Today I watched Draco Malfoy die. I watched as six pairs of thick black boots slammed again and again into his skull and ribcage, not stopping even long after he died. I watched as his face was mutilated to the point of being unrecognizable. I watched as his hair, once so blond it was white, became red, thickly matted with his own blood. I watched as his ribcage finally collapsed on his lungs, cutting off his breath forever. I watched as Draco looked up at me, directly into my eyes, not breaking contact until he lost consciousness. I stood by and watched as six of my fellow Gryffendors murdered Draco Malfoy.
I suppose the fact is that everyone thought they were going to die. I'm not saying that Draco couldn't have killed them all, but I know that he wouldn't, or at least that he wasn't planning on it. But that makes no difference. What everyone saw was Draco Malfoy, Slytherin, son of a Death Eater, trained in the dark arts, holding the whole school hostage and threatening them with dark curses. He didn't just threaten, either. Draco used those curses. He actually put the cruciatus on a few people, my own friend Ron included.
People actually tried to credit me with stopping him. I couldn't believe it. When I denied it everyone assumed it was my usual humility. They just couldn't believe that I would want no part in Draco's death. Everyone thinks that he's some sort of an evil psychopathic killer and that if he hadn't been stopped, he would have killed us all. True, Draco may have been a bit messed up in the head, but who wouldn't be with all he had gone through. One thing I know for certain is that he was no homicidal maniac. Being proficient in the dark arts doesn't mean you're a killer. Those six boys who beat Draco to death, they were the killers and they didn't have to know any dark magic to know how to kill.
You know what the funny thing is? Or maybe it's the really sad thing. The thing that everyone is going to want to talk about after what happened today is the evils of dark magic and how the ministry needs to tighten the security around those who use it and its availability to children. I know that they will completely miss the point of what happened today. What happened to Draco is a prime example of the fact that dark magic doesn't kill wizards, wizards kill wizards. Those six boys killed Draco with their own bare hands, As far as I'm concerned, they're murderers. The ministry doesn't see it that way, though. What they see is six Gryffendors, six good wizards, six users of light magic protecting their school against a Slytherin, an evil wizard, a user of dark magic. It's been argued that with the level of dark magic Draco was using, he could have killed us all with one spell. I don't doubt this at all. In fact, I'm positive Draco could have done it. But that is an irrelevant line of reasoning. The fact is that Draco didn't kill us all, or anyone for that matter, and I know he wouldn't have.
What really gets me is the fact that no one seems to care about why Draco did what he did. If they would only bother to ask me, I could tell them. I saw how Draco suffered. Did you ever wonder why the Death Eaters wear masks? It's because they've been doing it for so long that they no longer know how to go without one. People's image of Slytherins is that they're proud, haughty, self glorifying, arrogant, evil, heartless, and cruel. The Slytherin is basically seen as the bully who rules the school. Has it really never occurred to anyone besides myself that this isn't the truth? You know who rules the school? Gryffendors, that's who. The Gryffendors have got it made. You know good and evil is really just a matter of which side you're on and who's currently ruling the world. Currently the wizarding world is ruled by the quote unquote "light" side and our enemies are therefore the "dark" side. So why do we hate those on the "dark" side? Because they want to be in control instead of us and because they tend to hurt and kill people on our side.
Imagine it the other way around. Imagine you are on the "dark" side. Imagine that you are forever being ruled over by the "light" side. Imagine that you and your people are hated by those in power. Imagine if one of your people is discovered, he is bound to be sent to Azkaban and possibly have the Dementors kiss administered on him. Does that not sound evil? Killing your enemies is always considered noble, no matter whether you're on the "light" side or the "dark" side. You know I've killed before, and I was awarded sixty house points for it. He was considered an enemy, so it was a noble act. So why is it that we hate the wizards in the "dark" side because they kill their enemies? Because the "light" side is in charge of the world. What we say goes.
Six Gryffendors murdered Draco Malfoy and they were called heroes for it. Draco never did anything other than stand up against this system that had labeled him as "evil." There's only so long that you can stand being labeled as a social outcast before you crack. There's only so many times you can sit by and watch the house cup being stolen from the Slytherins and handed to the Gryffendors. I mean, really, first year Dumbledore just made up those points so that Gryffendor could win instead of Slytherin. Basically he managed to find a clever of giving us house points for breaking school rules and committing murder! You know those boys who killed Draco were also given house points for their crime. If it were me instead who was beaten to death by a group of Slytherins, each and every one of them would have been sent to Azkaban. Even if I had been attacking the school, as long as it were Slytherins I was hurting, of course. Because our society says that Slytherins are evil and Gryffendors are good. What it really comes down to is that anyone who's different or anyone who dares object to the high and mighty "system" is fundamentally evil and deserves to be punished.
You very well may ask who I am to make statements such as these. I am Harry Potter, after all, the poster boy for the "light" side, the notorious fighter against Voldemort. Well the truth is that I could have easily gone either way. I know full well that I could just as easily have been in Slytherin as in Gryffendor. A coin toss couldn't be more accurate. So imagine if the sorting hat had arbitrarily decided to sort me into Slytherin. That doesn't mean that I would have been any different a person, but people would perceive me differently. I would probably still have been after Voldemort, I mean the bastard did kill my parents. I don't care if you're the pope, if you murder my parents, you're going on my hit list. But as a Gryffendor, it's perfectly acceptable for me to want revenge on Voldemort. If I were a Slytherin, though, it would be a different matter all together. I would no longer be a hero, I would be a vindictive young wizard out for revenge who wants to overthrow Voldemort's reign of terror merely so that I could be the new dark lord. I would then be perceived as evil. No difference in me or my actions, just a change in school house.
And so there was Draco. I'm not trying to persuade you that Draco was a good, kind soul deep down inside. What I am saying is that (besides some rather obvious details) the main difference between Draco and I is that he was sorted into Slytherin and I was sorted into Gryffendor. Sure Draco did some awful things during his life. He lied, cheated, stole, broke countless rules, hurt others, manipulated others, I happen to know he even killed a man once. There is not a thing on that list that I haven't done myself. I may be the poster boy for the "light" side, but only by default. I'm not trying to day that I ought to have been in Slytherin, I'm just trying to point out the fact that the terms "good: and "evil" are purely subjective and need to be redefined or thrown out altogether. Personally I think that something along the line of "in current possession of power" should be used in the place of "good." And don't even get me started on the terms "light" and "dark" nonsense. We're not all that light and they're not all that dark.
Do you know why the Gryffendors hate the Slytherins so much? It's because the Gryffendors are so used to ruling the roost that it pissed them off that anyone would dare challenge them. They're basically self absorbed pricks. What the Slytherins really hate about the Gryffendors is their "holier than thou" attitude. Do you have any idea what it was that cause Draco to snap? The Gryffendors were holding a party for me in honour of my winning a Quidditch scholarship. If you ask me, it was just another excuse to get drunk. I had told Draco that he was welcome to come it he wanted. I assumed he would refuse, but evidently he decided to come anyway. He never even got inside, though. As soon as he showed up, Ron caught sight of him and started wailing into him in a true to Ron fashion. There was a huge crowd out in the hallway, all watching Ron beat the shit out of Draco. Not one of them tried to stop him, though. It was really sick, I mean Draco's around 5 foot 4 and can't weigh more that about 105, the boy's basically tiny. Ron on the other hand is 6 foot 2 and must weigh at least 200 pounds. There was really nothing Draco could do to defend himself, he just lay there limp as Ron straddled his thin chest and pounded into his face with his fists. I swear Ron was like a man possessed. I jumped on his back, but it honestly took just short of choking Ron to death before he would stop. And do you know what? Ron never got into trouble. The story flew quickly, of course, and everyone could clearly see by looking at Draco that it was true. His whole face was bruised and swollen and his lip had been split open. Do you have any idea how mortifying that would have to have been for Draco? I mean the kind of inferiority complexes that boy had were totally unreal. To go through life believing that you were so low down on the chain that could get brutally attacked and it wouldn't matter, it would simply be counted as nothing. That's what it was like for Draco, he had to fight tooth and nail to make people think he mattered, and you know, it really made no difference. But as soon as a Slytherin steps out of line, the whole school will stand up and notice and make sure he gets punished accordingly. Gryffendors, on the other hand, get away with murder, literally. So much is made of the favoritism Snape shows the Slytherins, but can you really blame him? He was a Slytherin as well, he knows all too well that it's really the Gryffendors who are shown favoritism by the entirety of the staff. My own godfather tried to kill Snape, and you know what happened? Nothing. For attempted murder, Sirius didn't get so much as a slap on the wrist, not even a demand for an apology. Yet Snape was expected to just forgive and forget? I'm telling you, that's a very difficult thing to do. It's something that Draco refused to do.
Perhaps Draco had finally been pushed over the brink and into madness. It would be a valid suggestion. Personally, I believe that Draco was thinking clearly for the first time in his life. Draco wasn't merely staging a pointless display of violence, he wasn't even trying to kill anyone. His big plan of attack was to frighten everyone and make them really, really mad, just to see what would happen. There are some who would say that for a Slytherin to walk into a whole hoard of Gryffendors, muggle lovers, and "light" wizards with the sole intention of pissing them off, it's no less than suicide. Those people couldn't be more right. The reason I just stood back and watched Draco as he was murdered was because I knew it was what he wanted.
Standing back and letting Draco die was one of the hardest things I've ever done. You may assume that it was an example of my "Gryffendor sensibilities" shining though. "Oh poor selfless Harry Potter can't bare to see harm come to his bitter rival." Bullshit. I assure you that there was nothing Gryffendor about it. A real Gryffendor would have jumped in and helped finish him off. Those six boys who kicked in Draco's skull were Gryffendors to the core. No, it was the Slytherin side of me that couldn't bare to see Draco murdered. It was the part of me that thought , "that could just as easily have been me." It was the part of me that cursed all Gryffendors, The part that hated the Gryffendor half of me so much for having not fought for the rights of Slytherins sooner. The part of me that wished I were a Slytherin so that I could have given my life in Draco's place. But I knew and resented the fact that if I were to die, the hatred of the Slytherins would only increase. No, I had to go on living, Draco was quite clear about that. I was the only Gryffendor who knew and understood. The only one who could see both sides of the spectrum. I had to live so that Draco's death would not be in vain. I am by nature a vindictive sort of person, easily obsessed by revenge, and I will have my revenge on Draco's death. I will not stop until it is fully understood why Draco had to die. Until you all realize what a warped society we live in that six young men were praised for the murder of a school mate. Until it is understood that "different" and "evil" are not two words for the same thing. I will not stop until I have justice, until I have revenge. I have spent much of my life consumed with the need to see the end of the man that killed my parents. When I saw that happen, I had hoped my days of being consumed by the need for revenge were over, but they are not. I swear on the Grave of Draco Malfoy, that those six boys who murdered my lover will know my wrath.