The official Harry Potter website finally debuted the seventh and final book to the timeline today, and with the arrival of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes a few new essays offering up some interesting facts about the Harry Potter universe from J.K. Rowling herself. We already shared the update Rowling offered on the subject of Albus Dumbledore and Rubeus Hagrid being a sort of combined father-figure to Harry (more on that here). Now here are a few more interesting facts Rowling revealed in the new essays.
The new essays are titled "Vernon & Petunia," "The Sword of Gryffindor," "Alchemy," "Extension Charms," and "Hatstall." If you'd prefer to read them in full, head on over to Pottermore (you must be logged in) and work your way through the chapters in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows portion of the timeline.
Petunia Wanted To Be A Witch, And Felt Guilty About LilyIn "Vernon & Petunia," JK Rowling confirms that not only did Petunia have "some latent feelings of guilt" over the way she cut Lily out of her life, but also that she secretly wished that she too would show signs of magic and get to go to Hogwarts. Rowling says these feelings are buried deep down inside Petunia, and she'd never admit them to her husband.
The above stated, Rowling seems content with how she wrote Petunia's final scene, which takes place early on in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I wanted to suggest, in the final book, that something decent (a long-forgotten but dimly burning love of her sister, the realization that she might never see Lily's eyes again) almost struggled out of Aunt Petunia when she said goodbye to Harry for the last time, but that she is not able to admit to it, or show those long-buried feelings.
Rowling notes that some readers may have hoped for more from Aunt Petunia in this moment, but she was aiming to have the character "behave in a way that is most consistent with her thoughts and feelings throughout the previous seven books."
For reference, in Deathly Hallows, as the Dursley's are making their exit, it seems like Petunia's going to leave without so much as a glance at Harry on her way out the door, but then she looks back, and Harry gets the impression she wants to say something. She gives him "an odd, tremulous look," seeming to "teeter on the edge of speech." And then she leaves. From what Rowling's new essay states, it sounds like that pause is the only glimpse of her "long-buried feelings" we'll ever get. It's fleeting and vague, but the hesitation does demonstrate that there is some feeling left in Petunia for her sister.