Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Boy Who Lived
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly
normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything
strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy
man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin
and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she
spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The Dursleys
had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.
The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was
that somebody would discover it. They didn’t think they could bear it if anyone found out about
the Potters. Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years; in fact,
Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn’t have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing
husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to think what the
neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in the street. The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a
small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for keeping
the Potters away; they didn’t want Dudley mixing with a child like that.
When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts, there was
nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that strange and mysterious things would soon
be happening all over the country. Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for
work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high
None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window.
At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs. Dursley on the cheek, and
tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed, because Dudley was now having a tantrum and
throwing his cereal at the walls.
“Little tyke,” chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house. He got into his car and backed out of
number four’s drive.
It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar — a cat
reading a map. For a second, Mr. Dursley didn’t realize what he had seen — then he jerked his
head around to look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but
there wasn’t a map in sight. What could he have been thinking of? It must have been a trick of
the light. Mr. Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It stared back. As Mr. Dursley drove around
the corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now reading the sign that said
Privet Drive — no, looking at the sign; cats couldn’t read maps or signs. Mr. Dursley gave
himself a little shake and put the cat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of
nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day.
But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something else. As he sat in the
usual morning traffic jam, he couldn’t help noticing that there seemed to be a lot of strangely
dressed people about. People in cloaks. Mr. Dursley couldn’t bear people who dressed in funny
clothes — the getups you saw on young people! He supposed this was some stupid new fashion.
He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of these weirdos
standing quite close by. They were whispering excitedly together. Mr. Dursley was enraged to
see that a couple of them weren’t young at all; why, that man had to be older than he was, and
wearing an emerald-green cloak! The nerve of him! But then it struck Mr. Dursley that this was
probably some silly stunt —these people were obviously collecting for something… yes, that
would be it. The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr. Dursley arrived in the Grunnings
parking lot, his mind back on drills.
Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the ninth floor. If he hadn’t,
he might have found it harder to concentrate on drills that morning. He didn’t see the owls
swooping past in broad daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed
open-mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Most of them had never seen an owl even at
nighttime. Mr. Dursley, however, had a perfectly normal, owl-free morning. He yelled at five
different people. He made several important telephone calls and shouted a bit more. He was in a
very good mood until lunchtime, when he thought he’d stretch his legs and walk across the road
to buy himself a bun from the bakery.
He’d forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of them next to the baker’s.
He eyed them angrily as he passed. He didn’t know why, but they made him uneasy. This bunch
were whispering excitedly, too, and he couldn’t see a single collecting tin. It was on his way
back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they
“The Potters, that’s right, that’s what I heard —”
“ — yes, their son, Harry —”
Mr. Dursley stopped dead. Fear flooded him. He looked back at the whisperers as if he wanted to
say something to them, but thought better of it.
He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office, snapped at his secretary not to disturb
him, seized his telephone, and had almost finished dialing his home number when he changed his
mind. He put the receiver back down and stroked his mustache, thinking… no, he was being—————————–