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We've known since we first learned that these "Festive Surprises" were headed to Pottermore that one of the updates would give us some insight into the life of Harry's Hogwarts nemesis Draco Malfoy. The newly unlocked page of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince delivered on that with a sizable essay about the Slytherin student, and it includes some new information about Draco's post-Hogwarts life and where J.K. Rowling imagines him now. Apparently, his parents weren't thrilled with the woman he married.
Potter more spoilers ahead! If you'd rather read the full essay yourself, head on over to the Avada Kedavra page of Book 6 at Pottermore and answer the riddle. (Login required!).
Rowling uses the "Draco Malfoy" essay to outline Draco's Hogwarts days, including his pre-Year 1 impression of Harry Potter, all the way through the conflicts he experienced during his adolescence, when Voldemort was re-rising to power and Lucius Malfoy was determined to secure a prominent place under the new reign. At the end of the essay, Rowling reveals some interesting information about what became of Draco after he left Hogwarts. From what she reveals, it sounds like Draco Malfoy and his wife veered away from their families' ideals about muggle-loathing and being pure-bloods.
Draco married the younger sister of a fellow Slytherin. Astoria Greengrass, who had gone through a similar (though less violent and frightening) conversion from pure-blood ideals to a more tolerant life view, was felt by Narcissa and Lucius to be something of a disappointment as a daughter-in-law. They had had high hopes of a girl whose family featured on the 'Sacred Twenty-Eight', but as Astoria refused to raise their grandson Scorpius in the belief that Muggles were scum, family gatherings were often fraught with tension.
It should be noted that, leading up to this paragraph, Rowling acknowledges Draco's struggles in the later years of his life at Hogwarts. In Book 6, his upbringing, his distaste for Harry Potter, his frustration over his family's loss of status and his determination to help his family all conflicted with the realization that he wasn't cut out for murder. As you may recall at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, his efforts to fulfill the Dark Lord's orders had taken a drastic toll on him, and in the end, he wasn't able to bring himself to kill Dumbledore. And Rowling questions whether Draco would've been willing to hand Harry Potter over to the Dark Lord, had it come to that in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She goes on to note that the events that transpired during Draco's teens changed him forever.
So, the above-quoted turnaround isn't coming out of nowhere. It would be unfair to assume that Voldemort's efforts to regain power would only have a strong impact on the heroes of the story. Draco may not have been a hero, but he is human, and from the sound of it, he was pretty drastically affected by everything he'd been through.
We knew that Draco got married and eventually had a son named Scorpius, as Harry and his family see them waiting on the platform during the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. His wife, however, is not mentioned by name in the book. Instead of settling down with Pansy Parkinson, who might've been a perfect fit for a Draco Malfoy that hadn't been changed so much by his experiences, he ended up with Astoria Greengrass. And it sounds like Astoria can connect with Draco in the shared realization that their families' intolerance isn't a trait worth passing down to their son.
In J.K. Rowling's thoughts portion of the essay, she includes further notes of positivity about where she thinks Draco ended up. It includes a reference to Draco's interest in alchemy, which apparently isn't all about the gold...
I imagine that Draco grew up to lead a modified version of his father's existence; independently wealthy, without any need to work, Draco inhabits Malfoy Manor with his wife and son. I see his hobbies further confirmation of his dual nature. The collection of Dark artefacts harks back to family history, even though he keeps them in glass cases and does not use them. However, his strange interest in alchemical manuscripts, from which he never attempts to make a Philsopher's Stone, hints at a wish for something other than wealth, perhaps even the wish to be a better man. I have high hopes that he will raise Scorpius to be a much kinder and more tolerant Malfoy than he was in his own youth.
The whole essay is well worth a read. It doesn't paint Draco to be this misunderstood victim, as Rowling outright notes that he remains a character of "dubious morality" in the books, and she admits it was unnerving to see so many female fans fall for Draco despite his flaws. But the writing does allow us to understand Draco's mindset, from when he first arrives at Hogwarts, believing Harry Potter could be an ally, to the envy he experiences for various reasons throughout the story, to his determination to prove himself and eventually his desperation to help his family.
I think one of the things that stands out most from all of this is Rowling's acknowledgement that the Malfoys love one another. It's an aspect of the family that we might want to dismiss, as it's hard to want to attribute anything good to such a dark family. But there are demonstrations of the Malfoys love for one another throughout the books, including the end when Narcissa outright lies to Voldemort about Harry being dead so that she can get to Hogwarts and find her son. That was one more instance where Voldemort underestimated love and paid the price for it.
Where there's love, there's good, so it's not impossible to imagine that Draco would tap into the better side of himself and shed what isn't worth passing down to his son.
And now I'm envisioning Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter being actual friends. Think it might've happened?
Not caught up on all of the recently added Pottermore goodies? We've got you covered! Find out how Michael Jackson was one reason J.K. Rowling left zombies out of the story here. Was Snape ever going to be a vampire? Get the answer to that question here. Who does J.K. Rowling feel guilty for killing off? Get the details!.