We see in the Harry Potter universe, wizards or witches keep obliviating Muggles/No-Majs, because otherwise it may lead to chaos or persecution of witches/wizards.

However, the Dursley family cannot be obliviated since they have to give Lily's protection to Harry. Obviously they did not like Harry, so why did they not expose the magic world?

  • 11
    cannot be obliviated since they have to give Lily's protection to Harry - I don't think that statement is true. harry needed to live with family. I don't recall anything from the books saying the Dursley had to remember anything about Harry, the wizarding world or anything. He didn't need the family to love him, or be nice to him. Why would actually remembering details about his parents be all that important?
    – Zoredache
    Jan 10, 2019 at 0:16
  • 14
    Oh, and if you one of your blood relatives had a certain skill you would leave them to be raised by the foster system? If they actually completely forgot, they probably would have been a lot nicer to Harry, and he would have just been the Nephew of her sister that died in a tragic accident instead of son of a sister that went to the 'freak school'.
    – Zoredache
    Jan 10, 2019 at 5:37
  • 1
    @Zoredache Vernon did want to kick Harry out and leave him on the street multiple times, and at one point the only thing that prevented exactly that from happening was a howler from Dumbledore reminding Petunia of the protection magic. If they hate Harry, and they don't know about magic, it's entirely reasonable to think they might not let him stay. Perhaps if they forgot that Lily was a witch, they would feel better about Harry, but I think it more likely that they would still remember that she was "a freak" even if they didn't remember precisely why, so I doubt he'd be treated differently. Jan 10, 2019 at 19:24
  • 2
    "Then what is the reason they're not obliviated?" Petunia and her parents had to know about magic, since Lily was a witch. From there, whether Vernon and Dudley know about it is between them and Petunia. I think obliviation only happens as a result of accidental exposure of random passersby. I expect if a wizard purposefully makes himself known to close friends or family members out of necessity, that's up to the wizard in question, and as far as the Ministry is concerned it's an entirely different situation. Jan 10, 2019 at 19:44
  • 1
    @DarthFennec or Zoredache , Please edit the question "Dursley family cannot be obliviated since ____________" with the part you feel appropriate
    – user63699
    Jan 11, 2019 at 16:55

5 Answers 5


Why would they do it?

As you said, they hate Harry. They want to be away from him as much as possible, and all he represents (i.e., Wizardry). The Dursleys want to be normal above all else. They want to be regarded as successful, but anything crazy sounding is a big no-no for them.

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

They live much better by ignoring Harry and pretending he doesn't exist at all.

The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover [...] about the Potters.

Also, who would believe them if they said Wizards existed? No one. Child protective services would arrive much sooner than a squad of scientists to study poor Harry.

  • 50
    Announcing publicly "We have a wizard nephew whom we keep locked up under the stairs to protect us from his magic" would be a good way to get a visit from Child Protective Services. Jan 9, 2019 at 19:16
  • 8
    @ZaidSyedMMd The wizarding world would find out about that sooner or later and try to cover it up. Since they have magic and some support from the muggle prime minister it is quite likely they will be successful in covering it up. Of course if you manage to tell enough people of the existence of magic you might have a chance. But then again, in the first "Fantastic Beasts and where to find them" movie they make a whole city forget about magic...
    – Graipher
    Jan 9, 2019 at 20:19
  • 51
    @ZaidSyedMMd And if I were a biologist or scientist who got the phone call "MY ADPOTED NEPHEW IS A WIZARD!! HE'S MAGICAL! COME IMPRISON HIM AND RUN TESTS ON HIM!" my next call would be to CPS, not Time Magazine. Especially if I actually went to the Dursley's and found a regular looking child who claimed he wasn't magic living under the stairs. And I don't think "No! But he floated a cake across the room once! He trapped my son in a snake tank! You have to believe me!" would work either. Jan 9, 2019 at 20:39
  • 20
    @MichaelSeifert ... and Child Protective Services would take Harry away and put him into an orphanage, thus creating Voldemort v2.0.
    – LarsTech
    Jan 9, 2019 at 21:54
  • 7
    They are also terribly embarrassed that Petunia's sister was a witch. Even if people believed them, exposing the magical world would tie their family to it.
    – Tashus
    Jan 9, 2019 at 22:51

The Dursleys don’t want people knowing.

The Dursleys would never want to expose magic to the world, because they never wanted anyone to find out about their unusual relatives. They were afraid of that happening, and intensely wanted to avoid it.

“The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn’t think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters. Mrs Potter was Mrs Dursley’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years; in fact, Mrs Dursley pretended she didn’t have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to think what the neighbours would say if the Potters arrived in the street.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy Who Lived)

They certainly wouldn’t reveal that secret by telling people that magic exists and they know about it themselves. They took pride in their normalcy, and wouldn’t want to be known as being involved in anything so unusual and abnormal as wizards and magic.

“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy Who Lived)

Telling people magic exists would be the exact opposite of what the Dursleys would want to do - they wanted it, and more importantly their tangential involvement with it, to stay secret.

  • 4
    Awesome ! - This is the exact answer on my mind. They were ashamed of the fact that they were linked to abnormality (".. that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.."). LOL
    – Anu7
    Jan 10, 2019 at 3:59
  • 1
    There would have been security cameras in my house after the first time.
    – Joshua
    Jan 10, 2019 at 16:21
  • @Joshua Unfortunately those don't exist during the years Harry lived there.
    – user64742
    Jan 11, 2019 at 1:58
  • 3
    @TheGreatDuck: Oh yes they did. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed-circuit_television Just rig to VCR recorder.
    – Joshua
    Jan 11, 2019 at 2:46
  • 3
    @TheGreatDuck: My great uncle could on piddling wages from a failing business so I don't see why not.
    – Joshua
    Jan 11, 2019 at 2:50
  1. They have no motive. It wouldn't benefit them, other than spite, and although it wouldn't be out of character for them to act out of spite, they seem to be more wanting to ignore the wizarding world than harm it.

  2. They are living in denial. For the first ~10 years of Harry's residence, they simply pretended that magic didn't exist, and after he started attending Hogwarts, they tried as best they could to continue doing so.

  3. They don't have much in the way of proof. The wizarding world isn't going to do magic in front of them while they're holding a camcorder, and even if they got proof, the wizarding world likely could get rid of it. That just leaves the Dursleys ranting like crazy people about wizards and witches.

  4. They know little about the magic world. When Harry first comes home from Hogwarts, they are afraid around him, worried about what magic he can do, until they find out that he'll get in trouble if he does magic outside of school. Clearly, no one's going out their way to explain everything to them. Maybe they can't be obliviated, but they don't know that, nor do they know whether there's anything else can be done to them.

  • 2
    Considering the incident with Aunt Marge doesn't seem to have been brought up again, they might well be eligible for some level of Ministry sanctioned obliviation.
    – Morgen
    Jan 9, 2019 at 20:51
  • 2
    @Morgen that or once they learned that Harry did it by accident they wrote it off as something best left forgotten, rather than risk bringing it up and it happening again.
    – user64742
    Jan 11, 2019 at 2:01
  • @Morgen Marge is not immediate family and thus not permitted to know. She was obliviated in the first chapters of Book 3.
    – mirabilos
    Jan 12, 2019 at 17:27
  • @mirabilos Marge's obliviation was never in question, my observation was that Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley appear to have been obliviated as well - though as The Great Duck pointed out, that may be simply an unwillingness to revisit the subject.
    – Morgen
    Jan 12, 2019 at 18:21
  • Ah. I’d think they’d just pretend it never happened.
    – mirabilos
    Jan 13, 2019 at 14:07

If I'm not mistaken, in the "Harry Potter" books it was made clear that the Dursleys despised everything out of ordinary and one of their main aspirations in life was to be perfectly normal. So they would definitely not want to do something as eccentric, as saying that wizards and witches exist.


Vernon's personality is described as very much in favor of normality. He would much prefer to pretend magic doesn't exist.

As for Petunia, the magical world killed her sister. She has chosen to consciously forget about it because it's too painful.

  • 4
    I haven't read the books, but in the movies it seems more like she hates her sister because of her weird magic. That she was jealous of the attention that their parents gave her sister because of it.
    – Kapten-N
    Jan 10, 2019 at 7:31
  • 3
    @Kapten-N In the books, it's a bit of both: at first, she hates magic and Hogwarts (and Snape) for taking her sister away from her, and then over time that turns into resenting Lily Jan 10, 2019 at 13:07
  • 2
    Petunia detested her sister for being the 'chosen one' and running off to hogwarts. Its just turned into a life long of hate and spite (and yes would have cared about her sister or even as you said pained her to lose her,, but its never shown in the movies or the books)
    – Anu7
    Jan 11, 2019 at 4:50

You must log in to answer this question.