Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Marge Dursley
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
|Related Family||Vernon Dursley (brother), Petunia Dursley (sister-in-law)|
Overview[edit | edit source]
Marge Dursley is sister to Harry Potter's Uncle Vernon. Harry is instructed to refer to her as Aunt Marge. She is most disparaging towards Harry, feeling the imposition on Vernon perhaps more even that Vernon himself does.
Role in the Books[edit | edit source]
It is mentioned in passing that the house at Privet Drive has four bedrooms; one is for visitors (usually Uncle Vernon's sister, Marge).
When it transpires that Mrs. Figg has broken her leg and cannot take Harry while Dudley goes to do something on his birthday, Marge is one of the alternates Mr. Dursley suggests, but Mrs. Dursley points out that "she hates the boy."
In the same post as the first of Harry's letters is a picture postcard from Marge, who is holidaying on the Isle of Wight and fell ill after she "ate a funny whelk".
Harry, appalled at the prospect of a week with his abusive Aunt Marge in the house, makes a deal with his Uncle Vernon: if he carefully remembers that he is a student at St. Brutus' Home for Incurably Criminal Boys, at the end of the week Uncle Vernon will sign his permission form allowing him to visit the town of Hogsmeade on selected weekends.
Aunt Marge arrives at Privet Drive with her bulldog in tow, throws her heavy suitcase at Harry to stow in her room, expansively hugs Dudley, and gives him £20. When Harry returns from upstairs, he hopes that Aunt Marge will allow him to stay out of range, but she says that she doesn't trust him out of her sight and insists on details about the school he is attending.
At one point during the week, when she is being particularly insulting to wards Harry, a wine glass Aunt Marge is holding shatters in her hands. She passes it off as just that she has strong hands; Uncle Vernon seems to suspect that Harry is doing magic. Harry is unsure himself as to whether he caused it.
On the last day that Aunt Marge is there, possibly fueled by brandy, she starts insulting Harry's parents. This is too much for Harry to bear, and without his having willed it, Aunt Marge starts inflating like a balloon. Not being entirely certain how he had done this, Harry cannot undo it; instead, he unlocks the closet under the stairs, and escapes with his school things.
Reaching the Leaky Cauldron, in fear that he will be recognized and have his wand broken for underage use of magic, Harry is amazed to meet the Minister for Magic there. Fudge tells him that Aunt Marge has been deflated, and her memory modified (so that she would not remember the incident); there will be no charges laid, it could have happened to anyone.
While being trained in Occlumency by Professor Snape, one of the memories that Snape retrieves from Harry's mind is an episode where Aunt Marge had allowed her bulldog to chase Harry up a tree, and had left him there for hours, laughing at him.
Strengths[edit | edit source]
We can guess that Marge is a very strong-willed woman. It appears she is unmarried, and is able to support herself, though we don't learn how.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Marge is clearly unable to perceive when she is being insulting. She is basically oblivious to the effects her words have on others.
Relationships with Other Characters[edit | edit source]
Marge quite clearly prides herself on being "frank", speaking her opinion no matter how hurtful it is. She does not recognize that she is bigoted, or that she is needlessly causing pain to others by what she says. Because of this, it seems that the only people with whom she can stay on more or less friendly terms are those, like the off-stage Colonel Fubster, who share her opinions, and those like Vernon Dursley, who are forced to keep up a relationship through being family.
Analysis[edit | edit source]
In the short time we see her, we learn that Marge is loud, bigoted, prejudiced against Harry and his parents for no good reason, and at the very least, well on the road to becoming alcoholic. We also learn that she has no qualms about airing her opinions, no matter how those around her might take them, and is apparently insensitive to atmosphere, not noticing when she is being warned about straying into dangerous or hurtful areas of speech. It is perhaps appropriate that when Harry loses control, he ends up inflating her; she is, it seems, full of hot air already.
It can be seen that while meeting Aunt Marge is openly painful to Harry, it is also not particularly welcome to the Dursleys. Uncle Vernon is clearly aware at one point that she is testing Harry's peacefulness to breaking point, but being unable to throw her out of the house, instead tries to distract her with liquor. Dudley tolerates her embraces, but only because he is paid to do so, leaving her embrace with a visible monetary reward.
We note that Colonel Fubster only merits about half a sentence. We can guess from his name alone that he is one of the very few sorts of people who are likely to be able to stand Marge: equally bigoted, and seeing expression of these parochial and bigoted ideas as being "bold" or "frank". We wonder how long it took to come up with such an appropriate name, one that would condense his probable character into such small compass.
Questions[edit | edit source]
Greater Picture[edit | edit source]
It seems fairly common for addiction of any sort to have, as a side effect, the numbing of perception of others' feelings. When the most important thing in life becomes the next drink, the opinions of people around you, and their feelings, will become unimportant in relation. If Marge is an incipient or active alcoholic, as her portrayal would indicate, it is possible that this unfeeling attitude towards Harry is a part of that alcoholism. One wonders if the author is writing Marge's characteristics from personal experience.
Some may be aware that some mental ailments, notably autism spectrum disorders, also show a lack of perception, or understanding, of other people's feelings. Experience suggests that these disorders tend to result in disregard for others, rather than the actual verbal attacks we see repeatedly from Marge. We believe that Marge Dursley was written to simply be as hateful a person as possible.