"But Aunt Marge suddenly stopped speaking. For a moment, it looked as though words had failed her. She seemed to be swelling with inexpressible anger — but the swelling didn’t stop. Her great red face started to expand, her tiny eyes bulged, and her mouth stretched too tightly for speech — next second, several buttons had just burst from her tweed jacket and pinged off the walls — she was inflating like a monstrous balloon, her stomach bursting free of her tweed waistband, each of her fingers blowing up like a salami…"

This incident took place in August, 1993, when Marjorie "Marge" Dursley, the sister of Harry Potter's uncle, Vernon Dursley, visited the Dursley family at Privet Drive, in Little Whinging.

Marge's insults to the memory of both Harry Potter's parents, James and Lily Potter, got the thirteen-year-old wizard upset and he lost control of his magic, and unintentionally made his aunt magically blow up like a balloon and float about the room. Harry, then, grabbed his trunk and left the house in a fit of rage, heading to the Leaky Cauldron, in wizarding London.


Background information

Vernon Dursley: "I'd better be off in a minute, Petunia. Marge's train gets in at ten."
Harry Potter: "Aunt Marge? Sh—she's not coming here, is she?"
Vernon Dursley: "Marge'll be here for a week, and while we're on the subject, we need to get a few things straight before I go and collect her."
Harry Potter and Vernon Dursley discuss Marge's visit.[src]

Marge Dursley over dinner at Privet Drive.

In the summer of 1993, Marge arranged with her brother so that she could spend a week at Little Whinging, where he and his family lived. She arrived on 31 July, Harry Potter's birthday. Once there, she hugged her nephew, Dudley, and kissed her sister-in-law, Petunia, while thrusting her suitcase into Harry and voicing her views that violent punishment should be applied in the case of hopeless delinquents, as she saw him.[1]

On the third day of her visit, 2 August, Marge rudely insulted Harry's mother over lunch, while going on about "the way the boy's turned out": "If there's something wrong with the bitch, there'll be something wrong with the pup —". At that moment, Harry lost control of his magic and the wineglass that Marge was holding exploded in her hand, sending shards of glass flying in every direction. Marge oblivious to what had happened, dismissed this on account of her "very firm grip", having squeezed the glass too hard. Remembering the Ministry of Magic warning about using magic outside school sent to him the previous year, Harry skipped desert and left the table.[1]

The incident

Marjorie Dursley: "Go on, boy, go on. Proud of your parents, are you? They go and get themselves killed in a car crash (drunk, I expect) —"
Harry Potter: "They didn't die in a car crash!"
Marjorie Dursley: "They died in a car crash, you nasty little liar, and left you to be a burden on their decent, hardworking relatives! You are an insolent, ungrateful little —"
Harry Potter and Marge Dursley's heated exchange.[src]

Over dessert, on the last day of Marge's visit, 6 August, Marge proceeded to make rude, biased remarks about Harry's parents yet again; this time, she said Lily Potter was a "bad egg" who had ran off with a "wastrel", and James Potter a "no-account, good-for-nothing, lazy scrounger", while implying that they had managed to get themselves killed in a car crash while drunk.[1]


Marge Dursley floats to the ceiling.

Harry, who had adopted the strategy of trying to remember excerpts from his copy of Handbook of Do-It-Yourself Broomcare, had had enough. He rose to his feet and, shaking all over as he had never felt angrier in his life, contradicted her saying she was wrong. Marge, swelling with fury, started screaming at him but suddenly stop speaking. She started to swell, her mouth stretched too tightly to speak. As she started floating towards the ceiling like a monstruous balloon, several buttons burst from her tweed jacket and her stomach bursting free of her tweed waistband. As she floated there, entirely round, with only her hands and feet sticking out, Vernon, her brother, tried to grab her and pull her down, only to get lifted from the floor himself. Ripper, Marge's bulldog, leapt forward, biting on Vernon's leg.[1]

Harry, however, tore from the dining room and seized his trunk that had been stored in the cupboard under the stairs. He grabbed his things from his bedroom, and left the house, Vernon yelling at him with a bloody leg to come back and put Marge right.[1]


"Well, Harry, you've had us all in a right flap, I don't mind telling you. Running away from your aunt and uncle's house like that! I'd started to think... but you're safe, and that's what matters. Eat, Harry, you look dead on your feet. Now then… You will be pleased to hear that we have dealt with the unfortunate blowing-up of Miss Marjorie Dursley. Two members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad were dispatched to Privet Drive a few hours ago. Miss Dursley has been punctured and her memory has been modified. She has no recollection of the incident at all. So that's that, and no harm done."
Cornelius Fudge meets Harry Potter at the Leaky Cauldron.[src]

The incident led to Harry Potter running away from Privet Drive and coming across a mysterious black dog that stared at him. Harry, however, managed to board the Knight Bus, and got off safely at the Leaky Cauldron, where he spent the rest of the summer holidays.[2]

According to Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, two members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad were duly dispatched to Privet Drive, and successfully punctured and modified her memory so that she had no recollection of the event.[2]

Behind the scenes


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 2 (Aunt Marge's Big Mistake)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 3 (The Knight Bus)
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