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11 April 2006 @ 08:11 pm
Draco Malfoy: Sides of An Antagonist  

A Long Thorough Analyzation of Draco Malfoy and his many attributes.

Draco Malfoy has always been one of my favorite antagonists in modern literature and throughout the books I’ve seen quite a few sides to his character. When I first started reading the books, I only saw the cruel, prejudiced side to the young Mr. Malfoy. I found him repulsive, yet devious and intriguing at the same time. I have seen canon, fanon, and movie Draco and still, canon Draco is my favorite Draco. His stuck-up and cruel antics have always amused me, but as the plot progresses, different sides of him are slowly revealed. Many are not good at all, but some are, one could say, intriguing.

 

As a child, he seemed very sharp-tongued and mouthy. It was obvious that he was not afraid of stating his—well, more like his families’—opinions. It is also quite obvious that he is an extremely spoiled child and he feeds off of attention from others. Draco was brought up this way, being the only heir and child to the Malfoy name, a family which takes pride in their so-called pure blood.

 

“’My father's next door buying my books and mother's up the street looking  at wands,' said the boy. He had a bored, drawling voice. 'Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms, I don't see why the first-years can't have their own. I think I'll bully father into getting me one and I'll smuggle it in somehow.'” (PS chp. 5)

 

It is very obvious that because of his family’s status and wealth that Draco has been able to con his parents into doing and getting him anything he wants. Though his tone is not thoroughly described, I can just hear the snotty little tone of his going on about how his daddy will get him anything he wants.

 

          Draco shows knowledge of the people around him, rich and poor, but his knowledge is limited. It appears that Draco only knows of people by fame and social status. He was taught, probably from a very young age, that social and blood status, along with fame is important when it came to “making friends”. In The Philosopher’s Stone, Draco takes his time to ridicule people who are supposedly lower than he is, and it is obvious that he finds amusement in it as well. There are several examples of this, even in the first book alone.

 

"My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford...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." (PS chp. 6)

 

This is a strong example of the superficiality that Draco has been brought up to believe. He was taught to believe that purebloods are better than halfbloods and muggleborns, and when he is speaking to Harry, he acts as if he shouldn’t be hanging around with people who are poor, but what Draco is ignoring is the fact that Harry is halfblood. The fact that Harry is famous and the hidden fact that Harry’s father was very wealthy hid the fact that Harry wasn’t pureblood. I believe that the reason Draco is trying to befriend Harry is because he could use Harry’s fame to his advantage, and also, I believe that Draco’s father, Lucius, may have gave him strict instructions to try and gain Harry’s support and loyalty. I find it to be a very possible theory.

 

          Draco was put into Slytherin, the house of the cunning and sly. No where in interviews or the actual text does it say that Slytherins are known to be fearless and daring. Draco is no exception. There are quite a few examples that show that Draco can be as scared and as worried as the next person. A good deal of the examples are shown in the first book, The Philosopher’s Stone, but there is something to note. In this book, Draco is in his first year and about the age of eleven, being born in the fifth of June. His young age means that his fear is probable and more likely to be present, especially in the circumstances.

 

“'The Forest?' he [Malfoy] repeated, and he didn't sound quite as cool as usual. 'We can't go in there at night – there's all sorts of things in there – werewolves, I heard.'” (PS chp. 15)

 

Here, Draco is failing to keep his ‘cool and cold’ air and he is showing signs of another side of himself. And that side happens to be ‘human’. No one is completely fearless. That’s just not possible. It is just like being perfect. No one is perfect no matter how hard they try.

 

          Yet, we are not done with analyzing Draco’s human characteristics. Draco may be a wizard, but Draco is also a human. He’s just a human with a wand and dark objects underneath the floorboards him his parlor. There is one trait that I tend to think of when I see Draco and Harry interact in the books. That trait is called jealously. Ever since Draco and Harry started Hogwarts, it’s obvious that Draco is jealous of Harry’s fame, even though his family is a notorious pureblood family. In The Chamber of Secrets there are quite a few examples of his jealously towards Harry.

 

“'What's the good of that if I'm not in the house team?' said Malfoy, looking sulky and bad-tempered. 'Harry Potter got a Nimbus Two Thousand last year. Special permission from Dumbledore so he could play for Gryffindor. He's not even that good, it's just because he's famous… famous for having a stupid scar on his forehead…'” (CS chp. 4)

 

It is very evident that Draco is jealous of the fact that Harry made the Gryffindor House Team, only being a first year. It was the fact that first years pretty much never made the house teams, and most people could not remember when something like this occurred, well, at least not in this century. It is obvious that Draco knows nothing about Harry Potter except anything that his parents told him or anything that was printed in The Daily Prophet. He was obviously jealous that Harry even got the best broom that was out at the time, but that part of his jealously was erased in his second year when his father donated brooms of the same line, but the newest version of it.

 

Not only does Draco appear jealous of Harry, he thinks that Harry likes all the attention that he gets when he goes out in public.

 

“”Bet you loved that, didn't you Potter?' said a voice Harry had no trouble recognizing… 'Famous Harry Potter,' said Malfoy. 'Can't even go into a book-shop without making the front page.'” (CS chp. 4)

 

Draco is right, but only in the sense that Harry DOES makes the front page of the Daily Prophet more than any one person in the wizarding world, but he’s wrong about Harry’s opinion on it. Draco thinks that Harry enjoys being the apple of the eye that is also known as the wizarding world. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Harry feels very uncomfortable being the center of everyone’s attention, but most of time he’s unable to avoid it because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knows who he is. He’s the only person ever to survive the Avada Kedavra, the Killing Curse. Though he denies being jealous of Harry, he is on certain levels that I have stated before.

 

'Jealous?... Of what? I don't want a foul scar right across my head, thanks. I don't think getting your head cut open makes you that special, myself.' (CS chp. 6)

 

This is Draco, denying that he is jealous of his arch-nemesis. He may not be jealous of Harry’s physical scar, but what it represents. He says that they scar doesn’t make him special, physically no, historically yes. His scar is evidence of his legendary story and the fact that through that scar, some of the Dark Lord’s powers were transferred.

 

          Draco has most of the time always been seen as that blond, obnoxious little boy that finds amusement in insulting others. That’s exactly what he is, but in The Chamber of Secrets, a much darker, crueler tormenter arises out of the young Mr. Malfoy. His rude and unnecessary comments go beyond money, house, and status. They start to turn ugly.

 

'No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood.' (CS chp. 7)

 

This is one of the worst things—in my opinion—that Draco has ever said. His bringing up certainly did not help his manners when conversing with people who are ‘lower’ than him. This time, his words definitely bruised. Hermione, who was usually quite strong when it came to Draco’s insults, broke down. The word ‘Mudblood’ is a foul nickname for those who do not have wizarding parents. It’s supposed to say that they have dirty blood. Not only is he mean to Hermione, he is even mean to two people are supposedly his friends.

 

‘Azkaban – the wizard prison, Goyle,' said Malfoy looking at him in disbelief. Honestly, if you were any slower, you'd be going backwards.' (CS chp. 12)

 

It is very obvious that Draco is quite cruel to his friends who just don’t happen to be as smart as he is but in slight defense of Draco, Draco was raised to believe that he was better than everyone else, being pureblood and a Malfoy. I have always wondered what Draco would be like if he wasn’t a Malfoy. That’s a thought for a later time, but I do not believe that just because he was born into a family that drilled the phrase “Purebloods are better” into his brain means that he has an excuse. He doesn’t, but I guess that’s just the way he is.

 

          It is also obvious that Draco has no respect for his superiors except those who are ‘real’ purebloods. That even goes for his professors. The professor he shows the least respect for is Rubeus Hagrid or Hagrid for short. Hagrid attended Hogwarts until he was expelled for being in possession of Aragog, and Acromantula [a spider-like creature]. He was accused of letting the creature kill a student. The very person that ratted him out was Tom Marvolo Riddle, Lord Voldemort’s younger self. Draco has referred to Hagrid as many things such as “blubbering oaf”, having no respect for him.

 

“'Look at him blubber! Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?' said Malfoy. 'And he's supposed to be our teacher!'
Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but Hermione got there first – SMACK!” (PA chp. 15)

 

Draco really is a disrespectful little wretch, isn’t he? He should remember that superiors are superiors not matter what their blood status is. Tsk Tsk. Then, he got what he was asking for, for three years.

 

          Another one of Draco’s traits seems to really fit his house, and that side is wit. One could also say that he is cunning, cleverness, or even creativity. In Order of the Phoenix his knack for writing song lyrics really comes into play. His love of tormenting Ronald Weasley and his family definitely is prominent. Draco writes a song about Ron’s poor quidditch skills as one of the games approach.

 

“’Weasley cannot save a thing,
He cannot block a single ring,
That's why Slytherins all sing:
Weasley is our King.

'Weasley was born in a bin
He always lets the Quaffle in
Weasley will make sure we win
Weasley is our King.'

'Weasley is our King,
Weasley is our King,
He always lets the Quaffle in
Weasley is our King.'”
(OotP chp. 19)

Draco really has a ‘talent’ for writing lyrics. People all over that were opposing Ron and Gryffindor started to sing it, but Gryffindor did take action. They changed the lyrics so that it was praising and promoting Ron’s quidditch skills, instead of degrading them. This really shows that Draco has a sense of creativity that he deliberately mixes his cruelty with.

 

          There is one side of Draco that strikes me as the most curious and intriguing side of them all. It is his hidden side of fear and emotion. He really isn’t his father’s little ice prince after all. He has more than a slab of stone for a heart. In The Half-Blood Prince, Draco is sent on a mission by Lord Voldemort himself, and that mission is to annihilate Albus Dumbledore himself. This mission goes terribly wrong though. Draco doesn’t carry out the murder of Professor Dumbledore at all. Draco just could not do it.

 

"When you say you have lots in common," said Ron, sounding rather amused now, do you mean he lives in an S-bend, too?"
"No," said
Myrtle defiantly, her voice echoing loudly around the old tiled bathroom. "I mean he's sensitive, people bully him, too, and he feels lonely and hasn't got anybody to talk to, and he's not afraid to show his feelings and cry!"
(HBP chp. 21)

 

          In the end, there are many sides to Draco Malfoy, maybe even more than I have analyzed. I know that Draco does have his ups and downs, just like every single character in the Harry Potter series. He may not be of the crucial main characters, but I do believe that Draco will play a role in the seventh and final book of Harry Potter. He could possibly follow in his fathers’ footsteps and become a full-fledged Death Eater if he hasn’t already, or he could switch sides and beg for redemption. Who knows? We’ll have to wait and see.
 
 
Current Mood: creative
 
 
 
nodisplayname on April 12th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
but what Draco is ignoring is the fact that Harry is halfblood
Both Harry's parents were wrizards, so Harry isn't a halfblood.
But I'm looking forward to seeing where Draco goes.
snapesforte on April 12th, 2006 10:46 am (UTC)
Re: but what Draco is ignoring is the fact that Harry is halfblood
Harry is a Half-Blood, because his mother was a Mudblood. JKR stated so on her web site. Anyone with any Muggle ancestry is a Half-Blood, no matter how many wizards they have in their family.
kayleelupinkayleelupin on April 12th, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC)
Draco was born on June 5, which makes him a Gemini, like me. LOL. But that's not really the point of this comment. I wanted to ask...you do remember that when Draco addresses Goyle in CoS, in the quote you provided, that it's not really Goyle, but Harry under Polyjuice Potion?

Other than that, I think this is a brilliant insight into Draco's character. I wonder what will happen to him in HP7?

~Kaylee
sullensphinx on April 12th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
I do remember. He was like "You read?" But, only know do I remember it. And Draco is born June Fifth. If that was a correction, I got it right. But, if not then I'm slow. Haha. Thank for the compliment. :)
(no subject) - kayleelupin on April 12th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sullensphinx on April 12th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kamion on April 13th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ginevra_nyx on April 12th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
the ghost of Alex Krycek: vocationcs_luis on April 12th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
You don't touch a lot on Draco in HBP, which is, I think, where his character most shines. Otherwise, you offer some good insights.

...But I do feel the need to tell you that the right word is actually 'analysis.' Sorry. :-/ /pedantic
sullensphinx on April 12th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC)
It's okay. But, Draco in HBP, his character has an important job and role, but his page time isn't as much as in PoA or CS. I couldn't find anything that showed different sides then what I had mentioned already. I probably might add more later when I have the time to look through the books completely. Thanks, though.
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 13th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sdkshelly on April 14th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
rogueravenclawrogueravenclaw on April 12th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
I have always wondered what Draco would be like if he wasn’t a Malfoy.

I was discussing this with beyond_pale the other day, oddly enough (granted, "the other day" was probably a month ago...). She pointed out that Draco is actually remarkably similar to Ron. Just some food for thought, ;P

He really isn’t his father’s little ice prince after all.

You're absolutely right. And something you mentioned above makes me wonder if Draco's adoration of his father is a bit forced.

“'The Forest?' he [Malfoy] repeated, and he didn't sound quite as cool as usual. 'We can't go in there at night – there's all sorts of things in there – werewolves, I heard.'” (PS chp. 15)

In HBP we find out that Greyback is a close family friend, and Draco is using him to threaten people. There are a few conclusions I draw from this.

1. The Malfoys have used Greyback to threaten people before (Draco used his parents's social ties).
2. Draco has reason to fear werewolves above any other creature that might be roaming that forest.

This makes me wonder:
Did Draco's father threaten him with Greyback? If he did anything wrong, would he be bitten and become a social outcast?
sullensphinx on April 13th, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
^___^ Oooh. New ideas. *squee* Now that I read that and thought about it, it seems very probable Hehe.
(no subject) - rogueravenclaw on April 13th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 13th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueravenclaw on April 13th, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 14th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueravenclaw on April 17th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 17th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueravenclaw on April 18th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 19th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueravenclaw on April 19th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 19th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueravenclaw on April 19th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
argyle_s on April 13th, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
In the book Hermione did not break down. She didn't even know what "mudblood" meant until Ron explained it to her. She only knew it was an insult.

Now, in the movie, she did break down, but the movies are so far off the books at times, it isn't even funny. You know, like the fact that any time Ron has a line in the books that isn't comic relief or him being a bit of a jerk, it's given to someone else.
sullensphinx on April 13th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
Gah. I swore that she did in the books. Darn it! >
Velvet Candyvelvetcandy on April 13th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
You have a decent beginning here, but you're lacking a lot of points that leave it anything but "thorough".

I'll admit Draco is a difficult character to grasp, but there is so much more to him than the stuck-up, spoiled brat we saw at first. The first thing to understand is that nearly everything we've seen of Draco has been filtered through Harry's eyes, which aren't the clearest, even with the glasses. Draco reacts differently when Harry is around, and any commentary we have on Draco is from Harry, who isn't the most objective party.

Draco grew up in a world (i.e. pureblood) that is traditional and proud, and those traits were passed down to him. Draco believes these traditions are the right way to live life, because people tend to not debate the merits of their parental teachings. We grow up believing this is correct until we get a new glimpse of the world and only then do we question. We saw Draco begin to do that HBP. It will be interesting to see, if after Draco's realisations of choice and change, he chooses to stay with his parents or find a new path.
kamion: DRACO MUTSkamion on April 13th, 2006 08:04 pm (UTC)
It will be interesting to see, if after Draco's realisations of choice and change, he chooses to stay with his parents or find a new path.

I think he stays with his parents and goes down with them.
this because I am under the impression Rowling does not like this 'baddy' as much as the other 'baddy: Snape.
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 13th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dinpik on April 15th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 17th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
saracene on April 18th, 2006 11:04 am (UTC)
I can't actually say that I've seen any signs of Draco questioning his pureblood beliefs in HBP. He still called Hermione a "mudblood" on the tower, and also didn't show any hint of remorse for the fact that his actions nearly killed two people.

I'm quite sure that in the next book JKR will have Draco do something redeeming or admirable, but I just doubt if we'll see him undergo a truly radical change and decide that muggle-born wizards are just fine after all, or something along these lines.
(no subject) - velvetcandy on April 18th, 2006 12:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Enelya Oronar: enelyaenelya_oronar on May 2nd, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)

"No," said Myrtle defiantly, her voice echoing loudly around the old tiled bathroom. "I mean he's sensitive, people bully him, too, and he feels lonely and hasn't got anybody to talk to, and he's not afraid to show his feelings and cry!" (HBP chp. 21)


I have been suspicious of this line since I read it. I have a really difficult time believing Draco hangs out in the bathroom with a ghost, crying. He must have been using Myrtle as a look-out or maybe even for reasons we shall see in book 7. Draco does not really have allies. I doubt there are very few people he becomes acquainted with that he does not try to get something from them or determine how they will be of assistance to him later in his grand scheme.

I do not think we have a good picture of the relationship that is established between Draco and Myrtle and I look to book 7 for more information on this friendship.
The Multilingual Kittenkali_kali on May 2nd, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC)
Myrtle may be his ally, but that still doesn't stop the fact that when Harry walks in on Draco and Myrtle, he *is* crying, and sounds genuinely worried. I don't think he's playing her there, what would be the point? Why would Draco reveal such weakness, even if it was faked weakness, where anyone could walk in, as Harry does? Draco's reaction to Harry walking in -firing off a hex- I don't think is something that would have happened just with Harry, but anyone who witnessed the king of Slytherin in a moment of weakness - his main concern being that no one sees him like that.