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どうか自分の幻想でありますように...幻想など決して認めないダーズリ氏にしてみれば、こんな願いを持つのは生まれてはじめてだった。
Please let it be my imagination... For Mr Dursley who didn't hold with things like imagination, this was the first time in his life that he had had such a wish.

This is the first time I've come across にしてみれば. I'm assuming it simply translates as 'for'. Literally, "if we try making it ...".

This seems like a lot of words just for 'for'.

  1. Am I missing a nuance?
  2. Can I just replace it with に (or any other expression)?
  3. Is it just used in writing, or would it be natural in speech too? I'm aware that にしてみたら also exists, so would that be more acceptable in speech?
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「幻想{げんそう}など決{けっ}して認{みと}めないダーズリ氏{し}にしてみれば、こんな願{ねが}いを持{も}つのは生{う}まれてはじめてだった。」

You ask:

1.Am I missing a nuance?

Yes, I think you are. 「にしてみれば」 is a more emphatic and nuanced expression than what could be translated to just "for". It is roughly the equivalent of "in the case of".

In actual translation, however, one might end up using "for" for the sake of a good flow in the target language. I only recommend that you remember the nuance of the expression because, trust me, you will keep encountering it.

2.Can I just replace it with に (or any other expression)?

No, 「に」 would be too neutral and weak a word to replace 「にしてみれば」 by. Frankly, a single particle will not replace an expression consisting of several words. 「にしてみれば」 can be replaced by, 「にしてみたら」、「にしたら」、「にすれば」, etc.
(「れば」 is always more formal than 「たら」.)

At the very least you would need to use 「にとっては」 if not one of the choices listed above..

3.Is it just used in writing, or would it be natural in speech too? I'm aware that にしてみたら also exists, so would that be more acceptable in speech?

It is used both in writing and speaking. We use the expression rather heavily, if I may add.

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