MYTHTERY: The Dursleys Treated Harry Terribly Because He Was a Horcrux
The Dursleys treated Harry terribly when he was with them. They initially put him in a tiny cupboard under the stairs, put bars on his window, gave him tiny amounts of food, verbally berated him, and much more. A theory that originated on Reddit and spread around suggested the reason for this behavior was due to the fact that Harry was a Horcrux.
As seen when the trio wore the Horcrux, being too close to a Horcrux can result in awful behavior. While under the influence of the locket, Ron repeatedly lashed out at his friends before eventually leaving them. Harry and Hermione were both also cranky when they wore the locket. Therefore, it’s possible that the reason that the Dursleys were so terrible to Harry was that he was a Horcrux. While this explanation would be an easier way of rationalizing Dursleys’ abusive behavior, this theory has plenty of flaws.
Firstly, if Harry being a Horcrux was the justification for their behavior, other people who Harry encountered would have also treated him badly. While he did have his problems with Snape, Malfoy, and Umbridge, on the whole, Harry was treated very well. He made plenty of friends when he joined Hogwarts and found a surrogate family with the Weasleys.
This rationale is also further disproven when Harry left Privet Drive to go to Hogwarts and wasn’t constantly around them. When away from a Horcrux, its influence and effects would reduce and eventually disappear, and those affected would soon return to normal. After all, this was the case with the locket. When those wearing it took it off, they returned to their positive selves as the darkened piece of soul interacting with them was removed. This was not the case with the Dursleys. Even when he was away from them, they would either not write to him or send him terrible presents.
Also, a large reason that Horcruxes affected their user was due to their emotional investment:
“Because that thing’s bad for me!” said Ron, backing away from the locket on the rock. “I can’t handle it! I’m not making excuses, Harry, for what I was like, but it affects me worse than it affected you and Hermione, it made me think stuff — stuff I was thinking anyway, but it made everything worse, I can’t explain it, and then I’d take it off and I’d get my head on straight again, and then I’d have to put the effing thing back on — I can’t do it, Harry!” (DH 374.)
Even looking at the evidence presented in the books, the idea that the Dursleys mistreated Harry because he was a Horcrux has no merit. However, J.K Rowling’s explanation on Pottermore has finally disproved this theory:
She [took Harry in] grudgingly, and spent the rest of Harry’s childhood punishing him for her own choice. Uncle Vernon’s dislike of Harry stems in part, like Severus Snape’s, from Harry’s close resemblance to the father they both so disliked (Pottermore).
– Myth Managed
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