Marjorie "Marge" Eileen Dursley was Vernon Dursley's elder sister, and sister-in-law to Petunia Dursley and the aunt of Dudley Dursley. She had a career in breeding bulldogs. Ripper, a particularly ferocious bulldog, was her favourite. She was an unpleasant and arrogant woman, whose wealth appeared to be substantial, as she gave her nephew Dudley expensive gifts. In 1993, she visited her brother Vernon for a week. She enraged Harry Potter when she spoke ill of his parents, causing his magical abilities to unintentionally erupt, resulting in the inflation of her body. Her memory of this incident was later purged by the Ministry of Magic.
Marjorie went on to live in the country, in a house with a large garden where she bred bulldogs. She seems to have some money, because she frequently bought her nephew, Dudley Dursley, expensive presents and was noted to be holidaying some times. She usually doesn't have much time to cook, living with twelve bulldogs. At some point in her life, she would live next to Fubster, a retired military colonel. She would fall in love with Fubster. However, her attraction was unrequited, though the two still kept enough of a relationship for him to watch after her dogs when she was away.
Dudley's fifth birthday party
In June 1985, Marge was at Privet Drive to attend her nephew's (Dudley) fifth birthday party. She whacked Harry Potter, a then-four year old, around the shins with her walking stick to stop him from beating Dudley at musical statues.
Christmas at Privet Drive
Dudley's tenth birthday party
Marge was present again at Dudley's tenth birthday party, when Harry was nine. Harry accidentally stepped on Ripper's paw, causing the dog to chase Harry out into the garden and up a tree. Marge refused to call the dog off until past midnight, much to the Dursleys' delight.
Holidaying at the Isle of Wight
In June 1991, Marjorie travelled to the Isle of Wight. Unable to attend Dudley's birthday, she sent him a present. It was also at the Isle of Wight that she fell ill after eating a "funny whelk", writing to the Dursleys to tell them about it.
Week at Privet Drive
- "Bad blood will out. Now, I'm saying nothing against your family, Petunia, but your sister was a bad egg. They turn up in the best families. Then she ran off with a wastrel and here's the result right in front of us."
- —Aunt Marge[src]
During the summer of 1993, she stayed at the Dursleys' house for a week. Knowing nothing about Harry's "abnormality," Marge was told that Harry attended St. Brutus' Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys.
She belittled Harry the entire week she was there. When she asked if the cane was used at St. Brutus', she commented that she did not believe in not hitting people who deserved it. When she asked how often Harry was beaten, and he casually replied "all the time", she insisted that the school was clearly not hitting him hard enough.
She also delighted in comparing Harry to Dudley, and remarking about what made Harry such an unsatisfactory person. When Marge insulted his mother and his father, Harry accidentally lost control of his magic and blew her up like a balloon. She was successfully punctured, and had her memory modified by the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad of the Ministry of Magic.
After this, the Dursleys never invited Marge to stay again while Harry was in residence, and he never saw her again.
Marge is described as resembling her brother: large, beefy, purple-faced, and even having a moustache, though not as bushy as his. She has shoulder length blonde hair sort of like her brother's.
Personality and traits
- "I won't have this namby-pamby, wishy-washy nonsense about not hitting people who deserve it. A good thrashing is what's needed in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. Have you been beaten often?"
- —Aunt Marge to Harry[src]
Marge does not like Harry, and the feeling is quite mutual. When she visits, she always brings expensive gifts for Dudley (who only puts up with her because he is well-paid for it), such as a computerised robot, and less satisfactory "gifts" for Harry such as a box of dog biscuits. It is unknown if Marge knew Harry's parents, but she was constantly calling them gross names (such as good-for-nothing scrounger) and implying their uselessness to society (although, technically, James Potter was unemployed, but only because he was rich enough to not have to work). Marge also has no knowledge of Harry's magical heritage, of which the rest of the Dursleys intend to keep it so.
While she is not a blood relative of Harry's, he is forced to call her "Aunt" Marge. She constantly insults his parents, allows Ripper to chase Harry up a tree, and is generally very cruel to him. She heavily favours her nephew Dudley; she even went as far as whacking a young Harry in the shins to stop him from beating Dudley at musical statues. While the Dursleys frequently ask Harry to stay out of their way, which he is only too glad to do, Marge strives for the opposite. She wants him under her watch all the time so she can spew out suggestions about how he can improve himself. She also suggested that Harry to be put into an orphanage instead of "being a burden" on the Dursleys.
Much of Marge's reprehensible behaviour, however, is the result of having been shunned by Colonel Fubster, whom she was in love with, though it should be noted she was already a horrible enough person for Fubster to not wish to marry her on those grounds.
Behind the scenes
- Aunt Marge is played by Pam Ferris in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry causes Marge to float outside along Privet Drive while in the novel she floats to the ceiling inside the house.
- Marge's personality was based on J. K. Rowling's grandmother, Frieda Volant.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Marge begins to talk about Harry's parents when she finds a picture of them.
- In the film, Petunia is seen slowly waving goodbye to Marge as she floats away.
- In the book, Aunt Marge`s tyranny to Harry lasts all week. In the film, all the incidents happen the same day.
- Eileen Prince, the mother of Severus Snape, happens to share her first name with the middle name of Marjorie Dursley. Whether this was intentionality done by Rowling to provide an insight into a possible similarity in character, it is unknown.
Marjorie is a variant of Margaret. J.K. Rowling has confirmed that Marge is based on Conservative Prime-Minister Margaret Thatcher who is viewed as a controversial figure for her economic policies which while creating vast wealth in some areas, caused poverty in others. As a supporter of the Labour Party, Rowling is open about her dislike for Thatcher.
The name "Margaret" is derived from Latin Margarita, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites) meaning "pearl", probably a borrowing from Sanskrit. Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.  "Eileen" is from Celtic, English and Irish roots and has a long-standing history in each culture. In Irish it is known as a variation of "Helen". It became a more popular name in the 19th century. It is rumoured to have roots in Latin, American, French and Greek cultures, however such claims are not backed up with much evidence. Another variation of this name is Eileene which is most commonly used in Ireland.
Other versions of Eileen; "Aileen" (Scottish), "Eibhlin" (the original source for the name), "Eila" (Celtic variant of both "Eileen" and "Aileen"), "Eireen" (Norwegian variant of "Irene" or "Eileen"), "Eleanor" (a similarly-rooted name to "Eileen" in Irish).
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". The town is known for it's Victorian history in coal mining. Rowling chose the name because it sounded "dull and forbidding".
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Pottermore
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 2 (Aunt Marge's Big Mistake)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 3 (The Letters from No One)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 2 (The Vanishing Glass)
- ↑ 2000 article in The Daily Telegraph
- ↑ Margaret at Behind the Name
- ↑ Wikipedia:Dursley
- ↑ 2001 BBC Online Chat