Fanon Draco

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Synonyms: LeatherPants!Draco, Leather Pants Draco, Draco in Leather Pants
See also: fanon
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Fanart of canon versus DT fandom!Draco by megaloo, drawn for Cassandra Claire's birthday.

Fanon Draco, a.k.a. LeatherPants!Draco, is a term used to describe a particular characterization of Draco Malfoy that occurs frequently in Harry Potter fanfiction.

TVTropes has this to say about the term:

A term in Harry Potter fandom for the most sympathetic Fan Fic portrayals of Draco Malfoy, who is in Canon a low-class villain and admittedly pitiable annoyance. A fanfic series authored/assembled by Cassandra Claire featured Draco as a clever, snarky Anti Hero and had him wear leather pants. While the story was somewhat justified by being from his skewed point of view, the characterization soon became standard Fanon even among people who weren't explicitly Draco fans.
Interestingly, this happened before Draco's characterization in the books became somewhat pitiable, if not sympathetic. Nevertheless, J.K. Rowling frequently admitted she was bothered that characters like Draco (and Snape) were popular for all the wrong reasons.[1]

Aja describes Fanon Draco thusly:

Thus fanon!Draco becomes a Draco who is misunderstood, heroic, smart, witty, snarky, and essentially sexy. This Draco dresses well, is often gay, and very often powerfully attractive, a trait embodied in the creation of specific fandom stereotypes such as Leather Trousers!Draco and Veela!Draco.... And fanon!Draco as a variable has undergone several distinct phases of growth and development since he first appeared as an entity with distinct characteristics. In many respects Malfoy in canon is a cipher, a blank page we in fandom have been writing and rewriting for years.[2]

In 2002, velvetrain created a quiz with different Draco characterizations.[3] The description for "LeatherPants!Draco" reads:

"LeatherPants!Draco" quiz results
Immortalized by the famous "Draco Sinister" (by Cassandra Claire), you are witty, sexy, and the typical bad boy girls love. You are paired with Ginny or Hermione, because they remind the author the most of herself. You have sudden special powers that enable you to go along special Voldie-killing missions with Harry and Co. At first you get on everyone's nerves, especially Ron's, but soon everyone learns to love you. Everyone.[4]

Cassandra Claire on LeatherPants!Draco

The characterization, as well as the term LeatherPants!Draco, dates from The Draco Trilogy. A famous scene in Draco Sinister features Draco wearing incredibly tight leather pants. In 2001, Cassandra Claire explained the background of the phenomenon:

"The Draco in leather thing was originally a joke! A joke! At the very end of the first series, Draco Dormiens, I apologized in my author's note to everyone who had wanted Hermione and Draco together, and said "Well, he's better single anyway, now he can go forth and fight evil on his own, maybe in some kind of leather outfit." I meant nothing particular by it, especially since I wasn't planning a sequel series at the time. Well...the email poured in, and I do mean poured in, I was astonished. People sent me pictures of Draco in leather that they had drawn (I've got a collection now) and almost all the reviews for that story and the next one asked for Draco wearing leather. I don't usually cave so easily, but I have to admit it started to strike me as a funny idea. I'm not nearly as good a planner-aheader as Lori is, I tend to write much more off the cuff, so I must say I've taken about as much time dwelling on how on earth to get Draco into leather pants as I have on any other more significant plot twist."[5]

In 2003, Claire reiterated this history in a post on her LiveJournal:

It was a joke at the time - a joke everyone got - but as the impetus for the joke has faded into the mists of fandom history, so the wave of ignorance has swamped the Land of Fandom and so everyone has assumed that somehow these leather pants are supposed to be serious.

The impetus: Waybackwhen in the day, Harry Potter for Grownups, the main Yahoo mailing list for canon HP discussion, had under a thousand people on it. Almost everyone who wrote and read fanfic in the fandom was on it. One day there was the inevitable discussion: What kind of clothes do the Hogwarts kids wear? We descended to crude jokes on the topic. They were nekkid under their robes. Ron wore skirts. Draco wore leather trousers. Someone said, "Someone ought to put that in a fic." I said, "Hell, I will." I put it in DS. Everyone said, "Ha, funny HP4GU reference." I said, "Ain't it?"

Seasons passed, the earth turned, the movies came out, newbies swamped the fandom, HP4GU turned into a bloated monstrosity, and the joke was long lost in the mists of time. Unfortunately that which is written cannot really be unwritten and leather trousers Draco has become synonymous with fanon Draco in all ways shapes and forms. There is little I can do about this and indeed I regard it with some amusement - it is a meme now, and there is always something vaguely satisfying about spawning a meme, even a stupid one. [...]

I generally get blamed for the existence of fanon Draco. I think this is not entirely accurate and if you ask flourish, she will tell you there were plenty of people who wrote the kind of Draco I do, before I did. Yes, I recognize that there are a lot of things about his tormented soul and his endless wittiness and his preternatural blondness that are kind of silly. But you know what? There's a place for silly in this world. [...] [A] lot of it is ridiculous, but it's ridiculousness done with a lot of love and whether you want to believe it or not, a lot of love for the canon that inspired it. Alison always says that she feels like people don't understand that I love my story just like everyone else loves theirs; because it's so high-profile it almost seems like it belongs to some Meta Fandom and not to me. People assume that I just Don't Give A Shit. Well, I do. I love my story because it's mine and if I could do it all over again, I would still put Draco in those leather trousers. Because I thought it was funny, and you know what? I still do.[6]

Some 2005 Comments on Fanon Draco, Leather Pants Aside

This is just something random that I noted in my current main fandom (Harry Potter); I may be misinterpreting things totally, but here I go.

It seems that when the canon material comes in bursts and gluts--like novels at several-year removes--there's waves of fanon that form, like the silt deposits on a riverbed. Some fans get their opinions caught up and crystalized at one point, and are reluctant to accomodate new canon; they interpret new material in terms of their already-forms opinions and theories and either ignore or ridicule new ideas. At the most extreme form, some oldies reject new canon entirely.

How does this apply to Harry Potter? Well, the first three novels became available in the US in fairly rapid succession, so a huge chunk of the hard-core fans form their fanons around those. The main marker of that early fanon, to me, is the passionate love many people feel for Draco Malfoy (predating the movies and Tom Felton substantially).

Then Goblet of Fire was released, and suddenly, among other things, Malfoy was pretty much a background chracter--he has almost no affect on the plot. But this doesn't change the first-layer fandom; the same themes remain, practically unchanged, with only superficial compliance to the new canon.

Now, I wasn't active in the fandom when GoF was released, but I was there when "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was finally published. OotP changed everything, including (majorly) Harry's characterization, the prevalent theories about Voldemort's interest in Harry, the cast of characters and the political environment of the story. And the reaction of many fans, including some major BNFs, was surprisingly negative. One extremely "famous" BNF dismissed the book because it "read like fanfic," whatever that's supposed to mean, and many people were disappointed because, in all the time we'd been waiting for the new book, we had pretty much guessed most of the signficant plot points--which isn't surprising, since they're all nicely foreshadowed. And a lot of people were pissed that their favorite character had been killed off.

And so lot of people kept on writing the same kinds of fanfic and discussing the same kinds of theories they'd been discussing before OotP, with token changes to keep them plausible. Some people kept on writing and read and talking about the stuff they'd been harping on since before GoF. And the people who embraced the new canon--who came out in praise of new characters, formed new ships and theories, or wrote fanfic focusing on the new canon and its repercussions--got marginalized. Oldbies lashed out at new characters and characterizations, so fans of those characers got burned--Tonks and ]]Ginny Weasley]] being the examples here.

Draco-Love is still a major facet of the fandom. And this makes no sense. Draco stood in as Harry's rival while Harry was a child and only had to face Voldemort indirectly; now what Voldemort is back and Harry's faced him directly, Draco has faded from importance, so that in OotP he's basically a stoodge. But the lingering effects of pre-GoF fanon still has people loudly and emphatically crowing about Draco's significance to the plot and his important role in Harry's life. I don't think someone coming at the canon as a gestalt now would make any such claims about Draco's significance, but they were very easy to make pre-GoF, and they've stuck--and continue to influence current fandom. So even for people coming fresh to the fandom, the substrata of older fanon still has a powerful, if indirect, effect.

It'll be interesting to see how "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" is recieved come July. [7]


  1. TV Tropes. Draco in Leather Pants. (Accessed April 29, 2009)
  2. bookshop. Defining Draco Malfoy. Posted to idol_reflection, 2004-11-27. (Accessed April 29, 2009)
  3. epicyclical on LiveJournal. hmm, I'm fairly sure this quiz was created by someone who hates me, but I like it. 05 April 2002. (Archived 17 June 2002 by the Wayback Machine.)
  4. velvetrain. "Which Draco Malfoy are YOU?" You are... LeatherPants!Draco. (Accessed 22 April 2013.)
  5. Cassandra Claire at ParadigmOfUncertainty. Re: Shameless Draco Sinister Plug.... Posted 02 October 2000. (Accessed 08 April 2013.) WebCite.
  6. Cassandra Claire on LiveJournal. 2 rants. 23 April 2003. (Archived 24 April 2005 by the Wayback Machine [WebCite].)
  7. comment by mad maudlin at Fanthropology: Fandom: Evolution; archive link, March 15, 2005
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