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Tall and thin with a long neck, Aunt Petunia is a nosey gossip who cranes her long neck around, noticing what everyone else in the neighborhood is up to. Petunia keeps her house immaculately clean and cooks wonderful meals. She dotes on her spoiled son; she feeds him huge amounts of food, gives him huge numbers of presents, and thinks he's as perfect as can be. Petunia can be vicious, however. She nearly starves her nephew, feeding him only stone cold tinned soup.
While she was growing up, Petunia was disgusted by the way her parents were delighted with her sister, Lily, who was a witch and who attended Hogwarts. Petunia considered Lily to be a freak. Until the time of Lily's death, Petunia and Vernon pretended she didn't have a sister at all.
Readers get their best insight into the Dursleys’ point of view when Aunt Petunia hysterically recounts her experience with her sister (Harry’s mom) in chapter four.
Name meaning: Lily and Petunia, sisters, are both named after flowers.
Hagrid, Groundskeeper Reubus
Hagrid is a comical gentle giant who represents the theme that appearances are deceiving. He has hands the size of trashcan lids and boots like baby dolphins, yet he insists on giving baby Harry a goodbye-kiss and bawls afterwards.
Hagrid’s skirting around the reason he was expelled is a theme that continues through the series.
Hagrid is clearly proud of Dumbledore’s faith in him: “I gotta visit Gringotts anyway. Fer Dumbledore. Hogwarts business.” Hagrid drew himself up proudly. “He usually gets me ter do important stuff fer him.” Hagrid’s losing his temper when anyone insults Dumbledore (as Uncle Vernon did) is a running theme through-out the series and proves Hagrid’s love for the old and forgiving headmaster.
Hagrid’s saying he’d like a dragon is one of the first clues of his love for dangerous creatures. In this book, Hagrid’s pets include Fluffy the three-headed dog, Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback (dragon), and his trusty bloodhound Fang.
Name meaning: Hagrid came from “hagridden” which means to have had a nightmarish night or be hung over. Note that Hagrid does drink a lot in the Leaky Cauldron and in his shack. Rubeus Hagrid’s first name is Latin for "bramble,” which makes sense since he’s the groundskeeper. So essentially, considering analysis of his last name from chapter one’s commentary, Hagrid’s full name implies his role as a groundskeeper who drinks heartily.
Harry is a skinny and modest boy who is easy to relate to as he is coming of age. He enters the Wizarding world to find himself rather powerful, rich, famous, and well liked, quite unlike his lowly status in the Muggle world.
“Harry is entirely imaginary. He just came out of a part of me. Ron was never supposed to be based on anyone but the longer I wrote Ron the more I realised that he was a lot like one of my oldest friends, a man named Sean. The longer I wrote Ron the more I realised he was a bit Sean-ish. Hermione is most consciously based on someone and that person is me when I was younger. She's a bit of an exaggeration of me but that's where she came from.”
Harry’s asking about his scar and the Durlseys' lying to him reflect the “prince raised as pauper” theme. Harry is destined to be a hero among his kind, but he does not know it and is brought up by poor means. Parallel characters include Luke of Star Wars and young Arthur of the King Arthur legends.
Harry’s loss of his parents is a reflection of Rowling’s loss of her mother: “I was very lucky in having such good friends. That was especially important in my teens, when my mother became ill with multiple sclerosis. Anyone who has experienced something like this happening in their family will know the huge knock-on effect, and the stress involved. Friends become even more important, to talk to, to confide in.” (Conversations, 23)
When Harry is too busy being glad he won’t have to spend time with Mrs. Figg to feel sorry for her broken leg, he seems more human as a character. As the book progresses, Harry becomes a more developed character as Rowling makes him easier to sympathize with by giving his personality both good and bad aspects. It’s hard to sympathize with a character that is perfect.
Harry’s glasses represent his love of reading. His inexplicably uncontrollable hair is both a link to his father and is another example of the magic that surrounds him.
Name meaning: “Harry has always been my favourite boy's name, so if my daughter had been a son, he would have been Harry Rowling. Then I would have had to choose a different name for ‘Harry’ in the books, because it would have been too cruel to name him after my own son. ‘Potter’ was the surname of a family who used to live near me when I was seven years old and I always liked the name, so I borrowed it.”