| Quote #1
"Now, we should aim to get in a few good compliments at dinner. Petunia, any ideas?"
"Vernon tells me you're a wonderful golfer, Mr. Mason...Do tell me where you bought your dress, Mrs. Mason..."
"How about – 'We had to write an essay about our hero at school, Mr. Mason, and I wrote about you.'" (1.52-55)
One of the weird things about the Dursleys isn't just that they are so obsessed with being normal; it's that they're so bad at it. Aunt Petunia's compliments seem insincere but at least not crazy. As for Dudley, though – who wouldn't see through his claim that he's going to write a school essay about Mr. Mason? This is why we feel that the depiction of the Dursleys in the early novels of the series are almost cartoonish in their exaggeration. It's later on that we get a more realistic sense of how small-minded, fearful, and difficult they are.
| Quote #2
"Friends who don't even write to Harry Potter?" said Dobby slyly.
"I expect they've just been – wait a minute," said Harry, frowning. "How do you know my friends haven't been writing to me?"
Dobby shuffled his feet.
"Harry Potter mustn't be angry with Dobby. Dobby did it for the best —" (2.72-75)
Dobby is the first in a long line of people – most notably, Professor Dumbledore later in the series – who keep things from Harry "for his own good." Here, Dobby is stopping Harry's friends' letters to make Harry think that he has nothing to go back to at Hogwarts. It doesn't work to keep Harry from going to school, of course. Still, do you think that it ever works to try and hide information from people "for their own good"? Are there times when it is necessary to keep secrets to prevent others from being hurt or offended? Do you think Dobby's deception here is justified?
| Quote #3
Fred and George climbed catlike through the window into Harry's room. You had to hand it to them, thought Harry, as George took an ordinary hairpin from his pocket and started to pick the lock.
"A lot of wizards think it's a waste of time, knowing this sort of Muggle trick," said Fred, "but we feel they're skills worth learning, even if they are a bit slow." (3.23-24)
The fact that Fred and George know how to use Muggle lock-picking techniques at thirteen years old demonstrates in about three sentences that they are born troublemakers. They're using their powers of deception for good. They may be pranksters happily breaking into Harry's house, but they're hearts are also in the right place.