J.K. Rowling Reveals the Dursleys’ Backstory and More in New Harry Potter Stories

Get to know the Dursleys. Photo: Peter Mountain/Warner Bros

Yesterday, Harry Potter’s idiot cousin Dudley Dursley turned 35. To celebrate, J.K. Rowling updated her Pottermore fan site with even more background information and new tidbits to tide fans over until new Deathly Hallows stories arrive. Last night, Rowling explained how Dudley’s parents, Vernon and Petunia, fell in love. According to Rowling, they met at an office job where Petunia quickly found herself “dreaming of the moment when he would place a ring on her finger.” He did, and soon after, Petunia confessed that Vernon’s soon-to-be sister-in-law, Lily, was a witch during a “tear-stained” date. That’s where things get particularly adorable:

“He told Petunia solemnly that he would never hold it against her that she had a freak for a sister, and Petunia threw herself upon him in such violent gratitude that he dropped his battered sausage.”

We’ll let you guess which sausage Rowling’s referring to there. The two then went on a double date with Lily and James Potter (then just her boyfriend), which ended pretty disastrously when Vernon implied that wizards have no money and James bragged that, in fact, he’s filthy rich. Even after both couples married, their relationships with each other never got better. (Petunia and Vernon didn’t even attend Lily and James’s wedding.) Tragically, the last time Petunia ever heard from Lily was an announcement of Harry’s birth (which Petunia threw away). Rowling also explained that Vernon hated Harry for the same reason Severus Snape pretended to: He looked too much like his dad. She also wanted to show Petunia’s softer side by giving her a more meaningful farewell to Harry, but had to stick to her unpleasant nature.

In other new stories, Rowling also revealed that Hermione’s Mary Poppins bag from Deathly Hallows wasn’t entirely legal. She apparently used an Extension Charm without permission, but was never punished because it “played no insignificant part in the defeat of the greatest Dark wizard of all time.” We also learn that Hagrid and Dumbledore’s first names represent both the red and white of alchemy and, thus, the two sides of human nature: Rubeus meaning the warmth and wildness of the red, and Albus meaning the impressive and intellectual side of the white. No wonder they were basically BFFs!

J.K. Rowling Reveals New Harry Potter Details