What a delightful guy Lucius Malfoy was. Treating his House-Elf to regular death threats (five times a day, according to Dobby). Slipping Voldemort’s diary into Ginny Weasley’s old Transfiguration book. Securing Draco’s place as Slytherin Seeker by buying the whole Quidditch team new brooms. Such a long list of manipulative acts, it’s a wonder he had any time at all to give to his son. Maybe that’s why he never did appear to give Draco much time, or any warmth, and not a lot of love.
We got our first glimpse of Lucius in Borgin and Burkes, selling off poisons and Dark objects as he snapped at his son over exam results. Imperious and disdainful, as a former Death Eater obsessed with pure-blood status, Lucius Malfoy seemingly expected his family to embody the same qualities. He encouraged Draco to look down on Muggle-borns and use the derogatory term, ‘Mudblood.’ The fact that Draco responded to those expectations almost to the letter shows how much he revered his father. Draco even accepted the seemingly impossible task Voldemort set him – killing Dumbledore – to make up for his father’s mistakes. Yes, Draco was Lucius’s son, through and through.
At least, he was for a while. In Cursed Child we saw Draco in a different light. His father’s influence on him loosened after the Battle of Hogwarts, and his marriage to Astoria seemingly softened some of the sinister views he’d inherited. And he certainly loved his son, Scorpius.
Not all Wizarding World families were obsessed with their blood status, as the Weasleys’ demonstrate only too well. Frequently called blood traitors by those who favoured so-called ‘pure-blood’ families like the Malfoys, the Weasley family home was a warm and welcoming place for all their children’s friends, no matter their background.
Which is not to say that life at the Burrow had no structure. Life might have been chaotic at times, but the Weasley family had a consistent figurehead in Molly Weasley. A talented cook with her own history of family rebellion – her brothers, Gideon and Fabian Prewett, were killed by Voldemort’s Death Eaters, and Molly herself could be a bit of a rebel, if her 4am stroll in the Hogwarts grounds was anything to go by – Molly was fiercely devoted to her family. She was not afraid to scold them when she felt their behaviour was out of line, but she’d also defend her husband and children literally to the death if required, as Bellatrix Lestrange found out to her cost.
Molly’s ferociously protective nature could be suffocating at times, and she did not always get things right. She was wrong about Bill marrying Fleur, for example, and when she worried repeatedly about Fred and George’s education even though it was clear their interests lay elsewhere. But Molly led the Weasley family with love, and everyone knew it.
Vernon Dursley’s approach to family, by contrast, did not seem to be driven by love as much as it was by appearances. What other people thought of them was very important to both Dursley parents and Petunia certainly had her own curtain-twitching foibles, but Vernon’s particular dedication to keeping up appearances made him do a lot of odd things. The way the Dursleys treated Harry was, of course, the prime example. Keeping him hidden as much as possible, trying to stop him from attending Hogwarts, locking up his school belongings and even Harry himself when he stepped out of line, refusing to acknowledge anything about Harry’s life in the wizarding world – well. The Dursleys definitely had a talent for avoiding any topic that threatened their normal, ordered existence. Instead, Vernon preferred to do things like admire his own company car as loudly as possible and to enrol his son, Dudley, in a school with a quaint uniform and a policy that allowed students to hit each other with a stick. Because for Vernon it was all about keeping up appearances and he did his best to make sure the Dursley’s appearance was always perfectly normal, thank you very much.
Neville Longbottom’s Gran was a force to be reckoned with. A formidable woman with a very distinctive way of dressing (fox-fur, stuffed-vulture hat), she expected a lot of the grandson she brought up after his parents were tortured into insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange and her husband. Such traumatic events might knocked the stuffing out of lesser witches and wizards, but Augusta Longbottom would not be beaten. She was proud of her son and his wife and, in the end, she was very proud of her grandson, although it has to be said she did make him work for it.
She certainly had no qualms about interfering in Neville’s education, trying to make him take Transfiguration for his OWLs (even though he hated the subject) rather than the Charms class he wanted (and which Augusta herself had failed). And she was very keen that he uphold his family name, reprimanding Neville when she believed he was ashamed of his parent’s fate.
This attitude meant she was often stern with Neville, putting pressure on him to do well within the narrow confines that she demanded. But she also modelled for him a fierce pride and defiance that Neville, in his own way, exhibited from the beginning. It wasn’t for nothing that Dumbledore awarded Neville ten points for bravery at the end of Philosopher’s Stone. Even as a young, awkward first year, Neville displayed qualities that his grandmother could recognise, if she took the time to notice.