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You can call me Hal.

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The Weasel and the Ferret
I mean, of course, Ron and Draco.

(And here's another twinge of fannish guilt for me, because as an X-Phile, I know that Jeffrey Spender, the dear boy, is the real Ferret. *sigh*)

I've been thinking about Ron and Draco lately, not so much in a slashy way (though that's good too), but as schoolboy arch-nemeses. It's true that Harry and Draco are set up as opponents from early on, but by OotP, Harry has, by his own admission, much bigger fish to fry. Draco doesn't even really register for him, except as an annoyance.

Ron, on the other hand, seems very well aware of Draco. And Draco of Ron. ("Weasley is our king!") As well, throughout the series, Ron seems to react the most strongly to Draco. I'm pretty sure Harry has pounded Draco at least once (I'm at work, so I don't have my books and it's been a while since my last read-through, so please correct me if I'm wrong) but Ron has pounded Draco and threatened to pound Draco and had to be forcibly restrained from pounding Draco and tried to curse Draco and probably more stuff I can't recall right now.

There's a lot of heat there. (Hmm, maybe this is slashy after all.)

I've been wondering: what would the Ron-Draco relationship be like if Harry had never come to Hogwarts at all? And if this were a normal school story, without the polarizing good/evil of the OotP and the Death Eaters?

They are both from old wizarding families, even if Ron's is poor and Draco's is rich. Draco seems well aware of Ron's family from the first. They have instant animosity.

The only thing I wonder about, though, is whether Draco would have focused on Ron. Draco is pretty clearly the dominant Slytherin of his year from the beginning. But there really didn't seem to be a dominant Gryffindor until about GoF, when Harry became more prominent. (He seems to spend a lot of time in earlier books being shunned by people for various reasons, poor kid.)

Do you think that Draco would have singled Ron out in a world without Harry? I'm not sure. Do you think they're more suitably matched as opponents than Harry and Draco? I do, very much so.

You know, if either Ron or Draco has to go, I hope they go together. I love them both so much.

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Pre-dominant Gryffindors

I think it depends on how shy Neville would be in a world without Harry: if his parents didn't have that nasty Cruciatus encounter, he'd likely be head of his class. Dean and Seamus don't seem to be likely to be leader-ish - they've both got less experience with games and fun in the Wizarding World than the two purebloods, so it'd come down to Neville, unless he's too shy, or Ron, with his plethora of siblings and second-hand knowledge of just about everything.

Plus, there's that whole family feud thing going on between the Weasleys and the Malfoys. Without Harry as a destabilizer, it'd probably polarize between them, with their housemates backing them up out of both house pride and a dose of self defense.

Re: Pre-dominant Gryffindors

Neville certainly is a wild card. I tend to think he'd still be shy, but probably less so.

Plus, there's that whole family feud thing going on between the Weasleys and the Malfoys.

It's like Romeo and Juliet. *g*

Yay! Ferret! ::basks in brief moment of Spender-love::

I've always understood Ron and Draco to be the matched pair of rivals in the books, with Harry's rival being, and I think you'll find this name familiar, Voldemort. H/D doesn't do a damn thing for me. Whereas from their first page appearances, Ron and Draco are set up as dichtomous opposites in Harry's world: it's no accident he has to choose between them in SS/PS.

I don't think Draco singled out Harry, I think he singled out The Boy Who Lived; he wanted the prestige of associating with the big hero, and when he got rejected he turned it into a grudge. If Neville had been the one, Draco probably would've tried to buddy up to him; but if Voldemort hadn't been a factor, I definately think Draco would've focused in on Ron as an easy target. It's hard to antagonize Dean and Seamus, since aside from their parentage they seem pretty low-profile, and if their parents had survived I think Harry and Neville would've both been much more confident and much harder to push around. Ron, though, is sufficiently touchy about enough subjects that he could provide endless hours of entertainment.

I'm not forgetting Voldemort -- I think that was implicit in "bigger fish to fry". But I'm speaking in the context of schoolboy rivalry.

That said, I've always thought that Harry was initially set up with two opponants: his peer, Draco, and his teacher, Snape. Voldemort only really became an actual opponent for Harry at the end of PS, when it was revealed he was still around, and then more strongly in CoS, with Riddle.

I always giggle at this line in CoS: He'd almost be glad of a sight of his archenemy, Draco Malfoy, just to be sure it hadn't all been a dream .....

As Harry has matured and the Voldemort situation has worsened, he's considered Draco less and less of an "archenemy".

I like what you say about Ron being so touchy -- he's certainly worth the trouble of teasing. :)

They might have, as they're cousins whose dads don't get along, but without Harry would draco have been instantly jealous of ron the way he was in ps/ss?

Probably not instantly jealous, but Draco seems to me the type who needs an opponent in order to be happy. So I think he would have found someone, maybe Ron, for that regardless.

Screw Spender, Frank Burns has been and always will be the original Ferret.

it's just my opinion. but without harry, ron would simply be another weasley, to the world and to draco. and draco's feelings toward each member of the trio are not the same. Intense hatred and resentment for Harry, Confusion, Contempt and grudged respect for Hermione and Contempt and Annoyance for Ron. In general, I don't think the Malfoys see the Weasleys as the foe; because in order to be enemies, one needs to see the other partt as equal, but the Malfoys made clear that they don't think the Weasleys as equal. So contempt, yes, but not strong enough to be hatred.
This is just my opinion. Feel free to flame.

lurker bangs head to the table and wails

No-no-no! My H/D loyal mind cannot conceive Ron/Draco, even if it is sheer hatred (that would only lead, in my sick mind, to slash). And, reading through your replies, I couldn't help but nod at comments as 'in a Harry-less world, Ron and Draco would be arch rivals' or other such opinions. Yes, they come from similar yet contrasting backgrounds, yes, they're both pure bloods and so black-and-white and yes, Harry seemed to be getting over Draco, at the end of OotP. But... but... *waits for someone to come up with good counter arguments - ...*
I can't see Ron as Draco's counterpart. And I don't wanna think of a world without Harry, because that would only seem too true. And H/D is what keeps me smiling through the day, why must it be a lie? I simply cannot erase Harry's face and add someone else's on top of it, I find it so real that it makes me wanna close my eyes and shut of the picture. I can't even stand Pansy/Draco, it seems too unnatural to me after having read so many Harry/Draco.
*slaps her head* Gawd, I'm sick. So sick.

Re: lurker bangs head to the table and wails

Don't worry, H/D doesn't have to be a lie. :) I quite enjoy H/D.

I just see Ron and Draco as more natural rivals and I wondered what things would be like without Harry. There seems to be so much more heat between them than between Harry and Draco, at least in the later books.

Completely agree with you, though I doubt that surprises anyone.

I think Draco would still have singled out Ron, partly because Ron reacts so splendidly and partly because Lucius has such issues with the Weasleys, and Arthur in particular. In CoS, I got a sense that there was a history of animosity. He singles Ginny out as the recipient of Riddle's diary because she is Arthur's daughter, not because her older brother is friends with Harry Potter.

That said, I think Draco would like to believe that he is still Harry's arch-nemesis. It suits his own sense of self-worth.

Yes . . . I'm remembering this quote form Cassie Claire's "Something Impossible:"

"Bah," Draco said. "In case you haven't noticed, Professor, Potter and I have a rivalry going. I am his nemesis. In order to be an effective nemesis, I have to pose something of a threat. I don't see how I can pose a threat to someone I can't even see. I was just trying to level the playing field."

"You are not his nemesis," said Dumbledore, who was getting a bit red about the tips of his ears. "Voldemort is his nemesis."

Draco felt insulted. "Then what am I?"

Yes, I've always thought it was made clear that Ron and Draco were the true rivals, and that Weasleys and Malfoys had been rivals at Hogwarts way down in history, even just in that first scene Ron and Draco have together on the Hogwarts Express, and the way they warn Harry away from each other. Then in CoS we see some more of the history, how their whole *families* hate each other. But Harry came in more high-profile than Ron, so Draco focussed on him instead and everything went *wrong*! (wah Draco always losing and getting right back up!)

There's less of it in PoA and GoF, I think because in those books it really is all about Harry's image and status changing (I like the idea of the dream that rowena742 mentioned, and does that mean we're coming in for lots of pretty Harry/Voldemort slash after the next book?), and Draco trying to keep up. But by OotP he's given up on Harry and he's focusing on Ron again and much with the yay! I read OotP the first time squeeing over all the Ron/Draco moments.

In a hypothetical World Without Voldemort (which somebody really ought to write) I think it would be Draco and Ron as the rivals of their year, with Harry as Ron's sidekick. Because they are equals, and because of all the history with the families, but I also tend to think Neville would be above that kind of rivalry. *Is* above that kind of silly rivalry even in the books as they are. He'd be as much out of Draco's league as Harry is getting to be.

In a World Without Voldemort, I wonder what Harry's relationships would be like. Maybe he and Neville would be buds. I suppose it would depend a lot too on who his parents socialized with.

I wonder, too, if there would have been more children in their year at school. Maybe people were holding off having children during V's heyday. And people dying, etc.

I call attention not to Cassie Claire (who I've not read so I will not judge) but to Maya. In her Underwater Light, which is set without the influence of OotP, Draco becomes a shepherd for his house in the face of outside attack. Though his tolerance of Harry (and Harry's of him) can be attacked from a canonical standpoint, I'm a H/Der so I don't complain. Moreover, Maya's Draco even reaches through his animosity to work WITH Harry in setting up an inter-house alliance against attacks. I love her Draco because she emphasizes this quality in him, which I think is present but latent in the books: the ability to lead productively and to "work through" individual differences when the stakes are sufficiently high (and granted, they have to be DAMN high, but still.) I've been told I'm altogether too tolerant of Draco, and that I give him too much credit to be humane, by the professor of my Harry Potter class. Thoughts? Am I?

I think that Draco could learn to be humane and mature, but there would have to be a great need.

Right now, I'm expecting him to mature a lot before HPB, not becoming a nicer person, but a stronger one, since his father is in Azkaban and he's realised just how far behind Harry he is now.

I think that will make him grow up, even if it won't make him good.

That is one of my favorite ships too, and what you wrote makes a lot of sense.
I also wonder, but I am sure he would have. Because one way or another, Draco would have been seeker and Ron, keeper ^___- ::nosexualconnotationsnosexualconnotations::

Hee! But the Seeker and the Keeper don't interact at all. On the other hand, take my fave Quidditch Boys ship, Marcus Flint/Oliver Wood. Chaser vs Keeper. There's a sexual connotation for you. :)

What would the Ron-Draco relationship be like if Harry had never come to Hogwarts at all? And if this were a normal school story, without the polarizing good/evil of the OotP and the Death Eaters?

Damn. Someone needs to write that R/D AU.

(Here from daily_snitch, btw.)

Jeff Spender/Draco. Write it. I dare ya. *g*

(I'm toying with an HP/XF crossover, but it's a secret. Don't tell anyone.)

Hee! I suppose Krycek could introduce them.

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