Draco In Leather Pants / Harry Potter

    The Trope Namer 
  • Draco Malfoy:
    • The trope is named for Draco Malfoy, a bigoted rival of Harry. It's easy to forget that there was a time when fans did see him as the smug, elitist, spoiled, and cowardly bully who only felt confident behind his burly cronies that he is. Since the movies, however (see below) fans have liked to paint him as a sexy and sensitive guy. He does get a little better by Half-Blood Prince and becomes somewhat of a Jerkass Woobie, but he's still far from nice, and never canonically lives up to the Mr. Fanservice treatment by his fans. Some fanfics get a little ridiculous, pairing Draco with the most unlikely people (Hermione, Ginny, Luna, etc)— or at least, the pairing would be crack if the fans doing it were not 100% serious.
    • This was thoroughly mocked in the Potter Puppet Pals episode "Draco Puppet", where Harry responds to the numerous fan requests to introduce a Puppet Pal Draco. Having established that he's doing this, Harry spends the rest of the video in Sarcasm Mode as he introduces us to our new puppet friend:
      Draco Puppet: I'm Draco! I'm really rich, and I'm really proud of the fact that I'm pureblooded white! I mean wizard! Tee hee!
      Harry: Wow, what a wonderful person!
    • Another slightly subtle example on Draco Malfoy's at times almost saintly status in fanon is this: In the canon, i.e. in the books, Harry always calls him and thinks of him as "Malfoy". Harry almost always thinks of teachers and authority figures (which Malfoy can't exactly be categorized as) using their last names, and the same goes for other people he disdains or feel aloof towards.note  However, fans - especially the ones that like Malfoy - usually refer to him as "Draco", while they don't refer to, say, Dumbledore as "Albus" quite as often. Needless to say, there's a reason this trope isn't called "Malfoy in Leather Pants".
    • Rowling was actually asked about this sort of trend during an interview.
      It amuses me. It honestly amuses me. People have been waxing lyrical [in letters] about Draco Malfoy, and I think that's the only time when it stopped amusing me and started almost worrying me. I'm trying to clearly distinguish between Tom Felton, who is a good looking young boy, and Draco, who, whatever he looks like, is not a nice man. Itís a romantic, but unhealthy, and unfortunately all too common delusion of — delusion, there you go — of girls, and you [nods to Melissa] will know this, that they are going to change someone. And that persists through many women's lives, till their death bed, and it is uncomfortable and unhealthy and it actually worried me a little bit, to see young girls swearing undying devotion to this really imperfect character, because there must be an element in there, that "I'd be the one who [changes him]." I mean, I understand the psychology of it, but it is pretty unhealthy. So, a couple of times I have written back, possibly quite sharply, saying [Laughter], "You want to rethink your priorities here."
    • The Draco in Leather Pants phenomenon is, in fact, so widespread in the fandom that you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who actually hates Draco. As an example, on Harry Potter confession blogs, chances are you will find more than one confession painting Draco as a "misunderstood" woobie. It's even reached the comments on his profile on Pottermore!
    • Interestingly played with in the fic Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality — Draco is a genuinely likable boy who just happened to be raised by a Darth Vader-esque Lucius. Harry interacts with him rather differently in his first meeting and instead of the immediate politically charged rivalry, we get a less immediate yet still politically charged kind of alliance. And then later on, when he's an occasional viewpoint character with a fairly sympathetic perspective, you keep running into the fact that he believes Dumbledore to be entirely evil. When his views change and he can finally come out and tell someone about that they think "his father will skin him alive and turn him into trousers."
    • Draco gets a fairly interesting variation on this in The Prayer Warriors. Draco is a "secret Christian" at Hogwarts, gets baptized and joins the heroes, and objects to the plan to have Ebony sleep with Harry to get his key, but joins the Prayer Warriors' crusade to exterminate nonbelievers, wants to kill Dumbledore merely for allowing gay sex, and in a later installment, threatens to kill people who don't go along with one of his plans to kill Wawa, the Titan of Water. In short, he's out of character, but interestingly enough, proves to be an even worse person than in canon despite (or perhaps because) of the author's attempts to make him seem more heroic.
    • The crossover fanfic Harry Tano amusingly references this with an about-to-defect Draco wearing trousers made from Hungarian Horntail Hide. A literal Draco in leather pants.
    • Actually Justified in Another Life, as the story is an AU in which Voldemort wanted to use baby Draco in a dark ritual, his parents refused and were killed for it, and Draco is sent to live with his White Sheep relatives, such that he doesn't grow up indoctrinated into pureblood supremacy. Unfortunately, this results in him being severely out-of-character practically as a necessity.
    • This can be somewhat justified if one takes into account the films. In the first movie alone, Draco smoothly introduces himself to Harry in front of all the first years whereas in the books, he condescendingly chats with Harry in private, only changes his tune when he finds out who Harry is, only confronts him when alone or when Draco feels protected, and gets scared away by the threat of rats. When Harry and Draco are fighting over the Remembrall, movie!Draco is suave and cool, barely considering Harry a threat while in the books, Draco immediately panics when Harry follows him into the air where Harry can see him as the sort who hides behind those stronger than him and runs away. Even physically, Tom Felton started off as a cute kid and became a handsome teen but Draco, while never described as unattractive, was also never described as good looking.
    • It's also worth noting that the movies skip over or omit a good bit of Draco's antagonistic activities. This leads to him seeming not quite as bad as he simply has less screen time and is less often seen acting as a bully than he is in the books, and his relation with Harry also therefore seems less antagonistic. For example in Goblet of Fire, the "Potter Stinks" pins are turned into a 30 second visual bit with no impact on the plot, and never really tied to Draco himself. In the book it's a year-long harassment campaign Draco is heading against Harry, and their frequency an indicator of how the school feels about Harry's performance in the tournament.
    • Funnily enough, part of the reason for Draco's leather-pantsing was due to Jason Isaacs (who played Lucius). He saw the first movie, decided Draco needed some sympathy, and resolved to be absolutely horrible to him.
    • Rowling finally gave Draco a profile on Pottermore, where she admits she does consider him to be somewhat more than a cowardly bully, especially by Half-Blood Prince. Among other things, she notes that he's a talented Occlumens due to his skill at suppressing his own emotions, and he does eventually learn his lesson when he realizes that Dumbledore, Snape, and Harry were most kind to him. He probably never becomes a very good person, but he manages to let go of his old prejudices, and eventually brings up his own son far better than his father did him. Not an unlikeable character, but not exactly the sex god antihero.
    • My Immortal, naturally, has him as the boyfriend for the protagonist. He is portrayed as the ideal sensitive guy, which given Tara Gilesbie's esoteric standards is a whiny, emotionally unstable doormat.

  • Lord Voldemort:
    • J. K. Rowling has spoken out against people who dare to suggest that Lord Voldemort isn't as horrible as she insists he is. Significant parts of Book 6 are meant as Take Thats against those people. For example, he lived in an orphanage, all right (just like Little Orphan Annie), but the most horrible thing in said orphanage was... himself. He used his magic to bully other kids and was feared both by them and by the staff. It's clear that he was never a good guy and that his modus operandi in his Tom Riddle phase, like many sociopaths, involved tapping into people's innate sense of sympathy for a poor orphan boy to get what he wants. So in some sense, these fans are more or less marks of Riddle's con in a meta-sense.
    • In My Immortal he is the central antagonist, but his past self is given a sympathetic portrayal and its Ebony's job to "sedouce" him. Then it turns out his past self was a disguised future self and Evil All Along.
  • Lucius Malfoy:
    • Averted, even inverted, with Draco's dad, Lucius, whose fans tend to appreciate him for the aristocratic, pimp cane accessorized bastard that he is without giving him the "Awww, he's really just a sexy Woobie!" treatment. In fact, Lucius provides an easy way for fanfic writers to portray Draco sympathetically. After all, if Lucius is an Abusive Parent, then Draco has a nice Freudian Excuse. And your story has a built-in villain, too! Ironically, in the canon, the fact that Lucius cares about his wife and son seems to be his only redeeming quality. Also, Lucius had no capacity to influence Draco's becoming a Death Eater one way or another, seeing as he was in Azkaban for the sixth book, which was when that happened. Lucius is hardly Dad of the Year, but neither is he the abusive monster who exists to torture Draco.
    • You can, however, find, that people who give Lucius this treatment, perhaps influenced by him being a Long-Haired Pretty Boy in this movies. He can become a handy Freudian Excuse for evil!Woobie!Draco, but if you claim that Draco isn't a villain at all, why shouldn't Lucius be awesome and sexy as well?
    • In My Immortal he is naturally on the good guys' side, being Draco's father. He was in a band with the Marauders and Snape and in the present buys cars for his son all the time. He also lost one of his arms for some reason.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange:
    • The fact that her portrayal in the movies was subject, teeth excluded, to Adaptational Attractiveness definitely doesn't hurt her chances among her fans—Evil Is Cool, Evil Is Sexy, Of Corsets Sexy, Beauty Equals Goodness (even if the "good" has to be dragged out kicking and screaming—this is a fanfic-centered trope), etc.
    • The "feminist fangirls" who refer to Bellatrix as a "role model" because she almost kills Ginny and then mocks a very pissed off Molly Weasley upon both that and the death of one of her sons. And then they bash Molly for killing their Bella. Never mind that Bellatrix is a Yandere who only has eyes for a man who doesn't give a damn for her, or that she's openly said that if she had kids, she'd sacrifice them to Voldemort, or that she was among the Death Eaters that tortured Neville Longbottom's parents into insanity — she's a "super great feminist" for bashing motherhood. Unfortunate Implications, much?
    • Another approach involves turning her into some kind of Woobie—usually through making her life a Trauma Conga Line, which may include Brainwashing, Rape as Backstory, all of the above, or worse. Sometimes, this manifests itself as a Freudian Excuse (especially if Cold-Blooded Torture was common in her past) for her existing personality. The previous sections may result in I Just Want to Be Free.
    • Finally, if a Peggy Sue is involved (either Bellatrix herself or another character), she may be steered away from the person she becomes in canon. Where it goes from there varies as much as the fanfictions written about her—Anti-Hero, Anti-Villain, Mary Sue, Author Avatar...
  • Blaise Zabini fans can maybe be forgiven for this tendency. He was a Slytherin boy in Harry's year who, up until Half-Blood Prince, had only ever been mentioned in passing, making him prime fodder for fanfic writers interested in creating a sympathetic Slytherin character without spitting in the face of canon. Then he was given some character development in the series and revealed to be a buddy of Draco Malfoy's and every bit as bigoted and jerkish as that association suggests, which some people have rather understandably chosen to ignore so as to continue imagining him in whatever mold they originally preferred, and others have tried to justify.
  • In 2015, there was a very popular Tumblr post that got picked up by external news sites, proposing: what if, instead of Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts Triwizard champion was Cassius Warrington of Slytherin House, who also entered? The post imagined Warrington as an honourable and upstanding young man, who would help Harry on the Second Task the same way Cedric did, and whose death would ultimately lead to the majority of Slytherin House turning against Voldemort and crying his name as they fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. Since Warrington was basically just a name on a page, without a defined character, people were eager to turn him into the Token Good Teammate. However, Warrington's name does pop up again later in the series... as a member of Umbridge's Inquisitorial Squad. Oops...
  • Slytherin House as a whole tend to get this treatment, especially in fics where Harry and/or Hermione get sorted in Slytherin. In some cases, characterizations will remain the status quo and Harry will be the Token Good Teammate, but with most, Freudian Excuses get passed around left and right.
  • Salazar Slytherin:
    • Salazar had a dream that one day, an adequately racist and motivated student would find the secret underground chamber he built to house a deadly basilisk and use it to mass-murder his Muggle-born classmates. And some fans would have you believe that's just dandy. Now, mind you, this one actually has sound reasoning among the supporters: Salazar lived at least a thousand years before the series takes place, and so conceivably could have been the victim of an in-universe Historical Villain Upgrade. It helps that the series implies that he wasn't always a "twisted old loony". In fact, according to the Sorting Hat, he and Godric Gryffindor had once been the best of friends. The only point against that theory is that the basilisk's dialog is clearly homicidal towards Muggleborns, and even then, you can explain it away by either centuries of isolation in the Chamber of Secrets or Riddle's influence when he reached the Chamber.
    • A good example of making him sympathetic without contradicting canon can be found here. While at the same time throwing not only Draco but Snape into the leather pants (not to mention what happens to Hermione) all in the first three chapters.
    • Another (comedic) one had the falling out be over Blood Pudding. After a thousand years, it got twisted into Blood Purity. Turns out Salazar was a jolly fat guy that ate way too much.
  • Severus Snape:
    • Snape gets put in leather pantsnote  a lot, often (but not always) by fangirls who want to know him carnally. They tend to ignore the more unpleasant parts of his character ó such as joining a gang of aspiring Death Eater studentsnote , and experimenting with the Dark Arts at a disturbingly young age (including inventing the "Sectumsempra" spell, which creates slashing wounds that don't close). Oh, and they also bash Lily for "not being a good friend" (aka, refusing to become Snape's Extreme Doormat Love Martyr), and blame her for Snape calling her "Mudblood" or even try to justify it and deny its connections to real-world racism. Anything we could say about the Snape-dom can be summed up here.
    • There's also a tendency to portray his nastiness as an act to maintain cover or due to manipulation by Dumbledore when in the books, Dumbledore is sad when Snape insists that Dumbledore never tell anyone about his love for Lily, lamenting that he has to hide the best of Snape. Dumbledore also gives Snape many chances to mend fences with Harry, insisting that he's being unfair, i.e. Dumbledore wanted Snape to be nicer but didn't press the matter when the latter said no. Fanon!Snape more or less makes Snape a doormat whose actions can always be blamed and excused on others, without Snape having to take responsibility for his actions. His parents' poor treatment of him is blamed a lot too, despite only being mentioned in passing.
    • There's also the fact that many of Snape's genuinely unpleasant behaviour in the earlier books is either forgotten altogether or excused and whitewashed away. Snape was willing to sic Dementors on Sirius Black ''after'' the latter surrendered, acting very much in a manner that Umbridge and Barty Crouch Sr. and Fudge is criticized for later in the books. He also outed Remus Lupin which some blame Remus for because the latter forgot the Wolfsbane Potion, except that Snape is equally to blame since he marched into the Shrieking Shack without the potion (that he had brought into Lupin's room and forgot about altogether) and not once reminds Lupin of his error in the entire time he spends to gloat on his former teen enemies. Snape was also abusive to Neville Longbottom for no reason, and while fans say that his hatred for Neville was because of his love for Lily, the implications of that hatred (that be believes Neville should have died instead) makes Snape even more unsympathetic and makes his "love" an excuse for terrible behaviour.
    • Like Draco, at least part of his popularity can probably be attributed to his depiction in the films, done by the talented, suave and fairly handsome Alan Rickman. Also like Draco, the films remove many of Snape's above mentioned worse moments (such as his threat to poison Neville's toad and his calling Lily a Mudblood), his insulting of Remus because the latter is a werewolf, and add in scenes designed to make him more sympathetic (such as the scene of him crying over Lily's corpse in Deathly Hallows).
  • The Marauders were general fan favourites until Book 5 presented a darker look at some of their schoolyard antics which led to them becoming Ron the Death Eater for many Snape fans. In response some fans go the other way. Many fans try to rationalize their repeated bullying of Snape because of his Fantastic Racism and his Voldemort fanboyism. In the books, the rivalry was personal first rather than political, and inspired by a mix of James and Sirius disliking Snape for how he looked, for the fact that he wanted to be in Slytherin (by Sirius at least) and that he was friendly with Lily (for James). Of course, they did turn out to be on the side of the good guys but the whole point of that memory is that Good Is Not Nice.
  • Scabior the Snatcher has one tiny role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but was portrayed by the attractive actor Nick Moran in the film. The number of women wishing they could trade places with Hermione and have their hair sniffed by him is growing. Among his Russian fans, he's considered to be so good-looking that he's normally referred to as Sexy Eater.
  • Also, Petunia Dursley. Yes, the Jerkass Resentful Guardian and Stepford Smiler that abused Harry ever since he went to live with her family, is sometimes shown as a poor victim "bullied" and "insulted" by her "stupid and snobbish" sister Lily, thus she "can't help" but hate Harry and blame him for "Lily's sins".
  • In the case of the Dursleys, both Rowling and the fandom agrees that Vernon is the least sympathetic of the three. Rowling never gives him a Freudian Excuse and fanfics often portray him as pure evil. However, while the fans seem to consider Petunia the most sympathetic Dursley, Rowling seems to consider that to be Dudley, feeling that his actions were the result of bad parenting. Prior to the end of the series, fans guessed that Petunia would eventually apologize to Harry, but, to the surprise of many, it was Dudley who apologized while Petunia only got an implied Ignored Epiphany. Dumbledore himself considered Dudley pitiful and called out his parents for raising him the way they did - as a selfish, entitled bully that thought he could get away with anything until he was a teenager. The in-universe reason for this is sound, but horrifying. In Order of the Phoenix, dementors attacked Harry and Dudley, and afterwards, Harry wondered what Dudley, who had had everything that he had ever wanted for his whole life, could have possibly seen when the dementors drew near. The answer, by Word of God: Dudley saw himself. As in, he saw that he was an obese, spoiled, and all-around horrible bully.
  • Barty Crouch, Jr. due to being played by David Tennant in the movie and having a Tragic Villain Back Story in the book. Sometimes he gets paired with characters nearly twenty years younger than him, like Hermione or Luna.
  • Fenrir Greyback, a cannibalistic werewolf whose modus operandi is to maul and infect children with lycanthropy in canon, is often portrayed as a big protective dog who's only looking out for the best interests of his clan/mate (often Hermione).
  • Marietta Edgecombe gets a bit of this as well. Admittedly, we don't know that much about her, but some fans like to imagine her as a tragic heroine who is torn between loyalty to her family and the DA, and that her punishment is completely unfair. But the fact remains that she also sold out Cho, her best friend, just because her mother might be fired otherwise. Furthermore, she's shown to not want to be in the DA from the start, only there because Cho practically dragged her to the first meeting. However, in the interest of fairness, Marietta's resistance to joining the group is generally considered one of the points in her favor; while some fans go overboard in defending her, it's generally agreed that given the very real risk involved in joining the DA, it was immoral to force an unwilling participant to sign a magical contract—especially without her even being aware of the contract's existence.
  • The Death Eaters in general, despite being Magic Nazis, are sometimes considered Well Intentioned Extremists who were simply trying to unify the wizarding world to fight off the inevitable invasion when Muggles discover them. Except there's nothing whatsoever in the books to suggest that a war would be inevitable even with discovery. In fact, it all but says the war with Voldemort would have gone a lot better if they had just gotten Muggles to help. Plus the DE doesn't actually seem to care about any hypothetical war with the Muggles, except maybe for the one they plan to start and how they want to win it. Never mind that it's obvious they hate Muggles every bit as much as they do Half-Bloods.
  • Blood purity:
    • The entire concept of "Blood Status" gets heavily romanticized by fanfic writers into being more in line with Victorian Social Status instead of outright racism like it is in the books. Hilariously (or sadly) enough, this could simultaneously be considered applying this trope to the institution of Victorian social status itself.
    • In general, a surprising number of Fanfic writers seem to interpret pure-bloodedness as a sign of magical superiority, usually as an excuse to reveal that Character X (usually Hermione) was a pureblood all along and promptly give them a power boost. This kinda goes against the whole "it's complete nonsense made up by racist aristocrats" message that runs through discussions of it in the books. Rowling herself dissuaded this, noting that (bar inherited traits such as Parseltongue, which applies no matter your blood status) purebloods are, if anything, often weaker than their Muggle-born counterparts due to being severely inbred.
    • Then there's the opposite side of the coin; members of the fandom who try to pass off Muggle Britain as morally superior to Wizarding Britain in everyway. You will rarely, if every, see these parts of the fandom recognize The Troubles were a thing and you will never see them acknowledge the British government had rolled out internment camps for the Irish in the early 1970s as part of Operation Demetrius, using interrogation techniques later confirmed and condemned as torture. While the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement applies on who was worse during the Troubles, it's indisputable that both sides did horrible things, and one of them was the British government. While the British gloss over this part of their country's recent history (if they even know it exists...), there's no real excuse for the rest of the fandom.
    • It's also worth noting that Wizarding Britain as a whole is a reflection of Muggle Britain, and not always the most flattering one.
  • Gellert Grindelwald often gets this due to his Offstage Villainy and his Ho Yay with Dumbledore. This even extends to his article on the HP wiki.
  • Dolores Umbridge:
    • Horrifyingly enough, a small but vocal part of the Tumblr fandom (presumably a subgroup of Bellatrix's "feminist" fangirls) will gladly minimize DOLORES UMBRIDGE'S crimes, claiming that the only reason she's more hated than Voldemort is because she's a woman in power. Fortunately, seeing as the fandom, the characters and the author universally despise Umbridge, there are entire essays in response to these fans, explaining in detail exactly why people hate Umbridge more than Voldemort; not because of her gender, but because she's an amalgamation of all the worst authority figures you'll ever meet in your life, and a much more realistic villain than Voldemort. (Also, Joffrey Baratheon, Ramsay Bolton, and Shou Tucker are at least as hated as Umbridge, and they're male.) In fact, Rowling's biography of the woman reveals quite plainly that, like Voldemort, she was rotten to the core from her childhood.
    • The crack fic Ron's Hogwarts is somewhat successful at DILPing Umbridge. While she's still racist, incompetent, and ugly, she's also tutoring Ron Weasley, who in this story is stupid, lazy, immature, and spoiled beyond belief, has failed his first year three times in a row, and is universally hated by the faculty and the entire student body. It gets to the point where Umbridge does the impossible and admits that she's wrong.
      I'm the fool woman who thought that your teachers were incompetent and that's why you're repeating the first year for the third time. Instead they're saints for not having beaten you to death for being too stupid to live years ago.
    • In My Immortal of all places (since its all edgy and anti-authority). She is still stuck up, but recognises Voldemort as a threat and even cares about the students.