Okay, so we weren’t there as the Weasley children grew up, all seven of them in that wonderful magical house. But I think we can make some fairly shrewd guesses as to what it was like. After all, one thing is certainly true, and that’s the fact that siblings compete for their parents’ attention. And there were a lot of siblings in that house.
In the Weasley household, the parent whose attention they were competing for was Molly, since Arthur was off at work all day.
Now then, let’s take a look through the years of the Weasley household, step by step:
Their first son is Bill.
For two years, Bill is getting the sole attention of his mother while Dad is at work… lots of it, anyway. What else Molly has to do, alone in the house?
Then Charlie is born. Family has 2-year-old Bill and baby Charlie. Probably Bill is a bit jealous at all the mothering Charlie gets at first (can’t expect much from a 2-year-old, now can we?). Molly keeps telling Bill that he got just as much when he was a baby, and that as the elder brother, he’s to care for and show example to his little brother. And Arthur pays more attention to Bill at this time. (Away from work more often—not so close to promotion perhaps.)
Time passes, and Bill gets used to Charlie. Then, as Bill is 5 and Charlie 3, Percy is born. As we’ll see, this little gap is going to make all the difference in dear little Percy.
Now, Charlie gets a bit jealous over Percy, but he’s used to sharing since birth and Bill’s there to distract Charlie by playing with him (they’re both old enough to play together now). Possibly Molly begins to teach Bill the “three R’s” [In the US, we refer to basic education as “The Three R’s” which means reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.—SVA] while both Charlie and Percy are taking a nap—if she can get them take a nap at once, but I don’t see how else she could manage to teach! This is partly so that the other two won’t wake. Bill likes this, as he’s now getting all the attention again…
Two years later, Fred and George are born. Molly’s very busy with TWO babies. Imagine that. Just when she gets Fred to settle down, George begins. And when George is settled, Fred begins.
Bill and Charlie have no trouble accepting that babies need that extra care (they’ve done it before). Percy doesn’t. Percy may well seek the company of his older brothers—ages 7 and 5—but Percy’s a bit too young, at 2, to join them fully. Percy probably seeks to please his mother, but still seeks approval of Bill and Charlie.
The two eldest accept him to play “if he does as they tell him to”, and practically are in charge of Percy when Dad’s at work and Mom’s busy with the babies. (I’ve heard lots of stories about my mother and her elder sister getting their younger sister do as they say!) [No idea what you’re talking about!—SVA, who is second oldest of five]
Year later, Molly’s teaching two boys, and putting two 1-year-olds to nap. 3-year-old Perce can’t play with Bill and Charlie unless he behaves.
Bill enforced that “shut up, Perce” into him with ‘we won’t play with you if you don’t obey’-threat. And, considering that there’s no one else for Percy—Mom’s busy with the babies, Dad’s at work, and due to Voldemort’s raising they’re not allowed out… (so Percy has obeying rules enforced into him by both his mother and two older siblings, Bill in particular. He MUST follow rules if he’s to have any social contact!).
A year later, there’s the 9-year-old Bill, 7-year-old Charlie and 4-year-old Percy join lessons (Percy mainly because he’s not wanting a nap, and Molly can’t leave him alone either). Bill cautions that Percy is to behave himself. Two-year-old Fred and George get their nap and play with each other, and Ron is a baby, sleeping more often.
Percy may have tried to boss Fred and George, but is usually shut up by Bill—who doesn’t mind the twins playing 2-year-olds tricks (he’s seen it twice already) and temper tantrums that follow that sort…
Voldemort’s been in power all this time and no doubt the kids aren’t allowed out! 2-year olds have enough to do in a house, and won’t want to…
A year later, Ginny comes. This is also the year that Voldemort was first defeated by Harry Potter. (Is this when Percy finds Scabbers?) So now we have 10-year-old Bill, 8-year-old Charlie, 5-year-old Percy, 3-year-old twins, 1-year-old Ron and baby Ginny.
Note that Ron is younger than the others were when the new baby came around. Twins have had each other since birth, so they are playing together, Bill, Charlie, and Percy have their schooling. This probably makes Percy’s a bit of a loner. I think Ron’s really getting a bit less attention during this year than others. There’s the baby, the schooling of the three eldest, and the mischievous twins to take away most of Molly’s attention.
Next year. Bill’s going to Hogwarts. This is great fuss—partly because he’s the FIRST. Ron’s two years old, Ginny’s one. Ginny may well have said something like “Want too” at that point, (meaning all that attention), thus creating a family story about Ginny wanting to go to Hogwarts ever since Bill went. It’s also possible that one-year-old Ginny was particularly attached to her big brother Bill and put up a fuss when he was leaving, thereby creating the story that she wanted to go too.
As a side note, it’s interesting to think that Ginny hears all about Harry Potter defeating Voldemort just before/on the day she was born. Perhaps her infatuation with Harry started with that.
For the kids who are left at home, now it’s Charlie, Percy and the twins schooling whereas Ron and Ginny are sleeping. (Molly at least hopes to begin with them as early—Percy did just fine at that age). However, the twins are not content to sit still, (and Bill’s away, so he’s not there to help keep the younger ones in line). Charlie and Percy probably try to enforce rules on them. However, the rules that were necessary when Voldemort was about, are that no more. Nor does ‘we won’t play with you’ have any effect on twins, who always have each other to play with. They do have some regard for Charlie, though…
Next Year. Bill’s on second year. Charlie is 10 and spends lots of time with Bill when he comes home, knowing he’ll soon begin Hogwarts as well and wants to know all of it from Bill. Still, most of the time Bill’s at Hogwarts.
Percy is 7. Twins are 5. Ron is 3 (and needs someone to play with), Ginny is only 2. Twins want to play Quidditch, and where Charlie and Percy may join in, Ron and Ginny are considered too young. Lots of ‘you wouldn’t know how to play’ and all that. Ron gets annoyed and breaks Fred’s toy. Then he holds his teddybear, wondering why no one wants to be with him. Fred gets angry about Ron breaking his toy and turns Ron’s bear into a spider.
Years later, it’s Charlie’s turn to begin Hogwarts. Not so BIG a fuss, since Bill’s going to be there to watch over him. Also, Bill’s going for the permission slip. At home, there’s now 8-year old Percy, 6-year-old twins, 4-year-old Ron and 3-year-old Ginny. If Charlie and Percy together had trouble to muster some control over the twins, Percy alone is at a loss. As the eldest kid home, he thinks he should be respected by the twins, Ron and Ginny, but no deal.
Twins keep telling him he has no business telling them what to do, and Ron and Ginny look up to the twins and look for each other as playmates. Molly may well begin to teach Ron now, or wait a year to begin with both Ginny and Ron together, so they won’t be alone.
Bill probably helps Charlie with homework when they’re at home.
Next Year (I think) Charlie, 12, makes it into Quidditch Team. A bit of a fuss for that. Bill’s 14, Percy 9, twins 7, Ron 5 and Ginny 4. Molly teaches 5 kids at home. Percy’s the eldest at home, and a loner.
Next Year. Bill’s a Prefect. Again, fuss over him. Charlie’s 13 and gets to go to Hogsmeade for the first time (although I think he got things from Bill before that). Percy’s 10 and definitely yearning for Hogwarts to get all that fuss himself, and to be with Bill and Charlie, particularly as his younger brothers won’t pay him much of a mind. He’s frustrated over it, as Mom expects him to watch over his brothers, but the brothers pay him no heed). Twins are 8, Ron’s 6 and Ginny 5. Molly’s still with five kids to teach at home.
Next year. Bill’s 16 (and got a good number of OWLs I suppose), Charlie may make it to Quidditch Captain already, at 14—but that takes place AFTER he’s in Hogwarts. Percy goes to Hogwarts for first time. A bit of fuss for that.
At Hogwarts, Percy’s both elder brothers are there, Bill as a prefect, Charlie as Quidditch Captain at some point of the year (I think). They continue the old elder-brother authority over Percy, only this time it’s also due to having special titles. Titles their Mother (and McGonagall, their Head of House) appreciates. (Did Percy get his rat at age 5 or now, as beginning of school gift?)
At home, there’s now 4 kids. 9-year-old Twins steal Mom’s attention by mischief, Ginny gets it both by being the youngest and the only girl. Ron’s a bit lost still, but at least he has Ginny to play with.
Next year, Bill makes it to Head Boy. (Quite possibly, even likely, Charlie makes it to Prefect, but it was never mentioned, aside from Molly’s “That’s every one in the family!” and the fact that twins won’t mention Charlie in their protest to that.) Molly’s overly pleased, again. Bill gets most of it, Head Boy is a bigger thing that Prefect.
Percy’s off for second year, again ruled over by his older brothers, now Head Boy and Prefect.
Twins are 10, probably planning all sorts of pranks already. Or practicing for Quidditch. Ron’s 8 and Ginny 7… I’d say Ron and Ginny grew pretty close after Ron got over the baby-jealousy.
Next year, twins are starting Hogwarts, while Bill has left (with some good NEWTs?). It is altogether possible that Bill gave his old wand to one of them (George?) while the other still needed a new wand. (Fred?). There’s a bit fuss for them, and there’s no older brother getting new title within Hogwarts and although Bill has gained a new job, he also left for Egypt!
Ron and Ginny are at home, and no doubt hear all about all the pranks Fred and George make. Ron’s seen how all his older brothers get special attention when he goes to Hogwarts and waits eagerly for his turn.
Percy, as a third year, is proud to be allowed in Hogsmeade. Twins pay no heed to him, as they’ve found the map and go to Hogsmeade trough a secret passageway whenever they want, whereas Percy is limited to Hogsmeade weekends. They do appreciate Charlie the Quidditch Captain (6th year), however, particularly since they want into the team, and Charlie IS a great Seeker.
Next year, twins get themselves into Quidditch team as beaters (and they HAVE practiced this a lot.. on Ron’s pet puffskein, according to FB!). Percy’s annoyed that *They* got something he didn’t.
Ron and Ginny still at home, and Ron wishes to get that much…
Now we get into the year Ron begins Hogwarts… As Charlie just left school, he gave his old wand to Ron. (How DID it become so worn in a mere 7 years!) Percy, getting an owl for being made a prefect (and lots of fuss), gives Ron his old pet, Scabbers…and now Fred and George have their Hogsmeade permission (with several warnings from Molly about getting into trouble)! Ron’s NOT getting much fuss on him (about going to Hogwarts) with all that going on at all! Poor kid is very disappointed…
Looking at all that—Ron’s really the one getting least attention.
Some additional random thoughts…
About Fred and George’s OWLs:
I think that Fred got one for Transfiguration (he DID change Ron’s teddybear into a Spider at 5!), Charms and DADA. (I think Fred got the new wand, if Bill gave his to one of them), while George got his OWLs in Herbology, Potions and DADA. (he’s got more patiece and consideration, so I think these would be more his style). And yes, both for DADA (beating a boggart is practically playing a prank on it!), and neither for any theoretical OWL. (and I certainly don’t see either of those two being content at staring at stars!) These 5 are what they would be using for pranks, as well.
In addition, I think the twins shared duty thus from the beginning. and since there’s pairing in all Potions, Herbology, Charms and Transfiguration, those two always being a pair—why not? I certainly see them doing it. DADA seems a more *individual* subject to me, so they both did the matter themselves…
And I do think that those two will be successful with their business. I wonder, did they perhaps consult Molly’s second cousin (accountant) about running a business?
Also, as they got that careers councel during fifth year, I think they gave the map to Harry right afterwards and concentrated on building stock and making the OWL-forms instead of pranking (though, they DID need to test their products, I suppose). I wonder what McGonagall said to them about it…