Zuko is from an animated series called Avatar: The Last Airbender, and he was one of my very first fictional crushes.
Draco Malfoy is my current favorite fictional character.
I just really want to talk about the similarities and differences between these two characters, because I’ve seen a lot of stuff about them, and both characters have a place in my heart.
I see some people saying that Draco should’ve had a Zuko-styled redemption arc and a lot of disappointment that that didn’t happen.
There’s a deleted scene in the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 movie where Draco throws his wand to Harry to help him. There are a lot of Draco fans who wish that scene hadn’t been deleted, although it also wasn’t in the books, so it really wouldn’t have changed anything (even if it was in the movie, it still wouldn’t be in the book).
The reason Draco didn’t have a Zuko-styled redemption, is because Zuko and Draco are two different people who came from two different backgrounds.
Zuko’s mother left when he was really young, and his father abused him and burnt half of his face, giving him a permanent scar.
Draco had both of his parents, and they took care of him, loved him, and spoiled him.
Zuko’s whole reason to be bad and to do bad things was because he wanted to regain his “honor” (in the eyes of his father), while Draco was bad because of how his parents raised him (teaching him bad things, while also spoiling him).
Zuko is more sympathize-able than Draco. He had a really bad and hard childhood, and he was treated terribly by his father for wanting to be more good than bad, and while he did do some pretty bad things trying to please his father, he did also really want to do the right thing. He just didn’t know what the “right thing” was for a long time.
Both Draco and Zuko wanted to please their fathers, but for very different reasons, as their fathers were very different people, and Draco and Zuko were different as well, since they came from very different environments.
Zuko’s redemption involved him joining “Team Avatar” and helping them defeat his father.
Draco never joined the “Golden Trio”, and that’s partly because he wasn’t ever really in a good position to do that.
Zuko had every reason to stand up to, leave, and later on, help defeat, his father, who’s basically the Voldemort of Avatar – he’s way more evil than Lucius.
Draco loved both of his parents. While they do have some issues, they’re good, loving parents, so Draco has no reason to hate them, and they aren’t as bad as Voldemort – or Ozai. So of course Draco doesn’t want to leave his parents behind – one of the reasons he never joined Harry.
One other thing I want to throw in here, is also that Zuko actually did have his uncle, Iroh, to be a good influence on him and guide him onto the right path. The closest thing that Draco had, was that one scene at the end of Half-Blood Prince, where he has that conversation with Dumbledore.
I really just think that if Draco had had a Zuko-redemption arc by the end of the last chapter of Deathly Hallows, it simply wouldn’t have fit and would’ve been too rushed. That’s another reason I don’t care that that one scene I talked about was deleted from the movie and why I’m actually quite happy it wasn’t in the books. It’s sort of nice to have Draco’s redemption or the idea of it be kind of ambiguous.
Does that mean that I hate the idea of Draco throwing his wand to Harry or any sort of, possibly Zuko-styled, redemption for Draco before the end of the last chapter of Deathly Hallows, outside of canon?
No, I’m perfectly okay with fanfiction that gives Draco a redemption before I personally like one for him in canon. It’s stuff outside of canon, so it doesn’t affect canon or any of the non-canon/fanfiction stuff I write. It’s creative for people to make their own ways to redeem Draco during the series. I get it, and it’s a fun thing for people to do and see!
One other thing I want to point out, going back to canon, is that there actually /is/ a character who’s kind of similar to Zuko and has a similar redemption arc that happens long before the last chapter of Deathly Hallows, although it isn’t talked about until Deathly Hallows.
This character is Regulus Black. I won’t go into detail about him right now, but I think he’s quite similar to Zuko in some ways and kind of has a similar redemption, even though he ended up dying. And I think some of the Draco fans disappointed with Draco not getting a redemption arc need to appreciate Regulus a little more.
None of the art used is mine.