I love the Harry Potter series (books and movies), and I care about every teacher and child within Hogwarts and the Order of the Phoenix. I shed tears whenever J.K. Rowling killed off another one of the good guys. But when inevitably my attention constantly strays back to the Death Eaters and while this post centers on Lucius Malfoy, I'm rather entranced by them all: Lucius' wife Narcissa, her sister Bellatrix, Severus Snape, and Igor Karkaroff. They have the best costumes, the nastiest lines, and some of the finest special effects. (The way they operate in black smoke makes even broomsticks seem dull.)
But my favorite Death Eater remains Lucius Malfoy. Chris Columbus' installments have been harshly dismissed by cinephiles, but I think it's time to back down from the cries of "Alfonso Cuaron saved the series!", because Columbus accomplished a very weighty task: He set the stage. Every director following Columbus has been able to dispense with "The Boy Who Lived" origin stories, details, and explanations (something even Rowling could never quite bring herself to do until #7) and plunge right into the best parts of the story. But most importantly, Columbus set the stage for the bad guys. His installments may have erred on the juvenile, but by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets even the smallest kid in the audience knew that Voldemort meant serious business. That's entirely due to the appearance of one Lucius Malfoy.