Wow... thanks for giving us a perspective we don't normally use with Dudley. Normally it's just Dudley the bully, but it was very refreshing to read about 'Dudley the bully who actually did sort of know what he was doing and actually has feelings'! You make the reader feel sorry for him - he didn't choose his parents, and I can almost imagine him having turned out quite differently under different circumstances.
Author's Response: Thank you for the delightful review. I didn't like Dudley in the beginning, but I think in book 5 we see him start to change. I used this piece to ask myself where that change might lead. Because, you're right, he didn't choose his parents, and even if things change with Harry, would Dudley have the courage to stand up to his parents and choose his own path? I'm glad to see that he comes across as human in this piece. Thanks for reading it! ~ Megan
This was a very good portrayal of Dudley's character. I've always liked how Dudley goes from being a mindless bully to someone who actually seems to think about his family and his life and Harry. Great job!!
Author's Response: Thank you! Even though it isn't clear in canon, I always felt that there was more Dudley wanted to say at the start of DH, that, as you said, he moves from this mindless bully in the first few books to someone who actually cares about the feelings of others. I like to think there's hope for him yet. ~Megan
This was a nice character piece on Dudley - I liked the way you presented him here. I thought the refrain of And he regretted that. at the beginning worked really well, because it gave a good glimpse of Dudley's life post-school, before leading up to the greatest regret, being Harry of course.
I liked the little details you put in, like Dudley thinking of Lily and James as Auntie Lily and Uncle James in his head, as though that's some kind of redemption. I just really liked that idea.
I think Dudley is really interesting here - he's aware of the life he's leading, and the one he's going to lead, and that he'll find little joy from it, but he still won't do anything about it. But he is so very human, and there is definitely a bit of goodness in him. In my head I start to hope that someone might be able to pull this Dudley out of the cycle he's got himself stuck into (maybe a nice girl, who he doesn't treat as an object...?)
The idea of Dudley going to a pub on Harry's birthday and drinking away his regrets is just such a lovely idea, and I liked the references to Harry's wedding and children, because it really contrasts where Dudley is at and where Harry's at, and how Harry really won out in the end.
Anyway, this was a very good character piece and a great idea and I very much enjoyed it.
Author's Response: Thank you for that lovely review! I too have hope for Dudley, that something will change, because we know from JKR that he and Harry exchange Christmas cards and their kids have met. I see this as sort of Dudley's rock bottom; there's nowhere to go but up from here. And he's already made the biggest step of realizing all his mistakes. He knows what went wrong, and why, and hopefully he can change it. I wanted him to be more human than we get from most of canon. He's a bully yes, but he becomes a man able to establish a relationship with his cousin. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. ~ Megan
Oh, I loved that. It makes Dudley so...human. Not just that you see him realizing how horrid he'd been as a child, but that he regrets and doesn't do anything much to change it. Because I can very much see that as something Dudley, who never really works for anything besides bullying/belittling people, would do. I'm bad at phrasing this, but it just makes so much sense as a character piece for him. Bravo. :)
Author's Response: Thank you for the review. I wanted Dudley to come across more human than we see him in canon; I think if Petunia hadn't put her foot in it, Dudley might have said more at the start of DH, so I wanted to play with that idea. I also think that if Dementors suck all the happiness away, then Dudley must have seen himself how he truly was and not how his friends and parents saw him, and I would hope that might change him some. ~ Megan