For several characters in the series, the Boy Who Lived ended up also being the boy who lived with them. Sharing a space with Harry was a reality they had to face and continually adapt to. But was it worth it?
Breathing the same air as one of the most talked-about wizards sounded like a dream, depending on who you asked (cough, not the Dursleys, cough). But he also wasn’t the easiest person to live with, although admittedly this was often for reasons beyond his control. Then again, who could say no to Harry Potter?
Like with all tough decisions, we thought a pros and cons breakdown should settle the matter.
While the Dursleys wanted nothing to do with the magical community, they had to admit that living with Harry Potter was a blessing in some ways. For Dudley, especially, Harry’s presence meant he could lead a life of luxury. Harry was the considerate housemate who not only did his own chores but was forced to do his cousin’s, too. Handy! Plus, just the sight of Harry made Mr and Mrs Dursley fawn over their precious and perfect Ickle Dudleykins. And let’s not forget: Harry saved Dudley’s life. That alone should far outweigh all other reasons.
When it came to Harry and the boys in the Gryffindor dormitory, the benefits of sharing the same circular room with Harry ran deep.
Sure, living with a celebrity like Harry meant automatic ‘popular’ points (well, most of the time – you know, when he wasn’t being accused of opening the Chamber of Secrets). Who wouldn’t want to be in the in-crowd of the Boy Who Lived, the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, the unexpected Triwizard champion and the leader of Dumbledore’s Army?
But as Ron, Neville, Dean and Seamus learned, Harry didn’t want all the attention. He just wanted to be Harry, which gave the five of them room to grow and form a life-changing brotherhood – a brotherhood that inspired them to become some of the bravest students in Hogwarts.
With Harry, they could bond over Quidditch, spear marshmallows by the fire and gab about flying a car into the Whomping Willow (even after suffering through Hermione’s and Percy’s scowls).
Ron grinned guiltily at Harry. ‘I know I shouldn’t’ve enjoyed that or anything, but –’ The dormitory door flew open and in came the other second-year Gryffindor boys, Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas and Neville Longbottom.
‘Unbelievable!’ beamed Seamus. ‘Cool,’ said Dean. ‘Amazing,’ said Neville, awestruck. Harry couldn’t help it. He grinned, too.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The boys also realised that Harry was someone you could count on. Whether it was facing bullies who tried to steal your Remembrall or going up against Dark, murderous wizards, he did his best to protect the people in his life and his second (but favourite) home, Hogwarts.
But living with Harry also came with a whole host of issues – and we’re not talking about the Muggle housemate problems we’re familiar with, such as dirty dishes left in the sink or empty milk cartons being put back in the fridge instead of the bin. Sure, the Gryffindor boys had to deal with the nasty and awkward spats that Harry had with Ron or Seamus, but those were matters most friends learn to work out.
The real problem was the threat that living with Harry posed. Imagine strangers showing up unexpectedly, or people breaking in and ransacking the quarters… Nothing would feel safe. As gentle as Hagrid was, we could understand why Uncle Vernon had his rifle at the ready when a half-giant was busting down the door. And, back when everyone thought Sirius Black was a mass murderer, remember when he slashed Ron’s curtains and stood over him in the middle of the night? Horrifying! We’re surprised the Gryffindor boys didn’t ask to be relocated.
Apparently, the boys had also become so used to the possibility of danger (or Harry’s horrific nightmares) that none of them were remotely shocked about Harry’s early-morning scream years later.
His yell had awoken Ron, Seamus, Dean and Neville. All of them were peering through the gaps in their own hangings, heavy eyed and tousle haired. ‘Someone attacking you, Harry?’ Seamus asked sleepily. ‘No, it’s just Dobby,’ Harry muttered. ‘Go back to sleep.’
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry breaking out of places was also a constant issue, and we’re not just talking about the time the Weasleys helped him escape from the Dursleys in a flying car (at least that one was quite funny… for everyone but the Dursleys). Having an Invisibility Cloak meant Harry, Ron and Hermione could slip away at Hogwarts when they thought they needed to, but it also meant Gryffindor could get into trouble. Trying to stop the trio, though, could end up with someone being put in a Full Body-Bind, as Neville discovered the hard way.
If we asked the Dursleys, they would probably list a million reasons not to live with Harry Potter. Even just looking at the times Petunia and Vernon had guests over, things tended to go wrong because of Harry’s presence. Petunia’s masterpiece of a pudding ended up on every surface of the house, Mrs Mason was frightened away by an owl, and Aunt Marge blew up like a balloon.
But no matter where we land on this discussion, we can all agree that living with Harry would be an unforgettable experience, for better or for worse – and hey, it beats living in a cupboard under the stairs.