He was made a prefect for his house and was a member of theInquisitorial Squad during his fifth year, at the end of which his father was imprisoned in Azkaban following the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Lord Voldemort charged Draco with making up for Lucius's failure, and he became a Death Eater at age sixteen, but was quickly disillusioned with the lifestyle. Draco was unable to complete his task — murdering Albus Dumbledore, which was taken over by Severus Snape — and only performed his other duties fearfully and reluctantly. He and his family defected hours before the end of theSecond Wizarding War in order to avoid imprisonment in Azkabanfollowing Voldemort's defeat.
By 2017 Draco had married Astoria Greengrass and had at least one child, Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy.
By late 1996, Draco joined the Death Eaters, having replaced his incarcerated father. He bragged about having been given a mission to his fellow Slytherin students on his way to school on the Hogwarts Express. However, as the year dragged on, Draco became increasingly afraid that he would fail in his seemingly impossible task — to kill Albus Dumbledore. It is implied that Draco was expected to fail and that Voldemort assigned him the task with the intention of punishing Lucius Malfoy for his failure at the Department of Mysteries. The safety of his family rested on Draco's success with his mission. When Harry overhead some parts of Draco's conversation with his fellow Slytherins regarding about the mission, Draco used a Full Body-Bind Curse to paralyse Harry, and stomped hard on his face, crushing his nose, in revenge for imprisoning Lucius, causing Harry to hate Draco more than ever, while disregarding what Harry heard as unimportant enough to condemn him.
Draco planned to repair a Vanishing Cabinet that Peeves had destroyed four years previously, in order to smuggle Death Eaters into Hogwarts to assist him in killing Dumbledore. In his previous year at Hogwarts, a fellow Slytherin, Graham Montague, had been forced into it, and later managed to Apparate out as a last resort to free himself from the limbo-like space into which he had Vanished. Montague told Draco that during his time trapped in limbo, he could hear the sounds entering the Cabinet from the school, as well as the sounds entering the Cabinet's twin in Borgin and Burkes. Draco realised from this that if the broken one was repaired, the cabinets could act as a passageway into the school. During the summer break between his fifth and sixth year, Draco questioned Borgin, the owner of Borgin and Burkes, on repairing the cabinet and ordering him to keep the other one safe. As a proof of his allegiance to Voldemort, Draco showed Borgin theDark Mark now branded on his arm whilst threatening to set Fenrir Greyback to attack the shop-owner, should he disobey his commands. This meeting was also overheard by Harry and his friends, but while Harry started to suspect Draco of Death Eater activities, Ron and Hermione dismissed such possibilities, and believed Draco was merely bluffing, a choice that they would much later regret.
In preparation for such a dangerous mission, Draco trained and improved his own skills, and became capable of blocking jinxes nonverbally. He also became accomplished at Occlumency through the training of his maternal aunt Bellatrix Lestrange, and was able to perform the very difficult Protean Charm, though he could not yet produce a corporeal Patronus.
In focus for his mission of fixing the Vanishing Cabinet, Draco experienced many visible changes in his life. He seemed to have lost interest in Quidditch, and allowed (and possibly paid) Harper to take over instead. He was also becoming more neglectful in his school-work, as he missed two Transfiguration homework assignments and received detention, as well as not attending to hisprefect duties, which he would usually happily abuse as he did in the previous year. Another change was that he no longer trusted Snape, and was willing to speak ill towards him point-blank. Socially, Draco forced Crabbe and Goyle to assume the forms of other people to help him keep watch outside the Room of Requirement, while refusing to tell them anything, and seemingly to distance himself from them. Draco also spent less time mocking Harry and his friends, despite the many opportunities. Even his physical appearance showed the stress, with greying skin, weight loss and bags under his eyes. Most of this frustrated Harry, who was unable to discover exactly what Draco was up to despite his persistence and effort.
Twice during the school year he feared he would be unable to repair the cabinet, and resorted to desperate assassination attempts, such as trying to smuggle in a cursed necklace and trying to send Dumbledore poisoned mead. Both these attempts failed, and resulted in innocent people getting injured, though since they both survived Dumbledore was not forced to apprehend Draco. The stress began to affect Draco adversely, and he confessed his fears toMyrtle Warren, one of the school's ghosts. On one such occasion,Harry Potter stumbled on him. Draco reacted by starting to cast theCruciatus Curse, but Harry sliced his skin open with his wand right before he could complete the incantation. Draco was hospitalised and Harry was given detention by Snape for every Saturday until the end of term.
Eventually, Draco managed to repair the Vanishing Cabinet and used it to let his aunt Bellatrix and other Death Eaters into the school; to his great horror, the vicious werewolf Fenrir Greyback was among them. Proceeding to the top of the Astronomy Tower, Draco was able to corner a significantly weaker Dumbledore, disarming the latter the same instant he had, not known to Draco, bound Harry Potter with a Freezing Charm. However, when Draco was finally given the opportunity to kill Dumbledore, who had just expressed his willingness to protect Draco and his family were they to "come over to the right side," he could not bring himself to commit murder; considering that they spent the few minutes of alone time to discuss how Draco smuggled his accomplices into the castle, Dumbledore concluded that Draco will find committing murder impossible. As predicted, Draco ultimately was unable to do it, instead lowering his wand. Snape, who had made anUnbreakable Vow with Narcissa to step in if Draco failed in his task, used the Killing Curse on the Headmaster. He promptly led Draco out of the school grounds, presumably to safety, and to a safe distance to disapparate. When Draco disarmed Dumbledore, he unknowingly gained the allegiance of the Elder Wand, one of the threeDeathly Hallows.
After the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, Draco could no longer return to Hogwarts, as he was an accomplice, however reluctantly, in the revered Albus Dumbledore's murder, mainly by being the one who let Death Eaters penetrate the castle's walls. With an official criminal status placed on him, alongside his fear of the Dark Lord's wrath, led him to seek refuge, along with his family, with Voldemort, in the hopes of satisfying his orders to prevent anymore negative highlights.
His abrupt departure from the school left Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle surprisingly lonely, despite the two being hulking boys, as Harry described during Dumbledore's funeral.
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