According to the Huffington Post, there's a fan theory circulating that Harry Potter's guardians, the Dursley family, weren't just horrible to their poor relation on principle. They were under the influence of a Horcrux.

Daniel Radcliffe, who played the boy wizard, to great effect, in Warner Bros.' eight-film "Harry Potter" series, seems to think there's something to the theory. While I hate to disagree with such a fine and talented actor, here's why I find the notion as unappealing and ill-conceived as a vomit-flavored Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean.

A brief overview on Horcruxes

It's important to understand that the alleged enchantment wasn't caused by Harry himself — the sweet young orphan didn't even know he was a wizard for the first ten miserable years he spent at number four, Privet Drive.

No, according to the theory, the DursleysAunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and cousin Dudley — treated Harry so badly because he was a Horcrux. If you'll recall, Harry's famous lightning-shaped scar was host to a sliver of the evil Lord Voldemort's fragmented soul, and contact with other such fragments — called Horcruxes — was known to sap people of their strength and drain all happiness from them. So could that be why his relatives were so horrid to him all the time?

It's an intriguing thought, but ultimately, there's little in the canon to support it — and plenty to discredit it. Here are just a few of the highlights.

The reasons were spelled out from the beginning

In author J.K. Rowling's very first line of the series, she stated clearly that the Dursleys "were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." The rest of the chapter went on to describe the family's almost painfully rote daily routine and outlined the rift between Mrs.

Dursley and her sister. Later, we would come to learn that Aunt Petunia was always wildly jealous of Lily and that Uncle Vernon was wary of anything that would challenge his narrow worldview. Harry was emblematic of everything that they feared and hated. As for cousin Dudley, well, children learn what they live, and Harry was a convenient punching bag for a young bully-in-training.

Ron and the other Gryffindor boys were never affected

There were four other boys in Harry's House at Hogwarts, and they all shared a dormitory for six years. If the impressionable Neville Longbottom never sprouted fangs and horns from contact with Harry, then why should we excuse the Dursley's behavior?

After all, they avoided him as much as possible, even keeping him locked in a cupboard beneath the stairs.

Dudley had a change of heart

After the dementor attack in 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,' Dudley's attitude toward Harry made a swift pivot, though Harry himself wouldn't realize it until the final novel in the series. If the youngest Dursley's ill-treatment of his cousin was caused by the negative effects of the Horcrux, it would not have ceased simply because Harry saved him from getting his soul vacuumed out by a dementor. As it is, Rowling herself has claimed that she considered giving Dudley a wizard son or daughter in the final chapter of the series, but later decided that "any latent wizarding genes would never survive contact with Uncle Vernon's DNA" — another hint that the elder Dursley was simply a bigoted Muggle who disliked anything that he couldn't understand.

Sometimes, the darkness exists only so we can separate it from the light

Bottom line? The Dursleys were miserable people because the story required it. Just as Matilda's parents treated their only girl child with cruel indifference because otherwise, there would have been no story. Of course, we now live in a world where even the glorious villainess Maleficent is treated to a hackneyed backstory that makes her the jilted lover of King Stefan and decides that hey, she really loved Princess Aurora like a daughter. There's even a sequel planned for that one. I suppose it's just a matter of time before we get an origin story for Miss Trunchbull, where we learn that she had nothing but good and honorable reasons for murdering her brother and torturing his child.

Sometimes, it's okay just to let the bad guys be bad guys. It's only make-believe, after all.

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