Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Draco Malfoy
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
|Hair color||White Blond|
|Related Family||Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa (Black) Malfoy, Black family|
|Loyalty||Family (who in turn were loyal to Voldemort's ideals)|
- 1 Overview
- 2 Role in the Books
- 3 Strengths
- 4 Weaknesses
- 5 Relationships with Other Characters
- 6 Analysis
- 7 Questions
- 8 Greater Picture
Draco Malfoy, a boy with platinum blond hair and a pale, pointed sneering face, is the only child of the wealthy Lucius Malfoy and his wife, Narcissa Black Malfoy. Draco attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and is in the same year as Harry Potter. Draco is a member of Slytherin House, and he is usually accompanied by Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, and occasionally Pansy Parkinson, also Slytherins. Draco constantly boasts about being a pureblood wizard and his family's wealth and societal status.
Draco's wand is hawthorn wood with a unicorn hair core.
Role in the Books
Draco Malfoy is introduced to the story in Madam Malkin's Robes For All Occasions in Diagon Alley where he and Harry are being fitted for their school robes. Draco, who does not introduce himself, expresses hope that he will be sorted into Slytherin House. He asks Harry's name, but Hagrid's appearing at the window distracts them before Harry can answer. Harry is somewhat dismayed by Draco's assumption that pure-blood Wizarding families are superior, and asks Hagrid about this; Hagrid dismisses his concerns, saying Draco would feel less superior if he knew who Harry was.
Draco appears again, with his two cohorts, Crabbe and Goyle, in tow, aboard the Hogwarts Express. Draco expresses some surprise that this truly is Harry Potter, then makes an insulting remark about Ron Weasley, who is sharing Harry's compartment, and suggests that Harry would do well to ally himself with Draco rather than Ron. Harry responds that he has a pretty good idea about what people he wants to associate himself with, dismissing Draco. Draco wants the treats Harry bought, but when Goyle attempts to grab a cauldron cake, Ron's rat, Scabbers, attacks him.
Draco is Sorted into Slytherin House, as he expected, along with his two sidekicks. Harry and Ron find they have double Potions with Slytherin. Draco, Crabbe and Goyle snigger when Professor Snape, upon seeing Harry's name, remarks, "Our new... celebrity." Snape obviously favors Draco, while frequently criticizing everyone else in the class.
Except for Potions class, Harry has avoided Draco, but is dismayed that flying lessons are being shared with Slytherins. Harry is eager to learn how to fly, but he fears embarrassing himself while Draco is present. Ron speculates that Draco likely knows little more about flying than Harry, despite his bragging; Draco does have many flying stories to tell, though all seem to end with narrow escapes from Muggle helicopters.
At breakfast, before the first flying class, Neville receives a package containing a Remembrall. Draco, strutting by the table, grabs it, prompting Harry and Ron leap to their feet, hoping for an excuse to fight. Professor McGonagall's timely arrival interrupts them, and Draco returns the Remembrall to Neville.
At the flying lesson, Harry and Ron are delighted when Madam Hooch corrects how Draco grips his broomstick, saying he has been doing it wrong for years. When Draco jeers at Neville after his accident, Parvati Patil warns him to shut up, prompting Pansy Parkinson to snidely remark that Parvati is sweet on Neville. Disregarding Madam Hooch's order for all students to remain on the ground during her absence, Draco picks up Neville's Remembrall and takes off on his broom, intending to place the Remembrall high in a tree. Harry follows on his broom, discovering he is a natural flyer, and that Draco is far less brave without Crabbe and Goyle being nearby. Draco, cowed, throws the Remembrall high in the air. Harry dives and catches it before it smashes into the ground. He is caught by Professor McGonagall, and has to endure Draco's triumphant smirk as Harry is led away, believing he will be expelled.
Later, Draco challenges Harry to a Wizard's Duel at midnight. Ron immediately volunteers to be Harry's second, and Draco selects Crabbe as his. When Harry reaches the trophy room at the appointed time, however, it becomes apparent that Draco never intended to meet Harry. Instead, Filch arrives, hunting students. After evading Filch, Hermione surmises Draco tipped off Filch that Harry and the others would be there after hours.
Draco is dismayed that Harry escaped being expelled again. He is even more dismayed when, a week later, a long, thin package is delivered to Harry at breakfast. Draco determines that it must be a broom, and denounces him to Professor Flitwick. Flitwick agrees it is a broom, but says a first-year student – like Harry – can own one under special circumstances.
Draco, enraged by Gryffindor's win over Slytherin at Quidditch after Harry nearly swallows the Snitch, jokes that Gryffindor's next seeker will be a wide-mouth tree frog. When this fails to have any effect on Harry, Draco reverts to ridiculing Harry's home life and his plans to stay at the school over Christmas. Harry hardly minds - he actually expects this to be his best Christmas ever, particularly as the Weasley children are also staying at Hogwarts. When Draco makes disparaging remarks about Ron's poverty, Ron, enraged, dives at Draco and is penalized five House points by Snape, who has just arrived on the scene.
Shortly after Christmas, Neville topples through the entrance to Gryffindor Tower, his legs charmed to stick together. Draco jinxed him just outside the library, claiming he was looking for someone to practice on. Hermione undoes the jinx, and Harry encourages Neville to stand up against bullies like Draco.
Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle sit directly behind Ron and Neville at the Quidditch match against Hufflepuff. Within the first few minutes, Draco has goaded Ron to where he jumps Draco. Neville hesitates, then joins in. Ron, though getting a bloody nose, has given Draco a black eye.
Draco may be within earshot when Harry reads Hagrid's note saying that the dragon egg is hatching. Harry, Hermione, and Ron head to Hagrid's hut to watch. Inside, Hagrid sees someone peering in the window, and Harry recognizes the vanishing figure as Draco. Norbert, the baby dragon, later bites Ron's hand, sending Ron to the Hospital Wing, where Draco soon arrives, claiming he needs to borrow a book. Instead, he torments Ron by threatening to tell Madam Pomfrey what actually bit him. Charlie Weasley's letter specifying when Norbert is to be picked up is in the book that Draco borrows.
Later, Harry and Hermione, under the Invisibility Cloak, head to the tallest tower to deliver Norbert for the appointed pick up. Along the way, they spot Professor McGonagall penalizing Draco house points and giving him detention for being out after hours and fabricating nonsense about a dragon. That evening's events also land Harry, Hermione, and Neville in detention with Draco; a week before exams, Filch escorts the four to Hagrid, who explains they are going into the Forbidden Forest. Refusing to participate, Draco protests that it is servant stuff, though he sulkily acquiesces after Hagrid issues an ultimatum: either go or be expelled. Something has been slaying Unicorns, and the students' job is to help Hagrid track a wounded one and find what hunted it. Despite his initial trepidation, Draco, paired with Neville, becomes bored and scares Neville, who releases a distress signal. Hagrid, responding, re-shuffles the groups so that Draco is now paired with Harry, who presumably is less easily scared. When Harry and Draco find the dead unicorn, a dark shape is hovering over it, apparently lapping its blood; Draco, terrified, runs away.
Draco is seen again at the end-of-year feast, where Harry is sickened by watching Draco banging his goblet in a joyous celebration over Slytherin winning the House trophy. But Harry is suddenly cheered by Draco's stunned and horrified expression when, after a last-minute awarding of house points, Gryffindor is declared the winner.
Malfoy has joined the Slytherin Quidditch team as Seeker, though this is mostly due to his father, Lucius Malfoy, having donated expensive racing brooms to the Slytherin team. When students start being attacked, Harry suspects that Draco might be Salazar Slytherin's heir, and therefore able to open the Chamber of Secrets to unleash the monster within that will kill Muggle-born students. Using the Polyjuice potion that Hermione secretly brewed, Harry and Ron transform themselves into Crabbe and Goyle in an effort to learn the Heir's true identity, only to discover that it is not Draco, nor does he know who it might be.
In the book, Draco actually approaches Buckbeak cautiously and even strokes his beak. However, he makes the mistake of verbally insulting the bird and is attacked by Buckbeak during the first Care Of Magical Creatures lesson. Later, Hermione slaps Draco in the face for laughing about Buckbeak's impending execution. Draco also taunts Harry about him wanting revenge against Sirius Black, who, unknown to Harry just yet, is his godfather and is somehow connected to James and Lily Potter's murders. Chances are high that Draco knows that Sirius is innocent because Sirius is the cousin of Narcissa Malfoy, Draco's mother.
Draco first appears at the Quidditch World Cup with his parents, and later sees the Trio taking refuge in the woods during the Death Eater attack. Draco's taunting comments and nonchalant manner indicates he knows who is behind the attack.
During the school year, he is turned into a ferret by Professor Alastor Moody for attempting to attack Harry when his back is turned. Draco is rescued by Professor McGonagall. He also passes spiteful information about Harry and his friends to the disreputable journalist, Rita Skeeter, who is also an unregistered Animagus.
Draco is appointed a Prefect, along with Pansy Parkinson, for Slytherin House. Hermione reports that he is beastly towards the First Years, clearly abusing his Prefect's powers.
As they travel from the train station to Hogwarts castle, Draco and his sidekicks ride in a horse-less carriage with Pansy Parkinson.
Draco, Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle are laughing about something as they arrive at Care of Magical Creatures class. When Professor Grubbly-Plank, who is substituting for the absent Hagrid, asks if anyone can identify some creatures, Hermione raises her hand, prompting Draco to mimic her. Pansy shrieks with laughter, then screams as the little bundles of twigs on the table jump up, revealing themselves to be Bowtruckles. As he collects a Bowtruckle, Draco suggests to Harry that Hagrid could have run into something too big for him and gotten hurt. Although we are yet to realize it, and Harry never seems to draw the connection himself, this indicates that Draco knows something about Hagrid's secret mission for Dumbledore.
When Professor Umbridge is evaluating the Care of Magical Creatures class taught by Professor Grubbly-Plank during Hagrid's absence, Malfoy claims he was slashed by a Hippogriff. When Hagrid returns to Hogwarts, he tells his class they will be working in the Forbidden Forest. Draco seems scared, needing reassurance that the creatures they will be looking at are properly trained. He is hardly reassured by Hagrid's injured appearance.
Educational Decree Number Twenty Four banning all unauthorized school organizations is published, and Draco boasts that the Slytherin Quidditch team was reformed almost automatically, given his father's influence within the Ministry. He implies that Harry will be sent to St. Mungo's, where there is a special ward for the incurably insane. Hearing this, Neville tries to attack Draco, but Harry and Ron restrain him.
During Harry's secret Dumbledore's Army session, Dobby suddenly arrives to warn Harry that Umbridge has found out and is on her way. Harry orders D.A. members to run, then heads for a bathroom where Draco, concealed, catches him with a Trip Jinx. Umbridge, arriving, awards Slytherin house fifty points, and sends Draco to search for the other D.A. members. Harry is dragged to the Headmaster's Office, where Cornelius Fudge, and also Dumbledore, are waiting. Umbridge reports that Draco has caught "the Potter boy." Fudge responds he will inform Lucius Malfoy.
After Umbridge ousts Dumbledore as Headmaster and assumes command, Draco is appointed to her Inquisitorial Squad, along with Montague and Pansy Parkinson. The Inquisitorial Squad has been given unrestricted power to deduct points from all Houses; Draco is quick to abuse his authority.
Shortly afterwards, Professor Umbridge sends Draco to get Snape's assistance in extracting Montague, an Inquisitorial Squad member who has been missing for some time, from a toilet. Draco interrupts Harry and Snape during an Occlumency lesson. Draco is intrigued and amused when Snape, to cover what they are actually doing, explains that Harry is taking remedial Potions.
As OWL exams approach, Draco loudly proclaims that one's OWL marks are due more to who you know rather than what you know, and mentions that his father is close friends with Griselda Marchbanks, head of the Wizarding Examination Authority. Neville whispers to Harry and Ron that Griselda Marchbanks is a friend of his grandmother's, and she has never mentioned the Malfoy family.
In Harry's Charms OWL exam, his examiner, Professor Tofty, greets him as, "the famous Harry Potter?" Draco, overhearing, glares malevolently at Harry, as the wine glass he is levitating falls and smashes.
Umbridge catches Harry using her office fireplace as he frantically attempts to contact Sirius Black, who may be in peril at the Ministry. Two Inquisitorial Squad members, Draco and Millicent Bulstrode, accompany her. Draco and Umbridge restrain Harry, while Millicent captures Hermione. When Harry refuses to reveal who he was contacting, Umbridge orders Draco to fetch Snape; Hermione suddenly "confesses" that they were trying to contact Professor Dumbledore about the secret weapon he had them build. Umbridge demands Hermione lead her to it. Draco suggests he should go along, to which Hermione readily agrees is a good idea; suspicious, and over Draco's protests, Umbridge declares that only Hermione and Harry will go. The other DA members who were also caught, escape the Inquisitorial Squad, aided by Ginny's Bat Bogey jinx cast at Draco.
When Harry returns to Hogwarts after the battle at the Ministry, Draco, with Crabbe and Goyle, threatens retaliation for his father, Lucius, having been sentenced to Azkaban prison. Snape's arrival ends the duel before any spells are cast.
Aboard the homeward-bound Hogwarts Express, Draco tries to jinx Harry, but D.A. members arrive in time and, Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle are jinxed until they look like gigantic slugs squeezed into Hogwarts uniforms. Harry, Ernie, and Justin leave the three in the luggage rack.
Throughout this book, Draco is almost always in the Room of Requirement, with the exception of Professor Slughorn's party, which he accidentally crashes, where Harry later overhears Snape and Draco arguing.
Later, Harry finds Draco sobbing in the boys bathroom. Apparently he has been trying to do something but it is not going well, and he deeply fears what will happen to him and his family should he fail. Catching Harry's reflection in the mirror, Draco spins and fires curses at him. Harry, defending himself, uses Sectumsempra, an unknown curse he found in the Half-Blood Prince's textbook, with only the notation, "For enemies". Draco nearly dies from blood loss, but is saved by Snape's timely arrival.
Draco has been tasked by Voldemort to murder Professor Dumbledore. When Draco traps the professor atop the Astronomy Tower, he is unable to carry out Voldemort's orders. As he is about to lower his wand and accept Dumbledore's help, other Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange, who have invaded Hogwarts with Draco's help, find him and Dumbledore. Snape also arrives, and, as Harry helplessly watches from under his Invisibility Cloak, Snape casts a lethal curse at Dumbledore. Draco is last seen being towed by Snape as he, and the other Death Eaters, escape Hogwarts.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron escape two Death Eaters at an all-night café on Tottenham Court Road, altering their memories so they are unable to remember who they nearly captured. The Trio then hide out at Number 12, Grimmauld Place. Shortly after their arrival, Voldemort's rage once again drags Harry into his mind, and he watches the Death Eater, Thorfinn Rowle, being tortured for failing to catch Harry. Harry is dismayed that it is a sick-looking Draco who is forced to do the torturing.
Snatchers, led by the werewolf, Fenrir Greyback, apprehend the Trio, but Harry's magically altered face, makes it difficult to recognize him. At Malfoy Manor, Lucius calls on Draco to identify Harry. Possibly misled by Harry's swollen face, Draco balks at making a definitive identification, though he may be protecting him. Narcissa Malfoy, however, recognizes Hermione, and is about to summon Voldemort when Bellatrix halts her. After confining the others to the cellars, Bellatrix tortures Hermione for information about the Sword of Gryffindor. When Hermione says it is a fake, Lucius has Draco fetch the goblin, Griphook to verify its authenticity. As Draco leaves the cellar, Dobby Apparates in.
When Harry and Ron escape the cellar, Ron, armed with Peter Pettigrew's wand, Disarms Bellatrix, but is forced to surrender his wand when Bellatrix holds a knife to Hermione's throat. Draco collects the fallen wands, but after Dobby drops the chandelier on Bellatrix, Harry physically wrests all three wands (Bellatrix', Pettigrew's, and Draco's) from Draco's hand before he and Dobby escape, though Dobby is killed.
Surprisingly, when Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle corner Harry in the Room of Requirement, it is not Draco, but Crabbe and Goyle who talk the most. Draco demands Harry return his wand, though Harry refuses. When Crabbe starts knocking piles of junk over, Draco stops him, saying if they destroy the room, they may be unable to find the Diadem. When Crabbe sets the Fiendfyre, Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape on brooms; Harry circles back to save Draco and Goyle, but Crabbe is lost.
As Harry, Ron, and Hermione are making their way under the Invisibility Cloak to the Shrieking Shack, they pass Draco, who is pleading with a Death Eater not to jinx him, that he is on their side. Harry Stuns the Death Eater, and Ron punches Draco, saying that is twice they have saved his life, and calling him two-faced.
Facing Voldemort in the Great Hall, Harry tells him that, even though Voldemort holds the Elder Wand, he does not command it. The wand owes its allegiance to the one who forcefully removed it from its previous master; and as Snape had not taken it from Dumbledore, Snape was never its master. Instead, it was Draco who had Disarmed Dumbledore; and Draco, in turn, had been Disarmed by Harry weeks earlier. The wand Harry won from Draco was now in his hand. Now the issue is: does the Elder Wand sense that Draco was disarmed? If so, then Harry is now the Elder Wand's master.
In the Epilogue, we see Draco, who acknowledges Harry with a nod, with his wife and son, Scorpius. Draco's hairline is receding slightly, which makes his already-pointed chin appear somewhat sharper.
Draco is intelligent, magically proficient, and grows into a strong wizard; his father introduced him early on to some Dark Arts magic that most young wizards his age rarely see or even know about. This has given him some advantages that other wizards lack. Like most in his family, Draco was sorted into Slytherin House where he is favored by Professor Snape, a powerful wizard at Hogwarts and head of Slytherin
Draco's family is particularly wealthy and influential, and while Draco himself never directly influences the Ministry or other wizard institutions, he does benefit from it through his father, and has some indirect affect as well. His family's wealth and influence has probably helped him garner his supporters/thug companions, Crabbe and Goyle.
Though he did not achieve the position in a fair manner, he seems to have turned out a rather strong Quidditch seeker, to the point that his missing a match is considered a really lucky coincidence by the opposing team in Half-Blood Prince.
Draco's greatest strength may be that he has developed rather differently from his family, lacking their Dark, evil nature. This does, at times, cause him great personal anguish and he believes himself a failure when he is unable to fully act as Lord Voldemort's agent. It is, however, Draco's innate morality that rules his behavior. While Draco never consciously betrays his family, his actions late in the series saves others' lives, as well as his own soul, and shows he is capable of remorse and redemption. And though he will always embody traditional Slytherin characteristics, Draco learns much from his family's misdeeds, likely retaining a moral nature and becoming a far better person than his wicked relatives.
Rather than developing his own unique personality traits and abilities, Draco's character is almost entirely formed and sustained by his family's wealth and reputation, as well as by his followers. When accompanied by his enforcers, Crabbe and Goyle, he struts and acts the bully; but as early as flying lessons in the first book, we see that he is effectively lost without their presence. Confronted on his own by Harry, who is astride a broom for the first time, Draco retreats with dishonour. Having challenged Harry to a duel, rather than keeping the appointment, Draco instead tips off Filch that students will be out after hours. Even with Crabbe and Goyle in attendance, his courage is lacking. When Hermione slaps him, the three simply retreat. This weak resolve remains throughout the series, and in the battle at Hogwarts, late in the final book, we see Draco pleading for his life.
In fact, Draco, at least through the first five books, is entirely without honour. He is the epitome of Slytherin's belief, "using any means to achieve their ends," as the Sorting Hat says.
By the sixth book, Draco's bullying persona starts eroding after Voldemort appoints him to perform an unspeakable task. A more vulnerable side to his personality is exposed as he agonizes over obeying Voldemort's orders, knowing it involves an act he is incapable of performing, but that he must accomplish to protect his family. In the seventh book, Draco shows there are even more limits to what he can or will do. While we see that he still lacks a forceful enough character to resist being manipulated, his youth, inexperience, subordination to his family's strong authority, and fear of Voldemort are contributing factors to his behavior. In particular, Harry sees Draco's revulsion at being forced to torture the Death Eater, Rowle, and we witness Draco's reluctance to identify Harry after his capture, knowing that if he does, Voldemort will promptly murder him. In both cases, even though Draco resists, he is unable to prevent himself from being exploited, mostly because he fears for his and his family's lives.
Relationships with Other Characters
Malfoy's greatest nemesis is Harry Potter, who he despises for being a Half-Blood and because he was instrumental in Lord Voldemort's downfall. He was insulted when Harry spurned his offer of friendship after their first meeting, Harry preferring Ron Weasley's company over his. Draco also resents Harry's fame and may be jealous over his greater power as a wizard. Draco equally despises Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, Hermione because she is Muggle-born and a superior student, and Ron, who, despite being a pure-blood wizard, is poor, and whose family dares to advocate Half-blood and Muggle-born wizards as equals to pure bloods, and that Muggles also have rights.
Draco lacks true friends, even among his fellow Slytherins, but his two cronies, Crabbe and Goyle, who Draco treats as minions, continually trail him about, following his orders. He does, however, appear to have emotional connections with the two, as he is upset when Crabbe is killed, and he tries his best to keep Goyle alive. Crabbe, Goyle, and others who gravitate to Draco, mainly seem attracted to his family's wealth and status. Draco generally considers most students outside Slytherin as inferior. This attitude also extends to many Hogwarts teachers and staff, though he apparently admires Professor Snape, while considering Professor Dumbledore foolish and ineffectual.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry overhears Draco boasting about an important mission the Dark Lord has assigned him. When Harry mentions it to Ron, he erroneously believes Draco was merely trying to impress Pansy Parkinson.
Pansy is Draco's date at the Yule Ball, in book 4, and she is often seen in close proximity to him, but it appears that their relationship never develops into anything serious or that Draco has any romantic interest in her during the series. Pansy, however, always seems intent on pursuing Draco, possibly, like others, attracted to his family name and wealth.
Draco is always respectful and obedient to his parents, particularly his father, who Draco loves and admires, but also fears. Draco also deeply loves his mother, though he seems unable to openly express it. Being an only child and a son, both his parents apparently have high expectations that he will continue the Malfoy legacy, upholding its traditions, and remaining loyal to the Dark Lord and his pure-blood ethos.
Bellatrix Black Lestrange, Narcissa Malfoy's sister, is Draco's aunt. Their relationship never seems particularly close, though Bellatrix is surprisingly impressed that Draco has shown an eagerness to take on Voldemort's secret mission; she has also tutored Draco in Occlumency, possibly to block Snape, who she never trusts, from reading Draco's mind and learning more details about the Dark Lord's plans. Bellatrix goads Snape into making an unbreakable vow with Narcissa to aid Draco should he fail to complete the Dark Lord's task, though she seems more motivated to ensure the mission's success rather than protect her nephew.
According to Narcissa Malfoy, Professor Snape is Draco's favourite teacher. It also seems that Draco is Snape's favourite student, though his connection to the wealthy and influential Malfoy family appears to have much to do with that. Later in the series, Snape actually secretly works with Dumbledore to protect Draco, knowing it is Voldemort's intent to kill the boy solely to punish Lucius Malfoy for his failure to retrieve a prophecy. Draco resists Snape's help, however, believing it will only further endanger his family, and perhaps having come to distrust him as much as his Aunt Bellatrix does. When Snape escapes following the battle at Hogwarts, he forces Draco to go with him, perhaps fearing Draco's life will be in danger if he remains behind.
Also, though they never speak throughout the entire series, Draco is Nymphadora Tonks' first cousin through their mothers, Narcissa and Andromeda, who are sisters. Due to Andromeda's marrying the Muggle-born wizard Ted Tonks, she has been disowned by her family, the Blacks. Neither Andromeda nor the Black family cares to acknowledge the relationship. Only Sirius Black, Andromeda's cousin who also has been disowned by the Blacks, has any contact with the Tonks family.
Rowling uses Draco in the series as Harry Potter's enemy and also as a contrast to his personality. Pure blood, 'evil', Slytherin, Death Eater: these characteristics show how Draco differs from Harry. It is interesting to note, however, how Draco gradually becomes a better person as the series progresses.
We note in the Loyalty part of the headnote that Draco was loyal to his family. While Draco quite obviously reveled in the feeling of superiority that his ancestry brought him, and so would seem to be aligned with Voldemort who was espousing that belief, we can also see that Draco has little stomach for Voldemort's methods. His adherence to the Death Eater organizational ideals was quite possibly driven by his family.
First Five Books
Through the first five books, Draco's behaviour is consistent. Apparently the archetypal Slytherin, Draco uses any means, fair or foul, to get ahead. He apparently bribes his way into being the new Slytherin Quidditch Seeker when his father donates expensive brooms to the team. He consistently belittles students in other Houses, particularly Harry, Ron, and Hermione. He seems supremely self-confident, quite clearly believing that his father's wealth and his Pure-blood status will get him anything he wants, rather than acheiving it by his own talents and abilities. And we see also that he has surrounded himself with sycophants (notably Pansy Parkinson) and hired muscle, (Crabbe and Goyle, who are presumably paid in status). Taking a leaf from Slytherin's book, Draco especially belittles Muggle-borns (like Hermione), whose parents have no magical ability, and half-bloods (like Harry), born of wizards or witches who were Muggle offspring, or those who profess to like Muggles (such as the Weasley family). Like most bullies, Draco immediately backs down when faced with a superior force. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Draco's over-bearing father Lucius is equally belittling to his own son, causing Draco, who fears his father, to merely take it, having no other choice. Additionally, Hermione, goaded beyond her limits, slaps Draco, whereupon he and his thugs rapidly depart. We quickly see that Draco has largely been moulded into his father's image. Draco is, of course, chastened when his father is removed from the Board of Governors of Hogwarts, but he recovers. One supposes he has rationalized to himself that this is only a mistake that will be rectified shortly after the Board realizes their error. However, Lucius' arrest in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix severely affects Draco. Initially, he retains his arrogance, blaming Harry for his father being arrested, which is, in Draco's view, an inversion of how things should work: being a Pure-Blood, Lucius should be proof against any efforts by Muggle-borns or Muggle lovers, and here he clearly was not. However, that Lucius remains imprisoned must have some effect on Draco.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Draco faces difficult problems he may be unable to solve by himself. We suspect he has become a Death Eater, as he seems protective, almost obsessively, about where the Dark Mark would have been placed on him, but this is never fully confirmed, as he never reveals the Mark. While he exhibits the same arrogance, we start seeing cracks in his armour. In the Potions class he takes with Harry, he no longer needles Harry. Instead, he has been commiserating with Moaning Myrtle about something he is trying to unsuccessfully do. And in the end of the book, he quite clearly has been burdened with performing several secret tasks; one, murdering Dumbledore, is something that he is unable to carry out. His prevarication when faced with this seems alien to the person we previously believed Draco to be. His mother, Narcissa, of course, understands her son well, and early in the book, she is expressing her fear to Snape that Draco will fail and be punished for that failure.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The Dark Lord better understood Draco than we did in the previous book. Voldemort deliberately set up Draco to fail in the tasks he assigned him, solely as a means to punish Draco's family for their earlier failures to carry out Voldemort's commands. Voldemort knows Draco's basic weakness is what we recognize as the remaining core of his humanity. Several views of Draco and his family show us that, despite what was seen in the earlier books, Draco, though despicable, is not inherently evil. He is forced to torture a Death Eater who has failed Voldemort, and Harry sees, through Voldemort's eyes, Draco's revulsion at having to perform this task. When Harry is captured and brought to Malfoy Manor, Draco knows that if he identifies Harry, Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, will be murdered, causing Draco to balk at confirming his identity.
Later, Draco, with Crabbe and Goyle, remains at Hogwarts after the other Slytherins are evacuated before the Battle of Hogwarts, apparently to try and capture Harry for Voldemort. He may believe this could restore Voldemort's favour to him and his family. Draco's bullying nature does seem more pronounced whenever he is within Hogwarts' halls, far from his father's authority, and where he has Crabbe and Goyle's support. However, during the battle, Draco seems more concerned with preserving his own hide rather than attacking either side in the fight.
It appears that Draco never has a realization about which side he is actually on, nor does he experience an epiphany about the Dark side's true nature or that it will eventually lead everything to death and destruction. It seems unlikely he will arrive at that conclusion after the series end. Draco believes in the same sentiments as most Death Eaters, and obediently follows his father, but he balks at employing their methods, thus never fully embracing either side. Almost a prototypical Slytherin, Draco's allegiance seems ruled by whatever potential there is for personal gain. He will likely work alongside whatever side is poised to win. His selecting the main chance in this manner, however, does tend to prevent him from weighing the relative outcomes in any sense larger than his own personal future.
- How will Narcissa Malfoy's love for her son affect his actions?
- Will Malfoy have a point of redemption, a point of realization that Voldemort's path only leads to destruction and death?
- Do you think Draco Malfoy really wanted to go over to Voldemort's side?
Although he loves his father, Draco fears him and what might happen if he should disobey or displease him in any way. His greatest vulnerability is his love for his parents, and theirs is their love for him. While he strives to emulate Voldemort, the main difference between them is that Draco does know love, that of his mother, and to a lesser extent, his father's. Draco has grown up in a sheltered family with a mother who showered him with care packages during his first year at Hogwarts, and a father who would wreak havoc on anyone who hurt him. But we note from the few interactions that we see between Draco and Lucius that there is a definite bullying aspect to their relationship. It would appear that Draco grew up in an abusive home, constantly surrounded by verbal (if not physical) violence and isolation. This aspect is often overlooked, as people will always stereotype Draco as the "bad guy," but people never begin to look into why he acts this way.
Draco is also unable to kill. In the sixth book, Voldemort has ordered him to murder Professor Dumbledore. However, when the opportunity finally arises, Draco, torn and distraught, hesitates and is talked down by the professor. Additionally, in the seventh book, he is told to identify Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and again he balks, giving an ambiguous answer, even when his father demands a definitive one. Both cases show that Draco has scruples and possesses an underlying humanity that prevents him performing immoral acts. Dumbledore recognized this humanity within Draco, and knowing that committing murder would destroy Draco's soul, he and Snape devised a plan to protect him.
It appears that Draco's hatred for Harry subsides later in life, and, in the epilogue, he acknowledges Harry with a polite nod at the train station, seeing their children off to Hogwarts.