While Fred and George Weasley may have looked so similar that even their parents couldn’t tell them apart sometimes, and were so close that you rarely saw one without the other, they were still individuals. Let’s celebrate the differences between our favourite twins.
Fred Weasley is mentioned over 900 times in the books, almost 200 more than his brother (George gets around 731 mentions). This could be down to the fact that Fred was the slightly more outgoing of the two brothers and, in a sense, did more, while George waited for Fred to make the first move. It’s Fred and George, not George and Fred, after all. In interviews J.K. Rowling has said, regarding how she decided to kill Fred rather than George: ‘I always knew it was going to be Fred, and I couldn't honestly tell you why.’ But she did think people would have expected George to be the one who died, and that killing off the slightly more vocal character was a surprise.
While both Fred and George were excellent Beaters, and a credit to the Gryffindor Quidditch team, there were more mentions of George hitting Bludgers than there were of Fred. George seemed to be the slightly more aggressive of the two on the Quidditch pitch, described once as hitting a Bludger at a player as a way of ‘vent[ing] his feelings’, and retaliating for a foul by elbowing a Slytherin Beater in the face. He even had good aim with snowballs. Aggression may, of course, be a very desirable trait in a Beater, so it could be this that gave George the edge over his brother. It was probably a healthy outlet for George, too, as off the pitch he was usually the more compassionate of the two.
Whenever the Weasley twins did something particularly naughty it always seemed to be Fred who took the lead. When the twins and Ron broke Harry out of Privet Drive in his second year, it was Fred who was driving the flying Ford Anglia. He was usually the one behind even the smaller pranks; Fred was the one who liberated a salamander from Care of Magical Creatures so they could try to feed it a Filibuster Firework, and Fred was the one who ‘accidentally’ dropped a Ton-Tongue Toffee in front of Dudley. It was Fred who had the (unsuccessful) idea to use Ageing Potion to put their names in the Goblet of Fire, and was the first to cross the age line to try it. Fred was also the twin who talked back to Umbridge, and initiated their final flight from Hogwarts.
Perhaps Fred was the bolder twin because he knew his brother was there to mitigate the damage. Fred and George were both undeniably charismatic, but George was, as it were, the public face of the Weasley twins, able to be much more subtle and diplomatic than Fred. George was the twin who made edits to their letter to Ludo Bagman, knowing that certain wording would sound accusatory, and was the one who realised why Hermione wanted to get into the school kitchens. He was even the one who remembered to get the new Common Room password from a prefect.
Fred cracked more jokes and one-liners than George did, and was often the first to imitate and mock his siblings (greeting Harry with an impression of Percy’s pomposity, and asking Ron if he minded not getting a kiss from him for being made prefect – and then challenging Ron to give him detention). George usually joined in of course, but he took his cue for what kind of jokes they were making from his brother. On the other hand, George was more compassionate when the time called for it. When Fred was teasing Ron over Scabbers’ presumed death, saying it was probably better for him to ‘snuff it quickly’, George at least tried to cheer Ron up, and reminded him he was always complaining about the rat anyway.
When you read through the books you can see that it was almost always Fred who spoke first, usually a joke or a dramatic comment. He was the front man, the lead singer, the one who first got everyone’s attention. George was the slightly more level-headed twin who explained what his brother actually meant. Fred even passed George the task of explaining the Marauder’s Map to Harry when he could have done so himself. In fact, while Harry was close to both of the twins, he had longer conversations with George, who often explained events Harry might have missed, plans he and Fred had, or things Harry didn’t quite understand. Fred and George really did complement each other perfectly.