Years after we closed the book on Harry Potter, Potterheads still have burning questions about the wizarding world. Like, why did the Dursleys hate Harry so much? Previous theories have included Harry being one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, but as it turns out, it all boils down to petty jealousy. In a new Pottermore piece, J.K. Rowling describes the relationship between the Dursley and Potter families in the years leading up to Lily and James' deaths. The Harry Potter author gave a little backstory on the creation of the Muggle couple, as well.
Fans know that Petunia was always incredibly jealous of her sister, Lily. Now, Rowling confirms that 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." Although Rowling says that Petunia's animosity toward Harry stemmed from her regrets over taking him in, it's possible that trying to prevent her nephew from going to Hogwarts might have been Petunia's small revenge on Lily for being the gifted child.
Vernon, on the other hand, was always just as disagreeable as when we first met him. Upon their first meeting, Vernon attempted to shame James by asking questions about his car and "suppos[ing] out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit." James, being a bit of an ass, hit back at Vernon with tales of racing brooms and Gringotts gold. Much like Snape, Vernon held Harry in low regard simply because of his resemblance to his father.
Whatever their personal reasons for keeping Harry down, Vernon and Petunia's hatred for the boy was driven by their fear of the unknown. From Rowling's piece:
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.
She also addresses fans' problems with Petunia's cold, final farewell to Harry. Although Rowling admits that "something decent" does exist in Petunia's heart, she maintains that the sad scene shows Harry's aunt "behave in a way that is most consistent with her thoughts and feelings throughout the previous seven books."
And finally: "Nobody ever seemed to expect any better from Uncle Vernon, so they were not disappointed."
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