One set of villains that we are introduced to in this series would be the Dursleys. Right from the very first chapter, we are set up to have a dislike for the Dursleys. And in all honesty, I’m not sure if I can play the devil’s advocate here for them.
First of all, they treat Harry terribly. Like really terribly. I’m not sure anyone can justify their actions in that regard. Like sure, they wanted to keep their own son safe, but I also think that it’s pretty obvious that Harry wasn’t a threat to them in any way.
I think the Vernon is the worst out of the lot. He is the one who is overly abusive to Harry. I truly think that if Vernon hadn’t been in the picture, that Petunia probably would have come around a little bit and eventually ended up caring for Harry.
I understand Petunia’s jealousy of her sister, though. She felt left out and just wanted be with Lily and do the same things that Lily was doing. So I can see the disconnect there.
Dudley is the one that I like the most out of all three of the Dursleys. As a child, he is a spoiled brat, but when one reads the books, you see how he changes over time. He was conditioned as a child to hate Harry and everything magical in the world. But as he gets older, he realises the part that Harry played in keeping the world safe from Voldemort, and it has even been released that as they grew older and had their own families, Dudley would even visit Harry and Ginny in order for their children to know each other and be friends. I think that’s super great. I’m sure they will never all be best friends, but at least the relationship eventually gets repaired to a point.
Now all of that aside, there are a few fandom theories about the Dursleys:
First: that they are only bad people because they are affected by a Horcrux.
Sure, this could be true, except for the fact that in the first book they so clearly state how much distance is already between Petunia and Lily. How they don’t even talk about Lily and James in the house, and Vernon didn’t even know what Harry’s name was before he asked Petunia.
Second: Petunia is also a witch.
This theory is even more far-fetched than the Horcrux one. If Petunia had been a witch, I don’t think that the resentment would have existed between the two sisters. The whole premise for their bad relationship was that Lily was a witch, and when she was accepted to Hogwarts, Petunia felt left behind and thus started the resentment which turned into hatred for the whole wizarding community.