20 January 2011


Character Connection 19

Link up your own post about a character you love
--or even a character you love to hate--
at The Introverted Reader!

One rule of this weekly meme is to avoid spoilers. I stand wholeheartedly behind that, of course, but see that it's a little tricky now that I want to feature a character who gets to grow throughout a series.

The last book has already been written, but I'm not going to go that far in his development. Instead, I'll write about him as I knew him for years--until just two weeks ago, really, when I finally learned whether my faith in him had been misplaced or not.

Percy Weasley
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by J.K. Rowling

"He went completely berserk. He said--well, he said loads of terrible stuff. He said he's been having to struggle against Dad's lousy reputation ever since he joined the Ministry and that Dad's got no ambition and that's why we've always been--you know--not had a lot of money, I mean . . .

". . . And it got worse. He said Dad was an idiot to run around with Dumbledore, that Dumbledore was heading for big trouble and that Dad was going to go down with him, and that he--Percy--knew where his loyalty lay and it was with the Ministry. And if Mum and Dad were going to become traitors to the Ministry he was going to make sure everyone knew that he didn't belong to our family anymore. And he packed his bags the same night and left . . ."

Percy has always, always been my favourite Weasley brother. I have loved him from the very beginning--since, I think, the scene in The Sorcerer's Stone in which Professor Quirrell bursts into the Great Hall to announce that a troll is in the dungeons and Dumbledore orders the prefects to lead the rest of the students back to their dormitories immediately. For that order was virtually a magic spell which transformed Percy before my mind's eye. As the text itself says, he was "in his element."

And that, fellow Potter-heads, is an epic deal.

Seriously, have you ever seen someone in his element? It's a truly beautiful sight. Think: Harry in a Quidditch match, Hermione in the library, Neville in a Herbology class. If it hadn't been for Percy's bossiness and insistence on abiding by the rules, I'll bet half the Gryffindor House would have run straight into the troll's arms. He so saved them.

Rowling makes much of Ron's feelings of inferiority next to his older brothers, but it is Percy who is the classic "middle child." His eldest brother is a good-looking, rebellious treasure-hunter; the next in line is a tough, heavily-muscled dragon keeper; the two right after him are twins with a genius for practical pranks; his youngest brother becomes the Harry Potter's best friend; and then there is a girl. Add to that the fact that Percy doesn't exactly have a winning personality and that his only real talent of keeping everyone in line is subverted by his own gloriously disorderly family . . . It's not fun to be him, is it?

His great ambition is to do well in politics--a field in which, he must have hoped, his organizational skills could finally win him some appreciation. And if you've read The Goblet of Fire, you saw that he really does work his buttoned-up bum off in order to prove himself. Indeed, it's kind of heartbreaking to think that he doesn't have much to show at the end of his first year: his siblings remain totally unimpressed and his boss . . . . Well, I'd better not put that spoiler in here!

Then we come to The Order of the Phoenix, where we learn that he has actually been promoted but that his own Ministry-employed father's reaction is to warn him that he only got it because the Minister of Magic wanted a spy in the Weasley family. Well, no wonder he goes "completely berserk"!

Since I promised not to say how he fares in the next two books, we'll have to leave it at this. But let me say at least that Rowling obviously never loved him as much as she should have.

Image Source: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling


Lesa said...

dang, this post nearly brought tears to my eyes! And Percy wasn't even my favorite Weasley! But the thought of someone in their element is moving-- Poor Percy- I hadn't thought of middle-child syndrome but you are exactly right!!

Enbrethiliel said...


Wow! I don't think anything I've posted here has ever brought anyone near tears before. But since most people I know "in real life" seem to think that Percy is an arse, I thought I'd go all out in defending him!

IntrovertedJen said...

Well, I can't say that I hated Percy, but I can't say I like him either. For someone who really does generally abide by the rules, it's odd that I do tend have a problem with those who try to shove them down my throat.

That said, you have made me see Percy in an entirely different light. Once you wrote this, everything you said made perfect sense, I had just never looked beyond the officious "arse" that Rowling herself had painted him to be. I wonder if she would even be surprised by what you see in him?

I love this post.

Belfry Bat said...

Remember Penelope Clearwater.

Syrin said...

I think one of the problems I had with Percy is that he seems like he really belongs in Slytherin. Rowling swears that not all Slytherins are evil/bad, even though pretty much every one of them she features is. Supposedly, the main characteristic of being a Slytherin is a desire to get ahead, valuing personal achievement before everything else. Percy, in his quest to be Prefect/Head Boy/Ministry employee, certainly seems to fit that characteristic.

I like what you said about him being in his element. I didn't really notice it when I read it, but you're right. There is nothing better than seeing someone (particularly someone you care about) doing what they love doing the most.

Enbrethiliel said...


Jen: The funny thing is that I don't usually like those sorts of people who shove the rules down our throats, either . . . and yet I totally took to Percy! Perhaps it's different when they're "in their element"? LOL!

Bat: You'll have to lead me a bit more, as I'm not sure what you're getting at. Weren't prefects allowed to date and such?

(Funnily enough, I did forget all about Penelope until The Deathly Hallows. If I recall correctly, Hermione has to come up with a fake identity, and Penelope's name is the first one she thinks of. And I racked my brains for days before remembering who Penelope was. She just drops out of the story, doesn't she? Poor Percy . . .)

Syrin: Percy as a Slytherin?!?! That's an interesting thought! I never really considered it . . .

Hmmmm. Not to shoot your idea down now (because I actually quite like it), but I think that Percy's real desire is not simply to get ahead in the world, but to prove himself to his family. Perhaps he was going to start with his father, by following Mr. Weasley into the Ministry . . . but that didn't go that well, did it?

In that scene from the first book, Percy kind of reminded me of an Australian sheepdog. =P They're kind of annoying, yeah, but only if you're one of the sheep (LOL!). But the shepherds value them because they get the job done.

Lu said...

I understand Percy on some level. But wow I think the things he did to his family (because in my opinion he was ashamed of where he came from) was just wrong.

Sometimes you just need to swallow your pride and get a backbone :P

So not a big Percy Fan on this side :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Well, we can't all be Percy fans. =)

Also, I really don't think he is that bad to his family! LOL! He just doesn't speak to any of them for two years, if I remember correctly. He doesn't act as a double agent or try to betray them in some way. He is visibly uncomfortable when acting on Scrimgeour's orders to pretend he wanted to visit the Burrow--and I don't think he's ashamed of their humble home as much as he is embarrassed to be acting as Scrimgeour's flimsy excuse.

But I guess I'm extra sympathetic because the "Dumbledore says so" line was really old to me by the end of The Order of the Phoenix. =P It's perfectly reasonable for someone like Percy to be loyal to the Ministry during such a crisis.

And now it occurs to me that Sirus Black is a kind of anti-Percy. Sirius really is ashamed of his family and willing to denounce them to anyone who will listen, to the point that even the house elf (who really has a kind, sensitive heart) absolutely turns against him.

Thanks for visiting, Lu! Your comment helped me give the series more thought, so it's highly appreciated. =) We can agree to disagree on Percy. ;-)