Vernon Dursley – Italian Description

illustration by Serena Riglietti

Vernon Dursley is easily one of my least favourite characters in Harry Potter, for obvious reasons. However is he just as unlikable in Italian as he is in English? In this post I have highlighted the main descriptive sentences for Mr. Dursley in the first half of Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale.


The first description of Vernon Dursley:

Il signor Dursley era direttore di una ditta di nome Grunnings, che fabbricava trapani. Era un uomo corpulento, nerboruto, quasi senza collo e con un grasso paio di baffi.

Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large moustache.

I have highlighted the key descriptive words (nouns and adjectives) in both Italian and English. I think it is also interesting to note that in Italian the definite article is not used before direttore.


This next sentence is taken from the passage where the Dursleys and Harry are about to head to the zoo for Dudley’s birthday.

<< Ti avverto >> gli aveva detto piazzandoglisi davanti col suo faccione paonazzo a un millimetro dal suo naso, << ti avverto una volta per tutte, ragazzino, niente cose strane, niente di niente, intesi? O resterai chiuso in quel ripostiglio fino a Natale >>.

“I’m warning you,” he had said, putting his large purple face right up close to Harry’s, “I’m warning you now, boy — any funny business, anything at all — and you’ll be in that cupboard from now until Christmas.”

There are not many descriptions in this sentence, however it is a good example of how Vernon Dursley is not a good person. I also wanted to show how speech marks are used in Italian – having to learn new rules of punctuation is an annoying but necessary aspect of language learning!


An unfortunate but funny moment where Harry steps on his uncle’s face:

Di sopra si accesero le luci e con orrore Harry si rese conto che la cosa grossa e flaccida era la faccia di suo zio Vernon.

Lights clicked on upstairs and to his horror Harry realised that the big, squashy something had been his uncle’s face.


And finally, as it could be considered the best insult ever used:

<< Ma chiudi il becco, scimunito d’un Dursley! >> esclamò il gigante.

“Ah, shut up, Dursley, yeh great prune,” said the giant

The Italian scimunito may not have the same ring to it as great prune but I’m sure it’s just as effective.



I hope this has been an interesting way to look at some descriptive vocabulary. I will do this in the future with other characters – most likely the rest of the Dursley family next!

If you have a character request, let me know.


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