In the Harry Potter universe, Aunt Petunia is no one's favorite character. However, there are some fans out there who would argue that Petunia is just misunderstood. Growing up, she was always overshadowed by Lily, her magical sister. When Lily got accepted to Hogwarts, Petunia asked if she could go too, only to be rejected because she wasn't a witch. As a result, she began to resent the whole wizarding world and found solace in her husband, Vernon, and her normal life with their young son, Dudley. Fast forward to the start of the books and movies, and Harry seemingly interrupts this normal life.
When her baby nephew ends up on her doorstep after her sister's death, Petunia reluctantly takes him in because she is the only person who can really protect him. She doesn't want to, but her loyalty to her family convinces her to do so. Over the years, Petunia comes to realize that Harry represents the world her sister belonged to, which makes her more resentful. Throughout Harry's childhood, Petunia makes it very clear to him that he is not her son through many terrible, borderline abusive actions. Here are some of the worst ones on the list.
10 MAKES HIM SLEEP IN A CUPBOARD
Harry spends most of his childhood sleeping in his bedroom, also known as the Cupboard Under the Stairs. It's barely big enough to pass as a closet. Growing boys shouldn't be kept in cramped spaces where they have no room to grow or move that much at all. Of course, it should be noted that at least he did get some form of privacy. Eventually, he does get his own room, but it's only because Petunia is trying to throw the Hogwarts letters off the trail.
9 LIES TO HIM ABOUT HIS PARENTS' DEATH
It's one thing to lie to a young child who may not understand the truth or how to cope with it; it's another thing to continue the lie well beyond the child's years of being capable of understanding. Throughout Harry's entire life, Petunia and Vernon lie to him, convincing him that his parents died in a car accident. While it may have been done to protect Harry, anyone in this position deserves to know the truth about their parents' death.
8 HIDES THE WORLD OF MAGIC FROM HIM
Every little kid grows up being told that magic isn't real. But just imagine what it would feel like to know that not only is magic actually real after all, but that you're a wizard, too. Petunia and Vernon don't ever acknowledge the world of magic because they don't want to be a part of it. They have had bad experiences in dealing with Lily and James Potter and their magical abilities. So, they hide this fact from Harry for as long as they possibly can.
7 TRIES TO DESTROY HARRY'S HOGWARTS LETTERS
Anyone who knows anything about magic should know that you can't just ignore it and hope it goes away. When Harry's Hogwarts letter comes in the mail, Petunia desperately tries to hide and destroy them before Harry catches on. Essentially, Petunia is trying to make a decision about Harry's future for him, when she has no interest in whether that future is actually any good or not. Imagine if that letter never found its way to Harry and he never found out about the wizarding universe? He'd be at risk of attack from Voldemort every time he left the house, and wouldn't know anything about magic to stop him. Harry would also never get to have the amazing experiences we know and love.
6 DOESN'T SAY HOW SHE REALLY FEELS WHEN THEY PART WAYS
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Aunt Petunia and Harry are parting ways for the final time, she acts as though she wants to say something to Harry, but changes her mind. When saying goodbye to him, Petunia pauses, but then she just turns and walks away. Despite however she feels on the inside, she can't even give Harry the solace that she may have cared about him this whole time. Now he'll never really know the truth.
5 TREATS HARRY LIKE HE'S A SHAME ON THEIR FAMILY
After Harry's first year at Hogwarts, the Dursleys treat him like an outcast. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Harry is home for the first summer break, they lock up all his magic items and don't let him do his homework. Harry is forced to hide when company comes over, and the family refuses to even utter the word "magic," even if it's not being used in that context. The book states that Harry is treated "like a dog that had rolled in something smelly."
4 SPOILS DUDLEY IN FRONT OF HARRY
Year after year, Harry is forced to watch as Dudley gets expensive presents, massive birthday parties, and fun outings in general. Dudley also grows a habit of rubbing this in Harry's face. This makes Harry feel unloved and unwanted, but he really doesn't have a choice because he has no other family. Not only that, but Petunia and Vernon both encourage their own family members, particularly Aunt Marge, to treat Harry the same way. For example, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Aunt Marge brings a computerized robot for Dudley for Christmas, while Harry gets a box of dog biscuits. Imagine how terrible this feels to a young orphan child.
3 FORCES HARRY TO DO ALL OF THE HOUSEHOLD CHORES WHILE DUDLEY DOES NOTHING
While Dudley sits around and gets spoiled, Harry is also forced to do the household chores. Making a child do housework isn't a terrible parenting decision, but when only one child has to do this, it is. Especially when you're forcing your non-biological child to do it. This is one of the many things Petunia does that makes Harry feel like he doesn't belong or isn't wanted in the only family he has.
2 LEAVES HARRY AT THE STATION THINKING HE WOULD BE STRANDED
The first time Harry sets off for Hogwarts, he doesn't know about the trick to getting to Platform 9 3/4. When Petunia and Vernon drop him off, they don't tell him how to get there and leave him at the station, assuming he will be stranded. While we know that Vernon doesn't actually know about it, we find out later, in Snape's memory in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, that Petunia was actually on Platform 9 3/4 when her sister went off to Hogwarts. So she does know about it but chooses not to tell Harry because she thinks it's funnier if he's just stranded there with his owl. It's pretty mean to abandon an 11-year-old boy at a busy train station.
1 IGNORES HARRY'S BIRTHDAYS
While Dudley's birthday is an ongoing spectacle every single year, Harry's birthday doesn't matter to Petunia. Most of the time, she doesn't even acknowledge it, let alone celebrate it in any way. In fact, on Harry's 12th birthday, the Dursleys plan a dinner party and Harry's job is to stay in his cupboard and act like he doesn't exist. Not a fun way to spend a childhood birthday. Even Draco Malfoy's father wished him a happy birthday. The shame.