*Disclaimer: The following is based on how the characters are depicted in the Harry Potter book series, not in the movies.
For all fans of the Harry Potter series, Fred & George Weasley, the twin brothers of the Weasley family, are literary gems. The middle children in the Weasley’s brood of seven, Fred & George are models of living your best life and making life goals early. Though often used as the comic relief of the Harry Potter series, Fred & George were characters who were so interesting of their own accord that a series based around them could have easily been just as successful if not more so than one based on Harry Potter. The twins were everyone’s best friend in their head, and with very good reason.
Fred & George Weasley epitomized living life on your own terms. They were hilarious, for sure, but they were also ambitious, loyal, gregarious, and intelligent. Though auxiliary character in the series, those who were paying attention know that readers were able to learn quite a bit from the twins on living your best life. One of the most obvious is that, as much as they loved their family, Fred & George never allowed anyone to dictate what was best for them, or allow themselves to conform to someone else’s standards. Though their mother wanted them to strive for a career at the Ministry of Magic, the twins were far too averse to authority to ever even consider this. Despite this, the two were never hostile to their well-meaning relatives, and met any attempts to control or manipulate them with humour and dismissal. So often, many of us wander through life rarely (if ever) asking ourselves what we want, because we are so desperate to live up to the expectations of others. From the very beginning, the twins had a very concrete sense of self that many adults are still searching for.
Another excellent trait that Fred & George possessed with knowing when to say “No”. People-pleasing is a habit that many people create in childhood, because children who assert their autonomy are often labeled as “disobedient” or “rude”, and one which very few people learn to break without becoming callous and insensitive in the process. Fred & George were instrumental to Harry Potter’s ultimate victory over Lord Voldemort, beginning with the day they gave Harry the Marauder’s Map, a vital tool which served him well on dozens of occasions. But when Harry, Ron, or anyone else came to the twins asking asking for favours which would inconvenience them them, the twins had zero qualms about giving a firm, unapologetic “No”, and moving on. Often times, literature reinforces the notion that saying “No” and putting themselves first makes one a bad person. “Goodness” is for those who martyr themselves for the greater good. It was deeply refreshing to read of characters who didn’t remain on retainer, at the beck and call of the protagonist, who had their own lives outside of being of constant assistance.
Probably one of the most glossed over lessons we learned from the adventures of Fred & George is that a higher education isn’t always necessary to achieve success. Though constant behavioural problems, Fred & George were excellent students who were just as smart if not (arguably) more so than their older, better behaved brothers Bill, Charlie, and Percy. But it was made clear from the very beginning of the Harry Potter series that the twins had a plan, and they spent all of their years at Hogwart’s hustling, making business plans, testing their products, and growing a loyal customer base. While their education was important to them, it wasn’t as important and working on their dreams, and making it a goal to own their own business. When Hogwart’s, under the thumb of Dolores Umbridge, stopped providing a nurturing environment for them to grow as entrepreneurs, Fred & George took their leave, confident in the knowledge they had acquired and the money they were given by Harry, and opened the very successful Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
The most important aspect of Fred & George’s near identical personalities is the fact that they knew when to be serious. Though humour was their constant go-to in most situations, the twins had a very clear understanding of right and wrong and were active members of Dumbledore’s Army and the resistance against Lord Voldemort. Knowing the risks, the two went into battle, with Fred eventually losing his life, to fight for what they believed in. Fans of the series weren’t the least bit surprised by this, though; the twins had standing up for their rights and standing up to corrupt authority figured since the series’ inception. Fred & George worked hard to make their dreams a reality, but they were never ready to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that the issues of the outside work would magically (pun intended) bypass them. The twins proved time and time again that it is possible to care about multiple issues at once, that you can help help others without ignoring your own well-being, and that some issues are worth dying for.
Though fans of the series mourned the death of Fred Weasley, he and George achieved all that they had initially set out to do, and in record time, too. When I think of the Weasley twins, I am reminded that a person is never too young to have big dreams, and that keeping sense of humour can get you through even the most trying times. Even in battle, they tackled their most dangerous enemies like they had everything else: with courage, with wit, and with one another. George didn’t get a chance to grow old with his brother, but their closeness truly did give relevancy to the saying that “A friend is one soul dwelling in two bodies.” Cheers to living your best life, Fred & George!