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How do we know the layout of the Burrow?

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How do we know the layout of the Burrow?

The outside and ground floor of the Burrow are straightforward, but once we start up the rickety stairs, things become a little more tricky to figure out. The first question is, how many bedrooms are there? And then, how do we know where each one is located?

How many bedrooms are there in the Burrow?
We get clues to this twice. Most recently, when guests descended upon the Burrow for Bill and Fleur’s wedding, we learned where everyone was sleeping in DH6:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Weasley slept in the sitting room;
  • The Delacours took the master bedroom;
  • Gabrielle and Fleur shared Percy’s old bedroom;
  • Bill and Charlie shared Bill’s room;
  • Harry and Ron shared Ron’s room;
  • Ginny and Hermione shared Ginny’s room;
  • Fred and George most likely stayed in their own room, as it was never stated where they slept except that they stayed at the Burrow, and nobody else was described as using their room.

This means the Burrow has six bedrooms: the master bedroom and a room each for Bill, Percy, the twins, Ron, and Ginny. This raises an obvious question: what about Charlie? Didn’t he have a bedroom? But we’ll get to that in a bit. First, there’s one other time where we learn exactly who is staying everywhere: Christmas of 1996, whenMolly ticks off the list (HBP16):

  • She asks Fred and George to share their room with Bill;
  • This allows Lupin to stay in Bill’s room;
  • Harry and Ron stay in Ron’s bedroom, “the attic;”
  • Ginny shares her room with Fleur;
  • Presumably Molly and Arthur remain in the master bedroom.

This is particularly interesting because there is one less bedroom than the family uses a year later, and specifically, no mention of Percy’s bedroom at all, despite the next sentence being Fred asking whether Percy is coming home. Unless Rowling simply made a mathematical error (which is not unprecedented), it seems most likely thatMolly was saving Percy’s room for him, just in case he decided to come home for the holidays. At any rate, from this point forward, let’s work with the assumption that there are six bedrooms.

Where are all of the bedrooms located?
Here’s what we know:

  • Ginny’s bedroom is on the first floor (DH7).
  • Fred and George’s room is on the second floor (HBP5).
  • Percy’s bedroom is on the “second landing” (GF5).
  • Ron’s bedroom is three flights above Percy’s (GF5).
  • Molly and Arthur’s bedroom is a very short walk away from Ron’s room (DH6).
  • The location of Bill’s room is never mentioned.

Now, a “flight” of stairs, a “landing,” and a “floor” do not necessarily have to equate to the same thing. There could be landings on the stairs between floors, or two “flights” of stairs could theoretically connect two adjacent floors. However, it seems most likely that in the Burrow, this is not the case. If we don’t use this logic, we get into one of two scenarios: either the house is a split-level all the way up (as there are many times that people move an odd number of flights or landings between floors), or “flights” and “landings” do not consistently refer to the same distance – for example, there could only be one landing per floor on the first few floors, and then an extra landing between the third and fourth floors. Though this could theoretically work (and would fit the Burrow’s description of seemingly being cobbled together by magic), it gets complicated very quickly, and simply doesn’t make a lot of sense. It seems, then, that there is one flight of stairs between floors, a landing on each floor, and no more. Is it certain? No. But it’s by far the best explanation.

Given this, then, we can start assigning floors (remember, Americans, that in Britain the first floor is the floor *above* the ground floor, not the same thing):

  • First floor: Ginny
  • Second floor: Percy, Fred and George
  • Third floor: none
  • Fourth floor: none
  • Fifth Floor: Ron
  • Unknown: Master bedroom, Bill’s bedroom

Let’s tackle the master bedroom first.

On which floor is the master bedroom?
In DH6 it is clear that the trip from Ron’s bedroom to the master bedroom is a very quick one. It even seems that they might be on the same floor. However, looking at the floor guide we just created, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. At least one floor would be left with no bedrooms at all, and to have two such large rooms at the top, the Burrow would have to be shaped like a mushroom. Further, Ron’s bedroom is often referred to as being in the “attic” – and why would Molly say this if her bedroom was up there as well? It makes much more sense for the master bedroom to be located one floor below Ron’s, on the fourth floor. This now leaves us with:

  • First floor: Ginny
  • Second floor: Percy, Fred and George
  • Third floor: none
  • Fourth floor: Master bedroom
  • Fifth Floor: Ron
  • Unknown: Bill’s bedroom

Let’s tackle Bill’s room next.

On which floor is Bill’s bedroom?
There seem to be two equally logical places that Bill’s bedroom could fall. Either it could fill the space on the third floor, where we currently have no bedrooms at all, or it could sit next to Ginny’s room on the first floor. I actually like the second possibility better: remember that Ginny’s room is described as “very small,” and both the floor below and the floor above it have multiple rooms. This would mean the house would look like this:

  • First floor: Bill, Ginny
  • Second floor: Percy, Fred and George
  • Third floor: none
  • Fourth floor: Master bedroom
  • Fifth Floor: Ron

There’s another reason I like this explanation too, though, which fits in with our earlier unanswered question about Charlie.

Why doesn’t Charlie have a bedroom?
As I was thinking about these two questions (Charlie’s room and where to put Bill’s room), it dawned on me that, from the bottom of the house to the top, the bedrooms roughly fall chronologically. Bill, the oldest child, is on the first floor; Percy, Fred, and George, numbers 3-5, are on the second floor; Ron is at the top. The only exception is Ginny. Why would she be so close to the ground floor, in a room that almost certainly would have been assigned to an older sibling before she ever even came along? Then the answer hit me: because it was assigned to an older sibling before she came along. Ginny’s room used to belong to Charlie.

This works because Charlie left for Hogwarts around the same time that Ginny would have started needing her own room, when she had just turned three. Prior to this she easily could have shared with Ron, or else slept in her parents’ bedroom (she was their precious little girl, after all). And since Bill and Charlie were going to be gone most of the year anyway, they could share the larger of their two bedrooms when home (Bill’s – he was the oldest), and Ginny could take the smaller one for herself (Charlie’s). For a time Bill’s room would have become “Bill and Charlie’s room,” but since Bill moved back to England in 1995 to help the Order of the Phoenix while Charlie remained thousands of miles away in Romania, it became “Bill’s room” once again, though he still shares it with Charlie whenever his brother comes back to visit.

So what about the third floor?
This layout still leaves the third floor empty. Prior to DH, it was widely assumed that Ginny’s bedroom was on the third floor, as this was where Harry saw her poking her head out of a door on his first visit to the Burrow. But we now know that her room is on the first floor, so that leaves… what exactly? We know there isn’t another bedroom. Perhaps there’s a small office here, or perhaps more likely, a couple of bathrooms. The (presumably larger) master bedroom being above this level would certainly contribute to the house’s looking like it’s held up by magic!

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