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Thread: Petunia Dursley (née Evans)

  1. #11
    kathryn_malfoy
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    What do you think Petunia was like when she was younger?
    I think from what we have seen and learned from DH that Petunia was bossy, but envious of her sister. She loved Lily, and wanted to be just like her. She only became rude when she couldn't be like Lily and go to Hogwarts. She was probably a very annoying little sister, following Lily around, doing what she did.

    Hope this helped.

    -Kat.

  2. #12
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathryn_malfoy
    She was probably a very annoying little sister, following Lily around, doing what she did.

    Younger? I always thought Petunia was the older sister. Her bossiness certainly indicates that she was. Does anyone know if the books say so for sure?

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  3. #13
    Fifth Year Hufflepuff
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    Petunia is older. the lexicon says specifically: "Aunt Petunia is Lily (Evans) Potter's older sister and wife of Vernon Dursley..." It doesn't say how much older, though, but I would guess a few years. She was envious of her sister, but not in an 'I-want-be-just-like-my-oldr-sister' sort of way because, really, she was the older sister. The only thing she wanted that Lily had was magic. Before that, there was nothing at all to want from Lily, really. And from what we can gather from DH, she and Lily probaly got on well enough beforehand. Lily might have had a stronger connection with her sister, though.

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  4. #14
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    What is the general opinion on Petunia attending university?

    Personally, I don't think she did. Woman were not overally encouraged to attend school in her day, and I don't think Vernon would have been that attracted to an educated woman anyway. He never struck me as someone who had a high opinion of women to begin with.

    Besides, unless she and Lily are many years apart (I don't think they were more than three years apart anyway, though) She would have to be fairly young when she was married and had Dudley. That doesn't leave a whole lot of time for school.

    If she didn't go to a university, what kind of work do you see her doing as soon as she completed her education?

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  5. #15
    CakeorDeath
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    I see Lily just marrying Vernon as soon as she was out of school. Perhaps she worked in a shop or as a temp but didn't care that much about her career.

  6. #16
    Hufflepuff at Heart
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olive_Oil Med
    What is the general opinion on Petunia attending university?
    I don't imagine she went to university either. I agree with CakeorDeath; She probably wasn't too interested in education and went on to a job in a shop or something. Maybe she even worked as a secretary in Grunnings for a while or something like that.

    Perhaps this is just me, but I imagine if Petunia had any ambitions for a scholarly future they would have been given up after she was rejected from Hogwarts and saw the great things her sister achieved, and that she knew she would never be able to. It can be very difficult when a younger sibling seems to be better than you, and there's no doubt as to how bitter she was about it.

  7. #17
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Do you think Petunia would have ever been interested in dating while she was in school, or would she have been one of those girls who went through her entire education without even looking at boys? Maybe being someone who was more interested in being provided with stability that just an ordinary romance?

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  8. #18
    Striped_Candycane
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    Do you think Petunia would have ever been interested in dating while she was in school, or would she have been one of those girls who went through her entire education without even looking at boys? Maybe being someone who was more interested in being provided with stability that just an ordinary romance?
    I personally think that she sneered at beautiful girls that could get all the dates they wanted, even though she was perhaps a little jealous of them. The fact that she sneered at people who dated would keep her from going on many dates herself, although I'm sure it wouldn't have stopped her from looking at, and even fantasying about, boys. I think that she secretly liked romance, but the practical side of her would always win over this romantic side. She would look for stability in guys rather than romance, because stability was more important than love in her eyes. She would be interested only in dating if it were serious, and if she thought it would lead to a potentially good marriage.

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  9. #19
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    Do any of you see Petunia trying to get a hansome boy to be interested in her, not out of love, but merely out of spite? Personally, if Lily kept going on, "Oh, I hates James Potter. He hansom, athiletic, smart, poular and he wants to date me. I keep telling him no, but he is just so in love with me that he will not stop.", I could see Petunia trying to get one of the more popular boys in school to fall in love with her just to prove a point.

    What about the rest of you? Do any of you see this happening?

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  10. #20
    SeverusSempra
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    So could I alter Petunia's character to such an extent that she starts taking care of Harry, etc.. ???
    I have to agree that Petunia taking care of Harry just doesn't fit. Dudley tries to, in his own way, but Petunia is so very Mrs. Vernon Dursley that I think she wouldn't dare.

    Petunia seems like yet another insecure person in the series-- Peter Pettigrew aligns himself with first the Marauders and then the Death Eaters, Severus Snape aligns himself with the Death Eaters as a teenager, and Petunia aligns herself with... Vernon Dursley. Oh well.

    Regarding university-- she strikes me as the type who probably had some vocational education of a very practical type rather than anything more abstract and academic (as someone mentioned, this would go along with her living in reaction to Lily), met Vernon, picked up her "M.R.S. degree," as the joke goes, and never finished. She didn't seem that much older than Lily in "The Prince's Tale," maybe two years?, and given that Lily would have been married at 18 or 19, pregnant at 19, and a mother at 20, Petunia was probably a young mother also-- technically she could have finished university, but she doesn't seem like the type.

    I think an interesting quality about Petunia is that she is probably more conservative than her parents, because just look at how accepting they are of Lily. I could see her reacting to Lily's being a witch and her parents' pride about it and deliberately becoming utterly conventional to the point that she seems stodgy to her Mum and Dad. But in "The Prince's Tale," she clearly has a decent relationship with Lily, possibly even a close one, until Severus Snape comes along and brings the whole wizarding world with him, so to speak. She seems like the careful, caring, worrywart, bossy older sister. Nothing wrong with that. I think of her as someone who used to love her sister and still kind of has that buried somewhere under hard, shiny layers of judgmental nature and slavish efforts to be normal.

    Actually, she and Vernon and most of the scenes written about them and Harry have something of a larger-than-life, Dickensian tone to them that differs from pretty much anything else in the series. Or Roald Dahl-- they're not too far off from Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge (you have to picture Vernon in drag for that one, though-- which is kind of alarming). I remember reading Harry Potter for the first time and thinking that it was a fabulous twist on the British boarding school stories, like Enid Blyton, after a beginning that was much more like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Back to the point: Vernon has much more of the broadly-written villian quality than Petunia does; we at least see her having moments of weakness in which she seems to recognize Harry's humanity.

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