Since J.K. Rowling first introduced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to us, we’ve had a ton of questions. After almost two decades, many of our questions have been answered as a result of the books and films, and yet, there is still one thing about the series that has left us feeling uneasy. We still can’t figure out why the Dursleys hated Harry Potter so much?
Like most prejudice people, it’s easy to see that the Dursleys simply despised otherness. Harry was a wizard which automatically made the Dursleys turn against him. However, it’s hard to believe that pure prejudice forced such a visceral reaction toward someone they were related to. Many Potter fans have speculated that the Dursleys’ were reacting to the Horcrux within Harry. However, in a new Pottermore piece, J.K. Rowling just gave us some new backstory about the Potters and the Dursleys which explains a lot.
Fans of Harry Potter have always known that part of Petunia’s contempt for her sister Lily was because she was jealous of her magical abilities. According to Pottermore, “Petunia had also buried deep inside her (and never confessed to Vernon) her long ago hope that she, too, would show signs of magic, and be spirited off to Hogwarts. Petunia had some latent feelings of guilt about the way she had cut Lily (whom she knew, in her secret heart, had always loved her) out of her life, but these were buried under considerable jealousy and bitterness…she felt she had no choice but to take Harry in, and raise him alongside her own cherished son, Dudley. She did it grudgingly, and spent the rest of Harry’s childhood punishing him for her own choice.”
Though Petunia’s hatred of Harry was deep-seated and a result of years of jealously and animosity, Uncle Vernon’s bigotry was way more straightforward. Vernon was simply, “prejudiced, narrow-minded, ignorant and bigoted.”
The Dursleys’ hatred of Harry was also fueled by their fear of Voldemort. A passage from the Pottermore post states, “A Dark wizard as powerful as Lord Voldemort frightened them too much to contemplate, and like every subject they found disturbing or distasteful, they pushed it to the back of their minds and maintained the ‘died-in-a-car-crash’ story so consistently that they almost managed to persuade themselves it was true.”
In the end, Potterheads realized from Petunia’s final goodbye with Harry that “something decent” does exist within her. However, “Nobody ever seemed to expect any better from Uncle Vernon, so they were not disappointed.”
What do you think about all of this? Let us know in the comments below.