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Pure-blood supremacy

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Malfoys

Lucius Malfoy and his son Draco.

"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 to Harry Potter before their first year at Hogwarts[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 and not worthy 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 in Flourish and Blotts in 1992.[src]

Pure-blood supremacists consider themselves to be the elite of the wizarding world, akin to royalty. They look down upon half-bloods, Muggle-borns, and 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 supremecists 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, and muggles are viewed as nothing more than animals.

Dolores Desk

Dolores Umbridge.

LordVoldy

Lord Voldemort, Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange.

Toujours Pur

Emblem of the Black family.

“Pure-blood elitists” Reason(s)
Dolores Umbridge Umbridge hated Muggles, Muggle-borns, and 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.
Members of the 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, and will be disowned.
Members of the House of Gaunt Descendants of two notable pure-blood families, the Gaunts went so far as inbreeding to keep their bloodline pure of any muggle pollution.
Marvolo Gaunt Despite the fact that he lived in poverty, Gaunt was obsessed with being pure-blood and certain of his superiority over those of "lesser" blood status; according to Harry Potter, Marvolo considered 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.
Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters Possibly the biggest 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 and reduced to beggars, and muggles were killed indiscriminately.
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 legalized it as a sport. A relative of Walburga Black.
Durmstrang Institute Durmstrang did not allow muggle-borns to attend.
Elizabeth Burke Elizabeth Burke seemed to have hated muggle-borns, as her portrait at Hogwarts Castle encouraged Slytherins to be "nasty to Mudbloods."
Brutus Malfoy 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.

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 to Harry Potter.[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.

Sluggy2-1

Horace Slughorn.

Cornelius

Cornelius Fudge.

“Pure-blood bias” Reason(s)
Horace Slughorn Although Slughorn thought that pure-bloods were normally more magically skilled, he 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 and 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. He later regretted this, and no longer tolerated the use of the word or any Pure-blood bias in his presence.

Wizarding supremacists

"Gellert – Your point about Wizard dominance FOR THE MUGGLES' OWN GOOD – this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled."
—A letter from the young Albus Dumbledore to Gellert Grindelwald.[src]

Many wizards, even those who oppose discrimination based on blood status, regard themselves as superior to the non-magical muggles. While many are content with simply remaining separate from muggle society, some believe that the world would be a better place with wizards in charge.

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore.

GideonFlatworthy

Gideon Flatworthy.

“Wizarding supremacists” Reason(s)
Albus Dumbledore As a young man, Dumbledore resented the damage a group of muggle boys had done to his sister Ariana, and the impact it had on his family. With his friend Grindelwald, he dreamed of establishing wizard dominance in the world for the muggles' own good. After Ariana's death, he came to regret his views, and spent the rest of his life as a fierce advocate of equality and tolerance.
Gellert Grindelwald With his friend Albus, Grindelwald planned to bring the wizarding world out of hiding, bringing muggles under wizarding control and guidance "for the greater good".
Gideon Flatworthy Leader of the Accionites, an anti-Muggle extremist group active in the 1740s, who advocated that "wizards are not, like lowly Muggles, beings of burden, but nobler, finer and higher beings" and that, by extention, wizards ought never to fetch, lift, or carry, instead using their magic to do every kind of physical labour. Flatworthy was greatly criticised by the wizarding press at the time.
  • Percival Dumbledore gained a reputation as a muggle-hater for his attack on three muggle boys. What was not widely known however, was that his attack was an act of retribution for their assault on his daughter Ariana, which left her severely traumatised. He never revealed the true motives for his attack to prevent his daughter from being confined to St. Mungo's for the rest of her life. As his wife Kendra was a muggle-born witch, it is debatable whether Percival harboured any prejudicial views.
  • The Wizard in The Wizard and the Hopping Pot believed that Muggles were worthless, in contrast with his father's attitude. However, after the Hopping Pot began relentlessly tormenting him for not helping his Muggle neighbours, he changed his opinion and started helping the Muggles.

Appearances


Notes and references

  1. Wizard of the Month archive on J.K. Rowling's Official Site
  2. The Tales of Beedle the Bard (real)
  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, and 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

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