I’ve been avoiding this character profile for a while. You see, Draco Malfoy is one of those characters that splits the readership of Harry Potter so much that it becomes almost comical.
On one hand, there are fans of the books and series that hate Malfoy for the hell he put the trio through, both the petty and the borderline evil. Others feel sympathy for the poor Malfoy child. I’m a bit in between. You see, for the majority of the Harry Potter series, Draco Malfoy is a simple bully. And boy, is he a stereotypical bully.
Draco is the only child of a very wealthy and influential wizarding family. From an early age, Draco was given everything he wanted. So naturally, his strong personality would draw the weak-minded towards him. That’s where Crabbe and Goyle came in. While Draco was strong mentally, he was a physically weak child. So he gathered some henchmen and aimed to cause as much havoc as possible.
Of course, the underlying reason Malfoy’s case is so strange is what I’m dubbing the ‘Voldemort Factor’. Normally, a bully is driven to bully by some need to cover up a perceived weakness. In Malfoy’s case, he’s not covering up the physical weaknesses he possesses. He’s a wizard. The physical problems can be shooed away with a wave of a wand. Malfoy can’t shake the Voldemort Factor.
At this point, you probably are asking “What is the Voldemort Factor?” Well, the Voldemort Factor what I define as “how Voldemort’s existence radically influences what could be perceived as normal.”
Look at Draco’s “normal” life. Sounds like your average “rich-boy bully” story. Add Voldemort, and everything goes topsy-turvy. When you add Voldemort to the mix, Draco’s story is just sad. This child has been born into a family that has been sworn into a life of servitude to this evil mastermind. Draco’s henchmen are stuck in the same vise as he is. So even though Draco is a bully, the more and more I look at it, the more and more I see ‘screams for help’.
Humor me for a moment. What if Draco isn’t just hanging out with Crabbe and Goyle for muscle? What if Draco is hanging out with the children of Death Eaters because they are the only ones who understand the problems that come with being the children of Death Eaters?
Yes, Crabbe and Goyle are stupid, but they are hated because they share the same last names as their Death Eater fathers. The beliefs of these children are imparted on them by their parents. Some, like Crabbe and Goyle, are raised to be the muscle of the second coming of Voldemort. Others, like Draco, are raised to be the brainy cannon fodder of Voldemort. No one else knows how they feel. Specifically, no one knows how Draco feels.
Draco had no choice but to be a bully. He was raised to be a soldier of Voldemort, and he hates it. So I can’t hate Draco for his bullying. He’s been trapped into a life he did not want, and while he tried to be what Voldemort wanted him to be, in the end he ran and hid from what he was supposed to be. And, according to the epilogue, Draco earns Harry’s respect from bucking the trend.