Petunia Dursley

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Character
Name: Petunia Dursley, née Evans
Occupation:
Title/Rank: Muggle
Location: number four Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey
Status: alive
Relationships: Vernon Dursley (husband)
Dudley Dursley (son)
Lily Potter, née Evans (sister)
Harry Potter (nephew)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Other: portrayed by Fiona Shaw in the films
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Petunia Dursley, born Petunia Evans and known to Harry and throughout the narrative as Aunt Petunia, is Harry Potter's maternal aunt. She and her husband, Vernon Dursley, raised Harry from his parents' deaths when he was one year old.

Petunia and Vernon abused and neglected Harry as he was growing up. This apparently stemmed from their hatred of magic and thus the desire to "squash the magic out of him,"[1] as well as Petunia's residual jealousy and resentment of (and perhaps guilt over) her sister and Harry's mother, Lily.

In Fandom

Fanworks and meta about Petunia usually focus on her relationship with her sister, Lily Potter (née Evans).

In early fandom, one common prediction and topic of Petunia-focused fanfiction was that Petunia would eventually redeem herself for her treatment of Harry. Some fans also theorized that she would show late-onset signs of magic, based on J.K. Rowling's 1999 comments that "there is a character who does manage in desperate circumstances to do magic quite late in life,"[2] but in 2005 Rowling reported on her official site that Petunia would never perform magic,[3] and later confirmed that she changed had her mind and abandoned the plot point involving a character with "late blooming" magical abilities.[4]

In redemptionfic, Petunia is often portrayed as the victim of an abusive relationship with Vernon, which she escapes usually due to her overwhelming guilt over the way she treated her nephew. In these fics and in others where she is not (or no longer) in a relationship with Vernon, Petunia is often paired with another canon character, such as Severus Snape.

Petunia is also occasionally paired with her friend Yvonne, who was mentioned in passing as a potential babysitter for Harry in Philosopher's Stone.

Meta & Discussion

Notable Fanworks

Fanart

Fanfiction

Wizard Rock

  • Petunia by Obliviate! (2008) — Oh, Petunia, why are you so bitter? / ‘Cause you never got your Hogwarts letter / Like your sister
  • Petunia (lyrics) by RiddleTM (2009) — Lily, please come home / 'Cause I miss you, I miss you

Links & Resources

Fanwork Resources

Canon Resources

References

  1. J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 1: "Owl Post". Published 08 July 1999.
    "For years, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had hoped that if they kept Harry as downtrodden as possible, they would be able to squash the magic out of him. To their fury, they had been unsuccessful."
  2. J.K. Rowling at the Barnes and Noble interview online chat, 19 March 1999. See also Three Rowling quotes that turned out to be wrong at the Harry Potter Lexicon (posted by Steve Vander Ark, 31 May 2014), which states: Fans came up with all sorts of interesting theories about who this might be. The top contenders were Dudley and Petunia.
  3. J.K. Rowling at the J.K.Rowling Official Site. Rumours - Aunt Petunia will start exhibiting magical tendencies, posted in December 2005 (see Section: Rumours, archived by the Wayback Machine on 27 December 2005)
    "Aunt Petunia will start exhibiting magical tendencies
    No, she won't. Aunt Petunia has never performed magic, nor will she ever be able to do so."
  4. J.K. Rowling at the Bloomsbury.com Web Chat, 30 July 2007, transcript via The Leaky Cauldron: "My very earliest plan for the story involved somebody managing to get to Hogwarts when they had never done magic before, but I had changed my mind by the time I’d written the third book."