How Extraordinarily Like Your Father You Are, Potter

About a month ago, I examined the parallels in the Harry Potter-Voldemort and Dumbledore-Grindelwald relationships. Afterward, I began to realize some of the other cross-generational parallels. In this case, the dynamics between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy parallel the dynamics between James Potter and Severus Snape. This idea was first brought to my attention by Dumbledore, who, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, told Harry that the association between his father and Snape was not unlike the dynamics between Harry and Draco.

 

 

The most glaring similarity between the pairs is obviously the fact that they are foil characters. They are written to be the complete antithesis of each other, and as such, they often butt heads. In the case of James and Snape, James came from a family where he was loved and spoiled while Snape was borderline neglected and bullied by the far more popular James. Years later, Harry was the neglected child, and Draco came from a pure-blood family. To really drive the idea home, Snape and Draco were both Sorted into Slytherin, the so-called “evil” House, and both of the Potters were in the “good” House, Gryffindor.

 

 

Also, going off of what Dumbledore said at the end of Sorcerer’s Stone, Snape felt indebted to James for saving his life back when the two were in school. In an attempt to repay this debt, Snape saves Harry from Quirrell’s plot. In Snape’s case, he was unable to directly save James but did so in gesture by saving his only son. Similarly, Draco later refuses to definitively identify Harry when the latter was brought to Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, saving his life. Later in the same novel, Harry dodges Fiendfyre to go back and save Draco from the burning Room of Requirement. In both of these cases, the pairs quite literally save each other’s lives, despite the great amount of animosity harbored between them.

 

 

Aside from the relationships between the pairs, there are also similarities between the characters themselves. It is noted numerous times throughout the series how much Harry resembles his parents, and even Snape points out that he behaves like his father did when he was at school. Perhaps slightly less obvious is how Draco resembles Snape. Aside from them both being in Slytherin, they are both Death Eaters, although they eventually turn away from his path. In fact, in one way or another, both men leave due to a Potter. In Snape’s case, he left the Death Eaters because Voldemort killed his love, Lily Potter. Draco’s reasons for leaving are hazier, but it can be argued that, in part, he was influenced by people like Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley.

 

James Potter bullying Severus Snape

 

So do you think the connection between Harry and Draco is similar to the connection between James and Severus? If so, do you think J.K. Rowling meant to have Harry and Draco mirror James and Severus or was it just an accident? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Lindsay Docken

I first learned about the Boy Who Lived when I was six years old and became hooked. Despite being a proud Gryffindor, I think I most relate to Newt Scamander because I'm also introverted and work with animals. Unfortunately, though, I've yet to come across any Nifflers!