The Draco Trilogy

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Title: The Draco Trilogy (Draco Dormiens, Draco Sinister, Draco Veritas)
Author(s): Cassandra Claire
Date(s): 2000-2006
Length: ~895,000 words (2900 pages)
Genre: het romance, action/adventure, mystery
Fandom: Harry Potter
External Links: (offline)
draco_trilogy (LiveJournal)
Draco Trilogy Lovers! (Facebook)
Draco Trilogy tag (Tumblr)

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The Draco Trilogy is a Draco-centric epic written and posted in installments by Cassandra Claire over a period of six years. The series consists of three novel-length stories: Draco Dormiens, Draco Sinister, and Draco Veritas. Although the Draco Trilogy started as het, it was unusual in that it included plenty of intentional Harry/Draco subtext that straddled the divide between slash and het in the last part, Draco Veritas, even if the story never crossed that line.

The series begins with a love triangle where both Draco and Harry are interested in Hermione. By the end of the series, the resolution of the romantic entanglements confirms the pairings Draco/Ginny and Harry/Hermione.

The trilogy contributed to the popularization of Fanon Draco, called "Leather Pants Draco"[1] after a famous scene in Draco Sinister where Draco ends up looking good in incredibly tight leather pants.

Draco Dormiens, Draco Sinister, and Draco Veritas are, someone's calculated, almost one million words[2][3] (or 207, 996, and 1697 pages)[4] and the fics were many fans' first introduction to fanfiction. The trilogy is hailed by some as the fanfiction of all Harry Potter fanfictions,[5] but like all things that are hailed, others couldn't or didn't believe the hype.[6]

Since the launch of Cassandra Claire's profic career, the stories have been taken down, although it is possible to find them circulating by email and file sharing sites, and has even been reuploaded in the form of a blog.[7]

Cover art for Draco Veritas by Bhanesidhe.

Its Origins

In 2006, Cassandra Claire talked extensively about "The Draco Trilogy."

The Draco Trilogy was the first fanfic Cassandra Claire had written. In July 2006, she was "bringing it to a close." [8]

The below quotes are from Slashcast Insider Interview with Cassie Claire which was conducted in July 2006.

Claire said:
I was a writer of fanfiction because I'd actually been asked to do an article on the X-files fandom and so I was researching online and I came across Gossamer, which was the biggest X-files archive at that time and I spent, like, three weeks at work just reading all of these stories. And being like, "Wow, people like- people put a lot of work into this!" You know, this is amazing, they're offering all this, you know, amusement for free. And then I didn't think about it again for a long time and after I read the Harry Potter books my best friend was heading off to medical school and I asked her if there was anything I could do to amuse her while she was there being tortured by the professors, and she said she would like me to write her a story about Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy and how they switched places and that became the Draco Trilogy....which I wrote for her and then she said, "You should put it up somewhere online." So I did - it was like the first three or four chapters at that point.... I'd never interacted with any fan community, I didn't know anyone who wrote fanfiction... It was a complete mystery to me. I had found by googling and I just put it there because I was trying to find a place that had an easy upload interface. And there were no Harry Potter archives at the time that I could find.
Claire said:
when I first started the Draco Trilogy, it was supposed to be a short little exercise. Harry and Draco, they switch places, how does that go for them and I finished the first installment, which was Draco Dormiens - I wrote it in about two weeks, I think. I had been a creative writing major in college and I had written all through high school and college and then after I got out of college I took a journalism job and I didn't really have any time for creative writing. And I sort of went without it for, you know, three years, something like that. And writing fanfiction reminded me how much I had enjoyed it. So when I was done with Draco Dormiens, I really didn't feel like I was done with that story and I wanted to write more, so I sketched out an outline for the next two installments, which was Draco Sinister and Draco Veritas, which were the next two and then I got into writing those. And it's taken me a long time because I've had a lot of other projects going on too. I've written other fanfic, work, and real life going on, and then I had started my original fiction about two years ago, so I think that my production of the Draco Trilogy has really slowed down, and that's probably why it's taken me so long, but I always wanted to finish it. I was always determined to finish it. I didn't want to leave it undone, so I should be wrapping it up in about August.
Claire said:
I'm an outliner. I actually wasn't when I started the Draco Trilogy, and that was one of the things that writing it taught me, is that I have to outline or I will get lost and wander around in the middle. So, I always know where I'm going to begin and I always know where I'm going to end, but I don't necessarily know everything that's going to happen in the middle. I try to outline pretty closely, on a chapter-to-chapter basis and I also use flashcards for each character that tell me what major incidents in the story are going to be for their character and how their character evolves and at what point the points of evolution come.... [The flash cards are] actually something that I created for myself. My friend Holly, she uses flashcards to tell her about just incidents in the plot, so I just started using them to tell me about different incidents for characterization and I found that kinda helpful. When I sold my book trilogy, I sold the first book and then you have to submit synopses of the second and third books. So I had to very closely outline them and I was happy to have already learned a little bit about doing that. The one thing you do have to keep in mind is that the middle of your book will change. Incidents will sort of morph, but you can still keep to your general plot and character arc even if certain plot incidents are changing.
Claire said:
I guess I would probably say the Draco Trilogy [is the best example of my writing] because it veers in style, pretty wildly, because I used it as sort of an experimental work to try out lot of different things. Like, I was like, here I'm going to try this kind of voice and I'm going to try this other kind of voice, so I mean, when I go back and read over it, I notice the style changing even within chapters, and evolving in some chapters are very dissimilar than other chapters, so I think, you know, it's a wild smorgasbord of all different kinds of styles I've employed is probably the best example.

Draco Dormiens

Main article: Draco Dormiens

Draco Dormiens, the first novel of the trilogy, was posted serially to FanFiction.Net in August 2000. It is the shortest novel in the series by far, totaling roughly 70,000 words. (Draco Veritas totals nearly 540,000 words.)

The story is now an AU, diverging from canon after Goblet of Fire. It is set during Harry's sixth year, and begins when unforeseen consequences with Polyjuice Potion in Potions class cause Harry and Draco to become indefinitely bodyswapped. The need to keep this a secret, the even greater need to find an antidote, and a love triangle where both Draco and Harry are interested in Hermione, power the plot of the novel.

Author's summary: "When an accident in Potions class turns Harry into Draco and Draco into Harry, each is trapped playing the part of the other. Romance, mistaken identities, Really Cunning Plans, evil bake sales, a love triangle, and snogs galore."

Draco Sinister

Main article: Draco Sinister

Claire began posting Draco Sinister on FanFiction.Net in late 2000. In June 2001, when the fic was one chapter away from completion, it was reported for plagiarism and Claire's works were deleted from the archive. (See also: The Cassandra Claire Plagiarism Debacle and Plagiarism Controversy, below.)

Draco Sinister and Draco Dormiens were uploaded to FictionAlley in July 2001, and Draco Sinister was completed on July 22nd.

Author's summary: "When Hermione is kidnapped, Harry and Draco must team up to rescue her from a thousand-year-old evil that threatens the entire wizarding world. Cursed demon swords, love potions, time travel, dementors, flying dragons, Draco wears leather, and everybody dies at least once. Except when they don't."

Draco Veritas

Main article: Draco Veritas

Draco Veritas was posted over a period of five years, from August 2001 to August 2006. It only appeared online in its entirety for about two weeks before Claire took down her fanfiction in order to embark on her profic career. (See Cassandra Claire: Fannish Retirement.)

Author's summary: "The sequel to Draco Sinister, featuring winter at Hogwarts, snogging, Quidditch, mysterious things and Rhysenn Malfoy."

Slash in the Draco Trilogy

Het fans and slashers don’t always get along, especially in a fandom known for impressive shipwars, and the Draco Trilogy was a huge het flagship. The idea that this story might turn into slash (any slash, even a minor pairing) was not one all shippers felt comfortable with. Cassie Claire had already written Harry/Draco slash and she was friends with slashers, so it was always a possibility that was difficult to ignore.

Several alternate universe outtakes penned by Claire include slash. For example, "Twist", a ficlet based on DS9, includes Ron/Draco and implied Draco/Harry. "In Which Draco Realizes Why He Is So Fond of Green Umbrellas" diverges from the events of DV1 to become Harry/Draco slash. Claire also wrote a DV missing scene that included Draco kissing Harry to prove that Draco "could be gay, if [he] liked"--of which she said: "Feel free to consider it DV canon -- I do."[9]

In the Trilogy itself, Claire included intentional H/D subtext, as well as a kiss between Harry and someone who had Polyjuiced into Draco. Additionally, she included a slash relationship with her OCs Ben and Gareth, ancestors and analogues of Harry and Draco, respectively.

Claire has said that she considers the Trilogy slash, in the sense that it has gay characters in it.[10]


The now-defunct fansite The Draco Trilogy Archives had a fanart section that linked to hundreds of Draco Trilogy-related art and organized the links by chapter and character. Though the website no longer exists, fanart for the Draco Trilogy still can be found all over the net.

The PoU-Art Yahoo! group also hosts a large number of fanart for the Draco Trilogy.

After Draco

From Slashcast Insider Interview with Cassie Claire in July 2006, as "The Draco Trilogy" was wrapping up but before Mortal Instruments was published, Cassandra Claire said:

I'd love to make a living as a writer. I'd love to do it professional and have that be basically all I do. I know that that's really tough and very few people actually manage to do that; most people write and do something else too. But, really, what I want is to write books and have them be read and have people enjoy them, and be able to interact with people about what I write. I know there's going to be this period after I'm done with the Draco Trilogy and before my book comes out where I'm just going to be, you know, not interacting with anyone about what I've written, and I'm going to be like, "Oh, what am I doing?" ... In fandom, when I'm done with the Draco Trilogy, I'm going to take a break and, I mean, I might write some short, like, one shot things, but I doubt I'm going to start another really enormous project like the Draco Trilogy because it takes a huge amount of time and I don't have that kind of time to give to a project like that anymore.

Plagiarism Controversy

See also: The Cassandra Claire Plagiarism Debacle

The story first became the subject of major controversy when one reader identified an extensive sequences of action, description and dialogue from Draco Sinister, Chapter 9 as having been lifted from The Hidden Land, an out-of-print fantasy novel by Pamela Dean. Though this was sufficient to get Claire banned from, readers have identified other borrowed text as further evidence of Claire's plagiarism.

The series also incorporates an intricate web of dialogue pieces and text passages from popular genre television shows and books. Two characters might have a lengthy conversation which Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans will recognize as dialogue from the show, or Harry might answer a question with the words of a character from Babylon 5. The practice of hiding quotes from other media sources in the text of the story was well-known and accepted by some of Claire's readers,[citation needed] and it was used as a way of engaging the fans on a mailing list the story was posted to. Readers would guess which parts were quoted and what the source was, they would suggest lines to include from different sources that would fit this or that character, and there were unofficial "quote-nabbing contests" with other fanfic writers.[11] However, in spite of the relative candidness of these practices, they contained huge potential for trouble because they relied heavily on context to be understood.

Another major issue, related to the use of pop culture dialogue, was that Cassandra Claire reproduced concepts, rough scenes, descriptive phrases and dialogue from several fantasy novels. Such borrowings were often uncited (or cited in such a way as to make the amount of borrowed text appear far less extensive than it actually was).

The story and author were removed by admins in June 2001. For more information, see the comprehensive account of events by Avocado.[12]

Fandom's Reaction to the Plagiarism Controversy

That could have been the end of it, but the emotional investment of Claire's fans caused tremendous upheaval in the wake of the decision.

Draco Dormiens and Draco Sinister happened to be among the most popular Harry Potter stories at[13] DS was posted as a WIP and the serial format invited readers to speculate about what might happen next, who might end up with whom, and they were looking forward to updates. When it was deleted, fans were cut off from their favorite fannish crack. Someone took it and they wanted it back! The same kind of impulse leads to "Bring Back My Show" campaigns, which makes it less of a surprise that people reacted in a similar way.

To this day the conflict remains unresolved in many corners of fandom. Many fans are firmly of the opinion that Cassandra Claire is a plagiarist. On the other hand, many fans still enjoy the Draco Trilogy and her other works. Fittingly enough, the controversy had two major results: The wank surrounding the plagiarism accusation was so immense as to give Cassandra Claire the nickname "She Who Must Not Be Named"[14] in the Cult-of-Meaner circles in Harry Potter fandom, in the belief that even mentioning her name was enough to derail any wank report into a discussion of whether or not what she had done was plagiarism. At the same time, it led to the creation of FictionAlley, a major Harry Potter archive that became the new home of the Draco Trilogy.[15]


  1. The phrase (also known as Draco in Leather Pants) has become a catchphrase for "tak[ing] a controversial or downright villainous character and downplay[ing] his flaws, turning him into an object of desire". TV Tropes Wiki. Draco In Leather Pants. Accessed 4 November 2008. Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
  2. According to The Longest Harry Potter Fanfics by pokey1984, posted 27 October 2006, the word total was 896,762. Retrieved 04 November 2008. Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
  3. amanuensis1. The Draco Trilogy by Cassandra Claire. Complete. 04 August 2006. . Retrieved 27 December 2010. Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
  4. The numbers refer to the illustrated PDF version of the stories that's available on the net if you search for it.
  5. Clarriscent. What is Draco Trilogy?, 21 March 2010. . Retrieved 27 December 2010. Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
  6. Yemi-Hikari, (2010). Classic Sues: The Draco Trilogy. Retrieved January 31, 2010. Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
  7. Draco Trilogy blog, accessed 30 January 2013. Unavailable as of 23 April 2013; archived version here.
  8. Slashcast Insider Interview with Cassie Claire
  9. Cassandra Claire on LiveJournal. ficlet. Posted 21 December 2002. (Archived 01 September 2003 by the Wayback Machine.)
  10. Cassandra Claire on LiveJournal. *gloom*. Posted 02 May 2003. (Archived 24 September 2003 by the Wayback Machine. [WebCite])
  11. See excerpts of mails posted to the mailing lists ParadigmOfUncertainty and cassie_and_rhysenn, reproduced here and here. Retrieved 07 November 2008. Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
  12. The Cassandra Claire Plagiarism Debacle, posted to the journalfen community bad penny, 04 August 2006. . Retrieved 07 November 2008. Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
  13. According to the recollection of one reader, Draco Dormiens had more than 6,000 comments before it was removed.
  14. "I give you the Pottersues FAQ,". Retrieved 03 November 08. Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
  15. According to Avocado's 2006 bad penny report, "The official story, cited by ignatius and Charlotte Lennox, is that the Fiction Alley archive was already underway at the time Cassandra Claire was blacklisted from FanFiction.Net, but that the deletion of her account accelerated the release of the archive." However, Avocado says that "It appears that, prior to her account deletion, individual fans had plans to develop their own fansites to host fanfiction. However, after her account was deleted, they decided to work together and create an archive with a much wider scope. Thus, the existence of Fiction Alley as a large collaborative archive resulted from the deletion of Cassandra Claire's account from FanFiction.Net. To my mind, this is not the same thing as the archive 'being in the works' and its release being accelerated." Archived September 20, 2012 at WebCite
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