- Dudley Dursley: "I don’t think you’re a waste of space."
- Harry Potter: "Well… er… thanks, Dudley."
- Dudley Dursley: "You saved my life."
- — Dudley's farewell to his cousin, Harry Potter[src]
Dudley Dursley (23 June, 1980) was the Muggle son of Vernon and Petunia Dursley, and cousin of Harry Potter. He was obese and insolent as a result of his parents spoiling him throughout his childhood. He and his gang often tormented Harry, taking after the example set by his parents, as well as other weaker and younger children in their neighbourhood and at school. In 1995, he faced Dementors for the first time, and was saved by Harry, after which he mellowed and became generally kinder to his cousin. He left his house in 1997, along with his family, to hide from Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, under the protection of the Order of the Phoenix. After the Second Wizarding War, he married a woman and had several children. He also remained in contact with Harry and his children.
Dudley was born on 23 June, 1980, about five weeks before his cousin Harry Potter. On the night of November 1st in 1981, Harry was delivered to the Dursleys after the attack on the Potters in Godric's Hollow. Over the following few weeks, Dudley took to prodding and pinching his younger cousin. At Dudley's fifth birthday party, his Aunt Marge whacked Harry around the shins so he would not beat Dudley at musical statues. A few years later, Marge turned up at Christmas with a computerised robot for Dudley and a box of dog biscuits for Harry. During their years together at St. Grogory's Primary School, Dudley frequently chose Harry as his favourite punching bag. Because of the pair's differing sizes, Dudley could easily hurt Harry, although Harry was often faster than his large cousin.
During one of Aunt Marge's visits, Dudley laughed himself silly when Harry, after having accidentally trodden on Ripper's paw, was chased up a tree by the dog, and Marge refused to call him off until well past midnight.
Eleventh birthday party
- "Thirty-six. That's two less than last year"
Dudley celebrated his eleventh birthday on 23 June, 1991. His presents included a new computer, a second television, a Remote Control Crane, sixteen new computer games, a gold wristwatch, a VCR, a camera, a Remote Control Plane and a racing bicycle (which was odd, as Dudley hated exercise). When Dudley counted his presents, he was mortified that he had two fewer than his last birthday; he was slightly cheered up when his mother showed him the present from his Aunt Marge, but then he realised he still had one less present than last year. Before he could have a tantrum, Petunia promised that when the family went out, she would buy him two additional presents so he would have more than last year. Satisfied with this, Dudley did not throw a fit.
The Vanishing Glass
When Mrs. Figg called the Dursleys to tell them she could not take Harry for the day because she had broken her leg, Dudley was horrified. While Vernon and Petunia decided what to do with Harry, Dudley pretended to cry, playing on his mother's habit of giving him whatever he wanted. In between "sobs", Dudley commented that he did not want Harry to spoil his birthday by tagging along; when his mother was not looking, he shot Harry a nasty grin. When his friend Piers Polkiss arrived, he ceased his act immediately.
With no other option, the Dursleys took Harry with them to the zoo for Dudley's birthday. At the entrance, his parents bought him and Piers large chocolate ice creams. Before they could hurry off, the saleswoman asked Harry what he would like, then Vernon and Petunia were forced to buy Harry a cheap lemon ice lolly, although he seemed to like it regardless. At lunch time, Dudley had a temper tantrum because his knickerbocker glory was not big enough; his parents bought him another one, and Harry was allowed to finish the first one.
After lunch, the group visited the reptile house, and Dudley quickly found the largest snake in the place. Dudley pressed his nose against the glass, and asked his father to make the snake move. After much rapping on the glass, it made no movements at all and Dudley walked away, easily bored. A few moments later, Piers drew Dudley's attention back to the snake when he saw Harry talking to it; waddling over, Dudley quickly shoved Harry out of the way and onto the ground. Within a few moments, Dudley found the protective glass gone and as the snake uncoiled itself and slithered away, Dudley and Piers ran away, screaming. Harry had managed to do this with prodigious magical skill, although he thought it had been an accidental misunderstanding at the time. Piers tattled on Harry saying that he had seen him talking to the snake. In the car on the way home, Dudley claimed that the snake had nearly bitten his leg off; Harry, on the other hand, only saw the snake playfully snapping at Dudley's heel as it went past.
Discovery of the wizarding world
- "Who on earth wants to talk to you this badly?"
- —Dudley, amazed about the number of letters sent to Harry[src]
By the time the summer holidays had begun, Dudley had broken his video camera, crashed a remote-controlled aeroplane, and knocked an already injured Mrs. Figg over on his racing bike. Near the beginning of July, Dudley was accepted into Smeltings Academy, his father's alma mater. After returning from London with his new school uniform, Dudley paraded around the house in the get-up, which included a maroon tailcoat, orange knickerbockers, a boater, and a knobbly stick. He took to whacking everyone and everything within reach with this stick, which became extremely annoying to Harry.
The following morning when the post arrived, Dudley alerted his father that Harry had received a letter. Seeing his parents' reactions to the letter's contents, Dudley demanded to see it. Not used to being ignored, Dudley rapped his father on the head with his Smelting stick. Dudley and Harry were thrown out of the kitchen, but overheard the conversation through the door; Harry forced to listen under the crack, while Dudley looked through the better position: the peephole in the doorknob.
When Vernon and Petunia gave Dudley's second bedroom to Harry, Dudley threw a temper tantrum, claiming that he needed the room. In an attempt to change his parents' minds, to no avail, Dudley screamed, hit his father with his Smelting stick, threw up on purpose, kicked his mother, and threw his pet tortoise through the greenhouse roof. When the mail arrived, Dudley was sent to collect it (in an attempt by Vernon to be "nice" to Harry). From the hall, Dudley yelled that Harry had received another letter. Vernon wrestled Dudley to the ground and took the letter away.
Within a week, no fewer than two dozen letters arrived for Harry. Dudley wondered who on Earth would want to talk to Harry so badly. When so many letters for Harry arrived, Vernon had had enough; he told the family to get ready to leave. Dudley drew his father's ire when he dawdled, trying to pack his television, VCR, and computer into his bag. By nightfall, Dudley was in an unpleasant mood. He was hungry, had missed five TV shows he wanted to watch and had not gone so long without shooting an alien in the face on his computer. At a gloomy-looking hotel, Dudley shared a room with Harry; while Harry remained awake, Dudley fell asleep almost immediately.
The following day, Vernon brought Dudley and the family to a hut on a rock well out in the sea. Using some mouldy blankets, Petunia made Dudley a makeshift bed on the couch, which he was very unhappy with, while she and Vernon took the second bedroom, and Harry was left to his own devices to find comfort. At midnight, when Harry's birthday came, Dudley was jerked out of his sleep by a loud crashing outside the hut; he 'stupidly' wondered where "the cannon" was. A few moments later, the hut's door was knocked off by Rubeus Hagrid. Dudley remained on the couch, frozen in fear. When Hagrid nudged him out of the way, Dudley ran and hid behind his mother.
- "Meant to turn him into a pig, but I suppose he was so much like a pig anyway there wasn't much left ter do."
- —Rubeus Hagrid, after giving Dudley a pig's tail.[src]
When Vernon insulted Albus Dumbledore after Hagrid informed him that Harry was going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hagrid used magic to sprout a pig's tail from Dudley's fat bottom, which caused immense pain. After dropping Harry off at King's Cross Station on September 1st, the Dursleys took Dudley to a private hospital in London to have the tail removed.
- "Today's your birthday. How come you haven't got any cards? Haven't you even got any friends at that freak place?"
- —Dudley, taunting Harry on July 31st.[src]
In June, Dudley accompanied his parents to King's Cross to pick Harry up for the summer holidays.
By the summer, Dudley has grown even more massive; so much so that his bottom drooped over each side of his chair. Somehow, even with his massiveness, his clothes were still depicted as loose, as he has to hitch up his trousers "which were slipping down his fat bottom" during a conversation with Harry.
One morning during breakfast, Dudley wanted more bacon. He asked Harry to pass the frying pan; when Harry said he forgot the magic word (meaning "please"), Dudley fell out of his chair with a crash that shook the whole kitchen. Obviously Dudley had been trained by his parents by that time to hate and fear anything that had anything at all to do with Harry and his magical world.
On 31 July, Dudley taunted Harry about not receiving any birthday presents from his friends. That night, the Dursleys (sans Harry) hosted a dinner party for a client of Vernon's. At eight o'clock, Dudley was by the front door, waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Mason to arrive. He offered to take their coats, and then offered his arm to accompany Mrs. Mason to the dining room.
By summer, Dudley was even fatter. At some point, he complained about the walk between the living room and the kitchen, so his father installed a new TV in the kitchen. Dudley sat at the TV all day, eating constantly. He gained five chins.
Along with his parents and Harry, Dudley learned one day of an escaped convict named "Black", whom the newscasters warned was armed and dangerous. Vernon was constantly complaining about lack of security and punishment, stating that hanging is the only way to handle people like Black.
On 31 July, Dudley's Aunt Marge came to visit to their house. When Marge arrived, Dudley waddled into the hall to greet her. Marge seized him in a one-armed hug and kissed him on the cheek. Harry, sure that Dudley only put up with this treatment because he was well paid for it, noticed a twenty pound note clenched in his fat hand behind his back. When Marge was blown up by Harry because of her voracious veracity, Dudley showed almost no emotion and continued watching TV.
By the summer of 1994, Dudley had grown so large, that the school outfitters at Smeltings Academy did not stock knickerbockers big enough for him anymore. To rectify the situation, the school nurse forced a diet regime upon Dudley, which emptied his eating habits of all the things he enjoyed: fizzy drinks, cakes, chocolate bars, burgers, doughnuts, chips, etc., and replaced them with fruits and vegetables -- items that Vernon called "rabbit food". Dudley was not pleased, and threw numerous tantrums about it. To make Dudley feel better, Petunia insisted that the whole family follow the diet, as well; to raise Dudley's morale, she also tended to give him more to eat than Harry (who, unbeknownst to Dudley, kept a secret stash of food in his bedroom). When Vernon left the kitchen to collect the post, Dudley stole his grapefruit quarter.
The next day when the Weasleys arrived to take Harry to the Quidditch World Cup, Dudley nervously ran his hands over his backside; remembering the incident with Hagrid in 1991, he was unwilling to present the same target to wizards again.
As the Weasleys returned to The Burrow through the Floo Network, Fred "accidentally" dropped numerous sweets in brightly coloured wrappers on the floor, knowing Dudley would eat one of them. The sweet, revealed to be a Ton-Tongue Toffee, caused Dudley's tongue to expand greatly and cause him pain. Before allowing Mr. Weasley to fix it, Petunia tried to rip the tongue out of Dudley's mouth, which nearly suffocated him. His tongue was more than four feet long before the Dursleys allowed Mr. Weasley to shrink it.
In 1995, Dudley took up boxing, which gave him even more prominence over other children. As a result, he lost weight and became less spoiled. However, he is still described as 'vast as ever' but it was implied that he was more muscle than fat because of the boxing. He would roam the streets with his gang, vandalising public property and terrorising younger children. After taking up his workout regime, Dudley became boxing champion at his school.
On his way home one night with his gang, Dudley ran into Harry. He and Harry were attacked in the street by two Dementors, sent by Dolores Umbridge to harm Harry (unknown to Harry). They were saved from being kissed by Harry's stag Patronus, but Dudley, confused by what had happened, pinned the blame for the attack on his cousin, as he could not see the Dementors.
When Albus Dumbledore paid a personal visit to the Dursleys in 1996, he showed pity for Dudley, and blamed the Dursleys for the "appalling damage" their parenting inflicted on their son. Dudley was very confused by this statement, and did not show any signs of planning to rectify his parents' "mistakes."
Hiding from Death Eaters
After Harry arrived at Number Four, in 1997, Dudley made at least one known attempt to reconcile with Harry. Dudley placed a cup of tea outside Harry's room. However, Harry initially misinterpreted the gesture as another prank, as Dudley had placed the cup on the floor and Harry stepped on it by accident. When Harry parted ways with the Dursleys, Dudley was the only member to bid Harry a heartfelt farewell.
When Dudley was attacked by the Dementors he saw himself, for the first time, as he really was. This was an extremely painful, but ultimately salutory lesson, and began the transformation in him. He shook Harry's hand, and thanked him for saving his life (though it was his soul the dementor would have taken, there is little difference). The members of the Order of the Phoenix escorting the Dursleys into hiding were not satisfied by this, and thought a more adequate apology was in order, but the Dursleys left with nothing more to say, Harry himself noting that Dudley's awkward thanks was the Dursley equivalent of a heartfelt expression of gratitude.
In Dudley's adult life, he got married and became a father. He and Harry remained on "Christmas Card terms", and Harry sometimes took his children to Dudley's when they were in the neighbourhood, occasions dreaded by James, Albus and Lily. During these visits Dudley and Harry would sit silently together rarely talking while their children interacted and played together.
- "Aunt Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby angel — Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig."
- —Dudley's appearance in his early years.[src]
Dudley has watery blue eyes and thick blond hair. Growing up, Dudley was extremely fat, at least four times Harry's size. Harry often thought Dudley looked like a pig in a wig. In 1994, he had "reached the size and weight of a young killer whale." Dudley was too large to fit in a school uniform, so was forced to go on a diet from his school, which was largely comprised of food which Vernon called "rabbit food" meaning fruits and vegetables which Dudley rarely ate otherwise. Vernon and Petunia usually made excuses on why he was large, such as he just had "puppy fat" or that he was a "growing boy". Dudley mostly ate junk food and hated exercise and often played video games. When Harry and the Dursleys ate breakfast Dudley's flab would often hang off the chair because he was too big, and eventually a TV was bought for the kitchen after Dudley had complained about the distance from the living room to the fridge. He was also incredibly lazy. This may have had something to do with his weight problem.
However, by 1995 after he was attacked by Umbridge's dementors, Dudley had taken up boxing and weight lifting, and lost a great deal of weight. Prior to the Dursley's departure from Privet Drive, he appeared "large, blond, and muscular," wearing a leather jacket.
Personality and traits
Dudley was an unpleasant child. His parents spoiled him to the point of becoming grossly obese, demanding, selfish, and manipulative, but most of all, he was extremely ungrateful. During his eleventh birthday, he screamed when he received one fewer gift than he had the previous year, making his parents promise to buy him two more, and pretended to cry when he realised Harry would have to come with him for his birthday trip to the zoo.
Dudley had a very bad habit of bullying kids who were weaker and as much as five years younger than he was, and when he forgot his fear of Harry's powers, callously insulted him in any way possible, even jeering at Harry about his obviously disturbing nightmares.
However, in 1995, Dudley faced Dementors for the first time. Though a Dementor attack typically forced a person to re-live the worst moments of their life, Dudley's life-so-far of luxury and greed contained no "worst moments," and therefore, during the attack, Dudley saw himself the way he truly was: spoiled rotten and a cruel bully. He was thus forced, rather harshly, to realise he needed to change. This led to him regretting his mistreatment of Harry, and his later attempts at reconciliation. The cousins would have a relatively good relationship by 2017; Dudley and Harry visited each other, while their children played together.
Vernon and Petunia Dursley spoiled and coddled their son as much as they neglected and abused their nephew Harry. They appeared to buy Dudley anything he wanted, often apparently to waylay a tantrum (Vernon going so far as bribing him to accept a kiss from Aunt Marge). They indulged their son with treats and activities both out of blind adoration for the boy, and as a means of emphasising to Harry what he was missing. They were generally in denial of the obesity brought on by Dudley's gluttony, which they wrote off as being either the healthy appetite of a growing boy or "puppy fat", and were completely oblivious to the fact that Dudley did not have friends, so much as a schoolyard gang and victims.
While Vernon consistently praised his son as if he was extremely masculine and robust, Petunia babied Dudley, calling him "Diddy-kins" well in to his teen years, appearing heartbroken to have to put Dudley on a much-needed diet, and even bursting into tears when Dudley showed marginal affection for Harry.
- Dudley: "I don’t think you’re a waste of space."
- Harry: "Well… er… thanks, Dudley."
- Dudley: "You saved my life."
- — Harry’s farewell to the Dursleys[src]
Dudley and his cousin Harry did not get along very well for most of their early lives. Like his parents, Dudley only thought of Harry as a huge burden to the family. While Vernon and Petunia treated Harry poorly, they spoiled Dudley to the extreme. Dudley constantly bullied his smaller cousin throughout their childhood, but did his best not to provoke him after he found out that Harry was a wizard, though the two still got into an occasional argument and trading of insults. This changed after Harry saved Dudley from a pair of Dementors that attacked them during the summer of 1995. When the Order of the Phoenix placed the Dursleys into hiding to keep them safe during the height of the Second Wizarding War, Dudley was the only member of the family to express concern for Harry's safety, asking his parents why Harry was not accompanying them and where he would go, if not with them. He also expressed remorse for his prior treatment of Harry, and the two shook hands before the Dursleys left.
After the Second Wizarding War, Dudley would later become a cousin-in-law to Harry's wife Ginny Weasley and a second cousin to Harry and Ginny's children, James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter and Lily Luna Potter. Dudley and Harry eventually reconciled as adults, remaining on "Christmas card terms" and visiting each other occasionally. At these times, Harry's three children and Dudley's children would all play together while their fathers would sit together quietly.
Dudley means "from the meadow."
Dursley is a town in Gloucestershire, England. J. K. Rowling has commented that she visited the place as a child, and hated it, which likely affected her choice of surname for the awful family, remarking "I don't imagine I'm very popular in Dursley".
Behind the scenes
- Dudley was portrayed by Harry Melling in the film series.
- It is never made clear if Dudley was aware of Harry being a wizard before the latter read his Hogwarts letter. However, since he was said to avoid being in the same room with Harry after the truth was said, it can be assumed that Vernon and Petunia never told him.
- In one of Harry's several letters to Sirius Black in the summer of 1994, he says that Dudley threw his PlayStation out of a window after he was caught sneaking donuts into his room. However, this is an anachronism, as the Sony PlayStation was not released anywhere until December 1994 (in Japan), and in Britain until September 1995. However, customers with influence could obtain a "test set" for a high cost. In any case, the film versions were kept in consistent with the 21st century rather than the 1990's.
- Coincidentally, the real name of the actor who plays Dudley is Harry.
- Although not mentioned in the books, J. K. Rowling said during the Dementor attack, Dudley saw himself the way he truly was: spoiled rotten and a cruel bully, making him realise, rather harshly, that he needed to change. This led to him regretting his treatment of Harry and his attempt later at reconciliation.
- The books say Dudley's hair is blond, but in the films it is dark brown.
- Dudley is portrayed as fat in the books and films. In an interview on the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film DVD, Harry Melling stated he had lost weight and had to wear a fat suit in order to show Dudley's chubbiness.
- J.K. Rowling has stated that she originally planned to have Dudley have a wizard child in the Epilogue but decided that no magical blood would ever get past Uncle Vernon's DNA.
- Dudley did not appear in either the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire nor the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as the film script writers removed the Privet Drive matter to fit each book into one film.
- Dudley and his gang once beat up a boy named Mark Evans. Though Dudley's maternal family are the Evans, Mark is not closely related to the Evans family, nor to Dudley; whether there is a distant link is unknown.
- Coincidentally, Dudley's birthday is one month before the real birthday of Daniel Radcliffe.
- The scene where Dudley reconciles with Harry does not make it into the film, though it was filmed and is included as a deleted scene in the DVD of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
- In the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, Rubeus Hagrid mistakes Dudley for Harry when he comes to get Harry at the Hut-on-the-Rock and comments on his weight.
- In the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when the Dursley family visit the zoo with Harry on Dudley's eleventh birthday they are accompanied by Dudley's best friend, Piers Polkiss. But in the film adaptation Piers Polkiss does not appear.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harry Potter Lexicon - Timeline - Dudey Dursley
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ JK Rowling comments on Harry and Dudley's future relationship
- ↑ J.K. Rowling's comments at Carnegie Hall
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ J.K. Rowling's comments at Carnegie Hall
- ↑ JK Rowling comments on Harry and Dudley's future relationship
- ↑ 19 October 2007 J.K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall
- ↑ Wikipedia:Dursley
- ↑ 2001 BBC Online Chat
- ↑ J.K.Rowling Official Site Harry and Dudley: Future Hope?