Draco Malfoy’s Second Chance

Was Draco Malfoy really as bad as we made him out to be?

Photo+by+Raegan+Orrell

Photo by Raegan Orrell

Raegan Orrell, Journalist

In many of our favorite movies and books, the villain normally has very little backstory and is just portrayed as plain and simply evil. However, in some cases, like Darth Vader, we do have a backstory, but he really doesn’t need redemption. He put all that stress and evil on himself. But in other cases, as seen with characters like  Draco Malfoy, they do deserve redemption because the further you look into the story and the more you delve into the details that are often overlooked, you start to notice the good that was lurking behind the shadow of evil that was constantly cast over these characters. 

 

It is very 50/50 when it comes to Draco’s redemption. Some people are very set on the fact that he was only a school bully and nothing more. Whereas others believe he had other intentions when it came to his mistreatment towards others. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we should learn the basics about our dear friend Draco Malfoy.

 

Draco Lucius Malfoy was a pureblood wizard born in 1980 to a very noble and wealthy family. His father, Lucius Malfoy, was a well-known Death Eater, which in the Wizarding World was a devoted follower of the infamous Lord Voldemort. His mother, Narcissa Malfoy, was from another very wealthy family in the Wizarding World, the Blacks. His family was very proud of their blood status, which was somewhat frowned upon, depending on who you’re talking to. They were very set in their ways of being exclusively pureblood and would not tolerate Muggle Borns, or wizards from the outside world

 

The first issue dealing with his redemption actually occurs when we first meet him. In the books and movies, he was introduced immediately as a spoiled rich boy from a very wealthy family. In the books, we are first introduced to Draco Malfoy in a shop in Diagon Alley, an alley of stores most notable for selling most of the school supplies that Hogwarts students need, at Madam Malkin’s robe shop, where he was getting fitted for his school robes. 

Diagon Alley
Photo by Pixabay

 

Draco was quite ignorant to Harry in this first interaction. He was a chatterbox when they first met, saying he was very confident that he’ll be placed in Slytherin. He talked about his family and how his father was getting his Quidditch broom while Harry stayed rather silent. Draco continued by asking about Harry’s parents to which Harry replied with “They’re dead”. Draco replied, “They were our kind though. Weren’t they?” insinuating them being a witch or wizard. After their interaction, Harry left with a dislike for the boy. In this case, neither Draco nor Harry even knew each other’s names.  

 

On the other hand, in the movies, we are introduced to Draco much later in the story. They had already arrived at Hogwarts and they were waiting for the sorting ceremony (the ceremony where 1st-year students find out which house they will be placed in. Ex: Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Gryffindor) Draco was introduced with his famous line, “So it’s true then. Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts.” Many people gasped in shock as it is very well known that Harry Potter is the only person to survive a killing curse. Draco continued with, “I’m Malfoy, Draco Malfoy.” 

 

Ron laughs which made Draco extremely angry because he is usually very respected. Draco then insulted Ron by making fun of his family and their financial situation. From an outside view, that may have not been the best idea right after trying to make a new friend. He then said, “You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort.” This is where the feud starts, Harry refused and said that he can make that decision on his own. 

 

With these two different interactions in mind, you see how someone who’s only seen the movies and hasn’t read the books would see something much different than someone who has both read the books and seen the movies. Now that we’ve learned about both Draco and our first impressions you can see why most people immediately dislike Malfoy. 

 

Let’s move on to some theories and reasons why Draco deserves redemption. To begin with, we should start with those first interactions. From the looks of it, Draco has never truly had any friends or very civil conversations with anyone, and to me, that seems like a parenting problem. Coming from a very wealthy family, I wouldn’t expect him to be very friendly and personal. But parents should be teaching their kids how to have conversations before they are sent off into the world to interact with many different types of people. 

Photo by Pixabay

The first sign of redemption is surprisingly in those first scenes. It’s simple really. Draco is, in fact, making the effort to make a friend. That should be taken into account when defending him. We know that Crabbe and Goyle are often only known as Malfoy’s minions, not as much as his friends. So the fact that he is willing to make a friend and not just someone to back him up is very interesting.

 

One small detail many people don’t remember is from The Goblet of Fire. In the scene where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are attending the Quidditch World Cup when they spot Malfoy by the forest. When they approach him, he said something that many say to be very crude, but others see it as a show of his internal goodness. He said, “Hadn’t you better be hurrying along, now? You wouldn’t like her spotted, would you?” Draco nodded at Hermione, and then he explained, “Granger, they’re after Muggles. Do you want to be showing off your knickers in mid-air? Because if you do, hang around…they’re moving this way.” Most people see this as a rude comment because he is talking about them showing off Muggle Borns’s underwear, but if you really dissect it, he’s really warning her about what was to come. As we see later a group of masked Death Eaters rade the World Cup in search of Muggle Borns. Draco had really tried to warn them which was a first, seeing how much he disliked Hermione. 

 

Later on, in the 6th book, The Half-Blood Prince, we are told about Draco becoming a Death Eater like his father. Most people are very upset and scared of being around him. This would cause some people to be sad, knowing that at this point no one really likes you. We are also informed by a ghost named Moaning Myrtle that Draco actually talks to her sometimes and lets out his feelings. She described him by saying, “He feels lonely and hasn’t got anybody to talk to, and he’s not afraid to show his feelings and cry!” This may not seem too important but when you find out that Moaning Myrtle is actually a Muggle Born, the plot thickens. 

 

In the same book, an important scene between Harry and Draco occurs. Draco was having what many would describe as a mental breakdown in one of the abandoned bathrooms. Harry had been blaming Draco for almost everything throughout the movie and thus blatantly stalking him. He followed him to the bathroom and accuses him of cursing one of their fellow students, Katie Bell. While this accusation is true, you can see his physical disdain towards what he’s done. He obviously was not in the right mindset right now, so Harry decided to duel Draco right in the bathroom. This duel ended up with Harry not only using the Sectumsempra curse, which could be classified as an unforgivable curse, but also leaving Draco to bleed out. 

 

This scene really bothers me for several reasons. One, Harry could have been so much more civilized in this situation. They live in a magical world but that doesn’t mean magic should be used for everything. Harry could see that Draco was disturbed. That should have told Harry that he needed someone to help him even if it is his enemy. Secondly, Harry decided to use a curse he has never used or even knows what it does to the victim. Lastly, why would our so-called “hero” just leave someone to bleed out on the bathroom floor? Yes, he may be your least favorite person and you may want that but he’s still one of your classmates. The main reason I’m mentioning this is that Harry got absolutely no backlash from this. He almost killed one of his classmates on school grounds with an unknown curse. But no, Harry’s the hero and Draco’s the villain.

“I haven’t got any options! I’ve got to do it! He’ll kill me! He’ll kill my whole family!””

— Draco Malfoy

Another one of his famous lines holds the key to his redemption. In the 6th movie, Draco was assigned to kill Professor Dumbledore. That is a very difficult thing to do as a 16-year-old, there’s no debate there. While he’s at the Astronomy tower with Dumbledore, he said something that most would just look over. Draco agreed to complete Lord Voldemort’s dangerous deed to save his family from revenge for the mistakes of his father. Draco said to Dumbledore, “I haven’t got any options! I’ve got to do it! He’ll kill me! He’ll kill my whole family!” This shows another example of Draco’s internal battle. He wants to save his family from being killed but he doesn’t have it in him to kill his Professor to do so. So Snape ends up doing the job for him. Throughout that year, many students are heard describing Malfoy as looking “sickly” which could correlate to the fact that he had a task to kill their Head Master. 

 

In the 7th movie, Deathly Hallows Part 1, Draco has to prove that Harry is, well, Harry. Bellatrix Lestrange, his aunt, was trying to prove that the person they found in the woods is in fact the Harry Potter. Draco obviously recognized someone he’s gone to school with for 6 years, even with the spell Hermione cast to disguise Harry’s appearance. But yet, he said, “I can’t be sure.” He knows it’s Harry, because who else would be with Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. 

 

Another time he saved Harry was later in that same movie. Draco, Gregory Goyle, and Blaise Zabini are cornering Harry. Draco wanted his wand back from Harry that he took in their escape from Malfoy Manor. His friends wanted Draco to just kill Harry to get his wand, but Draco never hurts Harry in any way. He simply asks. Now obviously Harry didn’t just comply and give it back, instead, he asks why he lied back in the Manor. Draco looked concerned and almost guilty and proceeded to lower his wand. He also stopped his friends later from killing Harry. 

 

Finally, many years after the war, we are not given much about what Draco has been doing, but one thing we learn is that he married a woman named Astoria Greengrass. That may not seem important, but it is. Astoria was known by the purebloods as a traitor of sorts. She did not believe that purebloods were higher than half-bloods and muggle-borns. This shows a lot about Draco. He seems to have left his blood supremacy traits behind because he wouldn’t have married someone considered a traitor if he was still set in his ways from back in school. We also learn from J.K. Rowling that Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy were not fans of Astoria but still let them marry, because they were also trying to change their ways. Draco took the chance of marrying Astoria even though his parents disapproved. This is a way different Draco than we once knew.       

Photo by Pixabay

 

A very tiny detail people may not even know is that Draco’s wand is made of hawthorn wood with Unicorn Hair core. Hawthorn woods are very interesting wands. In the words of Garrick Ollivander, “Hawthorn wands may be particularly suited to healing magic, but they are also adept at curses, and I have generally observed that the hawthorn wand seems most at home with a conflicted nature, or with a witch or wizard passing through a period of turmoil.” If Hawthorn woods have homes in the hands of witches or wizards with conflicted nature, that must mean that Draco had been questioning his beliefs since the beginning. He only started to show his conflicts later in life. Unicorn hair, on the other hand, is known to rarely be used for the Dark Arts. This shows that Draco’s wand couldn’t have even been as evil as everyone thought he was.   

 

A bonus redemption proof was not actually in the movies or really described in the books. In the final battle of Hogwarts, a deleted scene was released that depicted Draco throwing his wand to Harry so that Harry would have a wand to battle Lord Voldemort with. This is just more proof of his inner conflicts because he finally defies his parents and Voldemort by helping who they see as “the enemy”. But sadly the scene was cut to keep Draco’s “cowardly” persona in tack. Later, they also show Draco had a son named Scorpius. It is said that “Malfoy married pureblood Astoria Greengrass, who did not raise their son to believe Muggles or others were less than purebloods.”

 

For all these reasons, I fully believe that Draco was truly a good person but was raised to be the evil person that he came off as. Draco Malfoy was really just the boy who had no choice. He was raised surrounded by violence and very evil people. I don’t blame him for not interfering earlier. He was young and didn’t know how to express his feelings and beliefs until he was an adult and had a child of his own. He had to witness things that no child should ever have to see and should have never been so close to someone as evil as Voldemort. But that’s for you to decide, like I said it’s 50/50 and all through interpretations.