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Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis



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  #1  
Old July 13th, 2007, 12:57 am
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Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

Welcome to the post-DH discussion of Vernon Dursley. Previous discussion without spoilers can be found here:Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?


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Old August 1st, 2007, 10:37 am
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?
I think Vernon must have read the letter but not necessarily believed it. Unlike Petunia he probably hadn't seen any magic and could probably just dismiss it as dangerous. Petunia, having known magic had killed her sister and brother-in-law, would be inclined to agree with that point. I think the Charm might have had something to do with Vernon's persuasion as well.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?
No and no.

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?
For the most part Dumbledore's game with the glasses of mead seemed to have little if any effect on the Dursleys. What he said to them about Dudley seemed to have the most impact. The only effect it had on Vernon seems to be an acceptance that wizards exist, which perhaps prepared him for going into hiding with them. I think Dumbledore was keeping all his options open.

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?
Seeing magic being done must have alerted him to the dangers wizards presented to the world. I expect him to show even more animosity towards Harry after having to spend time in hiding.


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Old August 1st, 2007, 9:48 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?

I don't think that Petunia told Vernon what was in the letter based on his confusion about the howler that Petunia got in OoTP. Vernon seemed to have no idea what the howler could have meant and had no inkling that Petunia would demand that Harry get to stay in Privet Drive.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?

Honestly, no, I don't think he ever cared. I think that Vernon belives that anything that is different from the way he sees the world does not deserve his care. And I don't see him ever realizing that he treated Harry anything but as he should have. In fact, I'm sure he goes on believing that Harry should be grateful for the way he was treated by the Dursleys.

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?

I think Dumbledore could have done more to scare the Dursleys into treating Harry better, honestly.

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?

I think Vernon, out of all the Dursleys, is least likely to understand the Wizarding world in any way, including why Harry is so important. He hates Harry and those like him, and I think being involved with them while being protected probably made him even more hateful.


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Old August 2nd, 2007, 6:59 am
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis


1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?


Well, I think :Petunia must have had some excuse to give to Vernon as to why they should accept a nephew she had never showed the slightest interest in, into their home. She may not have shown him the letter though as he might have cut up rough at the thought that keeping Harry there would enable a magic charm. I daresay she just said the boy had nowhere to go and people might despise them if they let him go to an orphanage. Vernon cares a lot about what people think of him.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?

No, I don't think there was much about Harry that Vernon would care for. Harry was a skinny little thing with plenty ofr backchat, whereas Vernon seemed to prefer dumb thugs like his son. I think he really thought he was being generous by feeding and clothing the lad at all.

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?

I thought Dumbledore's visit was one of the funniest things in the book! I don't think Vernon picked up on half the insults Albus paid him, and he was clearly very upset at having such an obvious wizard in his house. As to Dumbledore revealing the secret of Grimmauld Place to Vernon - did he give the address? Or did he just call it Sirius' house? (Someone has borrowed my HBP)

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?

I thought Vernon's goodbye to Harry was totally in character. Considering that he hates magic so much I was quite surprised that he agreed to go at all. I don't think he understood anything that Dedalus & Heskia told him, and I doubt he'd spend much time talking to them in his exile to learn more. In fact, when it was all over, I'd expect Vernon to refuse to talk about it and to pretend it had never happened. How he coped with the new improved Dudley would have been interesting to see.


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Old August 2nd, 2007, 7:05 am
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

I think Vernon was a pretty mean chap as written. He didn't really ever come to think much of Harry in my opinion. Nor did Harry come to think much of him. I think they were glad to see the backs of one another in the end.


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Old September 22nd, 2007, 10:41 am
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

Vernon didn't believe a word of it....any of it! From the house on the rock, to him leaving in DH, Vernon thought eventually, he would wake up from a bad dream. The only thing that convinced him into leaving 'his home' was Dudley wanting to go....at the end, when life settled down again, I think he would carry on...as if nothing had ever happened!
Dudley, on the other hand...........I think he would keep in touch with Harry, maybe get an invite to the wedding?


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Old September 23rd, 2007, 3:01 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?

He will have needed some reason to let Harr stay, so I think he would have read it. I doubt he believed a word of it and probably thought it was a load of old rubbish, and questioned Petunia's reasons for believing it. I don't think he would have allowed Harry to stay in the house unless Petunia had pushed him into doing so.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?

Truthfully, no I don't think he ever cared for Harry or realised how cruel he had been to him, which is really very ignorant of Harry's feelings and of Harry as a human being.

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?

He just went far enough I think. If Vernon had questioned him further I think Dumbledore could have gone a bit more far. He was on of the only people to open the Dursley's eyes in the respect of Dudley, however anything else he said had little effect.

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?

I think Vernon is stuck in his thoughts and beliefs and would never change them. His goodbye to Harry was what I expected from Vernon really. He never cared for Harry and Harry wasn't a blood relative of his, so why should he?


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Old September 23rd, 2007, 3:40 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?
I doubt it, because I get the feeling Petunia would have wanted to keep those letters top secret. In fact, I don’t think she even told Vernon that she received the letters, because I seem to recall him not knowing what Dumbledore was talking about in the howler he sent. But I do think Petunia must have told the gist of what Dumbledore said in the letters, namely that they had to take Harry in. I’m sure she must have convinced him to allow Harry to stay based on what Dumbledore said. Petunia must have instisted that Vernon allow Harry houseroom, because I'm sure Dumbledore's letter was worded in such a way that made it impossible for Petinia to refuse to take Harry in.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?
I doubt Vernon ever cared for Harry at all. I'm not sure he considered his treatment of Harry mistreatment.

3. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?
I felt his visit was a bit surprising, but I didn’t find it disturbing or too far out of character. The Dursleys really had this coming, so I don’t really feel Dumbledore went too far. He was being rude in a civilized way, so to speak. I believe his reason for visiting was in part to reveal the location of the Headquarters of the Order, because it’s possible the Dursleys could be in danger and may have to hide there for a time. Also, since Dumbledore knew he was dying at this point, I think he wanted to give the Dursleys a piece of his mind before his death.

4. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?
I'd have to say that Vernon's goodbye was completely in-character for him (unlike Dudley's). He acts just the same way as he always acts toward Harry. I'm also skeptical that Vernon truly understood what the Order members told him beyond the fact that he and his wife and son were in danger. I doubt he'd have agreed to go with them if he didn't believe there was a threat to his family. As for whether he might gain some understanding, my instinct is to say no. Like horcrux4 said, I wouldn't be surprised if Vernon pretended the whole thing didn't happen.


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Old October 4th, 2007, 3:37 am
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?

I don't think Petunia told Vernon what the letter said. That might have revealed Petunia's former love of and jealousy of the wizarding world. The reason to keep Harry was to honor her sister's memory, Petunia felt guilty about resenting her sister for being a witch.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?

I don't think he cared about Harry. He knew he mistreated him, he just didn't care.

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?

I thought Dumbledore's visit was funny! I thought he handled the Dursleys correctly. As far as revealing the location....I'm not sure.... maybe he thought that the Death Eaters already had a hold of it (through Bellatrix), and it didn't matter anymore.

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?

Vernon's goodbye was expected. I was perfectly happy with it. He didn't really understand what was going on, I don't think....he just wanted to stay with his family. I think he gained a lot of understanding while being protected, whether he admitted it is a whole other story.


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Old August 18th, 2008, 12:47 am
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

I think Vernon has less depth or growth than any other character in the series. His antipathy towards magic and harry seems more inexplicable than that of his wife (instead of jealous, he's just nasty). I figure he must have had some traumatizing childhood incident involving balloon animals and a rabbit coming out of a hat or something that turned him against magic for life.


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Old August 18th, 2008, 12:56 am
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

Yet the sad thing is that I've met and know alot of Vernons in my real life!


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Old September 6th, 2008, 6:49 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by FuzyNecromancer View Post
I think Vernon has less depth or growth than any other character in the series. His antipathy towards magic and harry seems more inexplicable than that of his wife (instead of jealous, he's just nasty). I figure he must have had some traumatizing childhood incident involving balloon animals and a rabbit coming out of a hat or something that turned him against magic for life.


Yeah, he's definitely one of the most one-dimensional characters in the series. In fact, I don't think we meet any other character (that we see enough of to get to know) who changes less, or in the case of Voldemort that we see no backstory or motivation to his actions. He's just as unpleasant in "The Dursleys Departing" as he was in "The Boy Who Lived". I don't think we can blame his dislike of Harry and magic on any traumatic incident in childhood, I think he is just narrow-minded. He complains about young people, people on motorcycles, shouts at his staff - it is not just Harry and magic he dislikes, it is anything that does not meet his ideals of a normal, mundane lifestyle.


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Old September 7th, 2008, 11:11 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

I don't think he was only nasty or prejudiced. I think he saw that Petunia had been hurt by her sister's magical lifestyle, both through jealousy in her childhood and unresolved grief that she never got to say goodbye, and we tend to react more strongly to our loved ones' hurts than our own.

He didn't have much firsthand experience of the wizarding world, and when it did come in contact with his own, it usually involved danger. First, he heard that some maniac wizard had killed his in-laws. Next, a bunch of letters chased his family across the country, culminating in a gigantic, rough man breaking down the door and giving his son a pig's tail. The next year, an elf ruined his business deal and a flying car broke through the bars on his window and took his nephew away in the middle of the night, the following year Harry inflated his sister, and then Dudley got it two years in a row with an inflated tongue and voices in his head. Near the end, a very forceful old man treated him like dirt and his family was forced into hiding under threat of death from the wizard that started it all.

Now, all of these events seemed very funny to the reader, as the Dursleys "deserved it" for their behavior. But is it any wonder they feared and misunderstood their nephew and his world? These were probably the low points in what was usually a very orderly and uneventful life. Of course, none of that excuses the abuse that Vernon exacted on a defenseless child for many years. But it is something to think about.


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Old September 7th, 2008, 11:53 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

Interesting points, GriseldatheGood. I think you've mentioned a lot of the things that perturbed Vernon about magic, and I like the point you raise about thinking from Vernon's POV. None of the characters are just bad for the sake of being bad. Vernon is no exception.

IMHO, Vernon was the sort of person who valued order above all things. Anything that disrupted the ordinary way of life he was used to was something he considered odious. Even a tiny disruption (like the Spanish baggage-handler's strike on the news in OotP) makes him angry.
When Harry appears on his doorstep, it is a huge disruption, and he does not embrace it, but instead hides the boy from both the neighbors' eyes and his own. He and his wife consider the whole thing shameful.
I think a lot of their behavior before Harry turns 11 shows that they want to pay as little thought to Harry's humanity as possible. It would complicate things if they had to care for such an "abnormal" child, so they lavish all their affection on Dudley. And it works in keeping them distant from Harry.

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2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?
This is an interesting question.
IMO Vernon, as I've said above, tried to keep his distance from Harry. Even when he is yelling at the boy, I think he's reacting more to the odd things happening around him than he is to Harry himself. Harry, in his mind, is nothing more than a scapegoat and an outlet for his rage against anything magical. So, no, I don't think he came to care for Harry.

As for whether or not he knew he was mistreating Harry, I would say he did, but quelled his own conscience early on by telling himself it was a necessary evil, and that Harry was to blame for being different.


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Old September 10th, 2008, 10:32 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?

I think she did. I imagine she had very little choice. She was the one who found Harry on the doorstep, but she had to explain the entire thing to Vernon, undoubtedly. He would have noticed the strange behaviour and he doubtless would have freaked out a bit. Canon says she did know, "We swore to put a stop to all that nonsense when we took him in!", Vernon yells at Hagrid. He also must have known about Lily and James, because otherwise, he would have wondered why Petunia never talked to her sister.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?

I think he realised, and he was perfectly alright with that. There can be no doubt but that he loved his wife and son dearly, and I imagine he detested the fact that Petunia really got upset with anything that reminded her of her "dratted sister", Lily.

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?

I think Dumbledore went the perfect amount. He had no choice but to visit, to assure them that he was grateful to them for what they had done, but he also made the point that perhaps Harry came out of the entire thing a better person and a saner person than if he had been treated like Dudley. He had no reason to fear the Durselys passing any of the secrets on. At the end of the day, they wouldn't have known anything else anyway, and the chances of them telling someone they knew what had gone on for 18 years was highly unlikely.

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?

I think he gained some perspective and maybe the smallest bit of shame, but he still resented Harry. I think he was so intent upon forgetting that it all existed, that he was more than able to pretend, for those last few moments, that he didn't give a toss about Harry, and perhaps, to that end, he really didn't. I suppose we'll never know.


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Old September 21st, 2008, 11:24 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? Yes. Basically to be gossipy and to show what they were getting in to and to give Vernon a reason to bully harry. What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom? Out of fear from Dumbledore. It certainly wasn't because Harry was Petunia's Nephew and Vernon felt an ounce of Paternal love or responsibility for his life, safety and happiness.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Not at all. He was a burden to Vernon. Harry cramped Vernon's lifestyle, infringed on poor little Dudley's territory. Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him? He took pleasure in abusing Harry. Vernon knew Petunia wouldn't stand up for Harry, wouldn't defend the Child. Vernon had free reign to take out his frustrations on Harry.

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Comical, but a waste of time. He might as well have been speaking in Latin. Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? He wasn't tough enough. Seriously, for all Harry had gone through, Dumbledore should have read them the riot act. He was way too soft. Plus, the Dursleys were so ignorant, they wouldn't learn a thing unless their heads were knocked together.Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others? I think it was to show Harry and the Dursleys he knew what was going on. So if Vernon or Dudley raised a hand to him, all he had to do was call for help.

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Blech, whatever! Typical ignorant piggish behavior. It didn't blow me over, didn't move me. Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Nope, because it didn't benefit him in anyway. Is it possible he gained some while being protected? No, not at all.


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Old September 23rd, 2008, 4:38 am
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? No, i dont believe that she did. vernon was shocked when she recieved the howler in book 5; i feel that there is a side to petunia that even her own husband doesnt really know. maybe the only person to know was her sister; which deep down she (petunia) loved
What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom? t
he real reason? uhm. to keep safe the one thing that ment most to her late sister. maybe she felt that if she took harry in, that would give her more contact with the wizarding world that she longed to be in.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? NO
Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him? maybe. deep down. when harry and dudley were off to school i doubt he had much to do. yes, he is a pig. yes he makes harry's life hell. but remember he did have some of a conscience, it was shown in the begining of book one. ( yes i know its a weak point to argue!)

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys?
i felt that it was brief, that dd had many other things on his mind at the moment to be talking to the dursleys
Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? looking back. i wish he would have gone further, jkr has left so many unanswered questions. but for it being book 6 i dont think it was really possible for her to divulge any more info


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Old November 20th, 2008, 5:44 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

1. Did Petunia divulge the contents of the letter--which Dumbledore'd left with Harry on the doorstep--to her husband? What was the real reason for allowing Harry houseroom?
I'm in two minds about this. I think that if Vernon had known about the contents of the letter then he would have refused Harry. I think that Petunia just gave him the gist of it- but then I think that Vernon would have wanted the whole story before even considering taking him in. I think that although Petunia hated her sister, she also loved her, and it must have been a shock to find that her only sister was dead. Vernon also has a sister, and I think that if Petunia had mentioned her in the argument then he would have understood a little more.

2. Do you think Vernon cared at all about Harry? Do you think he realized that he had mistreated him?
I think that Vernon was scared of Harry, and treated him in a way to show that he wasn't scared of him. It would have looked silly in his mind to show himself being scared of a small boy. I think that he would have known that the way that he was treating him was unacceptable, but I think that his fear of him overrode his moral dilemma. I also think that he spoiled Dudley even more when Harry moved in with them, to show that he was in control. Dudley would still have been spoiled had Harry not moved in with them, but I think that it definitely made a difference.

4. How did you feel about Dumbledore's visit to the Dursleys? Did Dumbledore go too far or not far enough? Why did Dumbledore reveal the location of Headquarters in front of Vernon and the others?
Dumbledore behaved just as I would have expected him to behave. He told the Dursleys exactly what he thought of their behaviour. They needed that. Also, I think that as he was still the Secret Keeper of the Headquarters he revealed the address to them as he knew that he was going to die at that point, and this would be the last time he would be able to reveal it. He needed to divulge that information in case the Dursleys for any reason had to be hidden away there- covering all bases.

5. What do you think of Vernon's goodbye to Harry? Does he have any understanding of what the Order members told him? Is it possible he gained some while being protected?
Vernon's goodbye to Harry was awkward. He'd disliked the boy, now a young man, since he was a year old, and this was probably the last time he would ever see him. Even when you don't like someone, if you know it's the last time you're going to see them, it's difficult. I think that Vernon really liked to dislike Harry, it gave him something to vent his anger on.


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Old November 21st, 2008, 7:50 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

I think it's unfair to say Vernon's treatment of Harry was all because his ordered life had been disrupted (although that may have played a role). I think it was also about protecting his family. He didn't understand magic and had a great dislike, and I think fear of it, especially considering that his only prior knowledge of magic was from Petunia who didn't really talk about it and from his brother and sister in law getting murdered. That's why he tried to 'stomp it out' of Harry and treated him badly after, he didn't want to give him a chance to learn magic, or to use it.


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Old November 21st, 2008, 7:58 pm
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Re: Vernon Dursley: Character Analysis

I agree with you Lucy, although I think that it did play a part in his treatment of Harry, it didn't really become the main reason. If Harry hadn't been magical then I think that perhaps he would have treated him a little better than he does when Harry is magical


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