How many 11-year-old children do you know of who would randomly start up a conversation with another child, during the supremely awkward experience of being fitted for clothes? The answer is: exactly one, and it was Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
You should also be reminded that during this conversation Draco did not a) introduce himself to Harry or b) ask Harry his name. Rather, he immediately started going on about how he was really good at flying, because even at 11 Malfoy’s ego was large enough to create tides on the Black Lake if he walked past it too quickly.
During this very short conversation, Draco also mentioned his father three times, setting up a pattern of behaviour that Draco fans came to know and love.
As we’ve already seen, Draco considered himself one hot Skrewt when it came to flying a broom. In second year Draco ‘My father…’ Malfoy got his dad to get the whole Slytherin Quidditch team new Nimbus Two Thousand and One brooms, and thus bought his way onto the team. He even told Fred and George: ‘You could raffle off those Cleansweep Fives, I expect a museum would bid for them.’
Yeah, all right Draco, calm down, we’re not all massive fans of broomstick exhibits. Does your family have a museum wing named after it somewhere? This moment was especially good because Slytherin lost the match to Gryffindor anyway, due to Draco not paying attention to the Snitch hovering by his ear.
Draco, in his illustrious career, challenged Harry to a duel not once but twice. Challenging people to duels was very Draco: a grand, pompous and dramatic gesture. Actually duelling was not Draco. That’s why it was no surprise that on the first occasion, in Philosopher’s Stone, it was a trick. On the second occasion he cheated by attacking early and by getting help from Snape. So predictable, Draco.
Draco was raised in a manor house. A manor house with grounds. A manor house with grounds that had peacocks. And yet he lacked the basic decorum to not insult a Hippogriff, a giant eagle crossed with a horse that has giant talons. It’s a miracle he even managed to bow at all.
Hermione had to put up with a lot from Malfoy over the years: he taunted her, made fun of her teeth and on more than one occasion called her a ‘Mudblood’. The one time she responded violently was when she overheard Malfoy making fun of Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and consequently slapped Malfoy right around the face. Draco’s response was just the height of classic Draco behaviour, because he had no response at all. Darling Draco talked a talk, but he could rarely back it up. On this occasion he did walk the walk – away from Hermione.
In year four Draco tried to jinx Harry from behind, and Professor Moody turned him into a ferret for his trouble. It was brilliant because Draco, with his pointed face, was just so… ferrety. If he were an animal, a ferret is definitely what he’d be. Maybe his Patronus was a ferret, and he summoned it by thinking about himself.
Once he’d been returned to human form he ‘muttered something in which the words “my father” were distinguishable’, so the only way the entire debacle could have been any more Draco is if he’d been losing to Harry at Quidditch at the same time.
Draco clearly looked down on Hufflepuffs (he insulted the entire house the first time he met Harry), so the only reason he supported Cedric Diggory in the Triwizard Tournament was because he hated Harry that much. The ‘Potter Stinks’ badges were an iconic Draco move, firstly because he really was the sort of person who thought badges were some kind of epic burn, and secondly because there was a possibility that Draco sat in his dorm room in his free time carefully making loads of magical badges. Imagine him, sat on his bed, bleakly drawing the name of his worst enemy over and over again. Who’d have thought he was that creative?
Malfoy was on the Inquisitorial Squad in his fifth year and spent weeks not being able to find Dumbledore’s Army. Even though they were a huge group of students, and even though they were sneaking around under his nose the whole time. There were loads of them, Draco. Loads! It should have been harder to not catch them! Honestly, aren’t Slytherins supposed to be cunning?
Harry, the pride of Gryffindor house, entered the lair of Salazar Slytherin, spoke Parseltongue, actually managed to follow through on his cunning plans, and only missed being sorted into Slytherin by the skin of his teeth. Malfoy was a good Slytherin by dint of being sorted into Slytherin. But despite this, Draco never stopped trying. Blimey, maybe he should have been in Hufflepuff instead?