Anyone that has read the Harry Potter series knows that J.K Rowling doesn't actually use precise swear words in her books. She may say something along the lines of, "He swore loudly," or, "He said something that he wouldn't say anywhere else."

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we have the following quote;

Ron told Malfoy to do something that Harry knew he would never have dared say in front of Mrs Weasley.

Has J.K ever explicitly stated what she means when she uses words or phrases like these?

Can we guess that Ron told Malfoy to go, "Fuck himself"? Is this overly extreme, or is this exactly what J.K Rowling was aiming for?

Please note that this is not suppose to be a limitless question, but a question about any real, hard evidence, about an interview about J.K Rowling or equivalent.

  • 6
    i always assumed he strung together a series of insults in a most marvelous manner, the likes of which would be heard from a 14 year old playing Call of Duty.
    – Himarm
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 20:57
  • @Himarm Honestly, I always thought that any swear words were properly thought out, and din't sound too childish ;)
    – Jake
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 20:59
  • 3
    The whole point is that she is sufficiently vague that the reader can put in any colorful phrases desired. Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 20:59
  • Your base question is about inferrence, and the limitlessness that comes from that. If you want more of a "Has she ever stated in an interview" question, then that would be a different question.
    – PiousVenom
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 21:02
  • @MyCodeSucks Cleaned up question accordingly.
    – Jake
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


I think we can be reasonably confident that Ron told Malfoy to f*ck off. It's a pretty common English expression and one that fits in nicely with the description. By the same token, it's pretty obvious that we're never going to find out exactly what was said.

In an interview with Stephen Fry in 2005, JKR specifically address the issue of swearing in her books;

Stephen Fry: Hello, Jo. I've never managed to ask you this question, but it's always fascinated me. Have you ever had an idea for a scene, or between characters some dialogue, which has been either too scary, too sad, or too rude to make it into the final edition? And if so, can you share some moment with us?

JKR: Well, I think - I've got a feeling I've told Stephen this already. My editor won't let any of the characters swear. Which is sometimes difficult because Ron is definitely a boy who would swear. So you will have noticed that I get round that by having him - Ron used a word that made Hermione say "Ron!". So I do that quite a bit with Ron.

  • 4
    F-off, really? As an American I always thought Ron would tell someone to "sod off". And then turn to Harry and say "What a wanker". (All I know about the UK I learned on the intertubes.)
    – davidbak
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 1:18
  • 5
    @davidbak - Telling someone to sod off isn't something you'd not dare to say in front of your mother.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 5:34
  • 1
    @Valorum You’ve obviously never had Molly Weasley as your mother! Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 18:33

What can be inferred is that Ron let loose some string of verbal insults that would have made Mrs. Weasley cringe in shame of her son. Has Rowling ever stated what it was? Nope. I think she left it as vague as she did so that you, as the reader, can infer he said any insults and swear words that you might have used if it were you in his place.

  • 1
    Why would Mrs. Weasley cringe in shame? She doesn't want her children to misbehave, and tells them off if they misbehave, but that doesn't mean she would be in any way ashamed for her son. Especially if a Malfoy is the target.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 10:21

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