Happy Birthday, Draco Malfoy!

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Jun 05, 2017

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Character Birthdays, Felton, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Philosophers / Sorcerers Stone, J.K. Rowling, News

Today we celebrate Draco Malfoy’s 37th birthday. Any walk down memory lane with the pure-blood wizarding heir is bound to conjure mixed feelings, but this loyal and ambitious Slytherin is, nonetheless, an integral player in the Harry Potter story and one whose tangential and personal arc is well worth revisiting!

Draco grew up idolizing his father, Lucius, and, as result, valued that which he valued–family heritage, prestige, power, and magical prowess–without question. Draco naturally sought to ingratiate himself with those who would do likewise, incorrectly assuming that the famous Harry Potter would fall into that category. But when Harry spurned his offer of friendship in the Sorcerer’s Stone, recognizing Malfoy’s motivations for what they were, their rivalry began.

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Draco envied Harry’s popularity and talent, and he resented that his father and other Deatheaters viewed Harry as a legitimate threat while still treating Draco like a schoolboy. So he took every opportunity to advance and prove himself–joining Dolores Umbridge’s Inquisitorial Squad in Order of the Phoenix and then, after his father’s spectacular fall from Voldemort’s favor, accepting Voldemort’s impossible charge to murder Albus Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince. He set out to resurrect the honor of the family name without any thought to what it would cost him.

But Draco began to develop a conscience, in his way, finding the task far more difficult than he anticipated. His initial attempts to strike at Dumbledore brought harm to fellow classmates, and the prospect of causing more damage, coupled with the fear of what would happen if he failed, took its toll.

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When the chance to seize the glory he desperately wanted finally arrived, he could not bring himself to utter the fatal spell and send Dumbledore to his death. As much as he desired the approval of his father and all those he revered, Draco was unwilling to do anything to achieve his goals, settling for disarming the kind-hearted headmaster while Professor Snape finished the deed.

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In Deathly Hallows, Draco even unexpectedly aided Harry, refusing to identify him before the Snatchers and his anxious family members, in a move that surely saved Harry from an early confrontation with the Dark Lord.

Interigation

These actions clearly showed the deep-seated conflict warring within Draco as he attempted to reconcile life-long expectations with newfound realizations about the true nature of dark magic. Even so, he succumbed to the ever-present temptation for recognition and status and almost captured Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Room of Requirement during the fateful Battle of Hogwarts.

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However, in a masterful turn of events, J.K. Rowling flipped the situation on its head, and Harry saved Draco from the deadly fiendfyre tearing through the castle’s magical room.

Fans would like to think that at this point in the Harry Potter story Draco was humbled and that the epilogue hints at redemption and a burgeoning friendship between the two. But J.K. Rowling revealed in writings for Pottermore that Draco’s journey is far more meandering and complex.

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Lest that sound overly cynical, however, remember that, like all of us, Draco has both weaknesses and strengths, one of which is his sense of and commitment to family pride. It seems his greatest legacy at the age of 37 is just that–his family.

He’s married to a pure blood who underwent a similar conversion of priorities, and they have a son, Scorpius, of whom Rowling writes: “I have high hopes that [Draco] will raise Scorpius to be a much kinder and more tolerant Malfoy than he was in his own youth.”

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So in celebration of a character who shows us that you can embrace the better parts of your history while also breaking free from the worst to be found there, let us raise a glass of butter beer to Slytherin Draco Malfoy and the success of his most worthy ambition–to be a loving and devoted father.





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