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15 August 2005 @ 05:32 pm
Draco Malfoy: Villain or Victim?  


It's almost odd that it could be a question at all, isn't it? Everyone who read this book seems to have come away with a rather firm opinion on Draco's characterization, myself included. Yet in the month since the release of HBP, I have heard solid arguments for nearly every interpretation of Draco's character. This kid has had a multitude of charges levelled at him after his role in Hogwarts' invasion: "he's a coward/ he's a victim/ he's a total Death Eater-in-training!" And of course there are more (the werewolf theory, etc.), but these three seem to be the most frequent and central accusations that might determine Draco's activity in the series at a later date.

So all three should be examined carefully, right?

I myself was initially surprised to see and hear Draco labelled as a coward in book six. My instinctive reaction was: "So...not killing an unarmed, old man who is up against the wall is cowardly now?" Yet this is an uncommonly popular theory (Draco's cowardice, not his final actions in the book), and has been argued efficiently. The main argument does not focus on Draco's inability to kill Dumbledore at the end, so much as it does on his two previous attempts to kill Dumbledore from afar, which indicate only a reluctance to kill Dumbledore face to face, with his own wand. This, perhaps, is where the subject of intent comes into important play. For those who have long felt that incompetence and sabotage pale in the face of intent, chances are that they are also those have found Harry's intentional casting of the Cruciatus and/or Sectumsempra curse unforgivable, as inability to effectively cast the curse does not forgive the initial intent to do so. Chances are also that they have long been set against Draco and/or the Slytherins, since PoA: for example, the Dementor scheme during the Gryffindor-Ravenclaw match was a flop at best, but as the entire school knew only that Harry fainted at the sight of Dementors, their intent was arguably to make Harry fall over fifty feet off of his broom, and all the Patronuses (Patroni?) and detentions in the world cannot change that. Somewhat similar to both cases mentioned, you do not send a cursed necklace or a poisoned bottle of mead out into a school without some intent to kill. The incompetence of said schemes, or the failing of them only through pure luck, does not negate this intent; yet the intent can easily suggest that Draco found the idea of killing from afar more comfortable (and I use this term very loosely, since Draco appeared very uncomfortable all year round) than doing so up close: if the plans had succeeded, then their succuess could be put down to pure chance just as obviously as the foiling of both plans have been -- and in this case, Draco would have been comparatively less to blame. It is a similar minset that compels Draco to let the Death Eaters into the castle, as is revealed in the Astronomy Tower (if the curse that kills Dumbledore does not come from his own wand, he is again, comparatively less to blame); and this is the core of the "coward" argument. He had the intent to kill, only he lost his nerve when it came down to actually doing so himself.

But valid or not, is this a reasonable, or fair argument to make? For one thing, it has little bearing on Draco's future, imo (since whatever illusions Draco may have held throughout the book, the events at the end have obviously destroyed them). And for another, I have found that it mostly disregards the reasons behind his actions. So the subject of motivation enters into the equation. Motivation behind the action has always been a huge and important theme in these books. It is what makes all of the characters in the Potterverse appear grey at some point or another. Rowling is very careful to describe Narcissa's overwhelming distress over the fate of her only son, before she places Snape under a binding contract that basically forces him to choose between Dumbledore's death or his own. Snape himself remains as ambiguous as ever, even after having killed the Head of the Order, because the reasons behind his actions are anybody's guess. Even the fact that Draco nearly killed his best friend has not yet registered to Harry, because he is still dwelling on the motive behind Draco's actions. Readers have been shown repeatedly that motivation is something important to consider when judging the actions of the HP characters. Yes, maybe delusions of grandeur and desire for revenge in the name of his father were part of what made Draco accept Voldemort's mission in the first place. But I think it's been universally agreed on that, however Draco handled his situation, he was in way over his head; and what made him hold to his assignment is the bargaining chip that the Order claims Voldemort has long used to retain the loyalty of his followers (OotP, p. 90): blackmail. In this case, threat of death to Draco's entire family. Draco is by no means the first to have been trapped in this manner; evidence suggests that Regulus Black was similarly trapped. These are sympathizable circumstances in any case, in spite of his actions. None of this makes Draco a fallen angel, but it does define him very clearly as a victim in this book. This perspective is supported by canon, and is one that those who take the subject of motivation into high consideration when studying a character's behaviour, are likely to adopt.

Yet at the same time, some might feel that, motivations and even intent aside, it is the final outcome of their actions that a character must be held accountable for, and is therefore the most important thing to be considered, because of the others who have to deal with the consequences of said actions. This is an equally valid perspective that has been applied to many characters by readers over the course of the series. Everything else aside, Hagrid would (should?) have had to explain to an irate Lucius Malfoy why Draco was attacked by one of his beasts. All other issues aside, it was Mrses Crabbe, Goyle and Malfoy who had to find their sons in slug-form, at the hands of the D.A., once the Hogwarts Express reached London following the fifth-year; and Harry who canonically HAS been held fully accountable for Narcissa's son being slashed across the chest in sixth year. Snape and Remus, too, were the ones who had to deal with the aftereffects of Sirius's Prank. There are many who feel that final outcome is equally as important as motivation, if not more so; chances are that they are also those who find it easy to view Draco as a villain in the sixth book, for the total sum of his actions, if viewed as actions only, are quite frankly unforgivable. At the end of the day, both Katie Bell and her family deserve to know why she spent over half of her N.E.W.T. year in St. Mungo's, whether or not Draco felt that sending a cursed necklace was a serious attempt to end Dumbledore's life (as has been popularly suggested in the fandom, it IS possible that Draco himself did not expect his murder attempts to work). Similarly, it is both Mrs. Weasley and Fleur Delacour who may or may not be interested in the details surrounding the reasons why her son/fiance is part-werewolf now. Madam Rosmerta may also wonder why at least a year of her life was spent under the Imperius curse, presumably cast by Draco (we are given not even a hint of any Death Eater who may have been in the Hogsmeade vicinity for that long without drawing suspicious, with the exception of Snape, who we are told had no inkling of Draco's plans).
The villain!Draco perspective is supported in canon just as strongly as the previous two theories are. Simply put, Draco is dangerous in this book: he does not care how many people he might knock off to get to Dumbledore, until (presumably) after the fact. It is he who gave the honorary end-of-book "villain's confession". The consequences of his actions are being, and still do have to be dealt with by the victims, regardless of Draco's reasons for them. Fear does not change or undermine his responsibility for his actions. Draco is no longer merely a badly-brought-up little boy with nothing to atone for; Lucius Malfoy is not seen as "more innocent" for giving a little girl a murderous diary and loosing a weapon on the school, simply because (again, through pure luck) no one was killed and there was no lasting damange done -- and Draco was not as lucky as he was.

So, these are the three main mindsets that I have found to go along with these three popular definitions of Draco's HBP-character; most arguments seem to orbit around the subject of either of the three. I suppose that personal perspective really depends on whether you take intent, motivation, or the actions themselves into the highest consideration when studying a character's behaviour. Of course, it is possible to hold all three in equal consideration at once, and is probably best: this is how the character becomes extremely ambiguous (ie, Snape). However, I also think (in this case anyway) differing perspectives occur because everyone hahs their own system of what to take into account when passing judgement on a character. Then, what does this spell for Draco's fate in book seven?

The following is based completely on my own reading of the text now, but also on purely factual points. I have to say that I can't see Drao becoming (or, debatably, continuing to be) a Death eater, no matter how his character is perceived. We know for a fact that Voldemort basically set Draco onto a suicide mission: he was merely a tool to be used in Voldemort's revenge against Lucius. There was not meant to be any way for Draco to win, Narcissa made this clear; either he would be killed in his attempts to murder Dumbledore, or he would falter, in which case Voldemort would kill him. We know for a fact that Draco did, in fact, fail in his ultimate mission, and there were at least four other Death Eaters present to bear witness. With this in mind, even if Draco is perceived as a victim motivated by the threat to his family, the chances of him remaining a Death Eater are slim. For one thing, he made the conscious decision not to kill Dumbledore even with the threat of death hanging over his head. For another, if after only one year (or less) Voldemort is already forced to use the threat of death to his family to keep Draco's loyalty, then Draco is the least loyal Death Eater (or Death Eater-in-training) that we've seen in canon; and Voldemort knows it. And the events on top of the Astronomy Tower would only confirm this further.

And if Draco is instead perceived as a villain, then his chances of remaining a Death Eater are even slimmer than ever; for this only makes the lowering of his wand all the more poignant. His turning away from the assignment that he has steadfastedly followed year-round is made that much more significant: because lowering his wand is not only a conscious decision not to kill Dumbledore, but a decision to end the assignment right there. To stop listening -- stop following -- Voldemort's orders. Which, of course, is not a great start for any Death Eater.

As for my own perspective out of the three? Having never been interested in Draco prior to HBP, I think I'll have to wait for feedback from other readers to get a truly fair perspective. The motivational aspect won out on the first reading, maybe by default (I have always found the Weasley twins' behaviour easier to forgive when their motivations are admirable). I can't say I'm any more interested in him post-HBP than I was before, but contrary to popular belief, he did finally get his very own story, and I have to be rather impressed by that. I also have to note that there is at least a two-year wait for me to gain a fair perspective (since I'm sure the two years will be chock-filled with theories), but no solid conclusion about Draco's character and future, except for what I do know.

He really is very clever, to not only outsmart Dumbledore, but also one-up Voldemort (who has never been able to get more than one Death Eater at a time into Hogwarts). He is Harry's equal schoolyard antithesis after all -- I wondered after OotP, but I'm fairly sure now. seeing as he has yet to lose in a one-on-one battle with Harry in which Harry knew exactly what he was doing, though he has won one-on-one, where he knew exactly what he was doing. I have to admit that I did like the warped sort of parallel between Harry, Draco, and their mentors/father-figures in the last two books: Harry wanting help and attention in OotP while Dumbledore withheld both; and Snape offering help and attention in HBP while Draco refused both. And I'm not even close to being an H/D fan.
I know he (Draco) is in a lot of hot water right now, but that he has definitely become a formidable character. And I guess all else is theory.

I'm also wondering why sixth-year students are casting Unforgivable curses all over the place and not even being called upon by the Ministry of Magic; but again, theory.

This is also posted in my own LJ.
 
 
Current Mood: introspective
 
 
 
mari4212mari4212 on August 16th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
Nice look at Draco, and the three basic perspectives on him held by fans. I tend to think of him as at least partially a victim, but he does need to be held accountable for some of his actions. He could have gone to Dumbledore before this, he had to have known that Dumbledore would not have just let him and his family die.
Magpie: I've been thinking.sistermagpie on August 16th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
I feel like sometimes the problem with Draco is people judge him against their own personal standard, and if you do that you don't get what's happening to him in terms of the story, if that makes sense.

I feel like you have to start out accepting who Draco is and understanding his pov--not necessarily being sympathetic to it, but understanding what he's doing personally with his father and trying to be a grown-up. I feel like a lot of his story is about literally holding him to the fire until a lot of things get burned away, so you see what really makes him tick. A lot of things people thought were the meat of his personality turn out to be more superficial.

So maybe the thing is we shouldn't see him as a villain or a victim--those are distractions. The main thing is just him. When he lowers his wand, that's a big deal imo. Not because he's good now, but because he seems to recognize what he wants: he wants his family to be safe, he doesn't want to kill for Voldemort. He's willing to accept Dumbledore's mercy. Those are things that can be worked with; you can build a better person from those things, even if that never happens. The main thing to know is that just as at the end of PoA DD tells Harry he's sent V back a lieutenent who's in his debt, DD has sent back to V a DE who's not really a DE and knows it.

It seems important to me, for instance, the crimes Draco is kept from committing by the author. The only permenant damage he's caused is Bill's scarring--and that was from something he specifically said he didn't meant to do. Not that this makes it any less his responsibility, but in terms of his personality it keeps him relatively clean. Katie and Ron are both fine--again, not that this means Draco did nothing wrong. But I don't think the point of their accidents is to make Draco bad. I think those things are bad so that a) Harry sees there's a murder plot going on and b) Draco's murder plot becomes real to himself. Had those things not have happened Draco would not, imo, be in the place he is when he runs into the tower. He'd possibly have continued to send poisoned stuff out into the world to tell himself he was trying to kill Dumbledore. As it is his heart was not in killing to begin with, but he still got a taste of almost killing, which imo sickened him more. That's an image I remember a lot from the Tower scene, actually. Draco's often described as looking sick at the idea of killing, and I don't think that's how he'd be described if it were simply fear. And fear of what, anyway? DD is weak and defenseless, but he doesn't even try to cast the curse. On the other side he's got scarier Voldemort who's said he will kill him and his family, and several DEs egging him on.

I think if this were about Draco being a coward we would have seen him blaming other people a lot more, justifying himself. Instead it seems like he's *trying* to see himself as being heroic but he's stopped by something internal telling him what he's trying to do is really just sickening. So he is scared, but I think he's scared for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
safakus on August 16th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC)
Not because he's good now, but because he seems to recognize what he wants: he wants his family to be safe, he doesn't want to kill for Voldemort. He's willing to accept Dumbledore's mercy. Those are things that can be worked with; you can build a better person from those things, even if that never happens.

But he is not being good here for the sake of being good, he is still motivated by selfish reasons.

I wouldn't call Draco evil, neither would i call him good. But i can't get past the fact that he did use imperius on Katie and Rosmerta, sent a poisoned drink to Slughorn and allow dangerous DE's roam around the school, and it's pure luck no one died, in the last case, literally. I don't believe for a second that Draco didn't expect casualties, which makes him immoral at the very least, and guilty, in urgent need of being put behind the bars of Azkaban for a few decades.

And it seems crazy Dumbledore didn't put a stop to it after witnessing two almost deaths caused by Draco, like Draco's life is more important than Katie's or Ron's or other possible victims, who i must add are NOT trying to kill anybody. Dumbledore was either bluffing or there was a deeper plan there, otherwise Dumbledore isn't a loving fool, he is a loving idiot, which we know isn't true.
蘭little_ribbon on August 16th, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
I don't think underage wizards get sent to Azkaban. Besides, wouldn't you do the same thing to save your family?

Dumbledore was either bluffing or there was a deeper plan there, otherwise Dumbledore isn't a loving fool, he is a loving idiot, which we know isn't true.

What's the difference between fool and idiot? *blink*
draco malfoy's greatest dream: (teh_indy) bad faithjoyfulgirl1013 on August 17th, 2005 12:39 am (UTC)
Keep in mind before you damn him, though, that the lives of his mother and father were at stake. When up against the wall, even Harry, the purehearted one, will attempt to cast Crucio. I don't necessarily think he should get off scot free, but I think that the threat against his family should be taken into account for sure.
(no subject) - safakus on August 17th, 2005 02:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sistermagpie on August 17th, 2005 03:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
Magpie: Pica loquax certa dominum te voce salutosistermagpie on August 17th, 2005 03:50 am (UTC)
I didn't call him good now. I meant "not because he's good now..." meaning that "he's good now" wasn't an accurate way to describe him. Not "not because he's good now..." meaning that he was good now, but that's not the reason his not killing Dumbledore was important. I feel like I just made that already-badly-worded sentence more complicated trying to explain it.:-)

I don't believe for a second that Draco didn't expect casualties, which makes him immoral at the very least, and guilty, in urgent need of being put behind the bars of Azkaban for a few decades.

I think the point of the storyline is that expecting casualities was not something he was capable of really doing. Death and murder were unreal concepts until Katie and then Ron. Intellectually sure he'd have to know that sending out a necklace that can kill you might kill someone, but knowing that in your head and dealing with the reality were two different things-just as he happily accepted the task of killing Dumbledore when it was just an imaginary thing, like bang-bang you're dead. That, I think, is why Dumbledore stresses the line that isn't crossed, because I don't think the storyline is there to make a case for Draco in Azkaban--despite the fact that yes, being responsible for the near-death of two people is certainly a criminal offense.
(no subject) - safakus on August 17th, 2005 04:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
pilly2009 on August 17th, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
This reply is ridiculously long, and I apologize in advance. I agree with you that the labels placed in this essay and the reasons for them are pretty generalized...I was trying to generally summarize the main reactions to Draco's character in HBP that I have seen.

I feel like you have to start out accepting who Draco is and understanding his pov--not necessarily being sympathetic to it, but understanding what he's doing personally with his father and trying to be a grown-up.

Yeah, I didn't explain it very well in my OP, but this was technically what I meant by the "motivational" technique of regarding Draco's character, as general a term as it is; not so much just understanding his drive, but basically placing yourself in his position. However, I can't agree that simply doing this is required to grasp the full extent of Draco and his story as it was in HBP (and earlier). I think that getting the full extent of both means to encompass everything: the subject's POV, the resulting actions of the subject, the reactions of other subjects caught in the web...like, as unsatisfactory as many may have found Tom Riddle's life-story and the "explanation" for his actions, this story would have meant absolutely nothing, both to the HP story and to the readers, if it had been given in the first book, and we knew nothing about all Voldemort had done, had caused, or the consequences faced by the people he had affected. It would have meant less than nothing, because...so what?

Imo, especially for the most complex characters, the reasons and/or mentality mean nothing without the subsequent actions. It may be important that Draco did not cause any permanent damage, but I also think it's important that instead of simply showing us Draco's slow deterioration over the course of the year, along with giving us a few mentions of random attacks on background students at Hogwarts before Draco's revelation on the Astronomy Tower, JKR had these attacks happen to people that we've actually seen Harry interact with on practically a daily basis since book 1. I can't believe that, author-wise (if that's a word) if not plot-wise, it is a coincidence that all three characters Draco nearly ends up killing (whether through his own plans or through Death Eaters) are Gryffindors/former-Gryffindors, and not even random Gryffindors but Gryffindors-relatively-(in Katie's and Bill's case)close-to-Harry. It makes all the difference from the affected being students like Lisa Turpin or Justin Finch-Fletchley, or even Ernie Macmillan. Not that it would make Draco's actions any less terrible, had it been either of them, but bookwise it would have had less of an impact, and I think this is a point that JKR is trying to make in HBP; we are not only supposed to understand Draco's POV, but also that of the others dealing with the consequences of his actions, to understand the full story.

Because, in all three cases, we get a full report of the consequences, and in two of the three we are actually shown them being dealt with. This, I think, is what makes the difference between a complex character and a mere caricature. For example, it was great to see Bellatrix's "softer" side in HBP, but I doubt that this would make her character have as much impact on the books if we did not also know that she had killed Sirius and hospitalized Neville's parents (which I think is why we were shown that scene in St. Mungo's), even with her being Voldemort's #1 fangirl. This is a bit of a loose example; we don't yet know Bella's reasons for being so fanatically devoted, but after HBP we know that she is more than just a mindless, psychotic drone, which makes for the start of a story already. However, Umbridge is a caricature of sorts, which is why she has neither a very big impact on canon (past OotP) or fanon: we know she is thinly-veiled Evilness who affects many people, but we don't know why, nor do we have any indication that she can be anything but.
pilly2009 on August 17th, 2005 02:48 am (UTC)
The only permenant damage he's caused is Bill's scarring--and that was from something he specifically said he didn't meant to do. Not that this makes it any less his responsibility, but in terms of his personality it keeps him relatively clean.

The first part is a little debatable (Katie was not permanently injured physically, but she might have to pull a Flint and repeat her seventh year due to having missed a huge chunk of it, which has to be annoying), but regardless. It's sort of like Harry's successful Sectumsempra curse, isn't it -- though this is made a little easier because we see through Harry's eyes by default. So we know for a fact that Harry, likewise, didn't mean to slash Draco; he threw a random spell that, as far as he knew, could have been Jelly-legs just as well as Dark magic (Accident). He did, however, mean to cast something that was not mere self-defense, but specifically "for an enemy" (Intent). Either way, the end result is the scars on Draco's chest, and this is more than things not being okay, these are permanent scars.

Draco did not mean for Fenrir specifically to come along for the ride, but he did mean for Death Eaters to do so, and he obviously did not send ahead a selective list of who was invited or not. I know the entire comparison may seem irrevelant and definitely generalized again, but I guess the point I'm trying to make is again, in terms of "the full story": in terms of their individual personalities, I suppose both boys could be relatively clean, even innocent; but present this case for Harry to Draco, or Narcissa, and I doubt they'd agree. Similarly, make the same case for Draco to Molly Weasley, Fleur Delacour, or Bill Weasley...and same thing, I doubt they'd agree. For all the affected characters, it's a litte more than about things not being made okay. And when keeping in mind that both boys met their original intent, only in both cases it went too far, then their innocence becomes a little more ambiguous.
(no subject) - sistermagpie on August 17th, 2005 04:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pilly2009 on August 17th, 2005 12:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sistermagpie on August 17th, 2005 02:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pilly2009 on August 17th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - czeri on August 17th, 2005 08:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sistermagpie on August 17th, 2005 02:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pilly2009 on August 17th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Czeri: Malfoysczeri on August 17th, 2005 07:52 am (UTC)
The only permenant damage he's caused is Bill's scarring--and that was from something he specifically said he didn't meant to do. Not that this makes it any less his responsibility, but in terms of his personality it keeps him relatively clean.

How is Draco responsible for Bill's injury? Bill is an adult, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, who at one point decided to join in accepting the risks inherent in fighting against Death Eaters. One of whom is Fenrir Greyback. Yes, it was thanks to Draco that Fenrir and Bill faced each other on this particular occasion, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't have a week or a month later under different circumstances. And it most certainly is not Draco's fault Bill lost that particular duel. If you blame Draco for Bill's injury, you might as well blame him for the death of the Death Eater who got hit by the ricocheting Avada Kedavra.

Now, if one of the students got mauled by Fenrir, it would be another matter altogether. And even then, only if the student in question was an innocent bystander who really needed to go the bathroom and that was how he or she unwittingly stumbled into the midst of the battle. The members of the DA, I'd argue, were conscious of the dangers and chose to be there, thus taking the responsibility for their lives into their own hands.
safakus on August 17th, 2005 09:39 am (UTC)
How is Draco responsible for Bill's injury? Bill is an adult, a member of the Order of the Phoenix, who at one point decided to join in accepting the risks inherent in fighting against Death Eaters.

So what you are saying is, if a police officer gets shot in the line of duty, it's his own fault for choosing this career. While Bill might see this as occupational hazard, he is definitely not responsible for his injury, Fenrir and Draco are, 100%. Draco is also responsible for Dumbledore's and that DE's deaths. There is no way around it.
(no subject) - czeri on August 17th, 2005 10:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - safakus on August 17th, 2005 11:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - czeri on August 17th, 2005 11:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - safakus on August 17th, 2005 11:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sistermagpie on August 17th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - czeri on August 17th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pilly2009 on August 17th, 2005 06:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - czeri on August 17th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Karmabella Zephyrsparkle Nott: twincestiswrongkaraz on August 17th, 2005 02:21 am (UTC)
I think it depends on how Snape intends to help him now. I'm in the 'Snape isn't evil' camp, and I think he'd like to steer Draco away from LV if possible. I don't think he's willing to compromise his own safety/cover to do it though. This leaves him with two choices:

1. Snape had plenty of time to obliviate the other DEs and make them think Draco killed Dumbledore. Jo has said Draco is an Occlumens and that he good at it because he has learned to compartmentalize his life. He and Snape should be able to convince Voldemort that Draco killed Dumbledore.

Given some power and a quite a bit of respect from the DEs and Voldy - Draco could become warped beyond repair.

2. Otherwise Draco has to go into hiding, from both sides, until someone decides they are willing to take a chance on him. Snape's contact with the Order will be important to Draco's survival. This is tricky because Snape has quite an obstacle in Harry, as he is convinced Snape is the evil.

Draco could become 'redeemed' in this senario. Perhaps bent on revenging his parents death. Or could continue to hide and just wait out the war. I think the latter is more typical of Draco but highly unlikely since Jo has spent a lot of time in HBP setting up his arc.
safakus on August 17th, 2005 02:36 am (UTC)
Snape had plenty of time to obliviate the other DEs and make them think Draco killed Dumbledore.

You are forgetting the other witness: Harry.
(no subject) - karaz on August 17th, 2005 02:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - joyfulgirl1013 on August 17th, 2005 05:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
pilly2009 on August 17th, 2005 03:15 am (UTC)
I do think that Snape will be instrumental in Draco's final path, whichever one he chooses to take; but I really, seriously can't see him becoming a Death Eater in any case. I hate speculating deeply on future canon, if only because it becomes endless and the theories are usually torn to pieces anyway, but given the facts that we have now, I just don't see how it would be possible.

I can see the other DEs respecting Draco for what he accomplished, but the fact that he failed his ultimate mission is likely to override this. I don't know how many Death Eaters Snape and Draco can Obliviate at once without the other ones moving to attack (assuming they all apparated to the same place after the battle), but it's a risky plan in any case. One trip into Harry's mind will tell Voldemort the truth; and according to the Daily Prophet and the MoM (who would have gotten the information from McGonagall, who is apparently convinced that Snape is Dumbledore's killer), the bounty is over Snape's head. A single copy of the Prophet would also tell Voldemort the truth.

So I'm probably with your second choice; I think lying low (during the summer, anyway) is Draco's best bet; but have absolutely no clue what he may do next.
(no subject) - safakus on August 17th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ohio_slytherin on August 22nd, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
carbfreecoffee on August 24th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC)
Here's my opinion on this situation.

I agree that you have to take all of aspects (intent, outcome and motivation) into account when looking at any character's actions. It's the same thing in the justice system, actually. You look at all aspects of a crime when sentencing someone.

To me, Draco is neither a victim nor a villain. He is a kid in a bad situation that makes some bad decisions.

His suicide mission is assigned to him through no fault of his own, but that doesn't make him a complete victim. He does take on the task of killing DD with some enthusiasm at first, after all. But his enthusiasm seems more like Draco childishly thinking that he can earn praise and glory (I have to agree with Snape on that one) without taking into account what he'll have to do to get it. Once he sees the outcome of his first murder attempts and starts looking ill, he probably realizes the full weight of the consequences of his actions. During his confession on the tower, he tells DD "you don't know what I have done", and he's not described as sounding proud or happy of it, meaning: the boy has a conscience! Regardless of the reader's opinion of him, the fact that he realizes that he can't kill, and what's more important, shows signs of feeling guilty about his previous murder attempts, takes him out of the running as the evil-villain-of-doom.

But really, for me, it comes down to the fact that he is 16 years old. There is a vastly huge difference between a 40-year-old man attempting to kill people on his own free will (Lucius), and a 16-year-old boy being coerced to murder someone with the threat of the death of his family looming over him. You know, he's nasty little kid, but he's still just a kid. It doesn't make him a saint or excuse his actions; the outcomes speak for themselves, after all. There are two near deaths and one actual death that were caused by his actions. But if you take into account the motivation, it puts him in a different light than just a "cold blooded would-be murderer". Like I said already, it's even more important that he holds himself accountable for what he did (the signs of guilt that he shows) than it is for the reader or anyone else to.

But I guess that too is based on how you read the text. If the reader is set to make Draco a villain, he's doomed no matter what he does, and if the reader's set out to make him a martyr/fallen angel, then a martyr/angel he will be.

And I agree with you in your interpretation of him throughout book 6 for the most part. Now that he's set up as more than the annoying kid at school i.e. now that he's brought into the bigger, epic picture, he has to play some sort of role in the resolution of the series. JRK wouldn't waste the page space developing him as the main representative of Slytherin if he was completely insignificant.

Anyway, sorry for the wordiness and the fact that I’m posting this a week after your initial post.
ashmh: pic#121852991ashmh on September 21st, 2013 03:17 am (UTC)
Do people really view Draco as cowardly for failing to kill Dumbledore? I'm amazed at such thinking.