From the moment Harry Potter stepped onto Kings Cross Platform, he was aided by a family of redheads who would go on to change his life, as well as the history of the Wizarding World. They are powerful, smart, determined, just, and extremely loyal. They are, of course, the Weasley family. The Weasley's have been a part of Harry's adventure since the very beginning, and have shown him (and the books' readers) the wonders of the Wizarding World. But who exactly are the Weasley's, and what do we know about them? Beyond the number of children and their hair color, there's a surprising amount of information that's not widely known. So, here are some little-known Weasley family facts for the inquiring witch and wizard.
While it's no secret that the Weasley's are a Pureblood family (descended from a long line of witches and wizards), their pedigree is more impressive than is realized. According to Rowling's Pottermore website, according to an anonymous registry made in the 1930s, the Weasley's are considered one of the oldest Wizarding families in all of England. These 28 families were referred to as the "Sacred 28", and gave Voldemort a recruiting list to pick from for his Death Eaters. While the Weasley's would view such a list as unimportant at best, it's still remarkable to see just how long magic has been in their family.
After the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Wizarding World enters a long era of peace. For the Weasley's specifically, this means settling down and creating families with their loved ones. The next generation of Weasley family totals 12 in number, which is a significant number in the Harry Potter franchise. The number twelve occurs frequently in the franchise, from 12 Grimmauld Place, the number of uses of dragons blood, the number of hands on Dumbledore's watch, and much more. While perhaps not intentional, it would make sense if J.K. had perhaps snuck that in as one last reference to the reoccurring number.
Weasley is our king, indeed. Many of the Weasley brood and their extended family have names relating to Arthurian figures. Arthur Weasley could easily be named after King Arthur, and Percy after Sir Percival of the Round Table. Ginny Weasley's full name is Ginevra, which is the Italian form of Guinevere, who is King Arthur's queen. Even Aunt Muriel (who is related to the Weasley's by marriage) mentions a Lancelot in her family.
Even Ron has a vague connection to Arthurian legend. Arthur's spear is named Rhongomyniad, which is referred to as "Ron" by Geoffery of Monmouth, the British cleric who translated many Arthurian legends and ensured its popularity today.
Percy Weasley has quite a rough go of it during the books. After being treated like an outcast from several of his family members during his time at Hogwarts, he choses to back the Ministry's stance that Harry is lying about Voldemort's return, alienating himself from his family. Adding in a last second return to his family during the Battle of Hogwarts, only to have his brother Fred die in front of him, would age any many considerably. As such, Percy is reported to have gone grey and is considerably balding after the Battle of Hogwarts, as reported during the 2014 Quidditch World Cup match by Rita Skeeter.
The two troublemakers of the Weasley family, Fred and George are a duo whose chaos cannot be denied. From throwing snowballs at Voldemort to completely overthrowing Umbridge's tyrannical takeover of Hogwarts, the twins are tried and true pranksters.
It may interest fans to know then that of the two of them, Fred is the eldest twin. J.K. confirmed as such in a 2015 tweet, claiming she "thought it was obvious" which one was older.
While the Weasley's are known for their Pureblood status, there's some nonmagical blood that has worked its way into the family tree. As mentioned in the first book, Molly Weasley has a second cousin who's a stockbroker that the family doesn't talk about much. Given that a second cousin is the child of your parents' cousin, it's unclear on how there's nonmagical blood. Molly Weasley comes from a clearly magical family, so unless this cousin is a Squib or is somehow a child from a previous marriage it's hard to imagine how that relation came to be.
Several changes occured during the writing and editing process of the books. Characters names and personalities changed, with some characters being removed altogether. But one constant has been the Weasley name. J.K. has said several times that the last name of our favorite red-headed family has always been Weasley. Given her love for weasels and the bad reputation the animals have in the U.K. and Ireland, she wanted to have a more positive association with the creatures. Thus, characters like Ron Weasley have had their name consistently the same since the very beginning.
While all of the characters in Harry Potter go on to have long and exciting lives after the Battle of Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley goes on to smash expectations. After marrying Harry, she becomes a professional Quidditch player sometime in the 2000s, playing for her favorite team the Holyhead Harpies for a number of years.
She retired sometime after that due to having her children, where she then became the senior Quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet. Ginny would eventually become the sports editor for the Prophet, a role she seems to continue up into the epilogue of the seventh book.
Not all of the Weasley's were going to be kind, caring, supportive characters. At one point during the writing of Goblet of Fire, J.K. had toyed with creating a Weasley cousin named Mafalda. Mafalda would have been distantly related to the stockbroker cousin, and would thus be sent to live with the Weasley clan. She was reportedly going to be horrible and would be sorted into Slytherin, becoming a spy for them. There would have been further contention with Hermione, as the two would have become academic rivals. The character was eventually replaced by Rita Skeeter, who plays the role of an undermining and manipulative character who becomes Hermione's rival perfectly.
After the death of Cedric Diggory in Goblet of Fire, it became apparent that characters in the series were no longer safe. J.K. had planned for the Golden Trio to make it to the end of the series from the very beginning. However, midway through the series the author was reportedly in a bad emotional state due to depression, and contemplated killing off Ron halfway through the series. While J.K. ultimately found she couldn't kill off such a beloved character, it's startling to think of a book series that didn't have Ron in it the entire time.