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Albus Dumbledore: "It’s the best place for him. 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? Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter?"
Albus Dumbledore to Minerva McGonagall[src]

This letter was written by Albus Dumbledore on 1 November 1981 to Petunia Dursley.[1] The letter detailed the wards that would be created if she were to take in her nephew, Harry Potter, until he was seventeen.[2]


The letter was placed by Dumbledore next to baby Harry Potter late on the evening of 1 November 1981. He tucked the letter into Harry's blankets.[1] The contents of the letter were unknown, although it presumably informed Petunia Dursley to take care of Harry. However, she and her husband, Vernon Dursley treated Harry very poorly throughout his childhood,[3] and did not tell Harry the truth about his origins.[3][4]

In August 1995, she and Vernon talked about kicking Harry out when he and Dudley Dursley were attacked by dementors. Albus Dumbledore felt that the attack had "awoken her to the dangers of having Harry Potter as a surrogate son".[2] He sent Petunia a howler telling her to remember the last letter. Vernon acted confused and didn't understand why she decided to let Harry continue to stay at Privet Drive.[2][5] Since the letter was sent only to Petunia, it's unknown how much Vernon knew about the content.


"While you can still call home the place where your mother’s blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed her blood, but it lives on in you and her sister. Her blood became your refuge. You need return there only once a year, but as long as you can still call it home, there he cannot hurt you. Your aunt knows this. I explained what I had done in the letter I left, with you, on her doorstep. She knows that allowing you houseroom may well have kept you alive for the past fifteen years."
Albus Dumbledore explaining his letter to Petunia to Harry Potter[src]

The contents of the letter could be presumed to include:

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.[3][4]

Behind the scenes


Notes and references