J.K. Rowling's Newest Pottermore Story Clues Us In To Why The Dursleys Are So Horrible

In honor of Dudley Dursley's 35th birthday on Tuesday, J.K. Rowling posted a new story on Pottermore — this time dealing with the Harry Potter series' most dreadful muggles. Vernon Dursley and his wife Petunia, Lily Potter's sister, took baby Harry in after his parents were killed by Lord Voldemort. But the two infamously forced the young Harry to live in the closet beneath the stairs, among other mistreatments inflicted upon the boy that's had readers wondering why 1) no one ever called Child Services on the monsters, and 2) just why the Dursley family (including their snot-nosed son Dudley) was so horrible to Harry.

As Rowling reveals, Petunia was jealous of her sister's magical powers. She and her husband Vernon were so “reactionary, prejudiced, narrow-minded, ignorant and bigoted" that Lily's kind-hearted husband James, too, was not immune to the Dursley's active disgust of all things magical.

Rowling also shares the inspiration behind the characters' names, which practically scream "icky." Vernon, Rowling reports, is "a name I never much cared for"; Petunia hearkens back to Rowling's childhood: it's "the name that I always gave unpleasant female characters" when playing with her sister; and Dursley is the name of a town near where Rowling grew up.

Check out the full story — which reveals, among other fun facts, that Hermione's expandable handbag was actually illegal — over on Pottermore.