In the third chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Dursleys are the worst people ever. Seriously. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to re-read Harry Potter.
No, really. Aside from Dudley, the Dursleys never get better at all. I recall reading this chapter and thinking Uncle Vernon comes completely and irrationally unhinged by the end. In my head, it was a great idea to write a review that was made up entirely of a fake set of notes written by Vernon’s imaginary therapist. What.
That being said, Vernon’s breakdown once the letters overload his life is really frightening to read. I mean…he took them to a shack on a rock in the ocean. WHERE WERE THEY GOING TO GO AFTER THAT. I mean…were they to just stay there forever? It’s clearly exaggerated for the humor of the situation, but once you actually stop and think about it…man, it’s really, really creepy.
This chapter solidifies my hatred for the Dursleys and somehow I hate them more than Voldemort. They play an active hand in giving Harry an awful, awful upbringing. It’s insinuated at the beginning of this chapter that they left him in the cupboard for WEEKS. Maybe months? I don’t know when Dudley’s birthday is, but still, it’s a really terrifying concept.
The hints towards the hatred of magic are here in this chapter, though at first it seems to come more form Vernon. But even this early on, I didn’t catch on to Petunia’s reaction to all this.
“Vernon,” Aunt Petunia was saying in a quivering voice, “look at the address—how could they possibly know where he sleeps? You don’t think they’re watching the house?”
Maybe I’m reading a bit too much into this, but it feels as if there’s a subtext of Petunia’s fear of Dumbledore here, especially the idea that she isn’t going to get away with what she’s done. I don’t know, the way she focuses on the surveillance aspect seems to me that she’s worried the magical world has seen what’s happened in the last ten years.
“Should we write back?” Tell them we don’t want—“
Petunia, you didn’t have such good luck the last time you did that.
I feel that this entire chapter’s theme is of denial: Vernon and Petunia are in denial that Harry is going to return from the world he came from and that magic is going to be in their house. Their prejudice against magical people binds everything, but they don’t have to ever truly face it. Until now.
This is a short review for a short chapter, and I think I’m comfortable posting a review for each chapter, even if they aren’t too long. It might take a long time to get through this book again, but we do have Deathly Hallows: Part II to look forward to. Maybe I’ll get done by then!
Next up: The introduction of my astral plane, leather daddy boyfriend Hagrid. Also known as the moment I started falling in love with the Harry Potter series.