Francesca Donovan | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 24 June 2015

JK Rowling Finally Explains Why The Dursely\\\'s Were Total Dicks

JK Rowling Finally Explains Why The Dursleys Were Such Dicks To Harry

The Debrief: And Dudley turned 35 yesterday. WTF.

The Dursleys are not good people. They locked Harry in a cupboard, fed him through a cat flap and repealed his basic human right to birthday cake.  Now though, JK Rowling, in a drop the mic moment, has finally explained why they were such dicks to their poor, undeserving nephew.

JK explained all in a story that was published yesterday on Pottermore, the Harry Potter fansite, in honour of Dudley’s 35th birthday. Yes, Dudley is 35 and we’re all getting old.

It's a bit complicated but here's the basic gist of the tale:

 •Picture the scene: It is Lily’s final year at Hogwarts, and her big sister Petunia (that's Mrs. Dursley in case you forgot) invites her and her boyfriend James to meet Petunia’s new fiancé, Vernon Dursley – cue the traditional family gathering, a melting pot of passive aggressive taunting and inevitable fall outs.

•James Potter, the arrogant but loveable rogue who made specs super cool, was (forgivably) amused by Vernon and took the piss out of his mundane life. In a typical display of male show-boating, James asked Vernon about the car he drove and proceeded to describe his awesome flying broomstick and his Gringott’s vaults full of pure gold.

•This obviously pissed Vernon off. In a move that was part ignorant muggle, part defensive guy, he got angry as he failed to decipher whether James was taking the piss or not.

•The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant and James vowing to a weeping Lily that he’d make things right.

•Vernon’s persistent and overbearing dislike of Harry can be traced back to his resemblance of his dad, James.

Rowling said she was tempted to show a softer side to Petunia, who’s resentment of Harry stemmed from feelings of jealousy towards Lily and sisterly inadequacy. After all, Lily was magic. You  can't compete with that. But, in the end, Rowling opted to keep Petunia as an ice queen of the highest degree. So whilst Petunia did have a bug to bear about that fact that Lily was the golden child - as the books imply in Snape’s flashbacks - it hardly excuses her backseat sniping and ring-side jeering as Vernon tore Harry a new one with alarming regularity. 

Rowling managed to write a family that, as kids (and adults: let’s be honest those grown up book sleeves never fooled anyone), we hated them. Which made the squeal Dudley made when Hagrid gave him a tail all the more marvellous. So, nice try, Rowling, but we still stand by our lack of sympathy for the family. No boy wizard should ever have to endure the lifelong back pains that would inevitably come with sleeping in a cupboard. No potion can ever fix that.

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Tags: Film, books