Identical twins can be difficult to tell apart, and fictional twins are no different. It can be easy to confuse which Weasley twin it was who lost their ear, and many mistakenly believe it was Fred Weasley who suffered the injury.
Fred is the more widely remembered of the Weasley twins. He tended to be the first to speak and the first to act, with his younger brother George content to follow his lead. When people think of the Weasley twins, the one who immediately comes to mind is Fred.
However, it was in fact George Weasley who lost his ear!
How Did George Lose His Ear?
When the dark lord Voldemort returned, the Order of the Phoenix swiftly regrouped in response. Members included Molly, Arthur, Bill, and Charlie Weasley. Molly was extremely reluctant to allow her younger children anywhere near the dangerous Order activities, fearing they would be hurt or even killed.
The Weasley twins did not immediately join, being still underage and preoccupied with building their Weasley Wizard Wheezes. However, not too long after the apparent betrayal of Severus Snape, Fred and George would join the Order as well.
But just as their mother feared, George suffered a permanent injury on his very first mission for the Order, known later as the Battle of the Seven Potters.
Who Was Responsible For George’s Injury?
The controversial Severus Snape, the twin’s former potions teacher, was, directly and indirectly, responsible for George’s ear loss.
Secretly loyal to the Order, it was imperative that Snape maintained a facade of trustworthiness and reliability as a Death Eater. He informed Voldemort of the Order’s plans to move Harry. Then, Snape concocted a plan requiring the use of polyjuice potion to create Harry Potter decoys to confuse the Death Eaters.
Fred and George Weasley were among those decoy Potters, all of whom were partnered with a more experienced Order member. Fred was paired with his father, and George with Remus Lupin. Immediately after setting out, they were ambushed by Death Eaters, Severus Snape among them.
In the chaos of the midair battle between the Order and the Death Eaters, Snape went in pursuit of George Weasley and Remus Lupin. No doubt he chose this particular pair because he reasoned that the real Harry would be accompanying the former Marauder due to their personal history.
Snape later explained that he actually attempted to rescue Lupin from another Death Eater, but his spell missed and struck George instead. It wasn’t an intentional attack, and Snape was genuinely remorseful about it.
Which Curse Did Snape Use?
The spell that hit George was sectumsempra, a curse that lacerates its victims. Severus Snape himself invented the curse when he was a Hogwarts student. Requiring a slashing movement from the caster, the curse is fairly challenging to aim with precision at the best of times.
In the chaos of battling Death Eaters in the middle of the night while flying on broomsticks, all while trying not to actually look like he was targeting his fellow Death Eaters, Snape unsurprisingly missed his mark. The curse that was meant to cut off a fellow Death Eater’s hand instead cut off the younger Weasley twin’s ear.
Due to the dark nature of the spell, George’s ear was permanently lost.
After the harrowing events of Fred and George’s first-ever mission for the Order of the Phoenix, everyone regrouped in the safety of the Burrow and were distraught to see George’s injury. But true to character, George himself took it fairly well!
After waking up to discover his ear missing, George immediately cracked a pun, “I’m holy.” Because he now had a visible hole in his head. (Not a very impressive pun, by Fred’s standards. )
George also teased his mother that at least now she’d finally be able to tell the twins apart, a callback to the times when Fred and George deliberately confused her with their identical likenesses.
Losing an ear wasn’t enough to hinder George Weasley’s bright sense of humor and positivity, to his family’s relief and delight.