Dramione Character Traps: Draco Malfoy
Admittedly, my experience in the area of fan fiction is juvenile compared to many other, more seasoned, fan fiction devotees, but I have read enough Dramione fan fiction to have noticed some commonalities among the works of various writers. The Dramione works out there are as unique and varied as the people who author them, but when it comes to the portrayal of particular characters, many writers seem to fall into the same traps.
A popular portrayal of Draco is of his being a ladies’ man, despite the fact that the seven books show him getting involved in romantic relationships with only two people, one of whom appears in the epilogue, which a lot of Dramione fans like to pretend doesn’t exist. In fact, many works of Dramione fan fiction open with a scene involving Draco and some nameless woman engaging in some form of intimacy. And this nameless woman is always one of many. Further than that, even if Draco hasn’t bedded countless women, he is almost always painted as being quite the aficionado when it comes to matters of the bedroom.
Of course, since Harry Potter is a children’s series and since there’s an enormous gap between the end of school and the epilogue for Draco and his peers, there is a lot left to the imagination. Draco could well be a Casanova. But I do find it interesting how his proficiency at seduction has become a bit of a staple in Dramione fan fiction.
Another Draco character trap is that he either converts almost instantaneously or not completely. And very often for no other reason than Hermione herself. First of all, Draco grew up parroting his parents’ views on Muggle-borns; he’s not going to convert overnight. Some people are aware of this and then go in the opposite direction, making it so that he never fully converts, in which case Hermione would realistically never give him the time of day. It seems that some people find it hard to get a balance. And considering the complicated nature of the character himself, his circumstances, and the matter of conversion, it is understandable, albeit frustrating, to read.
Also – and this is a personal gripe of mine – I find the idea of Draco converting because of Hermione to be rather a problematic concept. I believe that one shouldn’t change their views to appease someone else; they should do it because it’s logical and right.
One Draco trope that really baffles me is when he is depicted as having knowledge of, and enjoying, Muggle contraptions. How on earth would a blood purist like Draco Malfoy know how to use a television when Ron didn’t even know what a cappuccino was? I think some writers are trying to make him more personable, or perhaps they simply can’t imagine a world without Muggle inventions, or maybe it’s because Tom Felton looked so damn dapper in that Muggle suit in Half-Blood Prince. Whatever the reason, I find that it’s just not realistic.
Lastly, a lot of people portray Draco as lacking a sense of humor. He’s very angsty and serious all the time, which goes against canon entirely. The boy wrote an entire song about Ron’s supposed ineptitude at Quidditch Keeping, for Merlin’s sake! Yes, he sobered up a bit toward the end of the series, but it’s not as though he got a completely new personality. Granted, this portrayal is not as common as the others, but it’s common enough and so at odds with the original characterization that I felt it worth addressing.
This is not to say that any Dramione fan fiction that utilizes these characterizations is automatically worthless – I’ve read some brilliant pieces of fan fiction with any or all of these trappings. I’m merely pointing out some things that, in my opinion, simply don’t add up. And don’t worry, I’ll be getting to the other most common Dramione characters soon enough!
What are your thoughts? Have you noticed any strange depictions of Draco Malfoy through the Dramione lens?