Draco Malfoy

JMilz

Moderator
This is a thread to develop Draco Malfoy's character study. You'll notice that I split up main points into separate posts. This is so you can easily reference and reply to certain points.

First, let's start with something we can all agree on. This character is described as such.

Hair color: Blond
Eye color: Grey
House: Slytherin
Skin Color: Pale

Body Type: Tall/Slender

Keep in mind that this character study will be updated over the next few weeks, as this in-depth format can take a little time. It's currently ongoing.
 
Last edited:

JMilz

Moderator
13
Pompous
One of Draco Malfoy's most notable traits is his pompousness. First, let's define the word "pompous" as per the Google Dictionary.
pomp·ous
/ˈpämpəs/
adjective

1. affectedly and irritatingly grand, solemn, or
self-important.

When we are first introduced to Draco, this quote is quite telling:

"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.”

His pompousness is further displayed in other quotes such as:


  • "You see, I, unlike you, have been made a prefect, which means that I, unlike you, have the power to hand out punishments."

  • "You think you’re such a big man, Potter," said Malfoy, advancing now, Crabbe and Goyle flanking him. "You wait. I’ll have you. You can’t land my father in prison –"

  • "A select group of students who are supportive of the Ministry of Magic, hand-picked by Professor Umbridge. Anyway, members of the Inquisitional Squad do have the power to dock points… so, Granger, I’ll have five from you for being rude about our new Headmistress. Macmillan, five for contradicting me. Five because I don’t like you, Potter. Weasley, your shirt’s untucked, so I’ll have another five for that. Oh yeah, I forgot, you’re a Mudblood, Granger, so ten off for that."

  • "You don't know what I'm capable of, you don't know what I've done!"
Draco's pompous nature may be more notable in his youth than it was later, but it could be said that this is a way to hide a few emotions, including:

  • Jealousy. Draco's pompousness tends to come out the most when he is referring to Harry Potter or his associates. He is jealous of Harry Potter's fame, and jealous of his friends because he was the first person to try and befriend Harry, only to be turned down. This jealousy also is hinted at during other interactions, especially with Harry Potter.

  • Fear. Draco acts pompous when he or his family is threatened, especially by members of the Golden Trio or their friends.

  • Insecurity. When we first witness Draco's pompousness, he is trying to befriend Harry, but Ron seems to cover up a laugh with a cough. It is likely that he's insecure about his social standing not only with his peers, but also with his family, particularly his father.
Now, the question is: does Draco's pompousness actually define his character?

There is no denying that Draco acts pompous, but it is difficult to say whether or not this is how he truly feels or if he is mirroring his father's attitude. This attitude undoubtedly pushes others away, whilst making him appear to be confident. His father's obsession with blood status inarguably has led to his own perceived obsession with it. It is this obsession that becomes a common topic when he declares his self-importance.


While one could argue that his pompousness may be a true trait during his younger years, it mostly seems to be fueled by fear and insecurity in The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows after he has more experience with Death Eaters and the Dark Arts. Fear of Voldemort killing his family and fear of failing lead him to act out during both of these legs of the series, showing that Draco has become a dynamic character over time.
 
Last edited:

JMilz

Moderator
17

Witty
Draco Malfoy was inarguably witty, especially at the expense of others. Let's define "witty" as per the Google Dictionary.

wit·ty
/ˈwidē/
adjective

1. showing or characterized by quick and inventive verbal humor.


In The Sorcerer's Stone, we are introduced to Draco's wittiness on several occasions. This quote stands out:

"What would you know about it, Weasley, you couldn’t afford the handle," Malfoy snapped back. "I suppose you and your brothers have to save up, twig by twig."

Other quotes displaying his wittiness include:


  • "Are you trying to earn some extra money, Weasley? Hoping to be gamekeeper yourself when you leave Hogwarts, I suppose – that hut of Hagrid’s must seem like a palace compared to what your family’s used to."

  • "Longbottom, if brains were gold you’d be poorer than Weasley, and that’s saying something."

  • "Weasley would like a signed photo, Potter,’ smirked Malfoy. ‘It’d be worth more than his family’s whole house."

  • "Who blacked your eye, Granger? I'd like to send them flowers."

  • "Or perhaps," said Malfoy, leering as he backed away, "you can remember what your mother’s house stank like, Potter, and Weasley’s pigsty reminds you of it –"

  • "Azkaban – the wizard prison, Goyle," said Malfoy, looking at him in disbelief. "Honestly, if you were any slower, you’d be going backwards."

  • "Oh yeah, I forgot, you’re a Mudblood, Granger, so ten off for that."

  • "‘I heard your father finally got his hands on some gold this summer, Weasley," said Malfoy. "Did your mother die of shock?"

  • "Maybe he’s been messing with stuff that’s too big for him, if you get my drift." (In regards to Hagrid.)
Draco chooses specific individuals to target more than others. He usually seems to insult the following:

  • Harry Potter. Draco often insults Harry out of jealousy. He desperately desires the glory that Harry was given since birth. Insulting him is Draco's way of burying his own insecurity and asserting his father's values. As his father is a Death Eater and Harry Potter is the enemy of Voldemort, Harry is also his father's enemy and his enemy.

  • Ron Weasley. Draco insults Ron Weasley for a few reasons. Again, he wants to assert his father's values. They view the Weasleys as blood traitors because they are pureblood but choose to interact with and glorify Muggles/Muggle-borns. He is also jealous of Ron because he became Harry's friend when he wanted to be.

  • Hermione Granger. Draco feels the need to assert his father's values mostly when it comes to Hermione, because she is Muggle-born. It could be speculated that he also feels threatened by her great talents as a witch.

  • Rubeus Hagrid. Hagrid symbolizes several things that Draco dislikes. He is a half-giant and incapable of performing most magic. Since he is not a pureblood, Draco may already not care for him. He lives modestly, and it is known that Draco thinks lesser of those that do (Ron Weasley being an example). Last, but not least, Hagrid is close to Dumbledore and he favors Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

  • Neville Longbottom. Draco has a distaste for the weak and feeble, but he does like preying upon them, as he has been taught to do in his home. The way that his father treats Dobby may have influenced him. Neville's parents also fought Voldemort and Death Eaters. This fact may play a role in the Malfoys' hate for him.
So what do Draco's witty remarks tell us about him?

Draco's wittiness goes hand-in-hand with his pompousness. It is often a defense mechanism when he feels threatened or jealous. However, his wittiness also tells us something about him that his pompousness does not. What we learn from his quick-witted insults is that Draco is highly intelligent. While it is easy to brush off his words as simpleminded bullying, not everyone could come up with such clever remarks on the fly.
 
Last edited:

JMilz

Moderator
22
Secretive

Draco's secretive nature adds to his mystery. Let's define what it means to be "secretive" using the Google Dictionary.

se·cre·tive
/ˈsēkridiv/
adjective

1. (of a person or an organization) inclined to conceal feelings and intentions or not to disclose information.

While Harry often suspects that Draco Malfoy is hiding something, the blond wizard's secretive nature is not heavily important until later books. This character trait is developed the most in The Half-Blood Prince.

While it was fair to say that he may have been "sneaky" in younger years, Draco's biggest secrets are:


  • The Vanishing Cabinet. This cabinet was how Draco Malfoy managed to sneak in several Death Eaters for the Battle of Hogwarts.

  • Plans to murder Albus Dumbledore. He is able to keep this secret, even from those that he trusts. Unfortunately, this particular secret ate at him from the inside out, as he feared for his and his family's lives.

  • Knowing Harry Potter's identity. In The Deathly Hallows, Draco is asked whether or not a captured wizard is Harry Potter. Even though Harry's face is bloated, it is suggested that Draco still could identify him.
So how did Draco manage to keep his secrets?

Draco Malfoy had a particular knack for
Occlumency. Even when it came to his plans of letting Death Eaters into Hogwarts and killing Albus Dumbledore, he was able to keep secrets as necessary. Having the strong ability to lock out other witches and wizards gave him the ability to carry out heinous plans, or at least try to.
 
Last edited:

JMilz

Moderator
25Confrontational

Draco Malfoy was notably confrontational throughout most of the books, especially in his early years. Let's refer to the Google Dictionary to see what "confrontational" means.

con·fron·ta·tion·al
/ˌkänfrənˈtāSH(ə)n(ə)l/
adjective

1. tending to deal with situations in an aggressive way; hostile or argumentative.

We first learn of Draco's confrontational nature as early as The Sorcerer's Stone. He is obviously confrontational here, in this quote:

"Oh, you’re going to fight us, are you?"

His other notably confrontational quotes include:


  • "But we don’t feel like leaving, do we, boys? We’ve eaten all our food, and you still seem to have some."

  • "Be careful, Weasley," sneered Malfoy. "You don’t want to start any trouble or your mummy’ll have to come and take you away from school." He put on a shrill, piercing voice. "If you put another toe out of line –"

  • "No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood."

  • "Well, look who it is," said Malfoy in his usual, lazy drawl, pulling open the compartment door. "Potty and the Weasel."

  • "Keep that big bushy head down, Granger."

  • "Go on, then, Potter," said Malfoy quietly, drawing out his own wand. "Moody’s not here to look after you now – do it, if you’ve got the guts –"

  • "Got your bed booked in the hospital wing, Weasley?"
Why is Draco so confrontational?

Draco was raised by Lucius Malfoy, who we often see act similarly. Draco is simply a product of his upbringing. He has been taught that he is better than others and he must assert as much as often as he can. Draco becomes less confrontational in later books, as he is distracted by his fear of Voldemort. It could also be said that as he grows further apart from his father, the less confrontational he becomes.
 
Last edited:

JMilz

Moderator
27
Intelligent

Draco Malfoy's intelligence was undeniable, but let's see what it means to be intelligent, according to the Google Dictionary.

in·tel·li·gent
/inˈteləjənt/
adjective

1. having or showing intelligence, especially of a high level.

While it is easy to assume that Draco is not intelligent due to his disinterest when it came to studying, we know that he must be intelligent for many reasons. Let's explore some.

  • He fixed the Vanishing Cabinet. While it took him quite some time, this was clearly no easy feat. Draco patiently spent many months testing the cabinet before determining it was safe for human use.

  • He performed well in Potions. While Severus Snape had taken a liking to Draco, it is unlikely that he could boost his scores to a suspicious degree. Draco always performed well in this particular subject.

  • He knew how to survive. Draco has what we often refer to as "street smarts". His family has cornered him with their decision to follow Voldemort, but he knows how to survive in such a situation by playing both sides.

  • He was a prefect. If Draco performed poorly, it would be unlikely that Dumbledore would approve him to be a prefect.

  • He masters Occlumency. Unlike Harry Potter, Draco is a master Occlumens. He uses this skill to lock out those around him.

  • He succeeded to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts. Hogwarts is known as one of the safest places in the wizarding world, yet Draco managed to successfully sneak in several Death Eaters.
There are examples of Draco seeming quite dumb. How do we know he's actually smart?

Draco Malfoy is a complicated character, and while he may sometimes seem dumb, he is oftentimes actually acting out of pomposity. Many cite him insulting the hippogriff when they argue that Draco was not at all smart, but we can assume that Draco actually insults Buckbeack because he is self-important. Someone that has learned they are above others tend not to see immediate consequences to their actions. We can assume this is why Draco acts out on this particular occasion. We can also assume that is why Draco does not always have the best grades. He is not necessarily dumb, but he does not believe that school is important. In Draco's mind, Malfoys are above things as frivolous as schoolwork.
 
Last edited:

JMilz

Moderator
30
Caring

It's hard to admit that Draco Malfoy was a caring individual, but when it came to his family, he was. First, let's see what it means to be caring as per the Google Dictionary.

car·ing
/ˈkeriNG/
adjective

1. displaying kindness and concern for others.

Draco was hardly known for his caring nature, but his willingness to do anything for his family is inarguable. Even when he doesn't feel confident in what he is doing, he takes on extreme stress (especially for his age) in order to please his parents.

Let's talk about some examples of Draco's lesser-discussed nature of being a caring person.

  • He cared about his father. Draco was willing to do anything to bring honor to his father (and his mother), even if it meant hurting others. While some may suggest Draco was hoping to bring honor to himself, it is evident that he knows of the danger and that he is hoping to carry out such deeds to earn his father's love.

  • He loved his wife and son. Draco greatly cares about his son and his late wife, Astoria. He discusses his grief after her death in The Cursed Child and goes to extremes to save his son, Scorpius.

  • He had a close relationship with his mother. Narcissa Malfoy values her son above all else, and Draco often chooses to stay close to her in dire situations. While their relationship is more heavily discussed from Narcissa's perspective, there is no denying that Draco cares deeply for her.

  • He refused to identify Harry. Draco has had trouble with Harry since they were very young, but when given the opportunity to have him killed, he refuses to identify him. Let's also remember that Harry cast Sectumsempra at him just a year before this act of bravery and defiance.

Why isn't Draco's caring nature spelled out?

Draco is a complex character. This dynamic character could not change at the drop of a hat, so it was important for J.K. Rowling to drop hints. He is not supposed to be likable, but we are supposed to identify with him more as the story progresses. Draco simply is not meant to be 100% villain like Voldemort is. In fact, he is more widely accepted by Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, and Hermione Granger in The Cursed Child as his change in nature is quite obvious.
 

JMilz

Moderator
32Determined

Draco is notably determined even in the face of evil. According to the Google Dictionary, this is what it means to be "determined".

de·ter·mined
/dəˈtərmənd/
adjective


1. having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.

Not many sixteen-year-olds would make some of the commitments Draco Malfoy made. While he was not able to carry some of them out himself, he was determined to do so even if it terrified him.

While his determination is sometimes misplaced, he displays this trait in all of the following examples:



  • Killing Dumbledore. While Draco did not carry out this task, he was quite determined to. In fact, the heaviness of such a feat weighed down on him throughout his sixth year. Nevertheless, he did attempt to kill him with poisoned mead and a cursed necklace.

  • He was sorted into Slytherin. Slytherins are known for being particularly ambitious, which is just a synonym for determined. To be fair, Draco also had a deep desire to be sorted into the house and the Sorting Hat keeps that in mind.

  • Petting Buckbeak. While it may not have been one of his better choices, he was determined to pet Buckbeak. It ended poorly for him, but he did approach the beast to try.

  • Working on the Inquisitorial Squad. Ambition is common amongst Slytherins, but Draco is more ambitious than usual. He was the perfect match for the Inquisitorial Squad and worked hard to solve the mystery of Dumbledore's Army.

  • Playing Quidditch. A talented Quidditch player, Draco became Seeker for Slytherin at a notably young age. While he was not granted the exception of playing on the team in his first year, he did start playing by his second year. He did lose to Harry during his first game against Gryffindor, but his skill is clear in later matches.

  • Becoming a Death Eater. While J.K. Rowling does not explicitly say that Draco Malfoy took the Dark Mark, his collusion with Death Eaters was undeniable. He was quite determined to join this group as his family encouraged him to. It is suggested he did take the mark by Harry Potter. It can also be inferred by his reaction in The Cursed Child when he becomes angry about people discriminating against those with the Dark Mark.

  • The Vanishing Cabinet. Fixing the Vanishing Cabinet was no small feat, but Draco spent all of his extra time and energy doing it so he could sneak in Death Eaters.

  • Mastering Occlumency. Occlumency is only easy to master for the most determined witches and wizards. Harry Potter was unable to master the art, but Draco becomes quite adept in it.

If he is so determined, why didn't he carry out or succeed in some of his acts?

While Draco may not have killed Dumbledore or continued his affiliation with Death Eaters, he was determined to do what he could. However, his caring nature and his natural fear sometimes got in his way in the end. Draco Malfoy was not a killer, which was an expectation for Death Eaters. It was also why he couldn't look Dumbledore in the eye and murder him, but he was able to send him poisoned mead and try to gift him a cursed necklace. Draco's convictions did sometimes get in the way of his overall goals, but it doesn't mean that didn't work hard to achieve them at the time. In general, he got much further than most would when it came to tasks with such high stakes.
 

JMilz

Moderator
39

Fearful

Draco often acted out of fear, whether it was fear of his father, fear of being unsuccessful, or fear of Voldemort. The
Google Dictionary says this is what it means to be "fearful".

fear·ful
/ˈfirfəl/
adjective

1. feeling afraid; showing fear or anxiety.

While Draco often tries to instill fear in others, fear is often instilled in him. It is clear that he does not want to do some of the deeds that he is asked to do, fear pushes him forward.

Let's discuss some moments of fear for Draco Malfoy, and what it must have meant to be in his shoes.


  • The Forbidden Forest in First Year. Draco is afraid to go into the Forbidden Forest to begin with, but the fear becomes greater after they run into Professor Quirrell feeding Voldemort on the unicorn's blood. He runs in the other direction, forgetting to shoot up red sparks.

  • The hippogriff in Third Year. When Buckbeak the hippogriff attacks him, Draco is terrified of the damage. As he is now a bit older, he resorts to threats as a reaction.

  • The task to kill Dumbledore in Sixth Year. Fearing what would happen to him and his family, Draco takes on the task of murdering Albus Dumbledore. He is, however, quite afraid of facing one of the most powerful wizards in the world - and what may happen if he fails.

  • The Sectumsempra attack in Sixth Year. During a duel, Harry Potter shoots a spell he learned from notes in his Potions book. Several slash-like gashes appear on Draco's body and he begins bleeding - nearly to death. He is clearly afraid terrified of what Harry had done and what could happen.

  • The Battle of Hogwarts in Seventh Year. War is scary for everyone, but war is especially scary when you are torn between two sides. Draco stands with his family, but he faces his classmates only out of fear of the consequences.
Perhaps it is not the moments in which Draco is afraid, but the people he is afraid of that bear the most importance. Let's talk about them.

  • His father. Draco's father is a cruel man, and while he may mostly boast of his son in public, it is heavily implied that he may be less than pleasant to him behind closed doors. Growing up with such a man would cause turmoil for most children.

  • Lord Voldemort. The Dark Lord was not above threatening his life or the lives of his loved ones, and after being raised in a household that bows to him, it only natural that Draco would fear him.

  • Albus Dumbledore. Draco does not kill Dumbledore because he is not a killer, but he also fears the man's power. This is why he tries to poison him and give him a cursed necklace instead.
Why does it matter if he acted out of fear? Is this an excuse for his despicable actions?

Perhaps, he does not have an excuse, but it is important to note that fear is a very natural emotion for someone in Draco Malfoy's position. A father like Lucius Malfoy could not have been easy to deal with during his childhood, and being thrown to the Dark Lord as a teenager certainly did not help. When we learn that he acted out of fear and not malice, it is much easier to accept the fact that he could grow out of his learned prejudices. Someone that forces themselves to hate because they've been taught to do so is much more likely to experience reform than someone that truly hates. This explains his more relaxed stance on blood status and parenting that he has later in life.
 
Top