J.K. Rowling is the magical gift that just keeps on giving.
To celebrate Dudley Dursley's 35th birthday, the Harry Potter author has penned a new short story for Pottermore that reveals new insights about the Dursley family. She also shared new information about the Deathly Hallows, including how Hagrid and Dumbledore got their names and why Hermione could have been prosecuted for a crime by the Ministry of Magic.
Read on for the latest updates from the wizarding world!
1. The Dursleys and Potters disliked each other from the very start
When Vernon Dursley and Petunia Evans first got engaged, they went to dinner with Lily and then-boyfriend James. Petunia told Vernon ahead of time that Lily was a witch (well, her word was “freak”), and Vernon promised not to hold it against her. But according to Rowling, “Vernon tried to patronise James, asking what car he drove,” to which James “described his racing broom.” When the discussion turned to Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Vernon ended up storming out of the restaurant because he thought James was making fun of him. Their relationship never recovered from that first meeting.
2. The Dursleys did not attend Lily and James’ wedding
#Sad. Petunia also did not include Lily in her own wedding because “she was tired of being overshadowed.”
3. Vernon disliked Harry for the same reason Snape did
Rowling revealed that Vernon’s distaste for his nephew “stems in part, like Severus Snape’s, from Harry’s close resemblance to the father they both so disliked.” Petunia, on the other hand, felt guilty about how she treated her sister and took out that guilt on Harry.
4. Hagrid’s and Dumbledore’s names are significant
Rowling reveals that the names Rubeus and Albus come from the words red and white, two colors that are associated with the practice of alchemy, the magical theory that base metals can be turned into gold and can grant eternal youth (you know, like the Sorcerer’s Stone). “The colours red and white are mentioned many times in old texts on alchemy,” Rowling writes, with red symbolizing the base metal and white the gold. Rubeus Hagrid, therefore, is the wild and base red, while Albus Dumbledore is the gold/white.
5. Hermione’s extendable handbag was amazing — and also illegal
Extension Charms are apparently heavily regulated by the Ministry of Magic, which would have made Hermione’s life-saving Deathly Hallows bag illegal. But our favorite witch never faced charges because the Ministry found that the bag “played no insignificant part in the defeat of the greatest Dark wizard of all time.”
6. Professor McGonagall and Peter Pettigrew both caused “Hatstalls”
What’s a “hatshall,” you ask? It’s when the Sorting Hat takes more than five minutes to place a student in a house. The hat took a long time debating whether McGonagall belonged in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor (good choice, hat!), and also whether Pettigrew was more of a Gryffindor or a Slytherin (poor choice, hat). There were no hatstalls in Harry’s class, although the hat did take awhile to decide on Hermione (she was almost in Ravenclaw, naturally) and Neville Longbottom (almost a Hufflepuff, but we’re pretty sure he proved his proper Gryffindor status a few times over).