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Pure-blood supremacy

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DH1 The Malfoy Family

The Malfoys and the Lestranges were bastions of the pure-blood supremacism philosophy

"I really don't think they should let the other sort in, do you? They're just not the same, they've never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families."
—Draco Malfoy's pure-blood prejudice [src]

Pure-blood supremacy[1] is the belief that wizards and witches whose known ancestry is exclusively magical (pure-bloods) are inherently superior to wizards and witches who have traceable Muggle ancestry (Muggle-borns and half-bloods). Proponents of this ideology typically regard Muggle-born wizards as impure, unworthy of possessing magical ability, and often actively discriminate against them.

Attitude and beliefs

Lucius Malfoy: "What’s the use of being a disgrace to the name of wizard if they don’t even pay you well for it?"
Arthur Weasley: "We have a very different idea about what disgraces the name of wizard, Malfoy."
Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley argue over blood status [src]

A piece of propaganda directed towards Muggle-borns

Pure-blood supremacists consider themselves to be the elite of the wizarding world, akin to royalty. They look down upon half-bloods, Muggle-borns, half-breeds, and consider the Muggle world to be inferior to their own. Pure-bloods and even half-bloods, who do not share this view are considered traitors to their own kind, hence the term "blood traitor." They are considered disgraces by pure-blood supremacists such as the Malfoys.

Elitist pure-bloods believe that it is a sign of weak magic to enjoy non-magical company[2] and seem to believe that some of the supposed dirtiness of Muggles and Muggle-borns will rub off on those who associate with them, thus they consider blood traitors to be "filthy" as well[3].

Some extremists consider blood traitors to be nearly as bad as the Muggle-borns they are prejudiced against. Bellatrix Lestrange, for example, claimed that "blood traitor is next to Mudblood in [her] book,"[4] and her family often disowned and blasted off the family tree any members who could be considered blood traitors. Blood traitors might also be shunned by their families and acquaintances: for example, Bellatrix and her younger sister Narcissa Malfoy stopped seeing their sister Andromeda after she married a Muggle-born wizard, Ted Tonks.[4]

Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters targeted blood traitors during the First and Second Wizarding Wars because they opposed their goals. When they were temporarily in control of the Ministry of Magic in late 1997 and early 1998, they kept blood traitors such as Arthur Weasley under surveillance. However, even most Death Eaters were reluctant to kill pure-bloods, even "traitorous" ones, if it could be avoided. The same situation existed at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry while Voldemort was in power.[5]

Degrees of prejudice

Pure-blood elitism

"Toujours Pur"
—"Always Pure," the motto of the House of Black[src]
The most extreme of the pure-blood supremacists seek to purge the world of those they consider "impure." They often tolerate half-bloods out of necessity, but Muggle-borns are persecuted, as well as Muggles are viewed as nothing more than animals. Supremacists have debated amongst themselves whether Muggles and Muggle-borns should be subject to death or slavery, but it is generally agreed the general goal of pure-blood supremacy is a world where Muggles are relegated to a lesser role.
“Pure-blood elitists” Reason(s)
House of Black The Blacks were an infamous pure-blood family who believed that being pure-bloods made them almost royalty and disowned "blood traitor" family members. Many members of the House of Black were disowned for marrying Muggles or Muggle-borns, or for refusing to uphold the family's prejudiced views. Even being a Squib is considered to be impure, as well as will be disowned.
House of Gaunt Descendants of two notable pure-blood families (the Slytherins and the Peverells), the Gaunts went so far as inbreeding to keep their bloodline pure of any Muggle pollution.
In the early 17th century, Gormlaith Gaunt was obsessed with the purity of the Gaunt bloodline to the point of murdering her own sister and brother-in-law, Rionach and William Sayre due to their fraternisation with Muggle neighbours, something she saw as "setting [her niece] Isolt upon a dangerous path to intermarriage with a non-magical man". She raised her niece in seclusion, refusing to allow her to go to Hogwarts School ("a dangerously egalitarian establishment full of Mudbloods"). When Isolt fled her aunt to the New World aboard the Mayflower in 1620, Gormlaith eventually tracked her down and attempted to kill her and her Muggle husband, and take her daughters with her.
Despite the fact that he lived in poverty, Marvolo Gaunt was obsessed with being pure-blood and certain of his superiority over those of "lesser" blood status: according to Harry Potter, Marvolo considered that his blood purity made him practically royalty, akin to the House of Black. He disowned his daughter, Merope, for her little magical ability and her blood treachery.
Malfoy family Malfoy is the surname of a wealthy pure-blood wizarding family, and one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. They are known foe their disdain of Muggles and Muggle-borns. They also strongly believe in the concept of blood purity.
Brutus Malfoy was a campaigner of purity. He wrote the paper Warlock at War, which promoted wizarding purity. He hated Muggles and blood traitors and seemingly became famous with pure-blood elitist communities. After Muggles persecuted wizards, he began to grow a pure-blood supremacist ideology. His clan would carry on his pure-blood elitism for the many generations to come.
Lestrange family Lestrange is the surname of an ancient pure-blood wizarding family, and one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. Many Lestranges practise the Dark Arts and believe in the notion of pure-blood supremacy, disdaining Muggles and Muggle-borns. They also have many Death Eater family members.
Greengrass family The Greengrasses are known to have espoused the philosophy of Pure-blood supremacy.
Following the horrors of the Second Wizarding War Astoria Greengrass abandoned the beliefs of blood supremacy in favour of a more tolerant world view. She even refused to raise her son to believe that "Muggles [are] scum", even though that created tension with her parents-in-law, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy.
Durmstrang Institute Durmstrang did not allow Muggle-borns to attend.
Lord Voldemort Possibly the largest Muggle haters and blood purity fanatics of their time. Led by Voldemort, who thought that magical blood was pure and special. Under their regime, Muggle-borns were stripped of their wands, reduced to beggars. If unable to prove relations to any wizard, they were subjected to the Dementor's Kiss and Muggles were killed indiscriminately. Ironically, however, Voldemort himself is half-blood, his mother being a pure-blood witch and his father a Muggle.
Death Eaters
Dolores Umbridge Umbridge hated Muggles, Muggle-borns, as well as half-breeds. She was head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission during Voldemort's control of the Ministry and actively persecuted "Mudbloods," stripping them of their wands. After Voldemort's defeat, she was arrested and sentenced to Azkaban for her crimes against Muggle-borns.
Salazar Slytherin Slytherin did not accept Muggle-borns in his house and subsequently ended his friendship with Godric Gryffindor. He left a Basilisk in a hidden chamber beneath Hogwarts so that it could one day purge the school of Muggle-borns.
Araminta Meliflua An activist for Muggle-hunting, she attempted to force passage of a bill at the Ministry that would have legalised it as a sport. A relative of Walburga Black.
Elizabeth Burke Elizabeth Burke seemed to have hated Muggle-borns, as her portrait at Hogwarts Castle encouraged Slytherins to be "nasty to Mudbloods."

Pure-blood bias

"Your mother was Muggle-born, of course. Couldn't believe it when I found out. Thought she must have been pure-blood, she was so good."
—Horace Slughorn showing bias[src]

Some wizards, while believing in the inherent superiority of pure-bloods, do not actively discriminate against Muggle-borns and are even accepting of them in some cases.

“Pure-blood bias” Reason(s)
Horace Slughorn Although Slughorn thought that pure-bloods were normally more magically skilled, he is aware that half-bloods and Muggle-borns have much to offer, and nonetheless had many talented Muggle-borns in his Slug Club, including Lily Evans and Hermione Granger. He even wanted Lily Evans to be in his house of Slytherin.
Cornelius Fudge Fudge showed great favouritism toward influential pure-bloods such as the Malfoys. However, until 1995, he relied heavily on the counsel of Albus Dumbledore, a supporter of Muggle rights, as well as was very polite to Harry Potter, a half-blood. He also had a cordial, if somewhat patronising, relationship with the Muggle Prime Minister and was highly distraught at the gruesome murder of twelve Muggles earlier in his days at the Ministry. However, Fudge allowed the passage of anti-half-breed legislation.
Severus Snape During his time at Hogwarts, Severus fell in with a group of future Death Eaters in his desire for power and acceptance.[6] Despite his childhood claim that blood status didn't matter[4], he began to use the term "Mudblood" to describe Muggle-borns. However, an accidental use of the word to Lily Evans ended their friendship. Upset that he paid an expensive price for such a remark, Snape atoned for his error by demanding there be no talk or activism for pure-blood bias in areas where he had authority, first in his classrooms and later over dominion of Hogwarts.
  • It is unknown if Muriel could be considered biassed, as she once condescendingly referred to Hermione Granger as "the Muggle-born" at her nephew's wedding. However, as Ron pointed out, she was rude to everyone. She also made snide remarks about Fleur Delacour, not because she was a quarter breed, but because she was French. However, whether Muriel was aware of Fleur being a quarter-veela is not revealed.


Notes and references

  1. Wizard of the Month archive on J.K. Rowling's Official Site
  2. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  3. The various terms for blood traitors, such as Dunglicker, Scumsucker and Mudwallower, all make associations with uncleanliness. Marvolo Gaunt also called his daughter a "filthy little blood traitor" for admiring a Muggle and Blaise Zabini once declared that he would never so much as touch a "filthy blood traitor" like Ginny Weasley, despite finding her physically attractive.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  5. Neville Longbottom says of the Carrows in Chapter 29 of Deathly Hallows: "They don’t want to spill too much pure blood, so they’ll torture us a bit if we’re mouthy but they won’t actually kill us.” Given this statement, as well as the fact that the Weasleys were only in direct danger after Ron Weasley's help of Harry Potter was revealed to the Death Eaters, it seems that they were hesitant to kill blood traitors unless they were very rebellious.
  6. Bloomsbury Live Chat with J.K. Rowling

See also

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