Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Let's give Petunia her own thread.

Susan was responding to my speculation about how Petunia turned out the way she did. Was it Vernon's influence? Did her envy of Lily going to Hogwarts (which was bad enough that she wrote asking to be allowed to attend) get to her?

And what about how the book portrays Petunia as being as nasty as Vernon (or almost?) but the movies portray her as much more passive?


Nymeth said...

I do think that envy of Lily made her bitter. I also think that she felt that she was being abandoned by her sister, and she resented Lily for it. This could explain her treatment of Harry - and also the fact that she knew he would become a part of the magical world she herself had been denied entrance into.

Journeywoman said...

I also wonder what happened to Petunia and Lily's parents.

Did she blame Harry for it?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'd vote for an unhealthy mix of jealousy and fear. Lily's going to learn how to do make these magical things happen. Petunia's going to be shut out -- from this world, from understanding it, from seeing it, from being part of it, from being with her sister. That's the kicker, especially when Harry arrives. He's part of this world that tore the sisters apart.

Dewey said...

Does any one remember if Lily's and Petunia's parents contributed to the whole "witches are freaks" mentality? Or if they were still alive when Harry was being raised by Petunia? He seemed so isolated from any wizarding relatives at all.

Kitty Glendower said...

From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, pg. 53

"You knew?" said Harry. "You knew I'm a ------a wizard?"
"Knew!" shrieked Aunt Petunia suddenly. "Knew! Of course we knew! How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that ----that school---and came home every vacation with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for what she was ----a freak! But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!"

Anonymous said...


Yes, but apparently they're not still living by this time?

Karen Olson said...

I agree with Susan that Petunia was bitterly jealous of her sister and then to have her sister's son in her house, and he was a wizard, well, that pushed her over the edge. Perhaps she was hoping Dudley would have some of that magic in him, but so obviously did not.

Dewey said...

Thanks, Kitty!

I didn't even think that she might have been hoping Dudley would be a wizard.

Asara said...

I think that Petunia was nasty in a more indirect way. Her complete spoiling of Dudley, the way she makes sure he always has more than Harry (like when Dudley has to go on a diet, and they're all eating grapefruit, but at least Dudley's piece is bigger than Harry's is).

In a way she reminds me of Snape in the way she treats Harry. If she was so jealous of Lily being a witch, and now here's Lily's son to throw it back in her face that he's going to be a wizard, and no such luck for Dudley.

A huge inconsistency just whacked me in the back of the head. Who were Lily's parents bragging to? I mean, if the wizardig world is supposed to be a secret, but there are witches and wizards popping up in non-magical families.. how exactly does that work? I mean, I know it was mentioned that the Ministry of Magic sends a representative to Muggle-borns to explain their Hogwarts letter, but if magic shows up at age 7, and the letter doesn't get there until they turn 11, that speaks for a lot of tolerance from Muggle parents! I don't know, it just seems odd that Muggles are supposed to be so ignorant of wizards, and yet they're giving birth to them from time to time, and it's not a big deal.

Dewey said...

Yeah, that's odd.

Kitty Glendower said...

Who were Lily's parents bragging to?

I assumed to the family, like at the dinner table. For a child who is left out, there comments about the other child would read like excessive bragging.

My parents did it.

cj said...

Are we assuming they were actually bragging about Lily simply because Petunia says her parents, as Kitty's post states:

"But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!"

Proud of her. There's a difference between bragging and being proud, isn't there?

Again, as Kitty pointed out, the competition between siblings for their parents attention, time, and praise. For Petunia, sitting at the family table, listening to mom and dad compliment Lily on her abilities, talent, and schooling, would seem like bragging and make Petunia feel unloved and all of that.

Petunia may very well have started off wanting to go to Hogwarts and be like Lily, but after a few years of the above situation, the desire could very easily morph into a hatred for everything wizarding.


Nymeth said...

I thought this was interesting:

"Karin: What did petunia wanted to say to hary at the end of the dursleys departing
J.K. Rowling: I think that for one moment she trembled on the verge of wishing Harry luck; that she almost acknowledged that her loathing of his world, and of him, was born out of jealousy.
J.K. Rowling: But she couldn't do it; years of pretending that 'normal' was best had hardened her too much."