"I won't have this namby-pamby, wishy-washy nonsense about not hitting people who deserve it. A good thrashing is what's needed in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. Have you been beaten often?"
-- Aunt Marge to Harry (PA2)
"Bad blood will out. Now, I'm saying nothing against your family, Petunia, but your sister was a bad egg. They turn up in the best families. Then she ran off with a wastrel and here's the result right in front of us."
-- Aunt Marge (PA2)
Miss Marjorie Eileen Dursley is Vernon Dursley’s loathsome older (Pm) sister. She lives in the country, in a house with a large garden where she breeds bulldogs but appears to have no other type of employment.
Even though she is not Harry’s blood relation, he has been forced to call her “Aunt” all his life. Marge needs no wand to torture Harry. When Aunt Marge visits she unrelentingly taunts him, insulting his mother (“a bad egg”) and father (“a wastrel”), and making light of their deaths. Vernon has told his sister that Harry attends St. Brutus’s Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys; she does not know that Harry is a wizard.
Marge eats (“Excellent nosh, Petunia!”) and drinks excessively. When inebriated, she is even more abusive to Harry. The summer he turned thirteen, Harry lost his temper with Marge and inflated her like a balloon, then ran away from home. The Ministry of Magic had to step in to deflate her and modify her memory (PA3).
Dudley allows Aunt Marge to cuddle him because he is well paid for it. When she kisses and hugs her “little neffy-poo” upon entering the house, Dudley steps away from the hug with a crisp twenty-pound note. She buys him expensive presents, in part as if to dare Harry to complain because he didn’t get any.
Marge is in love with her neighbor, Colonel Fubster, but he does not return her affection due to her offensive personality. Her frustration at this situation contributes to her rudeness to others (Pm).
Marge looks a lot like her brother Vernon: “large, beefy, and purple-faced,” with a mustache, “though not as bushy as his.”
- Sent Dudley a birthday present in 1991, (PS2).
- Vacationed in Majorca (PS2).
- Vacationed on the Isle of Wight (July 1991), where she got ill from eating a "funny whelk" (PS3). The postcard referring to this arrived on the same day as Harry's first Hogwarts letter (PS3)
- Doesn't often stay at Privet Drive, because she can't bear to leave her precious dogs (PA2)
- Previous visits:
- Dudley's fifth birthday party - she whacked Harry around the shins with her walking stick to stop him from beating Dudley at musical statues (PA2).
- A few years later, at Christmas, brought a computerized robot for Dudley and a box of dog biscuits for Harry (PA2).
- At Dudley's tenth birthday party, when Harry was nine, Harry accidentally stepped on Ripper's tail. Ripper chased Harry out into the garden and up a tree, and Aunt Marge refused to call him off until past midnight. Dudley still laughs about this incident (PA2, OP24).
- Col. Fubster, a neighbour, looks after her dogs if she's away from home (PA2).
- Marge accuses Harry's parents of being drunks while she herself is getting sloshed on brandy (PA2).
- Marge speaks in shouts and barks (PA2).
- When Mrs. Figg wasn't available on Dudley's eleventh birthday for the trip to the zoo, Marge was momentarily considered as a possible babysitter for Harry, but Petunia said "Don't be silly, Vernon, she hates the boy" (PS2)
- Snape viewed one memory of Aunt Marge during Occlumency lessons - the time Harry was chased into a tree by Ripper (PA2)
"...he was nine, and Ripper the bulldog was chasing him up a tree and the Dursleys were laughing below on the lawn..."
"...To whom did the dog belong?"
"My Aunt Marge,"Harry muttered, hating Snape. (OP24)At that time, Harry had no idea that Snape grew up with Petunia Dursley, although he should have remembered that Snape had no fondness for dogs (of either the Animagi or werewolf variety). At the end of that term after Snape had viewed many other bad memories of life with Dudley, Vernon and Aunt Marge, members of the Order of the Phoenix confronted the Dursleys at the train station and warned them sternly about abusing Harry (OP38).
Breeding bulldogs like Ripper, an unrequited love for her neighbor Colonel Fubster
Some have speculated that "Marge" is a not-so-subtle reference to Margaret Thatcher, and that Rowling (a Labour Party supporter) based the unpleasant character on the former Prime Minister.
Rowling told an interviewer for the Daily Telegraph that she based the character of Aunt Marge on her grandmother:
"Cantankerous Aunt Marge, the overweight and beastly relative who keeps bulldogs, was based on Rowling's maternal grandmother Frieda, who preferred 'her dogs to human relatives', according to the author" (Demetriou, Danielle. "Harry Potter and the source of inspiration," The Daily Telegraph (London), July 1, 2000).
From the Web
'Harry Potter lives in Thatcher's Britain' from The Telegraph
Marge Dursley on Pottermore
Tags: family insult large prejudice rudeness strong unpleasant