33

In Goblet of Fire, Mrs Weasley is seemingly upset with Hermione, and it appears to be due to reading what Rita Skeeter wrote about her in the newspaper.

Mrs. Weasley knew Hermione pretty well at the time, so why would she trust a journalist over her personal impressions?

Quotes for context:

In the chapter "The Madness of Mr. Crouch"

Percy's letter was enclosed in a package of Easter eggs that Mrs. Weasley had sent. Both Harry's and Ron's were the size of dragon eggs and full of homemade toffee. Hermione's, however, was smaller than a chicken egg. Her face fell when she saw it.

"Your mum doesn't read Witch Weekly, by any chance, does she, Ron?" she asked quietly.

"Yeah," said Ron, whose mouth was full of toffee. "Gets it for the recipes"

also in the chapter "The Third Task"

Harry looked between them, then said, "Mrs. Weasley, you didn't believe that rubbish Rita Skeeter wrote in Witch Weekly, did you? Because Hermione's not my girlfriend."

"Oh!" said Mrs. Weasley. "No -- of course I didn't!" But she became considerably warmer toward Hermione after that.

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    It's been a long time, but this doesn't pop into mind - can you quote an example from the book? (It may also stop the downvotes) – Izkata May 12 '13 at 16:21
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    @Izkata - My edition pg 549 "The Madness of Mr. Crouch" - "Percy's letter was enclosed in a package of Easter eggs that Mrs. Weasley had sent. Both Harry's and Ron's were the size of dragon eggs and full of homemade toffee. Hermione's, however, was smaller than a chicken egg. ... "Your mum doesn't read Witch Weekly, by any chance, does she, Ron?" she asked quietly. "Yeah," said Ron... – Dason May 12 '13 at 22:16
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    @Izkata - My edition pg 619 "The Third Task" - "Harry looked between them, then said, "Mrs. Weasley, you didn't belieave that rubbish Rita Skeeter wrote in Witch Weekly, did you? Because Hermione's not my girlfriend." "Oh!" said Mr.s Weasley. "No -- of course I didn't!" But she became considerably warmer toward Hermione after that. – Dason May 12 '13 at 22:18
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    @Dason Ah, mothers. Wonder what that means for Rowling's children ;) – Izkata May 12 '13 at 22:28
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    I think the irony/contradiction here is that in the same chapter ("The Third Task") when Amos Diggory was getting all worked up over Skeeter's article about the champions, Mrs. Weasley yelled: "Rita Skeeter goes out of her way to cause trouble, Amos! I would have thought you'd know that, working at the Ministry!" So she's also being a bit hypocritical in the process. – commando May 14 '13 at 15:21
21

You are confusing a mother's protective feelings for her son with something sane and rational.

Once the thought that her son might be in danger of being hurt or humiliated she most likely became a bit paranoid and started to see 'signs' of it in everything Hermione said and did. This often ends up with people saying things like 'Oh I never liked her', 'there was always something odd about her', etc.

For another (albeit much more understandable) example of her non-rational protective nature, notice how she charges forward to fight Bellatrix when her children are in danger. Bellatrix is extremely powerful and psychotic with many years of experience when it comes to using magic as a weapon - it is not wise for a housewife to engage her directly and singly. Yet she protects her children without a second's hesitation and would probably have done so even if she knew it meant her certain death. Admittedly this is a far more extreme example but the principle is the same.

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    It was pointed out that Mrs. Weasley was a very good witch. So it wasn't insane for her to attack Bellatrix even if her children weren't at risk. Risky yes, but not insane. – StarPilot May 14 '13 at 3:25
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    I did not say it was insane, I said it was unwise. She was a powerful witch but not one used to combat, chosing to duel Bellatrix alone when she potentially had support was not wise, the odds were heavily against her and her death would be devestating to her family whereas winning a one on one duel with Bellatrix would be no different to them stopping her with unfair numbers. It is an example of how a mother's protective nature can cause them to act in an irrational way - like the situation with Harmione. – Stefan May 14 '13 at 8:11
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    Did you read my reply? StarPilot misread my comment and did not take into account that although Mrs Weasley was a very good witch combat was not her focus, nor was there a logical reason to fight solo against Bellatrix when she had help available. – Stefan Jul 8 '14 at 22:32
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    Of course, Mrs Weasley’s impetus to attack Bellatrix one-on-one, rather than ganging up on her, is supported by the fact that Mrs Weasley is a Gryffindor, rather than a Slytherin. The ones with the saving-people complex (as Hermione puts it) go to Gryffindor; the ones who don’t mind uneven odds go to Slytherin. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 21 '15 at 17:56
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    "Bellatrix is extremely powerful and psychotic with many years of experience when it comes to using magic as a weapon" - I'd upvote you just for that! ;) – Bellatrix Oct 8 '17 at 20:18
15

Mrs Weasley seemed pretty into her 'middle-aged woman' print media - she also loved the Lockhart books and he was also a joke!

2

Out of universe explanation for why it occurred.

"All unpublished Potter information is gold dust. Rowling's dustbins have gone over; her letters have been stolen; printers have been offered bribes; friends have had cheque books waved at them by tabloid reporters. " ... "She has endured death threats, stalkers, begging letters and prying paparazzi. On Mauritius she was "long-lensed" in her bikini." - This is from http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2006/0110-tatler-grieg.html which was published in Jan 2006, shortly after publication of Goblet of Fire, but describes events that unfolded previously, before/during the writing of it

Witches Weekly is intended to allow her to return fire at the tabloids and gossip magazines that annoyed her, but she obviously can't come out and admit it - she needs the plausible deniability to avoid a lawsuit against her.

To dive (further) into speculation, the intent was to highlight how ridiculous and hurtful it is when people who know you personally start to believe things written by tabloids/gossip magazines. You are meant to be confused and annoyed as to why Mrs Weasley would believe it.

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