For fans of the 'Harry Potter' books and films, the treatment of Harry by his legal guardians, the Dursleys, has always left a sour taste in our mouths.
But a theory has emerged and gained traction over the past few years that could put the Dursleys' behavior in persepctive.
So what is the theory, exactly?
Well, it stems from the matter of Horcruxes, which are receptacles into which Voldemort has hidden parts of his evil soul in an attempt achieve immortality.
We come to know later in the series that Harry is actually a sort of Horcrux, and the fact that he has a bit of the Dark Lord living inside of him not only has adverse effects on Harry's demeanor, but potentially the demeanor of those around him as well.
Just as Ron's locket, which also turned out to be a Horcrux, negatively affected his mood and behavior, so could Harry impact the Dursleys' behavior, considering they lived with him for years.
UMM did this new Harry Potter fan theory just prove that the Dursley weren't all that bad? http://t.co/zofeJ7Lz5Y http://t.co/hS51KHsGtx— Sugarscape (@Sugarscape)1430166010.0
But what about Ron and Hermione? They were Harry's best friends and they didn't seem to be negatively affected by being around him. Proponents of the theory note that Harry spent far more time with the Dursleys than he did with Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts.
At a recent press event for his new movie, Jungle, Daniel Radcliffe was asked about the theory, and he seemed intrigued.
"Oh OK, so it affects the behavior of people around it," Radcliffe said. "That’s interesting, yeah."
"Yeah, that’s definitely the first time I’ve heard that one," he continued. "It’s definitely interesting because it sort of posits a world where these people only know to be a certain way. Actually, if you remove him from the situation, [they] would have been quite a nice, friendly family."
But Radcliffe didn't get that sense when they were filming.
"Having been there for Richard Griffiths’ (Vernon) and Fiona Shaw’s (Petunia) performances, I feel like it was more they just hated having this kid around," he noted.
Radcliffe likes the idea, although he probably isn't the one to ask.
"I think that’s definitely a cool theory," he added. "Has anyone asked Jo Rowling what she thinks of that one yet? I feel like that one ― that’s definitely a good one."
Many fans have been shocked by the theory:
I read a Harry Potter theory that The Dursley's were so horrible because they were living with a horcrux and I love it— J.S. Strange (@J.S. Strange)1501281162.0
I just saw a Harry Potter theory that said "what if the Dursley's were only terrible bc they lived with a Horcrux" and my mind is blown— brandi ✧*˚̣̣⁺̣‧.₊̣̇. (@brandi ✧*˚̣̣⁺̣‧.₊̣̇.)1492483587.0
I always hated the Dursley scenes in Harry Potter but just read fan theory that they're assholes because Harry is a horcrux.— Travis Greene (@Travis Greene)1477833680.0
For others, the theory has some holes in it:
Dursley/Horcrux theory: no one at Hogwarts (where Harry spent months at a time sharing lessons & living quarters) was affected? #HarryPotter— ☆Sabrina Davis☆ (@☆Sabrina Davis☆)1429954241.0
One skeptical blogger wrote:
So it has been established that Harry is a Horcrux. And in the seventh book, it is shown that whenever someone wears Salazar Slytherin's locket (another Horcrux) for too long, they become angrier and nastier. The theory says that this explains why the Dursleys were so angry and nasty to Harry. But it doesn't explain why no one else is affected by Harry and the part of Voldemort's soul inside him.
And you being in the proximity of a Horcrux makes you mean and foul to everyone. The Dursleys are all nice to each other, though. And Rowling has said that not only were Petunia and Vernon Dursley always like that, but it was exasperated by the fact that they hated James Potter, who Harry incidentally looks exactly like.
While Rowling has yet to weigh in on the theory, she has previously called the Dursleys "reactionary, prejudiced, narrow-minded, ignorant and bigoted," and noted that their hatred for Harry stemmed from Petunia's jealousy over Harry's mother (her sister) Lily's magical powers and Vernon's dislike of abnormal things.
So perhaps the Dursleys weren't too great to begin with.
But, plausible or not, the theory certainly gives some added weight to their treatment and attitude toward Harry.
Your move, Rowling.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.