First, let’s start off with a very short and frank discussion about Draco Malfoy. The boy’s bad news, plain and simple. There aren’t a whole lot of discussions you can get into which paint Draco in a good light, considering that for all seven books (and eight movies for seven books) he is a bad boy. Not in the bad boy sense were we know he’s secretly got a heart of gold, hidden behind his pained and tortured demeanor. Draco, plain and simple, does lots of actual bad stuff — you know, including that fact that he was almost the one to kill Dumbledore.
With that being said, why do we all like Draco? I like Draco. If I’m being honest, I really like Slytherin, too, because I feel like this is a safe space to admit that. However, Draco is all sorts of bad news, and we LOVE him with this strange bad boy fascination. Even though he’s actually really bad. What’s up with that? It’s a good thing JK Rowling understands our strange hate/LUV relationship with him, and on the 11th day of Harry Potter Christmas, she gave us some answers.
“I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character,” she wrote on Pottermore (after you click around a Quidditch field, then the top of the Astronomy tower at Hogwarts, and THEN answer a rhyming riddle She is making us work for our Harry Potter info). “Draco has all the dark glamor of the anti-hero; girls are very apt to romanticize such people. All of this left me in the unenviable position of pouring cold common sense on ardent readers’ daydreams, as I told them, rather severely, that Draco was not concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering.”
Oh. My. Gosh. JK Rowling, telling it like it is. And basically telling us to stop thinking about Draco like that when there are boys like Harry and Ron out there, who do in fact have good hearts.
Not only that, but Rowling also gives us a little more of a glimpse into Draco’s upbringing and home life, including the real reason he hated Harry so much. “Draco’s feelings for Harry were always based, in a great part, on envy. Though he never sought fame, Harry was unquestionably the most talked-about and admired person at school, and this naturally jarred with a boy who had been brought up to believe that he occupied an almost royal position within the wizarding community.”
Even though we kinda knew all along that Draco believed he was privileged far beyond every one else, it’s great to hear it straight from the source. Draco was always bad. Even though by the end of the last book he had a few redeeming qualities, and in the end he and Harry didn’t hate each other so much anymore, “he and Harry were not destined to end up best friends.” And maybe consequently our school girl crush on him should waver just a little bit?
What do you think? Do you still have a soft spot for Draco even though Rowling is kindly asking us not to love him? Is this the best gift we’ve gotten from the 12 Days of Harry Potter Christmas? (And the answer is yes, it most certainly is.) Most importantly, how will Rowling top Christmas next year? She writes something interesting towards the end of her Draco essay, which might be nothing, or it could be a huge something. She writes, “in the seven published books.” Not in the seven books, but in the seven published books, which OH GOSH might mean that she’s got more material left to share with us.
So hunker down, you guys. We’ve got a whole year to wait until next Harry Potter Christmas — because this is a new tradition, right?