By Lorie Damerell
Draco is in danger. So is Snape. They are not, therefore, going to put themselves into any situation where they might be captured by the Ministry. Neither is in mortal danger of the Dark Lord’s wrath. Draco did not fail; instead his work was interrupted by Snape. The former potions master has done nothing wrong in the red eyes of his master; thus his support of Draco will go far to save that young man from the indomitable rage of the arch villain that might otherwise be expected. The authorities, however, are going to have something else to say—a murderer and one who had attempted murder are not going to be favorites. Aside from his crimes, should anyone wrest up his sleeve they would discover an ugly tattoo of a skull with a serpent emerging from the mouth: quite enough reason to warrant a cell in Azkaban. Is this where Draco will be sent? Only if caught. If this happens, then he will not see much more of the wizarding world for unless the rescue mission of Lucius and other, stronger Death Eaters, occurs when Draco is similarly incarcerated, he will have no chance of being freed by The Dark Lord who does not need him. But he isn’t going to be caught, as Draco more likely will be put into hiding. It is doubtful that The Dark Lord will provide this service so Snape and Draco will have to seek safety self-made, or else hunt out the Order. From Minerva McGonagall’s words at the end of Half-Blood Prince, if Snape really is on the good side and Dumbledore and he had a plan, the others were not aware of it. He is not likely to get their help, even though Draco might. If Draco is to be protected by the Order it will not be because Snape is in a similar position. Snape might hand Draco over to them for his protection and the safety of others: even if Draco cannot muster the courage to use the killing curse, he can certainly try and use poisons and cursed necklaces. And if the Order does not want the little brat? Snape will have to find some way of looking after him because, spoilt beyond belief, it is not possible that Draco could contrive to maintain his own security successfully.
If he does not die there remains one ultimate question regarding his future: will Draco turn to the ‘good side’? There is no canonical certainty that Draco is actually a Death Eater. Whilst it is most sensible to agree with Harry’s convictions, Draco’s inability to perform his task properly, even with the threat against his life and the lives of his family, was not enough to force him to kill Dumbledore. Draco had a choice on that tower, but it was not a choice between what was right and what was easy for both options were hard. To kill, or to have your parents killed? His aunt once said that in order to perform an Unforgivable you had to mean it.14 Dumbledore said that Draco wasn’t a killer, and he was correct. He is able to stomp on someone’s face to vindicate his father15, but he could not take the life of his Headmaster. However, just because he does not have the inner capacity to be as cruel and demonic as his aunt, because he is never going to be as cold and cruel as his father, does it really mean that Draco could be the opposite -- to be on the ‘good side’? No, it does not. To support Harry and the Order would mean rejecting all his own personal beliefs, the principals of his upbringing, and to totally reject the fundamental belief-system that purebloods are superior to all other types of wizard. If Draco is too cowardly to complete a Dark Lord-appointed task, then he is too cowardly to do what is right.
Arguably, a dramatic event could make Draco turn away from the dark and dangerous path that he has embarked upon. This could well be, of course, the death of one or both parents. He clearly cares deeply for his family’s safety, which he shows Dumbledore while he debates murder, saying, “I haven’t got any options ... He’ll kill my whole family!”16 Should his father, for example, be killed by the Dark Lord or at his instruction, it might lead Draco to abandon service to him. That does not equate to Draco siding with Harry and what Harry stands for. He could defect from the Death Eaters’ ranks and yet still hold onto his pureblood ideals. Draco would not interpret his father’s murder as the result of him being a pureblood supremacist but because the Dark Lord is a pitiless being who cares for no amount of loyalty and devotion. Draco would turn to the Order only to save his own skin and not because he changed his convictions. There may at some point occur a moderation of what he believes: when the Dark Lord is defeated and there will be no space for Muggle and non-pureblood discrimination, Draco will learn to keep his thoughts to himself – just as his father did for so many years that he might progress politically. But during the course of the final book, Draco will not join with Harry, Ron and Hermione even if they were stupid enough to want someone who had tormented them for so many years.
So what really will happen to the Malfoys? Presently the Malfoy family is quite separated, but there are endless possibilities of circumstance in which they will see each other again. Draco could be taken to his mother by Snape and kept at the Manor for a short period of time; Draco and Narcissa might be kept in hiding by the Order; Draco and Lucius might share adjacent cells in Azkaban or even see each other on the battlefield. There is a whole year to be covered in the next book and therefore more than likely that at least two of the family will see each other before the conclusion of the series. Even if they do all contrive to survive past the end of the seventh instalment, there is one thing almost guaranteed: unless, of course, the Dark Lord defeats Harry and takes over the wizarding world, the Malfoy name is ruined. At the end of the First War Lucius lied to the courts and avoided prison.17 This and a lot of gold enabled Malfoy to gain the freedom he needed to work his own schemes of attaining power. A very rich man, he managed to worm his way into the heart of the political system and had a lot of control, even the capability to “[delay] laws he doesn’t want passed.”18 His son must have been fairly successful academically because he was able to choose Slughorn’s potions class, and even got onto the Quidditch team. But then Lucius went and landed himself in jail; a year later Draco attempted murder on Dumbledore – the Malfoys are clearly supporters of the Dark Lord and thus they will never have the respect that they may once have had. Even if the family were to say that they would support the good side (which is nearly impossible), they would neither be taken seriously nor trusted --even Snape has not earned the confidence of others despite all his work. They have gold and plenty of it, but Galleons cannot save them from prison, it cannot rescue them from the wrath of the Dark Lord and it won’t ever change their belief systems. They are pure-blooded and proud of it. They can try to hide behind a screen of Muggle-loving falsity but no gold could buy them the belief of the rest of the wizarding world. No, the Malfoys have severely spoiled their futures and won’t ever regain what they had always wanted: power. They will be a fallen family.
1. Ewalt, David. “The Forbes Fictional Fifteen: Lucius Malfoy.”
2. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 21.
3. Ibid., 331.
4. Ibid., 30.
5. Ibid., Chamber of Secrets, 29.
6. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 785.
7. “Lord Voldemort Requires My Constant Presence at the Moment.”
8. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince 591.
9. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 155.
10. Ibid., Chamber of Secrets, 335.
11. Ibid, 29.
12. Seaton, “Matt Seaton Meets J.K. Rowling,”
13. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince 592.
14. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 810.
15. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 154.
16. Ibid., 591.
17. Ibid., Philospopher’s Stone, 110; Goblet of Fire, 213.
18. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 155.
Ewalt, David. “The Forbes Fictional Fifteen: Lucius Malfoy.” Forbes. 1 December 2005.
http://www.forbes.com/2005/12/01/potter-malfoy-wealth_cx_de_05fict15_1201malfoyprofile.html. (Accessed October 2006)
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2000.
———. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.
———. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.
———. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998.
Seaton, Matt. “Matt Seaton Meets J.K. Rowling,” The Guardian (UK), 18 April 2001.
Accio Quote. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2001/0401-guardian-seaton.htm. (Accessed October 2006)
Upton, Sue. “JKR: ‘Lord The Dark Lord Requires My Constant Presence at the Moment.’” The Leaky Cauldron. 5 September 2006. /index.php?articleID=9032. (Accessed October 2006)