I don’t need to return Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to the library until tomorrow, so I’ve been re-re-reading the last few chapters.

One thing that really struck me with my latest read of the entire series is the theme of love.  We have Lily’s love for Harry protecting him against Voldemort, and we have Snape’s love for Lily helping him change from a Death Eater to a spy for Dumbledore.  But we also see Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy’s love for Draco.  Ever since the Unbreakable Vow scene in Half-Blood Prince, I’ve paid extra attention to the Malfoys, and have found their story to be very interesting.  I noticed that, the less status they have with Voldemort, the more we see that this family loves each other as much as any non-Death Eater family featured in the series.  They’re not warm and fuzzy like the Weasleys, and I still don’t trust them as far as I could throw them, but these are parents who love their son more than anything else in the world and who are willing to sacrifice themselves for him just as Lily and James Potter were.

This does not seem to be a common trait among Death Eaters.  Sirius’ parents don’t seem to have had much love for their children and, if Bellatrix had had children, I doubt she’d ever be up for Mother of the Year, but Narcissa is very different from this sister.  She has something very important in common with her other sister, Andromeda Tonks, even if she doesn’t want to admit it – they both understand the importance of love and family.  Given how Voldemort disdains love and family ties, it makes sense that he would find the Malfoys lacking. He scoffed at Snape’s love for Lily. He drafts Draco to kill Dumbledore because he wants to further humiliate Draco’s parents and sneers at Narcissa and Lucius when he sees how worried they are about their son.

Narcissa ends up saving Harry’s life when she tells Voldemort that Harry is dead when, in fact, he’s not.  I think this scene is under-appreciated; she is worried sick about her own son – and she further risks her standing with Voldemort and the other Death Eaters (and with her own sister) to tell them that Harry is dead, but her mother-love compels her to do it.  While the Malfoys will never be bosom buddies with the Potters and the Weasleys, they do reach a sort of truce at the end of the series, and I think their commitment to love and family is a major reason for this.

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