by Adina Ciment
As far as the Literary Mother of the Year awards go, Mrs. Weasley became a contender from the moment she helped Harry Potter get onto Platform 9 ¾ in the first book. But her title was clinched forever in Book Seven of the series when she brandished her wand against Bellatrix Lestrange and yelled those five little words heard across the Potterverse: “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
It was a moment that spawned a facebook group of over 100,000 members, numerous comics, and an entirely new group of loyal Mrs. Weasley fans. All of a sudden, “Mollywobbles” was a badass. A force to be reckoned with outside of the burrow. A woman who could hold her own.
Truth is, I had known that all along.
My relationship with Mrs. Weasley has changed over the years. When I first met her, way back in 1998, she the worried mother - always cooking, knitting some God-awful sweater, or generally fretting over her children and their eating habits. But Mrs. Weasley is far from any one-dimensional archetype. As a mother of seven children, she struggles with the different personalities of her children and her philosophy as a parent changes. She is exasperated with the twins, Fred and George, whose constant jokes and pranks set them on a path she doesn’t particularly approve of nor want to endorse. She scuffles with her eldest son’s choice of a fiancée and even tries to get him interested in another girl. She grieves as her son Percy takes sides against the family and alienates himself from them. But while she tries to control and guide her children, she is able to let go when she has to. In the end, though her opinion is heard loud and clear, she lets her children make their own choices.
As I read the books, my own children were growing up and I found myself relating to Mrs. Weasley more and more. I noticed my kid’s differences and quickly realized that what worked for one, did not necessarily work for all. I suddenly started wishing for a clock that could tell me where all my children were (though hopefully not all in “Mortal Peril” as the Weasley clock so often indicated). I wished I had access to a Howler to reprimand one of my kids more effectively than an angry text message. I loved the Weasley home – The Burrow. The house is a mess, there isn’t that much money, and the father has strange hobbies, but there is always room for more, there’s always enough food, and everyone manages. Everyone feels at home.
It is Mrs. Weasley’s strength that ultimately shines at the end of the series. By the time Book Seven came out, I had five children of my own, and I finally “got” Molly. That’s why I wasn’t surprised at her actions during the Battle of Hogwarts. There were times I wanted to sweep into my daughter’s sixth grade class and pull out a wand on some of those mean girls. Times I wanted to sit in my son’s class and go “Crucio!” all over the teacher. For all her worrying and her crying, Mrs. Weasley is more than just a bundle of wizarding neuroses. More than a stereotype. Long before she bested Bellatrix, Molly Weasley was fighting for her children and her family and every person who once sat at her table.
Mrs. Weasley’s role moves from the periphery of the earlier books to a more formidable one as she becomes “mom” to everyone. To her children, to Harry, even to other characters like the ever-changing Tonks, the moody Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black. She is their comforter, their confidante, and their supporter. When necessary, she scolds children and adults alike and does not back off when anyone she loves is on the line.
And that’s what being a mom is all about.