Was Draco Malfoy Truly Unredeemable?

9 March 2015

A couple of months ago, J.K. Rowling released a statement saying that Draco Malfoy was not 'concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering and prejudice' despite what fans of the character may believe. She also described Draco to have 'all the dark glamour of the anti-hero,' which may be the reason why fans gravitate towards him. Now while I respect and admire J.K. Rowling, I have to disagree with the way she describes and views the character of Draco, and here's why.  

I have to confess before being introduced to the world of fanfiction, I never really thought much of Draco Malfoy. The character depicted as a bully, an antagonist. He was cruel and full of sinister in my eyes. I always thought he'd grow up to the ultimate villain. But then one day, a good friend of mine introduced me to Harry Potter fanfiction. These stories - alongside their authors - captured the untapped potential of Draco Malfoy's character. The limited spotlight on his character in the books - from a rather ambiguous third person narrative - gave room for exploration. Draco was such a complex character with so much depth and unresolved tension. That untapped potential did not go unnoticed by fans. Fanfiction did something that J.K. Rowling did not do. It gave Draco a true shot at redemption. In these stories, Draco kept his dark gritty persona and yet evolved. Rather than 'concealing his heart of gold', he began to grow as an individual forming his own moral consciousness  - usually with a little help from Hermione Granger, but that's another story entirely. The journey to retribution itself was interesting watch because it did not come easy. In natural fashion, Draco stumbled along the way between the line of the light and dark, but eventually evolved into a character that sided with moral justice and the light. 

In my personal opinion, I believe it was  easier for Harry to be good because he was destined to be. Plus his family was killed by Voldemort, so of course he would want revenge - to rid the world of the evil that destroyed his family. As for Hermione Granger - the brains of the golden trio - she was fighting to prove herself amongst and against the pureblood community. She needed to stand up to herself, to fight for her survival and her heritage as a muggleborn. Ron on the other hand grew up in a family full of wizards who saw equality amongst all wizards - regardless of their blood. He grew up with that same mentality as well as it was part of his upbringing. But Draco Malfoy was entirely different from any of these character. His situation was so much more complex. Draco grew up in a family, surrounded by pureblood propaganda supremacy . He was taught that muggles and muggleborns were inferior to him. What made him special and important was his pureblood heritage. That meant everything. He grew up surrounded by all these thoughts - day in, day out. His struggle towards the light would be more dire, more troublesome.  But that is what would make the journey so fruitful and intriguing!

Every single character has several dimensions to them. The ability to be good and the ability to be bad. Sure, Draco had a damaging childhood. His entire life had been influenced by principles his parents had taught him. But surely that didn't have to dictate the rest of his life. People can change. Grow. Become more than what they are. J.K. Rowling dismissed the idea that people are complex and not truly one dimensional. Draco was a complex character with so many layers to his soul. There was so much left to be explored. Again this untapped potential did not go unnoticed by fans. Maybe there are some who like the dark villianous character of Draco Malfoy, but I believe the redeemed Draco captured by fanfiction is what drew many fans to come to like the character. That's certainly what happened with me!

So what do you think of Draco Malfoy? 
I'd love to hear more about what you think on this topic!

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