Sheila @ The Deliberate Reader sent me this twin article a couple of weeks ago, and while it lists the many stereotypes of twins portrayed in books and movies, it doesn’t include the primary one that I would have selected. The leader/follower twin is the trait I most look for when reading about twins.
As you know, I love twin stories. I am an identical twin, so I think I’m searching for myself in other twins. I was very much the follower going up. Emily was the leader for sure. We went to college together our freshman year, and while we both disliked the school we selected because I was VERY conservative, she was the one to do something about it. For herself. She looked at other colleges and made the decision to leave without telling me, which kind of broke my heart at the time. But I think it was ultimately a very good thing for us. And especially for me. I needed to be on my own. To learn who I was without her.
That is why I identify so much with Cath in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. She’s also the follower twin. She’s kind of lost without Wren when they go to college. I wasn’t lost without Emily because I at least had a group of friends when she left me behind. (Even if they were kind of Emily’s friends first.) It wasn’t until I came to Milwaukee 3 years later that I really decided who I wanted to be and was able to be a complete individual, in a place where no one knew my twin.
Fred and George Weasley are another fictional pair of twins that have always intrigued me. I’ve had a theory for a while that Fred is the leader twin, and George is the follower. I’ve been re-listening to the Harry Potter series for The Quirky Bookworm’s #harrypotterthon16 in preparation for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I just finished book 4 this week, and that’s the book where Fred first stands out as being the leader. Every time the twins pull a prank or tell a joke, it’s Fred that starts it. Leaving the Ton-Tongue Toffee for Dudley: Fred. Initiating the scheming about crossing Dumbledore’s age line: Fred. Etc.
George just kind of goes along with everything Fred is doing. Sure, he gets to deliver the punch line in some of their jokes, but he doesn’t really do anything on his own. I will have to pay super close attention as I continue to later books, but I’ve read/listened to them a lot, and I think I am right on this theory.
WARNING: Spoiler below, but I think almost everyone knows that happens with the twins at the end of the series, right?
And here’s why I think J.K. Rowling chose to kill off Fred and not George in the final book: George needed his chance to find himself. I’m not saying I was happy that Fred died. Certainly not! But I do think it may have been a good thing for George on some level to be forced to live without his twin. (And, yes, I know he’s not a real person.)
It’s similar to the demise of the father figure in so many stories. The “hero” needs to stand on his own. I think Rowling is doing the same thing here.
What do you think? Am I totally out there? Have you noticed leader/follower twins in fiction? Who am I missing?