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Title: The Burrow
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Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/19/2009 06:55 AM)
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The Burrow

The Burrow

"This is the best house I've ever been in."
    --  Harry Potter, CS3



Home to the Weasley family, the Burrow is a house just outside the village of Ottery St. Catchpole (GF6), and is built so crazily that it must certainly be held up by magic. It is likely to have once been a farmhouse (though it looks more like it might have been a "large stone pigpen"), on top of which several crooked stories look to have been added. Currently the house has six bedrooms  and six stories, plus an attic, with a rickety uneven staircase climbing among the stories. Overall, despite the garden gnomes, the old boots and chickens littering the yard, and the ghoul in the attic, the house has a cozy, warm feeling, and Harry often thinks of it as his "second favorite building in the world" after Hogwarts (HBP4).

Harry has always been a welcome guest at the Burrow, as Molly Weasley in particular treated Harry almost as one of her own. As Voldemort regained power, though, this became more and more dangerous and powerful security precautions had to be placed upon the building, first by the Ministry of Magic (HBP4) and later by the Order of the Phoenix. Following the death of Albus Dumbledore, amidst concerns that Severus Snape might infiltrate the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, the Order shifted its headquarters from number twelve, Grimmauld Place in London to the Burrow.

On August 1, 1997, Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour were married, with the ceremony held at the Burrow so that the guests (and particularly Harry Potter) would be better protected. In the midst of the celebration, however, the Ministry of Magic finally caved and fell to Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Thus, the protective enchantments surrounding the Borrow were broken, and the party was quickly ambushed by Death Eaters. Fortuntely, in large part due to a warning message sent by Kingsley Shacklebolt, the guests were able to get to safety, and the Death Eaters never learned that Harry had ever been present.

Outside the Burrow

Front Yard
Harry's first impression of the Weasleys' home is of its front yard, where chickens wander around, Wellington boots and a rusty cauldron litter the lawn, and a lopsided sign stuck in the ground announces its location: "The Burrow" .

Behind the house is a large garden, surrounded by a fence and a hedge, as well as gnarled trees. Its normal state, at least at the end of summer when Harry normally visits, is one of overgrowth, filled with weeds and with grass that needs cutting - though the place was tidyed up considerably, including the addition of two Flutterby bushes, for Bill and Fleur's wedding. The garden also has a "big green pond full of frogs," and over the hedges are fields and hills that lead up to the family's orchard. When the Weasleys have a particularly large number of guests, they sometimes put tables together in the backyard for dinner, rather than trying to eat in the kitchen; this is particularly pleasant on warm summer evenings, when the air fills with "the smells of grass and honeysuckle" at dusk.

Up the hill behind the Burrow's garden this "small paddock" is usually used by the Weasley children for pick-up Quidditch matches.. It's particularly convenient for this as the orchard is surrounded by trees, and therefore can't be seen by any prying Muggle eyes. For Bill and Fleur's wedding, a large tent was erected in the orchard, and the ceremony and the after-party both took place here.

Broom shed
Off the garden is a "run-down stone outhouse" that is now used as a broom shed. Though it's smelly and full of spiders, this was where Dumbledore pulled Harry for a brief conversation when he dropped him off at the Burrow in the summer of 1996. It was from this shed that Ginny, starting at age six, "borrowed" her brothers' broomsticks so she could teach herself Quidditch.

There is a garage in the front yard, where Fred and George park the Ford Anglia after they use it to pick up Harry from Privet Drive.

Chicken coop
Possibly the same structure as the garage. Regardless, this is where the chickens are kept, and where Arthur keeps the leftover pieces from the flying motorcyle hidden from Molly .

Ground Floor

Up the steps from the garden and through the back door, the Weasleys' kitchen is the center of life in their household. A "small and rather cramped" room, it has a scrubbed wooden table with eight chairs, a window overlooking the house's front path, and a prominent fireplace, with the mantlepiece stacked three deep with cookbooks. Just inside the back door sits a perch for the family owl, Errol, and nearby a long narrow passageway leads to the staircase and the rest of the house. Though the room is described several times as "tiny"  and it is too small for more than eight to sit for dinner, it is large enough that Fred and George were once able to put on an indoor display of Filibuster Fireworks here for the family.

A tiny room off the kitchen, most likely used simply as a laundry room. There is a mangle in the corner.

Sitting room
Also called the "living room" (HBP16), the Burrow's sitting room is described as "shabby but cozy," lit by oil lamps with a sagging armchair and a comfortable couch. There is also a fireplace and a "large wooden wireless set," around which the family gathers for holidays (HBP16). On one wall is a sideboard with firewhisky and glasses (DH5). During the days leading up to Bill and Fleur's wedding, Arthur and Molly slept in the sitting room, as the Burrow's six bedrooms were all packed with the rest of the family and guests (DH6).

First Floor

Ginny's bedroom
A "small, but bright" room with posters of the Weird Sisters and the Holyhead Harpies. Her desk sits in front of a window that overlooks the orchard behind the house. Ginny often shares this room with Hermione when she's visiting , and has once also shared it with Fleur (HBP16). This bedroom likely used to be Charlie's.

Bill's bedroom
Probably (though not definitely) located on the first floor. Bill shared this room with Charlie whenever Charlie came to visit, though that wasn't very often .

Second Floor

Percy's bedroom
Percy's room is on the second floor with a window overlooking the garden. During the days leading up to Bill and Fleur's wedding, Fleur stayed here with her little sister, Gabrielle.

Fred and George's bedroom
When Harry stayed at the Burrow for several weeks in the summer of 1996, he slept in Fred and George's bedroom on the second floor. At the time it was filled with sealed cardboard boxes, something of a warehouse for Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. The room also had a wardrobe, a desk, and a bedside table with a lamp, along with a number of Fred and George's products lying around. Even more noticeable was a lingering smell of gunpowder, probably dating from the days of Fred and George living in the house, when the sounds of explosions coming from their bedroom were "considered perfectly normal".

Third Floor

There is most likely at least a bathroom on this floor, though there does not seem to be a bedroom. This room was the one through which young Ginny spotted Harry as he walked up the stairs on his first trip to the Burrow.

Fourth Floor

Master Bedroom
Arthur and Molly's bedroom, which was filled with wedding presents in the days leading up to Bill and Fleur's wedding, at least until the Delacours arrived and slept here instead.

Fifth Floor

Ron's Bedroom
Sometimes referred to by the family as the bedroom in the "attic," the room with the sign marked "Ronald's Room" is completely decked out in the orange hangings of the Chudley Cannons, Ron's favorite Quidditch team. Here Ron has a tank with a frog on the windowsill and a cage for Pigwidgeon. Generally when Harry comes to visit, the Weasleys add a camp bed to Ron's room for Harry to sleep on (HBP16).


Just outside Ron's bedroom, a small hatch opens from the ceiling, revealing a ladder to the attic. Up the ladder is a tiny space nestled beneath the building's rafters, where the family ghoul lives  and sometimes bangs the pipes in the night.

How do we know the layout of the Burrow?

Essay by John Kearns

The outside and ground floor of the Burrow are straightforward, but once we start up the rickety stairs, things become a little more tricky to figure out. The first question is, how many bedrooms are there? And then, how do we know where each one is located?

How many bedrooms are there in the Burrow?
We get clues to this twice. Most recently, when guests descended upon the Burrow for Bill and Fleur's wedding, we learned where everyone was sleeping in DH6:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Weasley slept in the sitting room;
  • The Delacours took the master bedroom;
  • Gabrielle and Fleur shared Percy's old bedroom;
  • Bill and Charlie shared Bill's room;
  • Harry and Ron shared Ron's room;
  • Ginny and Hermione shared Ginny's room;
  • Fred and George most likely stayed in their own room, as it was never stated where they slept except that they stayed at the Burrow, and nobody else was described as using their room.
This means the Burrow has six bedrooms: the master bedroom and a room each for Bill, Percy, the twins, Ron, and Ginny. This raises an obvious question: what about Charlie? Didn't he have a bedroom? But we'll get to that in a bit. First, there's one other time where we learn exactly who is staying everywhere: Christmas of 1996, when Molly ticks off the list (HBP16):
  • She asks Fred and George to share their room with Bill;
  • This allows Lupin to stay in Bill's room;
  • Harry and Ron stay in Ron's bedroom, "the attic;"
  • Ginny shares her room with Fleur;
  • Presumably Molly and Arthur remain in the master bedroom.
This is particularly interesting because there is one less bedroom than the family uses a year later, and specifically, no mention of Percy's bedroom at all, despite the next sentence being Fred asking whether Percy is coming home. Unless Rowling simply made a mathematical error (which is not unprecedented), it seems most likely that Molly was saving Percy's room for him, just in case he decided to come home for the holidays. At any rate, from this point forward, let's work with the assumption that there are six bedrooms.

Where are all of the bedrooms located?
Here's what we know:

  • Ginny's bedroom is on the first floor (DH7).
  • Fred and George's room is on the second floor (HBP5).
  • Percy's bedroom is on the "second landing" (GF5).
  • Ron's bedroom is three flights above Percy's (GF5).
  • Molly and Arthur's bedroomis a very short walk away from Ron's room (DH6).
  • The location of Bill's room is never mentioned.
Now, a "flight" of stairs, a "landing," and a "floor" do not necessarily have to equate to the same thing. There could be landings on the stairs between floors, or two "flights" of stairs could theoretically connect two adjacent floors. However, it seems most likely that in the Burrow, this is not the case. If we don't use this logic, we get into one of two scenarios: either the house is a split-level all the way up (as there are many times that people move an odd number of flights or landings between floors), or "flights" and "landings" do not consistently refer to the same distance - for example, there could only be one landing per floor on the first few floors, and then an extra landing between the third and fourth floors. Though this could theoretically work (and would fit the Burrow's description of seemingly being cobbled together by magic), it gets complicated very quickly, and simply doesn't make a lot of sense. It seems, then, that there is one flight of stairs between floors, a landing on each floor, and no more. Is it certain? No. But it's by far the best explanation.

Given this, then, we can start assigning floors (remember, Americans, that in Britain the first floor is the floor *above* the ground floor, not the same thing):

  • First floor: Ginny
  • Second floor: Percy, Fred and George
  • Third floor: none
  • Fourth floor: none
  • Fifth Floor: Ron
  • Unknown: Master bedroom, Bill's bedroom
Let's tackle the master bedroom first.

On which floor is the master bedroom?
In DH6 it is clear that the trip from Ron's bedroom to the master bedroom is a very quick one. It even seems that they might be on the same floor. However, looking at the floor guide we just created, this doesn't make a lot of sense. At least one floor would be left with no bedrooms at all, and to have two such large rooms at the top, the Burrow would have to be shaped like a mushroom. Further, Ron's bedroom is often referred to as being in the "attic" - and why would Molly say this if her bedroom was up there as well? It makes much more sense for the master bedroom to be located one floor below Ron's, on the fourth floor. This now leaves us with:

  • First floor: Ginny
  • Second floor: Percy, Fred and George
  • Third floor: none
  • Fourth floor: Master bedroom
  • Fifth Floor: Ron
  • Unknown: Bill's bedroom
Let's tackle Bill's room next.

On which floor is Bill's bedroom?
There seem to be two equally logical places that Bill's bedroom could fall. Either it could fill the space on the third floor, where we currently have no bedrooms at all, or it could sit next to Ginny's room on the first floor. I actually like the second possibility better: remember that Ginny's room is described as "very small," and both the floor below and the floor above it have multiple rooms. This would mean the house would look like this:

  • First floor: Bill, Ginny
  • Second floor: Percy, Fred and George
  • Third floor: none
  • Fourth floor: Master bedroom
  • Fifth Floor: Ron
There's another reason I like this explanation too, though, which fits in with our earlier unanswered question about Charlie.

Why doesn't Charlie have a bedroom?
As I was thinking about these two questions (Charlie's room and where to put Bill's room), it dawned on me that, from the bottom of the house to the top, the bedrooms roughly fall chronologically. Bill, the oldest child, is on the first floor; Percy, Fred, and George, numbers 3-5, are on the second floor; Ron is at the top. The only exception is Ginny. Why would she be so close to the ground floor, in a room that almost certainly would have been assigned to an older sibling before she ever even came along? Then the answer hit me: because it was assigned to an older sibling before she came along. Ginny's room used to belong to Charlie.

This works because Charlie left for Hogwarts around the same time that Ginny would have started needing her own room, when she had just turned three. Prior to this she easily could have shared with Ron, or else slept in her parents' bedroom (she was their precious little girl, after all). And since Bill and Charlie were going to be gone most of the year anyway, they could share the larger of their two bedrooms when home (Bill's - he was the oldest), and Ginny could take the smaller one for herself (Charlie's). For a time Bill's room would have become "Bill and Charlie's room," but since Bill moved back to England in 1995 to help the Order of the Phoenix while Charlie remained thousands of miles away in Romania, it became "Bill's room" once again, though he still shares it with Charlie whenever his brother comes back to visit.

So what about the third floor?
This layout still leaves the third floor empty. Prior to DH, it was widely assumed that Ginny's bedroom was on the third floor, as this was where Harry saw her poking her head out of a door on his first visit to the Burrow. But we now know that her room is on the first floor, so that leaves... what exactly? We know there isn't another bedroom. Perhaps there's a small office here, or perhaps more likely, a couple of bathrooms. The (presumably larger) master bedroom being above this level would certainly contribute to the house's looking like it's held up by magic!

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