Try to imagine a character as nosy as Rita Skeeter and meritorious as Hermione. Weird, right? Well, Potterheads missed out an opportunity to be introduced to such a character, who would have been named Mafalda Weasley, when J.K. Rowling decided to omit her from the books.
Mafalda was set to make an appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. She was one of Rowling's favorites and the author once described her as a "match for Hermione." However, Rowling decided to eliminate her from the books, as she felt she was putting too much weight on the character's shoulders. Keep reading to find out more about the Weasley's distant, younger cousin.
Why She Failed To Make The Books
Mafalda Weasley was set to appear in The Goblet Of Fire, but Rowling decided to eliminate her and had to rewrite almost half of the book to incorporate the changes. This led to a subsequent delay in the publication of the book by two months. Apparently, Rowling decided that she had been putting too much importance on Mafalda and an 11-year-old had clear limits to collecting information. So, she removed her and instead put Rita Skeeter onto her job to fill the gaps. We all know how Rita sneaked on people and gathered valuable information. Rowling herself mentioned:
"Rita was always going to be in the book, but I built her up, because I needed a kind of conduit for information outside the school. Originally, this girl fulfilled this purpose. Unfortunately, however bright I made her, there were obvious limitations to what an eleven-year-old closeted at school could discover, whereas Rita Skeeter, whom I subsequently built up to fulfill Mafalda’s function, was much more flexible."
Mafalda was born to a Muggle mother but her father, Molly Weasley's cousin, was a squib (and apparently that didn't make her a squib). Mafalda was enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry three years after the trio started in 1994. The Sorting Hat decided to place her in House Slytherin — perhaps the first Weasley to get sorted into Slytherin.
Mafalda possessed all the traits that would have led her to be sorted into the house with the green and emerald flag. She was a show-off and bragged about herself whenever she could. As a mirror of the loathed Rita Skeeter, she was also nosy and interfering. She eavesdropped on private conversations even when it meant going against the school rules. This was supposed to be the basis of her character and her original purpose for being included in the primary plot.
Mafalda was a strong rival to Hermione and was therefore highly intelligent. Considering the fact that she was a show-off, she gave Hermione a strong fight to solidify her spot at the top of the class. Mafalda was gifted, as is evident from her qualities and achievements. Rowling herself said:
“The best thing about Mafalda was that she was a match for Hermione. To the latter’s horror, Mafalda was highly gifted and a real show-off."
Mafalda, being in Slytherin, was close to the children of numerous Death Eaters. This enabled her to eavesdrop on their conversations (not everyone needs Extendable Ears to spy on others) and convey the information to Harry, Ron and Hermione. She was apparently jealous of the trio and in an attempt to impress them, divulged the secrets she heard.
"Mafalda was supposed to convey certain information about the Death Eaters to Harry, Ron and Hermione, because as a nosy, eavesdropping Slytherin who likes to impress, she does not keep her mouth shut when she overhears their sons and daughters talking."
We can't truly miss someone who doesn't exist, but Mafalda's presence in the Harry Potter franchise would surely have further expanded the Wizarding World. The introduction of this character would have changed the story by a mile, so Rowling did her best when she decided to remove her from the books. Too many cooks spoil the broth!
Would you have liked to read about Mafalda Weasley in the Harry Potter books? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
(Source: JKRowling.com via archive.org)