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Times Draco Malfoy Was The Worst (And Times He Wasn't That Bad)

More than two decades since the release of the first "Harry Potter" novel, the main villain Lord Voldemort has taken his place among the greatest antagonists of all time alongside the likes of Darth Vader and the Wicked Witch of the West. But while Voldemort was evil incarnate, he was not the only bad guy in the world of "Harry Potter."

Harry, the titular character of the series, encountered a number of unpleasant characters at various points. One of the worst ones was Draco Malfoy, a rich, spoiled brat-turned-Death Eater. Draco had the whole world handed to him on a platter from an early age, and his resulting arrogance and bullying ways made him one of the most obnoxious characters in the entire series. 

There are those who argue that Draco was partly a victim of circumstances, and some fans even see him as a romantic figure, an idea that is vehemently opposed by "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling herself. There are some occasions in the story when you can't help but feel there is some good in Draco, while at other times, you fervently wish you could enter the story simply for the pleasure of strangling him. Let's take a look at some times when Draco was the worst thing in the series and other times when he was not all that bad.

Very bad: Making fun of Ron for being poor

On his way to Hogwarts for the first time in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," Harry found himself sharing a compartment on the Hogwarts express with another new student named Ron Weasley. Harry and Ron became fast friends, a rarity for Harry, who had spent his previous school years as an outcast and pariah.

After reaching Hogwarts, Harry discovered that news of his arrival was already spreading fast across the student body. Everyone wanted to take a gander at the famous "Boy Who Lived," the kid who had defeated Lord Voldemort while still a baby. Draco Malfoy was one such student who was interested in meeting Harry face-to-face.

Unfortunately, Draco did not make a very good impression on Harry upon their first meeting. He shot one look at Ron, who had laughed quietly when Draco introduced himself, and remarked, "Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford." With that, Draco immediately let Harry and the readers know exactly the kind of obnoxious person he was.

Not so bad: Offering Harry his friendship

Considering their later enmity, you might think Harry and Draco were sworn enemies from the first moment they set eyes on each other. But that was not true. As mentioned before, during their first meeting, Draco was genuinely interested in getting to know the famous Harry Potter, and even entertained the thought of befriending him. 

After Draco introduced himself to Harry and was done insulting Ron's family, his next words to Harry while offering a handshake were "You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there." Clearly, Draco was initially uninterested in making an enemy out of Harry, and in fact quite liked the idea of being known as a friend of The Boy Who Lived.

Harry was smart enough to understand that Draco was not the type of person who could ever be a good friend, and he refused the offer quite bluntly. While there was never a chance of the two becoming bosom buddies, perhaps they could have started their relationship on a reasonably friendly (or at least, civil) note if they had been a little more tactful towards each other from the start.   

Very bad: Making fun of Neville's injury

After Harry and Draco got sorted into Gryffindor and Slytherin respectively, any chance of them becoming friendly disappeared. The infamous rivalry between the two houses seemed to be only compounded by the number of classes they had to take together. One such class was flying lessons with Madam Hooch, where Harry and his peers learned to use a broomstick to fly for the first time.

Neville Longbottom was one of Harry's classmates who combined a timid nature with a truly impressive ability to screw up the simplest of tasks. Naturally, handing such an unfortunate child a flying broomstick was just asking for trouble. Sure enough, the lesson ended prematurely when Neville flew too high, fell off his broomstick and broke his hand. 

While Hooch rushed Neville to the hospital, Draco lost no time in making fun of Neville for breaking his hand and then crying about it. To top it all, he then snatched up Neville's remembrall, flew up on his broom, and tossed it hard at the ground. If Harry hadn't been around to catch the remembrall just in time, Draco's actions would have greatly compounded Neville's woes.     

Not so bad: Everyone gets a Nimbus 2001

One happy byproduct of Draco's stunt with the remembrall was that Harry was able to showcase his inborn talent on a broomstick. Harry's skills were noticed by the head of Gryffindor, Professor McGonagall, who made Harry the new (and youngest in a century) seeker for their house's quidditch team.

Draco was appalled to find out Harry had been made seeker and also got a brand new Nimbus 2000 flying broom to boot. For an entire year, Draco could only watch and silently fume as Harry quickly established himself as one of the best quidditch players in the whole school. To add to Draco's woes, Gryffindor actually managed to beat Slytherin that year thanks to Harry's skilled snitch-seeking.

The next year, the entire Slytherin quidditch team had received brand new Nimbus 2001 brooms at the behest of Draco's father, and Draco himself had been appointed the new seeker for their team. Granted, it is heavily implied that Draco's father only loosened his purse strings for the benefit of the team so that Draco would be appointed seeker. But still, that was a rare case of Draco having a hand in doing something that actually benefited someone other than himself.  

Very bad: Calling Hermione a mudblood

Lineage is a very touchy subject in the wizarding world. There is an unspoken (or sometimes extremely outspoken) class system in place which favors pure-blooded wizards over half-blood wizards, and the wizards who are born to two muggle parents are considered the lowest on the totem pole. 

As a pure blood wizard, Draco considered himself practically royalty. That is why he had a particular problem with Hermione Granger, a witch born to parents who were both muggles, and yet who still managed to beat everyone else in her class to emerge the top student every year. When Hermione sharply pointed out that Draco had to "buy" his way onto the quidditch team, the latter spat out, "No one asked for your opinion, you filthy little mudblood." 

The effect of Draco calling Hermione that slur (meaning muggle-born wizard with dirty blood) was immediate and shocking. The entire Gryffindor quidditch team was incensed. Fred and George, normally the very spirit of good humor, threw themselves at Draco with the express intent of delivering a beatdown. Ron momentarily forgot his wand was broken, and fired a spell directly at Malfoy that ended up hitting his own self. 

Not so bad: Paying his respects to Cedric

While Harry and Draco were perpetually locked in a process of one-upmanship throughout their careers at Hogwarts, there were other students who were considered as cool or even cooler than them at certain points. One such student was Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff, a prefect, captain of his house's quidditch team, and later Triwizard champion of Hogwarts. 

Smart, handsome, and popular, Cedric was everything a school kid could wish to be. On top of all that, he was a genuinely nice guy who believed in raising others up alongside instead of winning over them. All these qualities helped Cedric and Harry come to some sort of an understanding over their joint status as Triwizard champions.  

The whole school mourned at the end of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," when Cedric was killed off at the end of his tournament journey. In the movie, Draco is shown to be uncharacteristically subdued, and one of the students who seem genuinely sad to be mourning Cedric's passing. It could be that the deceased boy was one of the few non-Slytherins at the school whom Draco actually respected, and possibly even looked up to. 

Very bad: Potter Stinks

When Harry's name was announced for the Triwizard Tournament, the whole school was scandalized by the news. Everyone assumed he had tricked his way into the championship in a bid for attention, and public opinion turned against Harry overnight — especially since the other Hogwarts champion Cedric Diggory was a clear favorite among Hogwarts students.

Draco quickly and gleefully capitalized on the general feeling of ill-will towards Harry. At what must have been considerable personal cost, Draco manufactured a whole bunch of badges that flashed "Support CEDRIC DIGGORY – the REAL Hogwarts Champion!" alternately with the much more straightforward "POTTER STINKS" 

At first it was only the Slytherins who supported Draco in wearing the badges proudly on their chests. But as anger towards Harry mounted, the badges started appearing on more and more non-Slytherin students' uniforms. It was this kind of cruelty and psychological warfare that truly elevated Draco above the level of an ordinary bully into a budding psychopath.

Not so bad: Hesitating to kill Dumbledore

In a lot of ways, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was the most important part of the saga in terms of defining Draco's character. Until then, he had been the spoiled child of a powerful wizarding family who blindly believed everything his father told him about pure-blood superiority and how Voldemort would rid the world of filthy mudbloods once and for all.

But in "Half-Blood Prince," Draco was faced with the reality of what being in service to Voldemort actually meant. As a precursor to becoming a proper Death Eater, Draco was assigned the task of killing off Dumbledore. Voldemort never actually expected him to succeed and fully intended to kill Draco for eventually failing his mission as punishment for his father, Lucius. 

But unexpectedly, Draco came very close to succeeding, to the point where he was actually standing with his wand pointing at a helpless Dumbledore, ready to finish him off. And then, just as he was on the verge of completing his mission — Draco hesitated. It was clear that despite his disdain for most people in general, the actual act of taking a life was not something Draco was comfortable with. Thus began Draco's growing realization that he did not want to be a part of Voldemort's army.  

Very bad: Violently attacking Harry

At the start of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Harry is convinced that Draco is hiding some big secret. So much so that Harry put on his father's invisibility cloak to follow Malfoy undetected into the Slytherin compartment of the Hogwarts Express. Hidden under the cloak, Harry heard just enough to confirm his suspicions that Draco had something truly nasty planned for Hogwarts that year.

When the Hogwarts Express stopped at Hogsmeade station, and just as the rest of the compartment cleared of students, Draco revealed he had sensed Harry's presence. He shot a stunning spell at Harry that brought the latter tumbling down from his hiding place without his invisibility cloak. To add insult to injury, as Harry lay frozen on the floor, Draco kicked him viciously in the face hard enough to actually draw blood. 

To top it all off, Draco covered Harry up again with his cloak so that the latter would be helpless and undetectable as the train returned to London with Harry still on board. If it hadn't been for Nymphadora Tonks in the book and Luna Lovegood in the movie rescuing him in the nick of time, Draco's plan regarding Harry would have actually succeeded.

Not so bad: Not giving up Harry to the Death Eaters

By the time of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Draco had grown thoroughly disillusioned with the new world order that Voldemort was putting in place. Draco's only reason for staying on the side of the Death Eaters was the clear understanding that attempting to defect would lead to the death of him, his father, and his beloved mother. 

In this state, Harry, Hermione, and a group of their allies were brought to Draco's home at Malfoy Manor. The manor was being used as one of the headquarters for Voldemort's army, and that was where the group of snatchers who had captured Harry and the gang hoped to get a handsome reward for their work if they could prove they had actually captured The Boy Who Lived. The problem was Hermione had shot a spell at Harry to disfigure his features greatly.

And so Draco was brought forward to help identify Harry and Hermione prior to personally inviting Voldemort to the manor. Despite finally having his old rival at his mercy and clearly recognizing them, Draco refused to identify either Harry or Hermione. Clearly, by that point, Draco had realized that whatever his personal problems with Harry and Hermione, Voldemort's army was the greater of the two evils in his life.

Very bad: Hurting so many people to get to Dumbledore

Going back to "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Draco was directly under orders from Voldemort to kill Dumbledore. Fired up at the thought of joining the ranks of the Death Eaters and not even comprehending the difficulty of the task of taking down a wizard whom even Voldemort feared, Draco set about his mission with full confidence. 

He tried a number of smaller ruses at first, from sending Dumbledore a poisoned beverage to trying to get a student to deliver a cursed necklace to the headmaster that would kill him immediately upon contact. When neither plan worked, Draco fell back to his original plan, using a teleportation cabinet to smuggle Death Eaters inside Hogwarts to perform a surprise attack on Dumbledore.

Naturally, Dumbledore was already aware of most of Draco's plans and efforts against him over the entire year. When he confronted Draco about the number of students he had very nearly gotten killed just to get to Dumbledore, Draco actually began to gloat for what he saw as the headmaster's failure to stop his plans. Even worse, the Death Eaters that Draco brought into Hogwarts near the end included Fenrir Greyback, a notorious werewolf known for attacking children, who was ecstatic at the idea of getting to hunt Draco's schoolmates.

Not so bad: Crying over losing Crabbe

By the time the "Battle of Hogwarts" happened at the end of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Draco had no more illusions about wanting to work for Voldemort. But the fact remained that he was terrified of crossing the Dark Lord. During the battle, Draco made his way with Crabbe and Goyle into the Room of Requirement after Harry to see what he was up to.

Inside the room, Harry had managed to get his hands on an enchanted diadem (that was actually a horcrux). But he found his way blocked by Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle. The latter two had spent the last year learning all sorts of dark magic under the tutelage of Death Eaters at Hogwarts and appeared to have grown particularly adept at offensive spells.

Crabbe, in particular, managed to conjure up an immensely complicated and powerful piece of enchantment called "fiendfyre" that consumed everything in its path. Unfortunately, Crabbe lost control of the fire he had created, and the flames turned on him. As the young man was consumed by his own dark magic, Malfoy was heard sobbing and seemed genuinely sorry to witness such an end to his childhood friend (in the movie, Crabbe's role is taken over by Goyle).

Very bad: Continuing to side with the Death Eaters

By the time of the "Battle of Hogwarts," Malfoy had grown thoroughly disillusioned with the Death Eaters, seen his childhood friend Crabbe die in front of him, and had his life saved by Harry and his friends. And yet, unfortunately, the combination of all those events still could not convince Draco to do the heroic, noble thing for once. 

During the battle, Voldemort's army was being fought tooth-and-nail by Hogwarts faculty, members of the Order of the Phoenix, centaurs from the Forbidden Forest, and as many students as could find the courage to take up arms against the invading army. And Draco... was not among those students.

While moving around the castle under the invisibility cloak, Harry and his friends came upon Draco talking earnestly to one of Voldemort's minions. The young man was trying to convince the minion to spare his life by exclaiming, "I'm Draco Malfoy, I'm Draco, I'm on your side!" Ron reflected what the readers were feeling at that moment by punching Draco in his face after saving him from the minion.  

Not so bad: Burying the hatchet

By now, it should be obvious that Draco was never going to be a noble or heroic figure in the vein of Harry Potter or his friends. The most that can be said for the youngest Malfoy was that by the end, he realized the horrors Voldemort wanted to bestow upon the world and turned his back on that life, unlike his father.

And so we move towards the epilog of the "Harry Potter" saga, where 19 years have passed since the "Battle of Hogwarts." Harry and his wife Ginny had come to see their children off on the Hogwarts Express along with the children of Ron and Hermione. There they saw Draco with his own family.

Upon noticing Harry, Draco merely gave a quick smile and looked away. It might not seem like much, but it was a vast improvement over Draco's previous habit of insulting Harry and his friends every chance he got. It appears in the end, Draco had decided to bury the hatchet with Harry. Even if the two could never become best mates, they had at least moved on from the seething rivalry of their schooldays.