What Makes Draco Tick?
by Darcy Smittenaar
Revision date: December 25, 2004
Note: Any references are either from my own brain, the Harry Potter movies,
or the Harry Potter books. If I have a quote from anywhere else, I'll cite it
with the speaker's last name. If they are from books, the citation will say
"JKR," then a book and page number. If they are from the movies, the
citation will include one word from the movie's title--like, "Azkaban,"
and if they are from my own brain, they won't have any citation. Duh.
"The amazing bouncing ferret” (JKR 4/207), that "spineless,
evil little cockroach" (Azkaban), Drama King. Whatever he's called, Draco
Malfoy isn't a nice guy. Unless you're rich and pure-blooded to the third generation,
that is. Draco scorns Muggles, Weasleys, and all things Potter, and makes no
excuses. I'm not making excuses for him either, but what makes him tick? What's
behind the white-blonde hair and scathing sneer--besides the obvious connection
to his father's Death Eater status?
Personally, I think the kid's a brat, and needs a good spanking as much as
Dudley Dursley does. However, for some strange reason, I have been gifted with
the key to understanding this snobby little vermin, so I feel I must share.
Indulgence and Sacrifice
Draco is rich, so he has never had to hear the word, "no." He is
the heir to the Malfoy fortune--a considerable sum, as evidenced by Lucius'
purchase of seven Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones in Harry Potter and the Chamber
of Secrets, a ploy to buy Draco's way onto the Slytherin Quidditch team—so
he feels entitled to treat anyone poorer like scum on the bottom of his shoe.
In fact, due to this sense of entitlement, young Malfoy sees nothing wrong with
taking someone else's gifts (Chamber).
"Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. . . .
A man who gives into temptation after five minutes simply does not know what
it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense,
know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving
in" (C.S. Lewis).
As an heir to such a fortune as the Malfoys', Draco was probably taught to
see siblings as just that much less inheritance. Lucius and Narcissa don't seem
the type to shower children with affection--they are merely a means to keep
the bloodline from breaking. In such rich and affluent families, usually the
eldest child (particularly male) would get the--ahem--lion's share of the family
wealth, but some of that wealth would still have to be set aside to keep the
younger siblings alive--or at least to get them started on their own--after
the parents' deaths.
The Malfoys--including Draco--seem to think that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley have "more
children than they can afford" (JKR 1/108), which, as shown from the feasts
Molly provides when Harry visits, is a fallacy. When he taunts Ginny at Flourish
and Blotts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he makes a nasty comment
about Arthur and Molly having to "go hungry for a month to pay for all
[the children's textbooks]" (JKR 2/61). He said that as though it never
occurred to him that the pair would willingly sacrifice all they had to for
their children. Why? Because he doesn't understand sacrifice.
He has never had to work a day in his life for something he wanted. He has
house elves at his beck and call 364 days a year to cook, clean, and run errands
for him. He has had shelter, food, and everything else handed to him on a silver
platter, and his parents had money to spare. Lucius and Narcissa never had to
learn to say "no," so Draco was, inevitably, spoilt rotten. In the
same vein, Draco has probably never had to give up something for love of someone
else. He is inherently selfish, and thinks anyone who is selfless a fool for
risking their necks for someone else. There are no "labors of love"
in his rich-boy past--just greed.
Love and Marriage
As the heir to an elite family, Draco is expected to produce at least one heir--preferably
male. For this task, he needs a wife, and therefore must be at least openly
heterosexual. There is evidence in canon that Pansy is Draco's choice of mate;
he plays up his injury, and milks all the sympathy Pansy will give him after
the Buckbeak incident (JKR 3/123), suggesting that he is endeavoring to impress
her with how well he is holding up. Afterward, when Pansy looks away, Draco
"wink[s] at Crabbe and Goyle," suggesting that the girl bought his
act, "Hook, line, and sink 'er." Draco would never seek a relationship
with Hermione, Ginny, or Luna. First off, Draco despises Muggle-borns, half-bloods,
and Weasleys, so the first two are out. Luna is out, simply because she associates
with the first two. J.K. Rowling consistently depicts this, and there is no
reason to suspect that five books and three movies' worth of canon is going
to change abruptly, simply because some fans want to see Emma Watson (or Bonnie
Wright) and Tom Felton together. There is no canonical evidence that Draco--or
any other character, for that matter--is homosexual either. However, were Draco
to take a male lover, the affair would have to stay secret, because, as I said
above, he is expected to produce heirs--homosexuality does not little baby Malfoys
make--and he would be considered a disgrace to the Malfoy
name, should he "come out of the closet."
Were young Malfoy gay, however, he would not choose Harry, Ron, or Neville
as a partner. There is no evidence that Harry, Ron, or Neville is gay either,
but that's a topic for another essay. I'm sorry to all those H/D 'shippers out
there, but it's true. There is plenty of canonical evidence that Draco despises
all three boys, and none to support a relationship with either of them.
To top it off, those three boys hate Draco too. Malfoy insulted Lily Potter
long before he or Harry knew she was Muggle-born, and insulted the Weasleys--including
Ron--when he volunteered to show Harry who the "wrong sort" (JKR 1/108)
of Wizarding family was--in other words, Muggle-loving fools and people with
more mouths to feed than galleons. Draco sees Neville as nothing more than a
bumbling idiot to laugh at and push around, along the same order as Crabbe and
Goyle--and no, there's no evidence in canon that they are gay either.