Lucius and Narcissa By MorganRay
The most difficult aspect of Lucius and Narcissa’s relationship is that we’ve never had a scene where they’ve spoken to each other in any of the books. Therefore, the relationship between the two has to be derived from other sources, and this leads to a wide variety of interpretations on how these two are as a couple. The nature of their relationship can be perceived in several ways depending on how the canon is viewed.
When writing fanfiction, most people immediately conjure up the image of Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. However, relying on the book rather than the movie is a must when writing this couple, and movie Lucius, with his “pimp cane,” should not be the sole source of interpretation for his character. He is described as having "the same pale, pointed face and identical cold, gray eyes" (CS4) as Draco does. The visual interpretation of Lucius in the movies by Isaacs provides a decent picture of Malfoy, but to really find the nature of his relationship with Narcissa, several circumstances must be considered.
Image: Public verses Private
Narcissa Malfoy has shown that she wears two faces. Her public face was seen when she refused to speak to other people at the Quidditch World Cup and sneered at them instead. She is also very hostile to Harry whenever she meets him in Diagon Alley. However, in “Spinners End” we see Narcissa weeping and begging Snape to help her son. This is the first real emotion other than disdain we’ve seen from Narcissa, and it hints that possibly, behind all the snobbery, there is something that resembles a moderately caring family in the Malfoys. At least on Narcissa’s part, she loves her son, which could infer that she also has some affection for her husband when circumstances are dire.
However, this assumption cannot be absolute. A larger mystery to unravel with the Malfoys is Lucius. Does he have the same private and public face, or does he have more emotion when it comes to his family? J.K. Rowling commented on Lucius: “As far as somebody like Lucius Malfoy is concerned, for instance, a Muggle-born is as 'bad' as a Muggle.” This is most definitely Lucius’s views, as we’ve read, and this summarizes the public face he has. He also is known to be well connected at the Ministry. He is, though, much more timid around Voldamort, and this is the only time we’ve read that Lucius isn’t his usual, haughty self. He, too, like Narcissa, puts on a very effective public image of wealth and influence, but he, too, is terrified of Voldamort. However, like Narcissa, Lucius may take a different attitude when it comes to his family, but there is nothing conclusive to suggest that Lucius, like Narcissa, has a public and private face.
Private and public image is important when speculating on Lucius and Narcissa’s relationship. If their attitudes in public were inferred to be their attitudes in private, the relationship would be a cold, loveless affair. This would also probably suggest an arranged marriage, and at best, some former lustful attraction that grew stale. However, if one considers that this pair may have affections that they don’t express openly, their relationship could be something more of a partnership, yet, it may not contain a lot of genuine love.
The way parents treat their children often reflect how they feel about each other or reveal something about their relationship. Draco is Lucius and Narcissa’s only child, and it is obvious both parents focus a lot of attention on him. Draco, as Narcissa’s only child, is often doted upon by his mother, and this suggests an over-fondness for her son. It is possible that some of that fondness comes from Draco being Lucius’s child, but it is also equally plausible Narcissa loves Draco solely because he is her only offspring. Her feelings for Draco may reflect a cooled love for the father, or she may just love Draco simply because he is her only son.
Narcissa’s intense, paternal love for Draco becomes apparent in the chapter “Spinner’s End” when she makes the second major point of the Unbreakable Vow “protect him from harm.” The vow is essentially about Draco, but if Draco fails, Voldamort will kill his entire family. So, in getting aid for Draco to complete his task, Narcissa is essentially protecting her entire family, not just her son. This speaks, also, of Narcissa's private affection for her family that the readers were unable to truly know until “Spinner’s End.”
Lucius, on the other hand, is very stern with Draco. He will publicly criticize him, like he did in Borgin and Burkes, and he isn’t satisfied with his grades. Lucius’s sternness with his son is possibly because Draco is his heir that will carry on the Malfoy name. Lucius is proud of his heritage, and he is trying to instill that pride in Draco. Lucius’s pureblood pride points to some pride in his family, but this doesn’t diminish his expectations for Draco. Lucius’s high expectations probably apply to Narcissa, also. She is already gorgeous and pureblood, but it could be assumed their relationship is a cold one because Lucius may be very aloof. However, even though he beat Dobby, it is strictly a fanon misconception that he beats Narcissa. We’ve never heard of him beating Draco, and he holds purebloods in more esteem than a house elf. Also, it doesn’t make sense for Lucius to maim the two people who he is concerned present a perfect public face.
Despite his criticisms of his son, Lucius makes an effort to procure Draco every advantage in life. He initially wants to enroll him in Durmstrang so he can learn the Dark Arts because he loathes Dumbledore. Consequently, Lucius has Dumbledore removed during Draco’s second year at Hogwarts by forcing the other governors to suspend him. It should also be dually noted that Narcissa was able to overrule Lucius’s decision to send Draco to Durmstrang, and this seems to suggest where the power really is in the Mafoy’s relationship. When Draco was attacked by Buckbeak, Lucius used his influence to get the Hippogriff condemned to death, and it can be assumed that Lucius did this for Draco. He throws around his weight in politics to procure these benefits for his family. Since Lucius’s family does reflect on him, though, it can also be inferred that his motives are selfish. He could value Narcissa and Draco like he would precious jewels and have no emotional attachment to them. However, underneath his aloof attitude may be some genuine affection for his family. That affection may take on a warped form, but it could be genuine all the same. With respect to his relationship with Narcissa, Lucius’s treatment of Draco seems to either suggest a very cold relationship where Lucius is criticizing and aloof. Despite this assumption, the pair could have hidden affections that may have not have come to light yet, and Draco may be the result of two people who had some type of attraction for each other. A middle ground may also be viewed where Lucius and Narcissa’s relationship is viewed as something of a business partnership, but until we have a scene where they interaction together, it is a true mystery what the true relationship is behind this enigmatic couple.[/