Harry Potter Fans Shocked by Subtitles Revealing Dudley’s True Words in Iconic Scene

Harry Potter fans are wondering if they’ve had a collective Mandela effect over one of the lines in the very first movie. For a film about a boy who goes to wizard school, a decent chunk of the opening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is dedicated to showing Harry’s dreadful muggle life with the Dursleys.

The Controversial Scene

There’s one particular scene in the film where Harry is living in his cupboard under the stairs, and that little s**t Dudley (Harry Melling) is thundering down the stairs in excitement for his birthday. He then decides to give the stairs a few extra stomps to wake Harry up and declares: “Wake up, Potter!”

Admit it, you wanted him to fall down the stairs here didn’t you? (Warner Bros.)

Only, according to the subtitles, he doesn’t say “Potter.” Instead, he actually says “wake up, cousin,” pouring sawdust onto Harry’s head and making the audience wish someone would push the little toe-rag down the stairs.

Fortunately, he does get some comeuppance in the form of getting up close and personal with a snake at the zoo. Plus, we also know from a deleted scene which really ought to have been left in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One that Harry and Dudley patched things up, parting on good terms.

Cousin, or Potter? He’s both, but which did Dudley say? (Warner Bros.)

Fan Reactions

The discrepancy between what fans thought they heard and what the subtitles say has sparked a heated debate among Harry Potter enthusiasts. One person posted the scene to TikTok, asking viewers what they thought the real line was. This ignited a flurry of comments and confusion among fans.

The Believers

Some fans simply refused to believe the subtitle is correct: “It’s Potter. Ain’t no way Dudley called him cousin… cousin would imply Dudley claims him as family, not as his live-in whipping boy.”

Others readily agreed, refusing to bow down to the tyranny of the subtitles when their ears knew the truth. “I hear Potter. I don’t know why in the subtitle said cousin,” one said. Another added: “I always thought it was Potter too.”

The Doubters

Conversely, some users disagreed and said they could clearly hear “cousin” opposed to “Potter.” “It was always cousin,” one said, while another pointed out: “It says cousin.”

The original poster on TikTok replied: “Right? Maybe whoever did the captions misheard?”

The Reddit Debate

The heated debate has continued on other social media sites too, with one Harry Potter fan taking to Reddit in their pained confusion. They called out to fellow Redditors: “Does anyone actually know what he says? It seems like a stupid question, but it’s quite hard to distinguish between ‘Potter’ and ‘cousin’ when they’re muffled by a staircase, and it’s getting frustrating.”

“It’s cousin. If you particularly listen for the consonant in the second syllable, it’s clearly a ‘z’ sound like cousin and not a ‘t’ sound like Potter,” one user argued.

The Impact of Subtitles

This debate highlights the sometimes surprising impact that subtitles can have on a viewer’s perception of a scene. Subtitles are often relied upon for clarity, especially for those who are hard of hearing or watching in a noisy environment. However, they are not infallible and can sometimes misinterpret dialogue, leading to confusion among fans.

Whether Dudley says “Potter” or “cousin,” this debate has shown the passionate nature of Harry Potter fans and their attention to detail. It also underscores how subtitles, while helpful, can sometimes lead to unexpected controversies. As fans continue to discuss and dissect every moment of their beloved series, it’s clear that the magic of Harry Potter is very much alive, even in the most unexpected ways.

In the end, whether it’s “Potter” or “cousin,” the scene remains a memorable part of the Harry Potter franchise, reminding us of the many layers of enjoyment and interpretation that come with being a fan of such a beloved series.