Welcome dear bookdragons, as some of you may know last Friday was September 1st and it marked the exact amount of 19 years since The War of Hogwarts and the demise of Voldemort. In regards to that, I decided to make today’s article a Harry Potter article. So jump on your broomsticks and let’s go.
Today is the day that we reminisce about one of the most misunderstood characters in the Harry Potter series.
“Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors.”
From the very beginning, Petunia seems like someone we will most certainly dislike. But what is it about her that we hate? The fact that she is smothering her son or the fact that she constantly either neglecting or insulting Harry. For me, kind of both.
Quite a lot has been said about Mrs. Dursley, or Duddly’s mother, or the favorite – Harry’s aunt. But before she was all that, she was something else. She was a sister. Today I’m going to talk about Petunia, Lily’s older sister.
Petunia was the oldest child of the Evan’s family. She had a younger sister – Lily. The two of them were pretty close, as they didn’t have a big age difference. The two started their adventures together – they explored the world around them like all children do. Often the girls went to the nearby playground. Everything was how it was supposed to be.
As the big sister, Petunia was most certainly a mini copy of an adult – much more structured than Lily, as well as more conscientious, controlling and cautious. Not only that but she went through a phase that all firstborns go through – having your parents’ full attention and then learning to share it with the new baby. Many psychologists believe that for this exact reason firstborns are more likely to be anxious, defensive, emotionally intense and prone to jealous rages:
‘ “Knew!” shrieked Aunt Petunia suddenly. “Knew! Of course, we knew! How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that – that school – and came home every vacation with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats. 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!”
I believe that Petunia tried to get used to the new situation and that she loved her sister. But put yourself in this child’s shoes – you are little and you have a sister, who got all the attention. And if this wasn’t bad enough – she can fly and you can’t. Now she got even more of your parents’ care and attention. Not so nice, is it?
Mr. and Mrs. Evans knew that having a child who can fly and make all sorts of other admittingly cool tricks was not something to brag about. In fact, it was something that must be kept a secret. No one can find out about Lily. They weren’t oblivious, they knew that if people knew about their daughter, she might end up being shunned or even probed by scientists.
Let’s go back to Petunia. She had a very gifted little sister, whose abilities must remain a secret. Without realizing it her parents pushed Petunia to discriminate Lily for being different. That’s on the one hand. On the other hand, Petunia got jealous. I mean, which little kid doesn’t want to live in a magical world and be able to do all kinds of incredible things. At a very young age, Petunia was divided between loving and admiring Lily and being jealous of her.
The fact that Lily got a new friend, who was just like her and who didn’t care at all for Petunia, couldn’t have made things better. Now Lily was spending all this time with him, doing their magic, never letting Tuny in. She stalked them, but she got hurt. It wasn’t easy for her, she liked magic, but magic didn’t like her. And then Lily got a letter, telling her that she can go to this magical castle with children her age and learn more magic. Even if she was jealous at times, Petunia would miss Lily. The magic finally took her sister away from her. Maybe, she can go too, she thought, so she wrote a letter to the school, begging to join her sister. All she got was another rejection.
In Petunia’s mind her parents rejected her for her “special” sister, her sister abounded her for this “special” strange boy and the “special” school rejected her for her sister, yet again. Magic has only caused her pain and grieve.
On this sad note, I’m going to end the first part of the exploration of Petunia’s character. The next part will follow soon next Wednesday so stay tuned. As usual, I was very inspired and made a video, so check that, too.
See you next week!