Character:Petunia Dursley

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Petunia Dursley (neé Evans)
Parents Mr., Mrs. Evans
Sibling Lily Potter (neé Evans)
Spouse Vernon Dursley
Child Dudley Dursley
Blood status Muggle
Appearance thin, blonde, long neck, horse-faced
Occupation housewife
Portrayer in the movies Fiona Shaw
First appearance in canon The Boy Who Lived (PS)

Petunia Dursley (neé Evans) is Lily Potter's sister and Harry Potter's aunt and (reluctant) legal guardian. She is married to Vernon Dursley and is the mother of one son, Dudley.


Petunia is blonde Muggle with a rather long neck, a horse-like face and a penchant for gossip. She is a stereotypical middle-class housewife who keeps her home impeccably clean. She resents and fears magic, referring to wizards as "freaks" (PS4). She expresses complete dislike for her deceased sister, Lily, and her brother-in-law, James. She neglects her nephew, Harry, while she spoils her own son, Dudley.


Not much is known of Petunia's childhood or of her relationship with the Evans. The age difference between the two Evans girls and the exact date Petunia married Vernon are also uncertain.

Petunia Dursley has only mentioned this period of her life once, on the day Rubeus Hagrid appeared to fetch Harry and take him to Diagon Alley. When her astonished nephew asked the Dursleys whether they knew he was a wizard, Petunia replied affirmatively, adding he could not be otherwise, her "dratted sister being what she was".

Mrs. Dursley then said that, just like Harry, Lily got a letter from Hogwarts and "disappeared off to that – that school – and came home every holiday with her pockets full of frog-spawn, turning teacups into rats". Petunia commentted that she was the only one in the family who saw her sister as a freak, contrary to her parents for whom "it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!"

Petunia also told Harry that Lily met "that Potter" at school, and that they later married (PS4).

The amount of contact between Mrs. Dursley and the Potters is uncertain. However, Petunia sent Lily a vase for Christmas in 1980 (DH10).

Petunia knew Severus Snape as a child. The did not like each other - Petunia thought that Snape was a "weirdo" wile Snape despised her for being a Muggle. Nevertheless, Petunia spied on Snape and Lily (DH33). When Petunia accidentaly told her husband that Dementors guarded Azkaban, she explained her abnormal knowledge of the wizarding world by stating that she had heard "that awful boy – telling her about them – years ago" (OP2).

Married Life


On October 31, 1981, Petunia can be found living in Number Four, Privet Drive, married to Vernon Dursley, and mother of one-year-old Dudley. Petunia spent her days looking after Dudley, doing housework and spying on the neighbors, while her husband was working at Grunnings. She had not met Lily for several years, and had the habit of pretending she did not have a sister, as a way to avoid showing any connection between the Potters and the Dursleys. However, Petunia had had some form of contact with the wizarding world, for she knew her sister had a son called Harry who was about Dudley's age (PS1). It is also known Albus Dumbledore had been sending Petunia letters, though their dates and subjects are uncertain [1]. On October 31, Vernon asked Petunia whether she had heard from her sister lately. Much annoyed, his wife replied negatively.

After James and Lily were killed by Voldemort, Dumbledore, fearing for their son's safety, placed a charm on Harry. This charm was a very strong type of ancient magic, based on the protection Lily gave the boy when she died to save him. The headmaster came to Little Whinging in order to deliver one-year-old Harry to the Dursleys, who were, as the headmaster pointed out to Professor McGonagall, the only family the boy had left (PS1).

Dumbledore explained Petunia what he had done on the letter he left with the baby, leaving it up to Mrs. Dursley the decision to take Harry in and give him a home. Petunia then chose to accept her nephew as a surrogate son fully conscious that, in doing so, she had sealed the pact, garanteeing that while Harry could "still call home the place where [his] mother's blood dwells" he could not be touched whilst there by Voldemort. For the effect to take place, the boy would have to return to the Dursley's household at least once a year (OP37).


On the ten years that passed since the day Petunia took her nephew in, not much detailed information is known of Mrs. Dursley's life, though there is not much indication that her life had changed drastically. She matained her status as a housewife of Number Four, Privet Drive, and, along with Vernon, raised their son to become a spoiled ten-year-old boy. It is clear the Dursleys did their best not to give away any signs Harry lived with them, not placing any pictures of him aounrd the house, and making the boy sleep in a cupboard under the stairs (PS2).

Contrary to what the headmaster expected the Dursleys to have done (PS1), Vernon and Petunia decided not to tell Harry the truth regarding his past. They made up a story about his parents having died in a car crash and forbade him to ask any questions. It is also notable that one of the things the Dursleys hated the most was their nephew "talking about anything acting in a way it shouldn't".

Petunia and Vernon had always attempted to separate Harry from anything remotely magical, or from anyone that could belong to the wizarding world. Whenever the boy would do anything unusual (like make his hair grow faster) or mention the subject, Mr. Dursley would get angry and Petunia would seem much irritated and annoyed (PS2). It usually was up to her to calm her husband, who affirmed both him and his wife had swore, when they had taken Harry in, that they would "put a stop to that rubbish" (PS4).

It is also known Petunia did not receive any more letters from Dumbledore since the one he left on her doorstep in October 31, 1981 (OP2, OP37).


After Dudley was attacked by Dementors on August 2, 1997, Vernon wanted to kick Harry out. Petunia received a Howler from Dumbledore that said "Remember my last" (meaning his last letter from 1981, in which he explained that Petunia's blood protected Harry). She told Vernon that Hary would have to stay (OP1).



Search.png Full article: Petunia Dursley in canon





External Links

Petunia's Lexicon Profile

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