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Harry Potter: did Draco Malfoy become a Death Eater?

Harry Potter: did Draco Malfoy become a Death Eater? Draco Malfoy was Harry Potter's main rival, with links to Voldemort and the evil Death Eaters

Harry Potter - Did Draco Malfoy become a death eater? Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy

Did Draco Malfoy become a Death Eater? Draco Malfoy was one of those characters who we all loved to hate. In the early Harry Potter movies, he was the perfect foil for the self-righteous young Harry Potter and was deliciously detestable.

As the son of the evil Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy was raised to believe in the superiority of ‘pure-bloods’ and to hate ‘mudbloods’ like Hermione Granger. He embodied the cruel, cunning ambition of the Slytherin house and had plenty of moments where he got to display his less-than-moral character. As the fantasy movies progressed, and as Malfoy and the rest of the Hogwarts students got older, Malfoy began to make the transition from unlikeable and mean to downright evil.

In fact, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco Malfoy even let the evil Death Eaters into Hogwarts via the Vanishing Cabinet, which he hid in the room of requirement, leading to the death of Professor Dumbledore. So, Draco Malfoy was a pretty bad dude, and his actions resulted in a fair share of death and misery. But how far did his villainy go, and did Draco Malfoy become a Death Eater? 

Did Draco Malfoy become a Death Eater?

The answer is yes, Draco Malfoy did become a Death Eater. But it’s a bit more complicated than it first seems. Draco Malfoy was made a Death Eater at the start of his sixth year in Hogwarts. He was given the Dark Mark, which symbolised his entry into the evil organisation, and his devotion and fealty to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Lord Voldemort.

He was made a Death Eater after his father was arrested and sent to Azkaban, and was assigned the task of finding a way to kill Dumbledore and sneak the Death Eaters into Hogwarts. He succeeded, in this, despite Harry’s attempts to stop him. He disarmed Dumbledore in the Astronomy Tower, before Professor Snape arrived to perform the Killing Curse on the headmaster himself.

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So, that seems pretty cut-and-dried. However, the truth is that Draco Malfoy isn’t as evil as he initially seemed. He was coerced into joining the Death Eaters and creating the plan to kill Dumbledore and was intimidated and pressured into following through with his plans because he feared for his own life and that of his family. He did not become a Death Eater of his own choice and was manipulated.

At the end of the main story, the Harry Potter character renounced his allegiance to Lord Voldemort and effectively ‘switched sides’ as well, beginning his redemption arc and proving that his evil actions were mostly committed through pressure and fear.

For more deep dives into the Wizarding World, check out our guide to the 10 most irritating Harry Potter plot holes.