It is mentioned in The Deathly Hallows in the chapter, "The Will of Albus Dumbledore:"

"Would you say you were close to Dumbledore, Ronald?" asked Scrimgeour, ignoring Hermione. Ron looked startled. "Me? Not -- not really... It was always Harry who..."

However, Ron ends up becoming Prefect, as selected by Dumbledore, himself. How would Dumbledore have known to select him as Prefect (or anyone, to generalize) if he didn't know Ron that well?

  • 2
    You don’t have to know someone well to “promote” them.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 21:59
  • 2
    I imagine the other teachers also play a role in recommending students to be prefects, but it seems Dumbledore makes the ultimate decision.
    – Kai
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 22:17
  • Well he is only the brightest wizard of his age...
    – Ginge
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 0:04
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    Just because Ron didn't know Dumbledore very well doesn't mean Dumbledore didn't know a whole lot about Ron. Being smarter than Ron is one of Dumbledore's character traits.
    – Misha R
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 0:20
  • @Abigail Glad you said that :) When I was writing my comment I was actually debating whether or not to add that same thing, then decided to stick to one point at a time.
    – Misha R
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 5:05

2 Answers 2


He’d likely know from what others said.

J.K. Rowling confirmed in an interview that Dumbledore understood Ron very well from what the professors who taught him, as well as Harry, told him about him.

Lulu: Do you think Dumbledore was a little more fond of Ron than either Ron or Harry believed?

J. K. Rowling: Yes, I do. Through Harry's account of Ron, and from reports of the professors who taught Ron, Dumbledore understood Ron better than Ron ever knew, and liked him, too.
- Bloomsbury Live Chat, (July 30, 2007)

Presumably this would also be true for the other students that Dumbledore would be choosing from as prefects - even if he doesn’t have personal experience with them, he’d know what the professors and possibly other students think of them.

  • 2
    Pretty much like many real Headmasters in British Schools, they rely on the other staff members assessments when choosing prefects.
    – Sarriesfan
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 0:27

Dumbledore may have had other reasons for selecting Ron as a prefect. Consider that it seems that Harry should have been the obvious choice as Gryffindor boy prefect:

Standing where the twins had left him with nothing but a guilty weight in the pit of his stomach for company, Harry caught the sound of his own name. Kingsley Shacklebolt’s deep voice was audible even over the surrounding chatter.

“... why Dumbledore didn’t make Potter a prefect?” said Kingsley.

“He’ll have had his reasons,” replied Lupin.

“But it would’ve shown confidence in him. It’s what I’d’ve done,” persisted Kingsley, “ ’specially with the Daily Prophet having a go at him every few days...”

The twins’ heads turned in unison and both of them stared at Harry.

“We thought you were a cert!” said Fred in a tone that suggested Harry had tricked them in some way.

“We thought Dumbledore was bound to pick you!” said George indignantly.

Dumbledore himself later admits that perhaps Harry should have been prefect:

“I feel I owe you another explanation, Harry,” said Dumbledore hesitantly. “You may, perhaps, have wondered why I never chose you as a prefect? I must confess... that I rather thought... you had enough responsibility to be going on with.”

Now, what other reasons could Dumbledore have had for appointing Ron as prefect? Well for starters, there wasn't much competition. Throughout the series we only ever see three other male Gryffindors in their year, none of whom are particularly outstanding. At that point in the series, Neville was pretty much still a bumbling fool that couldn't do anything right. We don't see much of Seamus and Dean, and what we do see of them is certainly closer to lame than spectacular.

In addition, there was another factor that may have led Dumbledore to choose Ron. Recall what Ron saw in the Mirror of Erised:

Ron, though, was staring transfixed at his image.

"Look at me!" he said.

"Can you see all your family standing around you?"

"No – I'm alone – but I'm different – I look older – and I'm head boy!"


"I am – I'm wearing the badge like Bill used to – and I'm holding the house cup and the Quidditch cup – I'm Quidditch captain, too.

And Dumbledore's assessment of this:

"Yes and no," said Dumbledore quietly. "It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them.

Of all people, Dumbledore may have understood best what Ron really needed. Ron needed to be a prefect so as not to feel like a failure compared to his siblings. Even if Dumbledore did not have much to do with Ron throughout the series, he was privy to Ron's "deepest, most desperate desire", and he may have made him a prefect to help him start achieving it.

Remember, there may in fact be some precedent for Dumbledore choosing prefects based on "other" factors:

“What about you, Sirius?” Ginny asked, thumping Hermione on the back.

Sirius, who was right beside Harry, let out his usual barklike laugh.

“No one would have made me a prefect, I spent too much time in detention with James. Lupin was the good boy, he got the badge.”

“I think Dumbledore might have hoped that I would be able to exercise some control over my best friends,” said Lupin. “I need scarcely say that I failed dismally.”

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