(Im not sure if I got this in before 11:59 GMT, as i really have no idea about the conversions. I forgot to post it earlier, but i figured, why not?)
Story: Decretum by Wings Of The Morning
Narcissa Malfoy sounds at first to be a relatively simple character: one automatically assumes she obviously believes in the Dark, cares only for wealth and prestige, and dotes on her only son Draco so that he may seem more privileged that all others. And yet, when delving into Rowling's world, supplemented by the wild imagination of fan fiction, one is able to see that Narcissa Malfoy, nee Black, is anything but simple.
“Dectretum” begins with one of my favorite quotes of all time;
which is from Dante’s “Inferno”. This quote pinpoints exactly how I see Narcissa Malfoy. She realizes quite vividly that by never questioning anything in the rigid rules that govern her life, she has condemned her son to the same fate:
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
And she then debates with herself; should she or should she not run after Draco, who is apparently heading to some kind of Death Eater activity, and
She’s just worried he’ll follow in her footsteps. And, by doing so, follow in his father’s.
However, Narcissa is understandably indecisive. She is considering breaking the rules that have "defined her and created her and castigated her" for her entire lifetime. Ultimately, she does nothing, and by doing so, resigns Draco to the life like her own. This shows that she is more than a little courageous, even if she wasn't able to realize her bravery. The mere fact that she considers defying her husband, Voldemort, and essentially her entire way of life, brings to light what an incredibly strong woman she is. Unfortunately, she does not possess that last little spark needed to light her proverbial flame of bravery. "So close, yet so far" is the adage that comes to mind regarding this situation; the consideration of defiance is leaps and bounds beyond what many other spoiled, pureblooded women in her place would do. But still, she is so far, and therefore condemns Draco to a horrible fate.
save the last breath of fire within the rigid ice of the world she’s created
Narcissa's love for her son is a central idea in the story. She loves Draco without question or judgment, and will continue to do so no matter what. It is this, out of all things, that prompts her to be something other than just another snobby, pampered, Dark wife. Not even anger over Lucius's apparent emotional abuse, nor wish for a better life for herself can bring about this complete character change. It is the emotion for a beloved son. And this in itself is a complete defiance of the rules governing the Pureblood elite.
It is spelled out quite plainly for Narcissa her entire life; you care for nothing, you must be subservient, dispassionate, and cold. And so she was, until she created a child for whom her heart ignited and burned even through all that was twisted and malformed in her society.
"Her love for her son is the only discrepancy in her rule-governed life, the only fire in her. She wasn’t supposed to ever really love anything, that’s how the rules go."
Narcissa's name, as just about everyone knows, is an allusion to the myth of Narcissus. Narcissus was a hero who had long scorned and rebuffed various suitors quite harshly. He was in a forest one day, and upon gazing at his reflection in a pool, saw a beautiful person with whom he immediately fell in love. He never leaves the pool, and cannot recognize that this gorgeous person is in fact, him. It is only when he tries to kiss the reflection, and then falls into it, causing his demise, that the truth is known to him. The nymphs of the forest find a wondrous flower where his body should have been, and duly name it "narcissus". This myth is significant because it reveals a lot about Narcissa. A mirror will show you exactly what is reflected. Except, not quite. For while it is structurally, and to appearances, the same, it is still a reflection and therefore in some respects exactly the opposite of what is shown. Narcissus appears to be a brave, beautiful, and strong hero; however, he is overcome by the seemingly weakest of things - a mere reflection, and is therefore quite weak himself. Narcissa appears at first to be a dutiful, unfeeling, cold wife; however, "Decretum" shows that she is quite the opposite - a strong and caring woman who wishes she could save her beloved son from a fate worse then the Hell she has already put herself into.
Beth: Excellent analysis. Very, very insightful and drawing on so many outside sources. You chose interesting excerpts to support your conclusion (though I would've liked to see something from the story to support her connection to Narcissus). Five points for your participation and twenty points for your study.