Harry Potter Off Camera: Growing Up

When James and Lily were killed by Voldemort, Harry Potter’s life took a dramatic turn in more ways than one. Most important for him was that, at just fifteen months old, he was shipped off to a horrible upbringing at the hands of the Dursleys. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, his eventual friends were also growing up all over Britain – themselves with experiences all over the map. Here’s a look at their lives, pre-Hogwarts.
 

Sunrise, by gerre

Of course, before we even get to Harry, it’s interesting to reflect on what Lily’s death must have meant for Petunia. A sister who she had clearly once loved, but was never able to get over her jealousy toward, was suddenly gone – with her son a daily reminder in Petunia’s life. Surely her bitterness was tinged with *some* sadness and regret?
 
“Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that – that school…. I was the only one who saw her for what she was – a freak!” (PS4)

(by gerre)


 

Harry, Age 5 by Chantelle

Little Harry may have looked the same growing up with the Dursleys, but his life couldn’t have been more different from what it had been in Godric’s Hollow.
 
The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in the house, too…. (PS2)


 

Cookies, by Chantelle

And the lengths to which the Dursleys went to mistreat Harry – forcing him to do things for Dudley that they denied him – are almost unfathomable.
 
Watching Harry being bullied by Uncle Vernon was Dudley’s favorite form of entertainment. (PA2)


 

Harry Screaming, by glockgal

For ten years. It must have been too much to take at times.
 
When he had been younger, Harry had dreamed and dreamed of some unknown relation coming to take him away, but it had never happened; the Dursleys were his only family. (PS2)


 

Little Neville, by mneomosyne

Meanwhile, in another part of the country, a little boy was growing up whose fate was intertwined with Harry’s – Neville Longbottom. He too grew up an orphan, his parents having been tortured to insanity by Voldemort’s followers.
 
“I believe Neville visits them, with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him.” (GF30)


 

Neville and Trevor, by Caladan

And while Neville at least had the love of his grandmother, her constant, unbearable pressure to match up to his father must have made Neville’s childhood a sad one in its own way, too.
 
“Hmph,” snorted Professor McGonagall. “It’s high time your grandmother learned to be proud of the grandson she’s got, rather than the one she thinks she ought to have.” (HBP9)

(by Caladan)


 

Weasley Family, by glockgal

Meanwhile, there was Ron – another classmate of Harry’s – and the Weasley family, growing up with seven kids. Life wasn’t perfect, but the children in this household unmistakably knew they were cared for and loved.
 
But Harry, grinning widely, said, “This is the best house I’ve ever been in.” (CS3)


 

Little Ron and Ginny, by Marta T

Ron and his little sister Ginny clearly grew up close.
 
“Ginny,” said Ron. “You don’t know how weird it is for her to be this shy. She never shuts up normally.” (CS3)

(by Marta T)


 

Ginny Night Flying, by Cambryn

Speaking of Ginny, she was a little girl with some spunk, as Harry would one day (eventually) come to discover.
 
“She’s been breaking into your broom shed in the garden since the age of six and taking each of your brooms out in turn when you weren’t looking.” (OP26)

(by Cambryn)


 

Brotherly Love, by lberghol

And then there were the twins of course, who would never have ceased to make Ron and Ginny’s lives interesting….
 
“If you must know, when I was three, Fred turned my – my teddy bear into a great big filthy spider because I broke his toy broomstick….” (CS9)


 

Little Draco Faces, by Heather Campbell

And then of course, there was another child living a totally different life – a single child with the definition of privilege. That would be Draco Malfoy.
 
“You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.” (PS6)


 

Hermione Granger, by Sebastian Theilig

And different still, Hermione Granger – growing up with dentists as parents and not the slightest idea the wizarding world might even exist.
 
“Nobody in my family’s magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course.” (PS6)


 

Dreams, by FrizzyHermione

The contrast among these kids – and their hopes, wishes, aspirations, and dreams – was incredible.
 
(Quotes from the drawing: “I dream of a world where magic is real;” “I dream of winning the Quidditch world cup… for the Canons;” & “I dream of a man, riding a flying motorbike, taking me far away from here”)


 

Under the Cupboard, by thepolestar

But deep down, it’s nice to think that each of them somehow knew what their lives might one day become. Perhaps even the types of lives that history books would one day be written about. All they needed first was that magical letter….
 
Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long hours in his cupboard, [Harry] came up with a strange vision…. (PS2)


 


12 Responses to “Harry Potter Off Camera: Growing Up”

  1. Love this post! Love the contrast of the childhoods, especially of Ron’s, Harry’s and Hermione’s childhoods.

  2. Beautiful! Petunia at the grave, Augusta and Trevor, and Ron’s magical bubbles were great.

  3. Aaawwwww, this is so sweet!

  4. It’s a new experience for me to see new art on this site, as I only came to it before Christmas, 2012. These off-camera pictures are truly wonderful. Harry growing up, but also of Neville and the Weasleys (with Ginny on her brother’s broom stick!). The FrizzyHermione picture and the one by thepolestar are worth the visit, alone.

  5. Hi John! Some great off-camera moments wonderfully captured (in art & accompanying text). I especially love the sketch of the Weasley’s by the hearth. Thanks :)

  6. mneomosyne’s piece is so very, very touching. Neville’s story still breaks my heart. I also loved Cambryn’s gentle suggestion that even though Ron didn’t know that Ginny had snuck flying lessons, her parents were well aware of her antics. :D
    My favorite piece included, however, is the dreams piece by FrizzyHermione. What beautiful, innocent hopes for these children!
    Thanks for the update, John. It’s always great to hear from you.

  7. Thanks so much for posting! My favorite is by glockgal, as a middle-aged mother of 4, (3 boys), I can really relate to this picture and the Weasley family as a whole. One might have less money with a large family, but it is more than made up for by all the intangables!

  8. This is a wonderful page, John – thank you for posting it! I especially like the series of pictures of the Weasleys.

    I’m surprised that none of the Dursleys appear in the pictures of Harry as a child. Interactions between Harry his Dursley relatives would seem to be a rich field for fan artists. I’m going to guess that there are such pictures out there, but you didn’t think any of them fit the tone of the page you were creating.

  9. I so love these. The hp series is so real tome that the art work allows me to think I’m seeing their scrapbooks. The picture of Nevillewith the snowpeople is so precios. Reminds me of the picture of little Harry with his snow family in an earlier companion stop. It just tugs at the heart. Thank you for finding this lovely art work. As for Tuney, I don’t think we will ever know the full extent of her regrets and her jealousy. Wouldn’t it have been funny if Dudley did have a magical child. Haha.

  10. I absolutely LOVE this site, John! I stumbeled upon it by accident just recently, and beeing a huge HP-fan I’ve been spending several hours a day reading your posts for the last couple of weeks. (Suffering from sleep deprevasion by this point because of it!) It’s sad that the comments are closed on the chapters. Why is that? I would have loved to add some thoughts myself. Anyway, great job, great pics, great quotes.

  11. Aww, mneomosyne’s picture of Neville is just so cute and touching. They captured it perfectly.

  12. Minimello, thanks for your kind words! I’m sorry about the comments being closed – I know that for new readers that can be disappointing. There were two reasons I made that choice – one is that most pages have so many comments that the overwhelming majority of new comments only restate something that’s already been said, but that the commenter didn’t read through; the other is that I don’t have much time to devote to the site any more, and found it disheartening to check in and have hundreds of comments to have to mod before I could start doing the work I actually enjoy and updating. I think I’ll be around more often this way, which is my preference.

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