets overlooked in the lists of significant actors, and I want to take some time to point out why we all suck for disregarding her contributions.

Molly Weasely is a witch, homemaker, and mother of seven children. She consistently finds a way to provide for them on her husband's meager income plus a little clever magic and she never complains. She loves them fiercely and worries as any mother would. But she's also a fierce warrior who made a significant contribution to the downfall of the Dark Lord that I think gets overlooked too often: She gave Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, a place he could call home.

It's often very au courant in feminism to discount housewives as not making a significant contribution to the world and I can admit that I am sometimes guilty of that too. But rearing children is important work, and nurturing the hearts and minds of the tiny people who will later grow up to be contributing members of society isn't something to be taken lightly. I think this fact is especially significant in the Potterverse as it is Molly's warmth and love that help ground Harry as he battles his darkest demons, and tries to find his place within a larger magical plot that was set in motion the night his parents died.

In many ways, it is just as much Molly's mothering instincts as Dumbledore's council that sets Harry on the path of redemption as The Chosen One. On that first day boarding the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 3/4, despite having four boys of her own currently enrolled, Molly makes Harry feel welcome and ushers him through his first solo encounter with magic. Over the years she sends him handmade sweaters catered to his likes and interests, and never forgets a Christmas or birthday. Picking up on the Dursleys' neglect, she invites him over to stay at the Burrow for weeks at a time every year, feeding him and providing for him out of the scant resources available to her own family. She mothers him and loves because she knows that he needs it, sometimes against his wishes. She sacrifices her own sense of safety to make sure that he is safe and cared for. And that doesn't even comes close to the fact that she raised seven children who were loyal and brave, all of whom came back to help him fight Lord Voldemort when the night was darkest. She killed one of his most loyal followers. She lost a son in his war.

Molly Weasley didn't have to give Harry anything, but she gave him everything anyway and lived to be the matriarch of a wide and happy family, safe from the threats that she had faced twice in one lifetime. She gave Harry a mother he could always come home to, and in that way, she's just as important as The Boy Who Lived.