Every year, Dramione makes the rounds. This year its Secrets and Masks, last year it was The Auction. In fact, it’s hard to find a fantasy romance girly who isn’t also a Dramione girl—but why? What is it about Draco and Hermione that has us coming back over and over again like a crack obsessed addict for the same story written in different words?
Here’s my attempt to uncover what it is about Dramione fanfic that keeps us hooked even when our hearts have been shattered, spat at, and stomped on time and time again.
There's nothing better than a redemption arc
It’s funny, even JK didn’t get it. Here are her thoughts on our obsession:
“I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character […] Draco has all the dark glamour of the anti-hero; girls are very apt to romanticise such people. All of this left me in the unenviable position of pouring cold common sense on ardent readers’ daydreams, as I told them, rather severely, that Draco was not concealing a heart of gold under all that sneering.”
Draco was a child, raised in a house full of monsters.
Oh, but Severus, on the other hand (a guy who racially abused the girl he loved and was happy for her husband and child to get killed and who bullied said child for like seven years) deserves the world and is completely redeemed?
It’s something we’re used to, as fantasy romance readers (and even more so for any of the dark romance lovers); having our interests looked down on. Being seen as stupid, as though we can’t distinguish reality from literature, as though seeing something good in Draco Malfoy means we have no common sense 🙄
Well, as someone who (occasionally) goes outside and communicates with other human beings, the villain really is often misunderstood, they often do change, they do become better people. And that guy who seems very sweet except he gets jealous and moody a lot...I’ve seen a lot of them turn into the real sickos. Neither one is a hard and fast rule, it’s just that it’s hard to tell who a child is going to turn into when they grow up.
Many of us are given belief systems by our parents that we, over the years, come to reject.
Personally, I like to think I’m very different to the odd girl I was in school and I think many of us feel the same way.
So, no thank you, I will accept no cold common sense being poured on my head.
Instead, I’ll take a nice big dose of fanfic where Draco gets the real, proper arc he deserves.
And where he doesn’t just get a great arc, but he also changes not for her, but because of her. And there’s a big difference there.
Changing for someone is temporary. Fleeting. Once you get the person, there’s no need to change anymore and there’s nothing to stop you from changing back.
But changing because of someone…now that’s the stuff of fairytales. Changing because of someone means having a world view, behaviour, or attitude challenged.
Draco doesn’t change because he wants Hermione to like him. Literally, the opposite. If anything, he’s more inclined to dig his heels in because he looks down on and hates her. Which means when he does change, its because he’s really, properly seen the light. Because something inside him (maybe something that has always lurked within) has undergone a massive shift, because Hermione has shown him there’s another way to live. A better way.
And he decided, of his own accord, to listen. Even if it took him 30 (or sometimes 90) chapters to get there.
Hermione changes too
In most Dramiones I’ve read, Hermione changes…a lot. As readers, we love to see a main character change. But its how she changes that matters too.
In the original books, Hermione gives up a lot of herself. Often without much reward. Harry’s the golden boy, Ron has a huge family that loves him, but Hermione…without the smartest witch her age the other two would be dead ten times over and no one really, properly rewards her.
She doesn’t get any strong female friendships (Ginny and her were okay, I guess, but there was nothing truly binding), she isn’t beloved like the chosen one, she just kind of goes through everything and then gets given to Ron as some kind of prize. And I know she loves him but really, her options were limited, it’s basically between him and Harry. She didn’t get the time or space to explore her other options properly (cough, Draco).
She has to goad the other two over and over, pushing and prodding them to action. She sacrifices so much and no one really defends her. Its her who punches Draco, not Ron or Harry. Its her who gets mudblood carved into her arm while the other two um and ahh about what to do next.
In a lot of Dramione fanfics, Hermione starts off as the Hermione we all know and love. And she has a lot to teach Draco (like how to not be a POS).
But he has a lot to teach her too.
And watching her shift into something stronger is a special experience I’ll keep running back to.
The jealousy conundrum
Jealousy like you don’t like this guy and he touched you and it’s making you uncomfortable so I’m going to unalive him…yummy 🤤
Jealously like we’ve all been best friends for five years and I literally snaked you and went off with some random girl last year but now you’re getting too close to our other friend even though he’s one of the only two people you have in the world to talk to right now so I’m gonna storm off and leave you both in the middle of nowhere, and this behaviour is such a core part of my personality that our headteacher who barely ever spoke to me knew I’d do it…ew 🤮
Listen, I’m not saying Ron’s a bad guy, but we’ve all been fancied by a Ron and they’re kind of…annoying. And because their behaviour is so accepted by society, they never feel like they have to change, so they don’t. On the surface, there’s a lot to Ron to admire, but there’s a lot of bad stuff you’re gonna uncover too.
But Draco...Draco has to change. And at his core (protective of his Mum, family oriented, hardworking) there’s a lot of good stuff underneath the exterior that could create a truly exceptional guy.
And I know, I know, Ron deserves her, he’s a good guy, he changed blah blah…in the real world that’s fine, in the real world Ron and Hermione are probably a classic match. But I don’t want to read about the real world.
I want to read about Casteel and the Darkling and Rhysand and Cardan, I want a story where the guy trusts the girl enough for her to make her own decisions, but goes absolutely feral over anyone who hurts her. I want his friends to be an extension of him, not the competition.
I want a redeemed death eater Draco. Not a moody Ron.
Everyone loves an underdog
An underdog? How can Draco Malfoy be the underdog? He’s rich, good looking, part of the Harry Potter universe elite. Ron, on the other hand is a Weasley, people look down on the Weasleys, right?
Except, for readers, Draco is the underdog. The golden trio have each other, they have the support and encouragement of pretty much everyone and their parents didn’t literally invite Voldemort to live with them. And yes, I know they gave up their childhoods, but so did Draco.
Born on the wrong side, hated by all (even the author who created him), Draco is the classic underdog. And it’s hard to resist an underdog.
Enemies to lovers…but on steroids
I feel like everyone’s always begging for a real enemies to lovers book rec. Not rivals to lovers. Not they hate each other for 15% of the book and then they kiss and the rest is love. But true, hardcore, I hate you so much I want you to die enemies to lovers.
Well, Harry Potter is basically 7 books of foreplay for a true enemies to lovers reader. Five angry faces out of five.
So, getting to go along for the ride and watch them actually overcome that hatred, that difference, and that pain and become true partners is a rewarding journey.
Nostalgia and comfort
You could say this about any fanfic, really. But there’s something especially comforting about Draco and Hermione. It’s not just the nostalgia of Harry Potter. For many readers, we really resonated with Hermione. Head always in a book and hair a mess, it’s like watching beauty and the beast all over again and feeling seen.
And then there’s something so comfortable about the guy who also reads and is clever and quick (but is quieter about it) but is dark and brooding and whose friends who all look up to him and he has a weird, complex relationship with his parents but adores his mum. Sprinkle in a bunch of suffering and strong forearms and you’ve got basically a crush we can all relate to.
I'm just gonna wrap up by saying...Theo. I know he isn’t specific to Dramione fanfic, but I just had to include him anyway cause he is featured in a lot of them. Theo is probably the perfect guy, sweet, kind, protective. A good friend. Any book that includes a Theo is an instant success in my eyes.
Anyway, if you read this whole thing and thought—wait, what, who? I implore you, go download wattpad or AO3, open up to Isolation or Manacled and start reading. You can thank me for changing your life later.
And if you’ve got a Dramione rec, drop me an email here and I’ll include it on this page for any possible new searchers.