J.K. Rowling Introduces New Dursley Backstory

Photo Credit: Morguefile

Photo Credit: Morguefile

     Harry Potter fans, you know how fiery J.K. Rowling can be. She recently called out the Westboro Baptist Church for being homophobic. On Pottermore, the interactive website where fans can read more about Harry Potter than they could in the books, she’s writing a story a day where beloved character, Ron Weasley, dies. She has guts. So much guts that she’s written a backstory for the people who kept Harry in a cupboard under the stairs for ten years. That’s right, Rowling is writing new material about the Dursley Family.

On Tuesday, Pottermore unveiled the interactive guide for the seventh and final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The guide includes 14 new illustrations and five, new stories by Rowling. One of those is an inside look at the Dursleys. For anyone who doesn’t know, Petunia Dursley is Harry’s aunt. She and her husband Vernon (and their son, Dudley) abused Harry all his life, even after he attended Hogwarts. They treated him badly because Harry was a wizard, and they were Muggles (“non-magic folk,” Rubeus Hagrid says in the first Potter installment.). Also, Petunia might have been bitter about her sister, Lily, but she was still crushed when she was murdered by Lord Voldemort. Let’s take a look at what Rowling has to say about Harry’s aunt and uncle.

Reportedly, Rowling didn’t put a lot of thought into naming Petunia and Vernon. She claims she never really liked the name Vernon, and Petunia was the name she always gave “unpleasant female characters” when she played make believe games with her sister. She also states that Petunia deeply desired a “normal life,” which was why she fell so in love with Vernon. Rowling writes that Vernon had “a perfectly correct car” and took Petunia on “a series of dull dates.” It was what Petunia wanted, so she married him.

Potter fans are already feeling those feels, but Rowling only makes it crazier. Petunia was afraid to tell Vernon that Lily was a witch, but apparently, Vernon was alright with that. He was “deeply shocked,” but he swore he’d never hold it against Petunia for having “a freak for a sister.” But the Dursleys and the Potters (Lily and James) did have run-ins from time to time. The first time Vernon met James, he asked the wizard what type of car he drove. Wizards don’t drive cars, so James started talking about his broomstick. For some reason, Vernon thought this meant James was a poor bum. Of course, Potter fans know otherwise. Remember all that inheritance Harry received when he first learned about Hogwarts?

Apparently, when Petunia and Vernon finally got married, Petunia refused to allow Lily, her own sister, to partake in the bridal party. She was afraid of being yet again “overshadowed” by her magical, little sister. After the wedding, they never spoke again. However, once Petunia received word that Lily was killed, she felt obligated to take Harry in because she did, in spite of hardships, love her sister. Yes, she loved her sister, but she did not love Harry. Her prejudice was too strongly in the way.

Here’s another interesting fact – Vernon Dursley hates Harry for the same reason his Potions professor, Severus Snape, does. Harry bears too striking a resemblance to his father, whom Snape and Vernon both vehemently disliked.

This entire passage can be found on Pottermore.

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