In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we are led to believe that Draco Malfoy has received the Dark Mark on his left forearm and thus has been initiated into the ranks of the Death Eaters. Harry Potter is the individual who constantly repeats this theory throughout the book; he is practically obsessed with the concept. Hermione and Ron, however, are not so enamored of this theory. Neither am I, but for a very different reason. I believe that the mark on Draco’s arm is a scratch from a non-transformed Fenrir Greyback. I feel it was given to ensure Draco’s loyalty, to hold him to his word to the Dark Lord, and to remind him of what is waiting for him should he fail in his mission to kill Albus Dumbledore. In this essay, I shall show that we have had hints leading us to this conclusion since the first book, and that it was even hinted at in the third movie. I intend to accomplish this showing the techniques that Rowling uses in her books such as the juxtaposition of important scenes, foreshadowing, and the descriptions of characters’ physical appearances.
Juxtaposition is defined as “an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast.” 1 Rowling uses juxtaposition as a technique throughout the series to show the importance of items or people later in the story. Much of this does not become apparent until much later, but in rereading the books we start to see these earlier concurrences are very important to the plot. A number of these convergences first occur in the second book, at the shop in Knockturn Alley known as Borgin and Burkes, as we shall see in a moment. Other such occurrences are seen when we dive into the Pensieve with Harry and see the locket, the Gaunt ring, and the Hufflepuff Cup. We are shown later that these are very important to Voldemort and are the objects most likely used as Horcruxes.
When we first enter Borgin and Burkes with Harry, we see the Vanishing Cabinet contiguous with Draco Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, the Hand of Glory, and the cursed opal necklace.2 All but one of these show up in Half-Blood Prince connected with Draco Malfoy, and all are used in his attempt to murder Dumbledore.
Notice as well that Rowling reiterates this scene at the beginning of Half Blood Prince and again brings our attention to the cabinet, the necklace and Draco.3 However, she adds another connection: Draco showing his arm to Borgin, threatening him with retribution if he does not do as asked, and mentioning Fenrir Greyback as the enforcer of that retribution.4 At this point we do not understand the full implication of this statement. We do not find out until well into the book that Fenrir is an extremely nasty, bloodthirsty werewolf – an antithesis to Remus Lupin.
In hindsight we can see the importance of this scene. The pairing of Draco’s arm with Borgin’s fearful reaction to it, combined with Draco threatening Borgin with visits from a vicious werewolf are Rowling giving us the clues that the mark on Draco’s arm is not a Dark Mark tattoo. Draco is essentially telling Borgin that if he does not comply with Draco’s request he will suffer the same consequence.
There are several other instances during this book where we see the Malfoy name linked with Greyback’s. In the second chapter, during Snape’s explanation to Bellatrix, the names Greyback and Lucius appear side-by-side.5 This, by the way, is our first introduction to the name Greyback which makes the closeness of his name to Malfoy’s more significant. We see this combination of names again after Hermione mentions the Montgomery sisters’ loss of their little brother to an attack by Fenrir6 and then, in the next scene, Harry notices that Draco is looking vastly different.7 Our final linkage of these two individuals is on the tower when Dumbledore is speaking to Greyback and then to Draco. Draco avoids looking at Greyback and Dumbledore seems to be aware of some history between the two of them: “I am a little shocked that Draco here invited you, of all people.” 8 Draco states he did not invite the werewolf and sounds shocked to see him there.
With these many instances of Rowling bringing these two individuals in close contact throughout the book it seems reasonable to conclude that there is a connection between Draco and Fenrir Greyback: a werewolf connection.
Rowling uses foreshadowing quite a lot, as we know, and we can find many times in the books where Draco is connected with werewolves. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we see a Draco who is reluctant to enter the Forbidden Forest for his detention specifically because, “There’s all sorts of things in there – werewolves, I heard.” And Filch replies, in a classic bit of foreshadowing, “That’s your problem isn’t it? Should’ve thought of them werewolves before you got in trouble, shouldn’t you?” 9 In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we see Malfoy visibly move away from Lupin when he first sees him on the train10 and further on in the book we see Draco outside the Shrieking Shack, a structure we later discover was built to house a werewolf during his transformations.11
Throughout the series, Rowling has provided us with many descriptions of what a werewolf in post-transformation stage looks like (especially within the first couple of days after a full moon), or after having been recently bitten or contaminated. Remus Lupin is described in the following ways: “Ill and exhausted,” 12 “Thinner and more ragged-looking,” 13 “Still looks ill,” 14 “His old robes were hanging more loosely on him and there were dark shadows beneath his eyes.” 15 We are shown a recent werewolf bite victim in the fifth book with Mr. Weasley’s roommate at St Mungo’s: “A man lay looking green and sickly.” 16 We are then shown Bill Weasley, a victim of Greyback’s who was not scratched during a full moon. Lupin states, “That does not mean that there won’t be some contamination. Those are cursed wounds. They are unlikely ever to heal fully, and – Bill might have some wolfish characteristics from now on.” 17 Later, Harry observes that Bill “now bore a distinct resemblance to Mad-Eye Moody.” 18 Unfortunately, we do not see how Bill will change either in appearance or in mannerisms when a full moon comes around, as there are still two weeks left until it arrives when the book ends.
In Half-Blood Prince, we are shown that something is wrong with Draco: he misses classes, Quidditch matches, and is described twice as ill looking with “grayish tinged” skin.19 I find it very interesting, in fact, that his skin is “grayish” tinged, especially when, if my theory is correct, it is Greyback who scratched him. I firmly believe Rowling is giving this as a huge hint using “grayish” instead of “green” again so that we do make the connection to Greyback.
Rowling has trained us to recognize someone who is bitten or scratched by a werewolf – either transformed or non-transformed. She follows this up by specifically mentioning Draco’s appearance to us twice. We can infer that he was just as sick in October and November – when we are only told he has missed classes and matches – as he was in December and April, when we actually see him looking ill.
In Norse mythology, Fenrir is a gigantic and terrible monster in the shape of a wolf. Our Fenrir resembles the one in legend in that he is described as “a big, rangy man with matted gray hair and whiskers, whose black Death Eater’s robes looked uncomfortably tight. […] His filthy hands had long yellowish nails.” 20 He obviously has a wolfish appearance even when not transformed.
Rowling first introduces us to Fenrir Greyback when he is mentioned by Snape at Spinner’s End, and then by Draco at Borgin and Burkes. We only know at this point that he is a Death Eater who was around during the first confrontation with Voldemort. The next time we hear about Greyback as a werewolf is during Christmas when Lupin reveals to Harry that Greyback is the werewolf who bit him as a child. We then discover that he has a taste for children, and that Voldemort uses him to keep his Death Eaters in line by threatening the lives of their children with the fear of his bite. It is also stated that he positions himself at strategic places during the full moon in order to be nearer his chosen victims.21
Later we are given the knowledge of what happens when Fenrir goes a bit overboard in his attacks; he ends up killing a five-year-old boy, whose sisters are Hogwarts students.22 At the end of the book, Dumbledore discovers that Fenrir is developing such a taste for human flesh that he no longer waits for the full moon, but will attack whenever he pleases, or – as we can only assume – when Voldemort orders him to mark someone.23
We know from Harry’s conversation with Remus Lupin, when we learn who and what Greyback is, that Voldemort uses Greyback as a deterrent to get the results he wants from his associates. As we also know that Voldemort cannot really get at Lucius to unleash his displeasure, Draco must take the place of his father in retribution for his father’s failures. The concept of “sins of the father” comes into play here. Lucius has vastly disappointed Voldemort with his mistake with the diary and the disaster at the Ministry of Magic, which was Lucius’s mission. The punishment would be the marking of his son with a scratch from Greyback as a reminder of what else could come if he is further disappointed. He would then give Draco a chance to redeem himself and his father by killing Dumbledore, knowing that it was most likely a doomed mission to begin with.
The Dark Mark
Several people have claimed that Draco had to have the Dark Mark on his arm; otherwise he couldn’t have gotten up to the Astronomy Tower. To answer this, I shall remind you of the scene in the infirmary where everyone is describing what they experienced that night and Harry is slowly putting the pieces together in his mind as he hears the explanations. At one point, we find out that a barrier curse had been placed across the entrance to the tower stairs and while Snape could cross it, Neville and Remus Lupin were thrown back. Harry concludes that only those with the Dark Mark could pass through.
But there is more to this scene in the infirmary. Prior to Snape arriving at the top of the tower, Dumbledore is questioning Draco as to how he had managed to get Death Eaters into the school. At one point, Draco says that he was supposed to be at the top of the tower right after the Morsmordre was cast in the sky, but was late getting there.24 Later in the infirmary, as everyone is describing what they were doing and saw happen, Tonks states that “The Malfoy boy had vanished, he must have slipped past, up the stairs…then more of them ran after him, but one of them blocked the stair behind them with some kind of curse.” 25 This means the barrier was placed after Draco had gone up the stairs. Lupin then follows up with “I saw [Snape] run straight through the cursed barrier as though it wasn’t there.” 26 When he hears that Neville and Lupin had both been thrown back from the barrier, Harry deduces that the nature of the barrier is to only let through those with Dark Marks. Lupin then tells how the big Death Eater fired off the hex that brought both the ceiling and the barrier curse down and then Snape and Malfoy emerged from the dust.27 Since the barrier came down prior to Draco and Snape stepping off the end of the stairs, they did not need the Dark Mark to escape from the tower.
With all of this information, it is my feeling that the plan called for Draco to be at the top of the tower before the barrier went up specifically because he did not have a Dark Mark. The fact that he was late would have caused the consternation we saw as he was talking to Dumbledore because he knew that if he had been delayed any longer he would not have been able to make it up the stairs with the barrier already in place, and thus he would not be able to carry out the primary goal of his mission – to kill Dumbledore.
Foreshadowing in the Prisoner of Azkaban Movie
One of the more interesting interviews on the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD was the one with J.K. Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, Mark Radcliffe and Alfonso Cuaron. Rowling states the following:
Alfonso had good intuition about what would and wouldn't work. He's put things in the film that, without knowing it, foreshadow things that are going to happen in the final two books. So I really got goose bumps when I saw a couple of those things, and I thought people are going to look back on the film and think those were put in deliberately as clues.28
While there are several scenes in that movie that may qualify as foreshadowing, the one that always sends goose bumps down my spine is Draco Malfoy howling like a werewolf in response to the line: “The werewolf only responds to the call of its own kind.”
Remember, this is the scene where Snape is substituting for Lupin as the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor while Lupin is recovering from his most recent werewolf transformation, and Hermione answers Snape’s question about the difference between a werewolf and a real wolf. Hermione’s last statement is that “The werewolf only responds to the call of its own kind,” 29 which prompts Draco to howl like a werewolf. A major bit of unintentional foreshadowing on the director’s part?
In conclusion, I truly believe that Rowling is setting us up for what will eventually happen to Draco, probably over the coming summer. I believe he received a scratch last summer from an un-transformed werewolf as a none-too-subtle reminder of what would happen to him if he failed in his task. We see through Rowling’s use of juxtaposition and foreshadowing that Draco and werewolves go hand in hand. We can also see that Rowling’s repetitive reminders of what werewolves look like and how they act after a transformation match many of Draco’s symptoms over his sixth year at Hogwarts. I believe that this summer, or during the course of Book Seven, he will receive the full bite from Fenrir and that howl we heard from him in the Prisoner of Azkaban movie will truly be a case of “The werewolf only responds to the call of its own kind.”
1. Dictionary.com, s.v. “juxtaposition.”
2. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets, 50-53.
3. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 124-27.
4. Ibid., 125.
5. Ibid., 26.
6. Ibid., 473.
7. Ibid., 474.
8. Ibid., 593.
9. Ibid., Sorcerer’s Stone, 249.
10. Ibid., Prisoner of Azkaban, 80.
11. Ibid., 279.
12. Ibid., 74.
13. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 330.
14. Ibid., Prisoner of Azkaban, 235.
15. Ibid., 185.
16. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 488.
17. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 613.
18. Ibid., 634.
19. Ibid., 321, 474.
20. Ibid., 593.
21. Ibid., 334-35.
22. Ibid., 472-73.
23. Ibid., 593.
24. Ibid., 590.
25. Ibid., 620.
27. Ibid., 621.
28. Rowling, Prisoner of Azkaban DVD “Extra.”
29. Kloves, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Bibliography Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1), s.v. “juxtaposition.” Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/juxtaposition (accessed 20 October 2006).
Kloves, Steven (based on the novel by J.K. Rowling). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Burbank: Warner Bros. Pictures, 2004.
Rowling, J.K. “Interview with David Heyman, Steve Kloves, Mark Radcliffe, Alfonso Cuarón, and Jo Rowling.” Prisoner of Azkaban DVD “Extra,” 23 November 2004. Transcript, The Leaky Cauldron. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2004/1104-poadvd.htm (accessed 27 October 2006).
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.
———. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.
———. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998.