Magic at Number Four: The Dursleys Can’t Deny It Any Longer
“Mr. And Mrs. Dursley, of Number Four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” (SS/PS). Yes, this statement opens up the series to which we have grown to love, and it wraps up the attitude Vernon and Petunia Dursley have always had towards magic. For in Privet Drive, normalcy is key, and magic is not only hated, but feared. However, recent events must be taken into account. With all the magic that disrupted their humdrum lives this summer, can they truly ignore the magical world? Dementors attacking their son…”pecks of owls” swooping in and out of their home…their batty neighbor revealed to be more then just eccentric. Magic surrounds this house more than Mr. and Mrs. Perfectly-Normal will ever admit.
Mrs. Figg was revealed to be a Squib in the very beginning of The Order of the Phoenix(p20, American version). Now, most of we readers have been fully aware that there was more to her then meets the eye ever since Dumbledore mentioned her on page 713 of The Goblet of Fire. She has evidently been protecting Harry all along. I wonder how the Dursleys would react to this information. Even more, I wonder if she is the only one in the neighborhood (Harry excluded) that has connections to the magical world. We know that there are no other Witches or Wizards in the neighborhood, as Fudge states during the hearing (p143 of OotP), but perhaps there are other squibs or other protectors watching over Harry. As Voldemort and Dumbledore have both said, Dumbledore has protected Harry better than even he (Harry) knows. We will see in future books what other protections have been hiding in Magnolia Crescent.
But what about Petunia? Ah, now this opens up a whole new bottle of potion. Page 31 of The Order of the Phoenix reveals something far more significant about her than first may appear. When Vernon asks, “What the ruddy hell are dementors?” it is Petunia that answers him. She knew what dementors were. She was frightened that Voldemort was back. She understood. Now, she said she had heard James telling Lily about dementors years ago. Hmm. You have to wonder how she would have been in a situation to hear this! If she always hated magic, why would she be in such close proximity to these two as they discussed it? Did she perhaps not always have this attitude towards all things magical? It is my belief that more revelations are to come about Harry’s nosy, long-necked relative.
Speaking of Harry’s relatives, Mark Evans is another big shocker. On OotP p13, Harry mentions a neighborhood boy named Mark Evans. Evans is, of course, Lily’s maiden name (as well as Petunia’s). The exact quote is: “So who’ve you been beating up tonight? Another ten-year-old? I know you did Mark Evans two nights ago.” Now, from this quote we could be led to believe that Mark Evans is ten years of age. So now, not only could Harry have a blood relative not even Dumbledore is aware of, but also, Mark could be getting his Hogwarts letter any time now. Eleven is the age when many kids get the letter, and Mark is presumably going to be eleven in the summer of the sixth book. Whatever the truth about Mark is, I can guarantee you it will be good. For Rowling is not careless with things like this, and I believe this could be as good a revelation as the one about Scabbers that occurred in the Shrieking Shack, several years past.
Not long after the mention of young Mark, Dudley is attacked and nearly destroyed by the dementors. Now, whatever he saw took the life out of him (as well as his dinner). So, the big question is what did he see? It’s like Harry said, what would a great bullying git be forced to remember? A certain curly pig-tail? A flying Ford Anglia? A ton tongue toffee? Or perhaps something more serious. Maybe he saw himself beating up a child. Perhaps now Dudley is a changed person. And, then again, perhaps not.
So, you ask, what does all this mean? Well, I think Harry puts it best. The great, invisible wall that divides the magical world from the non-magical world has been breached. And that is because Voldemort affects both Magic and Muggle. And with the Dark Lord back, and with Harry living in their house, I feel the Dursleys had better start accepting the fact that magic is real, because it’s only going to get worse from here.