As Aunt Marge started to make herself at home, Harry caught himself thinking almost longingly of life at number four without her. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia usually encouraged Harry to stay out of their way, which Harry was only too happy to do. Aunt Marge, on the other hand, wanted Harry under her eye at all times, so that she could boom out suggestions for his improvement. She delighted in comparing Harry with Dudley, and took huge pleasure in buying Dudley expensive while glaring at Harry, as though daring him to ask why he hadn't got any a present too. She also kept throwing out dark hints about what made Harry such an unsatisfactory person.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

What does "dark hints" mean here?

  • I'm tempted to say "incriminating insinuations" but I'm not sure that helps. Jan 13, 2018 at 15:10
  • dark hints = hurtful suggestions
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 31, 2023 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


"Dark" suggests something sinister. If you give someone a hint, you suggest an idea without telling someone clearly or explicitly.

The gangster hinted darkly that "It would be a pity if someone set fire to the shop".

Aunt Marge suggests that Harry's failings (as she sees it) are a consequence of his father that she believes to have been unemployed, and a mother that she thinks didn't care for her son.

This is dark, because she suggests that Harry will fail as a person because of his father and mother (who died when Harry was a baby), which is a cruel and sinister thing to suggest to a 12-year-old orphan.

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