What If – the Dursleys
Did you ever read those old Marvel Comics from the 70’s & 80’s where they proposed different What If scenarios based on their popular characters? Story’s like What If Uncle Ben had lived & Aunt May had died (one of my favorites) or What If Rick Jones had become the Hulk instead of Bruce Banner? Stories like these are for me really interesting as they flip what I know of a character completely on their head … they basically change the equation and while in some cases the person might come to the same final decision or resting point, they do it for very different reasons.
I read something recently on a blog that I follow – Graphic Nerdity – that struck a similar chord with me actually. Namely that of the Dursleys (from Harry Potter). Now while most people might hate them only slightly less than Dolores Umbridge & Voldemort (here’s a ranking actually) Graphic Nerdity kind of presents this from a somewhat different point of view … namely that of the Horcruxes.
“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.“
Now the Dursley’s as has been noted were what we’d consider to be a somewhat “normal” family. In fact they could be said to be better than average in that they’d taken in and looked after the son of Mrs. Dursley’s sister when his parents were murdered … however they didn’t act normal did they? Locking someone into a cupboard under the stairs just doesn’t make too much sense (although having lived in the UK I can understand the space restrictions to some extent!) & when they had the opportunity to allow Harry to go to Hogwarts, they seemed to put in too many barriers. Again, this doesn’t make sense so why did they do this?
Lets take a look at what Graphic Nerdity proposes shall we as I think that this truly is the answer to that question. We’ve already discussed the fact they’d taken in and looked after Harry (it must be said that his living accommodations were less than ideal) & they did not want Harry to know about his past or his relationship to magic including access to Hogwarts. Now I’ve mentioned Horcruxes earlier – let me remind you of what they are:
A Horcrux is a powerful object in which a Dark wizard or witch has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purpose of attaining immortality.
Horcuxes by definition are evil. They are created from dark magic and Voldemort – Harry’s foe and the murderer of his parents is the only Dark wizard to ever create more than one Horcrux. Voldemort in fact had 8 Horcruxes although he only ever believed that he had 7. These 8 are:
- Quirinus Quirrell – destroyed by Harry’s touch
- Tom Riddle’s Diary – destroyed by a Basilisk fang
- Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring – destroyed by the sword of Godric Gryffindor
- Salazar Slytherin’s Locket – destroyed by the sword of Godric Gryffindor
- Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup – destroyed by a Basilisk fang
- Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem – incinerated
- Nagini – destroyed by the sword of Godric Gryffindor & last but definitely not least
- Harry Potter – created by the murder of Harry’s parents, his Horcrux(ness) was destroyed with a killing curse
Now if you recall when Harry, Ron and Hermione had to carry around Salazar Slytherin’s locket before they could destroy it, they were each increasingly impacted and in fact it was one of the few times we saw the trio actually part ways. Simply carrying a Horcrux has effects similar to the One Ring and there are those of weaker minds and hearts that simply cannot stand to be around them … The Dursleys though … they LIVED with a Horcrux for 11 YEARS!!! I think Graphic Nerdity has it absolutely right – the fact that they didn’t go completely insane is a true testament to their nobility. Well put sir, well put!