Something interesting is happening to me right now while re-reading The Chamber of Secrets in my car on the way to the office. Well, I should say that I’m listening to The Chamber of Secrets. It’s an audio book. For whatever reason, it seems my mind is keener now than the first time I read the book because I can’t help but find myself picking up on things I didn’t before.
In some cases, I’ve even caught myself playing the “devil’s advocate” and entertaining viewpoints counter to the official story-line. The same thing happened when I recently re-read The Sorcerer’s Stone. For example, I’ve been thinking – if Harry, Ron, and Hermione had never gone after the Sorcerer’s Stone, then it might have actually been safer!
How? Well, only someone who did not intend to use the stone could get it from the Mirror of Erised. One could argue that Harry effectively exposed the stone, dangerously, by retrieving it from the mirror. Professor Quirrell and Voldemort did intend to use the stone, so they would probably never had extracted it on their own. Makes you think.
In any case, back to The Chamber of Secrets. There’s a particularly interesting theory, albeit, a bit of a stretch about Draco Malfoy. In short, it may be that he was an unsung hero in the book. How so? Watch the short video below to understand the basic theory, and then I’ll give my short take on it:
In short, the theory goes that Draco was secretly the person to place the final clue-containing sheet of paper into Hermione’s hand AFTER she had been petrified by the basilisk. It was a book page from a library book, written on and torn out. Tearing out a book page would be very unlike Hermione, but we wouldn’t put it past Draco.
If the theory is true, Draco was essentially a victim of his upbringing and might have been starting to see through it because of what was happening at Hogwarts. Maybe he secretly had a tinge of good growing in him and decided to act on it, partially out of guilt for having openly wished Hermione would be killed by Slytherin’s heir.
Obviously, the theory is a bit of a long-shot, and it may be more based on the movie than the book, but still. What if we were to find out that J.K. Rowling had always intended to write Draco’s story arc as that of a slowly developing anti-hero? It would certainly make his character more interesting than the purely evil (and cowardly) character he appears to be on the surface.
If Rowling has shown anything, it’s that her characters are not usually all good or bad. Take Dumbledore, for example. Early in the series, he seems like the perfect, grandfatherly saint. Later on, however, we start to learn of some of the darkness that entered his story on his way to power. Most would argue he’s still good, even if he did basically raise Harry as a sheep for slaughter, but he’s complicated nonetheless.
If Dumbledore has that kind of complexity to his character, why not Draco as well? It’s worth some thought.
In the end, as I read the book again right now, I do have to admit that I still think Draco’s intent was evil in The Chamber of Secrets. I personally doubt he was the one to place the book page in Hermione’s hand, but who knows. What do you think? Was Draco a purely evil character, at least in The Chamber of Secrets, or was there something more going on? Comment below to share your opinion.