The Weasley Family:
Home of the Weasley family. To Harry Potter it is nothing less than paradise on earth.
Poor boy. What does he know?
Not being a 17-year-old wizard who has been thrown upon the mercies of the Dursleys for most of my life, I tend to view the situation at the Burrow from a rather different perspective than that of Harry Potter. In my opinion, while I agree that the Weasleys are certainly not going to be making any lists of the top 25 dysfunctional families in British literature any time soon, I don’t think that Harry Potter is in a position to be the best judge of the situation.
From where I’m standing, I would say that the Burrow is not a notably happy household. Although by the opening of HBP things seem to finally be settling down a bit after a rough period of several years standing.
Because that household was going through a very rough patch for some years. Ever since we met them, in fact.
The Burrow’s residents don’t seem to be particularly conscious of this. They seemed to think that the undercurrents of pervasive dissatisfaction and rampant aggression that most of them lived with pretty much everyday is normal.
But then, it is amazing what people will accept as normal if it happens to be what they are used to.
I suspect that even if you lined them all up at any point in the series to that point (or even afterwards), and questioned them about their family the most you would be likely to have heard in criticism would be that Molly nags, and that Percy is a pill.
No argument there. Molly is a champion nag. And Percy is a pill.
In fact Percy is such a pill that he sticks out like a sore thumb amidst this little tribe of savagely cheerful barbarians. What on earth went wrong there? How does one account for it? How did we (and he) manage to get to that point?
In fact, by the end of GoF, Percy seems so completely at odds with everyone in the family (except his mother) that it surprises the reader not in the least to discover that by the opening of OotP six weeks later he has come to a complete falling out with all of them. Including his mother.
A good many (mostly younger) fans immediately decided that of course this indicates that Percy will ultimately betray everyone and support Voldemort, rather than just the Ministry. We had been actively invited to believe this by Ron, who has always blindly followed the Twins’ lead wherever Percy is concerned.
Well, if there is one point that has ever been made plain to the reader over the course of the series to date, it is that blindly following anybody’s lead is usually a mistake. Even Dumbledore’s lead. Certainly the twins’.
The events of OotP offered no obvious alternative reading of the situation however, and extended the invitation to conclude that Ron’s accuracy rating had suddenly taken a turn for the better. Nor did the sundry revelations of HBP show us any further development from the situation as it stood at the beginning of the previous year. (Although I got a distinct impression that Percy Weasley had little reason to be altogether happy with Minister Scrimgeour.) Somehow I am inclined to be suspicious of anything that is being handed to me with such air of complete fait accompli. Rowling has a history of having way too much fun misleading her readers.
A great many fans, hearing Ron’s accusations of excessive ambition on the part of this least favorite of his brothers spent much of the 3-year summer between Book 4 and Book 5 asking why Percy had not been Sorted into Slytherin.
Others have wondered why, considering his academic record (12 OWLs, after all), he was not in Ravenclaw, or, considering his blind loyalty to Barty Crouch Sr, in Hufflepuff. Evidently a lot of fans, particularly younger ones, just cannot wrap their minds around the possibility that there are major downsides to the underlying character of “Gryffindor”, and that, in fact, all Gryffindors are not, by definition, glorious — despite ample examples in canon to the contrary. Lockhart, (probably) Bagman, and Pettigrew for starters. This particular gallery of rogues has now been amplified by the addition of Cormac McLaggen and Romilda Vane.
This perception also prevails despite the fact that Percy’s obvious thirst to “prove himself” is expressed in about as pure a form of full-throttle Gryffindor directness as we have seen anywhere in canon.
There are at least a few conclusions for us to draw from this.
First; it offers clear support to my contention that the Hat sends children into the House that most closely matches the child’s aspirations rather than the one that is necessarily the closest match to his personality. Percy clearly wants to be admired as the fine, virtuous, upstanding young man that he is so confident of being — and willing to put in the effort of being.
It is not raw power that Percy craves, although he is pleased enough to be awarded it as a sign of approval. Like all true Gryffindors he wants to be admired for his virtues. And he has been attempting to make a parade of those virtues since before we ever met him.
Where Percy made his biggest mistake, socially, (at least from where Ron and the reader are standing) is that instead of looking down to his younger brothers for this potential admiring audience, he looked up to his mother.
Molly does not admire what the twins admire.
Nearly every action that Percy has ever been shown to have taken from Book 1 to Book 4 (apart from dating Penelope Clearwater, or betting money that he did not have) could readily have been dictated by his asking himself “what would Mummy want me to do?”
It should probably also be pointed out that Molly herself is far more ambitious than anyone seems to be giving her credit for. Ambition isn’t only a characteristic of Slytherins.
Second; it offers us some timing on whatever seems to have gone wrong in the general Weasley backstory.
Because it clearly isn’t just Percy. Percy may be the Weasley that seems to have most obviously grown in a direction that is counter to the apparant template, but right behind him are the twins — who are obsessed with making money, if Ron is to be believed — and then Ron, who doesn’t seem to know what he wants, but whatever it is, it’s something other than what he’s got. And, finally, Ginny who seemed to have dodged the whole issue by fixating on Harry Potter for close to three years before finally giving up and looking elsewhere. Or at least that was Hermione’s story back in OotP. The other shoe finally dropped in HBP.
And yet Bill and Charlie are, to all appearances, easy-going, happy, successful and contented with their lots. As is Arthur, who seems to be completely unaware of the kind of resentment, defiance and both covertly and overtly pitched battles that rage around his ears in his family home.
It really does look to me as though, at some point, something in the dynamics of this family went seriously wrong. And I think where it originally went wrong was most probably between Arthur and Molly themselves. Not that either of them would admit to it.
And, given that the resulting fallout has landed primarily on their five younger children, I suspect that what went wrong is that at some point, only slightly before we met them all, Arthur stopped meeting Molly’s expectations.
What I think may have happened is that Arthur, like most younger Ministry wizards was bounced around any number of Departments and divisions as he climbed the ladder inside the Ministry hierarchy. Molly was behind him every step of the way with support, advice and general backup. In Molly’s estimation, they made a fine team. Arthur, if asked, would have agreed.
And, then, probably as a part of the general rotation of Department Heads following Cornelius Fudge’s ascension to the office of Minister for Magic at some point in 1990, at a comparatively young age Arthur Weasley was promoted into a position somewhere in the lowest-ranking executive level and was dropped into the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Department as its new Head.
And almost immediately fell in love with Muggle technology.
I think this blindsided everyone, himself most of all. There was nothing in his background to suggest any tendency to develop such a fascination. From his deep and continuing level of ignorance about both Muggles and their works, we can pretty well conclude that this isn’t a life-long interest, and that he probably didn’t bother to take Muggle Studies during his Hogwarts years, or, even hang out much with any of his Muggle-born classmates.
The result is that what was supposed to have been merely another professional stepping-stone to bigger and better things suddenly metamorphosed into his Dream Job. He refused to budge from it on any consideration, and Molly felt cheated, shut out, and left behind. Arthur had changed the rules on her.
While I hesitate to come right out and state flatly that Molly Weasley is a fool, her tactics when thwarted are rarely well-considered, and this was no exception. She retaliated by refusing to have any of Arthur’s Muggle rubbish in her house. Which meant that he now spent a large percentage of his limited time at home in the garden shed tinkering, rather than in the house making his presence felt among their maturing brood.
Molly emphatically does NOT encourage any of her children to share their father’s enthusiasm for Muggle gadgets. And I doubt that she has any particular fondness for Muggles themselves either, although she probably has no specific animosity toward Muggles in general — so long as they keep their distance and do not inconvenience her. This is, if you recall, a witch who, upon our first introduction, is complaining aloud about the number of Muggles “swarming” in a London train station. (A station from which she has been routinely seeing her children off on the Hogwarts Express, each year for the past decade.)
This is also a witch who home-schooled seven children to guard them from interactions with their Muggle neighbors. (Although considering the twins’ proclivities it’s hard to think of anything else she could have done.)
But Molly also seems to have even managed to isolate her brood and keep them from associating with the other wizarding children known to live in the vicinity of the Burrow, as well, so quite possibly her objection is not necessarily to Muggles, so much as to outsiders.
Which is a whole different problem, but definitely a problem. In my own experience this kind of mentality often crops up where there is alcoholism or some other socially “shameful” condition lurking in the family woodshed, and a sudden fascination with Muggle tech certainly does not meet that definition. We don’t really know much about the Prewetts. Nothing apart from a few names and that one branch of the family was peripherally connected to the Blacks, which is hardly a recommendation. And we know little of the elder Weasleys, either.
Arthur, however, has the happy gift of being able to tune Molly’s nagging out and let it just wash over him. Even Molly eventually recognizes a lost cause when she sees one.
And, in fact, I think that by the time we met them, Molly had finally washed her hands of any further attempts to encourage Arthur to move on in his career and “make something of himself”. From that point, to a large extent she relegated him to the status of “one of the kids”. It was only after his promotion at the beginning of HBP that Molly stopped ordering him about like one of the kids, too. And during the period that her husband was one of “the kids”, she pretty obviously turned the weight of her expectations and pressure onto the rest of “the kids”.
Bill and Charlie were already well on their way through their Hogwarts careers by that time. In fact, Bill was already out of Hogwarts by 1990. Both Bill and Charlie left a track record of getting high marks, Prefect badges, team Captain and Head Boy appointments and an impressive number of OWLs for their younger siblings to have to live up to. Both of them also knew who they, as individuals, were well enough to be able to sidestep Molly’s quacking or shrug it off without any more open hostility than can be expected from the average adolescent male who is being gratuitously nagged by his mother. She wasn’t really able to get much more of a handle on them, by that time.
Although it probably ought to be noted that they both moved out of the Burrow immediately after leaving Hogwarts and got themselves nice, fairly prestigious, and demanding jobs overseas, and well away from Molly’s sphere of influence.
But (and I can tell you this from experience) the full weight of a grown woman’s expectations and “support” can be a heavy burden for a child. Even when there are five of them to share it. Percy, as the oldest one of the younger ones seems to have borne the brunt of it. He was already well settled in Gryffindor when things went sour for Molly and she started looking to her children to serve as her representatives to the world, rather than her husband.
Molly’s ambition is not much in the Slytherin style, but she has a hell of a lot of it. By the time we first meet them, Percy was unmistakably “Mama’s boy”. The Twins and Ron (who are all dyed in the wool Gryffs. Where else could the Hat have sent them?) were instinctively in the process of defining themselves as above all things *not* Mama’s boy. And, through the Harry filter, for the first three years of our acquaintance Ginny appeared to be being consumed and undermined and strangled by Molly’s apron strings until she had next to no personality to call her own.
To outside observers it must have seemed small wonder Tom Riddle found her such easy meat. Instead, we are now expected to understand that Ginny, in her own defense, seems to have been long engaged in developing a tough, cool, underhanded slyness, honing considerable talent as well as practice as a smooth-tongued liar, and, until her 4th year at Hogwarts, even more practice in keeping her head down. Tom undoubtedly found plenty there that he could work with.
In a world where nearly everyone can at least hope to live into the neighborhood of 90–120 years, being a child-minder is probably only a witch’s “first” job. Particularly in a society which appears to encourage and facilitate very early marriages. Once Ginny is out of Hogwarts, married off, and set up in her “first job”, Molly, like most witches, will be largely free to embark on her “real” career. And that career may well not be as a professional grandmother, and she may well be counting the days.
When Molly first married, she may have felt that this “real” career would have something to do with wherever Arthur had established himself by the time the children were grown, but Arthur let her down badly by entrenching himself in a dead-end job, and she may now be working from the assumption that seven intelligent — and successful — children that she herself home-schooled until they were old enough for Hogwarts will look very well on her résumé.
Make no mistake. Molly is not even remotely “evil”. She is not secretly a Dark Side supporter. She would not knowingly betray anyone she believes to be on the “right side”. She is a valuable, if irritating, ally and she is basically a good woman by nearly anybody’s lights. But she is a classic example of a domestic bully. In fact, Molly is a right tartar. And she is possessive with it. In her mind she owns every one of those children and their actions — which is where the ongoing Clash of the Titans with Ron and the twins comes in.
At the opening of HBP, there were three major rifts between family members that were actively in play in the Weasley family dynamic. The two longest-standing ones had already had far-reaching side effects. The most obvious rift, the most recent, and the only one that was being openly acknowledged, is the one between Percy and the rest of the family. This one was quite new in its then current form, but it had been a long time coming. When it finally happened, no attentive reader could have been particularly surprised.
The rift that one grew out of, and the one that had been both most disruptive in the long run, and will be the next to heal, is the one between Molly and the twins. In PS/SS the twins were a pair of lively, mischievous and, to all first appearances, fundamentally good-hearted 13-year-olds, with a great deal deal of family feeling. They pranked their mother, and drove her nuts and teased Percy mercilessly, because they could, and he could not stop them. They were also gratuitously cruel to animals. But you still didn’t get an impression of deliberate intention to cause harm from them. They also both still got very good grades without putting in very much effort.
By CoS the balance has tilted. They are spouting misogynistic pond scum and their pranks on Percy have begun to take on a vicious tone. They are cruel to whatever can’t effectively fight back, and they are at open war with their mother. They no longer seem to care about school and the following year they barely manage to scrape 3 OWLs each. By GoF they are “obsessed with making money” and their dealings with Ludo Bagman have taken on a seriously nasty edge. What happened?
Well, what I think happened is that some point during their 3rd year (Harry and Ron’s first), it finally sunk in on them that they could not both be appointed Prefect. And they agreed between themselves that neither of them would accept the office at the expense of the other. They gave the situation a serious look, finally agreeing: “Well, bugger this for a lark.”
And made damn certain that the appointment wouldn’t be offered to either one.
And, realizing full well how their mother would probably take it, essentially they chose each other over her good opinion, hunkered down to withstand the storm, and prepared to give back as good as they got. In fact, to “fight back” first.
They also turned most of their attentions to the time when they would no longer have to deal with Hogwarts.
Percy sided with Molly in the resulting brouhaha, so he became a “fair target” for the twins’ attentions, and the twins were not going to let up on him any time soon. In fact, they were not content until they had driven him right out of the family altogether. And were prepared to make sure he didn’t return. Indeed, for the past couple of years they had gotten progressively more into the habit of openly attacking Percy with no holds barred, probably because there was a limit to how openly they could attack Molly without Arthur mixing in, and that they didn’t want. Somewhere in all of this the fact that this was a continual exercise of two-against-one escaped them altogether.
And Percy responded by getting mad, but never getting even. And my statements elsewhere about how ghod help you if the twins happen to dislike you — because nobody else is going to do it, extends all the way into the bosom of their family. Not a single one of that family, apart from Molly, has ever had a word to say in Percy’s defense.
Over the first four books, no one else in the family (apart from, perhaps, Ron who follows the twins’ lead in just about all matters without any consideration or reflection whatsoever) had ever been shown to take an active poke at Percy, either — although his older brothers and Arthur would, and did, tell him to pipe down when he got too overbearing — but no one apart from Molly ever stuck out their necks to defend him. Not even Ginny, who is very quick to leap to Bill’s defense whenever Molly started in on him. Indeed, by HBP Ginny has begun to pitch right in with the twins in their open attacks on their least favorite brother.
Which, given the concern that Percy had shown for Ginny throughout the Year of the Basilisk, struck me as rank ingratitude. Percy was the only member of her family who realized that something was wrong in her first year at Hogwarts and tried to do something about it.
His reading of the issue was totally off in left field, of course, but at least he did try to help. Which is more than the wretched twins ever did. Percy has more than once been shown to be willing to offer a great deal of utterly sincere assistance and reassurance to children younger than himself, even if he does do it in a somewhat pompously overbearing style. Such concern for younger children, in the Potterverse, does not seem to be a common thing at all, and it is greatly to Percy’s credit.
And of course in OotP we got the “new” Ginny. And an even newer and mnore “improved” model the following year. I found that I did not particularly approve of the “new” Ginny, myself. Fortunately by DHs she had disappeared and the rather colorless Stepford!Ginny had taken her place.
And you will notice that Ginny was also never appointed a Prefect. Like I say, there are very few flies on Minerva McGonagall. (And why anyone would appoint a child with what appears to be some form of multiple personality disorder as a Prefect would take some explaining.)
I suspect that Ron, who has conspicuously sided with the twins, practically from babyhood, inadvertently managed to set Molly against him when he was not much out of diapers. Which can be readily seen in the passive-aggressive way that she has habitually treated him throughout the first four books (always maroon jumpers, the sandwiches that he doesn’t like, indeed, dry sandwiches, even though they had to have been freshly made that morning, the infamous dress robes, etc.). If Ron hadn’t been Molly’s first and best connection to “poor little Harry Potter”, I suspect that the aggression Molly expended on Ron might have been of a less passive variety. In fact, until his all too unantcipated appointment as a Prefect, she doesn’t even seem to see Ron as an individual at all, just as an irritating blur somewhere deep within the twins’ sphere of influence.
But once her golden boy, Percy abandoned her in favor of a career, there was her youngest son Ron — against all the odds — awarded an appointment as Prefect, and in a perfect position to serve as “perfect Percy’s” perfect replacement. I thought we could expect to see a considerable shift in the dynamic between Ron and his mother in the remaining two books of the series. Particularly if the twins moved out of the family home and were now living above the shop, thus removing a whole opportunity for friction upon which Molly could be otherwise expending her boundless energy.
It looks like I only got that one sort-of right. The dynamic between Molly and Ron, shows a distinct improvement — particularly early in the summer — in HBP. But old habits are hard to break, and Ron just doesn’t flatter Molly with his full attention and utter deference the way Percy did. And that makes a considerable difference in her receptiveness to him. Maybe I get a 60%–70% accuracy rating there. But probably no higher.
Arthur, Bill and Charlie have all managed to stay carefully neutral throughout this particular protracted battle, and so might Ginny have done if she had been given the luxury of a choice in the matter. As it stands, for some years she could only keep a low profile and try to remain out of the crossfire. Molly had staked out an open claim on her only daughter, but Ginny’s refusal to support her in the fight did at least somewhat deflect the twins’ attention from her while they were all still at home.
But all the indications are that the twins certainly started out with the determination to “get Ginny”, once they were all at Hogwarts and Molly wasn’t around to protect her.
However, the adventure of the Riddle Diary seems to have spooked the twins enough for them to have, for the most part, laid off Ginny even at Hogwarts since then.
And of course as soon as she was old enough to start asserting herself, Ginny openly aligned herself with the twins as regards Percy. Even if she didn’t enlist their support against her mother. That went a long way toward getting them on her side.
Of course by HBP, she was just a little late to be enlisting any kind of support against her mother. By then, the twins seemed determined to woo Molly’s favor, and do everything in their power to make her forget she’d ever had a son named Percy.
The least obvious, but most long-standing rift was the one between Molly and Arthur, and once Arthur had been pried out of his fascinating little professional backwater, things even looked like easing up on that front a bit, as well.
But I think this rift was built into their characters and waiting to bite them from the moment they got together. The actual final straw may have been Arthur’s love affair with Muggle technology, but the underlying cause is that Molly has a domineering disposition, and Arthur is one of those people who can be neither led nor driven. Eventually even the Mollys of the world will stop pumping a dry well and turn their attentions elsewhere. With Arthur’s new promotion the rift appears to be gradually closing, and once the balloon went up in DHs and the whole family but Percy seem to have gone into some form of hiding, he and Molly had an external enemy to face off against together. But the potential is still there, and it may open up again whenever the two of them get out of step with one another.
This was probably not so obvious when Molly and Arthur were still at Hogwarts, and it’s the kind of thing that makes me very uneasy with the “romantic” relationship between Ron and Hermione. Ron and Hermione have some of the makings of a rewarding long-term friendship or a really kick-ass working partnership, And it is absolutely true that their individual strengths are each balanced by the strengths of the other. But moving any of these contexts into the domestic arena does them both a disservice. They don’t want the same things from life, and they don’t really agree on what is truly important. Unfortunately the problem with marrying one’s “Hogwarts sweetheart” is that most of what one has as common ground is simply Hogwarts itself. And they will not be at Hogwarts forever.
The prospect of seeing Ron and Hermione devolve into a latter-day Molly and Arthur does not strike me at all as a cosy, fluffy, or happy ending, regardless of the opinions of a half a billion 12-year-olds. 12-year-olds are not forced to live with their ideas of what makes a happy marriage. Molly habitually treats Arthur dismissively, and Arthur retaliates by tuning Molly out. I think that Ron and Hermione both deserve something rather better than that.
Something that has become ever more obvious in canon however, is that purebloods come in any number of different social strata within the wizarding world.
There appear to be no longer any remaining “aristocratic” wizards of the sort who once held Muggle titles, assuming that there ever really were any significant number of such in the first place. Sir Nick and the bloody Baron’s day was a long time ago. Almost as long ago as the Fat Friar’s.
Attempting to take their former place in the social order are a faction of — these days usually either “isolationist” or “supremacist” purebloods like the elder Blacks, the Malfoys, and their ilk, along with their Ministry-entrenched “inclusionist” rivals, like the Crouches, all of whose fortunes are newer, but just as large or larger, and who do not owe any of their distinction to the gratitude of Muggle governments.
Then there are the plebeian purebloods, who may not completely come up to the standards of purity as defined by the isolationists, and are, by definition, not out of the top drawer, but who, these days, are graciously admitted to be useful and necessary to a functioning society. Rather like the distinctions between rich WASPs and poor WASPs.
I have always contended that somewhere in the dim and misty distance of time the original Muggle-born ancestors of the plebeians were “discovered” and educated at the expense of the Masters of the wizarding “Great Houses” with the understanding that afterward, they and their descendants would support them. Such wizards frequently share the prejudices of the “Great House’s” masters and are even nastier than they about upholding these prejudices than their patrons. Much of the upper echelon of the MoM, of course, is a bastion of this sort of plebeian pureblood. This kind of class distinction may not be as strong across the board as its equivalent in the outer mundane society once was, but it has never entirely gone away, and it now seems to be on the rise again.
And finally, with the steadily increasing incidence of Muggle-borns entering the wizarding world since the early 19th century, there are those whose distance from their Muggle-born forebearers have only just finally managed to outlive the perception of their being some level of halfblood. Some of the distinction between the ancient “noble” families and those of plebeian but mostly pureblooded retainers’ descent dating from the pre-Seclusion era has probably become somewhat less important over the past century and a half, but for these “late-comers” there are no concessions made. And few advantages available to them apart from those they can grasp or create for themselves.
Of course in some cases, such as with the Weasleys, who (from the information regarding the Black family tapestry) seem to have been regarded as blood traitors by the 1930s or thereabouts — which says more about the Blacks than it does about the Weasleys — it seems largely a matter of chance that they even ARE still purebloods by this point in time. But much of this impression is almost certainly due to Arthur Weasley’s own character. His own parents probably did not share his fondness for Muggle technology. And you will notice that when the time came, he married a pureblooded wife. I contend that for all that his political background is probably pure inclusionist and highly Muggle-tolerant, Arthur Weasley’s own enthusiasm for Muggles and their works shows all of the fervor of a new convert.
However, given the difficulty of keeping one’s bloodlines “pure” it is clear that most of Arthur’s forbearers did not altogether share his broadly egalitarian attitudes (considering that his mother really was one of the Blacks, I think that is a safe assumption). And it is still uncertain whether these attitudes are fully supported, even today, by his wife.
But at this point, it rather seems unlikely that all of Arthur and Molly’s grandchildren will be purebloods. And much Arthur will care. If he survives, he will love his own “little halfblood ones” every bit as much as the others. As will Molly, as well, although I question her willingness to extend the same broad acceptance to her potential daughters-in-law.
And the issue of future generations of Weasleys is now actively being raised, too.
But the Weasley household that we have seen to date has not, in my opinion, been a visibly happy one. After all, this is Molly’s household, and Molly is not a notably happy woman. She is more typically an angry one.
And by the later part of the series she is a frightened one, as well. It is not an improvement.
At the opening of part 6 in a series of 7 in the story arc, the Weasley home situation was due for a shift. With the departure of her primary antagonists as well as the defection of her most trusted ally, most of the surface causes for Molly’s perpetual irritation and ill-will were now out of the equation, and Molly was going to have to look elsewhere for the “causes” of her chronic dissatisfaction.
For that matter, as a value-added bonus, she has even lost the source of irritation offered by Arthur’s Dream Job, since he has finally been forced out of it, into a promotion which both removes him from his Muggle rubbish (forcing him to deal primarily with wizarding rubbish) and pays better, to boot.
Mercifully, she appears to have turned much of her dissatisfaction outward and blames it on the war, rather than on Arthur and the two children still remaining at home. But does it surprise anyone, anyone at all, that Molly Weasley is now showing all the signs of positioning herself to become the mother-in-law from Hell?
To be blunt about it, it was not Arthur, but Molly herself who needed a new job. One that was as demanding as she can handle.
And, ultimately, she got it. Molly is the sort of witch who is probably at her best in the middle of a shooting war.