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Spoilers: If you haven't read or seen all of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and don't want spoilers, stop reading right now.

Yes, now. I warned you.

When Voldemort has killed Harry Potter and Narcissa checks on Harry, she lies to Voldemort and tells him Harry is dead. She also wants to know how Draco is doing, but she could have asked Harry, then called out that Harry was actually alive after Harry answered her.

So why did she lie to Voldemort, especially since doing so would almost guarantee that she'd die painfully?

  • 2
    I could swear we've gone over this in another question, though it may not have been asking that direcctly. – Kevin Feb 1 '12 at 4:01
  • I didn't find one that actually covered it, so it may have been close - or I may not have used the right terms in searches. – Tango Feb 1 '12 at 4:01
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    I looked a bit and didn't see it either. Must have been my psychic powers. Sometimes it's hard to remember what hasn't happened yet. – Kevin Feb 1 '12 at 6:15
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    @Kevin: I think you spelled psychotic wrong. – Tango Feb 1 '12 at 6:17
  • For another take on motherly love - pottermore.com/features/important-gestures-of-motherly-love – Pryftan Oct 5 '17 at 21:56

11 Answers 11

43

She did ask Harry if Draco was in the castle; Harry responded yes, and Narcissa then told Voldemort that Harry was dead. She knew the only way she would be able to return to the castle to search for Draco would be as part of Voldemort's conquering army, and so she lied, in order to compel Voldemort back to the castle, because she knew he wouldn't be able to resist the opportunity to lord his victory over the Order and its supporters. And she was right :)

‘Is Draco alive? Is he in the castle?’

The whisper was barely audible; her lips were an inch from his ear, her head bent so low that her long hair shielded his face from the onlookers.

‘Yes,’ he breathed back.

and:

Still feigning death on the ground, he understood. Narcissa knew that the only way she would be permitted to enter Hogwarts, and find her son, was as part of the conquering army. She no longer cared whether Voldemort won.

Deathly Hallows - chapter 36 - The Flaw In the Plan

For what it's worth, the Malfoy escaped imprisonment in Azkaban for their Death Eater activities because they defected from the Death Eaters at the end and fought on Harry's side, albeit undoubtedly for their own personal gain.

  • 6
    But she could have just as easily said Harry was alive, Voldemort would have then killed Harry (again, boy is that kid hard to kill) and then she really would have been part of a conquering army. – Xantec Feb 1 '12 at 13:26
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    @Xantec: She knew, at that point, that Harry was the only one who could kill Big V. Big V sent her kid on a suicide mission, and was in the process of ruining her family's lives. She had no desire to see him prevail. – Jeff Feb 1 '12 at 15:26
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    @Xantec, even if she'd said Harry was alive, Voldemort might not have been able to kill him so easily at that point. – Kyralessa Mar 30 '13 at 12:12
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    @Kyralessa I have trouble believing that Harry's protection would have applied to himself. If anything would have saved Harry from a spell death it would have been because he was the true owner of the Elder wand. But if Voldemort tried and failed a second time to kill Harry with Avada Kedavra I could see him just jabbing the wand through Harry's eye or something. – Xantec Mar 30 '13 at 13:14
  • I think it's HP Lexicon but a commentary on that quote is that they believe in fact she actually didn't want Voldemort to win because she had seen what his reign would be like; and of course he had already threatened his son - even setting him up to be killed because of Lucius's mistakes. I quite agree with that idea actually. Ah, I see. Xantec actually cites this too. – Pryftan Oct 5 '17 at 21:50
6

She had turned against V by this point and wanted him destroyed, if he killed Harry and won her (and her family's) fate would have been torture and death. The only way to stop this was to stop V and the only way to stop V was through Harry.

Therefore she lied to cause V to drop his guard and to get inside to find her son. Yes, it was risky etc but mother's will risk their lives protecting their children (e.g. Molly fighting a psychotic and powerful Bellatrix).

  • 2
    Don't forget Harry's Mother's sacrifice too! You've hit a nail on the head with this one - The importance of a mother's love and willingness to sacrifice self for her children is a recurring theme throughout the books. – balanced mama Feb 23 '14 at 17:12
6

I think she lied for a few reasons. First I think the Malfoy's were starting to see that V was crazy. While they preferred pure bloods they realized that killing everyone else wasn't wise. Second I think they realized that Draco was in danger if V survived. Remember he was ordered to kill Dumbledore and he failed, V didn't deal well with those he felt failed him. Lastly, I think it showed that the story went full circle. In the beginning V was severely weakened because of a Mother's love and in the end a mother's love was his undoing once again. Remember Dumbledore told Harry to pity all those who live without love. V was feared he wasn't loved by anyone.

2

I think Lady Malfoy feared what her son would become if V got control of him. Also she knew her husband wasn't the fearless type and his arrogance came from being rich not from being strong. It was only a matter of time before V would kill Lucius and her and Draco. If you look at the seen from Malfoy Manor you can tell she was afraid of V and realized that he was crazy but felt powerless to do anything about it. I think Lucius also was starting to realize that V was crazy as well. Also lastly I think also it was a mothers love of her child that was partly the reason she lied.

2

Rowling herself says that this moment was designed to emphasize the power of maternal love. Dumbledore's message of love keeps returning throughout the series - how it conquers death, is everlasting, and all the rest of it. This further proves how wrong Voldemort is to scoff at this idea, because love keeps one-upping him, to put it frankly. Narcissa cared only for her son at this point. How this influences the plot, with Narcissa knowing that Voldemort would permit her to return to the castle to search for her son only if he believed himself to be victorious, is explained in greater detail by Slytherincess.

2

After having her only son recruited for a fatal mission, and as a mother she could not purposely condemn someone's child to death. She is well aware of the death of Harry's parents at the hand of Voldemort. She has a heart and as a mother she went with her gut decision. Remember she was married into the Malfoy name and only by affiliation was in too deep. I don't think she would have ever chosen that road for herself or family. It was truly a mother's instinct on how she handled Harry's death.

0

This is probably really late but I think mine is a more appropriate answer. Although, since none of us know exactly what was going on in her head, we can only assume. Look at it this way, Voldemort had never truly shown respect to anyone. All along he had been using Draco, putting him in a suicide position to mock the Malfoy's. Why would she continue to support him? Secondly, she only cared about her family. She did not really care whether or not Harry was alive. At this point, she believed the Dark Lord did not have powers this boy had. She wanted to see Draco before anyone could kill him for his affiliation with the Dark Lord. Whether or not Harry was alive the answer was always going to be the same so that she could quickly see Draco. If she said he was alive and the Dark Lord continuously failed to kill Harry, some member of the order could have killed Draco already. Finally, I guess, she believed Harry to be the chosen one. The Dark Lord seemed to suffer more from trying to kill Harry in all attempts. As I said, she believed there was something special in the boy and that if she told the truth, perhaps a battle would ensue while her son was in jeopardy of being killed. She needed to get to Hogwarts as fast as she could. Lying to the Dark Lord at that point seemed the fastest way possible. So she did to ensure she could get to Draco before his affiliation with Voldemort got him killed.

-1

Those who have read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, they must have noticed that there were a few lines answering this question, 'why did Narcissa lie to Voldemort about Harry'. the lines, for those who haven't read it, justify that she was fed up of her son being used as a bait. she wanted to enter the castle to seek her son. she no longer cared whether Voldemort won. of course it was a show of powerful maternal love, but to Draco, not Harry. i think this is the reason. since Rowling herself wrote those lines, i think my answer is partly, but evidently, correct.

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    Hello and welcome to Sci-Fi SE. Could you please cite some quotes with references to substantiate your argument? Also, rather than giving your opinion (I think), build up an argument to support your stance - we prefer solid evidence rather than opinion here. Well done for a first answer however :) – Often Right Mar 17 '14 at 9:37
-2

It was, I think, because she knew that Harry and Draco loathed each other right from the beginning, and Harry still told her the truth that her son was alive. She may have done that as a show of gratitude because she was astounded that Harry saved a Death Eater, as Draco was. Harry could have simply lied that Draco was dead, and V would kill Harry, as Harry had intended. And the story-lines make it somewhat clear that what Dumbledore said ( Chapter: King's Cross) was a little doubted by Harry. Harry could save lives by dying, but there was no guarantee that he could do so by living. He could at least free families from the constant terror of losing family members by once again giving up his life. So, Narcissa may have done it as a show of gratitude to Harry or to have the chance to return to Hogwarts to find out whether Draco was alive.

-4

Harry just survived Avada Kedavra which wasn't supposed to happen. At this point, she started to believe that the prophecy is going to be true. Then, she asked about Malfoy just to realize Harry was a good guy and she was following the wrong side. So, she changed side.

Note: The answer is purely based on normal psychology.

-5

The reason Narcissa lied about Harry was because of this;

Let me take your mind back to when Draco was hanging off the edge and was nearly swallowed by the fire his friend created. Who saved him? Harry. So, the line Narcissa actually said was "Is he alive, Draco?" (As in is Draco still alive?In oppose to "Is he alive Draco?") Harry had just saved Draco, so he nodded. Narcissa pronounced him dead so Harry could reawaken afterwards and kill Voldemort. In doing so, Narcissa, Lucius and Draco could go on being a normal family!

A punctuation mark can really make a difference!

  • 4
    I'm sorry, but this is extremely weak reasoning and one of the few times I'd say one has to look outside of the material and say that this is only true if the writing was poor and ambiguous at a time where ambiguity is inappropriate. – Tango Feb 17 '13 at 7:06
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    I don't think that Narcissa Malfoy lied to Voldemort about Harry being dead when he was really alive because of a misplaced comma. – Slytherincess Mar 30 '13 at 21:49

protected by user1027 Apr 13 '14 at 15:33

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