Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince question


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does anybody here think that draco malfoy was misunderstood and underrated?
Eman Ahmed Eman Sep 30, 2017 07:16AM
a topic for discussing draco malfoy. discuss away!



I agree with the comments by Diane and david Christopher marchant.

It seems well established in the comments here that nobody can deny that Draco Malfoy was an insufferable bully. But I think a lot of why he started out as a bully was because when he was young, vulnerable, and impressionable, bullying was modeled for him by his father and he had no other role models to look up to.

As a teacher I see this all the time in my students - very young children inevitably end up treating other people the way they see their parents treating other people. I don't hold this against them because how are they supposed to know how to treat others if no one has taught them anything else? I try to model different behavior and help them understand the consequences of their attitudes and actions so they will be able to have healthy friendships later.

I think that when Draco Malfoy's worldview was first being formed, he didn't have a lot of good input coming in, so his worldview defaulted to the muggle-hating, arrogant, bullying worldview expressed by his father. When he came to Hogwarts he was finally exposed to other kinds of people and other styles of relating. (I assume that prior to Hogwarts he was probably still surrounded by friends and family members who were all part of the same groupthink circle, affirming one another's unhealthy beliefs.) But he was still a child, and he probably still assumed his parents were right and everyone else was wrong.

Later, as he grew older and began to think more for himself, he began to piece together the consequences of the worldview that his upbringing had given him. It takes a certain level of maturity to recognize the effects your attitudes are having on your own life and on others'. But by the time he started realizing the position he was in ("Whoops, I'm living in alignment with a worldview that I'm not sure I can still feel proud of or believe in..."), in many ways it was too late. I think if he had grown up in another time, it might not have been too late. Like Sirius or even Snape, perhaps he could have found a way to pull himself out of the world he had been born into so he could live in a way that better reflected the values he had come to learn at Hogwarts. But because of Voldemort's rise to power, the danger to himself and to his family was much more acute and imminent. I think we can see pretty clearly in the later books that he feels stuck between a rock and a hard place and wishes he were in somebody else's shoes. I think he's really suffering over the terrible position that he's in and that comes out a lot in the sixth book.

Some comments here have mentioned that yes, the stakes were high, but he should have been braver and faced them even if it cost him or his family their lives. I can't disagree entirely - the right thing to do is still the right thing to do no matter what it costs you - but I think he might have been able to be braver than he was if he had had the support that someone like Harry Potter had. Sirius had James. To a certain extent, Snape had Dumbledore, and in many ways his love for Lily was conviction enough. But Draco Malfoy didn't really have much support at all. The only people who really seemed to care about him were his mother and maybe certain friends or relatives who were ultimately on Voldemort's side. Snape may have been the only person who knew what he was really going through and would have given him the support he needed, but just like Dumbledore had to die so that Harry could face Voldemort himself, Snape (as Draco's "covering," advocate, or protector) also died and left Draco to come into his own alone. There were people who cared about Draco (Dumbledore, Hagrid, other teachers, etc.), but I don't think that Draco would have necessarily known or trusted that, both because of how his father would have raised him not to trust or respect them and because of the fact that it's really hard to trust somebody's good intentions towards you if you've been badmouthing them for years.

I think Draco was in a tough spot that nobody should envy, and ultimately he was left with fewer options than many of the other characters because of the choices of his family and the unfortunate timing at which he would have realized just how much it would cost him to attempt to disengage himself.

In the end, I think his mother did what she had to do, because her only true loyalty was to Draco, and, like Kristin H said, that's another way in which Draco is paralleled to Harry - both were protected from the wrath of Voldemort by their mother's love.

I guess, though, we could take that parallel a little farther and say that both Harry and Draco were given the chances to "reinvent" themselves and escape the toxic worldviews they'd been raised in when they arrived at Hogwarts the first time. But I still maintain that, once at Hogwarts, Harry was surrounded with positive, supportive influences who helped him every step of the way, while Draco didn't really seem to have anybody really looking out for him but Snape. They were both pigeonholed to some extent ("Harry, you have to be a hero!" and "Draco, you have to be a Slytherin!"), but the expectation that Harry had to break away from his childhood to become something greater was constant for Harry, whileas the expectation that Draco had to grow into what was expected of him grew to be a burden that he found himself less and less able to bear as he grew up.


I think Draco was a troubled boy with a big weight on his shoulders. First he was just a bully but as he got older, the expectations from his parents and Voldemort turned him sour. I think he was scared and didn't really want to be in the position he was in but there was no way to turn back.


He's a great example of nature versus nurture. He was very much so a product of his surroundings, and it's really fascinating to think about how different his path could have been if he had been raised in a different family. I think he's a total jerk, but definitely not beyond redemption.


Yes i think that he was misunderstood like he was born in horrible family, he was learning from young age to hate muggle-borns and to represent himself with pride and other pureblood s***... i'm still mad that he didn't change sides, because he could !
,the boy who thought he had no choice'


deleted member Oct 17, 2017 05:19AM   1 vote
Yes, I do. He was just a confused kid doing whatever his parents told him to do.


Yes i think he is misunderstood, Personaly I think both harry and Malfory turn out how they did because of the people around them and they both say horrible things to others when they are hurt.

Its almost like they hate one another so much (in the first few books) because they are both trying to liver up to there repuation and don't know how.

But as they grow up in the latter books and learn to make decisions for themsevels you actualy see them both question there decisions and the relationships they have with other people.

or to put it another way everyones beloved hero could of eneded up like malfory if he had did not have good friends around him and who knows what Malfory would of achieved if he ws born into a diffrent family.


This is a good question as it's getting me to think more in-depth about Draco Malfoy as a character. Sorry, I thought this would be a short answer, but not-so-much . . .

I don't know if I agree he was "misunderstood" exactly, because he truly did and said a lot of awful things. Sirius Black grew up with very similar values, but something in him made him stand up to it at a young age. Something in Draco drew him further into his parents' way of thinking and behaving. However, I do think he's a character who took a long time to evolve - and whether or not he did is a bit up to the reader. I tend to believe that he did - eventually.

I think Draco grew up with his parents' stories of "back in the day" when they "ran with The Dark Lord." Awful, of course, but to be close members of the group would make them feel important and powerful. So, it stands to reason that, with this and their family affiliations, Draco would want to come into Hogwarts and make a name for himself, which is why he initially wants to be in with Harry - someone whose name is already famous. Of course, he is rebuffed since Harry has a different idea of what it means to be friends with someone. Understandably embarrassed by this interaction, it certainly sets them on their course of being rivals while in school and is further fueled by expectations as well as the people with which they tend to associate.

While his father seems proud, it appears difficult for Draco to please him (even when he is mirroring his father's behavior, he gets knocked down verbally by him, for example), so Draco seems desperate to obtain that full approval - from being seeker to Inquisitorial Squad to eventually becoming a death-eater. The flip side of this goes back to the theme of the importance of a mother's love. Even though she has been involved in horrible acts as well and part of his upbringing this way, his mother loves him as purely as any mother does. She will do anything to save her son; she loves him unconditionally. Perhaps this mark of truly being loved allows him to be someone who can evolve - eventually.

Once Draco realizes the hard way what it truly means to be part of Voldemort's inner circle, he seems truly disgusted. Though we'd like to see him stand up, he likely knows what the result will be.

Big WISHFUL THINKING leap here -- And perhaps, there is something slightly less selfish in his mind while he's at Hogwarts near the end - perhaps he knows if he switches sides outright, Voldemort will know and his parents will die. While his mother knows the only way to get her son out is to go along as long as possible.

This would not be self-less compared to Harry and those who stood up outright, but it is an improvement on their part. It still highlights differences between characters and what their tendencies might be or not - Slytherin vs. Gryffindor; Potters vs. Malfoys. I don't think we can expect Malfoy to become the same type of person as Harry, but I do believe he evolved to raise his kids with better values than his parents did.


Surely misunderstood! I mean I'm sure he didn't want to be a death eater near the end and although he was a bit mean he did get very misunderstood.


Yeah, I think he was really misunderstood like J.K. Rowling even said that he had a crush on Hermione and that's why he was so mean to her, i think that he acted like that cause that's the way he was brought up. AND because she was a muggle born he just acted like that because he was told to all his life.


Draco’s one of my favorite characters, so of course I think he’s misunderstood. People just think of him as the bully, but has anyone ever thought about what his childhood must have been like? No. They haven’t. When he grew up, he married a Hufflepuff, so there is clearly some good inside him.


He was sort of misunderstood, but seeing many of the fans he has, he isn't quite underrated. I think he had more than a sneering bully for sure, but like most, Draco was still mean.


I definitely think that Draco was very clearly misunderstood. He had made terrible decisions but it wasn't all his fault he was forced to by either his father or Voldemort. He didn't have a choice to choose sides. Like Harry Potter he didn't have a choice on what side he wanted to be on or what was to occur. Don't get me wrong, he chose to do awful things by bullying but that was because he watched his father and all the other pure bloods he was around deal with half bloods. So, again at a young age he was introduced to a bigotry system.

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Eman Ahmed i completely agree, thanks for understanding him
Nov 02, 2017 04:48AM · flag

Yes. He obviously is. All these years he did what his parents (especially his father) wanted to and now that Voldemort treat his family this way...he has no choice. I think he never really did what he always wanted to..he didn't follow the path he wanted. I love him


I don't think Draco is underrated, but I do think he's a misunderstood character, even if he proves himself weak. I'd say the majority of readers (me included!) find him to be an insufferable bully with Dark intentions but we should also keep in mind - his father is Lucius Malfoy - equally insufferable and possibly even more vicious. His father obviously thinks very highly of him and of the Malfoy name, so Draco is under a ton of pressure to live up to his father's expectations. Not to mention that Lucius is a Death Eater, so I'm sure that was on the table for his son at an early age.

Above all though, I see Malfoy as weak. He may be physically strong and/or smart enough to cast Dark curses at the right time, but he is torn between light and dark and isn't strong enough to make his own choice. He is loyal to his family, and of course wants to keep them out of harm's way. But he's young, and easily manipulated, particularly by Dark magic as so many magic folk before him. Voldemort certainly has his hooks in Draco by the later books, which means he's already on the path to Death Eater, but because he cannot fully commit to life as a Death Eater (illustrated by his hesitancy to kill Dumbledore and be done with it, for instance) it hurts his sense of identity in the long run. He cannot make a definitive choice between Death Eater or Not Death Eater because he feels forced into situations given his family name, making me question his validity as a true Death Eater. Because surely, Voldemort knows of those who do not possess unfailing loyalty to him, and they meet a most unpleasant end...

There is no question though, that Draco does display certain Dark tendencies throughout the series, and acts on his Dark impulses. Whether this was bored into him by his father or not, we will never really know. All we know is that not once, did he openly challenge the Dark notions that he was faced with. He may have squirmed at times, he may have hesitated slightly, but he never resisted outright, at least to my memory. Draco does have that sense of cold rage so characteristic of the Dark side. And he is favored by Snape...which in and of itself is cause for alarm, to me.
On a matter of pure personality: well, I'll say it again. He's an insufferable bully which makes it difficult for readers to care for him. He had a choice, he had opportunities to resist the Death Eater label, but he did not dare, because he's unsure of his true place. He has a limited sense of personal identity.
"Voldemort wouldn't hesitate to kill Draco if he resisted, he was backed into a corner," you might say.

It's Voldemort. Voldemort kills for sport, he enjoys it. Lusts after it. You know who has also been up against death? That's right...the Boy himself. I'm not trying to introduce Harry as this righteous and fearless character - he often has help and rarely defeats Dark elements on his own. But what Harry does do is always push forward, despite his fears. Harry Potter is not someone who is easily shaken but he always tries to do what he believes is right, damn the consequences. And that's just something we never truly see in Draco.

Please note that everything I've just written is MY OWN opinion. :)


Yes, absolutely! There are so many points in the books where you can see he's torn - torn between his family and his morals. Although his personality is a pain sometimes, I truly believe he is misunderstood. He's somewhat like Snape, in that regard.

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Artemis agreed, tazanna!!
Nov 08, 2017 09:04PM · flag

I'm not sure if misunderstood is the right word for it, but he was abused and brainwashed by this family- he had no other choice in believing what he did. was he a pretentious prick? yes. but he was praised for that by his father (who was also being controlled by voldemort) I think he really didn't have much say in the way he acted. in fact many times in the book you can tell that he is questioning what he is doing but he feels like he needs to do it or else his father or voldemort will punish him


At first, he was an entitled little snot. Then we grew up, started to understand the gravity of his families prejudice and realized he didn't want to be that way, but by the time he did, he was in too deep to change himself. Power can turn people into monsters, and you need to look no further than the pre-civil war American south.


I think he was misunderstood but he was still an ass. He should have been able to think for himself but instead of challenging his views he continued with his dangerous and twisted view of the world. Which lead to so much trouble.


Yeah Draco was brainwashed by his death eater parents into hating Harry and muggle borns but he still had some good inside him and didn't murder Dumbledore


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