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These Harry Potter characters are evil, and they can’t blame a Horcrux

Some Harry Potter fans think the Horcrux inside Harry is to blame for the Dursleys being evil people. As for us, we're not so sure that theory stands up.

The Dursleys are the Harry Potter characters who might be the most evil

When it comes to evil Harry Potter characters, there are some obvious contenders. Harry Potter has had some formidable foes throughout the Harry Potter movies in order, but there’s something particularly terrible about the ordinary meanness of the Dursleys.

Right from the start of the best fantasy movies in the series, this dastardly clan are among the best Harry Potter villains (or worst, you get the idea). They treat our young hero terribly in every way. We’ve had some pretty bad apartments in our time, but we’ve never been forced to live with spiders in a cupboard under the stairs.

However, there’s a long-running fan theory that the Dursleys might not have been all that bad after all, and might have actually been corrupted by living in close proximity to one of Voldemort‘s Horcruxes – Harry himself, of course.

We can see why the theory is attractive to people. We know that Horcruxes can have an awful effect on those who are close to them, whether it was Ginny Weasley being brainwashed by Tom Riddle’s diary or Ron Weasley turning against his friends while wearing Salazar Slytherin’s locket.

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Crucially, though, these Harry Potter characters were much more intimately attached to the Horcruxes than the Dursleys were to Harry. In fact, Harry’s adopted parents spent most of their time pretending he didn’t exist. That’s not exactly a recipe for closeness.

In contrast, Harry’s fellow Gryffindor students shared a dormitory with him for years and never seemed to feel the effects of the Horcrux. Admittedly, they weren’t with him for as many years as the Dursleys, but you’d expect them to feel some impact if this were a valid theory.

It’s also worth noting that the books make it very clear that the Dursleys were awful people even before they lived with Harry. The first chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone follows the Dursleys in the day prior to the infant Harry arriving on their doorstep, and even then they’re not exactly citizens of the month.

Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley in Harry Potter

Vernon Dursley spends his morning at work delighted by how many people he’s yelled at, unable to recall his own nephew’s name. Not exactly a stand-up fellow. Dudley, also, is described as being an outright brat. And all of this without a Horcrux in their midst.

Petunia, meanwhile, speaks acidly about the magic-users in her family. Her antipathy towards her sister and her brother-in-law is the source of her resentment towards Harry, not any sort of dark magic living under the stairs.

It’s intriguing to suggest that there might be a reason for the Dursleys to be villains. We know it might be nice to think they may really have been decent people once. But all the evidence suggests that they’re just awful folk, and were always awful. Sorry, Dursley stans… presuming there are some of you out there.

Importantly, though, all three of the Dursleys were a delight as part of the Harry Potter cast throughout the best movies in the Potter franchise. The late Richard Griffiths was comic genius as Vernon, while Fiona Shaw and Harry Melling each made the most of limited screen time. They’re evil, but we wouldn’t have them any other way.

The Dursley family in Harry Potter

If you want to know how Harry became a Horcrux, we’ve got a guide for that. You can also learn about everyone who’s owned the Elder Wand and what happened to the Deathly Hallows. We’ve also revealed how the Harry Potter movies cut out a comedy legend and looked at why Harry Potter is the OG nepo baby.