Harry Potter Was Saved from Becoming an Obscurial... By the Dursleys!

Harry Potter Was Saved from Becoming an Obscurial... By the Dursleys!
Image credit: Warner Bros.

The horrible treatment young Harry was receiving from the wizard-hating Dursleys would have surely turned him into an Obscurial — but the Dursleys also saved him.


  • A wizarding child develops an Obscurus after they suffer because of their abilities and choose to suppress them.
  • Harry Potter had all the making of becoming an Obscurial due to being raised by the cruel wizard-hating Dursleys.
  • Ironically, since the Dursleys never told Harry about magic, he could not deliberately suppress it and develop an Obscurus.

A young wizard whose magical abilities are actively suppressed might develop a parasitical Dark force within themselves known as an Obscurus which manifests from their worst emotions and all the unreleased magic stored inside of them. This turns them into Obscurials — terrifying and miserable beings that don’t live long.

Young Harry Potter had all chances of developing an Obscurus thanks to the Dursleys. Ironically, their complete denial of all things magical also saved the boy.

Obscurials We Know of Were Aware of Their True Nature

While such cases are extremely rare in general, there were at least two Obscurials that we know of in the Harry Potter and the Fantastical Beasts franchise. Both of them belonged to the Dumbledore family and both suffered grim fates. Still, we can use their cases to understand the phenomenon of Obscurials better.

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Ariana Dumbledore, the younger sister of the future Hogwarts Headmaster, developed an Obscurus after the suffering she endured from the three Muggle boys who violated her for being a witch. Though part of a wizarding family, Ariana started actively suppressing her magic after the incident, and paired with the misery she lived through, it turned her into an Obscurial.

Aurelius Dumbledore, aka Credence Barebone, was adopted by a wizard-hating woman who turned his life into a living hell. Knowing that his kind was despised by his new “family” and the organization they were part of, Aurelius, too, deliberately suppressed his abilities for years which led him to become a powerful Obscurial.

Ariana and Aurelius had two things in common. First, their lives were miserable and they suffered for being wizards. Second, and most importantly, they were aware of their magical abilities and chose to actively suppress them to avoid further pain.

The Dursleys Saved Harry Potter from Becoming an Obscurial

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Young Harry Potter had all the makings of developing an Obscurus. His foster family hated him and made his life a struggle. They hated magic and all things related to the Wizarding World. They harshly punished Harry every time he did something “weird” as in “practiced spontaneous magic which is common for wizarding kids.”

But ironically, it was also the Dursleys who prevented Harry from becoming an Obscurial!

The Dursleys completely avoided telling young Harry anything about the Wizarding World, and the boy lived as a Muggle. He saw the weird occasions that happened around him like anything but magic. Furthermore, he was not even aware of magic — so he could not make a choice to suppress his inner wizard.

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Harry Potter didn’t have the dots to connect. He didn’t realize that his relatives hated him for being a wizard and doing those weird things. So he just carried on: with weird things happening around him and him having no clue what was really going on.

In a bizarre turn of events, the Dursleys saved young Harry from developing an Obscurus. But they were also the ones who put the boy in such miserable conditions to begin with, so by no means should their nephew thank them.

Still, it’s phenomenally ironic.