J.K. Rowling Reveals Backstory Of The Dursleys

On what marks the 35th birthday of Dudley Dursley, J.K. Rowling has released new information about Harry Potter's miserable aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley.

In order to access the latest information on Pottermore, fans must first head to the Cupboard Under the Stairs, where the Dursleys kept Harry at number four, Privet Drive. As alohamora won’t work to unlock the new text, fans might want to look at the side table outside the cupboard first.

“Vernon and Petunia were so-called from their creation and never went through a number of trial names, as so many other characters did," Rowling recently wrote in her website Pottermore.com. "'Vernon' is simply a name I never much cared for. 'Petunia' is the name that I always gave unpleasant female characters in games of make believe I played with my sister, Di."

Rowling later describes the Durselys first meeting with Lily and James Potter. Apparently, James didn't exactly make a great first impression:

“James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it. Vernon tried to patronise James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom. Vernon supposed out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit. James explained about Gringotts, and the fortune his parents had saved there, in solid gold. Vernon could not tell whether he was being made fun of or not, and grew angry. The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity.”

The Dursleys did not hear from the Potters after they received Harry’s birth announcement, which Petunia threw away.

Petunia raised Harry “grudgingly” and Vernon’s distaste for James Potter contributed to his opinion of Harry.
“The Dursleys are reactionary, prejudiced, narrow-minded, ignorant and bigoted; most of my least favourite things,” Rowling wrote. “I wanted to suggest, in the final book, that something decent (a long-forgotten but dimly burning love of her sister; the realisation that she might never see Lily’s eyes again) almost struggled out of Aunt Petunia when she said goodbye to Harry for the last time, but that she is not able to admit it, or show these long-buried feelings.”

Rowling added she decided to keep Petunia’s goodbye to Harry true to her character throughout the books.

-Devashree Goenka