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Draco Malfoy

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Nineteen years later SPOILER WARNING! This page contains information from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

"You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there ... Unless you're a bit politer you'll go the same way as your parents. They didn't know what was good for them, either. You hang around with riffraff like the Weasleys and that Hagrid, and it'll rub off on you."
-- Draco Malfoy, on their first trip aboard the Hogwarts Express (PS6)

Draco Malfoy

Draco Malfoy is the son and only child of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy and was a student at Hogwarts in the same year as Harry Potter. He is a rival of Harry, actively trying to undermine him in any way he can. Draco has white-blond hair and a pale, pointed face. He owns an eagle owl which made almost daily deliveries of sweets from home. Draco became the Slytherin Quidditch Seeker after his father made a generous donation of Nimbus 2001 brooms to the team (CS7).

Draco met Harry Potter for the first time at Madam Malkin’s robe shop in Diagon Alley on July 31, 1991. Draco confided to Harry that he was planning on bullying his parents into buying him things he wanted, which reminded Harry strongly of his cousin Dudley. When Draco saw Hagrid through the window of the shop, Draco spoke disparagingly of him, calling him an oaf and a servant (PS5).

This attitude about other people put Harry off considerably. Those comments were followed by another intolerant speech about witches or wizards born of Muggle families. Aboard the Hogwarts Express, 1 September 1991, Draco introduced himself to Harry and suggested that Harry would be better served being friends with Draco than with Ron Weasley, whose family he obviously despised. He then held out his hand to shake Harry’s, but Harry didn’t take it, instead responding, “I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks.” (PS6).  These two events set the stage for a rivalry between the two boys which continued through every school year.

Draco is seldom seen without his two friends, Crabbe and Goyle, who are much larger than he and function as bodyguards. Their relationship is not a friendship between equals. Draco is clearly the leader and he seems to look down on the other boys as being ignorant and slow (which is true). They serve his purposes, however, and they give Draco a sounding board for his virulent speeches against Potter, Hermione Granger, and the Weasleys. He also employs them to do his dirty work on occasion.

Draco is constantly frustrated by the attention given to Harry. His father cautioned Draco that it is not prudent to seem to be an enemy of Potter, who everyone in the wizarding world considers to be a hero, but Draco finds it impossible to be friendly with Harry. Especially galling to Draco is that fact that Muggle-born Hermione Granger outperforms Draco in lessons and Harry outflies him in Quidditch. The teachers seem to give Potter a lot of leeway when it comes to rule-breaking. To top it all off, Harry is a celebrity whose picture appears in the Daily Prophet and who is treated in a familiar, friendly way by the Minister of Magic himself (at least he was, until the summer of 1995).

Draco is something of a whiner, or at least he is not above using a relatively minor injury to his own advantage. When a hippogriff slashed his arm in the fall of 1993, Draco used this as an excuse to skip a week’s worth of lessons, to force other students to do his work for him, and to avoid having to play a tough Quidditch match in unfavorable weather (PA6). He is also not above using offensive or hurtful language to others, including the term “Mudblood” which is highly offensive (CS7).

It is difficult to determine Draco’s relationship with his parents. He is certainly spoiled, judging by the way he bullied Lucius, his father, into buying him a racing broom and by the large amounts of sweets and other gifts he receives from home on an almost daily basis. His mother does care about him, enough anyway to nix the idea of his traveling far away to attend Durmstrang instead of Hogwarts (GF11), and she was frantic when she found out that Voldemort had a special plan in mind using Draco (HBP2). At the Quidditch World Cup, Draco was treated to a seat in the Top Box by his parents (GF8). His father is a Death Eater, and apparently high up in Voldemort’s ranks, and he councils and cautions his son in how to appear respectable in Hogwarts society but also how to advance the cause against Dumbledore. Lucius sends Draco press clippings which could prove useful in embarrassing or harassing Potter or the Weasleys (CS13). Lucius advised Draco, when the Chamber of Secrets had been opened in 1992-3, to keep a low profile and let the Heir of Slytherin get on with it.

He is a good student, although he wishes that Hogwarts actually taught how to perform Dark Magic, not just defend against it. He is a very capable Quidditch Seeker.

The 1996 imprisonment of Draco’s father had a profound effect on his life. His father’s failure to obtain the Prophecy from the Department of Mysteries infuriated Voldemort. Unfortunately for Draco, Voldemort’s attention turned to Lucius’ only son. Sometime after his 16th birthday in June, Voldemort gives Draco an assignment that no adult had been able to achieve: circumvent Hogwarts’ security, and the murder of Albus Dumbledore.  Draco was probably also made a Death Eater at this time (TLC).

Draco initially appeared proud and cocky, but his mother secretly went to Snape and pleaded with him to protect Draco — and to “carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform” if it seems that Draco will fail (HBP2).

Later, we know that Draco was so frightened and isolated that he even sought solace from Moaning Myrtle (HBP21). Even Harry notices a difference: Draco is losing weight, paler and has dark circles under his eyes (HBP22). As Jo later said in an interview, “having talked the talk [Draco is] asked to walk it for the first time and it is absolutely terrifying.” (TLC). For Draco, the stakes were impossibly high: Voldemort would have his whole family killed if Draco failed (HBP). Even knowing that, Draco was unable to kill the Headmaster. Snape did the job for him, then grabbed Draco and escaped (HBP27).

Draco went back to Hogwarts for his seventh year, now a known Death Eater and not particularly favored by the Dark Lord. At home, his family was bullied and mocked, even while their home was being used as headquarters and as a prison. He had watched one of the teachers killed in front of him and then eaten by Nagini (DH1). What he got up to during that turbulent year is uncertain, but by the time he was home for his Easter holidays (DH23) and Snatchers captured Harry, Ron, and Hermione, he gave only half-hearted help in identifying his schoolmates.

When the Death Eaters attacked the school, however, Draco stayed inside the castle to try to capture Harry Potter, probably to try to make up for all the other failings of his family. He, Crabbe, and Goyle caught up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Room of Lost Things. In the ensuing confrontation, Crabbe wildly used magic he couldn’t control, setting Fiendfyre loose. Draco and Goyle managed to make it to temporary safety while Crabbe was killed. Harry, on a broomstick, swung back and saved Draco’s life just as the Fiendfyre was about to devour them (DH31).

After the Battle, when Voldemort was dead, the Malfoy family sat in the Great Hall together, unsure if they were welcome to be there, but ignored by the rest of the people gathered. Narcissa had aided Harry Potter in order to be able to get into the castle to save her son, and now she, Draco, and Lucius looked at a new world dawning before them, a new world where they might not fit in (DH36).

Things did change somewhat. Over the next nineteen years, Draco married Astoria Greengrass and had a son named Scorpius Hyperion (DH/e, YL). He and Harry did not become friends, but they did develop a certain level of respect and understanding of each other (BLC).

Draco and Harry, because of the friendship of their sons, join together with Hermione and Ron to defeat Voldemort and the Cursed Child. In one of their conversations, Draco reveals that his ambition was to be a Quidditch player and not to become “a Ministry man” (CC4.4).

Skills

Highly intelligent with an ability to learn from others, as he stole most of Hermione's ideas from using Polyjuice Potion to spy on people, to using the Protean Charm on coins (HBP27). He also used knowledge from Montague about the Vanishing Cabinet to sneak Death Eaters into the castle for the Battle of the Tower. Had great flying skills (PS9) and good grades in Potions (Snape was his favorite teacher). Was able to master Occlumency, unlike Harry (HBP15); Was great at faking injuries. Enjoyed bullying people such as Neville and Hermione. Boasted of whining to Daddy and manipulating him to buy new brooms or whatever. He was probably the person who put Madam Rosmerta under the Imperius Curse. On the other hand, Draco is not, evidently, a murderer.

Draco Malfoy
Gender Male
Birthday June 5
Species / Race Wizard
Blood Status Pure blood
Other Names Dubbed "The Amazing Bouncing Ferret" by Ron
Hair Pale, white blonde
Eyes Gray and cold
Distinguishing Features Pale, pointed face with fine bones; Harry suspects that Draco has the Dark Mark on his arm
Wand Hawthorn and unicorn hair, 10 inches, reasonably springy, until it was taken by force by Harry. After that Draco used his mother's wand.
School Hogwarts - Slytherin
Profession Independently wealthy
First Introduced PS5

Commentary

Etymology

Draco=a large serpent, dragon (in Latin); tyrannical Athenian lawgiver. 'Draco' is also the constellation that contained 'Thuban,' the ancient Egyptian's pole star (several Egyptian pyramids were aligned on it).
Mal foy="bad faith" in French (WBUR 1999).

"His Christian name comes from a constellation - the dragon - and yet his wand core is of unicorn. This was symbolic. There is, after all - and at the risk of re-kindling unhealthy fantasies - some unextinguished good at the heart of Draco."
-- J.K. Rowling (Pottermore: Draco Malfoy)

Notes

Early drafts: Draco's last name was originally 'Spinks' (HPM) and 'Spungen' (JKR's "Very early draft of Philosophers Stone" revealed 09 Mar, 2006). 'Spungen' is possibly borrowed from Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of punk guitarist Sid Vicious.

Draco Infatuation: The author has lectured fans for years about their love of Draco, lest they might confuse the actor Tom Felton with the character Draco and fall prey to "bad boy syndrome." Needless to say, these lectures don't really work with the fans since fantasies are, after all, what literature is all about.

"People have been waxing lyrical [in letters] about Draco Malfoy, and I think that's the only time when it stopped amusing me and started almost worrying me. I'm trying to clearly distinguish between Tom Felton, who is a good looking young boy, and Draco, who, whatever he looks like, is not a nice man. It’s a romantic, but unhealthy, and unfortunately all too common delusion of — delusion, there you go — of girls, ... And that persists through many women's lives, till their death bed, and it is uncomfortable and unhealthy and it actually worried me a little bit, to see young girls swearing undying devotion to this really imperfect character, because there must be an element in there, that "I'd be the one who [changes him]." I mean, I understand the psychology of it, but it is pretty unhealthy. So, a couple of times I have written back, possibly quite sharply, saying [Laughter], "You want to rethink your priorities here." (2005 Mugglenet/Leaky Interview, TLC2)

More recently on Pottermore she tried again:

"Draco remains a person of dubious morality in the seven published books, and I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character (although I do not discount the appeal of Tom Felton, who plays Draco brilliantly in the films and, ironically, is about the nicest person you could meet). Draco has all the dark glamour of the anti-hero; girls are very apt to romanticise such people. All of this left me in the unenviable position of pouring cold common sense on ardent readers’ daydreams as I told them, rather severely, that Draco was not concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering and prejudice and that no, he and Harry were not destined to end up best friends (Pm).

Draco as "The Boy Who Had No Choices"

Draco was raised by his parents to hate muggles and Muggleborns. He was raised believing in blood purity. He embraced this belief and it became his own, it became part of his identity.

In year one when Draco heard Harry Potter in his same year at Hogwarts, he wanted to become friends with Harry. According to Pottermore, the reason Draco wanted this is because he subscribed to the belief that Harry was going to be an even more evil and even more powerful dark lord than Voldemort had been. Draco wanted to be the Bellatrix to Harry's Voldemort. By making friends, Draco would be at the forefront of this new dark regime. When Harry refused to join with Draco and chose to be friends with a muggleborn and muggle apologist family instead, Draco realized he had been wrong and he resented Harry for having robbed him of the future he had envisioned, but this wasn't all that made Draco hate Harry.

Draco envied Harry for being so popular and good at flying on broomstick (something Draco had thought he'd be the best of his year at). Draco had worked hard to learn to fly and to try and be the most popular kid at school, and Harry got it all without even trying. This added to the fact that Harry clearly wasn’t what he had been hoping for lead to Draco developing a great hatred and envy for the boy who lived.

In the fourth years according to Pottermore Draco was thrilled to learn Voldemort had returned. Draco envied Harry for being able to escape Voldemort for a second time which made Draco want Voldemort to succeed in killing Harry even more.

In the sixth year, Draco eagerly accepted membership as a death eater and the task to kill Dumbledore. According to Pottermore, when Draco was given the task he was "filled with a sense of purpose". The task turned out harder than Draco anticipated, but he refused help from Snape thinking Snape was out to "steal his glory". When push came to shove, Draco couldn't kill Dumbledore because while Draco is bad, he is not evil.

In Malfoy manor, when Harry was captured, Draco didn’t tell Bellatrix that this person brought before him was indeed Harry. The reason for this wasn’t due to some change of heart or he wanted Harry to kill Voldemort, but rather due to Draco not being evil. Draco didn’t tell because he didn’t want to be a cause of death. Bad, but not evil. During the battle for Hogwarts, Draco made one last attempt to capture Harry believing this would return his family to glory. We know what happens next.

After the war, Draco saw the error of his ways and (despite what his parents urged) he raised his son to tolerate muggles and muggleborns. In the end, he did turn into a good person, it just took the entirety of the series to happen.

Now, in that little biography, we saw a lot of things that point to Draco being a genuinely bad person. From the information on Pottermore, JKR has shown us that no, Draco wasn’t “the boy who had no choices”. Now, before the Draco apologists begin typing up their comments, I will show a hole in one of their main arguments. Being raised in with belief system (despite what fundamentalist atheists and Draco apologists say) is not brain washing. "It's not his fault, it's the fault of his parents, particularly his father," some love to say. Herein lies the problem, we are all raised a specific way, yet being brought up a way doesn't justify actions.

Take a look at Dylan Roof, he hated the African American community and was brought up to believe that these people were the cause of all things wrong with the United States of America. Does this mean his action of murdering people should be faulted to his parents? Absolutely not, he acted upon what he believed in and what he does is his own prerogative. He did things, and he must be held accountable for them. Draco had choices, he chose wrong. JKR has written that he was not misunderstood and that he "was not concealing a heart of gold". Draco genuinely was a bad character. JKR says she is "unnerved" by the following this character has. It’s clear from this that “the boy who had no choices” does not exist in the Harry Potter Universe. -- Tad Cornell (used by permission)

DRACO in the FILMS
Draco Malfoy is played by Tom Felton.

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