Harry Potter: 15 Things You Didn't Know About Draco Malfoy

Draco Malfoy Illustrated Harry Potter

Draco Malfoy ranks highly among the most famous fictional characters that we all love to hate. He is by far the most frequent schoolbound antagonist to Harry Potter and his friends; readers got to endure every act of cruelty, prank and insult Malfoy inflicted, and they loathe him for it. Fortunately as the books continued, he grew to fill a more nuanced role in the story, if not become a more sympathetic person.

Since the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, we’ve gotten a chance to see Draco as an adult, as a husband and a father. It turns out there’s more to Draco than perhaps most Harry Potter readers and viewers realized. Series author J. K. Rowling has produced so much ancillary material about the world, history, and characters of her beloved books, and it's all just waiting to be unearthed.

So what else is there to find out about this mean, cowardly twerp, who was once transformed into an amazing bouncing ferret? Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Draco Malfoy!


Lucius Malfoy

Genealogy was very important to wizarding families invested in their so-called purity of blood. The Malfoys were staggeringly arrogant in this regard. For better or worse, Draco carried his family’s legacy not only as a surname but as a middle name - he was named Draco Lucius Malfoy.

We see how the pressure from Lucius influences Draco throughout the books and the movies. He was always expected to toe the family line on the superiority of purebloods and their family’s wealthy status. Lucius was both a burden and an asset that Draco used at Hogwarts. He repeatedly threatened to complain to his father whenever things at school weren’t going his way. But he also felt Lucius’ scorn whenever he disappointed him.

Middle names are one of the curious similarities that Draco shares with Harry. Both characters have middle names after their fathers’ - Harry James Potter was named after his father, James Potter.


Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Pretty much every character’s wand in the Harry Potter franchise has some significance behind it. At least, Rowling has a reason why each character's wand is what it is. For example, Harry’s wand is made of holly, with a phoenix feather core. According to Mr. Ollivander’s notes on wand materials, a Holly and phoenix feather wand combination is an exceedingly rare and powerful combination of mismatched natures, at least according to conventional wisdom.

Draco’s wand also carries thematic significance: his is hawthorn and unicorn hair. According to Rowling’s own writings on Draco, the unicorn hair was meant to reflect the idea that even Draco has a good, conscionable side to him. Also from Ollivander’s notes, wands made of hawthorn tend to be suited for wizards who either have great conflict in themselves or who are going through tumultuous times in their lives. They are also tricky wands to master, calling for a wizard with proven magical talent.


Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Draco grew up right after Voldemort’s first downfall at the unwitting hands of Harry Potter. He had been brought up to believe that Lord Voldemort was on the cusp of ushering in a new and just era for true wizards. And then he was defeated by an infant. Many wizards loyal to Voldemort, including the Malfoys, couldn’t believe it. Lucius himself believed, as did others, that the only explanation for Harry Potter surviving and defeating Voldemort was that he had to be an even more gifted, more powerful dark wizard. After all, why else would such a special boy be whisked away into hiding?

Consequently, Draco grew up with this idea as well. He thought that if he could ingratiate himself to Potter, he could help secure the Malfoys’ place in the inner circle of a new Dark Pureblood order. That is why Draco was so eager to introduce himself to Harry during their first year. Of course we all know how that turned out.


Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy in Half Blood Prince

In the beginning of Half Blood Prince, Harry uses his invisibility cloak to sneak into the Slytherins' compartment on the Hogwarts express and eavesdrop on Malfoy and his friends. From there Harry spends the whole year trying to figure out what Draco is up to. His plans and motivations are implied and eventually revealed, but we don’t get a clear picture of Malfoy’s side of things during that year.

Lucius was outed as a Death Eater and captured at the end of Order of the Phoenix. It was a gross humiliation for the Malfoys in the wizarding community and among the Death Eaters since Lucius had failed in his crucial mission for Voldemort. Draco was desperate to free his father and help establish the wizarding world that Voldemort promised. So he foolishly took up the challenge of arranging for Dumbledore’s assassination, woefully unaware and unprepared for the dangers he would encounter or the consequences he faced for failure.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

As several characters expected, Draco didn’t ultimately deliver the deathblow to the weakened and cornered Dumbledore. Even though he succeeded in his plans to bring Death Eaters into Hogwarts, Draco didn’t succeed in returning his family to prestige in Voldemort’s inner circle. Voldemort knew that Snape ultimately killed Dumbledore. Snape himself apparently tried to cover for Draco’s shortcomings. He emphasized Draco’s ingenuity and cunning that let the Death Eaters get into the castle and murder Dumbledore.

Even though Lucius was freed and allowed to return home, the Malfoys had become the pariahs of the Death Eaters. Lucius and Draco were both weak failures in Voldemort’s eyes. It’s not hard to fathom that Voldemort might have made the Malfoy manor his headquarters partially to humiliate the Malfoys even further, keeping them physically close as ever but taunting and barring them from service at the same time. Draco’s commitment to Voldemort’s cause was certainly not as enthusiastic from then on.


Filch, Snape and Draco at Slughorn's Christmas Party

Occlumency is a magical discipline that focused on shielding one’s mind against external influence or extraction of information. As we saw in Order of the Phoenix, Harry was inept at this practice due to a number of factors, including having Snape as his instructor. In Half Blood Prince we learned that Draco had taken up Occlumency to help prepare him for his mission from Voldemort. His aunt Bellatrix had coached him and he proved to be much more adept. He was even able to ward off mind probes from Snape, even though Draco’s attempts were obvious to such an experienced wizard.

Rowling has written that one of her editors questioned Draco’s talent for Occlumency. Rowling explains that since Draco has been forced to compartmentalize his feelings about his family, himself and his classmates, he was already practiced at repression and keeping up a façade to mislead others. This was a contrast she wanted to emphasis with Harry, who is much more honest about his feelings.


Emma Watson and Tom Felton - Things You Didn't Know About Harry Potter

Draco was obviously meant to be the regular antagonist to Harry at Hogwarts. He’s mean, cowardly, arrogant, and racist. And yet so many Harry Potter fans, particularly female fans, love him. Not just in terms of thinking he’s a well-developed character, but in terms of loving and sympathizing with him as a person.

This became an even more pronounced attitude among fans after the movies started coming out with Tom Felton portraying Draco. Felton is obviously a good actor and a heartthrob and the movies didn’t have room to include some of the really cruel dick-moves Draco pulls in the books. It’s become pervasive enough that Rowling has responded to the attitude in several different interviews. She’s said that she can understand the tendency among young women to sympathize with and want to save a broken person but she’s always cautioned that that kind of attitude about people who outwardly project so much cruelty and bigotry is unhealthy.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy

In Cursed Child we learned that the woman we saw as Draco’s wife during the epilogue of Deathly Hallows was Astoria Greengrass. She was the two-year younger sister of Daphne Greengrass, who was in Harry and Draco’s year at Hogwarts. For whatever reason, Astoria grew disillusioned with her Pureblood family’s belief in magical supremacy and decided that she would not raise her child with Draco to be prejudiced against muggles. This caused quite a bit of tension with both the Greengrass and Malfoy parents. Even after the events of the last war with Voldemort, the Malfoys weren’t accepting of Astoria’s views. Her being a Greengrass, one of the oldest pureblood families known as the Sacred Twenty Eight, probably only disappointed them further.

Astoria was also the victim of an old family curse that made childbirth extra difficult and painful. After her son Scorpius was born, Astoria only lived until the start of her son’s third year at Hogwarts. Her death left both Draco and Scorpius heartbroken.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Draco and Scorpius

Perhaps the unprecedented deluge of sympathy for Draco Malfoy did become a factor in the depiction of the character that we got in Cursed Child. Probably in no small part to his traumatic experiences as a junior Death Eater and his cold family, Draco grew up to be a much more caring husband and father than Lucius. We hear from Scorpius that he was able to rely on and confide in his father Draco, especially after Astoria died.

For all their arrogance and prejudice, the Malfoys have shown genuine concern for one another as family. The most famous example was when Narcissa Malfoy investigated Harry’s body after Voldemort tried to kill him once again in the Forbidden Forest. Narcissa risked lying to Voldemort so she might get a chance to go to the castle and see Draco. As an adult Draco took that familial concern beyond mere regard for their family’s status, putting up with plenty of unfounded rumors about his son.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Pretty much the only time we saw alchemy as a significant brand of magic in the Harry Potter books was in Sorcerer’s Stone. The ancient Alchemist Nicolas Flamel had been the one who created the Sorcerer’s Stone or Philosopher’s Stone, which Voldemort attempted to steal during Harry’s first year at Hogwarts so that he might regain his body.

According to Rowling’s writings about Draco on Pottermore, he spent a lot of time as an adult studying alchemy. He was still fabulously independently wealthy and did not require a job, so he devoted quite a lot of time to pursuing this hobby. Rowling envisioned this character aspect of Draco to underline his more pronounced dual nature as he got older. His family had accumulated so many dark artifacts of the past. So instead he investigated alchemy to change and maybe even improve his life in the present. Perhaps he hoped he could find a way to lift the curse upon his wife that might let them have a long-lived, happy family.


Draco and Lucius Malfoy in Deathly Hallows Part 1

Even though the wizarding world is meant to exist alongside our real world, many of the exact locations of magical places in the books are kept ambiguous or vague. But the longstanding family home of the Malfoys is actually meant to be in a real world place in Britain.

Malfoy Manor exists in the English County of Wiltshire, a well-to-do, landlocked county with several points of interest. Wiltshire contains the archeological Neolithic circles of Stonehenge and Avebury, as well as several prominent public country houses.

Draco spent his whole childhood growing up in this opulent manor, tended on by servants and constantly reminded of his family’s prestige and sense of self-importance. His childhood was solitary, somewhat like Harry’s, but in contrast he had every privilege imaginable. The Malfoy Manor would eventually feel more like a prison when Voldemort co-opted it as his headquarters towards the end of the second wizarding war.


Harry and Ron peer into a crystal ball in 'Prizoner of Azkaban'

Within the British wizarding community, there was a group of families called the Scared Twenty Eight. These families had managed to remain entirely pureblood as of the 1930s. In other words no muggleborn wizards or witches had married into the family by that time. Many but not all of these families prided themselves on blood purity and went so far as to resort to in breeding to maintain the supposed pureblood status. These families included the Malfoys, Averys, Blacks, Lestrange, Gaunt and Greengrass among others.

But they also included families like the Weasleys and the Longbottoms. Harry Potter’s family on his Dad’s side is also a Pureblood family, though not considered one of the sacred Twenty Eight for their very progressive views about muggles over several generations. It’s stated several times in the books, especially in Order of the Phoenix, that the remaining Pureblood families are all interrelated somehow. Phineas Nigellus Black is in fact the mutual ancestor of Draco, Harry and Ron by marriage.


Ron and Harry

Tom Felton actually auditioned for the parts of Harry and Ron during the casting process for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Only after that was he asked to read for Draco Malfoy and his destiny to be the handsome spoiled bully revealed. Felton had reportedly not read the Harry Potter books at all before being cast for the part, but he was undoubtedly one of the most successful casting choices the production made.

Felton has described the early stages of the Harry Potter casting process on several occasions. It seems he, like many of the young actors who auditioned, read for multiple roles, and that there were thousands of children considered for each of the parts. He also claims that on his very first day of auditioning, while thousands of kinds were coming in and out, he and Emma Watson auditioned together. Then of course they both got their famous parts. Dramione fans would surely claim it’s no coincidence.


Tom Felton as Julian in The Flash

In late 2011 after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiered in theaters, reports started coming out about Tom Felton being able to enjoy certain activities more freely that he had not been allowed to while playing Draco Malfoy. Since Draco was supposed to have a pale blonde pedigree, Felton wasn’t allowed to tan during filming and had to die his hair a bit to acquire the platinum blonde color. His natural hair color is a light brown and he had to die his hair a reported total of 18 times over the course of filming all eight movies.

After filming was complete he was spotted in Miami with his girlfriend freely soaking up the sun and not wearing three different caps at once to maintain his character’s surly complexion. Thankfully, his later roles let him continue to portray smarmy jerks without having to bleach his hair. He at least got to play the different (sort of) role in The Flash this past season, as Julian Albert aka Alchemy.

1 He MAY be a werewolf

Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter movies

Harry Potter fandom is rife with fan theories. The mystery aspect that J. K. Rowling deliberately bakes into the engagement of the books has fed this tendency among fans. One of the more prevalent theories about Draco Malfoy pertains to his significant change of character in Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.

According to the theory, the notorious werewolf Fenrir Greyback bit Draco between books 5 and 6 as part of the Malfoys’ punishment from Voldemort. This supposedly explains his particularly sickly demeanor during his sixth year as well as several references to Greyback and werewolves in connection with Malfoy throughout the last two books.

Even after all the books and movies were released, with no apparent payoff for the theory, many fans still bought into it. Rowling officially denied the theory on Twitter in October 2015. Also, what we see of Draco in Cursed Child doesn’t show his personal health or public life being consistent with becoming a werewolf.


Are there any other bits of trivia about Draco Malfoy that you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments!

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