Narcissa Black is something of a mystery. She has been mentioned only a few times in the course of five novels, and each time it has only been in relation to either Lucius or Draco. She was mentioned the most in the fourth book, where we met her at the Quidditch Cup, described as looking as if she had a bad smell under her nose. Later, Draco talks about her refusal to allow him to go to Durmstrang, because she (for some reason) likes Draco and thinks that Durmstrang is too far away.
One of the prevailing, and, I think, simplistic, opinions about Narcissa is that she is a trophy wife for Lucius and has little purpose besides following him around looking attractive. Draco’s comment makes this idea a bit suspect. His father clearly was very interested in his attending Durmstrang.
We know that Lucius:
- Hates Dumbledore
- Despises non-purebloods
- Is a dark wizard and a Death Eater
- Still has ties to Karakaroff, the Headmaster of Durmstrang
So of course Durmstrang looks like the logical school for Draco. And Lucius does not seem like a man who allows his underlings to thwart his wishes easily. We know how Lucius treats those he deems to be less important than himself. So, if Narcissa really was just another subordinate and completed the image he needed, wouldn’t Lucius have told her that he didn’t care what she wanted for Draco, father knows best, and Draco’s going to Durmstrang? Of course he would have. So why did he back down on this issue with Narcissa?
There are two possibilities:
- Narcissa is more of a force to be reckoned with than we have previously seen. She is a Black, after all. I wouldn’t say that Sirius, his mother, or Bellatrix, the adult Blacks we have met, are exactly passive characters.
- Narcissa is in fact a quiet, good wife, but her son is so important to her that she put her foot down in this instance to keep him close to home.
While I certainly like the first idea more, [having a powerful, albeit evil, Narcissa would be kind of cool and Id like to see what Rowling would do with a strong female Black who wasn’t dead, (Mrs. Black) addled, (Bellatrix), as yet absent, (Andromeda), or annoying (Tonks)] I do not think the story will go that way. I believe that Narcissa, who was probably a Slytherin, will do what is required of her as long as she is comfortable and in high social standing. Except when it comes to Draco.
Which brings me to the connection.
Who else has been described as looking as if she had a bad smell under her nose? Who else has unfailing devotion to her bratty, spoiled son? Who else plays the part of the good wife, but when her son is threatened, will not be moved in her determination to protect him?
Petunia Dursley, of course.
She almost throws Harry out of her house, while her husband is ranting away. But then she is reminded, forcefully, of the destruction and violence of Voldemort. While she thinks that Harry is dangerous to her family, she realizes that it would be safer to be under the protection of Dumbledore by fulfilling his wishes and taking Harry in, even though Vernon, in book five, is on the brink of banishing Harry. She forcefully tells Vernon that Harry will stay with them, ignoring Vernon’s protesting.
This kind of devotion to ones sons seems to be a common theme between the three women with similar kinds of names. Lily died for Harry. Petunia and Narcissa stand up to their domineering husbands for theirs. Is there some underlying relationship between three women who each have one son, flower names, and a connection to Voldemort? It is very strange that Rowling would make Narcissa stand out so much from the rest of the family by giving her a flower name when two other sisters from a non magic family already have flower names.
So what does this mean? I’m not really sure. Could it be possible that Narcissa is really a lost Evans? (a far-fetched idea, I know) Or is she simply an anomaly of the Black family? Is she good, evil, indifferent as long as she is taken care of? We won’t know for sure until Book Six, or maybe even Book Seven, but Narcissa is certainly more important than the rich snob we are lead to believe she is.