I love Narcissa, and i find the Black sisters/Black family the most fascinating secondary characters in the series (this may be because theyre based on the Mitford sisters, and im certain this is at least part of their complexity and appeal), and Narcissa is definitely my favourite mother figure in the series - because lets be real, motherhood is handled pretty badly throughout.
What I love about the Malfoys in the series is that they’re there as an example of moral relativity - that it is very rare to find pure evil, and even those who are vilified by other characters or the text itself still have whole lives and loves and loyalities that may pass unseen but still contribute to the person that they are.
As ive said before, the series charts Harry’s transition from childhood to adulthood, and we as the reader follow him through that journey - we learn when he learns and grow when he grows. Thats why in the first book, Draco is a two-dinemsional rival for Harry, nasty in a very childish way - but by the sixth book he is a flawed and frightened young man, under pressure to become a murderer or else see his family murdered - and Harry, who understands better than most what it feels like to grow up too quickly, sees his dislike for Draco change to sympathy and pity.
This concerns Narcissa, of course, as her storyline revolves around Draco - we only ever see her in scenes either with him or about him (the Unbreakable Vow scene, for example). It is important for us to see that even someone as nasty as Draco has a mother who will put her life on the line for him, as a parallel to Harry and Lily (this parallel is intentional and comes full circle in the Forbidden Forest scene), but it also tells us a lot about Narcissa herself. We know that she has one sister who walks the path of radical extremism, and another who turned her back on her world in favour of a different life, but Narcissa is the one who finds a balance in the society shes been raised in - which is essentially wizard fascism - and what she truly loves and cherishes - her own family. The amount of bravery it would take to be in Voldemort’s inner circle whilst defying him every time his motives put Lucius or Draco in danger really cant be overstated - I would say Narcissa is one of the bravest characters in the series, by far. (This is what bothers me about sorting!!! Are we saying slytherins can’t be brave, or loyal? They are consistently some of the most loyal and fiercely loving characters across the gamut).
I wish we had learned more about Narcissa and her sisters - the way they were raised, what wizarding high society is like, their relationships with their parents, their peers, each other - I mean, i can look at the characters we know and make guesses, but theres just such a rich backstory there and ughhh i /want/ it
(As a side note - I love that Narcissa is linked in-text to Snape. The Unbreakable Vow chapter is one of my favourites of the whole series and rereading it knowing the full context adds so many layers of nuance - Narcissa begging Snape to look out for her son as he’s looked out for Harry for countless years, entering into a vow that he knows will clash with his charge to protect Harry, but doing it anyway because of his complex feelings re: motherhood, the two members of Voldemorts inner circle who will be instrumental in his downfall due to their unconditional love conspiring together and being bound by Voldemort’s most faithful lieutanant and possibly the only person who loves him, Wormtail (a man who has never been loyal in his life, but was sorted into the house assosciated with loyalty) listening to Snape (considered by almost everyone to be treacherous and untrustworhy, but who chooses to define himself by loyalty) make an Unbreakable Vow - it is seriously the b e s t GO READ IT AGAIN NOW)