- "The term 'pure-blood' refers to a family or individual without Muggle (non-magic) blood. The concept is generally associated with Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, whose aversion to teaching anybody of Muggle parentage eventually led to a breach with his three fellow founders, and his resignation from the school."
- —Where the term 'pure-blood' originated from[src]
Pure-blood is the term for wizards and witches who have a purely or approximately pure magical heritage. This means that there are no Muggles in their family trees, but this is rarely (if ever) true. If families are traced back all the way, for if wizards didn't mate with Muggles, their race would die out. The only way for a family to retain their pure-blood status is to marry other pure-bloods, all pure-blood families were related to one another by the 1990s. Because of inbreeding among pure-bloods and some marrying Muggles and Muggle-borns, the number of families claiming to be pure-blood is declining. They are the least common blood type in the magical world.
Pure-bloods are people who have no Muggles in their family. Traditionalist pure-bloods like to keep the generations "pure" by breeding with other pure-bloods and are generally the ones who use the term 'Mudblood', a term considered derogatory by the wizarding world. Mudblood means Muggle-born, suggesting they have dirty blood and thus have no right to be a witch/wizard. Pure-bloods who do not share these prejudices are considered "blood traitors" by the ones that do.
History of the term
The term 'pure-blood' refers to a family or individual without Muggle (non-magic) blood. The concept is generally associated with Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, whose aversion to teaching anybody of Muggle parentage eventually led to a breach with his three fellow founders, and his resignation from the school.
Slytherin's discrimination on the basis of parentage was considered an unusual and misguided view by the majority of wizards at the time. Contemporary literature suggests that Muggle-borns were not only accepted, but often considered to be particularly gifted. They went by the affectionate name of 'Magbobs' (there has been much debate about the origin of the term, but it seems most likely to be that in such a case, magic 'bobbed up' out of nowhere).
Magical opinion underwent something of a shift after the International Statute of Secrecy became effective in 1692, when the magical community went into voluntary hiding following persecution by Muggles. This was a traumatic time for witches and wizards, and marriages with Muggles dropped to their lowest level ever known, mainly because of fears that intermarriage would lead inevitably to discovery, and, consequently, to a serious infraction of wizarding law.
Under such conditions of uncertainty, fear and resentment, the pure-blood doctrine began to gain followers. As a general rule, those who adopted it were also those who had most strenuously opposed the International Statute of Secrecy, advocating instead outright war on the Muggles. Increasing numbers of wizards now preached that marriage with a Muggle did not merely risk a possible breach of the new Statute, but that it was shameful, unnatural and would lead to 'contamination' of magical blood.
As Muggle/wizard marriage had been common for centuries, those now self-describing as pure-bloods were unlikely to have any higher proportion of wizarding ancestors than those who did not. To call oneself a pure-blood was more accurately a declaration of political or social intent ('I will not marry a Muggle and I consider Muggle/wizard marriage reprehensible') than a statement of biological fact.
Several works of dubious scholarship, published around the early eighteenth century and drawing partly on the writings of Salazar Slytherin himself, make reference to supposed indicators of pure-blood status, aside from the family tree. The most commonly cited signs were: onset of magical ability before the age of three, early (before aged seven) prowess on a broomstick, dislike or fear of pigs and those who tend them (the pig is often considered a particularly non-magical animal and is notoriously difficult to charm), resistance to common childhood illnesses, outstanding physical attractiveness and an aversion to Muggles observable even in the pure-blood baby, which supposedly shows signs of fear and disgust in their presence.
Successive studies produced by the Department of Mysteries have proven that these supposed hallmarks of pure-blood status have no basis in fact. Nevertheless, many pure-bloods continue to cite them as evidence of their own higher status within the wizarding community.
In the early 1930s, a 'Pure-Blood Directory' was published anonymously in Britain, which listed the twenty-eight truly pure-blood families, as judged by the unknown authority who had written the book, with 'the aim of helping such families maintain the purity of their bloodlines'. The so-called 'Sacred Twenty-Eight' comprised the families: Abbott, Avery, Black, Bulstrode, Burke, Carrow, Crouch, Fawley, FlintGaunt, Greengrass, Lestrange, Longbottom, Macmillan, Malfoy, Nott, Ollivander, Parkinson, Prewett, Rosier, Rowle, Selwyn, Shacklebolt, Shafiq, Slughorn, Travers, Weasley, and Yaxley.
A minority of these families publicly deplored their inclusion on the list, declaring that their ancestors certainly included Muggles, a fact of which they were not ashamed. Most vocally indignant was the numerous Weasley family, which, in spite of its connections with almost every old wizarding family in Britain, was proud of its ancestral ties to many interesting Muggles. Their protests earned these families the opprobrium of advocates of the pure-blood doctrine, and the epithet 'blood traitor'. Meanwhile, a larger number of families were protesting that they were not on the pure-blood list.
Over subsequent decades and centuries, the number of mixed marriages began to climb again until the healthy levels of today, and this has not led to widespread discovery of the hidden magical community. Professor Mordicus Egg, author of The Philosophy of the Mundane: Why the Muggles Prefer Not to Know, points out that Muggles in love generally do not betray their husbands or wives, and Muggles who fall out of love are jeered at by their own community when they assert that their estranged partner is a witch or wizard.
In fact, the reverse appears to be true. Where families adhered consistently to the practice of marrying within a very small group of fellow witches and wizards, mental and physical instability and weakness seems to result.
- "So-called pure-blood families maintain their alleged purity by disowning, banishing, or lying about Muggles or Muggle-borns on their family trees. Then they attempt to foist their hypocrisy upon the rest of us by asking us to ban works dealing with the truths they deny. There is not a witch or wizard in existence whose blood has not mingled with that of Muggles [...] "
- —Albus Dumbledore in a response to Lucius Malfoy[src]
Some pure-blood families can trace their pure-blood status through many generations of magical ancestors and deny ever having any Muggles within the family, such as the House of Black, the motto of which is "Toujours pur", meaning "Always (or Still) Pure". However, the truth is that if they ever did exist in the past, true pure-blood wizards and witches do not exist today. They merely erase Squibs, Muggle-borns, and Muggles from their family trees.
Half-bloods who consider blood purity very important also hide their Muggle ancestry, clinging to the magical heritage they do have. Many Death Eaters are believed to have done this, and their leader himself took on the name Lord Voldemort out of a desire to not keep the name of his "filthy Muggle father". It is likely that Voldemort told his followers he was a pure-blood, given the reaction of Bellatrix Lestrange to Harry's "accusation" that he was in fact a half-blood.
Many pure-blood families, such as the Blacks and Gaunts, practise marrying cousins in order to maintain their pure-blood status, and disown any members who marry someone who is not a pure-blood. This practise has been known to cause problems as families become inbred; for example, the Gaunts showed signs of violent tendencies, mental instability, and even diminished magical capability. The number of pure-bloods is diminishing over time because of inbreeding.
Most wizards and witches consider a person to be pure-blood if all four of his or her grandparents were wizards and witches. More extreme purists require that there be no known Muggle ancestry at all.
- "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 prejudice concerning Muggle-borns[src]
Some pure-bloods regard themselves as superior to those witches and wizards who are born to Muggles and half-bloods. They believe that Muggles are little more than animals and that Muggle-borns, whom they derisively call 'Mudbloods' are second-class citizens who are inferior and unworthy of being allowed to practise magic. Many also discriminate against: half-breeds, werewolves, and magical creatures.
Salazar Slytherin believed that only pure-bloods should be allowed to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and educated in magic; this was the cause of his conflict with the other Founders and his leaving the school. However, he left behind the Chamber of Secrets in the hope that one day his heir would open the Chamber and release the basilisk within to target Muggle-born students. Tom Marvolo Riddle was this heir, and the basilisk petrified several Muggle-born students in 1943 and the 1992–1993 school year and managed to kill one student, Myrtle Warren, in 1943.
Tom Riddle, later known as Lord Voldemort, continued his persecution of those who were not pure-bloods (ironically being a half-blood himself) with his followers, the Death Eaters. They strived to place pure-bloods in control of the wizarding world and to rid it of Muggle-borns. When Voldemort succeeded in taking over the Ministry of Magic during the height of the Second Wizarding War, his followers created the Muggle-Born Registration Commission in order to weed Muggle-borns out of the population, and send them to Azkaban for allegedly stealing magic. Pure-bloods were also blatantly favoured within the Ministry and, to a lesser extent, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
However, there are pure-bloods who do not have these beliefs, and instead treat all magical people and Muggles as equals. These pure-blood folk are often labelled "blood traitors" by the more fanatical pure-bloods.
Due to their affiliation to Slytherin and Lord Voldemort many wizards and witches may be considered pure-bloods. Others have openly express their prejudice toward Half-bloods and Muggle-borns, which is another reason to believe they are pure-blood supremacist. Some even become Death Eaters.
|Possible pure-blood family||Current status||Known pure-blood members|
|Bletchley||Unknown, most likely extant||Bletchley, Kevin Bletchley, Miles Bletchley|
|Dumbledore||Possibly extant but no longer pure-blood||Percival Dumbledore|
|Fudge||Extant||Cornelius Fudge , Rufus Fudge|
|Gibbon||Unknown, most likely extinct||Gibbon|
|Godric Gryffindor||Unknown; May be under different surname|
|Higgs||Most likely extant|
|Lowe||Unknown, possibly extinct|
|Montague||Most likely extant||Graham Montague, Mr and Mrs Montague|
|Mulciber||Unknown||Mulciber Snr, Mulciber Jr|
|Orpington||Most likely extant||Evangeline Orpington, Nerys Orpington|
|Perks||Unknown, most likely extant||Sally-Anne Perks|
|Runcorn||Probably extant||Albert Runcorn|
Behind the scenes
- On J. K. Rowling's draft list of students in Harry Potter's class, the following students were mentioned as pure-bloods:
- Coincidentally, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley are all the three types of wizards; Harry being a half-blood, Hermione being Muggle-born, and Ron being a pure-blood.
- Many characters mention throughout the series that blood purity doesn't matter, often using Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom as examples. Despite Neville's pure-blood heritage, he is not an extremely talented wizard, and isn't very skilled until later in life; however, Hermione is a supremely gifted witch despite her Muggle-born status, and performed very well right from the beginning.
- The Harry Potter Glossary at Scholastic's official website lists the term "Trueblood" as "Someone born to pure magical parents." This term, however, is not known to have appeared in any official Harry Potter media.
- The concept of pure-blood is also similar to the real-life situation of nearly all European royal families being related, especially the British and (now extinct) German monarchies. Royals were only allowed to marry another member of the aristocracy, so most of the families were interrelated through marriage.
- The expressions ‘pure-blood’, ‘half-blood’, and ‘Muggle-born’ have been coined by people to whom these distinctions matter, and express their originators’ prejudice. As far as somebody like Lucius Malfoy is concerned, for instance, a Muggle-born is as ‘bad’ as a Muggle. Therefore Harry would be considered only ‘half’ wizard, because of his maternal grandparents. If you think this is far-fetched, look at some of the real charts the Nazis used to show what constituted ‘Aryan’ or ‘Jewish’ blood...the Nazis used precisely the same warped logic as the Death Eaters. A single Jewish grandparent 'polluted' the blood, according to their propaganda.
This statement may indicate that all of a wizard or witch's grandparents must have magical heritage — i.e. that he or she cannot have a single Muggle or Muggle-born grandparent — in order for him or her to be considered pure-blood. The detailed and lengthy family trees maintained by pure-blood families such as the House of Black suggest that more than two generations of magical heritage are required to be considered pure-blood. However, this may only be the standard applied by extremists.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- J. K. Rowling's Official Site (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 F.A.Q. Section: "Are all the pure-blood families going to die out?" at J.K. Rowling's Official Site
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Millicent Bulstrode is a half-blood witch, indicating that the Bulstrodes married Muggles and/or Muggle-borns.
- ↑ Vincent Crabbe died in 1998; it is unknown if he had any siblings or if they had issue.
- ↑ Through Irma's descendants.
- ↑ Barty Crouch Jr is the last member of the Crouch family, and, as he was given the Dementor's Kiss in 1995, is highly unlikely to ever have children.
- ↑ Rodolphus and Bellatrix Lestrange never had children; the latter died in 1998 and the former is either dead or imprisoned in Azkaban as of the same period, as is his brother, Rabastan Lestrange, who does not seem to have been married.
- ↑ Algie is a relative of the Longbottoms, though it is unknown if his surname is Longbottom.
- ↑ Enid is a relative of the Longbottoms, though it is unknown if her surname is Longbottom.
- ↑ It is unknown if the "Grandad" Neville once mentioned was his paternal or maternal grandfather.
- ↑ Harry Potter and his children are half-bloods.
- ↑ Muriel is an aunt of Molly Weasley née Prewett, though it is unknown if her surname is Prewett.
- ↑ The only known member of the Prince family was Eileen Prince, who had only one child, Severus Snape. Snape died in 1998 without having any children.
- ↑ Ch. 13 of Deathly Hallows confirms that the Selwyns are a pure-blood family, though it is unclear if Umbridge was being truthful about her own relation to them or her own blood status, as she was trying to "bolster her own pure-blood credentials". See Talk:Selwyn family for more information.
- ↑ Slytherin’s only known descendants died with the Gaunts and Tom Riddle.
- ↑ Bilius is a relative of the Weasleys, though it is unknown if he is a relation of Arthur or Molly.
- ↑ Through Lysandra's descendants.
- ↑ Slytherin affiliation
- ↑ Loyal to Voldemort and Slytherin
- ↑ Loyal to Voldemort
- ↑ Loyal to Voldemort's regime, Muggle-born intimidator
- ↑ prejudiced toward half-blood and muggle-borns and affiliated to Draco Malfoy
- ↑ Harry Potter and Me
- ↑ J. K. Rowling Official Site- previous version