Story Title: Dudley’s Memories
Author Name: paganaidd
Story url: Story Link 1
Content Rating: Teen
Length: 12,781 words
Story Summary: Minerva needs help delivering another letter to #4 Privet Drive. At forty, Dudley is not at all what Harry expects. A long overdue conversation ensues. DH cannon compliant, but probably not the way you think. Prologue to “Snape’s Memories”.
This week I discovered this author’s epic-length (and epic-quality) WIP story, Digging for the Bones. And while I’m eagerly awaiting an update to that story, I began reading through her other fics, thus discovering “Dudley’s Memories.” I’ve mentioned in other recs that I love post-Deathly Hallows stories which focus on what happens to Dudley, particularly in light of the concern which Dudley exhibited toward Harry upon their separation at the start of Book 7. Even more, I love stories that theorize on the possibility of Dudley having a magical offspring. This fic addresses both topics in a deeply-moving, extremely realistic-feeling tale which just about broke my heart, all the while inspiring me and filling me with hope and encouragement.
The characterizations in “Dudley’s Memories” are spot-on, not only in terms of being consistent with canon, but in accurately representing what life would be like 20 years later for both the victim of abuse, as well as the person who witnessed and even participated in that abuse. The author’s professional background in social work shines through just as much as her technical skills as an author and her mesmerizing abilities as a storyteller. The story avoids becoming too introspective or preachy, though, and remains as riveting and focused of a tale as all of Paganaidd’s works.
And lest I give the wrong impression, let me assure you that “Dudley’s Memories” is not an angsty, depressing fic. It’s a very cathartic, cleansing story, focusing on healing and redemption for both Harry and Dudley. Our pastor recently discussed how in every abuse situation there are typically three parties: the abuser, the victim, and the observer. The observer, he said, usually plays at least a dual role: observer/victim or observer/abuser, and sometimes, as apparently is the case of Dudley, it’s observer/victim/abuser. Often, the observer can be just as screwed up by the role they are forced to play as the victim is. That fact is evident in this story, just as it was in Dumbledore’s accusations toward the Durlseys at the beginning of Half-Blood Prince. But ultimately, both Harry and Dudley will find healing in this story through the ability to talk to each other about this topic which no one else will ever fully understand: what it was to be a victim of Vernon & Petunia Dursley.
This story has a completed sequel, “Snape’s Memories,” which I read afterwards and simply adored. First, though, there are a few scenes in “Dudley’s Memories” which I feel compelled to read again for the third or forth time. I just can’t seem to shake some of these captivating moments from my mind.