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So, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s Stone). We see Draco Malfoy attempt to befriend Harry. Even as he does so, he declares that some families are 'better than others', and offers to help Harry identify the better ones.

So, there's a few reasons this is out of character:

  • Draco's talking about 'better' families refers to magical heritage (we see this lined out more explicitly later in the series). Harry's mother is a Muggle-born witch, so technically Harry wouldn't be Muggle-born, but his completely magic lineage only goes back one generation.
  • Harry's parents fought against Voldemort alongside Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix. Part of the reason to do this was to protect Muggles, Squibs and Muggle-born wizards. So his family would definitely be described as blood traitors.
  • Draco's parents are Death Eaters, they support Voldemort and apparently don't feel the need to hide this fact from Draco. Harry was responsible for the downfall of Voldemort, making him Malfoy enemy number one.

So, that's lots of reasons for instant enmity and yet Draco makes an attempt to befriend Harry, along with a lot of pure-blood ideology. This seems really out of character. Imagine the older Malfoys learning of this friendship.

Is there anything which explains this unusual action?

(Note: I did wonder about Harry's house being a reason against this, but the attempted befriending takes place before their sorting.)

marked as duplicate by Jenayah, TheLethalCarrot, Skooba, Mithrandir, Rebel-Scum Nov 28 '18 at 12:52

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    It's easier to lead someone somewhere the probably shouldn't go if you're friends with them. Maybe the initial plan was for Malfoy to befriend Harry and lead him to the graveyard to raise Voldemort again through the ceremony. – TheLethalCarrot Nov 28 '18 at 11:40
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    Harry was famous. – I Love You 3000 Nov 28 '18 at 11:41
  • @TheLethalCarrot Mr Know-Who wasn't in contact with the Malfoys, and was actively engaged in a different plot to return. Wasn't that Voldy's plan after failing with the Philosophers stone, and the Diary, and after being found again by Wormtail? We're onto plan C by then. – AJFaraday Nov 28 '18 at 11:44
  • @AJFaraday The Malfoy's may not have known about Voldy's plans... doesn't Voldy scald him for not trying to find him when he returns? – TheLethalCarrot Nov 28 '18 at 11:45
  • If he can't be turned to the dark side... then he will be destroyed! – djm Nov 28 '18 at 19:54
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The Death Eaters thought Harry might be a Dark wizard.

The Death Eaters, including Lucius Malfoy, thought there was a chance that Harry might have survived the Dark Lord’s attack because he was another powerful Dark wizard. Draco attempted to befriend Harry because of this, hoping he’d learn more of this potential new Dark Lord.

Many different theories had been in circulation for years as to how Harry survived what should have been a lethal attack, and one of the most persistent was that Harry himself was a great Dark wizard. The fact that he had been removed from the wizarding community seemed (to wishful thinkers) to support this view, and Draco’s father, wily Lucius Malfoy, was one of those who subscribed most eagerly to the theory. It was comforting to think that he, Lucius, might be in for a second chance of world domination, should this Potter boy prove to be another, and greater, pure-blood champion. It was, therefore, in the knowledge that he was doing nothing of which his father would disapprove, and in the hope that he might be able to relay some interesting news home, that Draco Malfoy offered Harry Potter his hand when he realised who he was on the Hogwarts Express. Harry’s refusal of Draco’s friendly overtures, and the fact that he had already formed allegiance to Ron Weasley, whose family is anathema to the Malfoys, turns Malfoy against him at once. Draco realised, correctly, that the wild hopes of the ex-Death Eaters – that Harry Potter was another, and better, Voldemort – are completely unfounded, and their mutual enmity is assured from that point.
- Draco Malfoy (Pottermore)

Though he found out that Harry wasn’t a Dark wizard at all, it was with the thought that he might be that Draco attempted to befriend him on the Hogwarts Express.

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