Thursday, 27 April 2017

Having the 'Bad Guy' Talk - What on earth do you do when your daughter loves Draco more than Harry? A ReadItTorial

*Swoon* says Charlotte. "ARRGHH!" says me
And so it came to pass that we had to have the "Bad Guy" talk. Charlotte is a self-confessed Draco Malfoy groupie. There's just something about that floppy blond hair, that snarl, and those superb clothes that attracts her to this horrid character in the "Harry Potter" books.

I wanted to try and dig deeper into this. As a father, the very last thing you wanted to hear was that your daughter loved bad guys in books, and in movies too (yes, it's not just Draco, she also loves Kylo Ren - which, given a particular spoiler for Star Wars Episode 7, doesn't bode well for dear old dad later down the line).

The problem is that writers quite obviously love writing the bad guy / girl characters. It shines through from just about every page of "The Half Blood Prince" that J.K Rowling spent a lot more time dealing with Draco's thirst for vengeance and 'justice' as he saw it than she did dealing with Harry's slow but sure path to a final confrontation with Lord Voldemort.

Personally I've always enjoyed writing for characters such as these too, there's just something so addictive about living vicariously through the actions of a character creation who, for want of a better way of describing it, threw the moral code of ethics away with the bath water.

We had a fairly serious discussion about what boys like Draco, or men like Kylo Ren would treat you like - in the unlikely event that you became their chosen life partner. With a more serious side to a fairly jocular and non-serious conversation about fantasy characters, the one thing I really do feel I wanted to get across to her was that evil characters are fine and dandy in books or movies, but when you bring one home, you've got to be utterly realistic about what to expect.

In full dad mode, you know the mode dads get into where they feel it's their job - not their beloved daughters or son's job - to somehow try and give the best advice, perhaps even influence or (hate this) control who their kids see or befriend, you can really only handle things one way ultimately.

In the case of Draco, I pulled all the sections of the books we've read so far in the Harry Potter series where Draco was a complete and utter little sh*t, a spoilt brat, and eventually a malevolent and evil puppet to Lord Voldemort's machinations.

But of course Charlotte was even prepared for this. Even though we haven't read "The Deathly Hallows" yet (I'm still not sure if she's quite ready for that, it's pretty dark and possibly verges into YA territory more than the previous books in the series do) she had seen bits of the final scene in the movie which...


...shows Draco as an entirely reformed character, best buddies with Harry, seeing his kids off on the Hogwarts Express. (She hasn't read "The Cursed Child" yet, to see how Draco's offspring reverts to type a little bit). So she countered my observations about Draco basically not being boyfriend material by stating that he changed for the better.

It's at this point that I bow to the infinite wisdom of my wife who may be a lot more effective than me at pulling Charlotte to one side when the time comes to have a more serious talk about boyfriend material (hopefully in the dim and distant future when her middle grade crush on Malfoy has petered away to nothing). Though again, with mummy's obsession with Johnny from Dirty Dancing, in the words of the old old song, "There may be trouble ahead".