Is there any specific reason why Arthur and Molly decided to have so many kids? First they had six male children. Then, after giving birth to Ginny, they stopped.

Was it their intention all along to keep having children until they gave birth to a girl?

  • 9
    If you've been so far as six you could as well raise that to 7, the magical number. Or you could even make your own rugby team! Go All Redheads!
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 18:04
  • 40
    @Jenayah - Children and Horcruxes are very similar. They're both things one puts a bit of oneself into to ensure immortality.
    – Adamant
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 18:12
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    @Adamant though one creating process is much more enjoyable than the other. But hey, to each his own ;D
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 18:14
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    I seem to remember Slughorn expressing his fear of such a radical strategy. "Merlin's beard, Tom! Seven! Isn't it bad enough to think about having one child?"
    – Adamant
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 18:20
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    I'm surprised that no one has ever tried to critically examine the overall depiction of the Weasleys: They're all gingers; they have too many kids; they're poor; etc. All of this written by an English author. Seems to me that they're supposed to be Irish Catholic imports, depicted in a very stereotypical way. "Every sperm is sacred" indeed.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 2:29

3 Answers 3

  • In Ron's opinion, it was because their mother (secretly?) wanted a daughter and presumably kept having kids until she got one. Whether this is true or not, it's notable that Molly stopped having kids immediately after Ginevra Weasley was born.

    ‘Stab!’ shouted Harry; his voice echoed off the surrounding trees, the sword point trembled, and Ron gazed down into Riddle’s eyes.

    ‘Least loved, always, by the mother who craved a daughter … least loved, now, by the girl who prefers your friend … second best, always, eternally overshadowed …’

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

  • Both Molly and Arthur have multiple siblings themselves (two each, apiece). They remain in touch with them and seem to have had pleasant upbringings so they'd probably see it as desirable for their offspring to have brothers and sisters as well.

  • There's the (apparently correct) impression among wizardkind that a seventh child is especially blessed and gifted.

    MA: Does she have a larger importance; the Tom Riddle stuff, being the seventh girl —

    JKR: The backstory with Ginny was, she was the first girl to arrive in the Weasley family in generations, but there's that old tradition of the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and a seventh son of a seventh son, so that's why she's the seventh, because she is a gifted witch. I think you get hints of that, because she does some pretty impressive stuff here and there, and you'll see that again.

    The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three

  • 8
    Well done! I didn't really expect that a canon answer existed.
    – Simpleton
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 18:42
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    Worth pointing out that the italicized quote is not from an omniscient source -- it is spinning Ron's self-doubts back at him. Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 23:23
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    @Valorum : Wow. Have you listened to the garbage many, many offspring Ron's age spout about their parents? Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 23:25
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    @EricTowers - There's always a kernel of truth though.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 23:29
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    @RonJohn - You don't have to @ an OP. They get auto notified of responds to their posts. ... And still. "Molly stopped having kids immediately after Ginevra"...
    – Malady
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 12:31

I'd probably agree with the answer above, but another possible answer is simply because they wanted to.

It's repeatedly shown that both the Weasley parents, and especially Molly, place a huge emphasis on family. Additionally, they married young, so had a lot of time.

‘It’s all this uncertainty with You-Know-Who coming back, people think they might be dead tomorrow, so they’re rushing all sorts of decisions they’d normally take time over. It was the same last time he was powerful, people eloping left right and centre –'

‘Including you and Dad,' said Ginny slyly.

‘Yes, well, your father and I were made for each other, what was the point in waiting?' said Mrs Weasley. - Half-Blood Prince

Mrs Weasley is repeatedly shown to care about family above all else. Just a few examples - her Boggart was bad things happening to her family:

‘No!’ Mrs Weasley moaned. ‘No ... riddikulus! Riddikulus! RIDDIKULUS!’

Crack. Dead twins. Crack. Dead Percy. Crack. Dead Harry ... - Order of the Phoenix

When Percy "deserted" the family, she showed continued upset at the breakup of her family:

'Mum's crying again,' said Fred heavily. 'Percy sent back his Christmas jumper.' - Order of the Phoenix

The only time we see her violent is when her family is threatened:

‘NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!’ Mrs Weasley threw off her cloak as she ran, freeing her arms.

I'd argue that all the signs point to the Weasleys simply wanting a large family, or at least, Molly wanting a large family and Arthur being willing.

It's maybe also worth mentioning that there are 11 years between Bill and Ginny. Since the Weasley children were homeschooled until the age of 11, the costs of raising 7 children were potentially still quite low until they attend Hogwarts and have to start buying supplies, books, etc. The timing of Bill starting Hogwarts would be when they stopped having children.

  • 8
    Interesting viewpoint, the last paragraph.
    – cst1992
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 20:25
  • NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH! - don't piss off mama bear. Just...don't. Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 2:10
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    Real life example, my parents are friends with a couple who have nine kids. We are continually astonished by the sheer size of their clan and the logistics of their lives, but they did it because they love raising kids. I'm pretty sure they even adopted at least one. Some people just plain like having big families. Lotta heart there. Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 10:33
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    I think its worth mentioning that, with the boggart quote, Ginny isn't mentioned - if the theory that the Mrs Weasley kept having children up until she got a girl was so true I believe that would have been written into this scene too. If having a girl was so important then losing her would be the biggest fear too. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 22:22

A lot of the comments seems to focus on modern Britain as a model (where it is seemingly uncommon to have many children).

But let's not forget about the retrocultural aspects of the wizarding world. What we see of it has the appearance of Victorian or Edwardian England. Nobody who doesn't come out the muggle world owns anything like modern luggage or wear modern British clothing or live in a modern house.

Hermione's & Harry's early life are modern because they live in the muggle world until called to Hogwarts.

Draco's & Ron's early life are pre-modern because they live in the wizarding world. The Weasleys' house looks, inside and out, comfortably old fashioned. Malfoy Manor looks like it should belong to English Heritage Trust.

Why should we assume that magic folks' cultural perspectives are any less old fashioned? Clearly the Malfoys are pretty old fashioned as far as muggles go. Perhaps the Weasleys are similarly old fashioned as far as banging out the kids goes!

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