omg all three of my harry potter biwdttd ♥ warning: i have a lot of feelings
this basically boils down to ‘jkr coded the kind of women she doesn’t care for personally in real life as horrid caricatures of people in fiction’, with a side helping of headcanon
pansy parkinson actually has very few lines in canon (i know this because i went dialogue-hunting for my lapsed harry potter genderswap). we mostly see her fawning over draco and making snide remarks about our heros, the golden trio. her most notable contribution to the story is her assertion, during the final battle in DH, that they surrender harry potter. this marks her as Hogwarts Enemy #1 and her entire house is shunted off after that—to the dungeons, in movieverse; in bookverse, i believe they’re simply escorted away by way of hogsmeade.
but i can’t hate pansy for any of this—it actually all makes me want to get inside her head. pansy was raised wealthy, and my headcanon is that her family was rearing her for a political marriage to draco. she simpers over draco from the beginning, always faithful, always acquiescing when he gets bored/annoyed with her—the bellatrix to his voldemort, in a way. it is likely that she knows little more than this: pureblood privilege and her pureblood prince.
hating harry comes from both her upbringing and her idolized crush. how can she not? why would she not? why break away from the path she’s been raised to follow when it’s never led her wrong before? yes, you say she should have had her own moral sense—why? all of the teens in these books are products of the people who came before them, bar harry, who never had adult role models besides the ones who physically and emotionally abused him for ten years (doesn’t build much loyalty and trust).
aside from hating harry, though, she’s done nothing wrong. well, teasing hermione, but that comes from (a) hating harry and by extension harry’s friends, (b) being a young girl. girls sometimes tease each other. girls often grow out of it.
cordelia chase, anyone?
the biggest offenses for which pansy is vilified is not being a bully, though, it is disagreeing with our heroes on key points throughout the series, having a pug nose and screechy voice, and being devoted to a boy, namely draco. that is, until DH—when she is dragged into a war she isn’t a part of (regardless of parents’ alliances, no teen save draco is an actual death eater) and told, just like everyone else, that she must face death or give up harry potter.
honestly? if i’m seventeen, terrified, and told to face death or give up harry potter? i might have given up harry potter. we have the luxury of knowing, as readers, that it’s not the right choice, but not everyone experiencing the final battle had the same clarity.
i dunno i think pansy is the translation of some girl who bullied jkr in her formative years onto the page and that rubs me wrong. jkr said, i believe that she wants her daughter to be a hermione and not a pansy. ugh. just say that you don’t want her to bully, or whatever—you don’t need to define the right way to be a girl and the wrong way to be a girl* while you’re at it. (the pink robes vs blue robes debate, btw? is RIDICULOUS.)
* other wrong ways to be a girl: lavender brown, parvati patil, and—
fleur delacour is the motherfucking champion of beauxbatons—which is NOT an all-girls’ school, an egregious error in the movieverse which may seem innocuous at first. but fleur is not the best of the french witches, she is the best of the french witches and wizards, all of them. she is a fucking badass. she faced a dragon, she valiantly attempted to save her sister despite emotional distress and attacks under the water, and she lived through the treachery in the maze.
she is also a fierce, flawless quarter-veela, though, and therein lies her downfall, because molly, ginny, and even hermione simply cannot have that. neither can jkr - throughout HBP she is continually speaking in an obnoxiously exaggerated french accent, telling the weasleys that everything they do is wrong. and for some reason, preferring lighter foods and lighter music is an offense punishable by … slut shaming? yes, the fact that fleur has long blonde hair and moves her hips when she walks is enough of an excuse for half of HBP’s comedy to be predicated on molly’s and ginny’s mockery of fleur pretty much half the time they’re on the page. hermione’s is to a lesser degree, but i certainly remember her being frustrated with fleur as well.
WHY? fleur is brave. fleur is clever. fleur is in love with bill, deeply and truly. fleur is independent and willing to try new things, like her job at the bank (which is also mocked by molly and ginny, wtf?) fleur is experiencing culture shock so of fucking course she talks about the french way of doing things. she MISSES the french way of doing things. i love traveling and i’m not overly fond of my own country but when i travel i miss the american way of doing things! it’s natural! but for the sin of being foreign and being beautiful fleur gets lambasted. she’s better after her goddamn amazing defense of bill at the end of HBP, and in DH she’s alright, but by the time she’s been reduced to ‘soft quiet housewife’ anyways so like. i dunno man.
victoire weasley’s probably the biggest bamf in wizarding england tho.
fuck i am running out of steam here.
narcissa malfoy is just. oh man. first of all i am a black family stan so like 75% of my appreciation of narcissa comes from my headcanon about her upbringing and her relationships with andromeda and bellatrix. in my headcanon their parents were distant and didn’t treat them well but narcissa tried so hard to be the perfect princess they’d always wanted—prim, proper, demure—but it never helped. bellatrix and andromeda always resented her in that regard, but took them under their wings otherwise. narcissa was intimidated by bellatrix’s bold loud domineering and andromeda’s subtle sideways rebellions, but she never imagined where it would bring them.
she’s betrothed to lucius and angry about it, before they meet—she imagines him as ugly and fat and that his money is the only good thing about him—but when they do see each other she falls in love immediately (and never falls out of it again). as she loses both of her sisters, one to madness and the other to a muggleborn, narcissa and lucius (and eventually draco) become a tight-knit unit which will weather through any storm. lucius does what he can to further their family’s interests and narcissa doesn’t ask questions, even with every worse turn the war takes.
her actions in the series are all about draco. the unbreakable vow and lying about harry’s death, both were completely motivated by her love for her son. and i see narcissa malfoy as a woman who has (well, had) everything—money, good standing, beauty—but didn’t give a fig about any of it. she was always all about love. first her sisters, when her parents were unavailable; when they were gone too, she poured herself into her husband and her son. it fascinates me.
i honestly have spent so much time reading marauder-era fanfiction that i can’t quite remember narcissa’s characterization in the series beyond her ‘looking like there was something foul under her nose’ or whatever. i’m sure she barely got any attention and what was there got maligned much in the way of pansy. women on the wrong side of the war. what the fuck ever, i am keeping my headcanon. i like it better.