Why do you care so much about Fred Weasley’s death? {Deathly Hallows “Spoiler” Warning!}

13 Jul

Artist Unknown

But the question people really want to ask is—why do you care about Fred’s death so much?  Most people think I’m just being silly or passionate, since I’m often both silly and passionate.  But I am absolutely serious in my denial of Fred’s death.  When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released on June 21, 2007, I was still reeling from my grandmother’s death, which happened on July 31, 2005.  It was a tumultuous time in my life for many reasons, but I do get emotional around the dates of specific events, like April 23 when I almost died (2001) and October 31 (also 2001, rough year) when my parents’ divorce was official.  So when I started reading Deathly Hallows, I was already emotional.

By the time I reached page 637, I knew that Fred was going to die.  Several friends who read the book ahead of me told me that this was going to happen, so I steeled myself for one of the worst death scenes in the book.  I mean, a flash of whatever and Fred’s dead?!  Not even an individual reaction from George?  If you’re going to kill off one of the Weasley twins, at least give me some space to react to it.  Same with Tonks and Lupin…and their deaths didn’t even warrant an explanation.  To say I cried is an understatement; I mourned the death of Fred Weasley.  I carried it with me like a sickness, and I knew it was stupid.  I knew he was just some character in a book.  And I knew that crying about him wasn’t going to change the world.

Despite how I berated myself for having such a strong reaction to something so small, I wasn’t just reacting to Fred’s death.  I was reacting to the pain of my grandmother’s death—how the process of her death actually took a week, how she begged to die, and how God didn’t make any sense to me at that time.  I also reacted to my grandfather’s death (January 6, 2006).  He broke his hip and died of renal failure after hours of suffering.  I sat beside him holding his hand as he moaned in agony while my mom made plans to move him to a nursing home—plans which never came to fruition.

Also, if Fred and George could be separated, then why not Amy and Sarah?  Sarah is my dearest, closest, most-beloved friend.  She is the sister I never had, the friend I’ve always prayed for, the best roommate in the world and one of the most important people in my life.   If George could lose Fred, then I could lose Sarah.  I always thought that either both twins would die or neither would die, but that’s not what J.K. Rowling chose to do, and I do resent her for it.  I really do.  Because I cannot imagine losing Sarah, I cannot imagine George losing Fred.  It is simply too much for my heart to bear.

Plot wise, Fred’s death bites at the heart of the Weasley family, and the tragedy reunites Percy with his estranged family.  Fred and George are generally harmless, even in their trickery, so killing one of the twins shows the cruelty of war and how it affects families.  Fred’s death also sets up Mrs. Weasley’s showdown with Bellatrix Lestrange.  Bellatrix taunts Mrs. Weasley with Fred’s death, goes after Ginny, producing one of the best scenes of all—Mrs. Weasley blasting Bellatrix to smithereens.  No one can deny that “Not my daughter, you b—-!” is a great line, even if it does involve a naughty word.

Artist unknown. But the twins have freckles, like they do in the books!

While I understand why J.K. Rowling chose to kill Fred Weasley and a lot of other great characters (apparently choosing them to die from the beginning), I simply don’t want to live in a world where Fred Weasley doesn’t exist.  That world seems like a sadder, crueler, too real a place to live—generally not a place I like to be when I read fiction for amusement.  It was, in fact, the Harry Potter books that helped me after my grandparents’ death.  I’m not saying that I didn’t trust God or read my Bible.  But when I needed a relief from all that emotion, I read the Harry Potter books.  I could momentarily escape into an adventure that didn’t involve my finances, my grandparents’ deaths, my mental illness, my mom’s marriage to a sociopath; it was my escape.  What happens, then, when your escape is met with the death of a favorite character?  Do you revel in the good times?  Do you ignore it?  Or do you simply write your own happy ending?  I do all of the above.

I like my happy endings tied up with a bow, and that didn’t happy for Fred Weasley (and I only found out about George’s through some random JKR interview).  This is fiction, which means anything that is written can be re-written, particularly in the world of fantasy!  My mind can simply substitute “Fred” and put in “Percy”—looks like Percy’s dead and Fred’s alive.  Or I can conjure up a way for George to bring Fred back using a Time Turner (or maybe read a fan fiction where someone did just that).  There are a bazillion reasons why Fred doesn’t have to be dead—the only limit is one’ own imagination.

Sure, there are some purists out there who argue that Fred’s death is part of the Harry Potter canon and blah, blah, blah.  That’s fine.  If you want to live a boring life without Fred Weasley, so be it.  However, I choose to live in a world where Fred and George run Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes to a ripe old age passing it down to their daughters, where Dobby learns to knit and opens his own sock company, and where Teddy is raised in a loving home by his parents, Tonks and Lupin.

You might say I’m living in some sort of fantasy world, and I’d have to agree.  It’s called the world of Harry Potter and you should visit it sometime; your imagination is feeling neglected.

Oh, and one more thing—don’t worry about what you read in the book or see in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2; Fred is very much alive!  George and I would have it no other way.

“When I’m 80 years old, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. My family will say, ‘After all this time?’ and I will say ‘Always.’” – Alan Rickman (actor who portrays Severus Snape. HT to Hira!)

Click to view full size. Artist unknown.

Advertisements

13 Responses to “Why do you care so much about Fred Weasley’s death? {Deathly Hallows “Spoiler” Warning!}”

  1. Andye July 13, 2011 at 9:20 PM #

    Love.

    That is all.

  2. Alyssa July 15, 2011 at 3:09 AM #

    Any time you dare deviate from precious canon, some people find it necessary to attack you. I’m used to it in the Star Trek fandom. Actually, in that fandom, I don’t even bother saying anything against canon, because the second someone thinks you’re “getting it wrong,” they viciously attack you, apparently under the impression that their 10,000-word essay citing 20 episodes, 4 novels, 30 wiki articles, and 10 director/cast interviews will somehow impress you into admitting you’re less of a fan than they are. Instead of, you know, accepting that people can have different interpretations of the same thing, or that people might choose to stick to their own interpretation even when the creators/directors themselves decide to clarify. The Harry Potter fandom is actually a fluffy bunny compared to the way some fandoms get defensive about canon. In some fandoms, if you write a fanfiction ignoring a death, like it’s common to see fanfics ignoring Sirius’s death, Fred’s death, Dumbledore’s death, etc., you’d be roasted alive.

    Anyway… got kind of off-track there, I guess.

    I totally get your point. Although Fred’s death didn’t hit me quite as hard emotionally as, say, Sirius’s death, I still felt absolutely horrible about it, for all the reasons you mentioned. I thought it was particularly cruel to kill one of the twins and would have even been better to kill both.

    I don’t see anything wrong with ignoring a character’s death, or a relationship/pairing you don’t like, or any other aspect of a story. The story might be copyrighted, but now it belongs to the readers as much as to anyone.

  3. Amy July 15, 2011 at 12:08 PM #

    Alyssa, wow, some fans are rabid. I mean, if you’re gonna write fan fiction at least have fun with it, right? Thanks for your comment(s). They cheered me right up! And I got shot in the foot today. OK, it’s actually a shot (with a needle) into my foot, but still, you get the picture. I needed some good cheer.

  4. Michelle January 14, 2012 at 8:40 PM #

    Aww, Fred’s death was so sad that I was bawling, but I couldn’t ignore it. He was no longer living; I couldn’t deny the fact. At that time that I read the book, I had not yet begun writing fanfiction or drawing fan art, and even though I do it now I would never dream of making a world in which Fred survived. The deaths add some sorrow and things I can’t describe, almost this connection to real life, to the books. Death exists, and you have to be ready to face it when it comes time, just like all of the brave characters did when they fought till their death. Another thing, Fred’s death, and the death of many other characters, triggered other actions, such as Molly’s attack on Bellatrix. Just as in the Prisoner of Azkaban, if we went back in time with a time turner and made sure that Fred lived, the whole sequence of events would be messed up; changing one action changes everything else, no matter how small that action might be.

  5. nguyen thi thuong January 25, 2012 at 10:27 AM #

    I love Fred Weasley terribly much. I always believe that he is still alive and in my heart. Love U- my angel^^

  6. Bob February 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM #

    I think that Death felt sorry for him and gave him another chance.

  7. Monkeysox August 8, 2012 at 1:01 PM #

    I suppose just like that last picture fred just annoyed death and he had him go back to the living. Or he set him up as the guy who gives the baddys hell… hehe, its either that or come up with a fool proof plan involving a time turner experimental wheezes, and something else i cant think of

  8. Caitlyn August 12, 2012 at 3:40 PM #

    you are sooo right I cried when fred died as well as sirius,dobby,mad-eye moody, tonks, lupin ,dumbledore and much more, I like to imagine that sirius had a daughter who was in love with fred and that she sacrificed her self to bring back everyone who died by voldemort or his followers hands even people who died years ago like lily and james potter and they all come back and the girl goes into a dead like state like snow white and when fred leans down and kisses her she wakes and they live happily ever after and beat mr and mr weasley’s record of children. AND when molly says ”Not my daughter you bitch” I was grinning like a lunatic and thinking GO MOLLY in my head, I also liked to read harry potter and just get lost in it and imagine my life in it, it just took my mind of everything going on in my life.Plus in the book it said McGonagal’s scream could be heard over everyone else when they thought harry was dead,It just showed she really cared about Harry,plus the song peeves sings ”We did it we bashed them wee potter’s the one and voldy’s gone moldy so lets have fun” I thought that was sooo funny I just wish Harry Potter was real, I mean you’ve gotta admit when something happens to one of the characters you really care about if their okay or not.I mean look at snape I’m sure most of you thought he was a jerk,but when you heard about his child hood,something just struck right in my heart and then that line,that amazing line ”After all this Time” (Dumbledore) ”Always” (Snape) I forgot all about what he had done in the past and I truly felt sorry for him and I wish He could’ve had a better life,
    Harry Potter will for now and for the rest of eternity There will always be a Place in my heart for Harry potter if my hearts beating or if it’s no longer even in excistence, Forever and Always.

  9. Carter December 2, 2013 at 7:43 PM #

    ~I’m a little late to the party but I decided to leave my two cents~

    I do agree with you that it is okay because I completely respect what you are saying. I didn’t like the fact that Fred’s death happened, but it is important to understand that in life, this is what happens. Life is never fair and that’s sucks but there is nothing you can do about it.

    But one part of your response got me. ‘I like my happy endings tied up with a bow.’ You may like this, but I COMPLETELY disagree. A good author understands that if the bad guys die, the good guys must too. Fred was a martyr in the war. He gave his life for George and the rest of his family to live in a better world. Happy endings leave you with a feeling of satisfaction, but I personally think that books with perfect happy endings are for young children. Happy endings happen in fairy tales and as we grow older we learn that happy endings never are tied up in little bows. Although Harry Potter is set in the magical world, it mirrors lessons in real life; there are more than just good and bad guys and people do bad things even if they are good and people die from both sides even if they didn’t deserve it. In this way, I think that it was important for Fred to die. JK Rowling needed Fred to died, even though it was unimaginable and terrible and he didn’t deserve it, because she needed to make it clear that life is not always fair.

    Even though I finished the books for the first time when I was 8 years old, I would have been disappointed if Fred or Tonks or Lupin had not died because happy endings don’t happen in the real world (particularly them, because they were close to Harry the way Percy never was).

    Let me make this clear: I am not insulting you. I do not think you are childish. I don’t think that you’re stupid. Actually I think that you are quite intelligent, but this is MY opinion.

  10. Shruti February 9, 2014 at 11:13 PM #

    I completely agree with you! Fred’s death broke me. When i read DH for the first time i also knew it already that Fred is going to die and was prepared for it..But,the way Rowling wrote it,it was like somebody had hit me badly..the pain was unbearable. I just sat there holding the book,i was so numb with grief i couldn’t even cry for a day and then next day i cried very badly. so in my universe,i’m keeping fred alive & healthy with george 🙂 long live the twins!

  11. Sophia Tomlinson April 1, 2014 at 2:21 PM #

    This is wonderful. I have never read something so deep about Harry Potter!

  12. Tahls May 4, 2014 at 4:48 PM #

    In my mind he didn’t die, but, in a canonical sense in which he must die (and I’m quoting a Tumblr post here) ‘I believe he became a Hogwarts ghost, imagine it, telling exagerrated(?) versions of his death to anyone that’ll listen, pranking the students and teachers with Peeves (‘specially his nieces and nephews) and flirting with seventh year girls. Skip a hew centuries, George Weasley dies, Fred’s ghost is never seen in Hogwarts again.’

    Ta-Da

  13. Raven November 2, 2014 at 10:54 AM #

    I thought I was the only one who substituted Percy’s name for Fred’s! I mean, it makes more sense in the scene, and is way more ironic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: