I've been re-reading the Harry Potter books over the last month, and this particular question occurred to me when reading the start of Order of the Phoenix. The following quote sums it up rather nicely:

Dudley seemed incapable of saying. He shuddered again and shook his large blond head, and despite the sense of numb dread that had settled on Harry since the arrival of the first owl, he felt a certain curiosity. Dementors caused a person to relive the worst moments of their life. What would spoiled, pampered, bullying Dudley have been forced to hear?
Chapter Two - A Peck of Owls, Order of the Phoenix

All I managed to find at the time was this quote from JKR:

Amy: What did Dudley see when he faced the Dementors in book five?

JK Rowling replies -> Ah, good question. You'll find out!

So, thinking that perhaps there was something in one of the final two books that answered the question, I carried on reading. However, I'm now about a third of the way through the last book and this hasn't been answered; I don't recall there being any scenes with the Dursleys (other than a young Petunia) in the remainder of Deathly Hallows so I'm expecting to finish reading without an answer.

Is there any canon information (JKR writings, interviews or a book quote that I've missed or yet to read) that states what Dudley heard when he and Harry were attacked by the Dementors?

  • There's no book quote - the only other conversation it might have come out would have been in book 7 before the Dursleys left Privet Drive (when Dudley acted like Harry was a real person for the first time), and there was nothing there about what Dudley saw or heard.
    – Adam V
    Aug 26, 2013 at 14:17
  • 3
    @AdamV Yes, I didn't have much hope that there was one; all Dudley really says in book seven is "Thanks for saving my life." It's a bit annoying that JKR raised the question herself in the book, said in an interview that we'd find out, then seemingly never addressed it. Aug 26, 2013 at 14:28
  • 1
    Totally agree! Now that I see the question, I want to know as well. Hopefully someone finds an interview where she answers it! It's quite possible she intended to have it in the book (just as she had intended for 'scar' to be the last word in the series), and it got cut for one reason or another.
    – Adam V
    Aug 26, 2013 at 14:32
  • There's a circular link between the two questions: this one and scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/55584/…. What are the chances of that!
    – cst1992
    Dec 5, 2016 at 10:42

2 Answers 2


Not exactly an answer to what he heard, but here it goes anyway:
As far as I remember it's never mentioned again in the books. I did find this, but not sure how credible it is

And here's the quote:

"People usually ask me, what is it that Dudley saw during the Dementor attack?" Rowling said. "My feeling is that he saw himself, exactly for what he was, and for a boy that spoiled, it would be terrifying. So he was jolted out of it. Dementor attacks aren't usually good for people, but this one was."


  • Odd, now that you've posted it I feel like I've read that quote before. Aug 26, 2013 at 16:07
  • I was also sure I had seen this question before as well, here on stackexchange, but couldn't find it
    – user13267
    Aug 26, 2013 at 16:08
  • @user13267, it's here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/55584/… Feb 9, 2015 at 13:38
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    The transcript of the 2007 question and answer session that this article refers to accio-quote.org/articles/2007/0730-bloomsbury-chat.html contains a similar quote: "I think that when Dudley was attacked by the Dementors he saw himself, for the first time, as he really was. This was an extremely painful, but ultimately salutory lesson, and began the transformation in him."
    – b_jonas
    Jan 13, 2016 at 14:50

I think he saw the times such as when Hagrid gave him a pig's tail (and the surgery he had to go through to get it removed), as well as the time Harry blew up his aunt or when his tongue grew 4 feet long. I think he would be scared of something like magic because it is the one thing he can't control.

  • 4
    While this certainly seems plausible, the accepted answer says something different. Is there any evidence (in the books or elsewhere) that this is what he saw?
    – Adamant
    Oct 16, 2016 at 1:46
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    Welcome to the site :) Some of these suggestions seem more plausible than others to me, but it's not too important. What is important is to try and provide supporting evidence rather than reckons -- even more so to very old questions with multiply-upvoted accepted answers. Please don't be discouraged, you're absolutely not the first to run afoul of stackexchange, but we aren't a forum or chat room here and we tend to ask for and expect quite high standards, rather than people's two cents
    – Au101
    Oct 16, 2016 at 1:52
  • Do you have any evidence for this, or is it just speculation?
    – Blackwood
    Aug 29, 2017 at 20:58

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