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Thread: Petunia Dursley (née Evans)

  1. #21
    Azhure
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    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.
    Okay, this character misconception always drives me insane - no offence. I hate it when Petunia is always known as the one that is suppressed by her husband, or so like her husband that she wouldn't care for Harry. This is not the case.

    The reason Harry is treated the way his is at the Dursley's is because Lily and Petunia pretty much hated each other. Vernon came into the picture long after Lily and Petunia's relationship was broken. It is because of Petunia that Harry is known as a 'freak'. Who knows what Vernon would think of witches and wizards had his point of view not been warped by Petunia.

    Here's a two quotes to back me up:

    Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone - Chapter Four.

    "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!"
    This is Petunia calling her sister a freak, not Vernon. The hate that Petunia has for Lily is clear.

    Here's a quote a few sentences later:
    "Then she met that Potter at school and left and got married and had you (Harry) ,and of course I knew you'd be just the same, just as strange, just as - as - abnormal - and then she went and got herself blown up and we got landed with you!"
    Again, Petunia says this. Vernon doesn't know anything about Petunia's 'freak' sister apart from what Petunia would have told him in the first place - and we all know what Petunia thought of Lily. In DH we learn that it has a lot to do with Petunia's jealousy of Lily, not Vernon's jealousy.

    So, please, don't say that Petunia is the 'good' Dursley. All of the prejudice towards Harry came from her in the first place!

    ~~Azhure~~

  2. #22
    SeverusSempra
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    Oh, I know-- she's definitely not the "good" Dursley. That award would go to Dudley, in my opinion. Obviously this particular prejudice comes from her, although Vernon may have been exactly the kind of guy to go for it, the type who was already not a fan of anyone unconventional. I'm just saying that she has either a husband who thinks that way already about anyone who is different, or whom she has trained to think that way-- and even if she changed a bit, even if she wanted to take care of Harry (unlikely), she probably wouldn't because of Vernon.

    Hope that clarifies it.

  3. #23
    Striped_Candycane
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    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?
    I definitely see this happening! I don't think that Petunia would go out with anyone if she didn't have a definite goal in mind, one that would benefit her in some way (I think “love” in her opinion brings no benefits). Bringing Lily down a peg would definitely fall under Petunia’s goals, therefore, she would try to get this guy to like her.

    (As a side note, I would be cheering Petunia on in such a situation XD)

    About god/bad Dursleys, I know that “bad Petunia” has been more or less decided on, and I would like to say one more thing in favor of a nastier Petunia:

    Petunia HAD a chance to say something more or less decent to Harry when she knew she might never have seen him again. But she didn’t. Dudley did. She lost her chance for “redemption”, he took it. Just wanted to point that out…

    On a completely different subject, what do you guys think about unrequited Petunia/Severus? It sounds like an odd pairing, but it would fuel Petunia’s hate for Lily…or do you think he is just too “low-class” for Petunia to feel anything for him at all? (I’m just asking if this sounds believable/interesting, not if anyone thinks it actually happened in the books…though you can discuss that too. )

  4. #24
    Inverarity
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    On the subject of whether it was Petunia or Vernon who was prejudiced against Harry and thought wizards were freaks -- obviously, Petunia had the first-hand experience with them and knew what Harry was before Vernon did. But we're told repeatedly that Vernon's love of mundanity and keeping up a perfectly "normal," proper appearance was very much part of his character (and no doubt part of what attracted Petunia to him). So I doubt he needed much convincing from Petunia to start despising Harry as well.

    Also, I am not sure it's really true that Petunia hated Lily. We learn that before Petunia went to Hogwarts, they were close. Petunia begged Dumbledore to let her attend also. It was jealousy and a feeling of being left behind by her prettier, more popular, and more magical sister that caused the rift between them. She said, years later, that she was the only one who saw Lily as the "freak" that she was, but she didn't think of her that way at the time!

    Bitterness has probably altered her own memories. But I'll bet that deep down, she probably still loved Lily, and mourned her death. She had just been so resentful and angry for so long, she could never admit it, even to herself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Striped_Candycane
    On a completely different subject, what do you guys think about unrequited Petunia/Severus? It sounds like an odd pairing, but it would fuel Petunia’s hate for Lily…or do you think he is just too “low-class” for Petunia to feel anything for him at all? (I’m just asking if this sounds believable/interesting, not if anyone thinks it actually happened in the books…though you can discuss that too. )
    I don't think Petunia ever thought of Severus as anything other than a weird, creepy kid, and after her break with Lily and hatred of magic, that would only have intensified. I really can't see a Petunia/Severus relationship (though I know a number of fanfics have been written portraying one).

  5. #25
    Hufflepuff at Heart
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inverarity
    Also, I am not sure it's really true that Petunia hated Lily. We learn that before Petunia went to Hogwarts, they were close. Petunia begged Dumbledore to let her attend also. It was jealousy and a feeling of being left behind by her prettier, more popular, and more magical sister that caused the rift between them. She said, years later, that she was the only one who saw Lily as the "freak" that she was, but she didn't think of her that way at the time!

    Bitterness has probably altered her own memories. But I'll bet that deep down, she probably still loved Lily, and mourned her death. She had just been so resentful and angry for so long, she could never admit it, even to herself.
    I agree. And perhaps this is part of the reason she claims to have hated Lily, and hates Harry so much. He reminds her of Lily, the sister she loved and who was lost to her. She may be afraid of losing "Lily" all over again, and this is why she goes out of her way to be so distant with her nephiew. But of course, this in no way excuses how she treated him!

    As Striped_Candycane pointed out, she had her chance at redemption. She could have told Harry that she hoped everything would turn out all right, and it appeared she had nothing to lose by doing so. But it could have been her fear that it wouldn't turn out all right that stopped her - she didn't want to open herself up once again to the possibility of losing a "loved one."

    Just my two cents! Hope it's not too ridiculous!

  6. #26
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    How would you believe Petunia would react to the death of her father if she were still in school at the time? Does she strike you as the type that would be a selfish griever, the type who spends all their time going "Oh, no! Poor me! What will I do now?".

    How would you see her behaving towards her sister during these times?

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  7. #27
    cinnamonapple
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    How would you believe Petunia would react to the death of her father if she were still in school at the time? Does she strike you as the type that would be a selfish griever, the type who spends all their time going "Oh, no! Poor me! What will I do now?".

    How would you see her behaving towards her sister during these times?
    Definitely the one cbeing upset all the time just for attention. I think she'd be upset, then angry at Lily, saying that all her ridiculous magic and everything killed him. How did he die though, in your fic, that would be helpful!
    Just my two cents, trés interesting thread, I'll check it out again later!

  8. #28
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    I read on the internet (harry potter wikia) that Petunia was born 1958, which makes her 2 years older than Lily - I don't know what their sources are though.
    I find 2 years very probable though. Any younger, and Lily wouldn't look up to her and follow her around that much. Any older doesn't really work.
    Lily is born in January, so when she gets her Hogwarts letter, she's eleven. That makes Petunia thirteen - any older, and it'd be ridiculous of her to write to Albus Dumbledore. She'd probably have developed too much of an own character to be that jealous and to want to be like her younger sister.

    I have a question, too. How do you think did Petunia and Vernon meet? She probably didn't go to Smeltings - a) that doesn't seem like Lily's and Petunia's parents, and b) I think it would have been mentioned in Sorcerer's Stone. And when she introduces him to her family/parents, how do you think Vernon acts around the house?


    EDIT: Oh, I forgot something. Someone here posted ages ago that Petunia probably didn't go to university, because education wasn't encouraged in women in that time. Now, I don't see Petunia going to university either. She could be something like a secretary for some time, I think she'd even be good at that.
    I just wanted to point out that I don't think it is true that women weren't encouraged to study then. Those are the 60s to 80s, not 30s to 50s. Specifically the late 70s (when they finish school).
    Apart from that, my parents and the parents of many of my friends went to university, and a couple of mothers (more than fathers actually) made their PhD. My parents are born 61, the parents of my friends are a bit older, born in the late 50s - so that's exactly the time when Petunia and Lily were born.

    As I said before, I too don't see Petunia as the type of person who goes to university, but I think that's because of her character, not because of how the situation in general was. I'm including a Muggle OC in my fic, and she, for example, is certainly the type to go to university (or college).
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  9. #29
    First Year Hufflepuff
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    I'm writing a Marauder-era fic, and in one chapter Lily is home for the summer holidays after her fifth year, and she's upset about the incident that happened in Snape's Worst Memory.

    I'm having trouble writing the relationship between the sisters. We know from Canon that Petunia was jealous of Lily and tried to deal with that by belittling the magical world and calling her sister a freak.

    My question is, would Petunia continue to interact with Lily in this hostile way, or would she deep down want to reconcile with her sister and be on better terms with her again?

    Any imput would be much apreciated!

    ~Hannah~

  10. #30
    Queen of Foals Slytherin
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    Interesting thought, Hannah.

    Personally, I'm more inclined to think that while Lily was at home, then no. Petunia would deep down miss that special sisterly bond but I'm not sure she would recognise the want. And she would most likely feel this while Lily was away at Hogwarts rather than when she returned on holiday. Lily's presence at home would cause all the jealous, hostile feelings she has toward her sister rise to the surface and any other guilty feelings would be suppressed.

    I think if she saw Lily was upset then Petunia would reluctantly try to help her. But when she found out it was about something so directly related to the magical world she would clam up and become hostile again.

    Hope that helps!

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