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Thinking about it while I was writing up my other question about Dudley's pig's tail, it occurred to me that I cannot think of a single instance in which the Dursleys -- Verrnon, Petunia, and Dudley -- had their memories modified, even though they have witnessed numerous incidents of a witch or wizard performing magic.

They witnessed Hagrid giving Dudley the pig's tail. They've witnessed numerous owl post deliveries. They've noticed that wherever they go, or Harry goes, they can always be found. They witness Dobby dropping the pudding on Mrs Mason in CoS (they think Harry did it, though) and of course there's the incident with Aunt Marge. Marge seems to be the only Dursley whose had her memory modified by the Accidential Magic Reversal Squad; meanwhile, the Ministry allows Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley to keep their memories of what happened to Marge. They're allowed to keep their memories of the Dementor attack, and when George, Fred, Ron, and Arthur come to Privet Drive to collect Harry in, I believe, GoF, and one of the twins feeds Dudley Ton-Tongue Taffy and Dudder's tongue grows about six feet long, there is no consequence from the Ministry, it seems. There are plenty of other examples.

Why doesn't the Ministry ever modify the Dursleys' memories?

★ I don't prefer an answer from the HP Wikia or the Wikipedia.

ETA: I really do get what people are saying about Muggle families with witches in wizards in them, and how they cannot be Obliviated for every little thing. That makes sense now that people have explained it. But I still wonder about Dudley's piggy tail because that would have essentially been introducing a magical pig's tail into the Muggle world via a Muggle hospital, to Muggles doctors who have no familial connection to the Dursleys. Would the Ministry want that happening? It truly surprises me that no one had their memory modified as a result of the pig's tail incident.

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The Dursley's are aware of magic, as their foster child is a member of that community and attending a magical school. Mrs. Dursley has in fact known about magic since she was a child and her sister went to school. All of the muggle born student's in Hogwarts also have parents whose memories are not modified...not sure why you would expect the Dursley's to be an exception. –  NominSim Nov 17 '12 at 18:37
    
@NominSim - I'm talking about specific incidents, such as Aunt Marge being inflated, the ton-tongue toffee, the boa in the zoo, etc. I mean, Harry got an official warning for the pudding Dobby dropped on Mrs Mason's head, for which Harry was erroneously blamed. There just seem to be some inconsistencies to me. YMMV, of course. –  Slytherincess Nov 17 '12 at 19:04
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@Slytherincess - no incincistencies there. Mugges who don't already know about wizarding got Lockharted. Dursleys did not, since there's no need. It's not about the incident, it's about the memory owner. –  DVK Nov 17 '12 at 19:12
    
BTW, why all the Down-Voting? The answer may be intuitively clear but it doesn't make it a bad question. –  DVK Nov 17 '12 at 19:13
    
@DVK - I put in an ETA that addresses only the pig's tail, which is the one incident I truly think might deserve memory modification. But I do see everyone's general points. –  Slytherincess Nov 17 '12 at 21:27
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I suspect as guardians of Harry Potter they have the right to know about the magical world. It would be crazy to expect them to raise a wizard and constantly be deleting the memories of their experiences (this isn't Heroes after all).

This may or may not extend to members outside the immediate family. It is possible that the Dursleys requested that Aunt Marge's memory be modified. If she knew they had a "freak" in the house they would lose her respect.

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+1 MY thoughts exactly. Having to constantly wipe their memories would be a complete waste of resources on behalf of the Ministry of Magic. –  Wipqozn Nov 17 '12 at 18:37
    
Well, I didn't suggest that the Dursleys' memories would have to be "constantly" be modified. There's a handful of incidents throughout the series that I think would qualify for memory modification. It seems that's just me, though. –  Slytherincess Nov 17 '12 at 19:07
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@Slytherincess- the purpose of flashy-thingy...errr... memory modification is specifically to prevent the subject from knowing that Aliens Are Among Us... errr.... magical world exists... i'm mixing my universes. As such, for Dursleys, who already DO know it exists, there's zero point in any memory modification unless it's required for some high-security purposes so they can't spill the beans on Harry to Volemort. I can't recall a single case where the latter would be needed. –  DVK Nov 17 '12 at 19:10
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Considering Hermione's parents are Muggles, and they've never have their memories wiped, it would appear that being the legal guardian of a witch or wizard grants Muggles an exception to the "no knowledge of magic" rule. I'm sure there are a variety of reasons for this, but no doubt the most important ones are:

  • So Muggles can properly raise their children. It would be very difficult to raise a wizard properly if you didn't know they were a wizard
  • So the children can attend Hogwarts. If the parents didn't know the child was a wizard they would no doubt be less inclined to let them attend a school they've never heard of, and only be permitted to see them a few weeks of every school year. Not to mention they would never be allowed to actually visit the school. I can't imagine any parent agreeing to this kind of situation.
  • It would be a waste of time. Having to constantly erase all the memories of legal guardians of magic children would be an exercise in frustration, considering they live with a wizard (who no doubt lacks full control of their powers). It would just be a waste of resources.

Sure, the Dursleys might not be good parents to Harry, but they are still his legal guardians, and the rule would apply to them as well.

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Not to mention the challenge of sending a report card home: "Son, what exactly is Defense Against the Dark Arts?" –  mhoran_psprep Nov 17 '12 at 20:06
    
@mhoran_psprep -- Hahahaha, right? Good call! –  Slytherincess Nov 17 '12 at 21:25
    
Many Muggle families do not know they have a magical child until the Hogwarts letter appears (and I believe a Hogwarts representative follows shortly behind to explain the magical world). As to visiting Hogwarts, there are occasions when Muggle parents are allowed into Hogwarts (Moaning Myrtle's parents). And, again, I never suggested that all memories should be modified. For example, the Order meeting Mr Dursley? No big deal. But Dudley being attacked by a Dementor? I would think that would be a more likely candidate for memory modification. :) –  Slytherincess Nov 22 '12 at 5:22
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