Ripper was most likely born in the mid-to-late 1980s. He was one of twelve bulldogs kept by Marjorie Dursley and was her favourite. Whenever Marjorie was away, he "pine[d]" for her, leading her to take him with her on trips, while the others were left in the care of Colonel Fubster.
Although described as "evil-tempered," Marjorie lavished affection on Ripper, referring to him by twee nicknames like "Rippy-pooh." She often spoiled him with food, allowing him to lick her plate clean after meals, and sharing her tea and brandy with him.
Visits with the Dursleys
In 1990, while Marjorie was visiting her brother's family at 4 Privet Drive, Harry Potter accidentally stepped on one of Ripper's paws. Ripper proceeded to chase Harry up a tree in the Dursleys' yard. Harry was stuck there until Marjorie called Ripper off after midnight. The incident still made Dudley Dursley laugh years later.
By 1993, Ripper was in the later part of his life, being described as "old." Marjorie brought him with her when she paid visit to her brother's family that year. After they were welcomed inside, Petunia Dursley offered Marjorie tea, asking her what Ripper would like. Marjorie asked that he be given his own helping of tea in her saucer. Petunia followed this request. However, she was noted to wince as Ripper "noisily" drank, as he got drool and tea on the clean floor in the process. When Harry sat down at the table, Ripper growled at him, directing Marjorie's attention to the boy.
On the fourth day of Marjorie's stay, Marjorie upset Harry at dinner to the point that he had an unintentional magical outburst, causing her to inflate like a balloon. In the ensuing panic, Ripper charged into the room, barking "madly." He bit Vernon Dursley's leg when he grabbed Marjorie's foot in a desperate attempt to keep her from floating away.
Behind the scenes
- In December 2012 comments written for Pottermore, Rowling stated that she regretted making Marge a breeder of bulldogs, as she now knows them to be a non-aggressive breed, and her sister owns one. She does note, however, that they do look grumpy, and thus suited Marge.
- In the American version, Harry treads on Ripper's tail, but in the British version he treads on his paw.
- In the film version, Marge let Ripper taste some brandy Vernon poured for her. In real life, this is bad since alcohol is poisonous to dogs.
- In addition, Ripper's actions to Vernon was, albeit unintentionally, the reason why he ultimately was forced to release the newly-inflated Marge outside despite his attempts at rescuing her, as he bit onto Vernon's leg and the pain from this and the gradually increasing height had him reluctantly disobeying Marge and letting go of her.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Appears in flashback(s))
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
Notes and references
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 2 (Aunt Marge's Big Mistake), Ripper is said to have chased Harry Potter up a tree when Marjorie Dursley came to visit the year before he started at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry's first year at Hogwarts was 1991, and, thus, the visit would have occurred in 1990, placing Ripper's latest possible date of birth in that year. However, by 1993, he was described as "old." English Bulldogs have an average lifespan of eight to ten years. This means that Ripper was most likely born sometime during the mid-to-late 1980s.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 2 (Aunt Marge's Big Mistake)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) - Chapter 2 (Aunt Marge's Big Mistake)
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Marge Dursley" at Wizarding World