How Wizards Do Money: Bill and Fleur Weasley

Fleur and Bill's wedding

The first time Bill and Fleur fought over money, it was when Fleur was pregnant with their first child.

Fleur, of course, wanted to relocate to France for the birth and for Victoire’s first year at least; she wanted to be near her mother, to be sure, but she also wanted France’s excellent maternity and postnatal care, including la rééducation périnéale and that very special wand designed for new mothers.

Bill wanted to stay where they were, near his own family, in the cottage that had been handed down to them like everything else in the Weasley clan. His mother hadn’t needed a wand to bear seven children. His mother hadn’t gone out and purchased new baby clothes and new toys, all items that Fleur was happily stacking in Shell Cottage without bothering to consult him beforehand.

“We’ll get plenty of hand-me-downs,” he told her, “from my mother.”

“I don’t want hand-me-downs from your mother,” Fleur replied.

The two of them had once thought they were exactly the same, both of them carrying a streak of magical creature within them that set Bill and Fleur apart from their peers; now they were realizing just how different they were.

Everything Fleur spent made Bill worry that there wouldn’t be enough left. Every expense Bill protested against made Fleur worry that he didn’t understand that they didn’t have to live like he did growing up. That, in fact, she did not want a home like The Burrow, which she viewed as sloppy and cheap and uncomfortable.

Bill wanted Fleur to stay at home, like his mother had done. Fleur wanted to hire a nanny and go back to work. They both thought parenthood would change them, but in different ways; each of them made the mistake of thinking they would recreate what they valued in their own families, instead of creating a new family with its own values.

There was a second fight brewing underneath this initial one: the type of fight that takes months to fully bloom and changes everything when it finally transforms from thoughts into words. Bill thought Fleur had grown up with a life of privilege. Fleur had always believed that her home and family were quite average. But Fleur’s arguments that she, too, had been required to earn her own pocket money and occasionally pass clothing down to her sister held no weight against Bill’s accusations that her family vacations, international travel, even the small-but-chic apartment in which Fleur spent her childhood were all indications that she could not fathom real life, that she had no resources to deal with their current financial situation.

“So let’s not make it our current financial situation,” Fleur screamed back. “Let me go back to work, and maybe you’ll try to get a job that pays enough so we don’t have to argue over this!”

In the end they both lost. Bill made more and more excuses to travel to Egypt and break curses, and Fleur found herself still at Shell Cottage, now with three children. Neither of them had the life they wanted; Fleur ached for the home she had hoped to build, and Bill simply missed his home.

 
Previously: Neville Longbottom

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12 Comments / Post A Comment

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

I didn’t plan to run this as a follow-up to Ester’s piece on different interpretations of “middle class,” but it touches on some of the same themes.

Sad, yes, but it does feel right. They didn’t know each other well when they got engaged, and they were so different, and so young … I wouldn’t be surprised if they separated, actually, and Fleur took the kids to France by herself for a while. Maybe Aunt Gabrielle can be an au pair.

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

@Ester Bloom Are there any divorced wizards in the HP universe? There should be, but I can’t think of any.

ECW (#2,765)

@HelloTheFuture I feel like one of the “spare” Gryffindor boys had divorced parents. I want to say Dean Thomas or Lee Jordan, maybe both.

the_famou_boat (#6,415)

WHYYYY

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

@the_famou_boat Because they’re two oldest children who came from extremely different financial backgrounds but have a lot of practice “raising” younger siblings which they then planned to extrapolate into their own parenting. Also because the Weasleys openly dislike Fleur (see: calling her “Phlegm” behind her back) while simultaneously trying to force her to accommodate to their way of life without attempting to incorporate her own desires and life experiences. Also because an environment in which one family calls 90% of the shots and the other family barely gets mentioned (Molly and Arthur literally tell Bill and Fleur where to live, while the Delacour parents and siblings have no agency in the story) doesn’t work out great for both married parties.

daysgoby (#3,610)

This segment is just an excuse to write Harry Potter fanfiction, right? RIGHT?!

HelloTheFuture (#5,275)

@daysgoby FINANCIAL fanfiction.

samburger (#5,489)

I am uncomfortable with how right this feels.

I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE

antheridia (#2,995)

Why would you do this to me on a Friday?!

PicNic (#3,760)

I am on pins and needles for Ron’s credit card debt as he tries to buy into a life he always wanted but could never afford growing up. In his mid-30s he’ll get it together and start paying it down while living modestly, just like his parents did.

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