Ah, Draco Malfoy. That foul, loathsome, evil little cockroach, who somehow still managed to win the hearts of fangirls the world over, turned thirty five yesterday. (Or would have, if he weren't fictional. Obviously.)
One fan in particular remembered the Slytherin's special day, and tweeted author J K Rowling to confirm his age.
I loved Rowling's little dig at Draco - although of course, she wouldn't be invited to his party anyway, seeing as she spends far too much time fraternizing with Muggles.
That said, she's made no secret of the fact that she is more than a little concerned about the growing Malfoy fanbase, and often makes a point of differentiating between the lovely Tom Felton (who played the young wizard) and the character of Draco Malfoy.
In an interview with the Leaky Cauldron, she spoke about the times that she has dealt with Draco fans, and tried to explain that this is not the kind of boy that anyone should be attracted to!
People have been waxing lyrical [in letters] about Draco Malfoy, and I think that's the only time when it stopped amusing me and started almost worrying me. I'm trying to clearly distinguish between Tom Felton, who is a good looking young boy, and Draco, who, whatever he looks like, is not a nice man. It's a romantic, but unhealthy, and unfortunately all too common delusion [of girls] that they are going to change someone. And that persists through many women's lives, till their death bed, and it is uncomfortable and unhealthy and it actually worried me a little bit, to see young girls swearing undying devotion to this really imperfect character, because there must be an element in there, that "I'd be the one who [changes him]." I mean, I understand the psychology of it, but it is pretty unhealthy. So, a couple of times I have written back, possibly quite sharply, saying [Laughter], "You want to rethink your priorities here.
She also wrote a more in-depth explanation of the character on Pottermore, her own website, over Christmas.
Draco remains a person of dubious morality in the seven published books, and I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character (although I do not discount the appeal of Tom Felton, who plays Draco brilliantly in the films, and ironically, is about the nicest person you could meet). Draco has all the glamour of the anti-hero; girls are very apt to romanticise such people. All of this left me in the unenviable position of pouring cold common sense on ardent readers’ daydreams as I told them, rather severely, that Draco was not concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering and prejudice and that no, he and Harry were not destined to end up best friends.
Still, some fans refuse to believe that the judgmental little beast wasn't actually a nice person struggling against his upbringing. Perhaps it has something to do with Harry himself, and his odious family, the Dursleys, that makes it easier for fans of the series to try and see the good in Draco.
However, Rowling has a serious point. Over the past decade, a string of truly disturbing characters in YA books have developed huge and passionate fanbases - most notably, essentially everyone in Twilight. Has the recent trend of sympathetic villains (Loki, Maleficent) added to this tendency to fall for the bad guy, or is it just that it's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between actors and their long-standing roles? *cough Tony Stark
Whatever the reason, it seems that the Draco fanbase shows no signs of taking Rowling's word for it that he is actually quite a nasty person, and I'm sure that there was more than one fan doing a little celebrating yesterday.
I just hope that when Harry reaches his mid thirties later this summer, he gets the best (fictional) birthday party ever!
For those who want to plan a party, Harry Potter's birthday is July 31st.