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þe Olde Dursley Debate þreade

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MrBucket, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. ThatGreekLady

    ThatGreekLady Fourth Year

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    I don't understand how people can suggest that Harry wasn't abused by the Dursleys. If it wasn't outright physical abuse, then it was definitely emotional abuse since he was treated as a freak. Remember Aunt Marge telling him that his parents were worthless and so was he, while the Dursleys silently agreed with her? It's definitely implied that Aunt Marge was always like this. Imagine being a child and being told that you're a useless good for nothing. That's emotional abuse! Also, the Dursleys straight up allowed Dudley to bully Harry and even encouraged him. How is that not abusive?

    Really some people are too soft on the Dursleys. Sure they didn't physically abuse him or rape him, but they definitely emotionally abused him.
     
  2. Blinker

    Blinker Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Nobody is disagreeing that the Dursleys are colossal dickheads. I think the issue people take is either the exaggeration of the abuse, or the exaggeration of its effects. When you say "Imagine being a child and being told that you're a useless good for nothing", the suggestion is that it would have had a significant effect on the self worth of that child. Harry does not act like the stereotype of a broken needy child, and too often he is written that way.
     
  3. Sorrows

    Sorrows Death Eater Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    I mean, it could be argued that canon Harry shows zero emotional effects from the canonical emotional abuse inflicted by the Dursleys.

    The family dynamic Harry lives under prior to going to Hogwarts qualifies as significant emotional abuse. The Dursleys don't follow typical abuse cycles of emotional engament/warmth followed by rejection/abuse. They fully reject him 100% of the time. Its not only the severity of each incident, its the culmination of a lifetime of abuse coupled with the complete lack of empathy/love/support from any other source. As far as we know there are no positive or loving influences in his life prior to Hogwarts This has been the case from his earliest childhood.

    Most abused!Harry stories dial up the physical and/or sexual abuse because its more dramatic and people think the psychological consequences are more servere. (which can then be poorly slopped in for maximum angst and drama) They don't really need too. Canon Harry's childhood is plenty bad enough.

    Harry is in this respect totally unrealistic. He never internalizes the Dursleys narrative of him. He sees them as dicks from the start. Makes sense to people on the outside, but for a kid who grows up with this as their normal this would not be the case. He suffers no anxiety, self doubt self loathing, misplaced guilt, etc.

    He also has no trouble forming relationships. This is a kid who never got to form a positive relationship before the age of 11. Everyone in his family hates him and he's never allowed any friends. Yet he's got no attachment issues, he's not defensive or untrusting, nor needy or overbearing. He has no trouble with authority figures or adults in general.

    He deals with conflict in a healthy manner, (despite a few totally normal adolescent wobbles) he is not emotionally reactive or conflict avoident despite being scapgoated to an extreme degree. He has no problem with emotional regulation (yeah he yells but emotional disregulation looks very different.)

    I could go on but tl:dr: Harry should totally have a bunch of issues just from the basic interpretation of his canon childhood. Yeah resilience is a thing and individuals react/adapt differently but kids don't get out of a childhood like that with zero emotional consequences. He wouldn't have all the issues listed, but that shit leaves its mark on a developing brain.

    This is not a commandment to start writing a abused Harry into all of your stories, or that 90% of abused!Harry fics aren't badly written suffering!porn. Harry Potter is written largly using fairytale logic after all. But Jk is definitely made that aspect of his charecter super unrealistic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  4. Blinker

    Blinker Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Completely agree that the pattern of behaviour we see would in reality have left far more of a mark on Harry than he ever displays. To the extent that a story about wizards needs an explanation for why childhood mental trauma doesn't affect him I'd go with some combination of carrying vestige of his mother's love/wizards resilient to mental harm just as they are to physical harm/Tom riddle fragment let's him know subconsciously he's a wizarding ubermensch and they are totes jealous
     
  5. nevu

    nevu First Year

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    I'm not entirely sure I'd say he's totally normal or that he doesn't have issue with authority figures. Running straight for the philosopher's stone at 11, going to the chamber of secrets, etc. He's far more willing to throw himself into dangerous situations at certain ages than most of that age are willing (generally, voluntarily performing crazy death defying stunts happen at 15-17, not 11-15). From books 1-5 (excluding the Goblet) he pretty much voluntarily throws himself into very dangerous situations.

    Granted, he's right to have no respect for the Ministry and most authority figures he hates, but he definitely has a low opinion of them and most authority figures in his society aside from Dumbledore and McGonagall. Now, he should have a lot more than just constantly being told he has to say "Professor Snape", but there are some signs there.
     
  6. Sorrows

    Sorrows Death Eater Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    Before running for the Philosophers Stone he attempts to speak to Dumbledore and McGonagall. Before going into the Chamber of Secrets he and Ron go to Lockheart. Before trying to rescue Sirius he attempts to get a message to Snape. Events conspire to make him have these adventures without adult intervention so plot can happen, but he almost never embarks on them without some attempt to first defer or gain help from authority figures if he has the time too.

    He has a low opinion of Snape and the Ministry for sure. But this is not a reactive rejection of authority based on pathology. If it was it would be much more widespread in his relationships with authoritative figures. He doesn't have a problem respecting someone like McGonagall for example. It is a well grounded rejection of specific authority based on specific experiences with those people/organisations.

    Basically, sure he's he's hot headed, stubborn, brave and tends to jump into situations without thinking too much but those are personality traits, and not particularly unhealthy or outlying ones. They aren't linked to the Dursleys treatment if him. In fact the only time I can think of were Harry's treatment by the Dursleys is ever relevant to his reactions/viewpoint is on the Hocrux hunt. Harry, used to going hungry, deals with their frequent lack of food far better than Ron, who's never had to miss a meal in his life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  7. Warlocke

    Warlocke Prisoner

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    Does that mean I'm 31 again? Thank God!

    Basically, while Harry would have first arrived at Hogwarts with his bones mostly intact, he should have been a complete headcase. Hashtag LoveShieldExMachina.
     
  8. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Yeah, it's pretty clear that Rowling wanted to portray Harry as largely normal and undamaged by how the Dursleys treated him. Which might not be realistic, but is probably the smart decision from the perspective of writing an enjoyable children's book. Harry having a ton of issues and some very unhealthy defense/survival mechanisms would make for a much less fun story, and one that I doubt children would enjoy reading.
     
  9. Shadow Shaman

    Shadow Shaman Third Year

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    Didn't Aunt Pentunia basically try to murder Harry with a frying pan?

    If that blow had connected Harry would have died. Frying pans are very dangerous and a direct hit could have caused anything from a concussion to brain haemorrhage.

    Aside from that there is Vernon choking Harry:

    In fact I remember Vernon hitting his own son, Dudley around the head .Would it really be a stretch to consider that he beats Harry especially since he talks about beating him up a couple of times?

    What reason could Harry have for hiding from his uncle other than the fact that he is probably physically abused by him?
    --- Post automerged ---
    Wtf I am 7 now
     
  10. Blinker

    Blinker Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Harry wouldn't have died, bludgers hit just as hard as a person can swing and Quidditch players almost shrug them off on occasion
     
  11. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    In the universe of Harry Potter, Petunia swinging a frying pan at Harry's head was not attempted murder, just her being a bit of a jerk.

    In the real world, if you hit a twelve year old in the head with a heavy metal object you're fairly likely to kill them or at lost cause severe bodily harm.
     
  12. Sorrows

    Sorrows Death Eater Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    I don't think anyone would argue Harry Potter would have been better if Harry had the actual personality traits of an abused and neglected child.

    The books largly work on fairytale logic, part of that involves not thinking to hard about the implications. Harry is in the role of the unloved orphan with a destiny, therefore the Dursleys are cartoonishly awful. Prison is bad and scary, so Azkaban is a torturous hellhole. Detention is the worst, send 1st years after unicorn killing monsters by themselves.

    Following every aspect to its logical conclusion doesn't improve things, it just turns reduces the wizarding world to a tedious mess of corruption, incompetence and unaccountability.

    Of course, that shouldn't spoil everyone's fun.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  13. Methos

    Methos Professor DLP Supporter

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    I advise people to visit the book club, rereading book 1 destroy lots of fanon notions.
    I also want to echo @Sorrows Book 1 was written for children and pre teens if i'm guessing correctly.
    You can't include much heavy stuff in it.
    When JKR tried to do it in later books it didn't come out good as she thought.

    Which is why fanfiction exists, to explore various paths the author didn't take.
    A good fic that explore Harry more sneaky/cunning/street smart skills is in the library,
    Where he and Ron wreak havoc.


    There was also one fic that included abused Harry until he killed Vernon at age 8.
    few fics bother to explore Harry past and ramifications (even without exaggerating ) of Harry growing up. they just do it poorly with tons of cliche.
    Worst of them is Snape metor/father/adopt Harry or evil Dumbledore outsmart by 11 years old child.

    remember, stupid villians make your fic stupid as well.
     
  14. ThatGreekLady

    ThatGreekLady Fourth Year

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    Well, did Ron really lead him to "underachievement"? (if that's what you're implying) Harry was probably the best boy in Gryffindor of his year seeing that he should have been made a prefect and he did pretty well in his OWLs despite having a tough year. What else do you want him to do? I don't know why people speak as if Harry was some horrible student, when he was obviously not. Just because he wasn't the ridiculous genius we see in fanfics that masters 7th year spells on his first week at Hogwarts, it doesn't mean that he was a bad student.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  15. Paranoid Android

    Paranoid Android Professor

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    Alternatively Rowling is a genetic determinist, leaning towards the harder end of the spectrum. In such a view it's not the abuse that results in fucked up people but because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Children that are abused via the witholding of love and isolation can't/ have extreme difficulty forming relationships not because of psychological damage but because their descended from the kinds of parents who have such difficulty forming normal relationships that they withhold love and isolate their children. So therefore as Harry's parents were by all accounts much liked and swell people and the worst of the abuse was initiated by Vernon it's no surprise that Harry turns out to be by all accounts a swell and well adjusted lad.
     
  16. Longsword

    Longsword Slug Club Member

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    Fits well with her Toryish instincts.
     
  17. Sorrows

    Sorrows Death Eater Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    I doubt that Rowling subscribes to a hard-line interpretation of an extremely outdated theory. Not only is choice a strong theme throughout the books, we see numerous cases of people from 'bad' families turning out good in the series. Sirius, Regulus, Snape, Andromada etc.
     
  18. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Unspeakable DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

    Substitute abilities for genetics or inheritance of whatever. I've got to go with Sorrows on this one. Harry Potter, despite all the characters that stayed true to type, has always been about those special folk who choose a better path than the one they were assigned. Choosing virtuous actions is kinda the underpinning moral theme of the series, to my mind.
     
  19. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    You realise she's an out and out Labour supporter and has been for decades. She's just not a fan of Corbyn's Labour.
     
  20. wox2d

    wox2d Fifth Year

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    I also people accusing her of being a TERF, as well as her tendency to ret-con wokeness (tlike he whole "Hermione could be black thing).

    Calling Rowling a Tory is a new one, for me at least.
     
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