Thursday, January 21, 2010

Arthur Weasley: Bad At His Job.

I’d like to take a moment, if I may, to discuss one Arthur Weasley. Art is notable for being one of the only positive father figures in the whole of the Harry Potter series, and the only one to survive the series. He is married to Molly Weasley, and they have 178 red-haired children. Okay, seven, but that’s still a lot for someone on his salary. See, he’s a minor government functionary in the Ministry of Magic, which is british for Department of Magic. His specific role is in the not-terribly glamorous… sorry, glamourous Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office. This extremely vaguely-defined department policed spells placed on mundane objects to make them do things other than what they were intended for. Like you can enchant your tea kettle to boil on its own, but not to bite intruders. Except they were all the time trying to keep them away from Muggles entirely, so maybe you couldn’t even do the first thing. Except that every dang magic person in England does all their housework by magic. Maybe it’s only spells that remain on the object? Whatever. I’m not here to explain his job. Just why he stinks at it.

(I've noticed that people on message boards who rant and rave over minor appearance issues in the movies never seem to care that Movie!Arithur has hair and no glasses. This is either because those kind of people idolize Chris Columbus and idealize his soulless schlockfests of movies, or because it's Arthur Weasley, so who gives a crap?)

See, Ron is all the time telling anyone who’ll listen that his father could be promoted any time he wants, he just stays at his job because he likes it. You know, when it comes to defenses, “My dad’s not stupid, just lazy,” is not one of the best. Also, I’m not so sure he is any good at his job. He has a tendency to steal from the office. You know, paper clips, pens, creamer, A CAR. Yes, in Artie’s garage is a Ford Anglia that he has magically modified to fly, to be bigger on the inside than the outside, and to turn invisible. Yes, like a cop who deals drugs, Arthur goes home and does exactly the thing he’s paid by the government to stop other people doing. But he only does it because he’s so fascinated by Muggles, right?

(Apparently this artist reads about Arthur and thinks "Creepy English Professor.")

Well, let’s see. Among Mr. Weasley’s wonderings about Muggle life include the specific workings of batteries, bus stops, and “escapators”, which are all pretty self-evident. He collects plugs, though he is uncertain of how they work. He can’t figure out appropriate postage, which I guess he finds more complicated than paying a bird to carry your mail. His dearest wish, the books tell us, is to learn how airplanes fly. This guy works in London. Even if he somehow can’t grasp the concept of public transportation, there are several large and notable libraries he could go to. Hell, if he can figure out a computer, five minutes on Google could get him everything he needs to… Oh, wait, the books ended in 1997. Okay, 40 minutes on AltaVista.

(Arthur Weasley and the Hat of Unimpeachable Dignity)

It’s hard to say what his most bone-headed error is. Probably trying to stitch himself up after being attacked by a magic snake. Actually, since the snakes venom was stopping any magical attempts to heal him, that’s not a bad idea, even if he only had a vague clue how it worked, and was mostly guessing. And unlike most wizards his age, he knows how to dress, in a snazzy pair of pinstripe pants and a bomber jacket. Plus, he’s a caring father who raised his kids to be good people. Sure, he really should have tried for a more profitable position, but when the one of your seven progeny who turns evil turns good again, that‘s pretty good for a wizard. And his wife killed the biggest badass on the villain’s side, so good on her. Yup, ol’ Arthur’s got quite a lot on the ball.

But seriously, man… Muggles are your job.


  1. If I were a zombie, your brain would be filet mignon.

    --Rob Pivarnik