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Dudley Dursley

By Sayonee Ghosh Roy

Maslow rightly lists food as one of man’s cardinal needs. But excesses always lead to complications, gastronomic disorders by natural extension. Greed has already been established as a Sin, Gluttony is merely its subset. And if you think that Gluttony doesn’t merit any debit, on the scales of Karma, then have a look at Dudley Dursley.
Famous Harry Potter’s not-so-famous cousin. What comes to your mind immediately when I say his name? Yeah, he eats a lot. So does Augustus Gloop from Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. But our liaison with Dudley is a little longer and so is the list of evidence of his gluttony. His only claim to fame is “achieving what he had been threatening to do since the age of five – grow wider than he is taller”.
Dinky Duddydums may not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he most definitely had a spoon in his mouth! Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia left no stone unturned in satiating their precious boy. Really, which parent wouldn’t install a TV in the kitchen because the apple of their eye felt that the refrigerator was too far away? The resultant physique may have landed him a spot on his school boxing team but the Smeltings nurse sure did notice that he had “roughly reached the size and proportion of a baby whale”.
Aunt Petunia could swear that it was nothing but puppy fat and Uncle Vernon may have pronounced the new diet as ‘rabbit food’, but they should have seen it coming. Big D took up an entire side of the table for himself, even more so when sulking over his pitiful meal of celery and cottage cheese. But let us give him a little credit. His gluttony transcends all tastes and he is perfectly capable of displaying a longing for something as unappetizing as Uncle Vernon’s share of grapefruit in his “sour, piggy eyes”.
What a big appetite! How about a tongue to go along with it? Yeah, remember Fred’s Ton-Tongue Toffee? A sweet pay-back. Even though he’s perfectly aware of his parents’ aversion to some of “their lot”, he can’t stop himself from picking up anything that’s edible, wizard-made or otherwise. He’d probably eat out of Voldemort’s palm, even!  But he can’t help it, it’s in the poor chap’s nature.
And he has his parents to thank for this. Even though the Dursleys never actually starved Harry, they always seemed to feed Dudley more than enough for himself and Harry combined. Even during the diet regime, Harry was given his customary, pitiful helping because making sure that he got less to eat than Dudley seemed to be help pull Dudley out of the ‘gloom’ brought on by the diet. And he’s known no other way since childhood, so he thinks it’s perfectly fine. It’s sad to see that his own parents are responsible for nurturing this Sin.

But old Dudders turned out to be okay in the end. True, his other traits are grossly overshadowed by his love for food. Remember Harry’s first reaction to Honeydukes was imagining Dudley’s first reaction to Honeydukes? It is difficult to move past that, but even spoilt brats are capable of human emotions and so is our little Popkin. The consequences of Gluttony are almost laughable when compared to those of other Sins. Obesity, big fat paunches, but again there are slimming pills and gyms to take care of that! In my opinion however, what should really be deemed as Undesirable Number 1 is, being a pig *ahem* *Hagrid* *cough* *cough*

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Sayonee Ghosh Roy
I humbly profess to be spoilt, pampered brat with old-school upbringing. You could let me loose in a book-store and I'd never come out, except if you lure me out with coffee and Italian food.


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