The Burrow: Draco’s Weakness

by Rebecca W.

Draco Malfoy. What would we ever do without Harry Potter’s slimy grease-ball of an archenemy? Our favorite blond-haired creep has caused us to laugh – and twitch with hate – throughout the books with his cruel sneers and ferrety bounciness. Yet now, in the sixth book, Malfoy presents us with something very different, something very astonishing to most of us. He has raised a very debatable question only to be answered with the printing of the seventh book – where will Malfoy stand in his alliances?

Some jump with joy upon the thought that Voldemort will finish him off for his failure in the previous book. Others think he will become truly evil and stay with Voldemort. Still others fight for the opinion that he will somehow redeem himself.

I am here to support the cause of those brave, hopeful redeemers. Why would Malfoy redeem himself, you ask? He has shown nothing but true evil and desire for power since the first book!

It is my opinion that he will redeem himself because of a realization of his weaknesses. When we think of Draco Malfoy, we think of an evil, selfish, power hungry teenager. But what about his other weaknesses? Yes, selfishness and power hungriness are weaknesses, but not to Malfoy. What about the weaknesses in Malfoy’s eyes? What about his cowardice? His dependence? And, most of all, his kindness?

Yes, cowardice is very easy to spot in him – he wouldn’t dare start a fight without his two goons, Crabbe and Goyle, with him to brawl it out. This is strongly linked with his fear of independence – where have you seen him by himself in the first five books? He is always with some other fellow Slytherin. Why? His cowardice.

The last weakness I listed may have caught you by surprise. This weakness Malfoy has done an especially good job of hiding. He has attempted to drown his kindness out with stereotypes (purebloods and Mudbloods, for example) and prejudices (like his first impression of Hagrid). We have never seen kindness in him until the sixth book.

These weaknesses he has known about but tried to hide for the first five books, basically to follow in the footsteps of his father and ally himself with power (Voldemort). He does an exceptionally good job of hiding them, because Voldemort finally hires him in the sixth book. Malfoy is now running with the big dogs – and is falling behind.

Malfoy is no longer himself in the sixth book – he does not hassle the first years or trouble Harry, but tries to focus on his “project.” If Malfoy is truly evil, he would have had no trouble in finishing the project and gaining that much sought power. Yet the weaknesses Malfoy has tried to hide are coming back to haunt him.

His cowardice gets in the way of him accepting the role as leader of his project. His dependence also troubles him — this project is to be done solo, a task which Malfoy is not ready for. Yet the weakness that troubles him most of all is his kindness. He has managed to suppress it for who knows how many years – but when the time comes that he must forever banish it from his heart and become a true Death Eater, he finds it is a permanent part of him.

These three weaknesses gang up on him, causing him to further weaken throughout the book. His plots to kill Dumbledore become increasingly feeble, and he is now crying in the bathroom because of the hopelessness of his situation. Though he is finally realizing he can’t overcome his “weaknesses,” especially his kindness, he knows he cannot surrender to them – Voldemort would surely kill him and his family.

Then the climax comes – somehow he has ignored himself and come to the possible success of his mission. Dumbledore is at his feet, helpless. Malfoy’s wand rises to perform the curse. Then Dumbledore starts to speak. What he says brings Malfoy’s weaknesses to the spotlight, starting with the cowardice and dependence on the other Death Eaters.

‘Perhaps you ought to get on with the job alone,’ suggested Dumbledore. ‘What if your back-up has been thwarted by my guards?…after all, you don’t really need help.’ Malfoy merely stared at him.

-HBP, pg. 586

This shows Malfoy’s reluctance to complete the job on his own.

‘I see,’ said Dumbledore kindly, when Malfoy neither moved nor spoke. ‘You are afraid to act until they join you.’

‘I’m not afraid!’ snarled Malfoy, though he still made no move to hurt Dumbledore. ‘It’s you who should be scared!’

-HBP, pg. 586

Dumbledore directly addresses Malfoy’s cowardice – Malfoy, in desperation, tries to deny it. Nevertheless, he is slowly being overtaken by his weaknesses. The last weakness is kindness – Dumbledore twice states that Malfoy is ‘not a killer.’ Malfoy’s response to the first time is thus:

‘How do you know?’ said Malfoy at once. He seemed to realize how childish the words sounded; Harry saw him flush in the Mark’s greenish light.

-HBP, pg. 585

Malfoy knows he is not a killer. He knows he cannot kill Dumbledore – and therefore he doesn’t, even when his former ‘heroes,’ the Death Eaters, join him and egg him on.

‘Now, Draco, quickly!’ said the brutal-faced man angrily. But Malfoy’s hand was shaking so badly that he could barely aim.

-HBP, pg. 595

Shortly after that, Snape bursts in and finishes the job. Though this means Malfoy has now failed and faces almost certain death by Voldemort, there is also good news: he has saved himself from being a murderer.

He has also finally surrendered to his weaknesses, a thing he has stubbornly refused to do for the past five years. I, personally, am proud of him for accepting who he is.

It was said in a mini-Mugglecast episode that in order to be on the good side you do not need to be special – not brave, not powerful, not independent. I think this will be appealing to Malfoy in the seventh book because he realizes he can have his weaknesses and still live.

And, after all, don’t Slytherins do what is best for themselves?