The Financial Situation in Harry Potter

George

Tom Marvolo Riddle
Firstly, I just gotta ask this: it's the question that has been brewing in my mind for a while:
Why, (and what is the significance of) the Weasleys' lack of money?
Surely, it's not just so that we can see them struggle, is it? I mean, for cryin' out loud, why do they only have one Galleon in their whole Gringott's account, and, in every book, we have had to see them make sacrifices, in order to get by. The state of their forever "shabby" robes is always mentioned, and they always seem on the verge of going hungry! But does it have any importance in the long run? What are your views, people?
Secondly, I have one thing to say about Gringotts. Why do they have a vault for each customer? In the real world, no bank operates like that, save for a few exquisite Swiss banks, that give their best customers a few cubic metres of space to store valuables. Now, this is a good idea for something important like the Philosopher's Stone in Harry's world, but, in practical terms, it is a huge waste of space. Consider the fact that Gringotts must have hundreds of thousands of customers. Please, oh, please, do not tell me that they can fit, say, a quarter of a million vaults like Harry's in one place... Wouldn't it be better to keep piles upon piles of gold somewhere, that can be extracted when customers arrive. I am sure that the goblins are quite capable of keeping a track of their customers using paper-based methods. If the bank would have several centralised vaults (as I said above), then things would run a lot more smoothly, and transactions would be made a lot simpler. Am I right?
Thirdly, where in this world did James (and Lily) Potter have all that gold? I do not believe we are ever told what exactly they did, and I do not think that being a part of the Order of the Phoenix pays... neither does being Head Boy and Girl. Harry's parents were still pretty young when they died, and I don't think they could have left Harry so large a sum so that he would be able to live off it for about seven years.
Anyway, I would love it if you have any answers or suggestions to post... looking forward to it, and see you around. :)
 
First off, welcome to MP George. You finding everything ok?

Now to your post:

1. I just think they are poor because they have seven kids and one income. Molly said in GoF that Arthur's fasination with Muggles has held him back in the ministery for years. So he has a lower income job and his galleon needs to be stretched even further.

2. Yes if the bank was run more like a muggle bank, it would take up less space and tranactions would go faster. But who would want to read about a muggle bank? How boring. If I want a muggle bank I will just go to the bank. JKR used creativity to make things more interesting. I also think the wizarding population is smaller than muggle, so they can each have their own vault. And of course, it is a magicl building, so space is not an issue.

3. We don't know where James and Lily got their money from. I have a theory of a family fortune of making Quidditch supplies, since the inventor of the snitch also lived at Godric's Hollow, but it is merely speculation. We don't even know if they did live at Godric's Hollow, or just hid there.

Perhaps they inherited the money just as Harry did.
 

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
as for the Weasleys finantial troubles, I can vouch for the fact that suporting a large family on one income, can make even a seemingly good paycheck disappear like...magic :p I have five children and stay at home with the kids while my hubby brings home the bacon. money is really tight, you may easily say if we were magical, My kids would certainly be wearing hand-me-down robes! But maybe things will look up soon for the weasleys, maybe we will have a Weasley as the new minister of magic?

Harry's fortune...I think we will soon learn of its orrigins. Harry's parents were still fairly young, but not fresh out of Hogwarts either, I'm shure that they both had a profession of some sort. at first I thought that perhaps James was a world famous Seeker and helped win the world cup, but I thinkt hat would have had to come out before now if that were true. Harry would have been even more famous, as the boy who lived, and the son of the Greatest Seeker. A family inheritance is a possiblity, however it isn't really that much since Harry feels he must pace himself if it is to last through his 7th year. Think about it, all he has to buy is his robes, books, quills, etc. As far as we know there is no tuition, so after his supplies all he needs is some pocket money, yet he is concerned about his money not lasting. So, it is definately not a large inheritance.
 

Weasleyfanforever

Time Turners
Sirius Potter Fan said:
But maybe things will look up soon for the weasleys, maybe we will have a Weasley as the new minister of magic?

I am pretty sure that it has been confirmed by JKR somewhere that Arthur wil not become Minister of Magic, he loves his job working with muggles far too much...

Sirius Potter Fan said:
Harry's fortune...I think we will soon learn of its orrigins. Harry's parents were still fairly young, but not fresh out of Hogwarts either, I'm shure that they both had a profession of some sort. at first I thought that perhaps James was a world famous Seeker and helped win the world cup, but I thinkt hat would have had to come out before now if that were true. Harry would have been even more famous, as the boy who lived, and the son of the Greatest Seeker. A family inheritance is a possiblity, however it isn't really that much since Harry feels he must pace himself if it is to last through his 7th year. Think about it, all he has to buy is his robes, books, quills, etc. As far as we know there is no tuition, so after his supplies all he needs is some pocket money, yet he is concerned about his money not lasting. So, it is definately not a large inheritance.

I could have sworn that we were told that Harry inherited his money, or that James did, but I may very well be wrong. Also, I think the only reason Harry was even thinking about having to ask the Dursley's for money and his inheritance not stretching was if he had bought, I think, the Nimbus 2001, or the newest one that was out. Even he didn't want to look at the price tag,so it must have been very expensive, I am guessing that a top of the line brrom like that is akin to buying a brand new car, so I think he would have a reason to be worried if he had splurged and bought it, about worrying if he would have enough money to get through his last year of school...
 

Padma Patil

Dumbledore's Girl
About the Weasley's financial situation,
I think that they will come into some money soon, but I do think you are right in thinking that JKR isn't just pointing it out to make them look shabby. Maybe Percy will becom Minister of Magic. :eek:
lol, don't really see that coming though.

As to Gringotts, the magical communitee is smaller than the muggle and it is a magical building. So not a problem fitting everybody's vault underground. Besides, the caves under there could run for miles. We really don't know just how big Gringotts really is.

As for Harry, I have always been under the impression that his parents were both aurors. I guess I was comparing them to Frank and Alice Longbottom. But I always that that they were aurors even though JKR has given no mention to the subject. And being an auror would get you alot of money considering that you're risking your life.
 

catchthesnitch

Curious Yellow
And being an auror would get you alot of money considering that you're risking your life.

Oh, I don't know about that. Policemen and firefighters make squat and they risk their lives every day. :)

I honestly think the Potter money is very old wizarding money, i.e. the Malfoy's, that's been passed from generation to generation. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some property out there, too. Maybe that's what Spinner's End is?
 

Sirius-fan-forever

Time Turners
I have to agree with WFF...I read somewhere that James inherited the money so it wasn't important how much his job paid him. :rolleyes: Though I don't know in what interview she said that in.
The Weasley's are poor because they are such a large family and because Arthur works in an area that doesn't make so much money. As for the Weasley's making some money, my bet would be on Fred and George helping out the family if business is thriving. :p
As for Gringott's, the caves run on for mile and yes the population is small...so although it may not be the most practical method, it's definitely more fun. :D

actually I wouldn't count Percy out as the new minister. Yes, he certainly was a real snot in OOTP, but I think a real humbling experience will bring him round to being a nice guy. Percy is very ambitious, but I think he will learn that he needs his family, and that his family needs him.

Sirius-fan-forever said:
As for Gringott's, the caves run on for mile and yes the population is small...so although it may not be the most practical method, it's definitely more fun. :D


boy! you got that one right! I would love to have my vault at the very bottom/end of the line, just for the cart ride! It would be awesome! I would go every day just to take a knut out, then the next day put it back etc. etc. :D
 

Padma Patil

Dumbledore's Girl
Sirius-fan-forever said:
boy! you got that one right! I would love to have my vault at the very bottom/end of the line, just for the cart ride! It would be awesome! I would go every day just to take a knut out, then the next day put it back etc. etc. :D


LMAO!! :D

Never thought of it that way. Do you suppose they would let you do that? Or would they eventually catch on and say 'No go away!'?
 
Sirius-fan-forever said:
boy! you got that one right! I would love to have my vault at the very bottom/end of the line, just for the cart ride! It would be awesome! I would go every day just to take a knut out, then the next day put it back etc. etc. :D

Ha ha! :D Fun banks are definatly better than normal ones. I remember when I was little my Dad used to take me to the bank with him on saturdays mornings and they had an old-fashioned popcorn machine that made popcorn! I still call it the popcorn bank.

Ok, back to Potter.

The Weasleys should have more money, with Fred and George supporting themselves. I assume they have moved out the of Borrow, since they are doing so well financially. Percy is gone too now, leaving only Ginny and Ron. The galleons will stretch less with 3 fewer people.

As far as Harry's fortune, perhaps it is old money. I also would like to think that James and Lily did something cool to get it. Maybe they played the wizard's lotto or put it in stocks (is there a magical Wallstreet?) But I agree with the general consensious, we will find out soon.
 

Sir Cadogan

Noble Heart, Steely Sinew
Another idea that occurred to me while reading the above contributions: What if Dumbledore put a sack full of gold into Harry's vault? He could have been thinking: "O well, the poor boy - what he has to go through at the Dursleys' is certainly no fun, so at least he should have enough dough in the wizarding world."

And about Harry not daring to buy himself a new broom: As far as I'm aware, Harry still doesn't know how big his account with Gringotts' is. I don't remember any passage where that came up or was even alluded to. Harry knows there is quite a lot of gold in his vault, but he doesn't know an exact sum. And he doesn't think he can afford a new broom because he has been brought up by the Dursleys, getting used to the thought that he cannot afford a thing.

About inheriting real estate: possible. But please remember, it's "Spinners End" (without an apostrophe).
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
I think it has been pretty much well covered about the Weasley's - and it all makes sense - not really much I can add to that.
I suppose the same of Harry's fortune - I am sure it was quoted by JKR is was an inheritance - and I think this was part of the story.
Harry would give it all up the Weasley's because of how they care and look after him - but the Weasley's would never have any of it.
So he did the next best thing - he financed the twins - who I am sure will become very wealthy and will then be passing that back to 'rents ... so in a way I see that as a furure plot boiler ... and the poor Weasley's wont be forever!
 

Nagini

Time Turners
George said:
Firstly, I just gotta ask this: it's the question that has been brewing in my mind for a while:
Why, (and what is the significance of) the Weasleys' lack of money?
Surely, it's not just so that we can see them struggle, is it? I mean, for cryin' out loud, why do they only have one Galleon in their whole Gringott's account, and, in every book, we have had to see them make sacrifices, in order to get by. The state of their forever "shabby" robes is always mentioned, and they always seem on the verge of going hungry! But does it have any importance in the long run? What are your views, people?
Secondly, I have one thing to say about Gringotts. Why do they have a vault for each customer? In the real world, no bank operates like that, save for a few exquisite Swiss banks, that give their best customers a few cubic metres of space to store valuables. Now, this is a good idea for something important like the Philosopher's Stone in Harry's world, but, in practical terms, it is a huge waste of space. Consider the fact that Gringotts must have hundreds of thousands of customers. Please, oh, please, do not tell me that they can fit, say, a quarter of a million vaults like Harry's in one place... Wouldn't it be better to keep piles upon piles of gold somewhere, that can be extracted when customers arrive. I am sure that the goblins are quite capable of keeping a track of their customers using paper-based methods. If the bank would have several centralised vaults (as I said above), then things would run a lot more smoothly, and transactions would be made a lot simpler. Am I right?
Thirdly, where in this world did James (and Lily) Potter have all that gold? I do not believe we are ever told what exactly they did, and I do not think that being a part of the Order of the Phoenix pays... neither does being Head Boy and Girl. Harry's parents were still pretty young when they died, and I don't think they could have left Harry so large a sum so that he would be able to live off it for about seven years.
Anyway, I would love it if you have any answers or suggestions to post... looking forward to it, and see you around. :)

Hey George :)

Firstly, the Weasleys lack of money for me is simple, they have 7 children to feed and clothe. They have had to provide books for them every year and have had several of their children going to school at the same time. Plus there is all those birthdays and then christmas etc. I don't think Mr Weasley earns a whole lot working in his department but its his passion so I think his wife wants him to be happy there. I personally think Arthur Weasley is worth more and could do more, in GoF he was in working when it wasn't even his department that was affected, this suggests to me that he can turn his hand to other things within the ministry, he just chooses not too.

As for Gringotts, well there aren't that many wizards in Britain which is why they only have one wizarding village in Britain - Hogsmeade. I think with Gringotts, because they aren't that many of them and that it goes deep underground they have space to give people/families vaults. I think some are smaller than others though as the Weasleys seem to have a much smaller one than compared to Harry.

As for Gringotts running a lot smoother etc. I think their security is laspe as it is. Someone (Voldemort) tried to steal the Stone, Sirius was able to use his account whilst on the run to make a withdrawal and he also told Harry to help himself to his money. Mrs Weasley in GoF got money out of Harry's account for him - there was no mention of Harry asking her to or giving her permission either!

The wizarding world seems to use a lot of old fashioned ways or things as the norm and perhaps magic holds a lot of their world together and the Goblins do seem to know what they are doing and may well keep records on paper file as I dont' recall them using any other method of recording withdrawals.

I am unsure of how much gold Lily and James left Harry. I know its been mentioned several times that its a huge pile of gold etc. but in PoA when Harry stays at the Leaky Cauldron, he doesn't buy Gobstones and holds himself back because he knows the money has to last him through all his years at Hogwarts and for maybe a little while after that too. He only uses his gold for things like sweets and books and robes etc. The Dursleys have fed and clothed him (abiet not very well) for the first 11 years of his life so I dont think the gold pile is all that huge.
 

Sir Cadogan

Noble Heart, Steely Sinew
I've just come across an interview with JKR which touches on the subject:
Q: It seems that the wizards and witches at Hogwarts are able to conjure up many things, such as food for the feasts, chairs and sleeping bags. . .if this is so, why does the wizarding world need money ? What are the limitations on the material objects you can conjure up ? It seems unnecessary that the Weasleys would be in such need of money. . . (Jan Campbell)
A: Very good question (well done, Jan!!). There is legislation about what you can conjure and what you can't. Something that you conjure out of thin air will not last. This is a rule I set down for myself early on. I love these logical questions!
source: http://www.quick-quote-quill.org/articles/2000/0700-swns-alfie.htm
 

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
Hmmmmm... interesting idea here! Wondering about the preperation of "magical" food, know that when Mrs. Weasley was cooking in GOF, it said a creamy sauce came out of her wand, but then... it also said that the potatoes peeled them selves...maybe have to start a new thread on that. But in any case you have to buy some of the food I suppose... didn't say the potatoes came out of her wand.
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Well if you can conjure up food - and JKR is true to her word - you are gonna feel mighty hungry in a little while after you ate!
So I can't see her fuelling the whole Weasley household on conjured food - because then it isnt really a meal - more of a short term snack :D
 

pureblood

Time Turners
food....you know what i dont get? if u can have cream coming out of wands or potatoes bieng peeled...why do they need house elves in the kitchen of hogwarts when a couple of wizards can just do some spells and have the creamy sauce and potatoes peeled or whtever in an instance. as for the wealeys...i know their financially...unfortunate right now but i think they'll be getting better since some kids are already working on their own...and fred and goerge have their joke shop coming up (im pretty sure it'll be a hit:D) then there only ron and ginny left.
Gringotts is proabbly huuuge. and bieng it a wizard bank i dont think size or space is a problem. oh and remember sirius' crib (the headquarters) in Ootp? maybe gringotts has something like that...where theres like a hundreds of vaults hidden in like...thin air (or whtever it was...i cant remember...correct me if im wrong)
As for Harry's bling....i agree with Nagini...he doesnt seem to have SO much ....11 years have already been paid for...and hes still a bit cautious. but still you wonder what harry's parents did for a living.
 

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
pureblood said:
food....you know what i dont get? if u can have cream coming out of wands or potatoes bieng peeled...why do they need house elves in the kitchen of hogwarts when a couple of wizards can just do some spells and have the creamy sauce and potatoes peeled or whtever in an instance. as for the wealeys...i know their financially...unfortunate right now but i think they'll be getting better since some kids are already working on their own...and fred and goerge have their joke shop coming up (im pretty sure it'll be a hit:D) then there only ron and ginny left.
Gringotts is proabbly huuuge. and bieng it a wizard bank i dont think size or space is a problem. oh and remember sirius' crib (the headquarters) in Ootp? maybe gringotts has something like that...where theres like a hundreds of vaults hidden in like...thin air (or whtever it was...i cant remember...correct me if im wrong)
As for Harry's bling....i agree with Nagini...he doesnt seem to have SO much ....11 years have already been paid for...and hes still a bit cautious. but still you wonder what harry's parents did for a living.


Hi Pureblood, and WELCOME!

I'm glad you dug this up! :) Saves me from looking it up!

I'm still wondering about the food from the wand thing. Just read from GoF the other day, and even Dumbledore conjured some tea and cakes for everyone when they were trying to comfort Hagrid and get him to go back to work. (right after Skeeter's article about him being half giant) So, I am confussed, perhaps JKR has accidentaly contradicted herself? granted. . . when Molly W. had cream coming out of her wand. the potatoes were still real though. . . But DD's stuff was ALL conjured :confused:
 

Alz

Administrator
Staff member
Perhaps he was conjuring it up from the kitchens?
You know famine and povity would be a thing of the past if you could just magic food - I think it was more temperal misplacement - as in taking food from one location and making it appear in a second location ...
Another words from me - I think food still needs preperation and someone to make it first.
 
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