Those with a subscription to J.K. Rowling's site, Pottermore, were treated to an enlightening piece of backstory on Harry Potter's treacherous family, the Dursleys, this week. Rowling has regularly been revealing tidbits about the characters from the Harry Potter novels over the past year, including information about Draco Malfoy and a handful of stories around Halloween. On June 23 (Dudley's birthday), she explained why the Dursleys are so intent on hating poor Harry, as well as new details about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Read below for the best parts!
- The first meetings between Vernon, Petunia, and James went terribly. "James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it," Rowling wrote. "Vernon tried to patronize 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."
- Vernon's dislike of Harry stems from his close resemblance to James. You know how Snape immediately dislikes Harry because he looks like his father? Vernon hates him for basically the same reason.
- Rowling almost made Petunia become a more likeable character. The writer toyed with the idea of showing a softer side of Petunia in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but she decided against it. Instead, as readers may recall, this is Harry's final moment with his aunt: "For a moment Harry had the strangest feeling that she wanted to say something to him: she gave him an odd, tremulous look and seemed to teeter on the edge of speech, but then, with a little jerk of her head, she bustled out of the room after her husband and son."
Rowling also revealed the reasons she named the Dursley parents Vernon and Petunia, writing that the former was a name she "never much cared for" and the latter being "the name that I always gave unpleasant female characters in games of make believe I played with my sister, Di, when we were very young." Well, there you go.