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My knowledge of the Harry Potter timeline isn't great, but an exchange in Half-Blood Prince caught my eye:

They’ve known each other a year,” said Ron, who looked oddly groggy and was staring at the closed door.
Well, that’s not very long! I know why it’s happened, of course. 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 center —
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.

This doesn't seem to sit well with the “Your father and I had been for a nighttime stroll” joke in Goblet of Fire, which suggests that Mr and Mrs Weasley were very well acquainted during their time at Hogwarts.

Now, I fully admit that this is based on a joke and some innuendo, but does this actually sit well with the timeline? As I understand it, Voldemort was last in power roughly when Ron was born and Ginny's line suggests that Mr and Mrs Weasley got together while he was still in power. Does this mean that Voldemort was in power for so long that Mr and Mrs Weasley had the time to graduate, rush off, and have seven kids before he fell? And if so, does this timeline align with when Mr and Mrs Weasley actually graduated or married (assuming that we actually know when that was?)?

1 Answer 1

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The First Wizarding War was much longer than the Second

‘My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this “You-Know-Who” nonsense – for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort.’

-Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1, 'The Boy Who Lived' (conversation between Dumbledore and McGonagall on the evening after Lily and James' death)

The First Wizarding War lasted for over a decade. Plenty of time for Molly and Arthur to graduate, elope, and have 7 children before it ultimately ended.

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    Out of interest, is there anything in the expanded lore telling us when they actually did marry and graduate?
    – J. Mini
    Nov 7, 2020 at 13:44
  • It's rather embarrassing that the answer is: "Yes, as seen in book 1 chapter 1". Clearly, I didn't look far before asking this question. Anyway, are you sure that this conversation was on the eve of their deaths? As in, the day before?
    – J. Mini
    Nov 7, 2020 at 13:48
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    But this quote doesn't mean the war was eleven years?! Why would it? Could as well mean he tried to persuade them after the war ended and they still used "You know who". Rather than Voldi or Tomyboy as they ought to. Nov 7, 2020 at 20:30
  • He's making this comment on the night after the war ended. In theory, yes, it's possible that people started calling Voldemort 'You-Know-Who' before the war began. But that would posit that Voldy was scary enough to terrify an entire population without being at war with them, which seems rather far-fetched to me. Nov 7, 2020 at 21:10
  • Actually, I think the war might have been even longer! Remember that the name "Voldemort" was only known to Tom Riddle's closest friends while he was in Hogwarts. Then he went away and when he returned, only then did he start calling himself Voldemort publicly. Initially also the name wouldn't have scared people. He had to build up a reputation first. And since he was so changed, it would also have taken Dumbledore some time to dig up Voldemort's true identity.
    – Vilx-
    Nov 7, 2020 at 21:39

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