In Prizoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black appears on the Muggle news as a wanted fugitive. Uncle Vernon learns later that Sirius is Harry's godfather, so Vernon knows that Wizards may appear on Muggle news.

At the beginning of Order of the Phoenix, Harry is under the window outside, listening to the news – for which Uncle Vernon complains:

Uncle Vernon grunted. "Watching the news. . .” he said scathingly. “I’d like to know what he’s really up to. As if a normal boy cares what’s on the news — Dudley hasn’t got a clue what’s going on, doubt he knows who the Prime Minister is! Anyway, it’s not as if there’d be anything about his lot on our news —” “Vernon, shh!” said Aunt Petunia. “The window’s open!”

How could he forget?

I've seen the argument elsewhere previously that Vernon could have forgotten because it wasn't exactly a big deal to him – but based on how Vernon was so scared of Sirius that he let Harry go to the Quidditch World Cup (in Goblet of Fire) – how could he have forgotten that wizards appear on Muggle news from time to time? This doesn't sit right with me.

What explanation could there be for Vernon stating that there wouldn't be anything about wizards on the news when he knows the truth to be the opposite (although not explicitly stated that the subject in question is magic)?

  • 1
    Hmm, I'll have to check the book, but I don't think Vernon knew that Sirius Black was a wizard.
    – b_jonas
    Jul 22, 2015 at 11:00

1 Answer 1


Well, as you probably know, Harry told Uncle Vernon about Sirius at the end of his third year. From Prisoner of Azkaban:

‘Godfather?’ spluttered Uncle Vernon. ‘You haven’t got a godfather!’

‘Yes, I have,’ said Harry brightly. ‘He was my mum and dad’s best friend. He’s a convicted murderer, but he’s broken out of wizard prison and he’s on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though ... keep up with my news ... check I’m happy ...’

Prisoner of Azkaban - page 317 - Chapter twenty-two, Owl Post Again - Bloomsbury

As for Uncle Vernon forgetting that wizarding activity, or certain wizards, appear on television from time to time ... is there anything in canon that 100% verifies that Sirius Black is not the first wizard to be featured on TV? I'll check, but I can't think of any statement or decree that suggests it's par for the course for wizards or their activities to be featured on Muggle TV. So, when you say that Uncle Vernon forgot about this -- and, yes, I did read the passage you quoted -- I'm unclear as to what portion of that quote is suggesting to you in the first place that Uncle Vernon "forgot" that wizards sometimes appear on Muggle TV. It seems to me that he not only knows, but is exasperated by the fact.

This part of the quote you cite -- "Anyway, it’s not as if there’d be anything about his lot on our news." -- indicates one of two things. First, the Muggle news had never before reported on wizards and wizarding news, and Vernon is making a statement to this effect. Second, Muggle TV reporters, at least in the Harry Potter series, don't identify wizarding suspects as such. They report on wizards and wizarding crimes as if they were a Muggle incident (For example, see how Amelia Bones's and Emmaline Vance's murders in Half-Blood Prince were handled. Chapter one, ).

This tactic may have fooled Uncle Vernon into thinking wizarding news was never seen on Muggle TV. But I don't think he forgot Sirius was Harry's godfather or a wizard, and personally I don't think he did forget that issues and news from the wizarding world sometimes leaks into the Muggle world. He's seen too much. I think Uncle Vernon was just blustering in that typical way of his.

  • Sorry, I should have stated that I had asked this question elsewhere previously and had read in the majority of answers that Vernon simply "forgot". This didn't sit right with me, so i decided to try here.
    – Fazer87
    Jul 22, 2015 at 14:07
  • 1
    He's not really all that bright, either. He might not have ever connected the news reports with Harry's Godfather. Jul 23, 2015 at 0:09

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