reenka: (a little obsessed?)
[personal profile] reenka
I have been... um, a little frustrated by the meta environment post-DH, shall we say. My only outlet has been Amalin, so it's to her this post is addressed, even though actually she hasn't frustrated me at all and this is addressing various others' points about people's ideas of the Draco characterization in the book.

But in fact I'd prefer if those people just didn't bother with me. I'm a boring sap and a crazy fangirl, y'know :> I'm not trying to be coy or passive-aggressive or anything, I just honestly have no will to debate anyone, so. :) Maybe it's disingenuous to post this? But it's just my little corner of the webz, no? I dunno. If you really wanna argue canon with me of all people, go ahead :D

    - Draco:

Seventh Year Timeline:
- 1) He's at the Manor, trying to fade into the furniture, and being used by Voldemort to do various things to/for the prisoners that he doesn't seem happy about. He stares at the hanging Muggle Studies teacher, seemingly hypnotized, then unable to look at her once she wakes; you (or, well, I) get the sense he's sort of gone into shock, completely out of his element with no obvious comfort from his parents and his very home invaded with death and the sheer blunt horror of events. He both hates all this and is sickly fascinated like he was with the Dark Arts artifacts in that shop in second year, except this time one doesn't get the sense Draco's having fun.

He falls out of his chair when the professor is Avada Kedavra'd, which even given there was a jerking/movement implies he was totally out of it moreso than the others (and he wasn't the only one freaked out/afraid at that point).

- 1a) Harry worries about him when he learns what's going on. Harry doesn't worry about people that don't deserve it, like say, Pettigrew or even Snape, for instance.

- 2) When Harry sees him next, Draco comes to look at him with his swollen face and Draco, significantly, is ambiguous about recognizing him. He actively turns his back(!!) on Ron and Hermione, acting as he he hasn't seen them that often or doesn't know their faces like the back of his hand by now, like Hermione hasn't bested him at Potions and he didn't know (and mock) Ron as soon as he saw him in first year on the train. Does he say, 'oh that's WEASLEY, our KING, blah-mockety-blah'? He has no reason to fear saying that; his level of safety and his prospects in general would only look up were he to say what he inevitably knew at first glance. His school nemesis and the boy he wrote a jaunty tune about in fifth year, and the Mudblood who he couldn't beat in his favorite subject.

All right, I'll come out and say it: HE LIES TO BELLATRIX. Why, right? This seems ridiculously significant to me because it's definitely intentional. Turning his back: this cannot be more obvious.

Btw, Harry wins Draco's wand from him after Draco 'joins the fight' (sort of feebly) to prevent them leaving at the last minute, and then chooses to use Draco's wand (which says a lot about the wizard who uses it-- the wizard influences and learns from the wand, after all, as much as the wand learns from the wizard), because that particular wand feels the most "friendly" and natural to him. I'm not making this shit up!! People! It's like there's a big blinking sign saying: "DRACO IS NOT BASICALLY JUST A NASTY LOSER COWARD, BECAUSE HARRY LIKES DRACO'S WAND".

I mean, in a book where Harry finds some measure of pity/understanding for both Snape and Voldemort through identifying with their experiences without feeling threatened by that, I'd say there's a significance to Draco's wand being friendly. Even though Harry still doesn't identify with Draco's experiences at all. I dunno, IT'S JUST A GUESS. :>

- 3) He stays(!) when all the other Slytherins have left, and waits for Harry outside the Room of Requirement, hiding behind Crabbe and Goyle and pointing his wand at Harry. This is after his parents are completely discredited and humiliated to the max, and have no power left at all; he's lost his wand to Harry and he's using his mother's. Still, he shows some bravado.

He goes on the old-style offensive: "That's my wand you're holding, Potter"-- but his "voice is brittle" referring to the past year, saying he "virtually lived" in the Room of Hidden Things. I get the sense he's traumatized but proceeding on sheer stubbornness at this point.

- 3a) He argues with Crabbe and a crack is shown in their power dynamic, because Crabbe says he doesn't have to "take orders" from Draco anymore, which suggests this has been on the move between them but crystallized when the Malfoys let the Trio get away (something Draco helped enable, btw-- just thought I'd mention that again). If I may speculate (and I may), I'd say Draco has no real choice unless he wants to put himself in direct danger from his "friends" as a blood traitor: and Harry hasn't exactly offered him an alternative or took Draco with him when he'd Disapparated with Draco's wand or something crazy like that, right?

- 3b) He tries to explain (with some exasperation) about the diadem and what Harry must be trying to do; Draco's still trying to be in the game, trying to prove himself (just like he promised at the end of OoTP). He apparently wants this chance to play the game-- what game there is remaining at this point, but I'd say Draco's a teensy bit desperate-- and is being reasonably cunning though definitely nonviolent (he doesn't hex or attack Harry & co in any way and generally seems to want to avoid another confrontation like in the bathroom... that one Sectumsempra must've been enough to show him Potter's not to be messed with without back-up).

He yells-- yells and shouts loudly (so his voice was "echoing through the room")-- at Crabbe, trying to stop him from killing Harry, because "the Dark Lord wants him alive", which is contrasted with Crabbe, who aims to kill and enrages Harry (btw, I doubt this is because Crabbe's a lot braver than Draco-- rather, he seems oblivious to every subtlety of the situation imaginable). Then Draco stops explaining and simply screams at Crabbe, "DON'T KILL HIM!"

I would say this is also significant but I don't want to put too fine a point on it; however, if anyone missed it: Draco REALLY EMPHATICALLY DOESN'T WANT HARRY DEAD. For whatever reason(s). Ahem.

- 3c) He ducks and "cowers" once the spells/hexes really start flying; I'm not exactly surprised. He doesn't want to fight and he doesn't want to get hit-- makes sense, right. At the same time, he tries to protect Crabbe and Goyle, pulling them out of the way of a Stunning Spell and then grabbing the Stunned Goyle and dragging him once the fighting really starts and Crabbe strikes out on his own with the Dark curse.

- 4) Next Harry sees-- well, hears him scream-- Draco's got an unconscious Goyle in his grasp, having dragged him up upon a "fragile tower of charred desks". Draco saw him coming and "raised one arm" (expecting and knowing Harry would save him... which I find really touching, btw), but he was too sweaty from the heat/fire, and Ron and Hermione had to drag Goyle on their broom before Harry got Malfoy on board his.

He screams at Harry-- "What are you doing"-- about diving after the diadem (not caring about anything but survival, but then Ron's not too happy about the situation either, having voiced his objections earlier); Harry's doing a lot of crazy dives and swerves to avoid the serpent of flame and Draco screams and holds on to him.

His first words once they're finally in the corridor and he's stopped coughing and retching are about Crabbe (who's dead). The same Crabbe that wasn't being the greatest of mates to him earlier.

- 5) He chooses to get up and dust himself off (leaving Goyle to his own devices?) and try for rescue from the Death Eaters ("I'm on your side!") Then he turns, 'beaming' at his 'rescuers' (which suggests to me that he's completely beyond caring at this point and just wants someone to offer protection but clearly didn't think Harry & co were really going to and besides, he didn't want to fight or do things for them, I'm thinking), and Ron sucker-punches him (since they-- not surprisingly-- thought Draco may come around after they, y'know, saved his arse, meaning there was some willingness to mend fences... but then Draco didn't seem too against it, though I'd say he wanted Harry & co to make the first move).

After the big showdown, he's seen 'huddling' with his parents, looking lost & unmoored.

I don't think any of this is a regression or a return to status quo; in fact, I think it's a believable progression and I personally am satisfied on the amount of progress given the plot events as they were (meaning, the plot would have to have been different for things to develop further). My overall impression is that Draco was hemmed in by several factors and actually afraid for his life (for good reason); he tries to have Agency where he can find it and makes several small but significant gestures to show something like early-Regulus level of discomfort.

I get the impression he's not playing the sort of game anyone else is (other Death Eaters, his minions or Housemates, his parents, Harry); in HBP he wanted to fiddle about with a small nearly academic-type project with the cabinet and in DH he wants to trap (but not directly hurt) Harry almost in the style of something a third-year might come up with. He's not just passively unable to participate in violence (like with Dumbledore on the Tower)-- rather, he actively tries to resist things reaching a certain point of no return, which I find really significant.

I just want to say I'm sick and tired of people saying Draco 'could' still be brave, potentially.

People. *facepalm*

HE'S A SLYTHERIN, OKAY. He started out as one in the first book, and he's still one in the last book. That's what it comes down to, basically. I just actually want to know what people are expecting from Draco that he hasn't done, I mean, realistically, knowing Draco. I know I just wanted him to make a big gesture and jump into the Trio's arms, say, after they rescued him, but how does he know that wasn't just a Gryffindor 'saving people thing'-- and then they just left him with Goyle in that corridor. They forgot about him and left him to his own devices, y'know, understandably, so basically Draco tried to take care of himself as expected. I'm sure if they wanted to call in a Life Debt or negotiate terms, Draco must have thought they could've... done that. The Gryffindorish assumption that of course now Draco would see the obvious way to behave in this situation is... um? Unfortunate, I guess; what's predictable is that Draco would fall back on what he knows.

It's not that I don't think he can be brave, it's that bravery isn't the same value it is in Gryffindor for Slytherins; like Slughorn and even like Lucius, it's typical for them to want to avoid an all-out full-frontal contest of power. Even SNAPE (widely acknowledged as brave by everyone in the text) doesn't actually show his bravery by direct confrontation but merely by indirect cloak-and-dagger methods where he tries to trick Voldemort and do as little as possible to help Harry as he can without arousing suspicion. Crucio in detention, anyone? Obviously taking a stand for righteousness wasn't on brave!Snape's priority list.

The fact is, this is a war, and these are Slytherins.

What, precisely, is anyone expecting from them in the first place? Not to be malicious and furthering enlightened self-interest while protecting their friends and not letting enemies/strangers die if they could help it (as Draco did! when he could help it, in fact!) seems to be the realistic scenario.

Anyway, that's my DH!Draco rant/meta-type thing. Thank you & goodnight :>

Date: 2007-07-30 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Although I love you, you will have to leap:
Our dream of safety has to disappear.

Did you quote that before? Was it you who made that post? Or Aja? Agh, everything is getting confused in my head. Anyway, I think basically we want different things from H/D, maybe, and/or from H/D fic, at least on some level. Or, sometimes. More later maybe?

See, see, that rending vs. unity bit, that's my whole point! Er, issue! Whatever, the joining, I mean, what I thought would turn out to be inter-house, inter-national, inter-species unity, the coming together. Like when Lupin or whoever says that when Voldemort rose to power, he brought dissent and mistrust, everyone breaking apart, that's what he does. Anyway. Hermione talks about it in the hugfic, I couldn't help it.

Date: 2007-07-30 05:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's Aja's favorite poem, which I've shamelessly adopted so I may very well have referenced it before!! >:) Aja is so my H/D guru, I am but a lowly Padawan, etcetc. The thing is that I have a dozen different H/D types that I'm into & probably more. I just want their issues/parallels/scars/dark spots dealt with in a sort of stubborn way and at the same time when I think about them I don't know how to get at them so all I can say in terms of imagery in practical terms is, 'there's Draco Malfoy on a broom!'

Or maybe that's because I'm tired. :-?
I love how tentative we are, hahah it would definitely be a tied for Who Is The Most Tentative and Uncertain, were there in fact to be a contest :"> Um.

I like Teh Joining too, just less on a social level. Or perhaps it's like I like the rending on a personal psyche level so that there can be deeper joining... or melding... or really just understanding. Because like, deep down we are all the same and... stuff? :P hehe

Date: 2007-07-30 05:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Maybe Aja made the post then, I don't know! Well, anyhow. Haha, Aja is everybody's H/D guru. Or something. Draco Malfoy on a broom kdjfs. Yeah, I don't know anything, I tiptoe a lot! I am sleeping now. I keep meaning to sleep and then I get more comments and get distracted. Now! I swear!

But the thing is, Voldemort splits on a social level, too. Like casting doubt, who could be a spy, like what happened to MWPP, etc, etc. Ugh, so I guess the ultimate symbol of unity is Albus Severus Potter the Green Eyed and Red Haired Wonder Child. Does he even have red hair? I don't know. Bed.

Date: 2007-07-30 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
<33333333333333333333 Oh wellz, we are a teensy bit a like, after all ;))

But that post was mine! I remembered it! It sounds like the sort of overarching symbolism I'd go for :> The poem, that's Aja's. But I've adopted it. :> :>

I just cannot write/plan out social-level rendings in my head very easily so it's all very foggy and theoretical. I think the unity came when everyone came to fight for Harry, including Peeves and a bunch of people who'd gratuated Hogwarts and somehow the Sword of Gryffindor was back, etc. As for the Slytherins, I. Um. There's Snape. And umm, Nigellus. And Regulus. And Draco didn't want Harry dead. Slytherins, I guess, aren't the best at big bangy battles :> They like a more delicate, personal touch HAR HAR.

Date: 2007-07-30 12:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
<33 I know we are :))

I loved the Peeves bit, like I loved the Peeves part of OotP. Man, I love that everybody hates Peeves but he's essentially good, etc. And the centaurs joined in the battle. Aww, delicate personal touches. If only Harry had known that was how to win them over.

Date: 2007-07-30 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I dunno man, Harry and subtlety and in-depth conversations is still not OTP unelss you mean long expository convos with Dumbledore. Can you imagine him having one of those with Draco? I'd personally love it, but... :>

You know what I want? A fic where this theme is tackled realistically-- like, how would you go about getting Slytherins to feel a part of Hogwarts? Like, for real, as long as Slytherins are obsessed with purebloodness as their self-definition as a House... things are going to be tense. Part of it's defensive/paranoid (they are the minority and must defend themselves in reputation and secrecy) and another part of it's that they don't really want to dilute their influence by allowing themselves to unify with iffy elements of society, y'know. What I mean to say is, it's not like they're waiting for someone to offer them something straightforward like acceptance or protection or even respect; it's in the Slytherin nature to want to define their territory and to go after power in security, etc. Elitism is woven into their identity; how do you unify with that on a larger than individual scale? It's kinda like herding cats unless you offer them all power and increased pride (like the Death Eaters).

See, this is why H/D is interesting too. I don't think these issues can really be resolved any time soon on a social level, but Harry & Draco can find their own balance (or imbalance)... it's like Snape/Lily (to stick with canon) could've worked if the Dark Lord wasn't on the rise and Snape wasn't quite so creepy and immutable and Lily wasn't quite so righteous. In the end, Slytherins will be loyal once they consider you 'their own', but this attachment alone won't mean anything without something huge (like death) creating a debt and a rift. I want to imagine Snape unbending a bit for Lily-- whom he cared about more than anything except his pride/insecurities/paranoias-- and I can't. And I still don't know what a well-balanced Slytherin looks like (ie, I don't mean psychologically, but that's a lot of prejudice boiling close to the surface for any normal person to take....)

Well, I guess there's Slughorn? You need to know how to offer the right incentive, to shmooze, to make it seem worth the risk, etc. Harry would probably rather eat slugs :>

Date: 2007-07-30 01:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was just making a joke about delicate personal touches and H/D okay :>

Anyway, I don't know, the thing is though - calculated like that, is it really right? Because luring them over, with crystallized pineapple and small promises of power, that's so - political. Which Harry hates, obviously, and would never, ever do. But that's also the beauty in Harry, because he wouldn't ever use them like that, not even to keep them hostage in an attack. Even if they expected him to. So I really think the only way it could happen is naturally, and that's something about the H/D, is that it starts some kind of movement, the way it shows how a way forward might be found. OR NOT I DUNNO.

Date: 2007-07-30 01:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Erm. I mean, yeah I'm totally with you. *nodnod* It is the beauty in Harry <3. I mean, Harry doesn't even like pineapple, that's what it... all comes down to. I mean, maybe AS likes it and would share with S on the... way, on the train..f.asjflaskjfs LIKE HARRY AND RON. Oh man, cracking myself up. >__>

Date: 2007-07-30 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am ignoring that pineapple comment because it makes me go :((((( inside. Hahaha I hate you. I just mean like, this is stupid because I hate the AS/S, but it does make sense, people saying that if they were friends, you know, it'd be a start. If Albus were in Slytherin, or was friends with Scorpius in Slytherin, and - that would be how it would happen, not calculated with boxes of pineapple and wine. Or like. That would be how it should happen in a meaningful lasting way, not a politician-y way that doesn't count in the end.



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