CS1: Birthdays

In today’s minute I’ll be discussing Chamber of Secrets Chapter 1 The Worst Birthday. Here are some of my thoughts:

I wonder what birthdays were like for Harry the nine years between being dropped off on his aunt and uncle’s doorstep and finding out he was a wizard. Harry would have noticed that Dudley had a special day each year that was all about him (more than normal), realizing he didn’t have something like that himself. He probably started asking about it, I’d guess around 4 or 5 years old. And then why did they tell him when his real birthday was? Wouldn’t it have been more cruel, more in their wheelhouse, if the Dursleys lied about when his birthday was, perhaps always saying it’s later, next month sometime, and never giving a specific date. Or was the real cruelty in telling him exactly when it was and then just not celebrating or putting in the least amount of effort possible. Maybe they never told him when his birthday was, I can see a scenario where Petunia is begrudgingly filling out school paperwork for Harry, and Harry being his normal curious self looked at what she was doing and saw the date of his birthday.

I used to think this being the worst birthday for Harry was because the Dursleys were being extra mean to him that day, but then I figured, that’s normal for him. It was the worst because he thought he would finally have some love on his birthday, from his friends at Hogwarts, and Dobby stopped that from happening. Poor little 12-year-old Harry.

Here’s another observation: It dawns on me what a great supportive family unit the Dursleys are … yes, they are horrible to their nephew, like to spy on and gossip about their neighbors, have a sense of superiority over everyone else … but when it comes to each other they’ve got each other’s backs. How many twelve-year-olds do you know that are so willing to sit through a boring business dinner? Petunia worked all day to make their house presentable and make a killer meal. They had a dress rehearsal and everything, timing everything down to the minute and had some nice dialogue, um, I mean compliments, all ready. The entire family worked really hard together to try and get that sale for Mr. Dursley. If they weren’t so awful to Harry, I’d feel bad that they were unsuccessful in their quest.

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