J.K. Rowling has released her heftiest piece of writing for the holiday Pottermore bonanza, it it gives us a healthy swath of background on everyone’s favorite nemesis in the Potter series: Draco Malfoy. Want the very best bits? Take a peek below…
It turns out that there was a very particular reason for Draco trying to make friends with Harry in the first book; one of the more popular theories as to how Harry vanquished Voldemort as a baby was that the young Potter was, in fact, a Dark wizard himself. Draco was attempting to test Harry to see if that might be the case, which would have interested his father greatly to know—as Lucius himself had subscribed to the theory and was hoping that a Dark wizard even greater than Voldemort was on the way. Interesting, no? Here are some other great tidbits:
- Draco was already friends with Crabbe from childhood; he “recruited” Goyle to be his second crony that first day on the school train.
- One of the reasons why Draco takes such pleasure in tearing Harry down following Voldemort’s return has to do with the respect Harry is given by other Dark wizards. Malfoy despised the fact that the Death Eaters considered Harry a true adversary to be dealt with, while he was still treated as a child.
- Lucius was Draco’s role model and hero. Draco worked hard to emulate his father’s demeanor to any person who didn’t belong to his inner circle. He was utterly devastated when Lucius went to Azkaban, and was forced to take on more adult responsibility to make up for his father’s absence.
- When Draco initially agreed to take on Voldemort’s task of killing Albus Dumbledore, he was thinking only of revenge on his father’s behalf and the ability to win back favor for his family. The Dark Lord gave Draco no specific instruction—he was meant to figure out how Dumbledore would die all on his own. Narcissa knew that Draco was being set up to fail, which is why she went to Snape to make the Unbreakable Vow.
- It was the botched attempts to take Dumbledore’s life that wore Draco down in Half-Blood Prince—he discovered that unlike his father, he had “a distaste for murder.” He was ashamed to be so unlike Lucius in this respect.
- Despite his attempt to capture Harry during the Battle of Hogwarts, it is unlikely that he could have gone through with handing him over; bringing about Harry’s death so directly was more than he could stomach.
- Lucius Malfoy avoided prison following Voldemort’s downfall by providing evidence against fellow Death Eaters.
- Draco continued to love his father, but broke from the family “pure-blood” line following the war. Then he married Astoria Greengrass, who had gone through a similar change in her own family. She refused to raise their son Scorpius with those ideals, and as a result is seen as a disappointment by Draco’s parents. Family get-togethers are awkward as a result.
Rowling claims that Draco’s knack for Occlumency is a window to his character; it is easy for him to compartmentalize emotions, to cut off from parts of himself. Dumbledore tells Harry that being able to feel great pain is part of humanity, and Draco was meant to show how much a denial of those emotions can damage a person. Here, she repeats the difficulty she had in making clear to fans that he was not secretly a sexy anti-hero who deserved undue praise and adoration.
She also says that she imagines Draco led a modified version of Lucius’ life: he didn’t have to work, so he spent most of his time at Malfoy Manor with his family. She says that he has hobbies that confirm his “dual nature”:
The collection of Dark artifacts harks back to family history, even though he keeps them in glass cases and does not use them. However, his strange interest in alchemical manuscripts, from which he never attempts to make a Philosopher’s Stone, hints at a wish for something other than wealth, perhaps even the wish to be a better man.
Rowling has “high hopes” that Draco will raise his son Scorpius to be a kinder person than he ever was. His name comes from the dragon constellation, but the core of his wand is a unicorn hair… intended to indicate that there is some good in him, despite everything.