Fred and George Weasley are two of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter universe. Over the course of the series, we watched them grow from silly teenage boys to entrepreneuring jokesters to courageous fighters in the Order of the Phoenix. No matter how dark the books got, both the readers and the characters could always count on the Weasley twins to pop up at some point and bring a smile to their face.
They’re more than just comic relief, though. As she did with all of her characters, J.K. Rowling made sure to give the twins enough attention to make them well-rounded people. Some of the details she wrote about the pair are well-known, but other bits of trivia are pretty well hidden. Even the most die-hard fans miss things sometimes.
Want to learn more about your favorite pair of troublemaking twins? Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Weasley Twins.
15. Fred was born first
Ever wondered which Weasley twin is older? No need — J.K. Rowling confirmed on Twitter in 2015 that Fred is the older of the two. Fittingly, Fred is more independent than his brother, and he tends to take the lead both in their relationship and in their interactions with others. He’s also the first twin to crack a joke in the movies. When Harry sees the Weasley family at Platform 9 and 3 / 4, Mrs. Weasley is in the middle of herding her children to the train. Fred pretends to be George and is mock offended that his own mother can’t tell them apart, before cheekily telling the truth just before dashing through the barrier.
Rowling has stated that she thought that the twins’ birth order was obvious. This might be because F comes before G in the alphabet (would Mrs. Weasley have done that on purpose?), or perhaps it’s because of their personalities.
14. George is the quiet twin
It seems impossible that there could be a ‘quiet’ Weasley twin, but quiet is entirely relative in this case. Because the twins are so similar, it can be hard to pick out any differences between them. After all, they often finish each other’s sentences, they’re rarely seen without the other, and more often than not, they seem to be halves of a whole instead of individuals. However, as the older twin, Fred is also the ringleader. Even though their personalities are almost as identical as their faces, George tends to follow his big brother.
Most of the twins’ schemes are devised by Fred, with George serving as an eager participant and fellow mischievous mastermind. Fred also tends to begin sentences more often, though George can complete his thoughts easily. Fred’s slightly louder personality is evidenced by the number of times he’s mentioned in the books. He grabs over half of the mentions of the Weasley twins throughout the original seven books — 905 to George’s 731.
13. They’re only seriously injured when they’re apart
The Weasley twins give new meaning to the phrase “stronger together.” As a duo, they’re an unstoppable force of jokes, pranks, and good humor. It seems like they can accomplish anything — after all, they managed to win the loyalty of the notorious Peeves. On their own, however, they’re far more vulnerable.
Apart from small injuries like nosebleeds or bruises (or self-inflicted, Skiving Snackbox sickness), neither twin is really hurt until Deathly Hallows. Towards the beginning of the book, they split up after taking Polyjuice Potion to become two of the several Harry Potters leaving Privet Drive. In the ensuing battle, George loses an ear to a Sectumsempra curse cast by Snape. George losing something that’s part of a pair foreshadows the more significant loss later on, when Fred is killed after a wall explodes. Although Percy and Ron were in the corridor where Fred died, George was elsewhere in the castle, unable to help his brother.
12. Fred’s name is Bellatrix’s last word
In spite of the scene that still haunts fans nearly ten years later, Fred’s death in Deathly Hallows isn’t the last time that the Weasley twin is mentioned. When Mrs. Weasley pushes aside Hermione, Ginny, and Luna to start dueling Bellatrix Lestrange, at first, the Death Eater is amused by her eager challenger. It doesn’t take long for her to start taunting Mrs. Weasley.
Bellatrix even has the gall to ask what happens “when Mummy’s gone the same way as Freddie?” That turns out to be the last mistake she’d ever make. Just as she starts laughing at her own evil brand of humor, Mrs. Weasley’s curse hits her right in the chest. You don’t mess with Molly Weasley’s children, and you especially don’t taunt her about a loss only hours old. Fred probably would have found a way to joke about his name being the last thing Bellatrix said — or if he didn’t, George would undoubtedly make fun of him for it instead.
11. They invented several spells
Fred and George weren’t exactly known for their academic success. They’re the only Weasley brothers who don’t become prefects, they only scraped a handful of OWLs together between the two of them, and they dropped out of Hogwarts in a literal blaze of fireworks. However, just like the kids who ace standardized tests but flunk their classes, the twins were much smarter than they let on.
Their joke shop is legendary among both the Harry Potter characters and real-world fans who visit its incarnation at Universal Studios, but not everyone realizes that they invented their own spells to bring their inventions to life. Daydream Charms are their invention, and their line of Shield Clothing required manipulating the Protego Charm. Even Hermione is impressed by the way they manage to extend the area of the charm from the enchanted object to the wearer. They may not have been sorted into Ravenclaw, but the twins were geniuses in their own way.
10. They were born on April Fools’ Day
Although their birthday is never mentioned in the books, J.K. Rowling has confirmed that the twins’ birthday is April 1, April Fools’ Day, better known as the day you don’t believe anything you read on the internet. It’s the perfect birthday for a pair of pranksters, and it makes sense that the author would choose the day where everyone is poking fun at one another. Can you really imagine them being born any other day?
The fact that their birthday is April Fools’ Day is usually enough of a trivia fact for most fans, but it’s even more perfect if you stop to think about the astrology. Rowling did take astrological signs into account when creating her characters’ birthdays; Harry, for example, is a Leo, which is fitting for a Gryffindor. Fred and George, meanwhile, are Aries, a sign known for people who are daring, confident, charismatic, and resourceful. It’s no accident that JKR chose to put the twins’ birthday smack in the middle of Aries season.
9. Filming Fred’s death only took five takes
Fred’s death wasn’t just hard on the fans who had loved him for so long. In the movie world, it also took its toll on the actors, who had to bring to life the grief that his family members would have felt in such a heart-wrenching scenario.
Fred’s death itself isn’t actually shown on screen. (That’s a common misconception — there is a scene where a twin is shown being dramatically disarmed in slow motion, but this is George, not Fred.) Instead, the emotional punch is packed when we see his family crying over his body. The crew only shot five takes of the scene before Oliver Phelps, who played George, had to stop. It was too emotionally draining for him to have to imagine mourning his brother. The finished scene feels even more heartbreaking because his emotion was so genuine.
8. They’re responsible for Ron’s arachnophobia
Ron’s fear of spiders is such a key part of his character that it’s hard to picture him without his paralyzing fear. But Ron actually wasn’t always so terrified of spiders — he has his older brothers to thank for that one.
Ron explains briefly in Chamber of Secrets that he had made the twins angry when they were little kids, so Fred and George transfigured his teddy bear into a giant spider in revenge. Poor Ron, traumatized by his favorite stuffed animal suddenly growing eight legs and eyes, could never look at spiders the same way again.
A detail that tends to get lost in this anecdote is just how young the twins were. They weren’t yet old enough to attend Hogwarts, but somehow they had enough magical control to successfully Transfigure an object without wands. This was either a slip on Rowling’s part or an early sign of just how magically talented the Weasley twins would grow up to be.
7. They were written out of the will of their Great-Aunt Muriel
Remember Auntie Muriel? The cranky relative who loans Fleur her goblin-made tiara for the wedding but complains about everything the entire time? (Everyone probably has a relative they think of when they read about this character.) Fred and George managed to tick her off so much that she wrote them out of her will. Since goblin-made anything is pretty expensive in the wizarding world, we can assume that Auntie Muriel is living pretty well. Writing them out of her will was supposed to hurt.
What did they do to deserve such punishment? Apparently, they let off a Dungbomb under her chair at family Christmas. Auntie Muriel never returned for Christmas time with the Weasley family, a fact that no one seems to mourn. We wouldn’t be surprised if that was one of the few times Mrs. Weasley approved of the twins’ pranks.
6. Their shop’s address is an easter egg
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is one of the few shops that actually has an address specifically stated. In both the books and the movies, you can find the famous joke shop at 93 Diagon Alley.
Okay, you might be thinking, but why should I care what the address of their joke shop is?
Because it’s actually yet another wink from Rowling that she slipped into the books for eagle-eyed fans to find. (She did that a lot.) When you add together their address numbers, 9 and 3, you get a significant number in the Potter world — 12.
12 Grimmauld Place is one of the most famous instances of the number, but there are many other significant appearances: Dumbledore discovers the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, there are twelve people on the Hogwarts school board, Sirius spent twelve years in Azkaban…Rowling hiding the number 12 in the twins’ address is a sign to take the twins’ new venture seriously.
5. Dudley was their first test subject for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
Order of the Phoenix is the book where the twins’ plans for a joke shop really begin to start taking shape. Aided by Harry’s Triwizard Tournament earnings, Fred and George can finally start developing their own line of products. They test their new experiments on themselves and their enemies throughout the year, before finally setting up their very own store.
Even though their entrepreneurial spirit is most visible from Book 5 on, OotP isn’t the first time we see their products. Our first hint is in Goblet of Fire, in a scene that was cut from the movies. The Weasleys arrive at Number 4 Privet Drive to take Harry to the Quidditch World Cup. Fred “accidentally” drops a Ton-Tongue Toffee, which Dudley predictably picks up and eats. His tongue grows so large that he nearly chokes on it before Uncle Vernon lets Mr. Weasley make it right.
4. George was the better Quidditch player
Both twins were fantastic Quidditch players. According to Oliver Wood, they were two of the best Beaters that the Gryffindor Quidditch team ever had. Harry, who is a natural Seeker, is impressed by how Fred and George seem to have perfect aim. Even McGonagall showed herself to be a fan, when she wasn’t screaming at Lee Jordan for his commentary, that is. It’s safe to say that nothing except for an enchanted Bludger could make it past this dynamic duo.
However, George held the edge over his twin. Based off of mentions in the books, George got to one of the two Bludgers more often than Fred did, making him a more effective player. George is mentioned hitting a Bludger six times in Quidditch scenes, while Fred gets three nods. (That number might seem low, but given how many other things are usually happening when Harry plays Quidditch, this makes sense.) Since Fred bests George in nearly every other category, at least George had something to hold over his big brother’s head.
3. They accidentally helped Malfoy figure out the Vanishing Cabinet
Vanishing Cabinets become important objects in the Potterverse in Half-Blood Prince, when Malfoy uses the twin cabinets to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts. Thanks to Rowling’s meticulous planning, though, HBP wasn’t the first time that the Vanishing Cabinets were mentioned. Harry actually hides in the Borgin and Burke’s cabinet in Chamber of Secrets, when he’s trying to avoid being seen by the Malfoys. And Fred and George push Montague into the Hogwarts cabinet in Order of the Phoenix.
Fred and George didn’t necessarily realize that it was a broken cabinet that would send him into limbo — they just knew it was a Vanishing Cabinet and that Montague was trying to take points away from them. Montague had to Apparate out to escape, but he realized that he was stuck between two places. He would later share that information with Draco, who used his testimony to figure out the link between the cabinets in Hogwarts and Knockturn Alley.
2. They may have been named in honor of their maternal uncles
Before Fred and George, there was another pair of brothers who raised hell during the First Wizarding War. They were the older brothers of Molly Weasley, then Molly Prewett. Her older brothers were Fabian and Gideon. Get it? Fabian and Gideon, Fred and George.
We never meet her brothers in the books, as they were both killed during Voldemort’s initial rise to power. They were part of the original Order of the Phoenix and were apparently highly skilled wizards — according to Moody, they fought like heroes, and it took five Death Eaters to bring them down. Mrs. Weasley rarely mentions them, but they were clearly very important to her. She even gives Harry Fabian’s watch for his seventeenth birthday, which she has kept and treasured through the years. It makes sense that she would want to honor their memories by creating a reference to them with the names of her twin sons. Speaking of which…
1. Their names foreshadow Fred’s death
The names Fred and George don’t just serve as a way to look back at the original Resistance. They also have a historical context — and if you’re a history buff, you may have seen one of the most tragic deaths in the series coming a mile away.
You probably know King George III because he ruled over Great Britain from 1760-1820 — he was the king from whom the United States declared its independence. What you may not know, however, is that George III only became king because of the early death of Frederick, Prince of Wales.
Lest you think this is just a funny coincidence, consider the fact that George III was also deaf in one ear.
When asked about Fred and George’s names, Rowling said she chose them because she liked them and because they fit with the old-fashioned feel of the other Weasley names. However, this was also years before Deathly Hallows was published, so she wasn’t about to give the game up yet.
Did we miss an important piece of trivia about our favorite Potterverse twins? Let us know in the comments!