The novel opens with a description of the Dursley family, a middle-class family that lives in Little Whinging, Surrey. Vernon and Petunia Dursley are constantly worried that someone will find out about Petunia’s decidedly “unDursleyish” witch sister, Lily, and their worries are justified when Lily’s infant son, Harry, is left on their doorstep. Lily and her husband, James Potter, had been murdered by the dark wizard, Voldemort, but when Voldemort attempted to kill Harry, his power somehow broke. Harry becomes the only living person ever to survive the killing curse, and the only sign of his encounter with Voldemort is a unique lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. Because Harry does not have any other living relatives, Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, decides to leave him with the Dursleys until he is old enough to attend Hogwarts.

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