J.K. Rowling Reveals 'Harry Potter' Secrets About Harry's Horrible Aunt and Hermoine
By John Boone
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Happy birthday to you...Happy birthday to you...Happy birthday Dudley Dursley you’re the worst and we hate you, seriously you’re the worst go away...Happy birthday to you!
To celebrate Harry Potter’s spoiled, rotten cousin’s birthday -- June 23 -- author J.K. Rowling released a handful of new essays on Pottermore. The most revealing of which centers on Dudley’s equally awful parents, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.
Here’s everything we learned from the newest Pottermore update:
1. How Petunia and Vernon met: Petunia was looking for someone who was the anti-James Potter. Even if she didn’t know who James Potter was at the time. Petunia’s resentment of her witch sister, Lily, led her to run away from home and get an office job in London. There, “she met the extremely unmagical, opinionated, and materialistic Vernon Durlsey,” Rowling writes.
“Large and neckless, this junior executive seemed a model of manliness to young Petunia,” Rowling continues. “He had a perfectly correct car, and wanted to do completely ordinary things.”
2. Vernon has always and will always be the worst: When Petunia finally confessed that her sister was a witch, “Vernon, as Petunia had expected, was deeply shocked,” Rowling writes. “However, he told Petunia solemnly that he would never hold it against her that she had a freak for a sister.” (Which puts the kibosh on that fan theory that claimed the Dursleys maybe weren’t so bad after all.)
3. James and Uncle Vernon’s first meeting: “The first meeting between Lily, her boyfriend James Potter, and the engaged couple went badly,” Rowling puts bluntly. “And the relationship nose-dived from there.”
“Vernon tried to patronize James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom,” she continues. “The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant.”
4. Petunia wanted to be a witch: Rowling reveals that, “Petunia had some latent feelings of guilt about the way she had cut Lily (whom she knew, in her secret heart, had always loved her) out of her life.” She also says that Petunia always held out hope that she would show signs of magic “and be spirited off to Hogwarts.”
Meanwhile, Vernon’s dislike of Harry is something he has in common with someone from Hogwarts. “Uncle Vernon’s dislike of Harry stems in part, like Severus Snape’s, from Harry’s close resemblance to the father they both so disliked,” Rowling says.”
5. How J.K. Rowling chose the Dursley’s names: “‘Vernon’ is simply a name I never much cared for,” she admits, noting she always intended for those to be their names, while she spent time testing other names for other characters.
“‘Petunia’ is 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.”
6. Hagrid and Dumble are very specifically named: While Petunia and Vernon may have been named off a gut instinct, Rubeus Hagrid and Albus Dumbledore were derived from the words “red” and “white,” two colors often associated with alchemy. Hagrid is red, which is warm and wild, while Dumbledore is white, which is impressive and intellectual.
7. The history of Sorting Hat “hatstalls”: A hatstall, as Rowling has dubbed it, is when the Sorting Hat takes more than five minutes to sort any particular student into their Hogwarts house. Like when the hat deliberated for five and a half minutes over fan favorite, Professor Minerva McGonagall, and whether she belonged in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. The same goes for Peter Pettigrew, although the choices were Gryffindor or Slytherin.
8. Hermoine has broken the law: Yes! Hermoine “Goody Two Shoes” Granger! According to Rowling, the charm that Hermoine used to carry all supplies she, Harry, and Ron needed while hunting Horcruxes in just one bag was illegal. The Ministry of Magic has outlawed the Extension Charm because of its potential to be abused.
Tsk tsk, Ms. Granger.
Now, find out what Harry Potter bombshell Draco Malfoy himself, Tom Felton, recently dropped on fans: