30

During the years that Harry Potter was living with the Dursleys, before his fateful eleventh birthday, some wizards and witches spotted Harry — and were spotted by him.

Yet sometimes he thought (or maybe hoped) that strangers in the street seemed to know him. Very strange strangers they were, too. A tiny man in a violet top hat had bowed to him once while out shopping with Aunt Petunia and Dudley. [...] A wild-looking old woman dressed all in green had waved merrily at him once on a bus. A bald man in a very long purple coat had actually shaken his hand in the street the other day and then walked away without a word. The weirdest thing about all these people was the way they seemed to vanish the second Harry tried to get a closer look.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, chapter 2 – "The Vanishing Glass"

We know the first of those was Dedalus Diggle.

"I've seen you before!" said Harry, as Dedalus Diggle’s top hat fell off in his excitement. "You bowed to me once in a shop."

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, chapter 5 – "Diagon Alley"

Who were the other two, the "wild-looking woman dressed all in green" and the "bald man in a very long purple coat"?

  • 4
    Lexicon has guesses for Emmeline Vance and Kingsley Shacklebolt, respectively (following the theory that Harry is being tailed by Order members, and they’re the closest who fit the bill: hp-lexicon.org/source/the-harry-potter-novels/ps/ps2. Not sure I agree – I think Order members might be more discreet. – alexwlchan Jun 22 '17 at 19:43
  • 5
    While Kingsley was my first though too (I know he at least wore purple in the movies, and probably in the books), I feel like Harry would have remembered Kingsley and Vance. He remembered Dedalus Diggle, after all. – Adamant Jun 22 '17 at 19:45
  • JKR once said (on Pottermore?) that purple and green, mainly purple, are colors used by witches and wizards to recognize one another in the Muggle world. So I wouldn't take the witch's green clothes as a sign that she is Emmeline Vance. (Notice how both Diggle and the other wizard are seen wearing purple). I agree with the answers and comments below that say Order members probably would have been more discreet. =) – Pwassonne Nov 21 '17 at 20:00
1

Aunt Petunia always tried to cover up Harry's scar, so they must have been people who already knew who he was, probably in the Order of the Phoenix. (They could also have been Death Eaters spying for Voldemort, but this is unlikely because they all thought he was dead forever.)

But if they were in the Order, Harry might have seen them when they came for meetings. So either they were killed, away on missions, in hiding, or my favorite solution, it's possible that they were using Polyjuice Potion for various reasons, for instance:

  • They were worried about Death Eaters recognizing them
  • They used different people each time so Harry wouldn't recognize them
  • They were well-known wizards and were trying to blend in

So, in conclusion, they were most likely members of the Order.

  • 2
    not likely the OotP members would make such a noticeable / memorable scene if they were intended to keep an eye on / protect Harry when he was out and about and Death Eaters would have killed him on sight if they had the chance - especially if out and about in the Muggle world – NKCampbell Aug 17 '17 at 19:27
  • The feels like it's trying to answer a similar question set during OotP. – amflare Aug 17 '17 at 19:33
  • Where does "Aunt Petunia always covered up Harry's scar" come from? That's not based on anything that I'm aware of. – Anthony Grist Aug 17 '17 at 20:24
  • 1
    Any "scar-covering" that Petunia might have done didn't stop Dedalus Diggle recognising Harry, so I don't think that is a reason to assume that only the Order (or Death Eaters) would know who he was. – Blackwood Aug 17 '17 at 23:55
  • 1
    Harry was also recognized instantly by nearly everyone present as he walked into the Leaky Cauldron the very first time (likely due to his resemblance to his father, in addition to his scar), so it stands to reason that ordinary witches and wizards walking around the Muggle world would recognize him just as easily. – Adam V Nov 21 '17 at 21:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.