Fearlessness can be as liberating as fear can be crippling, I think this chapter shows that brilliantly.
I like that Vernon gets his priorities straight in fear, like not putting Dudley on a pedestal and showing some consideration to Harry. The way fear induces paranoia in Vernon and stops him from following his “normal” way of life is something I’ve certainly experience before.
So, When we played in inter-college tournaments, We had never managed to win a match in which we conceded a goal for all of three years. Every match we’ve ever won was by a (+ve integer) – 0 scoreline and by the time we were in our 4th year, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. We were so crippled by the fear of conceding that we ended up playing very defensive, cagey football even though we had some brilliant attacking talent.
The other interesting part of the chapter was the fearlessness of Harry, His sarcasm and defiance even though he was repeatedly punished and beaten up for speaking out. I don’t know whether it comes from just being a kid or accepting his fate or seeing the letters as a ticket to a world outside. The easier option would have been to just shut up and keep quiet but, Harry Potter is rebellious from the start which kinda sets a precedent for what happens again and again throughout the books.