Skip to Content

Draco Malfoy Character Analysis: Potter’s Arch Nemesis

Draco Malfoy Character Analysis: Potter’s Arch Nemesis

Our readers support us. This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More

Draco Malfoy was a pure-blood wizard who attended Hogwarts as a member of Slytherin in the same year as Harry Potter. The two took an immediate dislike to one another and were antagonists throughout their time at school.

When Lord Voldemort returned, Draco became a Death Eater. He was responsible for sneaking a group of Death Eaters into Hogwarts, resulting in the death of Albus Dumbledore.

After the Second Wizarding War, Draco turned his back on ideas of blood purity and focussed on his family. He and Harry developed a level of mutual respect.

About Draco Malfoy

Born5 June 1980
Blood StatusPure-Blood
OccupationStudent (Prefect, Inquisitorial Squad, Seeker)
Death Eater
Wand10-inch Hawthorn with Unicorn Hair
Zodiac SignGemini

Draco Malfoy Early Life

Draco Malfoy is the son of Lucius Malfoy and Narcissa Black. A pure-blood wizard, he was brought up to believe in the superiority of wizarding kind with contempt for Muggle-born witches and wizards. Draco’s parents spoiled their son, who was an only child.

His father had been a Death Eater during the First Wizarding War. But Lucius managed to escape punishment by claiming that he had been under the Imperius Curse. Nevertheless, Draco was probably brought up in an environment where the Dark Arts were respected, and a wizarding revolution was desired.

The Malfoys do seem to have associated with other Death Eater families. Before starting school, Draco was already associated with Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, also the sons of Death Eaters. On the train to Hogwarts, they had already formed a gang.

On the train to Hogwarts in their first year, Draco Malfoy considered befriending Harry Potter. Some Death Eaters assumed that Harry might be a powerful Dark Wizard since he defeated Lord Voldemort as a baby. But Harry rebuffed Draco on the train after Draco made disparaging comments about Ron Weasley, whom Harry had recently befriended. This was the start of the animosity between the two boys.

Draco’s First Year at Hogwarts

Like his mother and father before him, Draco was quickly sorted into Slytherin House. He and his friends Crabbe and Goyle became a gang of bullies who would often pick on other students. For example, Malfoy stole Neville Longbottom’s Remembrall. He also challenged Harry to a duel with the explicit purpose of trying to get Harry caught out of bed.

Young Draco Malfoy

Draco tried to get Harry caught again when he learned that Harry had a plan to smuggle Hagrid’s illicit dragon, Norbert, out of Hogwarts. While Harry did get caught out of bed, so did Draco. The pair ended up in detention together along with Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom.

They spent their detention in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid looking for an injured unicorn. Draco resented this, considering it the work of “servants”. Draco was initially partnered with Neville, but after he tried to scare him, Draco was partnered with Harry. The pair witnessed Lord Voldemort, using the body of Quirinus Quirrell, drinking the blood of a unicorn. Draco ran off in fear, leaving Harry alone.

At the end of the year, Draco was initially overjoyed when it seemed that Slytherin would win the House Cup. But some last-minute points awarded by headmaster Albus Dumbledore meant that Gryffindor won, leaving Draco extremely disappointed.

Draco Malfoy and the Chamber of Secrets

Draco and Harry already had a run-in before the start of the second year. Both boys were at Flourish and Blotts to get their schoolbooks. Gilderoy Lockhart was there for a book signing and insisted on making a public scene with Harry. Malfoy taunted Harry, saying that he actively sought fame.

Ginny Weasley stepped in to defend Harry. Lucius Malfoy used this as an opportunity to slip her a cursed diary that would trigger the reopening of the Chamber of Secrets when they returned to school. Lucius did not tell his son about his plans. He told him that things would happen at Hogwarts this year, but the less he knew the better.

When they did arrive at school, Draco joined the Slytherin Quidditch team as Seeker. This was largely down to his father buying new Nimbus 2001 brooms for everyone on the team. When Hermione suggested that Draco bought his way onto the team, Draco responded by calling her a “filthy little Mudblood”. It was clear that this was considered highly offensive.

But it was true that Draco was not a particularly good player. He was more concerned with insulting Harry than catching the snitch. In the game with Gryffindor, he failed to see the snitch when it was right next to him. He was later reprimanded by captain Marcus Flint.

Like most of the students, Draco was excited to join Gilderoy Lockhart’s dueling club. But he was also underwhelmed by the quality of the teaching. He was partnered with Harry and asked to demonstrate duelling techniques. Draco conjured a snake and set it against Harry. When Harry controlled the snake with parseltongue, many believed that Harry was Slytherin’s heir, and the one behind the recent attacks at the school.

Draco Malfoy and Slytherin’s Heir

Since Draco shared Slytherin’s bigoted views about muggle-born wizards, Harry, Ron, and Hermione assumed that he might be Slytherin’s heir. They decided to use Polyjuice Potion to assume the form of some of Malfoy’s friends and find out what he knew about Slytherin’s monster and the Chamber of Secrets.

Disguised as Crabbe and Goyle, Harry and Ron followed Draco to the Slytherin common room. But there they learned that Malfoy had no idea who was the heir and that it was certainly not Draco.

Draco admitted that he wished he could help the heir, but that his father had told him to keep his head down at Hogwarts this year.

Malfoy at Duelling Club

Draco Malfoy and Buckbeak

In his third year, Draco was delighted when Harry proved particularly sensitive to the negative influence of the Dementors. These guardians of Azkaban had invaded the Hogwarts Express, causing Harry to faint, and were later posted around Hogwarts. Draco lost no opportunity to tell people how Harry had responded to the Dementors on the train.

After Harry had another problem with the Dementors when they invaded the pitch during a Quidditch match, Draco decided to use this at Harry’s next Quidditch game. In the game against Ravenclaw, Draco, along with Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, and Marcus Flint, dressed up as Dementors and invaded the pitch. Instead of fainting, Harry cast a Patronus charm in front of everyone. The group received various detentions and lost 50 points for Slytherin.

When it became apparent to Draco that Harry did not know that Sirius Black was accused of betraying his parents to Lord Voldemort, he made sure to hint this information to Harry. Far from wanting to help Harry, Draco was hoping that this would encourage Harry to do something reckless and put himself in danger.

In this same year, third years started studying Care of Magical Creatures with Hagrid. In one class, Draco ignored Hagrid’s instructions that hippogriffs are extremely proud and need to be treated with respect. Instead, Draco insulted the Hippogriff known as Buckbeak, which provoked it to injure his arm.

Draco played up the injury so that his father could use it to disgrace Hagrid and have him fired as a teacher. This also resulted in an order of execution for the Hippogriff Buckbeak. When Draco laughed about how upset Hagrid was about this, Hermione Granger punched him in the face.

The Malfoy Family

Draco Malfoy at the Quidditch World Cup

In the summer of 1994, like many of his fellow students, Draco attended the Quidditch World Cup final with his father. He sat in the luxury box with the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, along with Arthur Weasley, his children, Harry, and Hermione.

Later, when Death Eaters began terrorizing the camp, Draco hid in the woods like most of the young witches and wizards. When he saw Harry, Ron, and Hermione there, he taunted them, suggesting that the group would be after Hermione next.

Harry responded by asking Draco whether his father was participating in the riot, implying that he was a Death Eater. Malfoy simply responded that if his father was, he wasn’t likely to tell Harry about it. This basically confirmed for Harry that Lucius Malfoy was a Death Eater.

Draco Malfoy and the Triwizard Tournament

Before heading to school, Lucius Malfoy had told his son about the upcoming Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts. Draco mocked Harry and Ron for not knowing anything about the planned events, especially since Ron’s father works at the Ministry.

Naturally, Draco resented the fact that Harry was chosen to participate in the Tournament despite being underage. He actively supported the other Hogwarts champion, Cedric Diggory. Draco and his friends made badges that said both “Support Cedric Diggory, the REAL Hogwarts Champion” and “Potter Stinks”.

He also made problems for Harry by sharing information with the reporter Rita Skeeter. Draco attended the Tournament’s Yule Ball with fellow Slytherin Pansy Parkinson.

At another time in the year, Draco tried to cast a spell at Harry while his back was turned. The new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Alastor Moody (who was in fact Death Eater Barty Crouch Jnr in disguise) saw the attempt. He turned Malfoy into a ferret briefly to teach him not to cast curses behind someone’s back.

At the end of the year, Draco mocked Harry for his claims about Lord Voldemort and ridiculed his grief at the death of Cedric Diggory. In response, he was hit by several curses by Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Fred and George Weasley.

Draco Malfoy and the High Inquisitor

While most of the students were appalled when the Ministry of Magic sent Dolores Umbridge to Hogwarts as a new High Inquisitor to control the school for the Ministry, Draco was pleased to see the Ministry “cleaning up” the school and enjoyed the opportunities that it provided.

Draco had already been made a Prefect for Slytherin at the start of the year. He also enjoyed taunting Ron Weasley, who had recently been added to the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He used tactics to undermine his confidence, writing the insulting song “Weasley is our King”.

Following the Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin, Draco started insulting Molly and Arthur Weasley, and Lily Potter. This caused Harry and George Weasley to attack Draco, resulting in Harry, and both Fred and George Weasley being banned from playing Quidditch by Dolores Umbridge.

Malfoy and the Slytherin Gang

Inquisitorial Squad

Later in the year, Draco joined Umbridge’s Inquisitorial Squad, designed by her to spy on other students and catch troublemakers. Unlike Prefects, members of the squad had the ability to dock house points. This was a privilege that Draco took full advantage of.

Draco was part of the Inquisitorial Squad group that caught Harry and his friends using Umbridge’s office fire to try and learn the whereabouts of Sirius Black. He and others were left to guard the other members of the DA while Harry and Hermione lured Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest in search of a fake weapon. The Inquisitors were overpowered. Draco was hit by Ginny Weasley with a Bat-Bogey Curse.

The subsequent events that took place in the Department of Mysteries exposed the return of Lord Voldemort and revealed that Lucius Malfoy was a Death Eater. Angry at Harry’s hand in having his father sent to Azkaban, on the train returning from school Draco tried to attack Harry. But he was again overpowered by the members of Dumbledore’s Army.

Draco Malfoy becomes a Death Eater

In 1996, Draco joined the Death Eaters to replace his father. He was instructed by Lord Voldemort to find a way to smuggle a group of Death Eaters into Hogwarts, and also to kill Albus Dumbledore.

Draco was initially excited by the power and responsibility of this. He even bragged about it to his fellow Slytherin students on the train to Hogwarts. Harry had snuck into Draco’s train compartment under his invisibility cloak to hear this conversation. Draco saw Harry’s shoes and so stunned Harry with a Full Body-Bind curse before stomping on his nose and then covering Harry with his cloak again so that he would be difficult to find.

The Unbreakable Vow

But a conversation between Narcissa Malfoy and Severus Snape revealed her belief that Lord Voldemort expected Draco to fail and had given him the task to punish Lucius Malfoy. She asked Snape to assist her son and complete the task himself if Draco was unable. He agreed, making the Unbreakable Vow.

Draco’s plan was to repair a Vanishing Cabinet at Hogwarts, which he knew connected with a partner in Borgin and Burke’s. He knew that this would create a passage between the shop in Diagon Alley and Hogwarts that the Death Eaters could use. This had been revealed the previous year when the Weasley twins had pushed Slytherin student Graham Montague into the faulty cabinet, and he had been caught between Hogwarts and Borgin and Burke’s.

Draco visited the shop before returning to Hogwarts to ensure Borgin’s cooperation. He showed Borgin the Dark Mark that he now had on his arm and threatened to send the werewolf Fenrir Greyback to visit Borgin’s family if he did not do as Draco wished.

He also prepared for his return to school by learning to block jinxes non-verbally and studying Occlumency with his aunt Bellatrix Lestrange to protect his thoughts from others.

Draco Malfoy and the Vanishing Cabinet

At school, Draco was obsessed with completing his mission. He hid the Vanishing Cabinet in the room of requirement and spent most of his time there trying to repair it. He even dropped out of the Slytherin Quidditch team in order to have more time.

Nevertheless, he was upset not to have been chosen by Professor Slughorn to be part of his “Slug Club”. He occasionally tried to suck up to the teacher by pointing to his famous connections. But Slughorn probably steered clear since Lucius Malfoy had been imprisoned as a Death Eater.

Draco enlisted Crabbe and Goyle to act as lookouts for him, though he did not tell them what he was doing. They would use Polyjuice Potion to assume the form of young female students. Standing guard in the hallway outside the Room of Requirement, they would drop something noisy if the coast was not clear for Draco to come out.

As his continued attempts failed, he became increasingly stressed and reserved at school. He became very wary of Severus Snape and refused all of the teacher’s attempts to help him.

Draco Malfoy and Assassination Attempts

On a number of occasions throughout the year, Draco thought that he would never be able to fix the cabinet. Consequently, he resorted to other methods to try and kill Albus Dumbledore.

He put Madam Rosmerta, in Hogsmeade, under the Imperius Curse and forced her to use the Imperius Curse on Katie Bell to have the girl deliver a cursed necklace to Albus Dumbledore. But when Katie’s friends argued with her about her strange behavior, Katie accidentally touched the necklace herself. She ended up spending significant time in St Mungo’s Hospital recuperating.

He also tried to send Dumbledore some poisoned mead by giving it to Professor Slughorn to give to Dumbledore as a gift. But Slughorn kept the mead for himself. He opened it for a celebratory drink with Ron and Harry. It was discovered to be poisoned when Ron took a drink.

Since these attempts were so clumsy, Dumbledore was not forced to apprehend Draco. Dumbledore was aware of Draco’s plans and had his own plans in place to use Draco to foil Lord Voldemort in the long term.

As his attempts failed, Draco became increasingly stressed. He took to passing time in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom and would share some of his thoughts with her. Harry encountered him in that bathroom on one occasion. Draco responded by trying to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry. Harry responded with the Sectum Sempra curse, cutting Draco open. Draco was hospitalized and Harry had detention with Snape until the end of term.

Draco Malfoy and the Death Eater Attack on Hogwarts

Eventually, after working on the Vanishing Cabinet for almost the whole school year, Draco was able to fix it. He was heard whooping and celebrating by Harry, who knew that this was a bad sign. But Harry was due to leave the school with Dumbledore in search of a Horcrux. He asked his friends to monitor Draco, who was hiding in the Room of Requirement.

Draco managed to smuggle in at least six Death Eaters, including Yaxley, Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Gibbon, Rowle, and werewolf Fenrir Greyback, into the school. They left the Room of Requirement under the cover of Peruvian Darkness Powder. The members of the DA watching the room began to alert the teachers and the Order of the Phoenix to the situation.

When the Death Eaters realized that Dumbledore was not at Hogwarts, they cast the Dark Mark over the school to lure him back there. This worked, Dumbledore and Harry arrived back at the school on broomsticks, landing on the Astronomy Tower.

Here Draco was able to ambush Dumbledore, who was greatly weakened by the potion that he had to drink to retrieve the Horcrux. Draco disarmed Dumbledore, who did not defend himself. Dumbledore used the second he could have used to block Draco putting a Full Body-Bind Curse on Harry, who was hiding under his invisibility cloak.

This meant that Draco won the allegiance of Dumbledore’s wand, the Elder Wand of the Deathly Hallows, though he was unaware of this.

Draco Malfoy and the Death of Albus Dumbledore

Having disarmed Dumbledore, Draco could have killed him, but he was unable to commit murder. He stalled for time, suggesting that he was waiting for the other Death Eaters as witnesses. But as Dumbledore spoke to him, it became clear that Draco felt like he had no choice. Nevertheless, he made no move to kill.

Draco was starting to lower his wand when the other Death Eaters arrived on the Astronomy Tower. He raised his wand again but made no move to kill. When Severus Snape arrived and saw what was happening, he took it upon himself to kill Dumbledore.

Unknown to the others on the tower, Dumbledore was already dying as the result of another curse that he had received from a Horcrux. He had asked Snape to be the one who killed him in order to keep the loyalty of the Elder Wand from Voldemort and save Draco from being a murderer.

All the Death Eaters, including Draco and Severus Snape, then made their escape from the school.

Malfoy on the Astronomy Tower

Draco Malfoy the Death Eater

Draco’s role in the death of Albus Dumbledore won his father’s liberty and earned Draco a seat at the Death Eater table. Lord Voldemort had adopted Malfoy Manor as his base. But Draco did not seem comfortable there. He was unable to look at Charity Burbage, his former teacher, as Lord Voldemort floated her above the table and then killed her.

Voldemort also ordered Draco to torture Thorfinn Rowle for a failed attempt to apprehend Harry. This was a way for Draco to prove his loyalty and his stomach for what must be done.

But Draco was clearly a reluctant Death Eater. When a group of Snatchers brought Hermione, Ron, and a badly disfigured Harry to Malfoy Manor for identification, Draco was very reluctant to confirm the identification. When asked initially he said that he didn’t know. Then, when Bellatrix said that Hermione was the Mudblood travelling with Harry, he reluctantly said that she could be.

Draco was there as Bellatrix tortured Hermione after finding that the group was in possession of Gryffindor’s sword. He was also there when the group made their escape and was disarmed by Harry, who took Draco’s wand with him. Narcissa lent Draco her wand after this, but he noted that it just didn’t feel right to him.

Draco had some respite from this when he returned to Hogwarts in his seventh year. The school was now under Death Eater control and Severus Snape was serving as Headmaster.

Draco Malfoy and the Battle of Hogwarts

Draco was at Hogwarts when Harry, Ron, and Hermione turned up looking for the Ravenclaw Diadem Horcrux, and when Lord Voldemort appeared with his army. Having driven Severus Snape from the castle, Professor McGonagall sent all underage students home, and also all the Slytherin students. This was after Pansy Parkinson suggested handing Harry over to Lord Voldemort.

Draco does not seem to have been at the gathering in the Great Hall when this was all announced, or he would have been seen by Harry. Instead, he seems to have hidden somewhere in the school with his friends Crabbe and Goyle.

The three then tracked Harry, Ron, and Hermione to the Room of Requirement, where they had determined that the Diadem was hidden. Draco said that he was going to catch Harry himself and deliver him to Lord Voldemort to redeem his family.

The two trios battled one another throughout the Room of Requirement. But things came to a head when Crabbe cast a Fiendfyre curse that he was unable to control. The entire room went up in flames, and the cursed flame was even able to destroy the Horcrux.

While Harry, Ron, and Hermione grabbed brooms to make their escape, Malfoy and Goyle were trapped. The trio risked their own lives to save them as well. Crabbe was killed in his own fire. This seems to have shocked Draco, who immediately mourned for his friend.

Attempting to apprehend Harry

Loyalty of the Elder Wand

Draco did not actively participate in the rest of the battle, but he nevertheless played a vital role. Unknown to him, his disarming of Dumbledore he had won the loyalty of the Elder Wand. The loyalty of the wand then transferred to Harry when he disarmed Draco at Malfoy Manor.

Lord Voldemort thought that he was in control of the wand because he had killed Severus Snape, who had killed Dumbledore. But since Harry was the true commander of the wand, Voldemort was unable to use it to defeat Harry and his allies.

Draco was reunited with his family in the Great Hall. His mother Narcissa had abandoned Lord Voldemort shortly before the final battle, preferring to find her son than support the Dark Lord.

Draco Malfoy after the Wizarding War

Draco does not seem to have been punished for his role in the Second Wizarding War. Once it was over, he abandoned the pure-blood supremacy philosophy that he had grown up with.

He went on to marry Astoria Greengrass, a pure-blood wizard, but one who also did not believe in pure-blood ideologies. Draco’s family objected to the match because of this, but Draco defied them. Together the two had a son, Scorpius, but Astoria died while their son was still young due to a blood curse within her family.

Scorpius was the same age as Harry Potter’s younger son Albus, and the two went off to Hogwarts together. When Albus was unexpectedly placed in Slytherin, the two became fast friends. This surprised and worried their parents.

Meanwhile, Draco continued to live in Malfoy Manor where he collected Dark artifacts (though did not use them), and also studied alchemical manuscripts.

When Scorpius and Albus got their hands on a Time-Turner and decided to use it to try and change history and save Cedric Diggory, Draco and Harry had to work together to save them and put time right. They realized that they had more in common than they imagined. At one point, Draco wondered if he would have turned out differently if he had friends like Hermione and Ron rather than Crabbe and Goyle.

Draco Malfoy Personality Type & Traits

Draco Malfoy immediately comes across as a spoiled child who has been told that he is special, worthy, and deserving his whole life. He believes that he should be treated as special simply because of who he is, rather than based on his actions.

This gives him the confidence to be a natural leader. But it also means that he is not willing to put in the work to better himself. This is seen when he is happy to have his father buy his way onto the Slytherin Quidditch team, rather than earning his position.

It is clear that he was greatly influenced by his family and their expectations. It took living through a wizarding war to make him question some of the things that they had taught him.

Draco Malfoy Zodiac Sign & Birthday

Draco was born on 5 June 1980, which means that his zodiac sign is Gemini. While people born under this sign tend to be naturally confident and charismatic, they are also easily swayed by the opinions of others and often let other people shape them. This could explain why Draco was so easily controlled and influenced by his father.

Malfoy Family Tree

Draco is the son of Lucius Malfoy and Narcissa Black, who both come from pure-blood wizarding families with an affinity for the Dark Arts. The infamous dark witch Bellatrix Lestrange is Narcissa’s sister, making her Draco’s aunt.