Albus Dumbledore: "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he’s older. I’ve written them a letter."
Minerva Mcgonagall: "A letter?"
Albus Dumbledore on the letter he had written to Petunia Dursley[src]

This letter was written by Albus Dumbledore on 1 November 1981 to Petunia Dursley. The letter detailed the wards that would be created if she were to take in her nephew, Harry Potter, until he was seventeen. In 1995, Albus Dumbledore felt that the dementor attack on Harry and Dudley had "awoken her to the dangers of having Harry Potter as a surrogate son",[2] and sent her a howler to remind her of it.


The contents of the letter can be presumed to include:

  • The news and circumstances of the death of Petunia's sister Lily Potter and her husband James.
  • The magical protection which will be placed upon 4 Privet Drive when Harry is to be adopted.
  • The potential dangers which could befall Harry and Petunia's family if Harry is to leave the house before his seventeenth birthday.

Regardless of the content, Vernon and Petunia did not reveal the information to their nephew Harry. Instead, they spent the next decade of their lives attempting to keep Harry ignorant about not just the circumstances of his parents' deaths, but also the wizarding world altogether.

Behind the scenes

In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone the letter was addressed to both Vernon and Petunia Dursley, which contradicts the novel in which the letter was only addressed to Petunia, as Harry's next-of-kin.


Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy Who Lived)
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
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