According to The Epilogue (“what epilogue???”), today is the day which James Sirius Potter starts Hogwarts.
I’m in Edinburgh, so could somebody at King’s Cross wish James S Potter good luck for me? He’s starting at Hogwarts today. #BackToHogwarts
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 1, 2015
The ensuing fit of nostalgia led my pal Alex to post this absolute terrorgem of a tweet:
It was with a heavy heart that George returned to work, took out a brush, and went to move the apostrophe on ‘Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes’
— AlexWattsEsq (@AlexWattsEsq) September 1, 2015
WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS. Why. WHY. WHY WOULD YOU PURPOSEFULLY HURT PEOPLE IN THIS WAY. I only met this man for the first time three days ago, and now I wish he’d never been born.
Anyway: it got me thinking about one of the more horrible parts of post-Harry Potter Harry Potter. Listen closely: it’s really very horrible.
George married Angelina.
I feel like Jo just slipped this one in there and not many people noticed it happening. Because yeah, it all makes perfect sense: Angelina was in the same year as Fred and George, they were all on the Quidditch team together, they all hung out together, so far so fine. Here’s the thing though: Angelina was Fred’s girlfriend. Not George’s. Fred’s.
I think about Life After Fred for George and Angelina quite a lot; probably more than is healthy for a 28 year old adult who has a grown-up job and does grown-up things like, you know, keeping pasta in glass jars instead of in packets, and actually bothering to hoover the carpets at least once a fortnight, and ok, I haven’t worked out how to change a hoover bag yet, but we are GETTING there, is the point.
I think about how they must have grown closer in the aftermath of Fred’s death, coming together to talk about him and to share stories about him; sitting up late at night, the two people that loved him the most.
I think about how hurtful and bewildering it must have been for Angelina to look at George, who tbh was always the slightly less vivacious of the twins, and have to see him looking back at her wearing the face of the man that she loved.
I think about how one night, drunk and reminiscing, they must have ended up kissing, and that there must have been solace in that but also hurt and confusion and shame.
I think about the guilt that George must have felt, knowing that he was stealing his brother’s girl; about about the constant paranoia he must have felt that perhaps she was only with him because he looked exactly like (but wasn’t) Fred.
I think about their wedding day, and about the gaping hole next to George where his best man should have been. I feel like they would have left a space for him. I feel like they would have set aside a chair at the top table. I feel like the best man’s speech would have been a minute’s silence – and then there would have been an awful lot of drinking, and a lot of fun, because Fred would never have wanted George’s wedding any other way.
I think about Angelina waking up next to George every day, seeing him lying beside her in the bed, his ginger hair splayed across the pillow: a shit copy of the man she loved and lost.
I think about her old and grey, her fingers fumbling through the moving photograph albums of their life together – ginger kids, Weasley weddings, fun and friendship – and imagining that the grinning face next to hers had been Fred’s. I think about George watching her from his seat by the fire, eyes wrinkled from years of laughter, knowing that that was what she was thinking, and wishing that it could have been true – not only for her, but for himself.
And I think about both of them being sad, but being happy; and knowing that this was really the only way they could have lived their lives, under the circumstances.
So yeah – I think a lot about George and Angelina.