A/N: This thing is a hideous horrible ungodly mess. I cleaned it up enough so that human beings could actually even READ it, at Mynuet’s nudging, but this is as cleaned up as it’s going to get. I actually wrote this about a year ago and… just never got around to revising it (squirmy squirm.) Anyway, here it is. Make of it what you will. There are some notes at the end about how much I actually BELIEVE all of this by now, and be sure that you DO read to the end… that’s where the arguments for canon D/G are. And the da Vinci thing. ;)

Ferrets, Purebloods, and Lies: The True Identity of the HBP.

At first, all we really had was the title, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Also, whoever or whatever the HBP might be, JKR informed us that he wasn’t Harry, and wasn’t Voldemort. For a while, that was it. After speculation had already begun to run rampant, a few more tantalizing tidbits were added to JKR’s official website. They all tended to clarify who the HBP wasn’t rather than who he was, and in some cases, such as her musings about the links between CoS and HBP, the waters were made even murkier.

Now, it’s been said that South American piranhas go into a feeding frenzy when somebody throws a strip of chuck steak into the fish tank at the zoo. But for my money, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats watching HP fangirls (and some fanboys) after we’ve been tossed a scrap or two of actual real-live reliable info about what’s coming in Book 6. So, from the midst of the madness, I bring you my attempt at objectivity on this whole thing. Of course, there’s a vital question that has to be answered first.

Is this argument is even worth having? Can we figure out who the HBP is, or is likely to be? Can we make suppositions about possibilities for the plot of the sixth book? Or is it all a waste of time?

This particular question does have to be laid to rest at the outset, because otherwise there’s little point in wading through the sea of theories that awaits. And I do think the answer can be logically proven—proven, in fact, with a greater certainty than we can prove anything else right now. JKR’s responses to her fans have consistently indicated that she fully approves of our sleuthing into plot points and possibilities of character development (even if some of it, at times, may horrify her slightly.) This has become extremely obvious in recent months, between her new website that constantly teases us with tidbits of new information, and her point-blank hints about the connection between Harry and Voldemort at the August Edinburgh reading—not so much their actual content, but the fact that she encouraged fans to piece together clues from canon for themselves. Most instructive, however, are two arguments that raged especially hot at one time—the ones that concerned Mark Evans, and Tom Riddle.

A popular theory shortly after the HBP title was released was that the HBP was actually Tom Riddle, which, of course, was really an argument about whether or not Tom Riddle and Voldemort were separate entities. Another was that Mark Evans, a character mentioned in passing as one of Dudley Dursley’s victims, was the HBP. We’ll never know if these types of arguments among fans were the reason why JKR then revealed the final bits of information (or final for now, at least.) But one of the things revealed was that she flatly stated Voldemort and Tom were most certainly the same person, so Tom Riddle obviously was not the HBP—and this point reveals a lot about how I think the nature of the argument surrounding the HBP’s identity should go. The central question we start out with, of course, is whether it makes any sense to dissect the bits of information we have and comb canon for clues to the rest. Is it just a waste of time? Is it impossible to figure out anything this way? After all, she’s already told us that there isn’t a glaringly obvious clue in CoS to the HBP’s identity, as some people previously thought.

**(quote) Now, this quote will be dissected in much greater detail later. But at this point, the idea that we all should have been able to see that TR and V were the same person is significant. Because if all the books were carefully combed for clues, the answer really was obvious. Otherwise, it was not.

Mark Evans was a background character, and as such, certainly wasn’t going to turn out to be the HBP. Now, the mark Evans issue wasn’t the same as the Voldemort one; there really wasn’t any way we could have figured out that Mark was never meant to be important, since JKR has certainly introduced characters that turned out to be vital later on in just such a throwaway fashion. The important thing here is the way the Mark Evans thing was treated. It wasn’t done dismissively at all; there was a very elaborate explanation involved when JKR revealed that Mark Evans wasn’t a significant character after all. It clearly reveals that JKR knows how much time we spend analyzing every little thing, and that she acknowledges our interest is both important and appropriate. But there’s something even more subtle than that. Mark Evans did not have one scrap of information available about him beyond the fact that he did have the same last name as Harry’s mother. And I think that that, in itself, makes it very unlikely that he was going to be the HBP, and take on a role that at the very least has to carry some importance, and at the most might even be crucial.

So for these reasons, even though all we have is a very sketchy set of facts, speculation is very worthwhile. The prince’s identity remains a total mystery, as well as what both parts of the equation (half-blood and prince) really mean. But all good HP fans love a mystery, and there has been—and can yet be—much piecing together of facts, clues, hints, characters, and canon events to formulate various conclusions. Both the Tom Riddle/Voldemort AND the Mark Evans incidents show that while our speculations may not always come true, it is appropriate to make them.

I believe that there are five types of information JKR gives in interviews:

1.) Not-very-important facts that are often really trivia. Hermione's middle name being Jane, for example. Or the exact ages of all the Weasleys. (That CAN'T have been important, since a lot of readers have figured out that it can't be right! So the number of students attending Hogwarts is something that also falls under this category, I think. With the number of teachers there, how CAN it be 1000 students? And in any case it's background information rather than a plot point.)

2.) Important facts. The rarest category. The HBP not being Harry or Voldemort goes here, as does the truth about Mark Evans (and that might also go in 1.)

3.) Facts that might or might NOT be important. The cut scene between Draco and Theodore Nott, for example. I think that's VERY!! important; some people don't. Or the cut background of Dean Thomas. I think it's interesting, but not a plot point. Others disagree, which is why we all keep raving on over at the "Who Is the HBP?" thread.

4.) Semi-autobiographical information. The story about the idea coming to her originally on a train is a good example, as is the written-in-a-coffeehouse info.


5.) Musings about the plot, characters, possible future storyline, etc. The problem, I think, is that this kind of info is often mistaken for 2.) or 3.) I have to say (ducks thrown rocks) that some authors are very good at talking about their writing, and some are not, and JKR falls into the latter category. Steven King does this kind of thing very well; she does not. Not everybody is cut out to do it. But her functional inarticulateness on this level (I'm sorry to say, I think it's true) means that her interviews can come off as just plain confusing if you really try to analyze them. There's so much more depth in her work than there seems to be when she speaks about the writing. If you only heard what JKR has actually said about her books, they don't sound like they would be all that interesting, or anything much above the run-of-the-mill teenage book.

So here’s my contribution, written with a critical eye, an ear to the ground, and a shoulder decidedly to the grindstone. The result of all this work is that a most logical candidate for the HBP does indeed emerge, one that is supported by more evidence and arguments than any other. No other candidate is linked to the idea of the HBP by so many clues in all of canon, interviews, and film. No other candidate lies at the center of such a web of evidence. Since we’re at such an early stage of information available about Book 6, the argument that this character is, indeed, the HBP may have convinced me, but it can’t be conclusive for anyone else. However, the evidence leads inescapably to the conclusion that this character will almost certainly be intimately involved with the struggle either for or against the HBP, and logically must take on a much greater role in Book 6.
(drum roll, please…)

It’s Draco Malfoy.

Now, depending on what your personal fan preferences may be, this supposition may cause you to stiffen your spine in denial, or start to skip about in jubilation. But it’s important to remember that the argument has absolutely nothing to do with fanon!Draco, he of the sexy sneers and leather pants. It is an argument that stems entirely from canon. And since this idea is perhaps the last one we’ve all been led to expect to date, it requires a very, very long essay to explain it. Hold on tight, and keep your hands inside the moving vehicle at all times, as we explore…

First, we’ll look at the pieces of evidence that really do link Draco to the concept of the HBP, and, in so doing, shoot down the “conventional wisdom” arguments against the idea of his having such a significant role in Book 6 in the first place. Lastly, we’ll explore the possible plots and endgames for the entire series that logically stem from the ideas presented here—and we’ll see astonishing evidence for the unlikely Draco ship that will be inevitable in canon.

Now, there are a number of arguments brought up against not only the idea that Draco is or could be the HBP, but the idea that he will have a much more significant role in future books. A lot of these arguments have been kicking around for awhile now, and certainly didn’t begin with the revelations about Book 6-to-come. In fact, they tend to have taken on a life of their own. Draco apologistas find themselves arguing from a permanent position of disadvantage—not as to whether he’ll ever be “redeemed” or not, which is the point around which the discussions used to revolve, but whether he’ll ever fulfill the significance he was seemingly set up for in SS/PS. The problem with these arguments is that they only take the obvious into account, and there is much more going on in the HP series than the obvious. A truly careful analysis of canon reveals that a much larger role for Draco is not only possible, but inevitable.

Let’s look at how Draco’s character has evolved (or not evolved) to date. In SS/PS, Draco’s importance is set in stone from the very beginning as Harry’s adversary. Here’s why this is significant.The HP books are extremely traditionally written as far as structure goes. They are not experimental or avant-garde novels. In fact, most of their aspects tend to follow the structure of both the traditional British boarding-school novel and the traditional British mystery novel, and few species of writing are as hidebound as these. (In fact, I would argue that an important part of JKR’s appeal is that she mixes a profoundly traditional structure with anarchic themes.) Not following up on the importance of a character who’s been set up as a primary adversary just isn’t going to happen in a book series of this type. So the biggest argument against the future importance of Draco must be dealt with here—the idea that JKR just doesn’t plan to do anything important with him. And it’s debunkable.

Chibimono: Do you have any future plans in particular for Draco Malfoy?
JK Rowling replies -> I've got plans for all my characters. Actually, this is a really good place to answer a question about Draco and Hermione, which a certain Ms. Radcliffe is desperate to have answered. Will they end up together in book six/seven? NO! The trouble is, of course, that girls fancy Tom Felton, but Draco is NOT Tom Felton!

This, to me, is a very significant answer (although I’m not at all sure that JKR really understands the appeal of Draco!) In the same interview, she answered quite a lot of trivial questions, such as the middle names of several characters. She also put several rumors to rest, such as the one about D/Hr, and Narcissa being related to Lily and/or Petunia. But by way of contrast, what she does NOT do here is to say either yes or no. Nor does she say anything even slightly along the lines of “Draco is never going to have any character depth. He’s nothing more than a spoiled brat.” **(C.S. Lewis analogy.) We may be “getting too fond of Draco” as far as she’s concerned, but there’s no evidence in her statements that his future unimportance is the reason why.

When a question is insignificant, JKR answers it. She’s done it enough times by now so that we can pretty much take it as a rule. If the answer is or might be important, on the other hand, she has a habit of being coy, of dancing around the reply. You can’t get much coyer than “I’ve got plans for all my characters.” Then too, the last of her comments, I think, pretty much puts the kibosh on fluffyromance!canonDraco. However, the plot is shaping up into an important interaction of a very different character indeed, as we will soon see.

Part Two: Secrets of the Chamber

JKR states that, in relation to the seven books, "Key things happen in book two. No one knows how important those things are... yet. There's a lot in there. And I know how difficult it was to get it all in there without drawing too much attention to the clues."

The above quote is really important in terms of understanding her later comment about the relationship between book 2 and book 6. There’s more to be gleaned than just the identity of the HBP. It’s not as if the secret answer to the question of WHO it is, is in CoS in code or something, and if we’re smart enough we’ll figure it out. It’s subtler than that.

CoS was actually Draco’s book, as a careful analysis will show. In fact, I would argue that the entire reason why we have a strange sort of empathy for Draco isn’t Tom Felton, as so many seem to think. It’s the kind of characterization that really began in CoS. Felton amplified this feeling because he’s a good film actor, and that’s what film actors do. Their job is to interpret the character in a way that transmits emotions to the audience in a deeply felt and personal way. Felton does it in a number of ways, and one of them is his physical presence. But that means that it’s infinitely more than a matter of looking good with a vicious bleach job. He mainlines the emotional Draco into the collective jugular of the audience.

CoS was the last book where Draco played a pivotal role (until OotP, as we shall soon see.) There are many curious aspects of his role in Book 2 that have never been adequately analyzed. So we do have to try to understand what the link might be between CoS and HBP, and JKR’s comments on that subject bear careful analysis, themselves.

At the very least, the clues about the plot of Book 6 in CoS are at least as important as the clues in any other book, and almost certainly more so, simply because JKR has stated pretty clearly that there are more of them there. At the most, the plot line about the HBP may have disappeared every bit as fully from CoS as she thinks it has, and as she’s repeatedly told us it has. But the problem is that when a storyline is removed, you have generally, as an author, left behind the space where it used to be... And there still may be clues to be gleaned.

The first thing that actually makes me lean towards the Draco theory more than before is the fact that the Draco/Theodore Nott conversation was written for, and cut from, CoS.

I seriously wonder if JKR planned to reveal that Draco wasn't pureblood in CoS. However, she realized that it was much too soon to do it, and information that we otherwise would have gotten about the Malfoys-- *including the Draco/Nott conversation*-- was cut.

At the start of CoS, Harry thinks of Draco as his “arch-enemy.” The inciting incident of CoS, the one thing that sets the entire plot in motion, is Dobby actually coming to warn Harry about a devious plan hatched by the Malfoys, specifically Lucius. Why DID Draco stay at school for Christmas in CoS?? It’s never explained. This could be another very important point.
In CoS, it’s as if Draco is always just one step removed from being intricately involved with the plot. But it’s a small step.

Most importantly of all, a link of four was set up in CoS: Draco, Harry, Ginny, and Tom. I believe that we’ll be seeing this again. In CoS, there were four people who in some way played the role of the Heir of Slytherin. Harry, Draco, Tom (who, of course, actually was) and Ginny. Her name has not been mentioned in this context, but she was the one—the ONLY one-- who actually performed the tasks that opened the CoS. If we didn’t know for a fact the HBP gender has to be male, Ginny might very well be the best guess for HBP. Well, we already know it can’t be Harry, and the most logical thing is that it can’t be Tom, either. So we’re left with the two most obvious candidates related to CoS being Draco and Ginny. It can’t be Ginny. But Ginny can be involved. The Draco/Harry/Ginny triangle set up in two separate situations: at beginning, and at Valentine’s Day, when Draco almost gets diary. In both cases, Voldemort/Riddle is involved. The Draco/Harry/Ginny/Tom link will be explored further at the end of the essay, when we analyze the amazing possibility that we could see D/G in canon.

I think that we begin to really see the links between Draco and Snape in a serious way in CoS, and that they will be very important later on. Remember the scene in CoS with Dueling club when Snape “looks at Harry shrewdly?” We never do find out exactly why this happens, but here’s something to think about. If Snape was Lucius Malfoy’s confidant in OotP, he obviously had to be something to Lucius and to all the Malfoys three years earlier. We don’t know exactly how Snape’s undercoverness works, but we can guess that much. So how much did Snape know in CoS? How deep in was he? Did he know anything about what happened to Ginny? Did he know about Harry’s suspicion of Draco? Did he think that Harry might be the Heir of Slytherin? Did he even know the truth all along?? Does it have anything to do with the fact that Draco didn’t go home for Christmas that year? That’s a very strange fact, since so few students did it. And it’s never explained. There is a tremendous amount of mystery surrounding Snape and the Malfoys. There’s also an interesting theory that Dumbledore told Snape to find out if Harry was a Parselmouth, and that Snape chose that way to do it. But that, too, goes to the HBP being Draco; it presages and foreshadows it.

I think that in CoS we also begin to see the theme of twinning between Draco and Tom Riddle. There are parallels drawn constantly between Draco and Tom. Thomas is the Greek form of the Aramaic name Te'oma which meant "twin". Suggesting twinlike or doppelganger possibilities for Tom Riddle. Thomas also the name of the doubting disciple, and doubting is a form of bad faith—possible link to Malfoys?

And there is a very curious fact about CoS and OotP that nobody, to the best of my knowledge, has picked up yet. Only two characters are EVER described as having a “hungry” appearance when they look at Harry, or of staring at him “hungrily.” Tom Riddle in CoS, and Draco in OotP, in Umbridge’s office. AND… in the CoS, Tom tells Harry, “You’re dead, Potter.” Look at pg. 851 of OotP… Draco says “You’re dead, Potter.” The only two times this phrase is used, and the only two characters that use it.

In fact, twins are all over the entire HP series. There are two sets of actual twins—Parvati and Padma, and Fred and George. Neville and Harry twin each other. Draco and Harry twin each other; sometimes Draco and Ron twin each other, too. Yet Draco and Tom Riddle/Voldemort are twinning more clearly than any other pair to date.

We also start to see the links between Draco and Ginny in CoS, and it’s not just the fact that in CoS, we know that they have the most contact they will have until OotP. In CoS, sexual maturity is linked with death, between the mandrakes, and curiously, both Ginny and Hermione not being in danger of death until near the end of the book, right around the age of sexual maturation for both of them. Harry goes to rescue Ginny in the CoS, reached by pipes, and Ron can’t go. This has been analyzed from here to eternity as presaging H/G. BUT… and it’s a big but… remember that Draco almost got to go. He actually had the diary in his hands at one point, until Harry got it back. If Harry hadn’t gotten it back, Draco very likely would have gotten to go into the CoS. And when Harry got there, what did he find? Tom Riddle, Draco’s mirror.

And we know that Tom Riddle put a little of his soul, himself, and his secrets into Ginny. "Powerful enough to start feeding Miss Weasley a few of my secrets, to start pouring a little of my soul back into her ..." - Tom Riddle on his possession of Ginny [CoS-17].

This happened to Harry too, obviously, if we think about how Voldemort put some of his powers into him when he gave the baby Harry the scar. Yet this is also something that Draco would probably desperately want to happen, and with this argument, we’re right back to the theme of choices, not abilities, being the most important thing throughout the HP series.

Next, we have to look at the royalty clues that have appeared throughout the series. We’ll also touch on the issue of Ron the prophet, and on the possibility that Draco may not as pureblooded as he appears to be.

What does the reference to a prince even mean? Well, it seems very unlikely that it refers to a literal royal family of the wizarding world, the wizard Windsors, if you will. After five full years of living as a wizard, it’s extremely hard to believe that Harry wouldn’t have heard of such a thing by now. It could be an honorary title of some kind, or a nickname. But the most logical thing seems to be to look for any instances where one specific character is linked to princes, or royalty of any kind. And there is only one character who consistently has been.

In OotP, during the Welcoming feast, we see the famous reference to Draco Malfoy “holding court at the Slytherin table.” In CoS, the identity of the “Heir of Slytherin” is one of the central questions. We eventually find out that it’s Tom Riddle, but for much of the book the entire Trio is convinced that it’s actually Draco. What if this is a clue to the HBP status that Draco attains later on? “Heir” is, in many senses, simply a synonym for “prince.”

In the climactic conversational scene in OotP, Dumbledore makes a big point of noting that Harry has NOT been raised like “a pampered little prince.” Once again, royalty is mentioned. So, who HAS been? Draco, who is often thought of as Harry’s mirror image, what Harry might have become if raised under similar circumstances. And let’s not forget Sirius’s statement in OotP that his mother thought that being a Black made a person practically royalty!

Now let’s look at how the theme of royalty might relate to some other things about Draco. If we really want to start analyzing names, dragons have always been linked with royalty in Asian countries. To play devil’s advocate, though, we certainly haven’t had any references to Asian magic in any of HP books. But there’s one very important thing that we HAVE had.

There’s an astonishingly direct link between Draco and royalty, and I have never seen anyone pick up on it. I’m sure none of us have any trouble recalling the occasion when the fake Professor Moody oh-so-memorably transfigured Draco into a white ferret in GoF. The coloring of the albino ferret is a pretty fair match for Draco’s pale skin and white-blond hair, but other than that, the question has to arise: why a ferret? Wouldn’t some other albino animal have done just as well? What is it about a ferret in particular that should have been linked to Draco Malfoy in any way, and what might its significance be? This is where a very curious—and perhaps crucial—piece of information comes into play. The ferret-- and above all white ferrets—were strongly associated with both nobility and royalty in British history. White ferrets were particularly favored in the Middle Ages, and ownership was restricted to those earning at least 40 shillings a year (a rather large sum then). A ferret appears in a Leonardo da Vinci portrait of the lady-in-waiting to a prince who became a duke’s mistress, “Lady With an Ermine.” (We’ll come back to da Vinci’s work when we talk about D/G foreshadowing, too.) The "Ermine portrait of Queen Elizabeth the First" shows her with her pet ferret, who has been decorated with painted-on heraldic ermine spots. (Take a look at this picture.) JKR is a highly educated person, and used to be a teacher. I’d be willing to bet that she knows about the ferret-royalty link.

Then, too, let’s look at the meaning of “Weasley is our King.” I highly doubt that it refers to any of the Weasleys. We know for a fact that Arthur Weasley isn’t going to be MoM in Book 6, which would seem to be the most logical meaning of the phrase. It might refer to Arthur Weasley becoming MoM in Book 7. Yet the significant thing here may very well not be the subject of the song, but the author. After all, Ron Weasley never calls himself a king. Harry dreams that he sees Ron and Hermione wearing crowns, but Hermione is a Muggle-born, not a half-blood, and anyway she’d be a princess—and Harry is not known for his prophetic abilities.

But a very popular idea in fanon is that Ron may have the gift of prophecy. If this is true, well, he predicts in CoS that Draco is the Heir (also that the book is dangerous and Harry shouldn’t touch it, that Tom Riddle killed Myrtle, and that Harry ought to get rid of the diary once he has it. He’s reluctant to go into the Forbidden Forest, and sure enough, they’re almost killed by spiders.)

Here are a few more examples, gotten from God-knows-what list off FA about a year ago:

1.) "So we've just got to try on the hat!" Ron whispered to Harry. "I'll kill Fred, he was going on about wresting a troll." - Ron on what was required of the Sorting [SS-7].

Ron and Harry then battle a troll in [SS-10].

2.) "I dunno, I've just got a bad feeling about it --" - Ron advising Harry not to see the Mirror of Erised again [SS-12].

Dumbledore then catches Harry in front of the mirror in [SS-12].

3.) "There's a blob a bit like a bowler hat," he said. "Maybe you're going to work for the Ministry of Magic. ..." He turned the teacup the other way up. "But this way it looks more like an acorn. ... What's that? He scanned his copy of Unfogging the Future. "'A windfall, unexpected gold.' Excellent, you can lend me some ... and there's a thing here," he turned the cup again, "that looks like an animal ... yeah, if that was its head ... it looks like a hippo ... no, a sheep ..." - Ron to Harry in Divination [PoA-6].

Harry rescues a hippo[griff] in [PoA-21].
And a man in a bowler hat (Fudge) delivers gold to Harry for winning the Triwizard tournament and Harry gives the winnings not to Ron, but to Fred and George, who in turn buy Ron new dress robes in [GoF-36].

4.) "What would it have been for you?" said Ron, sniggering. "A piece of homework that only got nine out of ten?" - Ron makes fun of Hermione's boggart [PoA-7].

"P -- P -- Professor McGonagall!" Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk. "Sh -- she said I'd failed everything!" - Hermione upon ending her DADA test in [PoA-16].

6.) "Why don't you get stabbed in the back by someone you thought was a friend?" - Ron to Harry, making up their Divination homework [GoF-14].

Ron abandons Harry after his name comes out of the Goblet of Fire in [GoF-17].

7.) "And on Wednesday, I think I'll come off worse in a fight." - Ron making up his Divination homework [GoF-14].

Harry nails Ron in the forehead with a 'Potter Stinks' badge in [GoF-19].

8.) "No -- I'm alone -- but I'm different -- I look older -- and I'm head boy!" ... "I am -- I'm wearing the badge like Bill used to -- and I'm holding the house cup and the Quidditch cup -- I'm Quidditch captain, too!" - Ron in front of the Mirror of Erised [SS-12].

Partially unresolved? Ron holds up the Quidditch cup as he's carried up to the castle in [OotP-30].

9.) "Eat slugs, Malfoy," said Ron angrily. - Ron sticking up for Harry after Malfoy insults him [CoS-6].

Ron casts a spell and his wand backfires, making him vomit slugs in [CoS-7].

10.) "Maybe he murdered Myrtle; that would've done everyone a favor. ..." - Ron on why T. M. Riddle got a special services award [CoS-13].

Harry learns that Myrtle was killed by the basilisk that Riddle (Voldemort) set loose from the Chamber in [CoS-16/17].

11.) "I'd light mine too, but you know -- it'd probably blow up or something. ..." - Ron about his wand when going into the Forbidden Forest in search of Aragog [CoS-15].

Lockhart tries to Obliviate Harry down in the Chamber of Secrets with Ron's wand and it explodes [CoS-16].

12.) "Harry -- this is a Pocket Sneakoscope. If there's someone untrustworthy around, it's supposed to light up and spin. Bill says it's rubbish sold for wizard tourists and isn't reliable, because it kept lighting up at dinner last night. But he didn't realize Fred and George had put beetles in his soup." - Ron's letter to Harry [PoA-1].

Scabbers was with them in [PoA-1].

13.) "Next Monday," he said as he scribbled, "I am likely to develop a cough, owing to the unlucky conjunction of Mars and Jupiter." - Ron making up his Divination homework [GoF-14].

Ron gave a loud false cough, which sounded oddly like "Lockhart!" - in [GoF-15].

14.) "You seem to be drowning twice," said Hermione - talking about Ron's Divination homework [GoF-14].

Partially unresolved? Ron is placed under water for the second task in [GoF-26].

15.) "Percy would never throw any of his family to the dementors," said Hermione severely. ... "I don't know," said Ron. "If he thought we were standing in the way of his career ... Percy's really ambitious, you know. ..." - Ron about Percy [GoF-27].

Percy helps put Harry on trial in [OotP-8], tries to get Ron to move away from Harry in [OotP-14], and takes notes when Dumbledore is accused of creating an army in [OotP-27].

16.) "Well, I had one that I was playing Quidditch the other night," said Ron, screwing up his face in an effort to remember. - Ron discussing his dreams in Divination [OotP-12].

Ron makes the Gryffindor Quidditch team in [OotP-13].

In CoS, at the end of Chapter 6:
"Rubbish," said Hermione. "You've read his books--look at all those amazing things he's done--"
"He says he's done," Ron muttered.

And it turned out Lockhart was lying, and just saying he'd done all those things.

So we have a lot of proof that Ron may actually have prophetic abilities. He predicted that Draco was the Heir of Slytherin. We know that he wasn’t, because Tom Riddle was. But “heir” is frequently used as a synonym for “prince.” What if that’s what Ron was actually predicting? And then there’s this to think about. The theme of choice has always been tremendously important in all of the books. In CoS, the Heir wasn’t chosen. He was the Heir because of his blood kinship to Slytherin. But the overwhelming theme has always been choice. So who would be the Heir, if he could choose, if it was only a matter of choice? Draco.

So how is this even possible? Isn’t Draco a pureblood? Hasn’t that been the most significant aspect of his character in canon to date? Well, Sirius tells Harry that Arthur and Molly Weasley and all three Black sisters are his cousins, and that Draco is his first cousin, once removed, as is Nymphadora Tonks. Phineas Nigellus, the former headmaster of Hogwart’s, is his great-great-grandfather. In fact, he makes a point of saying that “the pure-blood families are all interrelated.” Even in the case of the Lestranges, a pureblood family that doesn’t get a great deal of information devoted to it, we know that Rodolphus Lestrange (Bellatrix’s husband) has a brother, Rastaban. Neville’s parents and grandmother play prominent roles. We learn that Mollly’s maiden name is Prewett. Alastor Moody tells Harry that the brothers Fabian and Gideon Prewett fought like heroes as part of the original Order of the Phoenix, and that it took five Death Eaters to kill them. (OP9) Arthur has two brothers. Every pureblood family has details devoted to it… all except the Malfoys.

There's one other very significant thing that JKR emphasizes over and over as a major theme in OotP, and I think it has slipped under the radar to date. The families that have positively been identified as being pureblood also get plenty of space devoted to their internal ties; we see how they're all interrelated. JKR makes a special point of having Sirius mention that they're all cousins, and showing how that's true with the family tapestry. Neville's parents and grandmother are mentioned and are important characters. List of aunts, uncles, etc. Even Lestrange is given a younger brother, Rastaban. But this isn't true of the Malfoy branch. They appear to be quite tacked on to this extremely intricate wizarding pureblood family tree. We haven't heard one thing about how Lucius Malfoy is related to anyone ELSE who is pureblooded. We haven't heard that he's somebody's cousin, or somebody else's uncle. I think it's because he isn't pureblood at all, and thus, neither is Draco.

We don't know any details at all about the Malfoys. We certainly never saw the Malfoy family tree, only the Black tree. What if the Malfoys aren't purebloods after all? What if that's only the story they put around??

From page 707 of OotP, American edition...
Meanwhile Draco Malfoy had found a different way to induce panic. "Of course, it's not what you know," he was heard to tell Crabbe and Goyle loudly outside Potions a few days before the exams were to start, "it's who you know. Now, Father's been friendly with the head of the Wizarding Examinations Authority for years-- old Griselda Marchbanks-- we've had her round for dinner and everything..."
"Do you think that's true?" Hermione whispered to Harry and Ron, looking frightened.
"Nothing we can do about it if it is," said Ron gloomily.
"I don't think it's true," said Neville quietly from behind them. "Because Griselda Marchbanks is a friend of my gran's, and she's never mentioned the Malfoys."

Why is this significant? Because it's a solid piece of evidence that the Malfoys are not what they appear to be, and could be a clue that this is true in other ways. (And the person mentioned as being friendly with Marchbanks, a claim that turns out to be false, is Lucius, not Narcissa; the Malfoy, not the Black.)

The interesting detail about Draco is that he’s set up as the sort of person who should succeed, but vis a vis Harry, he never does. His successes are always against other people. For example, he’s one of the two Slytherin prefects in OotP, but in that capacity he is not in direct competition with Harry, since Ron, not Harry, is the male Gryffindor prefect. It’s strongly hinted in the Borgin & Burkes scene in CoS that he does well in his studies (and the fact that he’s made a prefect in his fifth year would seem to bear that out.) But the person that Lucius mentions as beating him out is Hermione, not Harry. On the other hand, look at what happens once Harry and Draco are in the same orbit. Harry beats Draco at every single Gryffindor/Slytherin Quidditch game every played. Draco’s family is rich, but Harry has his own fortune. Draco is used to being the center of attention, butu Harry outstages him at every turn. Draco attempts in PS/SS to get Harry in trouble for sneaking Norbert out of Hogwarts, and ends up getting detention himself. Draco wants to help the Heir of Slytherin in CoS, but Harry defeats the Heir. Draco tries to get Buckbeak executed in GoF, but Harry saves the hippogriff. Draco tries to rule the school in OotP, but Harry wrests control away from him and is instrumental in destroying Draco’s champion, Dolores Umbridge.

To make a less obvious point, I think that Draco has often compared his family life favorably with Harry’s in all the books to date. Draco has two parents, after all, and Harry does not. But by the end of OotP, Draco has lost even that, and from his point of view it’s entirely Harry’s fault. Every time he competes with Harry, Draco loses; sometimes through his own doing, sometimes not. -- list what happened in OotP by the climactic H/D scene, including the fact that the Slytherins were being led by Draco all through the book. But by the end, he’s left with only Crabbe and Goyle, and then even THEY are taken away by McGonagall.

So we have to ask ourselves, in what way has Draco not failed? What is the one thing that he has always been able to count on through the entire HP series, the thing he has that Harry does not? The only answer is that Draco is a pureblood, and he clings to this fact with an intensity that amounts to monomania. Harry, with his Muggle mother, is not.

But it’s already been set up that every time Draco battles with Harry, he has to lose. A very great number of things changed for Harry in OotP, but this fact remained a lodestone in a shifting world. Whether at Quidditch, in the competition for the House Cup, or in a struggle for supremacy at school, Draco must always lose out to Harry. And there’s only one way in which he hasn’t. He is the pureblood, and Harry is not. So the internal logic of the story would go very well with Draco finding out he’s not a pureblood at all.

So what will happen with Draco in HBP? None of us knows until July 16th, of course, but I believe he’s going to be important, no matter what form that importance takes. We know for a fact that we will see a lot of Narcissa because JKR's said so, and she's more than hinted that we'll see a lot of Snape, too. I don't see how you can haul in Narcissa without Draco being involved, and Snape was definitely associated with Draco in OotP. At the end of OotP, of course, Draco vows revenge on Harry, plots and plans to get back on him on the train, and then fails, which has GOT to make him even more determined to get that revenge eventually. A dish best eaten cold, you know... Harry is seriously underestimating Draco by the end of the book, and that's exactly the trait that got him in trouble all through OotP.

So Draco is set up to be extremely important, and for his choices to be important. Will this importance be good or bad?

It’s important to note that up to this point, Draco really hasn’t become either evil or good. Examined apart from Harry’s prejudiced view of him, it’s actually rather amazing to what degree Draco has remained a fairly neutral character in a moral sense. It is almost as if JKR is showing us that he has not yet made that all-important choice. There are several important pieces of information from OotP which bear this out.

The first is that whatever everyone thinks about Professor Umbridge, she does represent the force of law versus anarchy at Hogwarts. She is not working for Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and it really cannot be said that Draco has allied himself with evil by supporting her regime. In fact, at the end of the book, Dolores Umbridge is anything but a force for evil. No matter how unpleasant and unfair she may be, the curious fact remains that if she had succeeded in keeping all the students at her office, Harry would never have gone to the Department of Mysteries, and a number of tragic events would not have occurred, Sirius’s death among them. This is where Draco’s alliances most clearly lie in OotP; we never see or hear of any connection or relationship between him and the forces of real evil. He is a bully, he is unpleasant, he is petty, he takes away points unfairly… but he does not lure Sirius out of his place of safety, he does not cast Unforgivable curses, and he does not chase Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville, and Ginny around the Department of Mysteries while threatening them with death. His biggest sin is that he doesn’t like Harry, as he flatly states. **(quote)

But why should he? Harry turned down Draco’s original overtures of friendship, treats him with anger, coldness, and suspicion, beats him at every turn, and formed an organization that works against everything Draco has allied himself with at school. Draco has said some fairly awful things (re: Hermione in CoS, Cedric in GoF.) But in the fifth book, we learn conclusively that it was all empty talk. He can’t have ever actually seen death, because he cannot see thestrals. Draco taunts Neville about his parents, but we learn that his words were not deliberately or knowingly malicious, because he doesn’t know that Neville’s parents really are in St. Mungo’s.

A really fascinating idea is that Draco makes that choice, and that choice is to become the HBP, who is allied with Voldemort. I’m not sure if I believe this or not, but it’s something to think about.

For instance, we have this quote:
Fenny: Will Lord Voldemort get more 'screentime' in the upcoming books?
JK Rowling replies -> You will see him again, but like most evil dictators, he prefers his henchmen to do his dirty work.

We also know from the same chat that we’ll find out more about Voldemort’s birth in the next book. We know from JKR’s most recent comments that the connection between Harry and Voldemort will be extremely important in Book 6, but what this essay explores is how Draco might be inextricably linked.

That brings us to another point, and another reason why this plot line would have been saved until now. Tom Riddle was 16 in CoS; both Harry and Draco will be 16 in HBP. It seems to be, for JKR, an age of decision. This will be, IMHO, the major theme for Book 6—choice-- because Book 7 is going to have to deal more with the consequences of those choices. Draco has not chosen, but in Book 6, he will have to.

JKR’s has said that we should pay more attention to why Voldemort didn’t die when he tried to kill Harry, and why Dumbledore didn’t try to kill V at the end of Book 5. I think that these deal with the link between Harry and Voldemort, but they also reinforce the idea that Voldemort could be the one who chooses the HBP, and chooses him for a specific reason.

Harry and Voldemort are tied, in some mysterious way we don’t yet understand. But if that is the case, the question is if Voldemort knows. Because of what he tried to do at the end of Book 5, I would argue that he does know, even if he does not understand. And it makes sense that Voldemort would try to lessen the power Harry might wield. A way to do this might be for Voldemort to have an heir to his power, a “prince,” that he chooses completely of his own will, because Harry was not that. It goes, too, with the idea of twinning, and nobody could be fit this role better than the character who has already been set up as Harry’s potential twin, his dark doppelganger—Draco Malfoy.

Now, how might Ginny fit into all of this?

Harry and Ginny are set up to interact with each other in an extremely significant way, and we saw much more of this in OotP. This may or may not mean traditional shipping to come (dear God, I hope not. And considering the way things went in OotP, I really don't think so. But there will, I think, be a lot more H/G interaction to come.) The interesting thing is that in canon, H/G has inevitably meant D/G. The more Harry interacts with Ginny in any given book, the more Draco does, too. CoS is a perfect example. PoA and GoF had no D/G interaction, but they really had no H/G, either. OotP had the most meaningful H/G interaction to date, and it was the one where Ginny directly confronted Draco for the second time, far more forcefully than she did in the Borgin and Burkes scene in CoS. Ginny herself finds it meaningful enough to refer to it several times.

Also, we have JKR’s statement on the subject:
Field: Do you plan for GInny to take on a major character role in the next two books?
JK Rowling replies -> Well, now that Ginny has stopped being mute in Harry's presence I think you can see that she is a fairly forceful personality (and she always has been, remember Ron saying that she 'never shuts up' in Chamber of Secrets)?

Earlier, when analyzing CoS, I argued that a four-cornered thematic structure was set up between Harry, Ginny, Tom, and Draco. I’ve also argued in this essay that Draco and Harry have been twinned in some ways, and Tom and Draco absolutely have. At some point, I think that the issues raised in CoS are going to have to be dealt with as far as Ginny is concerned. There is a great deal of unfinished business between Tom Riddle and Ginny. And since Draco has been associated with Tom, there is a very strong possibility that Draco and Ginny have a lot of canon interaction in their future. What will its nature be?

Well, we really don’t know. I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for rainbows and flowers and fluffy bunnies. The fact that she hexed him in OotP may be the best foreshadowing of their coming relationship. Yet we really don’t know. We can’t be sure of what might happen between Draco and Ginny, for good or ill.

And if you want a truly inspired (or insane) piece of D/G ship foreshadowing… as promised… da Vinci painted “Lady With an Ermine,” as previously noted. He also painted a portrait of Ginevra de' Benci. Remember that only twelve of his paintings survive. Of those twelve, one is of a Ginevra, and one is of a ferret. A WHITE ferret! As educated as JKR is, she certainly has a passing acquaintance with his work, at the absolute least. Could this be her own personal da Vinci code for us to find??

However, leaving all speculation aside, I do think there’s a reason why D/G is a lot more structurally sound than any other fanon Draco ship, including Draco/Pansy, which frankly does not have a lot going for it after OotP (when they weren’t even together on Valentine’s Day!). The things we build in fanon need to have a canon foundation. They need to be based on paths that JKR could choose to walk in canon, even though she may never decide to. And I think this essay deals with a lot of the reasons why D/G has this foundation.

Draco and Ginny absolutely do have a canon connection, and they have had it ever since the first moment they met. When Draco told Harry that he had himself a girlfriend, he saw what Harry himself didn’t see on that day. Since then, I think that Ginny has moved on in canon, but at that time, Draco correctly saw that she had attached herself to Harry. In fact, NOBODY else saw it then. Draco hated Ginny—or told himself that he hated her—but he saw her.

Three of the group of four that formed the backbone of the book were in that scene, and the fourth showed up a few minutes later—Draco, Ginny, Harry, and, in the diary, Tom Riddle. The structure of those four is going to show up again in HBP, and in a way, I believe we even see it on the American cover. Harry stands at the top, and Ginny on the bottom. Between them, below the cauldron, is the skull and snake of the Dark Mark, which I believe (in this context) represents Tom Riddle/Voldemort and Draco. Not only that, but on the full adult cover of the British edition of HBP, we see two wrestling arms. We don’t know whose they are, but IMHO neither one of them looks decrepit enough to be Voldemort’s, or old enough to be Dumbledore’s. I think that one is Harry’s, and one is either Tom Riddle’s or Draco’s.


So, y’all, this has been Anise’s Ungodly Mess of a Draco/HBP Essay. Looking at it a year after I originally wrote it, I think the part that’s held up the best is the argument that Draco will be important in HBP, and his choices will be important. He is not going to fade away, or get thrown into a ditch while Harry, Ron, and Hermione step over him on their way to kill Voldemort. There are just too many reasons why his character has to be resolved. I think he’ll have more interaction with Ginny. I honestly believe that we might see D/G, although I’m not holding out hope for shippy D/G.

If he’s actually going to turn out to be the HBP… well, I admit, he’s really a dark horse. In all sober reflection, probably not. But you never know. And if he DOES, then I get to open a 1-900 psychic hotline. 

There were some other arguments in the rough draft that just didn’t make it in here, including the one that Lucius Malfoy was going to be the next MoM, and a long analysis of the similarities between Draco and Barty Crouch, Jr. Oh, and also the long, long argument that Stonehenge might turn up in HBP, because we know that Malfoy Manor is located in Wiltshire (and that’s where it actually is.) But, you know what? If any of these turn out to be supported in HBP, I’ll write about them then.

And thanks for being a reader!
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