Harry’s Summers with the Dursleys: Ranked from Bad to Worse

Summertime might be every Muggle kid’s favorite time of year; it means school is out! However, I imagine any young witch or wizard would learn to dread summertime. Imagine getting to do magic at school every day and then having to stop for months at a time.

For Harry Potter, leaving Hogwarts meant going back to the Dursley family, which was never fun. Not only is he forbidden to do magic, but his relatives also make it pretty clear that he’s unwelcome in their house. The Dursleys are often downright cruel!

Here’s a list of horrible summers Harry spends with the Dursley family, ranked from bad to positively miserable.


6. The One with the Quidditch World Cup

The months before Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts are as good as it gets! I believe this summer is fantastic for Harry because he doesn’t spend all that much time with the Dursley family. The Weasley family whisks him away to the Quidditch World Cup, where Harry gets to see Ireland face off against Bulgaria. It’s the game of a lifetime! Of course, afterward, the Death Eaters riot through campsites, and someone casts the Dark Mark for the first time in forever… but we can’t blame this summer bummer on the Dursleys.




5. The One with Slughorn

This time, Harry has Dumbledore to thank for rescuing him from the Dursleys. Not only does Harry get to attempt recruiting a Hogwarts professor, but Dumbledore also totally roasts the Dursleys for mistreating Harry for 16 years. Of course, we all know meeting Horace Slughorn helps Harry immensely in discovering the mystery of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. All things considered, this is a pretty uneventful summer for Harry, and he gets to spend a fair share of it with the Weasleys!




4. The One with the Seven Potters

Harry faces some hard truths during his last summer with the Dursleys. His mentor, Professor Dumbledore, was just murdered, and Harry feels misguided and confused as he prepares to embark on a dangerous quest to find Horcruxes. Plus, Hedwig and Mad-Eye Moody are killed this summer in the efforts to transport Harry away from number four, Privet Drive. However, he gets some closure with his only living relatives. Dudley lets him know he doesn’t think Harry is a waste of space. Harry’s story with his most despised relatives ends on a positive note.




3. The One with Aunt Marge

Here’s a summer where things get pretty weird for Harry. He blows up his Aunt Marge in a fit of rage, and for a moment, it looks like Harry might not be allowed to come back to Hogwarts because of it. Can we blame him for losing his cool with his aunt? How would you react if your aunt said your parents were good-for-nothing drunks? To make matters worse, all the magical adults in Harry’s life become secretive and concerned with Harry’s safety. It’s not all bad, though: Harry discovers the Knight Bus and gets a pardon from the Minister of Magic so he can come back to Hogwarts. Plus, he gets tons of free ice cream from Florean Fortescue!




2. The One with Dobby’s “Rescue”

Dobby meant well when he meddled with Harry’s life the summer before his second Hogwarts term. The house-elf was trying to save Harry’s life after discovering the plot Lucius Malfoy had to reopen the Chamber of Secrets. Unfortunately, Harry doesn’t react well to discovering a stranger has been stealing his mail and framing him for using underage magic. I sympathize with Dobby: It would be difficult to convince Harry Potter of all people not to return to Hogwarts! Because Dobby’s magical hijinks ruin Mr. Dursley’s important business dinner party, Harry ends up with locks on his doors and bars on his windows. Fortunately, Ron, Fred, and George come to the rescue with Mr. Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia.




1. The One with the Dementors

Harry’s worst summer with the Dursleys happens before his fifth year at Hogwarts. First of all, Harry’s mental health is at an all-time low. Not only is Voldemort back for sure, but seeing Cedric Diggory murdered right in front of him also leaves Harry with horrible nightmares. When Umbridge sends a Dementor after him and his cousin Dudley, he’s forced to produce a Patronus Charm. As a result, Harry is nearly expelled from Hogwarts! Even though he used the charm as a life-saving last resort, Harry is put on trial with the Wizengamot. While the Ministry of Magic decides to drop all charges against Harry, it sets the tone for the whole year. Harry is challenged when most of the magical world doesn’t believe that the most powerful Dark wizard of their time is back and growing stronger.




Do you agree with this ranking? Which summer with the Dursleys do you think would be the least fun?

Chelsea Korynta

In third grade, my teacher told me Harry Potter was from the devil, so naturally, I have been obsessed with the books ever since. I'm a Gryffindor, a Leo (like J.K. Rowling), and I work at a boarding school (like Hogwarts). I write hot takes on the wizarding world from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.