There’s no doubt that Harry Potter’s childhood was unhappy. He was taunted, bullied and lied to by the Dursleys. He was also threatened, deprived of food and locked up in his room in a few instances. He grew up without a friend his age or even an adult he could trust. When an adult finally came to save him, it was only because he was a wizard and not because he was mistreated.
We touched upon this a little bit in the first episode of our podcast. But we couldn’t deep dive into this topic because we want the podcast to be spoiler free. So here are my residual thoughts from that discussion.
The Dursley’s treatment of Harry cannot be classified as “abuse” in the face of law as his need for food, clothing, and shelter are taken care of. But it so only because worse things happen to children in the world, not because he had a “normal childhood” in any sense of the term.
But does this shape Harry the adolescent and Harry the adult? Let's find out.