When asked in the World Book Day Interview of 4th March, 2004, which character she disliked most, J.K. Rowling replied: ‘Probably Vernon Dursley.’ 1 Uncle Vernon was the Dursley most responsible for the misery Harry has to undergo at 4 Privet Drive, though Harry also suffered from other family members. Even Aunt Petunia, his mother’s sister, considered him, ‘a freak’ 2 like his deceased parents. But Vernon is also the first character in the entire series the reader meets, and it is from his point of view that the series starts.
According to the Harry Potter Lexicon, Harry’s parents were killed by Voldemort, on Halloween, in 1981, when he was fifteen months old.3 Therefore, Dumbledore sent him to live with his aunt Petunia, Vernon’s wife, where a charm based on Harry’s mother’s blood tie with her sister would protect him until he reached maturity, so long as he spent some time during the holidays at his aunt’s place. Burdensome as Harry’s presence might have been to the Dursleys, they generally had little to do with Harry for a large part of the year once he went to Hogwarts, so little that Warner Brothers omitted the Dursleys altogether from the most recent Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
By contrast, the Dursleys are regularly included in all the novels, despite their evident dislike of Harry and his own wish to part company with them. In the last book published, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore even requested that the Dursleys take Harry back for one more time before he turns seventeen. So why are the Dursleys so important to the series?
Shelter to a Stranger
And why were the Dursleys saddled with this clearly begrudged obligation, anyway? Taking in an orphaned nephew isn’t so extraordinary for many people. Many do so out of compassion, or family affection, rather than feeling forced to give begrudged charity. The first chapter of the first Harry Potter story shows the sort of people Harry’s Aunt Petunia and her family were like. In the story, Professor Minerva McGonagall made clear her reservations about Harry’s new home.
‘You don’t mean – you can’t mean the people who live here?’ cried Professor McGonagall…’ Dumbledore – you can’t. I’ve been watching them all day. You couldn’t find two people who are less like us. And they’ve got this son – I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!’ 4
Later, Dumbledore explained, ‘My answer is that my priority was to keep you alive’……’You would be protected by an ancient magic.’ 5 But Dumbledore also worried about how being exposed to fame and adulation would affect Harry’s well-being. And he elaborated how much he knew of the misery Harry was to undergo.
You had suffered. I knew you would when I left you on your aunt and uncle’s doorstep. I knew I was condemning you to ten dark and difficult years.6
The Dursleys certainly resented having to rear Harry alongside their own son, Dudley. They saw him as an unwanted extra who should be grateful to wear Dudley’s hand-me-downs, who had to perform all the household tasks from which Dudley was excused, and who was never to be included in Dudley’s activities or friends. Furthermore, the Dursleys were so ashamed of their connections to a boy whose appearance, magical traits, which they term ‘an abnormality’ 7 and lack of resemblance to themselves, they hid him in a cupboard under the stairs. They forced him to stay away from visitors to the house and lied that he attended ‘St Brutus’ Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys.’ 8
Nevertheless, Dumbledore excused Petunia much. Later, he told Harry:
She may have taken you begrudgingly, furiously, unwillingly, bitterly, yet still she took you, and in doing so she sealed the charm I placed upon you. Your mother’s sacrifice made the bond of blood the strongest shield I could give you.9
However essential the role was which Dumbledore assigned them, was that the only one the Dursleys played? Did they fulfill other functions in the story besides shelter for someone who was akin, but who they regarded as a stranger?
Boarding School Yarns
In other circumstances, the Harry Potter series might seem typical British boarding school yarns, one of many such series of stories in which home is necessarily left for the action and responsibilities of undergoing an education. After all, Dudley, Vernon and Petunia’s own son, was also sent to Smeltings, the British middle class boarding school Vernon, had once attended, in preference to Stonewall High, to which Harry was to be sent, for the sort of education to which all ordinary British children would be entitled to get at taxpayer-funded comprehensive schools.
But Harry preferred to escape from 4 Privet Drive and to be at Hogwarts. Arduous as life there could be, with lots of homework, and grades to pass, Hogwarts was where Harry quickly made friends as well as enemies, learned to cope with a mixed bunch of teachers who instructed with varying expertise, styles and personalities, and in sports and associated rivalries.
Despite the fancy maroon and orange uniforms, the knouts and other Smeltings privileges, Dudley enjoyed neither a trouble-free school life, nor good school reports by the opening chapters of Goblet of Fire.
Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had managed to find excuses for his bad marks as usual….They also skated over the accusations of bullying in the report...However….there were a few well chosen comments from the school nurse.10
When Dudley was attacked by dementors a year later, he suffered from their effects every bit as much as Harry had done earlier. Could the reason be that Smeltings was much more comparable to Hogwarts, in school expectations of pupils, than the Dursleys would have liked to admit? For example, what necessary personality development did Dudley gain at Smeltings, which matched the situations and personal growth Harry achieved each year, through his experiences at Hogwarts? Did Dudley learn anything about the school rules, or sharing learning, resources and experiences with other students, the way Harry did with Ron and Hermione? Or did he learn anything about the sort of self-control, self-knowledge and friendly help Harry needed to survive?
Dursleys as Comic Relief?
On the other hand, the Dursleys were Muggles, who didn’t understand the nuances of the Wizarding World to which Harry was admitted in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Given the Dursley attitude to Harry, the mishaps the Dursleys were obliged to endure, from ruined puddings, to Aunt Marge’s floating away, plus a ruined living room, and the lack of sympathy they inspire, it would be easy to see their predicaments as merely well-deserved, as comic relief. In particular, Dudley, with his pig’s tail in Philosopher’s Stone, the Ton-tongue toffees Fred put in his way, plus the way he was generally portrayed in all books, has been considered as a figure of fun, which caused some discussion in a popular Leaky Lounge, Obscurus Books topic, ‘ Why is Dudley Fat?’ 11
However, J. K. Rowling created some stir recently with her comments on her website about obsessions with weight.12 Furthermore, Dudley and his father and aunt are not the only ones described as portly in the series. A Mugglenet13 article, endorsed by Jo herself14 pointed out the whole range of characters in the series with varying physical characteristics, including plumpness, which are not lampooned or symbolic of evil. Dudley also has been portrayed as being so disproportionately greedy, that his unrestrained behaviour at all levels would lead to health problems, including the malnutrition which the school nurse was bound to bring to Petunia’s attention.15 Funny as some of the predicaments in which the Dursleys find themselves may have been, Dudley was not at all the stereotypical fat figure The Daily Mail’s Simon Walters claimed in a 9th April article, especially as Dudley did stop being overweight. Nor is the Dursley role limited to being seen as comic relief.
While Dudley did learn to control his eating habits, did he get over the other problems, listed in that school report? When we first see Dudley, the day after Voldemort’s disappearance, he was a tantrum-throwing toddler, demanding sweets, who, like Voldemort, expected to get his own way by whatever means he used. One chapter and ten years later, nothing had changed. However roughly he treated Harry or his own belongings, ‘Dinky Duddydums’ 16 enjoyed the approval, largesse, and favouritism of Aunt Marge, Vernon and Petunia, at Harry’s expense.
When Harry departed for Hogwarts, Dudley also departed to get his pig’s tail removed before starting school at Smeltings. Away from his cousin, Harry quickly made friends and enemies, had triumphs and detentions, highs and lows – a very ordinary sort of school life. But Harry also managed to defeat a foe every bit as greedy as Dudley had been – Voldemort, acting through his agent, Quirrell, who claimed ‘There is no good and evil, only power and those too weak to seek it.’ 17 There is nothing to suggest how Dudley managed at Smeltings, but perhaps Harry’s likening of Draco with Dudley18 in Philosopher’s Stone, might give a clue how the latter fared, with his old friend, Piers Polkiss, for company.
During the ensuing summer, Dudley entertained himself by sneering at the seemingly friendless and lonely Harry. But Dobby, the Malfoy’s house-elf, had been stopping Harry’s mail from reaching him. The Dursleys had planned for a business dinner on Harry’s ignored birthday, a chance to keep up appearances by winning favour and a fat contract from the Masons. This influential couple was to be welcomed into the Dursley home, wined, dined and flattered as much as possible. Meanwhile, Harry was to keep his distance, even though he had done many of the household tasks in preparation for this visit.
Thanks to Dobby, this exercise in wheeling and dealing went just as awry as Lucius Malfoy’s plan to use Tom Riddle’s diary to get rid of Dumbledore, or Gilderoy’s seizing Ron’s broken wand for the chance to escape with the ingredients of yet another Lockhart story. Harry emerged triumphantly from the Chamber of Secrets with the help of the faithful Fawkes, the diary destroyed and the basilisk killed, while Gilderoy was zapped with his own memory charm. Harry could not have achieved this triumph without Hermione’s polyjuice potion and basilisk research, or Ron’s courage in facing spiders, in particular. But where were Dudley’s friends at the end of that school year? If mocking Harry’s lack of friends had amused Dudley so much the previous August, what tales had Dudley to tell his family of his and his own friends’ adventures together?
For, on Harry’s thirteenth birthday, when Aunt Marge came to stay for a couple of weeks, ‘Duddy’ 19 had become a permanent fixture in front of his new television set, scarcely moving from it to gorge himself, such as with three extra helpings of lemon meringue pie at feasts prepared to entertain Aunt Marge. Vernon’s sister habitually favoured her ‘neffy poo’ 20 over Harry, like hitting Harry to stop his beating Dudley at party games, or giving Harry dog biscuits for a Christmas present. Margery Dursley liked to dole out to Harry the sort of rude criticism clearly directed at those she despised as weak, such as unemployed social inferiors, who lived off charity and other people’s (Vernon’s) good will. But she had no difficulty in giving Dudley a twenty-pound note – about A$40, quite a lot of money for most unemployed adults, let alone a thirteen-year-old boy who hadn’t done anything to earn it.
Aunt Marge’s insults being more than Harry’s self-control could bear, he had to leave 4 Privet Drive, with his permission note to visit Hogsmeade unsigned, for what promised to be a gloomy year. Nevertheless, at Hogwarts, as Harry, Ron and Hermione learned how Sirius Black had been unjustly imprisoned for someone else’s misdeeds, they also learned much about accepting the need for moderation and restraint, despite strains on their friendship over time turners, broomsticks, pets like Scabbers and Crookshanks, or Draco’s behaviour. By contrast, by the end of that school year, Dudley’s continuing unhealthy habits had prompted a bad school report, including the school nurse’s comments, a diet sheet and an ongoing absence of friends.
Moderation, and taking responsibility for his own health and welfare, was a lesson Dudley still needed to learn in August, when Harry went with the Weasleys to the Quidditch World Cup. Dudley, along with the rest of the household, including Harry, had been put on a diet which included more fresh fruit and vegetables and abstinence from sugary and fatty fast foods. But his craving for sweet, and fatty food remained such that he was ‘smuggling doughnuts into his room.’ 21 He couldn’t resist helping himself to ‘big, fat toffees in brightly coloured wrappers’ 22 even if they were magical sweets with unexpected results. And he had smashed his PlayStation game, ‘Mega-Mutilation part 3,’ 23 in his frustration with dieting.
Remarkably, by the end of that school year, while Harry participated in Triwizard Cup tasks, including the Yule Ball, Dudley was no longer simply an overweight fourteen year old. He had grown fitter, leaner and meaner, having learned to use his weight and strength to flatten boxing opponents and small boys like Mark Evans. ‘Big D’ 24 spent his holidays with fellow gang members, such as Piers Polkiss, Malcolm, Gordon or Dennis, who skipped meals to take up smoking, beat up passers-by or vandalism. But in the dark alley-way between Magnolia Crescent and Wisteria Walk, Dudley was to find out that punching and physical force, such as giving dementors ‘the old one-two,’ 25 would not solve every problem.
Eleven months later, a most abstemious Dudley wouldn’t drink mead, even if a glass of it hit him on the head, reluctant as his parents might have been to accept Dumbledore’s hospitality. No wonder Dudley was puzzled by Dumbledore referring to ‘the appalling damage [the Dursleys] have inflicted upon the unfortunate child [Dudley] sitting between you.’ 26
How Do Vernon and Aunt Marge Fit In?
Vernon also did not understand that remark. But ‘what [Vernon] was not aware of would fill several books’ 27 as Moody observed a fortnight beforehand. Many of Dudley’s problems had developed with Vernon’s and Aunt Marge’s full approval and encouragement. ‘Little tyke wants his money’s worth, just like his father. Atta boy, Dudley!’ 28 chuckled Vernon, when already pampered ‘Dinky Diddydums’ 29 wanted more presents.
But it wasn’t as if Dudley appreciated what he got, or even co-operated when the family seemed in trouble. When Harry finally got Dudley’s second bedroom he found ‘nearly everything in here was broken’ 30 including Dudley’s first TV, an air-rifle, even a month-old videocamera. A parrot had been traded away, luckily for its welfare, but any books remained untouched and unread. However, when Dudley’s school report later mentioned bad marks, Vernon glossed it over by saying ‘he didn’t want some swotty little nancy-boy for a son, anyway.’ 31
Vernon’s views were shared and supported by Aunt Marge, one of those who had been informed that Harry was attending ‘St Brutus’ Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys,’ 32 which she hoped caned Harry liberally. This hope was well in line with Vernon’s view that magic could be beaten out of Harry. Nevertheless, during her Prisoner of Azkaban stay, it almost seemed as if Vernon and Petunia were scared of offending Aunt Marge, who, as even Petunia noted, ‘hates the boy.’ 33
Perhaps the reason Aunt Marge’s memory was modifed after she was blown up by Harry was because she was merely an occasional visitor to the Dursley household, who hadn’t even noticed Dudley’s unhealthy habits. Perhaps that was because she enjoyed herself too much by continually criticizing Harry, whom she had encouraged her dog, Ripper, to chase up a tree, the year before he went to Hogwarts. After all, what would Aunt Marge, described as somewhat masculine in Prisoner of Azkaban, know about nutrition, either her own, or anyone else’s, when she’d allow her dog, Ripper, to slurp tea from a saucer, and confess that ‘normally it’s just a (cholesterol-laden) fry-up for me of an evening?’ 34
As Matilda, a Leaky Lounge contributor to their Obscurus Books topic, ‘ Why is Dudley fat?’, pointed out:
In all of the Dursleys, size represents class and masculinity (even in Marge!). Like the Fat Lady in the Gryffindor portrait, the Dursleys’ size seems to harken back to the era in which only the rich could eat enough to be overweight and plumpliness was seen as an attractive powerfulness. (For example, think of Marge’s emphasis on a “proper-size boy” and her comparison to “runts” in a dog litter.)35
“Powerfulness” is Matilda’s key word. Physically large people may be able to intimidate people by using weight and strength, even if they are not powerful in other useful ways, and even if they don’t have any such intention. That is what might count for people like the Dursleys. For example, throughout most of the series, Draco was rarely seen by himself, without those hulking friends, Crabbe and Goyle, as his intimidating bodyguards. The power Draco drew from being accompanied by Crabbe and Goyle allowed him to do as he liked, regardless of the needs of others, whom he treated as an imposition, as far as Hogwarts would permit him to get away with it. Perhaps the Dursleys also had the half-conscious attitude that a large Dudley would be as well-off as the likes of spoiled Draco, without needing bodyguards.
But while Crabbe and Goyle enhanced Draco’s position in Hogwarts to get what Draco wanted, in the end, Draco left Hogwarts the night of the Lightning-Struck Tower. Crabbe and Goyle were left on their own, having had to repeat Defense against the Dark Arts lessons, and with a memory of a humiliating year of impersonating small powerless girls, which Draco found more useful and less conspicuous lookouts. Meanwhile, did Dudley learn from his dementor experience that physical powerfulness, or temper tantrums, might not solve all of life’s problems? Did he learn that punching dementors would not make them go away, despite his father’s macho views on what masculinity should involve? Or did ‘Popkin’36 learn that being the gang enforcer was not really his cup of tea, even his mazer of mead?
Vernon’s Image Problems
Meanwhile, it was Vernon’s treatment of Harry, and his views on people who differ from what he thought was the norm, that shows so clearly what sort of person Vernon was. Evidently, Vernon regarded anyone with untidy hair like Harry’s, who needed help from the Dursleys, including financial help, as society’s lepers. He also resented people like the infant Harry, who caused Vernon what he considered unnecessary expense, whose attire did not conform to Vernon’s standards, or who weren’t in the business of making heaps of money to spend on materialistic aims. Because of Harry’s magical tendencies, Vernon regarded him as no better than a criminal, to whom he had been forced to give charity, and who embarrassed him in front of the neighbours. Repeatedly he saw beating as a solution to preventing any demonstration of Harry’s magical abilities. Though Petunia, his wife, saw under-performing Dudley as ‘gifted,’ 37 Harry’s abilities were regarded as an ‘abnormality,’ 38 despite all his hard work at Privet Drive, and reasonable school results.
When he saw Sirius Black, an escaped criminal, on TV, Vernon proclaimed: ‘When will they learn…that hanging’s the only way to deal with these people?’ 39
Vernon judged Sirius by his appearance, not knowing that Sirius had been imprisoned without trial and was in fact innocent of the charges laid against him. But if Vernon had learned the truth, what would he have done? Complained of a police state imprisoning innocent people? Or, most likely, would Vernon have damned Sirius for being one of society’s detritus and ignored the injustice?
The whole Dursley family, including Petunia, was careful to disassociate themselves from anyone who did not fit their Muggle idea of themselves, much as the Malfoys discriminated against Muggles, and anyone else who did not fit their pure-blood Wizarding idea of themselves. Thus, Vernon could comment disgustedly about Mr Weasley being employed in the Ministry, or refer to Molly Weasley as ‘That dumpy sort of woman,’ 40 without consideration of his own son’s weight problems.
Aunt Marge, having drunk copious amounts of wine and brandy at dinner, could still accuse Harry’s parents of dying in a car crash caused by their drink-driving without noticing the irony. Though to all appearances a typical British spinster, with a good independent income from breeding dogs, who could associate with similar middle class types like Colonel Fubster, Aunt Marge clearly did not show the good breeding not to insult her hostess’s blood family, even though she was careful not to include Petunia, herself, in her slanderous criticisms.
Family Treatment vs Orphanage?
But why was Petunia tolerating such behaviour? Dumbledore had told Petunia and Vernon to raise Harry as if he was their own son, and I agree that this was difficult to ask. Although Petunia kept her agreement to shelter her sister’s son, it would have been difficult to treat both nephew and son equally, even if Petunia had not been bitter and angry at Lily, whose husband and schooling she had disliked and resented. Why would living with Petunia be in Harry’s best interests, anyway, when the Harry Potter reader would be well aware of the many times the likes of Vernon or Aunt Marge would have gladly sent Harry to the nearest orphanage, just like one Tom Riddle? What, in practical terms, was this ‘ancient magic’ 40 Dumbledore referred to?
All the same, Harry did have an abnormally rough time at 4 Privet Place, as the target of Vernon’s angry bullying. I’ve no doubt that many Leaky Cauldron readers, including Leaky Lounge participants, know of someone, somewhere, who made similar scapegoats of one or more of their own children, let alone step-children, or others not biologically related. Even overseas newspapers often report cases of children who suffer enormously from such discrimination.
In such cases it is common, even in liberal Western societies, for one child to be a favourite, in particular an only son, even when cultural reasons are not a factor. Typically in such instances, the favourites get presents and treats, while out-of-favour children, like Harry, receive next to nothing, not even the many ridiculous pet names and affection Petunia lavished on Dudley. In contrast to Dudley’s two rooms, Harry was forced to sleep in a cupboard as if he was a hunted refugee, not unlike World War Two Third Reich ‘submarines’ 41 and all his clothes were Dudley’s second-hand cast-offs. It was almost as if Petunia had been obliged to appease Vernon’s objections to magical folk by ensuring Harry’s upbringing would cost the Dursleys a minimum of food, money or effort.
The idea that Petunia knew somewhat more about the Wizarding World than she was prepared to admit caused a real sense of shock when contrasted with her refusal to discuss her past. Did she fear Vernon’s reaction to what she knew? Much of the time, Harry had been ‘forbidden to ask questions,’ 42 while Petunia observed a rigid silence about her own family, not even saying anything to defend her family to Aunt Marge, only citing ‘the neighbours will talk’’ 43 to stop Vernon from evicting Harry from the premises.
With her absolutely clean housekeeping, her attention to household economy and cooking, and her reluctance to say no to either Vernon or Dudley, Petunia could almost be mistaken for one of Ira Levin’s iconic Stepford Wives, who conformed absolutely to what their husbands want them to be. Only Petunia’s Philosopher’s Stone outburst, her bombshell in Order of the Phoenix, or the strange blush when Dumbledore criticized Harry’s care at the Dursleys revealed there might be much more to her being Harry’s aunt than met the eye.
Dursleys in Conclusion
It is telling that Vernon was as much biased in his way against, not only Harry, but also variously disapproved of social groups, as Lucius Malfoy was against non-Wizarding kind. It is also telling that Vernon’s main aim in life was to impress others with surface appearances, and that he only wanted to go along with what a resentful Petunia was prepared to tell him about her own family, while doing his utmost to reject Harry. Of course the Dursleys have to be seen through the filter of Harry’s eyes, and his understanding of how he was excluded from the Dursley’s family unit of Petunia, Vernon, the preferred Dudley, and even the memory-modified Aunt Marge.
The Dursleys were not merely background homelife, nor were they simply comic relief. They show vividly to the reader how their ordinary everyday prejudices against Harry, in particular, were just as harmful, self-defeating and bigoted as those exercised in the Wizarding World. Vernon, in particular, has been portrayed as a thoroughly unlikeable character, whose conservatively self-serving viewpoint has not been softened by any endearing characteristic, generosity of spirit or familiar relationship. It would be understandable to see the Dursleys, even Dudley with his woes, as exaggerated caricatures of social types, who annoy and oppress others in the community. But then, the biased Vernon, Mr Man-in-the-Street, the conservative materialist, and his wife, Petunia, ‘were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much’ 44 – however normal is defined.
1. Rowling, J.K. “World Book Day Interview,” 4th March, 2004, Quick Quotes Quill, 29 April 2006. http://www.quick-quote-quill.org/articles/2004/0304-wbd.htm.
2. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 2001. p.44.
3. Harry Potter Lexicon, 2001, “What really happened on the night James and Lily were killed.” 30 April 2006 http://www.hp-lexicon.org/timelines/essays/timeline_potters.html#time.
4. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 2001. p.15.
5. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003. p. 736.
6. ibid., p.736.
7. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury. 1999. p. 20.
8. ibid., p.20.
9. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003. p. 737.
10. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000. p. 29.
11. Leaky Lounge. Why is Dudley Fat? Obscurus Books. The Leaky Lounge. 3 May 2006 http://www.leakylounge.com/index.php?showtopic=26515&st=0.
12. Rowling, J.K. “For girls only, probably”, Extra Stuff . 2004. The Official J.K. Rowling Website. 5 May 2006, http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff_view.cfm?id=22.
13. Andy, “Fat is a feminist issue.” Mugglenet Opinion, (2006) HP Encyclopedia, 12 May 2006. http://www.mugglenet.com/infosection/opinion/fatfem.shtml.
14. Rowling, J.K.,”JKR has no right to talk about the glorification of unhealthily underweight women in some sections of the media, because there’s a fat boy in her books.” Rubbish Bin . 2006. The Official J.K. Rowling Website. 12 May 2006. http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/rubbishbin_view.cfm?id=14.
15. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000. p. 30.
16. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 2001. p. 22.
17. ibid. p. 211.
18. ibid. p. 60, 107.
19. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury, 1999. p. 20.
20. ibid. p. 22.
21. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000. p. 27.
22. ibid. p. 46.
23. ibid. p. 28.
24. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury. 2003. p 16.
25. ibid. p.36.
26. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury, 2005. p.57.
27. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003. p.765.
28. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 2001 p.31.
29. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003. p.17.
30. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury. 2001. p. 32.
31. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000. p.28.
32. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003. p. 15.
33. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 2001. p. 22.
34. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury, 1999. p. 26.
35. Matilda, “Why is Dudley fat?” post #20. Obscurus Books,(2006. Leaky Lounge, 14 May 2006. http://www.leakylounge.com/index.php?showtopic=26515&st=10.
36. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London.: Bloomsbury, 2001. p. 21.
37. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000. p. 29.
38. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury, 1999. p. 20.
39. ibid. p.19.
40. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000. p. 34.
41. LeBor, Adam, and Boyes, Roger. Surviving Hitler: Corruption and Compromise in the Third Reich. London: Pocket Books, 2000. p. 7.
42. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 2001. p.27.
43. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003. p.41.
44. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 2001. p.1.
Andy. “Fat is a feminist issue.” Mugglenet Opinion,(2006) HP Encyclopedia, 12th May 2006 http://www.mugglenet.com/infosection/opinion/fatfem.shtml.
Harry Potter Lexicon. 2001, “What really happened on the night James and Lily were killed.” 7 May 2006 http://www.hp-lexicon.org/timelines/essays/timeline_potters.html#time.
Leaky Lounge. Why is Dudley Fat? Topic in Obscurus Books forum, 3 May 2006 http://www.leakylounge.com/index.php?showtopic=26515&st=0.
LeBor, Adam and Boyes, Roger. Surviving Hitler: Corruption and Compromise in the Third Reich. London: Pocket Books, 2000.
Levin, Ira. The Stepford Wives. In Nightmares: Three Great Suspense Novels by Ira Levin. Omnibus ed., London: Michael Joseph, 1981.
Lipinski, Robert A., and Lipinski, Cathie. The complete beverage dictionary. 2nd ed., Van Nostrand, New York, 1996.
Matilda. post #20 “Why is Dudley fat?” Topic in Obscurus Books 2006 Leaky Lounge. 14 May 2006 http://www.leakylounge.com/index.php?showtopic=26515&st=10.
Rowling, J.K. “For girls only, probably”. Extra Stuff, 2006. J.K. Rowling Official Website. 5 May 2006, http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff_view.cfm?id=22.
———. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998.
———. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000.
———. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury, 2005.
———. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. London: Bloomsbury, 2003.
———. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury, 2001.
———. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury, 1999.
———. “JKR has no right to talk about the glorification of unhealthily underweight women in some sections of the media, because there’s a fat boy in her books.” Rubbish Bin. 2006 J.K. Rowling Official Website. 12 May 2006. http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/rubbishbin_view.cfm?id=14.
———. World Book Day Interview, 4 March, 2004, Quick Quotes Quill. 29 April 2006. http://www.quick-quote-quill.org/articles/2004/0304-wbd.htm.