J.K. Rowling has expanded on Vernon and Petunia Dursley’s history on Pottermore.com, revealing that the relationship between the Durselys and the Potters was doomed from their first disastrous meeting. “The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity,” writes Jo.
While we had learned a great deal about Lily and Petunia, and Severus Snape, as children in Deathly Hallows, Vernon’s unreasonable hatred of Lily and James is a little clearer now. Although it is doubtful that Vernon would have ever fully accepted two wizards in the family, and there is no excuse for him being a bigoted oaf, it looks likes James’s bullying tendencies had a far longer reach than he could ever have anticipated.
The most interesting revelations are really about Petunia and Lily’s relationship, and that Petunia felt that their parents valued Lily more than they valued her. Which is really rather sad, as a matter of fact. Eventually Petunia became so bitter she didn’t want Lily to be a bridesmaid at Petunia and Vernon’s wedding, as she was tired of being overshadowed. We also learn about Petunia receiving Harry and the letter from Dumbledore on her doorstep, her decision to take him in, and why she treated him so terribly.
The final scene between Harry and Petunia in Deathly Hallows was infuriating for many fans. Jo said that, “I wanted to suggest, in the final book, that something decent (a long-forgotten but dimly burning love of her sister; the realisation that she might never see Lily’s eyes again) almost struggled out of Aunt Petunia when she said goodbye to Harry for the last time, but that she is not able to admit it, or show those long-buried feelings.” Jo thinks that Petunia being unable to reach out to Harry at the last moment was consistent with her behaviour over the last seven years. And so it was, and it was surprisingly disappointing. Jo notes that no one seemed to expect better of Uncle Vernon, and there was no disappointment there.
The new story can be found in The Seven Potters chapter on Pottermore.com.