I'm having one of these moments where I can't decide whether to post my thoughts here for discussion or to hug them close, to use in a fic later. If you see this, you'll know I've decided to post rather than hug.
I've been re-reading OotP. I've just read the scene where Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad (no one expects the Hogwarts Inquisition) catch Harry et alia in her office. I was struck by just how supremely awful Draco is here.
Umbridge threatens Harry with torture: Malfoy was watching her with a hungry expression on his face.
Hermione talks about the alleged weapon they've been making: [Umbridge's] bulging eyes resting for a moment on Malfoy, who was too slow to disguise the look of eagerness and greed that had appeared on his face.
Umbridge makes a remark about Hogwarts soon being a Weasely-free zone: Malfoy laughed loudly and sycophantically.
So, he's a bastard, obviously. But I'm most interested in what motivates him. It seems pretty clear that he's interested in power. And that he's a suck-up. But is the sucking up a means to an end or is Draco more comfortable with being number two?
He's the leader of his own little Slytherin group. But he sucks up to Umbridge. Does he suck up to Snape at all? Some, IIRC.
When Harry and Ron have taken the polyjuice, they find out that Malfoy has no idea who the Heir of Slytherin is. "I wish I knew who it is," said Malfoy petulantly. "I could help them."
Sometimes I think that while Draco will take the lead when necessary, he'd rather be the sidekick. If he and Harry had hit it off in the beginning, he'd be Harry's sidekick. A sidekick to be reckoned with, but a sidekick nonetheless.
Other times, I think that Draco only sucks up to manoeuvre himself into a better position and that he's biding his time to seize power for himself.
And the rest of the time, I think that Draco and Ron should fuck.