Draco Malfoy, a Werewolf?
by Harry Seeker
Is it just me, or does Draco Malfoy exhibit the symptoms of a werewolf? Throughout Half-Blood Prince, we are treated to a barrage of hints and clues about our Slytherin friend, both in his behavior and appearance. We know that he missed a Quidditch match against Gryffindor, a deadly rival. Draco’s disappearance is odd in light of the fact that he never would miss a chance to outperform his nemesis, Harry Potter. We also find out from Hermione that he did not hand in his Transfiguration homework for two days in a row. Why would Draco do this? He is relatively a good student and is gifted enough to enter McGonagall’s N.E.W.T. level class. What is going on here?
On page 321, Harry’s observation of Draco is interesting (emphasis mine).
Harry stared at Malfoy. It was not the sucking-up that intrigued him; he had watched Malfoy do that to Snape for a long time. It was the fact that Malfoy did, after all, look a little ill. This was the first time he had seen Malfoy close up for ages; he now saw that Malfoy had dark shadows under his eyes and a distinctly grayish tinge to his skin.
Compare this to the description of Remus Lupin in Prisoner of Azkaban on page 185 (again, emphasis mine):
Professor Lupin was back at work. It certainly looked as though he had been ill. His old robes were hanging more loosely on him and there were dark shadows beneath his eyes…
This is not the only time that Draco is described as being in ill health. Later on in Slughorn’s class, on page 474, Draco is described as looking “thinner” and “paler,” and “his skin still had that grayish tinge.” Through Harry’s opinion, we are led to believe that Draco’s condition is linked to the mission’s “going badly.” But what if there is something else? Why is Draco described with the same symptoms as that of Lupin, a werewolf himself? What if Draco is a werewolf?
Next there is the question of how Draco knows Fenrir Greyback. We are introduced to Greyback in Borgin & Burkes when Draco threatens Borgin with “You know Fenrir Greyback? He’s a family friend. He’ll be dropping in from time to time to make sure you’re giving the problem your full attention” (page 125). I personally don’t really buy the whole “Greyback-is-a-family-friend-of-the-Malfoys” thing- especially since Greyback is a dangerous werewolf whose taste for children is insatiable. There is a point in chapter twenty-seven, “The Lightning-Struck Tower,” where Draco seems to be afraid of Greyback (emphasis mine, once again).
“Well, I cannot pretend it does not disgust me a little,” said Dumbledore. “And, yes, I am a little shocked that Draco here invited you, of all people, into the school where his friends live….”“I didn’t,” breathed Malfoy. He was not looking at Fenrir; he did not seem to want to even glance at him. “I didn’t know he was going to come—” (page 593).
There are two points to consider when examining this conversation. Why is Dumbledore shocked to see that Draco invited Greyback to Hogwarts where his friends live? Dumbledore only mentions Draco’s friends as opposed to Draco himself. This implies that Draco is not so much in danger from Greyback as his friends are. Is Dumbledore suggesting that Draco is already a werewolf? Also, why is Draco afraid of Greyback? Is there some prior history between them?
We already know what Greyback is capable of through the words of Lupin: “Fenrir Greyback is, perhaps, the most savage werewolf alive today. He regards it as his mission in life to bite and to contaminate as many people as possible; he wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards” (page 334). I find it very interesting that this is mentioned on the same page that Voldemort “promised him [Greyback] prey in return for his services.” Could Draco have been one of Greyback’s “promised” preys? This is not so far a stretch as we already know that Voldemort is angry with Lucius Malfoy. Narcissa, Draco’s mother, believes that Draco’s assignment to kill Dumbledore is “vengeance for Lucius’s mistake” (page 33). Lucius not only failed at getting the prophecy when it smashed in the Department of Mysteries, but he also carelessly mishandled one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes (the diary) for his own ends. What if Voldemort commanded Greyback to bite Draco as punishment for Lucius’s mistakes? If this is true, then the mission alone was not enough to appease the Dark Lord’s lust for vengeance. Something more was required. (This, by the way, parallels Lupin’s own unfortunate situation: It was Lupin’s father who offended Greyback, and the werewolf in turn bit his son.)
Let’s get back to the scene at Borgin & Burkes. Draco shows something to Borgin when he mentions Greyback as a family friend. Harry assumes that this is the Dark Mark and that Draco is a Death Eater. He seems to hold this opinion throughout the novel and does not admit the slightest possibility of being wrong when Hermione tries to argue otherwise. What if the thing that Draco showed Borgin was not the Dark Mark, but a werewolf bite?
It makes sense that Draco is a werewolf. It explains why he was sick for much of the school year. It explains why he was afraid of Greyback. It explains why Snape at Slughorn’s Christmas party was looking at Draco as though both angry and…was it possible?…a little afraid? (page 321). It explains why Draco was crying in front of Moaning Myrtle. It explains why the movie scene in Prisoner of Azkaban where Draco howls like a werewolf in Snape’s Defense against the Dark Arts lesson is so significant (J.K. Rowling said in the PoA DVD interview that she got goose bumps when she saw certain scenes because they actually foreshadow events in the final two novels).
The implications for this are enormous. Will Harry find out about Draco’s condition? Will Harry actually feel pity for his arch nemesis, especially in light of Draco’s performance in the North Tower when he failed to kill Dumbledore? Will Harry be aware of his own prejudices and biases when it comes to certain people like Draco? Whatever the case, this will make Draco’s character a more complex one than we’ve seen in the other novels. For this and all of the above mentioned reasons, I believe we can be assured that Draco Malfoy is indeed a werewolf.