briefwhispers asked: I love your blog! I was just wondering, I came across a post of yours where you said you didn't like Molly Weasley, is there a specific reason for that? Just curious, and I don't think you're wrong in your opinion! :)
Thank you very much! Oh gosh. Let’s go point by point, shall we? This is very long, given how much I despise Molly.
★彡 Her treatment of Sirius & Harry
Molly put herself on a pedestal, holding her title of “mother” over her head in blazing neon, in order to vilify Sirius. For someone who would screech in his face about how inappropriately he treated Harry like James (which is true, but let’s not pretend she wasn’t legitimately cruel to him about this, instead of being an adult about the issue), her supposition of herself as the perfect foster mother, insightful, knowing, and the right choice for Harry was just as misplaced an attitude, not to mention incredibly arrogant. It led to a condemnation of Sirius that paired well with Dumbledore’s desires: shun him. This allowed her to continue to smother Harry so sufficiently that even Harry gets annoyed with her coddling.
And her treatment of Harry? I think that if Molly Weasley could shove Harry Potter into her womb and keep him there to protect him she wouldn’t hesitate.
★彡 Her treatment of Hermione
Hermione Granger was fourteen years old when Molly Weasley, an adult woman, treated her with the sort of nasty pettiness you’d expect of someone even younger than Hermione when she thought Harry and Hermione were dating.
Let me say that again. Molly Weasley, an adult woman, treated a fourteen year old girl with meanness and contempt because of what she had read by a gossip columnist she already knew not to trust due to Skeeter’s relationship with the Ministry.
★彡 Her treatment of Fleur
Fleur is pretty. Because of her genetics, men turn into dithering blobs of lust around her. This justifies, according to Molly Weasley, calling her names, to rally Hermione and Ginny to her in a little clique of us against the pretty one and, even as the wedding looms, to try to set Bill up with someone else, and to just generally other Fleur to a level where you have to really admire the girl, given the vitriol she’s faced with. I won’t paint Fleur as perfect: she tells the Weasley family she’s bored, that their home is only “cooking and chickens,” but to a family who has no reign on their tongues to hypocritically vilify that trait in someone marrying into the family is a bit impractical. Let me also mention another hypocrisy: that Molly felt they were marrying too soon, induced to do so by Voldemort, when she and her spineless, condescending, childish dip of a husband did the exact same thing (oh, did you think I liked Arthur?).
★彡 Her treatment of Arthur
Hermione’s a bully who refuses perspective, so of course it makes sense that the husband-wife relationship she sees the most intimately paves the way to her own marriage to Ron, who is doormat enough, small enough emotionally when it comes to Hermione, that this echo of Molly and Arthur can repeat itself just as Ginny and Harry can repeat James and Lily.
Molly and Arthur are never presented as a true partnership. The family is matriarchal and Arthur might as well be the oldest son: incompetent enough (and after awhile it feels like desirous enough) to never be able to truly provide for his family, an awkward parallel to Molly Weasley, who is all mother, pedestaled as such that it makes the contrast between her and Arthur’s failed career and “abnormal” interests seem that much more unequal to her. He cowers under his wife exactly as his sons do.
Again, we are told to want Harry to be adopted into this, that OBHWF is endgame and desirable. I don’t understand.
★彡 Her treatment of Ginny
Ginny is monetarily allowed to attend Hogwarts her first year because she is getting by on hand-me-downs—even as the boys get Lockhart’s books because Molly has a crush on him. Her entire first experience at Hogwarts is framed as being lesser than by her mother. You would think that this being the last child, the last “first year” of the family, most other families would celebrate this as something special. No. Ginny is ignored. She is teased. She is forgotten so succinctly she turns to a diary that talks back because no one else is listening, including the brothers who share the same roof as her at school (remind me again why Harry wants to join this family so badly? Why they are presented as the best example of a nuclear family, so much so that they are good enough to adopt The Hero?).
In The Myth of Persephone in Girls’ Fantasy Literature by Holly Virginia Blackford, Blackford goes into this in depth, in an entire, beautiful chapter on Ginny’s descent into the Chamber and her experiences in CoS:
"Ginny is open to penetration by the underworld because, in her unconscious view, her mother has deserted her and taken a stand on the surface. Even as the Weasley family drives to the train station, it becomes evident that Mrs. Weasley sees what she chooses. She wonders at the roominess of the car, blind to its enchantments. The family returns for Ginny’s diary, suggesting that she is already writing and that Tom Riddle has been invited in. When Tom Riddle reveals to Harry the woes of Ginny poured into the diary, the order is 1) her brothers’ teasing 2) ‘how she had come to school with secondhand robes and books’ and 3) her anxiety about her unfulfilled desire for Harry … Teasing is a serious matter throughout the novel … However manipulated she is by Tom, she is heard."
And when she returns from the chamber, when she and Harry resurface, after it is known that she’s been possessed by Voldemort for such a large portion of the school year, who does everyone listen to? Harry, the hero. Ginny is forgotten. Her experience is erased because she did not die. Molly screams, Arthur flares, and Ginny’s perspective is lost in a wallow of shaming and fear.
Let’s return to Blackford:
"The ending reunion with the mother communicates Ginny’s shame at what she has expressed, at the world she has entered without her mother’s knowledge; like a classic rape case, the confrontation with adult judges is yet other victimization … Dumbledore has to remind the Weasleys that Ginny may need medical or therapeutic care, and he ultimately ends the scene by stressing, ‘it’s not your fault,’ a stock line for crisis counseling of rape victims. However, by representing the institution, Dumbledore stands for the erasure of female grief, quickly assuming Ginny succumbed to a powerful wizard and needs merely a nice cup of hot chocolate to heal. This only replicates the fact that Ginny barely gets to tell her own story. Harry speaks ‘for nearly quarter of an hour’ while she merely weeps."
"Mrs. Weasley exclaims incredulously, ‘What’s our Ginny got to do with—with—him?’ The comment reveals a one-dimensional view of Ginny and utter surprise at any depth or transgression. Her father, however, interprets Ginny’s selection of the diary as a direct insult to his training of her . . In response, Ginny explains … how she ‘found it inside one of the books Mum got me’ and how she did not believe anyone wanted it. This is not a direct response to either parent’s concerns, but it does allow her to point out that the diary seemed to come from her mother, that the secondhand books are also to blame, and that she had every right to an unclaimed object if her parents saw fit to hand it to her."
In one of the greatest character disservices pulled by JKR in the books, Ginny’s experience is entirely forgotten until it’s valid to Harry’s experience. This is infuriating as Blackford also points out that the first two of Ginny’s concerns (the teasing and the secondhand life) mirror Harry’s experience in the first book closely enough that she claims CoS is the first book rewritten from the female perspective.
Nothing is followed through on all of this potential.
Yes, this is JKR’s doing—but it’s worth mentioning that, as a mother, Molly should have done something about this horrifically personal act that enveloped her youngest child for months—but who needs action when you can worry and scream and clutch your child to your heaving, maternal bosom instead?
★彡 Her treatment of Ron
Ron’s feelings of illegitimacy frame his entire development, ending with his King Arthur stint in DH, so I understand that forsaking his character’s evolution to condemn Molly would be tactless of me, but the idea of the last son facing a hydra of competent brothers (a hubbub of charm, cool, intelligence, cleverness, and honors), and never noticing her son’s feelings strikes me as so blind that it legitimately makes me angry. It might be what on this list annoys me the most, that she has a son damaged enough by his failings due to his own family that his insecurities were in place before the age of eleven and lasted through his teenage years, and this is never noticed by his own mother.
One of the greatest duties of parenting is to be aware of your child on all levels, and Molly is oblivious to Ron’s most thoroughly detrimental disfunction. She has no support for him.
She will spite a young Hermione in his defense, but emotional consolation and strength, encouragement and attention?
That’s given to Harry.
Her treatment of Percy and the twins are best explained here.
In sum, Molly Weasley is a surface mother. She’s a funky clock, nubbly sweaters, and homemade fudge. She’s a red envelope and threats. She has no insight, no depth, nothing that makes me think her children can go to her with their deepest fears and receive any sort of mentoring, that she is able to orient their emotional needs to nourish them. JKR gave her a tears and a wand, and we’re supposed to accept that this mother, presented as The Mother (Lily is too deified), this woman whose blood is pure (sanctified by her poverty) is the best example of a living mother we can get in the series.
At least Lily’s death allowed Harry to become something. You know what Molly never shows? How she was instrumental in her children’s growth.
That is what being a mother is.
(And she took Bellatrix from Neville.)
Aside: Let’s not even touch how Bill is an adult, a cursebreaker, well-traveled and intelligent, and Molly concentrates on his hair and clothes like he’s some wayward teenage girl who just bought her first black lipstick. Surface mother indeed.
You’re forgetting when she tells Sirius he’s not a good godfather because he wasn’t around for 12 years - ya know, when he was locked up for a crime he didn’t commit (OotP 90, US.)
I agree so much with “the surface mother” term to describe her. She was quite ignorant to her children’s desires, wasn’t she? The twins got shunned from their entrepreneur ideas, ingenious really, instead of receiving (not financial but at least moral) support and help (maybe if they trusted her instead of being forced into secrecy they wouldn’t end up experimenting on 1st year olds), get ignored to they point where they have to say “what are we, next door neighbors”; Percy is being punished and allowed to be bullied by the whole family for his ambitions and loving his job; Ron literally gets pushed out of his family to make a room for Harry (not to say that Harry didn’t need a family, but that was Ron’s main problem, being constantly out-shined by his famous friend; and getting the same thing from your mother is extremely harmful) (also she doesn’t even know what color he hates like great job there); Bill, already an adult, gets patronized for literally his every life choice except his “proper” job; the theme of her children’s abuse of trust is completely ignored (Ginny and the diary; Ron and Percy living with a grown man mass murderer pretending to be a rat wtf). Her firm belief is that care == food + pushing toward the “proper” way (not too ambitious, not too behind, not too “out there”, just be as ordinary as possible), Molly is also the most heteronormative HP character probably, and the canon practically never challenges it (if ever).