There are few families in the wizarding world who are as well-known— and infamous— as the pure-blood Malfoys. They are one of the oldest, richest, and most powerful of Great Britain’s magical houses. Throughout their history they have looked down with scorn from their stately home at Muggles and half-blood wizards alike.
From their arrival in England nearly a century ago during one of the most important events in European history, to their prominent role fighting alongside Voldemort during the Second Wizarding War, they have always been closely tied to powerful figures.
That even included powerful Muggles for a time. Although Malfoys have always tried to keep their part hidden from the rest of the magical community, in an effort to shield themselves from consequences.
Just like the members we know best, Draco and his parents Lucius and Narcissa, their family tree is full of figures associated with shady events and dark tidings-- actions that they always seem to avoid punishment for.
Their story goes far beyond the events told in the Harry Potter novels and films, and that past creates a much richer tapestry to understand how they came to fight with the Dark Lord.
To better appreciate the family who was as much Harry’s enemies as Voldemort, here are the 15 Things You Never Knew About The Malfoy Family in Harry Potter.
15 The first Lucius Malfoy tried to marry Queen Elizabeth I
The Malfoys, despite their sincere belief in pure-blood wizard superiority over other magical families and Muggles, have always tried to curry favor with the rich and powerful. That once included wealthy, non-magical figures.
One famous story, which the Malfoy family fervently denies despite ample evidence, includes one attempt by a famous Malfoy to marry the most powerful non-Muggle in Great Britain.
It is said that in the 16th century the first Lucius Malfoy to tried to win Queen Elizabeth I’s hand in marriage. Elizabeth not only rejected his offers, she famously never married before dying at age 69.
Some wizard historians believe her opposition to taking a husband might not have been entirely her own choice though. That’s because they believe that Lucius, angry over being turned down, placed a jinx on her.
While the Malfoys say there is no truth to any of these tales, there is no definitive proof on either side of this story. It’s probably a good thing for both the magical and Muggle communities Queen Elizabeth did not marry a Malfoy.
14 Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy might be related
The Potters were likely still a pure-blood family in the 1930s (Harry’s Muggle-born mother definitely ended that) when the Pure-Blood Directory was published.
However, they were likely not included in the Sacred Twenty-Eight partially because their surname is a very common Muggle name too. They were also omitted from the list because Henry "Harry" Potter spoke out in support of Muggles.
At multiple points in the past the Potter and Malfoy families much have intermarried, since all pure-bloods are surely related. In 2005, J.K. Rowling drew a Black family tree that included Draco's first cousin three times removed marrying a "Charlus Potter."
That means it is likely the two infamous enemies Harry and Draco are distant cousins. Although even if anyone were aware of that fact during the Second Wizarding War, we doubt it would have been enough to bring them together.
13 Malfoy is the surname of one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight
The Sacred Twenty-Eight were the magical British families listed in the Pure-Blood Directory published in the 1930s. Those were the families still thought to be "truly pure-blood," meaning there were no Muggles in their lineage.
The Malfoys, one of the most respected families of the Twenty-Eight, take great pride in their status, and think they have a pure blood supremacy that elevates them over magical families who marry Muggles.
With so few pure-blood families left though, there are often few suitable partners for marriage. But despite their commitment to keeping their bloodline pure, the Malfoys won’t inbreed with cousins like other families on the list of Twenty-Eight.
That’s why they are willing to marry half-bloods, wizards and witches who have parents or grandparents who were either Muggles themselves or whose parents were Muggles.
Look over the Malfoy family tree and you will find half-bloods (which make up the majority of the rest of the magical community), but they would prefer if you didn’t.
12 The Malfoy name translates as “bad faith”
Author J.K. Rowling gave many characters meaningful names, like how the surname Lupin (as in Professor Remus Lupin who is a werewolf) comes from the Latin “lupinus,” which means “of a wolf.”
The Malfoy name also reflects on the family in much the same way. The name comes from Old French, with “mal” translating to “bad” or “evil,” and “foi” means “faith" or "trust.” So when combined Malfoy becomes “bad faith.”
That could refer to someone who acts in a way meant to deceive, which certainly applies to secret Death Eater Lucius Malfoy and many of his ancestors. It could also be about someone who refuses to accept responsibility for their actions, as the Malfoys often do when they evade punishment.
Even Draco’s first name comes from Latin, and refers to a terrifying beast that spits fire. So Harry Potter’s enemy at Hogwarts is really a "bad faith dragon," which certainly applies to the scheming, dangerous Draco Malfoy (even if he turned out to not be quite so evil).
11 Their family crest pays homage to Salazar Slytherin
The pure-blood wizard Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts and the wizard who built the Chamber of Secrets, left the school after the other three founders did not agree with him that Muggle-born students shouldn’t be admitted.
Until this day the majority of students sorted into in Slytherin House-- whose traits include cunning, resourcefulness, and ambition— are pure-blood, and its emblem of green and silver features a snake.
The black, green, and silver family crest of the Malfoys, also adorned with serpentine creatures, pays homage to Salazar Slytherin. Few families are as closely tied with Slytherin House as they are, and they take great pride in that.
Their crest also has the words “Sanctimonia Vincet Semper” in a silver banner, which in Latin means “Purity Will Always Conquer.”
10 Armand Malfoy founded the family estate Malfoy Manor
Armand Malfoy, born sometime in the late 10th or early 11th century, was the first Malfoy to come to Great Britain from France.
Like the heads of many other noble English families, he was part of William the Conquerors’ Norman Invasion that took place in 1066. At some time Armand likely became friendly with William, who was crowned King of England that same year.
Armand provided various "services" to King William I during his reign, although no one knows exactly what those services were. However they are believed to have been nefarious in nature, and that means they were almost certainly magical.
The king rewarded Armand (whose first name comes from the German “Herman” meaning “army man”) with a valuable piece of land—taken from the previous owners--where the Malfoy family has been ever since.
9 Malfoy Manor is located in Wiltshire, England
The land Armand received is located in Wiltshire, a landlocked county in the south west of England, known for its hills and wide valleys. It is also where the famed Stonehenge is found. The home he raised there is known as Malfoy Manor, and it has been the seat of power for the family for over ten centuries.
Over that time the Malfoys expanded their property by annexing the land of their Muggle neighbors. The “handsome” and large Malfoy Manor is protected by a magical wrought-iron gate, and has beautiful gardens and a fountain.
The family’s close relationship with royalty also enabled them to fill their home with a large collection of many valuable treasures and art works. That relationship ended after the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was passed in 1692, after which time the Malfoys denied ever having been close with any Muggles.
Voldemort and his Death Eaters used Malfoy Manor as their base of operations during the Second Wizarding War, much to the chagrin of Lucius and Narcissus.
8 The Malfoys are related to pure-blood families like the Blacks and Lestranges
Almost every pure-blood family is related to each other in some way, since there is a finite number of witches and wizards who can keep bloodlines pure. But you don’t have to go back all that far on the Malfoy family tree to find other famous surnames from the wizarding world and how they are related to the Malfoys.
Draco’s mother, Narcissa, was the daughter of a Black, and her mother was a Rosier (another family who were Death Eaters). Narcissa’s sister, the infamous and sadistic Bellatrix, married Rodolphus Lestrange. These are relationships the Malfoys are proud of.
But Narcissa and Bellatrix’s other sister, Andromeda, married Edward Tonks, and their daughter was Nymphadora, who married professor Remus Lupin. The Malfoys are not as eager to champion these relatives.
This also means that the Battle of Hogwarts was in many ways a civil war, where relatives faced off in a battle to the death.
7 Nicholas Malfoy freed himself of many Muggle tenants under the cover of The Black Death
As the bubonic plague, known as the Black Death, swept over Europe in the 14th century, it killed as many as 50 million Muggles. That was 60% of Europe’s entire population. It was one of the most devastating catastrophes in the history of mankind.
However, one member of the Malfoy family might have seen the tragedy as an opportunity to do away with a troublesome Muggle problem. And if he did, he got away with murder.
Nicholas Malfoy is believed to have used the disease as a cover, allowing himself to be rid of some non-magical tenants. If the terrible stories are true though, his plan worked, because the Wizards’ Council never punished him for his crimes.
If he did kill those people he must have really hated those tenants and been desperate to be rid of them, since the odds were they would succumb to the Black Death anyway.
6 Many claim that Minister for Magic Unctuous Osbert was a puppet of his adviser Septimus Malfoy
Sometime in the late 18th century, Septimus Malfoy served as an influential adviser to the Minister of Magic Unctuous Osbert. But there are those who believe Septimus had far greater sway over the Minister than a typical adviser.
Some think that Unctuous was nothing more than a puppet of Septimus, who was really running the wizarding community of Great Britain.
Osbert was elected to the position twice, serving from 1789 to 1798. But if the stories are true, and he was a figurehead while Septimus who was the one really in charge, it could be argued that Septimus was the most powerful and influential Malfoy in history.
Getting close to a powerful figure, but acting from the shadows where he could be free of criticism and scorn, sounds exactly like what one would expect from a Malfoy.
5 Abraxas Malfoy might have been a part of the plot to get the first Muggle-born Minister to leave his post
In 1962 Nobby Leach became the first ever Muggle-born Minister of Magic appointed in Great Britain and Ireland. This led to some of the oldest members of the magical high court of law and parliament, the Wizengamot, to resign in protest.
But real treachery took place in 1968, when a “shady" plot that resulted in the Minster contracting a mysterious illness, led to Nobby leach resigning his post early.
Abraxas Malfoy, the father of Lucius and grandfather to Draco, is believed to have played a role in the conspiracy. However, in the great family tradition of getting away with it, nothing was ever proven.
The truth might never be known. However, considering the Malfoy’s pure-blood supremacy, combined with their desire not to interact with half-bloods while also being close to the powerful, this story certainly rings true. A Muggle-born Minister would be a personal insult to everything the Malfoys care about.
4 Malfoy Manor's cellar hold’s the family's collection of Dark artifacts
Underneath Malfoy Manor’s massive drawing room, with its 30-foot high ceilings, sits the family’s cellar. This is where Harry, Ron, and Hermione joined Luna, Griphook, and Ollivander when they were briefly imprisoned there during the Second Wizarding War.
However, according to Draco, the cellar was usually reserved for keeping the family’s dark artifacts hidden from sight.
While the Malfoys are proud of their illegal possessions, they keep them below ground level to protect them from any raids that might be carried out by the Ministry of Magic. However that didn’t protect them in December of 1992 when the Ministry came calling.
The cellar is entirely escape-proof and lets no light in. Only house-elves can get past its protections, which is how Dobby (poor Dobby) was able to come to Harry and everyone else’s rescue.
3 Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco's crimes were forgiven
Known Death Eater Lucius Malfoy escaped punishment after Voldemort disappeared by claiming he was acting under the Imperius Curse. (And possibly also by calling in many favors from friends at the Ministry of Magic). But after Voldemort was defeated the second time there was no denying the entire Malfoy family had served the Dark Lord.
However Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco were never punished for their roles. That’s because Lucius gave evidence that led to the capture of other Death Eaters who had gone into hiding.
It also helped that he and Draco had abandoned Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, and Narcissa had lied to the Dark Lord about whether Harry Potter had died in the Forbidden Forest, which helped saved Harry’s life.
Despite being granted enormous leniency, Lucius continued to collect Dark artifacts for the rest of his life. That included a very powerful Time Turner that proved enormously important one day, though he personally never ended up using it.
2 Draco married pure-blood witch Astoria Greengrass
Astoria Greengrass, who entered Hogwarts two years after Draco and her older sister Daphne, was a pure-blood witch from one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. The two had one son together, Scorpius Hyperion. However, despite her bloodline and the fact she gave them a grandson, she proved to be a disappointment to her in-laws.
That’s because following the events of the Second Wizarding War, Astoria refused to teach her son Scorpius that Muggles should be looked down on. This likely also included more favorable opinions on half-bloods and Muggle-born wizards and witches than Lucius and Narcissa would have imparted on their grandson.
However they probably should have went easier on her, considering she continued the Malfoy line at great personal risk. Astoria inherited a curse from a long ago ancestor, which left her frail, making childbirth very dangerous.
Draco told her they didn’t need to have children to protect her, but she decided to try anyway. Sadly her condition led/will lead to her passing away at a young age in the summer of 2019.
1 Harry and Draco's sons became best friends
In the play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Harry’s second son Albus Severus Potter becomes best friends with Scorpius Malfoy. Their friendship led to some hard feelings between their fathers, Harry and Draco, who had become friendlier over the years.
But the far bigger issue was the pair’s use of a Time-Turner, which created dramatically alternate timelines. That included one where Voldemort was victorious, meaning he killed Harry and Albus was never born. Scorpius was left to fix things on his own, which he partly did by returning to a timeline where Albus was born.
Ultimately Draco, Harry, Ginny, and Ron used the advanced Time-Turner Lucius Malfoy had acquired (but never used) to go back and fix things once and for all. That means without the Malfoys and Potters working together, Voldemort would have won. Dumbledore probably wouldn't even have been able to see that coming.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about the Malfoy family in Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments section!