An Anise Note: Once again, I didn't write this. Creamtea did. I will pass on all reviews once she gets back from a three-week vacation. :)
The Draco Interpretation: Never Tickle a Sleeping Draco
This February I read all five books in one hit, after having previously only read them casually as they came out and then having thrown them away. In my February read I viewed them not as adventure novels but as detective/mystery novels. In the former the author gives you good v evil straight up, no changes along the way, in the latter the author is essentially lying to the reader and challenging the reader to see through the lie - that's the whole point of the books. JKR references detective novels on her site 'bookshelf' (Dorothy L Sayers - twice, front and centre) plus one of her mates (Ian Rankin - detective novelist) flat out said in an interview that 'her books are practically detective mysteries'. What I got from my reading of them as detective mysteries, staying strictly within the canon and not going ‘outside’ for back up, is the following interpretation.
Health warning: for the most part I wrote this without having my books in front of me, so the ‘quotes’ are NOT exact but they are exact in spirit. Chapter heading may similarly be slightly off. It isn’t laid of narratively or chronologically – as JKR doesn’t lay it down like that. You’ll just have to start reading and carry on going.
The following ‘evidence’ may appear scant, but JKR’s ‘foreshadowings’ are scant, you don’t tend to get one enormous cast-iron, can’t-be-wrong statement, what you get is a series of little inflections scattered about the books that you suddenly put together in a pattern. It’s like those swirly pattern pictures that were the rage a decade ago, when you stared at them they suddenly resolved into a picture, but you some people could never see them: you can either see it or you can’t, your mind either works in such a way as to pick it up, or it doesn’t. If you can’t see it, no-one can really explain it to you. Or then again, I may be seeing things that just aren’t there …
Draco had a terrible memory buried - wiped if you like – at some point before he started school; he gradually became aware of this over the years at school.
The Remembrall 'goes off' in PS ostensibly when Neville picks it up. BUT, the ‘detective novel’ read goes like this – it ‘went off’ when Draco walked close by Neville and thus close by the remembrall (canon) at which point Draco leaps on it like a dog on a bone without even knowing what the thing is – he’s pulled to it. The ‘memory alert’ was triggered by Draco, not Neville. This ‘distraction’ technique happens all the time in detective novels - showing you one thing but presenting it as something else, she uses this technique a lot with Draco.
PS again, at the flying lesson Draco is once again drawn to the remembrall which glows as he approaches it.
CoS: The tickled Dragon. The school motto includes Draco’s name, and the translation is Never Tickle A Sleeping Dragon. (Draco=Dragon). I know JKR has said ‘it means never tickle a sleeping dragon’ but you’d have to be REALLY naïve to believe that was all there was to it and that it carries no reference to Draco as a character. Does anyone really think that a woman that careful in her writing would make a ‘mistake’ of putting a ‘minor’ character in the school motto? Come on! If it was any other character, like say Neville, people would be all over it. The reason people buy into what she said is that they just hate Draco. Once again, when she was asked she couldn’t say ‘it references Draco’ – how could she, she’d be giving parts of the plot away - she simply tells half the truth: that it is literally about Dragons. I think it does reference Draco. Think about CoS and the duel with Harry in the duelling class – what hex does Harry stick on Draco? – the TICKLING charm. Honestly, I ask you! I think when Harry ‘tickle charms’ Draco in the duel it dislodged something in his head. Aside: Have you noticed that the Hogwarts seal is the four houses ‘united around the letter H’ (that is JKR’s own description as given in one of the books). H for Hogwarts obviously, but also … symbolically H for Harry? So that would leave both Harry AND Draco referenced in the seal.
PoA, the train ride to Hogwarts, the Dementor attack. Dementors reveal a person’s worst memory to them, making them re-live it. Most of the children on the train come away not that bothered – they just ‘felt a bit funny’. But it’s canon that THREE children are hit bad. The first is Harry (and we know why), the second is Ginny, ‘shaking like crazy’ (and we know why), the third is Draco. We only find out about Draco’s terrified reaction to the Dementor in the next chapter, when one of the twins reports that he came flying into their carriage, nearly wetting himself. I take this to indicate that he’d seen his worst memory and it utterly terrified him – so for awfulness it was up there with Harry’s and Ginny’s, if not worse.
In OoTP Neville says he lost his remembrall ‘ages ago’. I think Draco nicked it after the train-ride in PoA, desperate to get to the bottom of things.
Draco is being guarded for the DE’s at Hogwarts by Crabbe and Goyle and Pansy, but they are not guarding him for his own protection – they are his prison guards, not his body guards. Crabbe and Goyle aren’t even human. I don’t know what/who Pansy really is. Draco doesn’t realise this for years, I’m not sure he even fully realises the situation now.
In PS Crabbe and Goyle are first introduced as looking like Draco’s bodyguards – but it begs the question, why does an 11 year old boy need bodyguards? Hogwarts is the safest place out, it remained safe even in the first war, and what would he need protecting from?
In CoS they are re-introduced as things ‘created to serve Draco’.
JKR never lets us hear Crabbe and Goyle speak – ever. She continually describes them in terms of being animals, not people (all their cackling, grunting, all the physical descriptions of them as apes, ‘bristles’ etc.). Going from this, I go so far as to maintain that in HBP it will be revealed that they are transfigurations. When we meet C+G senior in the GoF churchyard, JKR has them speak straight away, establishing that they’re human, but their sons? – not once in five books. I think they will be undone by mandrake juice, which we are told in CoS has the power to turn a transfiguration back into it’s original form. Another thing: Crabbe and Goyle aren’t mentioned in the sorting ceremony in PS, not even as one-word asides as ‘Nott’ and ‘Parkinson’ are. It may not mean anything as we have already ‘met’ them on the train, but if my ‘not human’ theory is correct then it’s another little brick in the wall, because one key query of course is what the Sorting Hat’s reaction to them would have been. Also, in OoTP we get a specific mention of things called ‘Security Trolls’ in the careers advice pamphlets which JKR puts in CAPS: HAVE YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO TRAIN SECURITY TROLLS? In other words ‘Security Trolls’ exist as an accepted part of wizarding society. Well, I’ve been mooching about for what C+G might really be – I thought ‘cave trolls’ (the cave troll description in PS is very like C+G) but actually ‘security trolls’ makes a lot more sense. Indeed, if they are security trolls then Draco might even know that they are trolls – but just not yet know why they are parked on him. I suspect Draco’s true realisation of that part is to come in HBP.
C+G never defend Draco – ever. JKR gives us continual intimations that they might, that they are about to, but when it comes to it she never shows it happening and they never do. In OoTP at the Quidditch punch-up, one of them even stands there laughing. The only time they get in a fight re Draco is in the Quidditch stands in PS – but only after Neville attacks them. They are defending themselves against Neville, they are not defending Draco.
The names: JKR is big on names as clues. Gregory = watcher, Vincent = Victor (a.k.a. the ‘muscle guy’), and this is where Pansy comes in, Pansy = thinker (comes from the French ‘pense’, to think). It’s a three-man surveillance team. The eyes, the muscle, the moxy. Also, Crabbe and Goyle – someone mentioned this on FAP - transpose the first two letters of their names and you get Grabbe and Coyle – what a snake does. Grabbing and coiling around Draco? Certainly C+G, we are repeatedly told, are with Draco ‘everywhere he goes’.
OoTP, there’s an extremely powerful passage at the start of the chapter on ‘Christmas on the Closed Ward’. In it Harry is – for I believe the only time in five books – directly shown ‘talking to himself’ in his head, so his inner discourse comes across as a conversation. It is a passage about Harry fearing that The Order don’t care about him, but are guarding him only because he’s a danger. In it ‘he’ tells ‘himself’, ‘I’m the weapon. I’m the one Voldemort wants. They have people watching me everywhere I go, but it’s not for my protection. The only time they can’t have someone on me all the time is at Hogwarts’. It is canon that Harry is wrong in thinking that about himself, instead I think this passage is a huge piece of foreshadowing of an HBP conversation between Harry and another person, someone who is being so guarded: Draco.
Draco is being guarded because his blood is important. He is being bled throughout GoF but almost certainly doesn’t know it.
PoA, the Buckbeak injury. I think it was a genuine injury that lasted a long time because there’s no way that Poppy Pomfrey would let a student get away with shirking – especially if there was a hippogriff’s life at stake. It wouldn’t happen. It is canon that Poppy can ‘fix anything’ (even Harry’s boneless arm). So if the injury’s real (and I think it is), why can’t she fix it? I think the reason it lasted was because Draco was suffering the same thing Arthur was in OoTP – poison by blood-thinning venom that St Mungo’s had a hell of a time fixing (indeed we don’t know that they did fix it, it may have simply ‘worn off’). I think Draco has at some point been affected with something (anti-coagulant?) that made his blood thin (so he’s easy to bleed). The slash wouldn’t heal, he wouldn’t stop bleeding. In OoTP the same thing happens to Arthur (Nagini bite), for whom whenever the bandages were taken off, he started to bleed again. When Draco is ‘cured’ he is reported as looking ‘even paler then ever’(prior to the Quidditch show-down).
PoA, Pansy’s tearful reaction when she knows Draco has been slashed and is bleeding. She’s running up the steps – almost hysterical. This is when I first began to suspect Pansy – she was hysterical because he was losing precious blood.
GoF, it all goes quiet on the Draco front, but stuff is definitely happening. At the Yule Ball we get a peculiarly detailed description of Draco’s entrance and attire. He has on a black high collared outfit that looks like something a vicar would wear – i.e., it is close-fitted with buttons up the front. Rings a bell on the Nosferatu vampire front. Plus, Draco is pale, his neck is hidden (bite marks?) and Pansy is ‘clinging to his arm’ with C+G right behind him as usual. People generally read this as a ‘Pansy as groupie’ scene, I read it as Pansy holding Draco up after he’s been bled. In other words, she knows what’s going on: she’s in on it.
Pansy’s name: it has a double meaning. Means ‘healer’ as well as thinker. Taking a wild stab here I reckon there’s a chance she’s the one who healed the cuts after the bleedings to hide the evidence.
OoTP, OWLs chapter. Harry is struggling in his History of Magic exam. He’s trying to answer a question on (I think) the statute of secrecy when JKR bangs a ‘random’ thought into his head. ‘He thought vampires had come into the story somehow, but he wasn’t sure where …’ I think that’s a meta-clue, vampires have come into the book cycle – have come, not are going to come – they’re already active. Doing what? Bleeding someone, because that’s what vampires do.
What I don’t get is HOW Draco is being bled in the sense it’s got to be by someone physically at Hogwarts or with physical access to Hogwarts, as we know no-one can apparate in. Who is it?
Why are they bleeding him? – Immortality
It’s canon that Voldemort had his plans for immortality well in place before his sudden unexpected ‘death’, and that the DE’s knew of his ‘measures’ (GoF graveyard scene). Speculation: I think his Big Plan involved some kind sacrifice figure who was going to ensure Voldemort’s immortality – I think the sacrifice was Draco. Following from this, he must have been picked as a baby (as he would have been a baby at the time of Voldemort’s death – same age as Harry). Maybe his ‘worst memory’ is from his infancy – mirroring Harry’s which is from infancy.
In it up to the eyeballs I’m afraid. Indeed, as throughout GoF only Wormtail knows Voldie is back, what’s been going on with Draco can’t have been at Voldemort’s orders as he wasn’t ‘there’ to give any. I think the DE’s/Lucius were doing it for themselves. They knew what Voldemort’s immortality plan was, so maybe Lucius decided to sit in the vacated driver’s seat and carry it on for himself?
Lucius does not love Draco. In CoS, (Borgin and Burkes), it’s canon that he speaks to him ‘even more coldly’ than he speaks to Borgin. He treats Draco like some trained dog: ‘Touch nothing Draco’, ‘Come Draco’. Lucius also wanted to send Draco to Durmstrang, Draco only went to Hogwarts because Narcissa ‘put her foot down’ (PoA train journey). I think Lucius wanted him at Durmstrang because Draco would then have been totally under DE control (the Head Of Durmstrang is an ex-DE).
Unhappy Families: Mirroring between the Crouches and the Malfoys and the Potters
Barty Crouch is in effect sacrificed by his father to shore up his career (I’m not even sure Barty is really guilty at the time of the trial), and is ‘saved’ by the death of his mother. Harry’s dad dies defending his son from a ‘sacrifice’ (murder) and Harry is saved by the death of his mother. Draco? I think Lucius will attempt to sacrifice Draco as previously argued. I hope that Narcissa will rise to it and try to stop him – I think she will die in the effort.
In the GoF Dumbledore pensieve scene, where we have the trial memory and see Crouch’s treatment of his son, JKR tell us (via Dumbledore) that putting a memory in a pensieve is a good way to more clearly see ‘links and patterns’. Well, we know that the trial memory ‘link’ was that Mad Eye was actually BC – but what was the ‘pattern’? I think the ‘pattern’ (of a terrified blond boy pleading for his father’s love in the face of being ‘thrown to the wolves’ by that same unloving and uncaring father) will be specifically repeated in the upcoming sacrifice scene between Lucius, Voldemort and the DE’s and Draco.
Draco as sacrifice - the unicorn symbolism.
Now this is the only point were I really wander into ‘symbolism’ (which I don’t tend to have much time for), but I do stick to symbolism as expressed in canon. In canon (PS) unicorn blood is something Voldemort mixes with snake venom to prolong his life (a half and half mix if you like). I reckon the Draco sacrifice will involve Draco’s blood and Nagini’s venom – Draco if you like is the ‘human’ unicorn. I think JKR equates Draco to the unicorn in two ways: it’s canon that unicorns are less aggressive to girls, as is Draco, and – and this is one I can’t believe hasn’t been ‘threaded’ about - as unicorns mature they change colour from gold to silver to white. We don’t know what colour blond Draco was as a baby, or even when we first meet him as he’s just described as ‘pale’, BUT we do know that he was silver blond in PoA (described when Harry chucked the green slime in his hair outside the Shrieking Shack) and then white-blond in GoF when his is described immediately after the bouncing ferret incident when ‘his white-blond hair was falling in his face’, and then again in OoTP lining up on the Quidditch pitch ‘his white-blond hair gleamed in the sun’. I don’t think that colour change was a flint, I think it was a clue. He goes through the unicorn ‘colour change’ as he ages.
JKR has put Draco through a slow transverse of change, from thoughtless baddie to a covert, self-interested balancing act between the DE’s and ‘good’.
In PoA he becomes aware of his worst memory and he starts to wonder what the hell is really going on.
In GoF he distances himself – both psychologically and physically – from the DE attack at the World Cup – he only ever uses the word ‘they’ to describe the DE’s when he’s warning the Trio to protect Hermione, he never uses the word ‘we’.
GoF: Cedric and Draco. The whole ‘Draco crowed at Cedric’s death’ thing annoys me – because he never does, in fact he does the opposite. When they’re toasting Cedric after his death, JKR makes it clear several times that ‘everyone’ stood up, ‘they all’ raised their glasses – Draco won’t get up to toast Harry, and that’s not the same thing. Dumbledore advises the students to ‘remember Cedric Diggory when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy’. On the train, Draco does just that. We have the entire page of Draco essentially saying to Harry that he believed Voldemort is back (and I think the thought terrifies him – JKR writes it that Draco’s lip ‘quivers’, he’s scared) and then he goes off on one of his rants about Potter not having followed his advice and now Potter’s going to die and so on. THEN he remembers Cedric – interrupting himself by saying ‘no, Cedric was the first to die’ and then he gets hexed to oblivion before he can finish his thought. Thing is, all the way through that passage JKR gives us the adverbs to describe how Draco says things – but on the killer sentence, the one where he remembers Cedric, we get nothing. He simply remembers Cedric, no adverbs to tell us how he delivered the words. At the time when he is most scared and is faced with doing what he thinks is easy (following Daddy) and what he senses to be right (fighting the good fight), he remembers Cedric Diggory. And that is the last thing we hear Draco say in GoF.
Next up we have OoTP. I am really stunned at the despondency of the Draco fans re this book, because Draco here has his best book ever in the cycle so far, he is smart and aware and proactively clever. In fact, it’s such a brilliant Draco book that I’m giving this book it’s own section.
Draco’s behaviour in the Order Of The Phoenix
Where do I start? This is stuffed with goodies! I’m writing from memory here so I’ll probably miss loads out, but in essence throughout OoTP Draco is not willing to go so far as ‘break ranks’ with his father, but he does try to walk a centre line. How?
Okay – on the train into Hogwarts Draco quite obviously is telling Harry that Sirius has been seen. JKR makes this utterly clear to the intelligent reader – the fact that Harry and Hermione convince themselves that the use of the italicized word ‘dogging’ was only a co-incidence reflects the fact that Harry can be very dense and very stubborn in his opinion of Draco, and that Hermione is not infallible. JKR italicizes the word for heaven’s sake, she put the thought/word via Hermione that Draco might have said it deliberately.
I think it was a warning and not a show-off bragging of information – if it was the latter, why not be more clear about it? I think he doesn’t just come right out and say it because he can’t, he’s got C+G right on his shoulder, and even if he doesn’t yet know their true nature/roles toward him, then he certainly knows they are sons of DEs and he can’t afford to jeopardise his position in front of them. Bear in mind that it is a fact that Draco has a Hand of Glory (JKR said so in an interview – she slipped up one time saying ‘when Draco gets the Hand of Glory in Borgin and Burkes in Chamber of Secrets’) so he could know plenty now – snooping round Malfoy Manor in the dark. Here is JKR’s HoG quote: About the Books: transcript of J.K. Rowling's live interview on Scholastic.com, Scholastic.com, 16 October 2000 Question: Did you ever make a study of herbs and other Hogwarts subjects, or did you create all those classes from inspiration? J.K. Rowling responds: “Most of the magic is made up. Occasionally I will use something that people used to believe was true — for example, the "Hand of Glory" which Draco gets from Borgin and Burkes in Chamber of Secrets.”
Next thing I recall – the Herbology lesson where Draco ‘taunts’ Harry about Hagrid having taken on ‘something too big for him’. Once again JKR uses italics to stress the point. And it is canon that Draco speaks low so that ‘only Harry could hear’, they spit the words at each other out of the sides of their mouths, it’s like a scene in a spy movie where two agents in enemy territory exchange info in a bookshop while trying to pretend they don’t know each other. I read it that Draco is warning Harry about Hagrid, i.e. that Draco knows so Hagrid’s mission with the giants is blown. I do not see it that Draco is simply too stupid to keep his mouth shut and is showing off what he knows – if he was showing off then why isn’t he shouting it out? Why does Draco do it quietly and obliquely? – because C+G are there. It later becomes clear of course that Hagrid’s mission was blown, it is canon, the DE’s get to the giants, putting Hagrid and Maxime in a dangerous spot. I think JKR wants the reader to see that it is ‘intel’ Draco is giving Harry, as Harry and Hermione immediately discuss whether to tell Dumbledore about what Draco said – but they both decide not to, as it’s ‘only Draco’ and thus it doesn’t mean anything. This is an exact reprise of the ‘Sirius’ warning on the train. Draco cleverly drops intel but Harry and Hermione are too stupid/complacent/arrogant to pick it up and use it.
My favourite scene: the thestrals scene. In it we know from Harry’s POV that Neville and the third boy (Theo) can see the thestrals. However, we are not sure until the scene completely unfolds just who else knows that Theo can see the thestrals. We know that Theo is standing behind Goyle (the watcher), and that Goyle thus cannot see him. We know that Hagrid asks those who can see ‘them’ to put their hands up. We know straight off that Harry and Neville hold their hands up because Hagrid calls out their names, but we only know from later that Theo had his hand up because Ron says something like ‘who have thought it, three in one class’. We only know from later on because at Hagrid’s name count, when Hagrid says ‘And -’ JKR’s use of the dash lets us know that Draco then interrupts him with ‘what are we supposed to be seeing?’ Draco stops Hagrid before he can name Theo, and the ‘third boy’ is then forgotten. In other words only a limited number of those present – and certainly not Goyle – know that Theo can see thestrals, i.e. that he has witnessed death. We could see Draco’s interjection as a co-incidence, but for one thing: he does the exact same thing again. Next time is just after the thestrals lesson when the Trio are walking toward the Herbology greenhouses, Ron starts blagging on about something like ‘who’d have thought it, three in one class’ when he is immediately interrupted by Draco with another sarcastic comment before Ron can name names or go any further in identifying the third boy. Needless to say, Draco is sandwiched right between C+G who would have also heard about ‘the third boy’ had Ron been allowed to go on. Draco definitely interrupts as once again JKR uses the dash to signify that Ron has been ‘cut short’.
My interpretations: the best one is that Draco knows that Theo has seen a death that, if the DE’s were to realise it, would endanger Theo, so he keeps riding shotgun on it, suppressing it until the danger is past. The worst is that Draco knows that Theo has seen a death that would endanger the DEs/his dad if it got out, so he keeps riding shotgun on it, suppressing it until the danger is past. Needless to say, I’m hoping for the first. If it’s the first then it clues us in to another of JKR’s ‘off book’ mis-directions re Draco, that Theo is ‘more intelligent’. Sure he is, he’s so intelligent he sticks his hand up in class when it puts his life at stake. Theo may – like Hermione – prove to be book smart, but Draco, like Harry, is savvy.
Skipping over loads of stuff to get to the end where Draco and Harry confront each other in the Great Hall. Leaving aside the advent of Dark Harry (which I think we see here) what do we have with Harry/Draco? Well, a lot of Draco fans see this as the start of Draco’s dark times, where he’s even ‘lost’ Crabbe and Goyle because McGonegal sends them away from him. Well obviously I think sending C+G away is a very good thing – what no-one seems to look at is what McGonegal says next, something like ‘it’s a lovely afternoon, you two (H+D) should be outside’. In other words, C+G have finally been peeled off Draco (thank God!) and Harry and Draco have been instructed to do the equivalent of ‘go out and play together’. I don’t see that scene as the start of the ‘bad times’ but as a foreshadowing of the start of the good.
There’s a ton more stuff – almost every Draco scene we are given in OoTP can have a solid ‘counter-interpretation’. For example: the scene where Umbridge has posted the notice that people attending ‘unauthorised societies’ will be expelled. Here JKR has Draco ‘talking far more loudly than was necessary’ about how people will be expelled for unauthorised Quidditch. It’s quite clear from Harry and Ron’s reaction to Angelina’s reprisal of same that they had not realised that from Umbridge’s poster. The ‘detective read’ could see Draco as trying to warn them. Draco also goes on (in the same scene) to ‘talk very loudly’ about the Ministry’s plans to sack Arthur and bung Harry in the St Mungo’s metal ward. Warnings? Those things never happened, but they could still have been planned. As to the hex-fest against the IS after the Twin’s ‘attack of the fireworks’, well, one person who isn’t named as being hexed – and the one person who would be THE prime target for hexing – is Draco. So who’s flinging the hexes? Draco himself? Theo? Both of them together? As to the ‘Draco wanted Harry crucio’d’ argument (see the Umbridge’s office showdown) – well that as rubbish as the ‘Draco crowed over Cedric’s death’ argument. We see Draco ‘hungry’ (and interpret ‘hungry for me please? Intent? Anxious? What?) before anyone knows what Umbridge is going to do. After she’s tried to fling the Cru, we hear nothing of Draco’s reaction until the danger is past and Umbridge is on about ‘the weapon’ at which point Draco gets very interested (see back to ‘the weapon’ in the foreshadowing on the ‘I’m being watched all the time’ – has Draco heard about ‘the weapon’ in his possible Hand of Glory sneaks about Malfoy Manor?)
By the end of OoTP I think Draco has gone through a three-book arc of awakening and awareness which saw him distancing himself from the DE’s/bad guys and walking a tightrope over a dark abyss. Unfortunately, at the end of Book 5 he gets shoved off that delicate balance – Harry has jailed his father. At this point – what with obliquely trying to help Harry and getting bugger all for his pains – and being unable to see that Lucius is planning to sacrifice him, Draco plunges off-balance and down into the dark.
OoTP: Draco and Theodore
Apparently JKR said that Draco and Blaise were coming up (in HBP?). Now, the Draco haters have used that to squeal that they are going to be the ‘good’ Slytherins and have used it as leverage to argue that Draco is being downplayed. Well, there’s no need to pay particular attention to that argument as they’d say the same about a lampshade if it was something they could cling to downplay Draco, so … what’s my idea?
Structurally one possible reason why Theo would be coming up is that the cycle needs an exposition character who is not Draco to tell Draco’s tale. We need someone we can ‘trust’ to be telling the truth – especially if the truth is counter to the usual Gryffindor chant of ‘Malfoy is a bastard’ – and someone who is simultaneously in a position to know the truth. Theodore is so far the only character who is positioned to do that, as the only other people we ‘see’ Draco with ‘socially’ are C+G and Pansy (and obviously I don’t count any of them as being on Draco’s team).
What is D+T’s relationship: are they friends?
I suspect that yes they are – I hope that certainly they have shared confidences with each other that they have not shared with anyone else. Now, a lot of this is ‘reaching’, it has to be because we have very little to go on regarding Theodore and almost all of it is in the one book. This presents difficulties as the body of evidence just isn’t there to pick over and come to some solid conclusions with clear lines of connection/extrapolation, but what the hell, let’s have a go anyway …
Because of the ‘deleted scene’ with them at Malfoy Manor we know that in her own head JKR has Draco and Theo ‘tagged together’; indeed it is very interesting that she even tells us about that scene at all. The fact that she paints it as somehow D looking down on T is something I am ignoring – JKR provenly misdirects.
We also have the following:
Going on ‘lads in the same year sharing a dorm’, and ‘five lads to a dorm’, we only have five boys we know to be Slytherin in that year: Draco, Theo, Blaise and C+G. So, that’s five years in the same dorm together, and also five years of Theo in the same dorm as C+G - and if Theo’s as smart as JKR says he is, he should have noticed something odd about them by now.
After PS we get nothing about Theo until OoTP. In OoTP he is concretely mentioned twice – once during the Thestrals scene and later in the library. Now the Thestrals scene I’ve already gone over but I have two more things to add on ‘how would D know they were thestrals in order to prompt his first ‘cover for Theo’ interruption?’ as the thestrals aren’t mentioned prior to Draco’s first ‘jump in’. Draco either has to be able to see thestrals himself and know what they are, OR … before Hagrid asks who can see ‘them’, we are actually told that the thestrals had already started to eat – so physical evidence would have been there even to those who could not actually see the thestrals. So, if Draco is quick and smart enough to realise from people’s reactions that Harry and Neville and Theo can see ‘them’, compute the likely common denominator (death), see the invisible eating, he can raid his memory to arrive at ‘thestrals’, OR he sees Theo stick his hand up about something invisible and rides shotgun on instinct without knowing exactly what ‘them’ is: ‘what are we supposed to be seeing exactly?’ OR (my favourite) now admittedly this one is a bit of a circular jump and presumes that D+T are actually friends, but as we know Theo could see the thestrals, he – like Luna and Harry – would have known they were at Hogwarts because he too would have seen them pulling the coaches. If D+T were friends he would have TOLD Draco about what he could see. Draco and Theodore would have figured out what the animals were as they would have two head starts: they knew the animals were there and as sons of DEs (and steeped in Dark Magic) as thestrals are reputed to be ‘dark’ they would have either known what they were to begin with, or known where to look to find out what they were. And here I repeat an earlier assertion: Draco definitely has the Hand of Glory and he got it during CoS (JKR said so in an interview). D (or T and D if they are friends) could have been mooching about the Restricted Section for years - just as easily as Harry with his invisibility cloak. If they needed to research thestrals in the Restricted Section (or anything else for that matter) they could have done it quite easily.
The library scene OoTP page 514 (exact quote): ‘He saw them with their heads together later that afternoon in the library; they were with a weedy-looking boy Hermione whispered was called Theodore Nott. They looked round at Harry as he browsed the shelves for a book he needed on Partial Vanishment: Goyle cracked his knuckles threateningly and Malfoy whispered something undoubtedly malevolent to Crabbe. Harry knew perfectly well why they were acting like this: he had named all of their fathers as Death Eaters.’
Okay, now if we accept the ‘not human’ theory, what have we got here? Goyle is the watcher, Crabbe is the muscle guy, so to prevent any actual violence Crabbe would be the one to ‘calm down’. Now, if we go back to PS we see the whole thing with the cave troll where they partly deal with it by ‘confusing it’. If you look at the description of the cave troll it’s very akin to the descriptions JKR gives to C+G, so confusing C+G would be one tactic with them. What do we know about? – the Confundus charm. Confundus charms, Memory charms, people are shown muttering them. Whenever I see Draco muttering to C+G (especially in GoF and OoTP, when I think he’s waking up to events) I wonder what he is really doing. The big clue in the above that he is doing something is the reference to ‘Malfoy whispered something undoubtedly malevolent to Crabbe’. Now that is purely Harry POV and we know several things about Harry POV: Harry is obtuse, Harry is stubborn, Harry is wrong about plenty of things (especially in OoTP) AND whenever JKR writes something like ‘everyone knows’ or in this case POV ‘Malfoy whispered something undoubtedly malevolent to Crabbe’ – then it’s likely to prove wrong. So – is Draco confundusing Crabbe? If he is then we know one thing: Theodore knows about C+G because Draco couldn’t do it in front of him if he didn’t. And I repeat the essential point: in the library scene I’m sure Draco cannot be doing what Harry thinks he is doing (from the way JKR chooses to write it and present it to us) so therefore he must be doing something else … At this point Draco may not even know the full truth about C+G, but under my theory he certainly knows enough not to say anything incriminating in front of them.
Now, if you think the above was patchy (I did say there wasn’t much to go on re Theo), then the rest gets even worse, because it’s sheer conjecture.
Arrival at Hogwarts, Page 178: ‘A short distance away, Draco Malfoy, followed by a small gang of cronies including Crabbe, Goyle and Pansy Parkinson, was pushing some timid-looking second-years out of the way so that he and his friends could get a coach to themselves.’
Small gang = not many. ‘Including Crabbe, Goyle and Pansy Parkinson,’ means there were one or two others extra to C,G or P. There could not be many more than one or two others as there were already four there (D,C,G and P). I do not think the coaches can take more than five or six people: in Harry’s coach we have five people and they hurried to ‘get a carriage together before they all fill up’. So, we have D,C,G, P and one or maybe two others - and that they were all in a coach together, i.e. in a private environment. I believe Draco underwent a sea change during the summer holidays prior to the fifth form – he is a much more proactive character in the fifth year. Two tipping points were that he ‘remembered Cedric’ at end of GoF, and – something important I did not mention - throughout GoF he suffered under Barty Crouch. The news of who Mad Eye really was would have been all round the school/Malfoy Manor, and ‘Mad Eye’ had attacked Draco (the infamous ferret incident). Not just that, but I’ll bet that Draco’s DADA lessons all GoF year long were a living hell with the insane and vicious Barty Crouch being far worse to Draco than Snape ever would be to Harry. I’ll bet Crouch wasn’t Draco’s Snape, I’ll bet he was Draco’s Umbridge. Draco would have come out of the fourth year with no automatic urge to side with the DEs. We already know he has tried to warn Harry about Sirius, so by the time we get to the carriage he has already begun his ‘campaign’ of, if not of being anti-DE/his dad, then certainly of being more neutral/independent. An aside: we know from a much later Snape/Sirius conversation that Lucius saw Sirius on the platform and knew what he was, so it adds to the evidence that Draco knew on the train – we know Lucius knew as Snape later tells Sirius he was seen by Lucius, what we don’t know is how Snape knows. There is a chance he knows because Draco told him.
Anyway, what the hell is going on in Draco’s carriage during that journey that requires him to get a private carriage (if that is the point of JKR showing us his action), and who is the fifth/sixth ‘man’? As the only evidence we have of anyone being tied to Draco is Theo, I’ll bet Theo is in that coach. What they might be doing is anyone’s guess – they may be doing nothing at all, or … Draco may be putting the mojo on his surveillance team and breaking the bad news to Theo straight to his face by showing him the evidence.
Conjecture Number 2: the Slytherin version of the DA.
IMO there was one, and I conjecture that its membership was two people: Draco and Theo.
Okay – do we really think that Draco is going to sit on his hands for a year and not learn any DA or DADA just because Umbridge doesn’t like it? He has the Hand of Glory so ‘private research’ in the Restricted Section is no problem, plus we have evidence that he found a way to ‘keep up to speed’ on the practical aspects in that he has no problem bringing down Harry with the Trip Jinx (page 537). Well, who else might Draco trust? Plus, Educational Decree Number 24 – the one banning ‘unapproved’ societies etc on pain of expulsion - defines ‘a regular meeting of three or more students’ as illegal. Three or more – not two, two people can meet up as often as they like without clearing it with anyone. Draco’s mind would immediately spot that loophole and jump straight through it. Who would he pick? Someone he trusts, and someone who is smart enough to be worth practicing with – Theo (JKR says Theo is smart).
All this is patchy, but there is certainly just as much to suppose that Draco and Theo are allies/friends than there is to squeal: ‘Theo’s the good Slytherin, he hates Draco’. There may not be much evidence to support the friends/allies theory (as there isn’t much evidence about Theo full stop) – but there is NONE AT ALL on the ‘enemies’ theory: that is just sheer wishful thinking.
Throughout the books: Draco and the Dragons: possible clue to Harry+Draco unity:
To buy this you’ve got to believe that Draco has always had a thing/connection for dragons, and I do. Hell, the boy’s name means Dragon and we have that stuff with the school motto. In PS I think he’s snooping through the window and sees the dragon in Hagrid’s hut not because he’s spying on the Trio but because he wants to see the dragon. He knows it is there as he earlier stops dead when one of the Trio mentions it – he heard them. He’s hanging around the tower on the ‘dragon escape’ night not to catch Harry, but to see the dragon again. Does anyone really think that Draco really thought he could single handedly take on Harry, Hermione, AND the adults he knew were waiting at the top of the tower to take Norbert? Of course he didn’t – once again, his true aim was that he was simply fascinated by the dragon.
Okay, so dragon battle foreshadowing and Draco.
There’s a faint vapour trail of foreshadowing that threads through both PoA and GoF. In PoA it’s in Harry’s dream, the one he has prior to the Gryffindor/Slytherin Quidditch show-down, where Harry dreams he’s late for the match. In it we have two really important points (not exact quotes here) – one is ‘you were late, we had to use Neville instead (not Draco related, but crucial for the prophecy/endgame I think) AND then we have: the Slytherins turned up riding dragons with Harry having to dodge Draco’s steed as it breaths fire.
The importance of dreams in the Potterverse: I buy into that they are important in the cycle. I think JKR sticks important clues in them as they are a ‘discredited’ source because she has tied them to Trelawney (someone we’re encouraged to see as a fool, but whom I actually think is a dangerous character) and because who believes in dreams? BUT, she quite clearly dumps clues in them – think about PS and Harry’s dream about Quirrell’s turban talking to him etc – that ‘dream’ was packed with clues. Hence I take Harry’s dreams seriously. So … what am I seeing in the dragon dream? I’m seeing a battle in which the Slytherins arrive (after Harry – so they’re arriving late) on dragons – fire breathing ones, and that Draco is a serious player in this battle. This battle would be a big deal – so I’m thinking more Book 7 than Book 6. What we do NOT know from the dream is what side the Slytherins are on, and whether Draco is ‘shooting’ at Harry deliberately, or attacking the people who are attacking Harry, but Harry just has to duck.
Second half of the vapour trail: This is in GoF when we have a LOT of stuff about dragons. The important bits for me are these: before the Horntail Challenge, Harry is struggling to think of a way to get past the dragon. In thinking of dragons he imagines that something small – like a ferret (and he actually uses the word ferret) - would find it ‘easier to get past a Dragon’. Just prior to that he’s thinking about the dragons and wishing dark thoughts on Draco and Snape (as usual, no surprises there) but he imagines them stumbling across a nest of dragons. What am I getting from this? That Snape and Draco are either on a deliberate Dragon Recce or that they stumble on them. One way or another the ‘ferret’ (and we know who that is) finds it easy to get past the dragons – I take that to mean he finds a connection with them. Is there such a thing as Dragontongue? – because if there is then my top tip for who speaks it is Draco.
Harry+Draco unity: in GoF is this: after the Horntail Challenge, Harry’s examining a little model of a dragon which he keeps by his bedside. He is stated as thinking that dragons were okay really once you got to know them. If Dragon+ Draco then add that to the rest, and it gives me hope for Gryff/Slyth, Harry/Draco alliance. Another really important point in GoF is when Harry’s looking at the dragons in the challenge and it says he found it hard to tell whether a dragon was angry – or maybe just scared. At the end of GoF, in the train ride home, Draco enters the Trio’s compartment and if you’re reading it as a clean sheet it’s quite easy to see he’s BLOODY SCARED. Of all the people at Hogwarts, it’s quite clear that Draco believes Voldie is back.
Both Harry and Draco are now in ‘the dark’. I think Book 6 will see arcs for both of them. Harry’s will be dipping down into the dark, blaming Snape and everyone else for Sirius’ death, seeing Draco as filth, and then … learning the truth about what has been going on re Draco.
Draco’s arc will be: hell-bent on trying to ‘get’ Harry. Then getting captured/set up for the immortality sacrifice.
I’m fingers crossed for the following ending: Harry realises just how things really are in the nick of time and swoops in and saves Draco at the last second. This, I believe would set up a wizard’s debt that Draco would then have to repay, or ignore, in the Dragon Battle of Book 7(?). If this scenario comes about – I reckon Draco will replay his debt and resolve the Snape/James mirror image that Harry/Draco are set up as in PS.
There is a tiny piece of foreshadowing on this in the CoS Quidditch Gryffindor v Slytherin show down. Before it, Harry is instructed to win or ‘die trying’. During the match, he gets his arm broken by the rogue bludger but then sees the snitch hovering above Draco’s head. At that point he dives straight at Draco. And then we get inside Harry’s head: ‘one idea firmly lodged in his numb brain - get to Malfoy.’ (JKR’s italics) Now that is weird, because what Harry should be thinking is – get to snitch, but he isn’t. I think it’s foreshadowing. Something else happens after that: ‘Malfoy thought Harry was attacking him’. And Ron later says ‘That was some catch you made, Malfoy’s face … he looked ready to kill.’ If this is foreshadowing then what we may have is Harry saving Draco and Draco thinking Harry was actually endangering him. Hence the tension as we sail into Book 7 – will Draco wise up and repay the wizard’s debt?
Will Draco die? If I am right then it would be extremely unfair if JKR killed him off, and I think we have to get to the Dragon Battle (which I imagine to be in Book 7) and to the foreshadowed conversation about ‘I’m watched everywhere I go’. But I suppose she still could kill him off somehow. However, if the ‘I’m watched everywhere I go’ conversation is coming, then what I cannot see is Evil!Draco being the ‘final’ Draco, as if he knows about ‘being watched’ etc, then it is downright bonkers of him to continue to side with the bad guys who are trying to kill him.
Harry and Draco are mirror images. There are lots of H/D mirror image references throughout the books, I am just adding two more: both boys are on Voldie’s ‘to do’ list, and as to their fathers, well James died to try to save Harry, I think Lucius will try to kill Draco (sacrifice him) in an effort to ‘save’ himself.
Is Draco the Half-Blood Prince?
I think yes and I’ve stuck a £10 bet on it at 33/1!
I think he is, but unlike others I don't think it means he IS a half-blood. I don’t think ‘Half-Blood prince’ refers to what Draco is, but refers to what is planned for him in Book 6 by the DEs. In canon the positive, active evidence is that Draco is pureblood - of which, JKR tells us, there are very few left. So, what if Voldie's plan for immortality (which it is canon that he had) demanded a pure-blood sacrifice/donor/body donor? D would be the HBP not because he is half-blood but precisely because he is pure. I don't read H-BP as half-blood as we know it, but simply as half-blood prince. As a hyphenated word that can mean many things. I think it may mean someone who donates (willingly or not) half their blood to the cause OR - more likely - someone who's blood is used as half of a recipe. The Prince bit refers to 'heir'. I think Voldie is lining Draco up as a sacrifice to ensure his own immortality. We know that in PS Voldie used a mix of Unicorn blood and snake venom - and he killed the unicorn to drain it - I think in HBP Draco is the 'human unicorn' (see earlier unicorn reference). IMO Draco is the H-BP precisely because he's a pureblood.
Well, I hope I’m right. If there were only one or two of these points detectable in the books, then I’d think nothing of it. But there aren’t. There’s a whole string of points, and they all link and tie together. I imagine the chances of this entire pattern/plot being the result of an accident (i.e. JKR never meant any of it – it’s just there by accident) are pretty thin. I think it is far more likely that there is something to this. JKR is a very tricksy writer, as she had Guilderoy Lockhart say: books can be deceptive Harry …
Well, here’s hoping!
If you want to go off-book on a positive clue then look at JKR’s website – there’s a little section on Ron’s name. She’s banging on about weasels and then says: ‘However, since childhood I have had a great fondness for the family mustelidae; not so much malignant as maligned in my opinion.’ She goes out of her way to name the Latin genus – and when you look it up, the mustelidae family actually includes FERRETS, something she would surely be aware of. She knows darn well that her website is pulled apart by people looking for clues, so I’ll bet she weighs up every word she posts on it. I don’t think that the mention of the word ‘mustelidae’ was an accident. And if we’re referencing characters, well, ‘not so much malignant as maligned in my opinion’ isn’t referring to any of the sainted Weasley family, is it? Who’s our favourite ferret? – Draco!
Anise: And here are Creamtea’s D/G-in-canon thoughts, rather happier than mine. I actually think that’s why I’ve been writing the massivelydark!Dracos of *Unforgivable* and *The Quick and the Dead* (especially QatD!) Creamtea left this as a review of Chapter Two of my Draco/HBP essay, and I decided to append it, because a lot of people might not have read that. If she’s right, I will be very happy to be wrong!! +++
Thanks for the mention Anise. I've got a comment on the D/G relationship which I see slightly more optimistically than you do (but then hey, I would). I think it may not be based on a bedrock of darkness. There isn't much D/G interaction in canon, but what there is I see as follows:
Flourish and Blotts - Draco spots Ginny's emotional state straight off, he is the first - the only - person who sees that Ginny has a crush on Harry. And he sees it instantly. Unlike even members of her own family, Draco is attuned to Ginny. Next up: The Valentine card. Yep, we can see the whole instance as about Draco and the diary, but I see something else (as well?) - Draco is showing off in that corridor, slamming on Harry, giving Percy (the Head Boy!) the run around. Why? I think it's because, whether he knows it or not, he's trying to impress Ginny whom he would know was there because her hair is described as flaming - a beacon - he knows she's there and he's showing off to her. Note he becomes furious when Harry gets the diary off him - furious because Harry showed him up in front of Ginny, whom he then blasts with real wrath. He's jealous of her crush on Harry and angry that his plan to impress Ginny that he could beat Harry backfired on him. Okay so IMO Draco's interested - well, a lot of us think that, but why do I think it may not be dark? - tiny pieces of foreshadowing in OoTP. James/Lily: 'Ahh, don't make me hex you Evans'. We know perfectly well James is mad about Lily, and perfectly well that he would NEVER have hexed her.
Next: during the DA practice we're told that Ginny is winning against Michael Corner either because she's very good, or because he he can't bring himself to hex her. Well, the way that's written it reeks of foreshadowing that MC had a secret crush on Ginny (as James had his crush on Lily), but that's nonsense, because everyone knows MC and G are already going out, so there's nothing secret about it. So, if it's foreshadowing of a secret crush a boy has on Ginny, a boy who can't bring himself to go flat out against her in a hex shoot-out because he has a crush on her and doesn't want to hurt her - then who the hell is the crusher? I think it's Draco. Why? Because the VERY NEXT boy we hear of 'fighting' with Ginny is Draco. After the MC/secret crush foreshadowing we get nothing at all on Ginny in hex-combat with anyone, not even a mention in any DA practice - the next one up is Draco in Umbridge's office. And what happens? - Ginny 'wins'.
Now Ginny beating Draco for me is utterly stupid, he's a boy steeped in dark magic, in jinx throwing, he whacks Harry in the CoS duel with a hex that a DE threw in the DoM, Draco has some serious mojo when it comes to hexing - but Ginny wins? We know she's not that good - in DoM she goes down early - but she beat Draco in a gunslinging match? Uh? Am I the only one who thinks that's fishy? IMO she won because Draco was pulling his punches: 'Ahhh, don't make me hex you Weasley'.
For me, given canon Draco,(who in canon is not the ineffectual wimp a lot of Draco haters are determined to see him as) a rational explanation as to why Ginny beats Draco is because Draco isn't trying to beat Ginny. He fancies her. When it gets to it - he can't bring himself to go flat out and hex her to oblivion. So - Dark Draco and Dark Ginny? I don't necessarily see it as I don't necessarily see the 'revenge' motive from Draco. If he let her win (with all the reasons why) he's not looking for revenge. He may want to play at being vengeful in order to force a connection between them, but his heart definitely won't be in it. Happy trails Draco fans!
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