Hey everyone, Welcome to another installment of Harry Potter Theory. In today’s theory, we’re once again going to be discussing WIZARDING WEALTH. It’s a hot topi, people want to talk about.
Why is Harry so RICH? Why do the Lestranges have a vault full of gold? Who is the RICHEST family? These are all questions I’ve answered in the past. However, what I’ve never properly answered is how the Malfoy family were able to amass THEIR wealth. The wizarding world has an economy just like our own with mediums of exchange and a system of finance.
And they also of course have their own wizarding mone, coming in many different forms including galleons, sickles and knuts. Galleons are the largest form of currency, equivalent to about 17 sickles or 493 knuts. According to the FORBES fictional 15 - which takes speculation to the next level when it ranks the net worth of all different sorts of fictional characters, Lucius Malfoy is worth an astonishing 1.
3 billion USD or 943,542 pounds. If we convert that in to muggle currency, that gives us a figure of approximately 188,708,000 galleon, not bad Lucius. Astonishingly, the Malfoys are NOT the richest family in the wizarding world, but they’re certainly up ther, probably top 3. When we think of the Malfoy family lineage- certain words come to most people’s mind, but these words scarcely hold a positive connotation. Usually when someone says ‘Malfoy’- you might think ‘bigot’ or ‘prejudiced’- but that’s a reputation that was earned through centuries of intolerance.
In fact, the name Malfoy comes from Old French and literally means ‘bad faith’. These are characteristics almost ingrained in their bloodline, and it wasn’t until really, Draco, that this intolerance began to waiver somewhat. Historically, they are a wealthy family of morally crooked witches and wizards, that will whimper when caught red handed, and gloat when in a position of power. So, how did this family acquire their IMMENSE level of wealth? Well, I’m about to air their dirty dark secre, they’re rich EXCLUSIVELY because of muggles.
Per Pottermore: Like many other progenitors of noble English families, the wizard Armand Malfoy arrived in Britain with William the Conqueror as part of the invading Norman army. Having rendered unknown, shady (and almost certainly magical) services to King William I, Malfoy was given a prime piece of land in Wiltshire, seized from local landowners, upon which his descendants have lived for ten consecutive centuries. Their wily ancestor Armand encapsulated many of the qualities that have distinguished the Malfoy family to the present day. The Malfoys have always had the reputation, hinted at by their not altogether complimentary surname, of being a slippery bunch, to be found courting power and riches wherever they might be found. In spite of their espousal of pure-blood values and their undoubtedly genuine belief in wizards’ superiority over Muggles, the Malfoys have never been above ingratiating themselves with the non-magical community when it suits them.
The result is that they are one of the richest wizarding families in Britain, and it has been rumoured for many years (though never proven) that over the centuries the family has dabbled successfully in Muggle currency and assets. Over hundreds of years, they have managed to add to their lands in Wiltshire by annexing those of neighbouring Muggles, and the favour they curried with royalty added Muggle treasures and works of art to an ever-expanding collection. Isn’t it horribly ironic that the Malfoy’s wealth, of which they are so proud, stems from the very thing that they vow to hate so much. But, the reality is, this hypocrisy has been going on for a very long time. In fact, one of the Malfoy’s ancestors (who was arguably the MOST anti-muggle Malfoy), was a wizard named Brutus Malfoy who once remarked that: "Nothing is a surer sign of weak magic than a weakness for non-magical company" Well, what does that say about your bloodline then Mr.
Brutus? In fact, as it turns out, Brutus Malfo, the man who sat on a pile of muggle-provided money, was the editor of the anti-muggle periodical ‘Warlock at War’. He assumed this position because he didn’t want to just sit idly by hating muggles, he wanted to spread the wor, and he wanted to demonize anyone that would fraternize with muggles or muggle borns. He even believed that witches and wizards who associated with Muggles were stupid and lacked magical talen, an entirely skewed perspective likely fabricated out of hate. In 1675 he said the following: “This we may state with certainty: any wizard who shows fondness for the society of Muggles is of low intelligence, with magic so feeble and pitiful that he can only feel himself superior if surrounded by Muggle pigmen. Nothing is a surer sign of weak magic than a weakness for non-magical company.
” However, with all of that said, the Malfoys HAVE always drawn one line in the sand when it comes to fraternizing with muggles, and that line of course pertains to their level of wealth. Yes, Armand Malfoy who served William the Conqueror was GIVEN land in exchange for services, but that’s not the only source of their wealth. The Malfoys also amassed paintings, gold, jewels, and all other kinds of valuable good, all through fraternizing with WEALTHY muggles. Historically, the Malfoys drew a sharp distinction between poor Muggles and those with wealth and authority.
Until the imposition of the Statute of Secrecy in 1692, the Malfoy family was active within high-born Muggle circles, and it is said that their fervent opposition to the imposition of the Statute was due, in part, to the fact that they would have to withdraw from this enjoyable sphere of social life. Though hotly denied by subsequent generations, there is ample evidence to suggest that the first Lucius Malfoy was an unsuccessful aspirant to the hand of Elizabeth I, and some wizarding historians allege that the Queen’s subsequent opposition to marriage was due to a jinx placed upon her by the thwarted Malfoy. Yeah, you heard that righ, the Malfoys were in OPPOSITION to the statue of secrecy because it threatened their lifestyle. However, this fact certainly didn’t mean that they wouldn’t later pivot on their position entirely, later vocalizing a FERVENT stance supporting the divide of the two worlds.
With that healthy degree of self-preservation that has characterised most of their actions over the centuries, once the Statute of Secrecy had passed into law the Malfoys ceased fraternising with Muggles, however well-born, and accepted that further opposition and protests could only distance them from the new heart of power: the newly created Ministry of Magic. They performed an abrupt volte-face, and became as vocally supportive of the Statute as any of those who had championed it from the beginning, hastening to deny that they had ever been on speaking (or marrying) terms with Muggles. In typical Malfoy fashion, the family tucked their tails between their legs and, upon recognizing that the Statute was going to be introduced (whether they liked it or not), quite openly changed their perspective on the whole thing. This type of behaviour is consistent with the Malfoys and reminds me of, oh I don’t know, Luciu, who was a devout death eater when Voldemort was standing next to him, but would switch sides in a heartbeat if he recognized the chance of Voldemort’s downfall.
Over time, without the supply of the jewels and goods that previously came from muggles, their contempt toward them eventually became genuine. And there you have it: the massively hypocritical truth regarding the Malfoys and the reason for their immense wealth. I’m sure if you asked Lucius or Draco about how the family amassed their fortune, they’d give you a very different answe, but, this? This is the truth.