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How Draco Malfoy's Mom Changed His Life Forever In Harry Potter

In the Harry Potter series, Draco Malfoy's story turns out to be more complex, and even more sympathetic, than might be expected from his introduction in Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. When audiences first meet him (at Hogwarts in the movie, and at Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions in the books), he instantly identifies himself as an elitist jerk trying to suck up to the wizarding world's most famous young person — although Harry only has a vague idea of what that means at the time. 

Malfoy's story is very different from that of the hero — he's a pureblood wizard with a boastful, bullying, petty, prejudiced personality. Unlike Harry, he comes from a wealthy and stable home — but that privileged background certainly hasn't made him a nice person. Among the major influences on his life, of course, have been his parents — Lucius Malfoy, Voldemort's henchman and Death Eater, and Narcissa Malfoy, sister of Bellatrix LeStrange. Their parental pride and love in their son is obvious from the get-go, creating a striking contrast to Harry's life. Draco's mother sends him sweets and letters and does all the things that loving moms do — something Harry has not had in living memory, even though his mother, too, loved him enough to make huge sacrifices. And in the end, this ultimately affects the way the war ends: Narcissa's love for her son ultimately trumps her loyalty to He Who Must Not Be Named. Love ends up being a major theme in Harry's story — and a formidable weapon in the fight against Dark wizards.

That mother's love could have worked in a different way for Draco, according to the fourth book in the series. Here's how.

Draco could have been a Durmstrang student

There's a revealing conversation that takes place only in the book version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, after Harry, Hermione and Ron have attended the Quidditch World Cup and are on the Hogwarts Express on the way to their school. Apparently, Harry's arch-enemy is in the next compartment, talking about Durmstrang. 

"Father actually considered sending me to Durmstrang rather than Hogwarts, you know," Draco boasts. "He knows the headmaster, you see. Well, you know his opinion of Dumbledore — the man's such a Mudblood-lover — and Durmstrang doesn't admit that sort of riffraff. But Mother didn't like the idea of me going to school so far away. Father says Durmstrang takes a far more sensible line than Hogwarts about the Dark Arts. Durmstrang students actually learn them, not just the defense rubbish we do..."

In one passage, here, author Rowling does a few skillful things — she establishes Durmstrang as a more menacing environment than Hogwarts, while emphasizing Draco's loving relationship with his mother, and expanding on the rifts of opinion within the wizarding world. If what Draco says its true — and there's no reason to suspect it's not the truth, as he's among friends and not paying attention to who might be listening — his mother's love has influenced the outcome of Voldemort's attempt to take over the world in more than one sense. Hermione, who always knows more about what's going on than her hapless guy friends, tells them, "I wish he had gone, then we wouldn't have to put up with him." But there's more to it than that. 

How the timeline would have changed, had Draco gone to Durmstrang

It's not simply a matter of making life easier for Harry, although that would certainly have been the case. In an odd way, Draco pushed Harry to new heights (literally). Consider the fact, for example, that Harry would never have gotten on the quidditch team so early without Draco's interference during that first flying lesson. In that early tale, it's also Draco's shenanigans that help him find Fluffy, the three-headed dog guarding the Sorcerer's Stone, and lead Harry to discover the death of the unicorn in the Forbidden Forest. On Reddit, one user pointed out that under such circumstances, Harry would have been much less wary of Severus Snape's intentions. Unless the plot developed differently, the stone might not even have been found.

In the second story, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, much of the action wouldn't even have happened without Lucius Malfoy's plan to discredit the Weasleys. And it's hard to see exactly how events would have played out without the elder Malfoy's access to Hogwarts, and to Ginny, as they were all shopping at Flourish and Blotts for school supplies. Also, without Riddle's diary as proof that Horcruxes exist, the last book and film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, might also have played out differently.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Draco not being there to play a role in Buckbeak's fate makes a big difference as well. It was Draco, being inattentive in class and complaining to his parents, that led to the hippogriff's death sentence. Without that, the three heroes wouldn't have been out on the climactic night, and they couldn't have saved Sirius Black using Buckbeak, and Harry would never have learned the truth about his godfather or Peter Pettigrew. 

There are more examples throughout the books and films, but the point is: Draco's presence is absolutely necessary. As one Redditor put it, "I never realised how ... important Draco being a little s—- is to the overall plot tha[n] I thought."