Lucius Malfoy: Father of the Year
Well. Maybe not.
I particularly enjoy looking at the Potter series from the perspective of various secondary characters. It’s no slight on Harry, but because the series directly follows him, it’s easy to be restricted by his perspective; to solely see moments where Harry wins, and cheer along, without stopping to consider how the exact same events can be interpreted by other characters.
Enter Draco and Lucius Malfoy.
Early Draco is a spoiled, pampered boy who loses Harry’s friendship before he’s introduced himself properly - due to his own awful attitude. But when you look retrospectively, you start to realise just why adult Draco in Cursed Child rather considers his time at Hogwarts to have been a wash - and it all happens long before he’s started inviting Death Eaters into the castle.
We learn in CC that young Draco had a dream; to be a Quidditch player. Draco remarked in PS that Lucius thought it’d be a crime if he wasn’t picked to play on the team. We witness him as a talented flyer, and he complains continually about how unfair it is that first years can’t be on the team. He even talks of bullying his father into purchasing a broom for him, and smuggling it in to Hogwarts.
Except, of course, none of this happens. Rules are rules, Malfoy name or not.
But then Harry ends up rejecting Draco outright, and instantly becoming the best friend of Ron Weasley - the family that the Malfoys are so at odds with. …worst of all, due to Draco’s own poor behaviour, Harry ends up being selected for Gryffindor’s Quidditch team.
It seems that rules are rules no longer. In Harry’s case, first years can play Quidditch. In Harry’s case, first years can have a broomstick. In Harry’s case, his broomstick is even purchased for him…and what a broomstick it is; better than Draco’s, put it that way.
To heap misery onto a terrible year, it’s Harry and his friends (not any Gryffindors from the other 6 years) who yank the house cup from a joyful Slytherin, who were poised to celebrate. It’s not just a few points here and there; Gryffindor are catapulted from last place to first by receiving more than 50% of their previous points total in a 60 second burst of benevolence by the Headmaster.
The Gryffindor Headmaster.
Young Draco must’ve been beside himself.
So we fast forward to the second year, and we learn in CoS that over the course of the summer, Draco has whinged to Lucius at least ‘a dozen times’ about Harry and his broomstick. Of course, even later, we learn in GoF that Lucius wasn’t even keen on sending Draco to Hogwarts in the first place.
Lucius must’ve been incandescent with rage to hear how his son had been maligned - and not just his son, but his son’s house, the house of his ex-Death Eater comrades’ children, the house led by his old friend…in fact, HIS house - and all of this favouritism has only started once Harry arrives. But as Lucius notes to his son, appearing less than fond of Harry simply isn’t politically astute.
So Lucius does what he can to make amends - he buys Draco a top of the range broom, and then he buys the rest of the team the same. He doesn’t only guarantee Draco’s entry onto the team, but he attempts to secure his old house’s pride; those Quidditch points seem to be worth their weight in gold when it comes to the House cup. Those colours in the Great Hall aren’t going to be turned green to red in the last minute this year. Not if Lucius has anything to do with it.
And what else does he do? He infiltrates the board of governors. He didn’t bother prior to Draco’s first year at school, so it’s not as if he’s looking to mop up power wherever it exists; he joins the board presumably as a reaction to his perception that Draco has been treated unfairly.
Additionally, Lucius has his own problems - he’s got the Ministry knocking at his door, seemingly encouraged by Arthur Weasley…and he’s got a whole host of dark artefacts that he doesn’t want anyone to catch him with. The last thing that Lucius wants to be caught with is something which originated with the Dark Lord, especially now that The Boy Who Lived is in the wizarding world, and appears to be a favourite son.
So Lucius unleashes the diary. He does so for a myriad of reasons - mostly looking to rid himself of an undesirable and useless object, whilst also joyfully attempting to destroy a family he detests, and wreaking revenge upon a Ministry worker who isn’t cowed by him, and sees fit to challenge him…
…but also, because removing Dumbledore from his position from the school is, in Lucius’ eyes, a good and just punishment for his efforts in Draco’s first year. For overlooking Draco’s talents in favour of Harry. For bending the rules for a Gryffindor, but not a Slytherin.
And let us not forget, Draco’s hatred of Harry is only really equally shared by one other person in the school - the one person who Draco really admires:
And no matter what you think of Snape and Malfoy’s relationship at this stage, there’s no denying that Snape was once Malfoy’s lapdog; that Malfoy was once a person who Snape looked up to and admired.
We know that Lucius wanted Draco to attend a school where he could study the Dark Arts, and not just Defence - but Narcissa didn’t want Draco going far away. So what’s the next best thing? Rid Hogwarts of Dumbledore, and use your new position as governor, and your existing influence in the Ministry to have a hand in suggesting the new Head…
…because Lucius would really like a new Headmaster. A new Headmaster who apparently sees things the way he does. Who understands the desire for a new world order. Who can have things suggested in his ear…
And then maybe, just maybe, Lucius can create a Hogwarts which might just be suitable for a boy like Draco after all.