Since he was a little boy, Charles
Weasley saw Voldemort as his personal boggeyman. Even if he’d never
met the man in person, little Charlie was terrified of that person
who’s name shouldn’t be said that made his parents sad and angry. He
would ask every night for his parents to check under his bed if he
wasn’t there. The idea of a mass murderer hiding in his son’s room
always started an ugly laughter in Arthur Weasley’s throat. But every
night, he complied and assured Charlie he was safe and had nothing to
fear. It was a lie of course. They both knew it.
Charlie knew he was right to be scared
when he was eight and he saw his mother cry for the first time. He
entered the kitchen one morning and saw her curled on her chair, a
piece of parchement resting on the table. Charlie sneaked in to try
and read the paper. His first fear was that something happened to one
of his brothers. Because that was what his dad and mum often talked
about when they thought Bill and Charlie were asleep. The words were
small and complicated, but Charlie could decypher two names, Fabian
and Gideon. His parents hated lying to their children, so they told
them that their uncles were fighting You-Know-Who and died. They
didn’t say they were killed, but Charlie kind of understood that. He
wasn’t sure what death really was just yet, but Bill told him it
meant he would never see his uncles again. When he saw the twin
caskets, a couple days later and watched them disappear in the
ground, Charlie cried. He didn’t make a noise, because no one was
talking, and you’re not supposed to be loud if everyone else is
quiet. He simply gripped Bill’s hand and followed him around. For
years, Charlie would dream of twin caskets in which his siblings were
At school, Charlie was gentle and
popular enough that people didn’t make fun of him if he ever got
surprised crying because he was missing his brothers and sister. They
would simply go look for Bill, and later Percy, and either would
comfort him and help him write letters home. Charlie was terribly bad
with words and never knew how to get his thoughts across. In return
for his letters, he would get drawings and pictures. He kept them
preciously in his bedside table.
When he was thirteen, Charlie kissed a
girl. She was pretty and smelled nice but even he didn’t feel much.
There was no butterfly or firework in his belly like he’d been told
he’d feel. At sixteen, Charlie kissed a boy, and though it was nice
enough too, it wasn’t special enough to have him wanting to do it
often. He’d learned about dragons the previous year though, during a
class of Care About Magical Creatures. That lit his eyes up and made
him daydream far more than any kisses could.
Charlie left Hogwarts the summer before
Ron entered it. He left home in August, and headed to Romania to
study dragons. He’d already read every book from the Library and was
ready to meet people who’d understand his passion. Charlie made
friends, and was teased for chosing a hermit life in forests with
giant lizards over becoming a Quidditch star. He didn’t mind, because
at the end of the day, he got to see dragon eggs and share hot cocoa
with his colleagues. The highlight of his year was still when his
parents and sister came to visit. He also managed to get Bill to drop
by. They got drunk and Bill listened to him cry about how much he
missed all of their siblings. Charlie kept the drawings and
photographs in a tiny box in his trunk. When spring came around and
he received Ron’s letter asking him to smuggle a baby dragon, all his
friends exploded in laughter and were ready to go before he even
finished his explanations. They already knew Charlie would do
anything for his siblings.
Charlie wasn’t there when Ron got hurt
saving the world at the end of his first year. He came back for summer and bought Ron as many
candies as he could eat. Sometimes, being a good brother is in discreet celebrations.
Charlie wasn’t there when his baby
sister got possessed and left for dead in a mythical chamber. When summer came and Ginny left school,
paler and more silenced than ever, Charlie kept a vigilant eye on
her. He didn’t go back to Romania for months. And when Arthur won the
Daily Prophet Grand Prise Galleon Draw, Charlie was the one to
suggest they should all go visit Bill. Sometimes, being a good
brother is knowing your presence and a change of scenary are the best
Charlie was there when the Death Eaters
attacked supporters celebrating a victory - or drinking the bitter
taste of loss away. He went to fight alongside the Ministry to
protect his siblings and everyone who needed it. He also stayed the
rest of the summer in the Burrow. Sometimes, being a good brother is
making sure your siblings and their friends have an open ear if they
need to talk their fears away.
Charlie wasn’t there when Harry, his
adopted but estranged sibling, watched Voldemort come back from the
dead. From Charlie’s childhood nightmares. He learned about it in one
of Ginny’s letters and got his worst burns when her words resonnated
in his head as he was tending a dragon. In his head, Ginny had that
same terrified voice as when she was twelve and asking him if Tom
would come back. Charlie felt like he’d been lying to her for years,
telling her she was safe and had nothing to fear. That Tom would never come back. Sometimes, being a
good brother is forgetting how life doesn’t always follow your hopes.
Charlie wasn’t there when his father
got attacked by an evil snake. Charlie wasn’t there when Dumbledore’s tiny army raided the
Ministry. He came back to see the greying hair on his father’s head
and the scars on Ron’s arms. Ron laughed it off. Charlie cried it
out. Sometimes, being a good brother is shading tears other people
Charlie lived in Romania. He loved it,
loved the people, the country, and above all his job. But when
Charlie came back to Bill’s comatose and broken face, he considered
never leaving again. Bill had always been his best friend, his safety in
the chaos that was their family. Charlie hugged Fleur and helped her chose her wedding dress. He
was Bill’s best man and joked, more than once, that Bill was actually
the best man he knew. The three of them got drunk at a pub a few
miles from the Burrow and he recalled every embarassing moment of
Bill’s childhood. Sometimes, being a good brother is making your
sibling blush and hit you in the face as their fiancée is bending in
laughter and coughing beer out of her nose.
Charlie wasn’t there when Fred died.
Charlie was there to see his mother cry
and his brothers collapse.
Charlie was there to see Ginny stand,
tall and proud and clutching Harry’s hand so she wouldn’t get lost.
Sometimes, being a good brother is
knowing that there are days when you can’t be the good brother.
Charlie was there when Victoire was
Charlie was there to see Bill cry and
his siblings scream.
Charlie was there to hold the tiny baby
and let her grip his finger.
Charlie was there when Ginny wrote that
she was pregnant and wanted to see him. Everytime.
Charlie was there when Fred II asked to
learn how to fly and neither George nor Angelina had the heart to
Charlie was there when Lucy got in
another fight with her parents and needed a place to let her anger
out. He was also there to bring her back home and make sure she’d
apologize to Percy.
Charlie was there when Hugo felt
inadequate and lonely in their giant family.
Charlie was there to talk about kissing
boys and girls, about how sometimes people liked it and sometimes
they just didn’t care.
Charlie was there to give pets as
presents, as siblings and in-laws pretended they didn’t know about
Charlie was there every step of the way
in his nieces and nefews’ lifes.
He quickly needed a larger box to
gather all the drawings and pictures he kept receiving. (Hermione
gave him an enchanted one)
Sometimes, being a good brother is
being a good uncle.
Charlie vs Miss Quill or a lesson in differing morality
I’ll begin by openly admitting that I am primarily a Miss Quill fan and there is a chance that my interpretation is coloured by that fact. Consider yourselves warned.
Brave-ish heart was a fantastic episode in so many ways, but especially in illustrating the differences in the way Charlie and Miss Quill think, perceive the world and act, this is what I intend to try to analyze here.
The first main difference between them lies in Charlie not being able to or flat out refusing to see or even consider things from Miss Quill’s point of view. A perfect example of that is his offhanded: “I care very little about your opinion of my actions, Quill.”, but you can also see it in how he constantly corrects her by insisting she’s a prisoner instead of a slave or that she killed Rhodians in terrorist acts instead of war. What cut me the most personally was his: “You’re heartless. Like all Quill.” The way he said it, the way he said all the things I mention, did not leave any room for arguments or other possible interpretations. For him only his way of thinking (or should I say the way he’s been taught to think) is the right one and that’s that. The feeling I get when I listen to him talk about the Quill as a race or Miss Quill in particular is that both they and she are beneath him, not worth much, I would even go as far as to add - not real enough. He does not care about them or her. In fact the only time he cares about her feelings is when he thinks she sounds happy on the phone. And that worries him! If she’s happy, then she must be up to something bad because as far as he’s concerned that’s all she is - a terrorist, a prisoner slave!, a villain. She is heartless like all Quill, she’s not capable of being truly happy. I’m not claiming that she’s blameless or innocent at all here, I’m only pointing out the way he perceives her and how that affects his judgment and actions towards her.
What really drives the whole Charlie is not capable of seeing things from Miss Quill’s point of view home for me, though, was his speech about how he would be lost if he used the Cabinet of Souls. The entire time he talks about losing hope, having lost everything and losing it again we have Quill in the background watching silently with the most heartbreaking look on her face. Because she has lost everything already and unlike him she does not even have anything else that she could lose. What he’s describing and so afraid of - it’s already happened to her. And since he’s also the last of his species he should be the one who is able to see and understand that, but it never even crosses his mind that “Oh, my enemy might have feelings too!”. Charlie likes to think of himself as just and moral (which is what Dorothea appeals to as well by the way and she knows what to go for), but when it comes to Miss Quill he is anything but that. He may insist that she’s only a prisoner, but at the same time he says “You will do as I say” as if that’s the most natural thing in the world and as if taking someone’s free will is totally fine and dandy and this, the way he does it so offhandedly, this cuts me deeply and turns my stomach. I don’t argue that Quill maybe deserves punishment for the people she’s killed as a freedom fighter, but I will go to my grave claiming that she does not deserve the way he treats her or thinks of her.
As strange as it is, the way I see it, it’s Miss Quill who is better at putting herself in Charlie’s position or in fact in other people’s position in general. It’s her who agrees with Matteusz that it’s not the time for arguments, not Charlie. Charlie strikes me as someone who would like to think they are moral and taking other people and their feelings into account but can be so blinded by what they believe in that they sometimes lose sight of things. He’s not malicious, but he’s definitely misguided and closed-minded (at least when it comes to the Quill and Miss Quill).
Something else that makes these two and the way they view the world very different is the emphasis they put on themselves as persons. The whole time Charlie tries to persuade Miss Quill that they shouldn’t use the Cabinet of Souls to kill the Shadow Kin, he keeps ending his arguments with “What about yourself? You’ll die too.” What I take away from that is that for him that is the most important thing (or what he feels should be most important for her at least). On the other hand we have Miss Quill who openly states that the life she’s currently living doesn’t make her weep at the prospect of death (this statement, however, makes me want to weep) and who advocates for putting duty before the personal. It’s her who says: “All war is sacrifice, but you can end the one they wage on the universe forever and to what better purpose can a life and death be put?”. That is beautiful by the way. And I’m aware that she’s trying to convince him to kill the Shadow Kin because she wants revenge, but I also think that two other things are important to note here - she is actually taking into account the lives that the Shadow Kin will inevitably take as well as revenge and she is ready to sacrifice herself in order to achieve that goal. The way I see it, for Charlie his life means everything, for her - her life at the moment is both devoid of meaning and not as important as the countless universes that could be saved by destroying the Shadow Kin. I’m not for genocide, but I must admit that her way of thinking - putting others before yourself - makes more sense to me in this scenario. Both logically and strategically. Feel free to judge me on this if you want.
After all of this, I would just like to add that if I, personally, had to choose between the “heartless” Quill and the “cultured and learned” Rhodians based on what I know about them so far from this show, Charlie and Miss Quill, I would go with the Quill with no hesitation. They might be aggressive, but they’re honest and I could never sympathize with a culture that goes around teaching their children that the people of another culture are all heartless. If anyone is heartless, it’s NOT Miss Quill. She showed plenty of heart in this episode and i would fight anyone who suggests that this isn’t true.