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Dolores Umbridge: "I have testimony from Willy Widdershins, Minerva, who happened to be in the bar at the time. He was heavily bandaged, it is true, but his hearing was quite unimpaired. He heard every word Potter said and hastened straight to the school to report to me —"
Minerva McGonagall: "Oh, so that's why he wasn't prosecuted for setting up all those regurgitating toilets! What an interesting insight into our justice system!"
Dexter Fortescue: "Blatant corruption! The Ministry did not cut deals with petty criminals in my day, no sir, they did not!"
Dolores Umbridge, Minerva McGonagall, and the portrait of Dexter Fortescue discussing the Ministry's actions about Willy Widdershins[src]

Willy Widdershins was a British wizard who repeatedly engaged in Muggle-baiting pranks.[2] He was arrested by the Ministry of Magic for enchanting a series of regurgitating toilets in Muggle areas, but he made a deal with the Ministry, that if he spied on Harry Potter and his friends, they would let him go. He carried out his assignment, and the Ministry kept their end of the bargain and released him.[3] He was later caught selling biting doorknobs and was subsequently given a prison sentence that he could not avoid.[2]

Biography

Jacob's sibling: "What's the trouble?"
Arthur Weasley: "Willy Widdershins."
Jacob's sibling: "Willy Widderwhat?"
Arthur Weasley: "A young wizard prankster called Willy Widdershins is playing jokes on innocent Muggles. He's a wily one. He's evaded all of our efforts so far. In order to outsmart him, we need someone smarter. Someone like you!"
— Arthur Weasley to Jacob's sibling regarding Willy's activities[src]

In adulthood, he repeatedly engaged in Muggle-baiting pranks.[2] In the 1990–1991 school year, Widdershins caused trouble for the British Ministry of Magic by pranking innocent Muggles, and was sneaky enough to evade capture. He sold one hapless Muggle man some Frog Spawn Soap. Arthur Weasley and Alastor Moody had Jacob's sibling investigate his offences for the Ministry, and thanks to their help, he was caught so he could face proper consequences for his actions, with magic being kept secret from the Muggles he targeted.[4]

"I was just reading about Willy Widdershins’s arrest when you arrived. You know Willy turned out to be behind those regurgitating toilets last summer? One of his jinxes backfired, the toilet exploded, and they found him lying unconscious in the wreckage covered from head to foot in —"
— Arthur Weasley regarding Willy's 1995 arrest detailed in the Daily Prophet[src]

In 1995, he was arrested by the British Ministry of Magic for jinxing a series of regurgitating toilets in Muggle areas such as Bethnal Green, one of which backfired against him during its creation, as well as covering him in the toilet's contents. He was badly injured in his capture and was wrapped heavily in bandages.[2] Widdershins was later caught selling biting doorknobs, which bit off the fingers of two Muggles, and was subsequently given a prison sentence.[2]

That year, he made a deal with the Ministry, that if he spied on Harry Potter and his friends, they would let him go. He did so, and reported to Hogwarts High Inquisitor Dolores Umbridge and Cornelius Fudge that they were planning on making a secret Defence Against the Dark Arts group while they were in a meeting at the Hog's Head Inn. By doing so he was able to avoid prosecution. The fact that the Ministry was willing to work with a petty criminal who had violated wizarding law highlighted how corrupt and immoral they were at the time.[3] Whilst he spied on Harry and his friends in the Hog's Head, he was covered in dirty grey bandages as a result of his injury, and also to likely obscure his face.[5][3]

Personality and traits

Widdershins was an extremely mischievous wizarding prankster who enjoyed using magic to play pranks on unsuspecting Muggles, which was a violation of wizarding law, showing he appeared to have little regard for the law and saw no problem in breaking it.[2] He also appeared rather underhand in nature, given how he willingly spied on Harry Potter and his friends in the Hog's Head for the Ministry.[3] Arthur Weasley once commented that he was "a wily one".[4]

His feeling towards Muggles was unknown; he could have felt his pranks on them were harmless jokes, but according to Arthur Weasley, Muggle-baiting pranks were often a sign of sinister supremacist attitudes towards Muggles.[6] He also seemed to be unrepentant and stubborn, as even after one of his pranks backfired, resulting in him being injured and arrested, he continued to create such harmful prank despite the "second chance" he received from his deal with the Ministry.[2]

Magical abilities and skills

Etymology

Widdershins (sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite the apparent motion of the sun (in the Northern hemisphere), going anti-clockwise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left.[7]

Behind the scenes

Appearances

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Notes and references

  1. In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Alastor Moody described him as a young wizard in the early 1990s, meaning he was likely at least 18 by then.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 22 (St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 32 (The Wizengamot Trial) - Assignment "To Catch a Prankster"
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16 (In The Hog's Head)
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 9 (The Woes of Mrs Weasley)
  7. Widdershins at Wikipedia
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