Recently I have become obsessed with Draco Malfoy's character. I find him fascinating because he is, in a sense, a secondary character, yet if you visit many fanfic sites Draco is the subject of almost more fics than Harry. Personally, I am a Draco/Hermione shipper, but that is another editorial.
I don't ultimately think Draco will have some kind of revelation and move over to the good side. He is a Slytherin and self preservation is one of their better qualities. Moreover, I think he will become disgusted with Voldemort, either because he is in danger for not fulfilling his duty to kill Dumbledore (again, self preservation) or because Voldemort has murdered one or both of his parents in retaliation. Either way, I think that he will stumble across information that will help the trio in their search for Horcruxes. It's not a matter of him fighting for the side of good, more a matter of inadvertently helping defeat Voldemort, which would help redeem himself in the eyes of the Wizarding community.
The reason I think Draco is more of a complicated character than first let on is because on the outside he is snide, cruel and mean. And yet he has love for his family. J.K. has told us more than once that love is the one thing Voldemort does not understand. And Draco has love for his family. No one can take away from that. He puts his own life in great danger to protect them. Yes, his father is in Azkaban, but that is no longer a safe haven as it once was. In past times, ex-Death Eaters hid from Voldemort and his loyal supporters because they either flipped sides, snitched, flat out denied their involvement or thought the Dark Lord to be finished. They were safe in Azkaban -- mostly due to the dementors' presence. But now that the dementors have abandoned the prison, J.K. does not tell us how they are keeping the prisoners in.
So is Lucius safe in prison? I don't think so. I don't see Lucius surviving Book 7. Draco's failure to do what he was assigned will most likely be punished. Killing Draco would be too easy. Voldemort would want him to suffer. So killing his mother, father or both would in Voldemort's mind serve to keep Draco under his control. I think the death of his parents will serve the opposite purpose. His parents' deaths would affect him deeply. Let's look at a couple of scenarios.
Scenario 1: Voldemort kills his mother. Outcome 1: I think Draco has a deeper love for her than his father. She was his only nurturer. I don't see Lucius being the fatherly type. Even when Draco was younger, she was his sole support. If Voldemort kills Narcissa, I think Draco will be deeply saddened and therefore make mistakes, possibly helping the trio without knowing it.
Scenario 2: Voldemort kills his father. Outcome 2: I don't think Draco has as many feelings for his father as he does for his mother, but he has a deep respect for him. His father taught him to hate, just as KKK and Nazi fathers teach their children to hate. They are told from a certain age to hate. And following the parent's lead, they do. Draco may respect his father, and outwardly support those beliefs, but deep down I don't think he buys into it as much as he lets on, though he would never admit to that. His emotional break in HBP clearly shows that being a Death Eater, or a wanna-be, is not what he expected. He is 16 years old, and being asked to murder Dumbledore, something grown Death Eaters could not accomplish. Is this punishment for Draco to make up for his father's mistakes at the Ministry? Or is it a chance for Draco to prove himself in the ranks? So he risks all this, fails at the attempt, and his father is killed as punishment. What does this mean for Draco? Voldemort has set him up to fail, but why? Why sacrifice your own followers? Especially when your small following is just starting to gain power. Wouldn't you want all of your supporters alive and able to fight for you? No, I think Voldemort has other plans.
No matter how demented it is, Draco and his family are bound by love. It is not a love that is readily found in families like the Weasleys, but it is love nonetheless. Voldemort thinks that by destroying that love he will strengthen Draco's ties to him.
Let's say Draco died while on that mission for Voldemort. Narcissa would no doubt grieve for her only child and that grief could go one of two ways.
Either she would hate Voldemort and defect from ranks of the Death Eaters, or
she would turn her grief into hate for the side of good and become one of his most loyal supporters. And the latter is what he is counting on.
Lucius, however, would not stray as easily as Narcissa. He would likely be proud of the fact that his only son died in service to him. He may grieve in his own way, but his side would never waiver. Voldemort is counting on the love bonds of the Malfoy family to break. I don't think he understands it. This is a family with similar beliefs as him, but who are still capable of love.
I think Narcissa showed us incredible courage in going to Snape for assistance. She knew that if Snape turned her down or snitched, she would be dead. I am betting that Draco inherited that courage from her. If he did, he may play a bigger part in Voldemort's demise than he thinks. I think some of that courage came out in HBP. Crying in the bathroom showed us that he was afraid. And in admitting that, he showed some courage. He proved it again on the Astronomy Tower. When he had Dumbledore cornered, he plainly could have murdered him several times before anyone made their way up to assist him. Why didn't he Avada Kedavra him right away? Because he lacked the necessary requirements for an Unforgivable Curse. He did not hate Dumbledore. In fact, I think he had a certain amount of respect for him. That is why his previous attempts, if you can call them that (necklace and mead), were not something Dumbledore took seriously. Draco's heart was not in it. He was doing it solely to protect his family.
Like I mentioned before, Draco is meant to be a secondary character, but in HBP we find him popping up everywhere. Harry is obsessed with him. I think his character really comes to full light in this book. I don't think J.K. made the title of the chapter "The Lightning Struck Tower" by mistake. Many fine editorials have shown the resemblance of this chapter to the "Tower" card in a tarot deck.
The card is number 16, Draco is 16.
"Expect the unexpected": This could mean that while Harry expected Draco to be up to no good, it was unexpected that it was Draco who was to kill Dumbledore, and unexpected that he would not be able to finish the job.
"A bolt from the blue": This could refer to Dumbledore bolting into the tower.
"Surprise": Harry is surprised at the ambush.
"The lightning bolt of Thor": This could represent the Dark Mark like lightning in the sky.
"A tall dark stranger": Snape! He may not be a stranger, but the way he was acting proved him to be one.
Upright, which I think is the way the card is best represented, means good things that can change your perception of things. The element of surprise and rude awakenings. An old way of life is coming to an end (Harry depending on Dumbledore to show him the way to defeat Voldemort). It may also cause the reader to re-evaluate his values (Harry contemplating killing Snape or using an Unforgivable Curse).
The tower reversed is how the card is represented for Draco. It represents something shocking coming to an end (possibly Draco wanting to be a Death Eater). It also means starting over (redemption for Draco), and putting chaos and disruption behind you (Draco fleeing the scene). It can also mean a feeling that life isn't giving you a fair shake (Draco being forced into his present situation, "Why me?"). It gives a feeling of being backed into a corner, stuck with no way out (Draco felt he had no other choice in order to save his family). It is telling the reader to pay the piper and listen to the music (his conscience), and to face what you have been avoiding so you can get on with your own life.
Somehow I don't think Draco would have finished the job set forth even if he had more time. He was only doing it to protect himself and his family. But even then he is not a murderer. I can only hope he redeems himself in Book 7, maybe not joining Harry in his fight, but at least fighting his own battle.
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Tarot source: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tarot and Fortune Telling, Arlene Tognetti and Lisa Lenard.