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"The pure-blood families are all interrelated. If you’re only going to let your sons and daughters marry pure-bloods your choice is very limited; there are hardly any of us left."
Sirius Black[src]

Pure-blood is the term for wizards and witches who come from "purely" magical heritage. They claim to have no Muggles in their family trees. Because 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[1].

At the very least, a witch or wizard must have all magical grandparents in order to be considered a pure-blood. However, the definitions of blood status were invented by those who are prejudiced against non-purebloods. They consider Muggle-borns to be as "bad" as Muggles[2], and therefore, it is likely that a wizard or witch must not have any Muggle-born grandparents either in order to be considered pure-blood.

Maintaining "purity"Edit

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"The Death Eaters can't all be pure-blood, there aren't enough pure-blood wizards left. I expect most of them are half-bloods, pretending to be pure."
Hermione Granger on the Death Eaters[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. 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.[1]

Those who consider blood purity very important also hide their Muggle ancestry, clinging to the magical heritage they do have[3]. Many Death Eaters are believed to have done this, and their leader himself took on the name Lord Voldemort out of a desire not to keep the name of his "filthy Muggle father"[4]. 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[5].

Many pure-blood families, such as the Blacks and Gaunts, practice marrying cousins in order to maintain their pure-blood status, and disown any members who marry someone who is not a pure-blood. This practice 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.[3] The number of pure-bloods is diminishing over time because of inbreeding[1].

It is theoretically possible for a family to "regain" pure-blood status after a time. For example, although Harry Potter's mother Lily was Muggle-born, thereby making Harry a half-blood, his wife Ginny was a pure-blood. If each of their three children were to marry pure-bloods, any children they had could be considered "pure-blood" as well, as they would have no Muggles or Muggle-borns among their grandparents.

AttitudeEdit

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"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[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 practice magic. Many also discriminate against half-breeds, werewolves, and magical creatures such as Centaurs.

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, in 1943.[4]

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 Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[6]

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.[4]

Known pure-bloodsEdit

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Pure-blood family Current status Known pure-blood members
Black Extant only in female line[7] Alexia Walkin Black, Alphard Black, Andromeda Tonks née Black, Arcturus Black I, Arcturus Black II, Arcturus Black III, Bellatrix Lestrange née Black, Belvina Burke née Black, Callidora Longbottom née Black, Cassiopeia Black, Cedrella Weasley née Black, Charis Crouch née Black , Cygnus Black I, Cygnus Black II, Cygnus Black III, Dorea Potter née Black, Eduardus Limette Black, Elladora Black, Isla Hitchens née Black, Lucretia Prewett née Black, Lycoris Black, Marius Black, Misapinoa Blishwick née Black, Narcissa Malfoy née Black, Orion Black, Phineas Nigellus Black, Phineas Black, Pollux Black, Phoebe Black, Regulus Black I, Regulus Black II, Sirius Black I, Sirius Black II, Sirius Black III, Walburga Black
Blishwick Unknown Jimbo Blishwick, Misapinoa Blishswick née Black
Brown Unknown Lavender Brown
Bulstrode Extant, but likely no longer pure-blood[8]

Violetta Black née Bulstrode

Burke Unknown Belvina Burke née Black, Caractacus Burke, Elizabeth Burke, Herbert Burke
Crabbe Possibly extinct[9] Irma Black née Crabbe, Vincent Crabbe, Mr. Crabbe
Crouch Will soon be extinct[10] Barty Crouch Sr., Barty Crouch Jr., Caspar Crouch, Caspar Crouch's son, Caspar Crouch's daughters, Charis Crouch née Black, Mrs. Crouch, Barty Sr.'s grandfather
Flint Extant Marcus Flint, Ursula Black née Flint
Gamp Unknown Hesper Black née Gamp
Gaunt Extinct Marvolo Gaunt, Merope Gaunt, Morfin Gaunt
Goyle Extant Gregory Goyle, Mr. Goyle
Greengrass Extant Astoria Malfoy née Greengrass, Daphne Greengrass
Lestrange Possibly extinct[11] Bellatrix Lestrange née Black, Lestrange Sr., Rabastan Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange
Longbottom Extant but no longer all pure-blood Algie

[12], Alice Longbottom, Augusta Longbottom, Callidora Longbottom née Black, Enid[13], Frank Longbottom, Harfang Longbottom, Harfang Longbottom's son, Harfang Longbottom's daughter, Neville Longbottom, Neville Longbottom's grandfather[14]

MacDougal Extant Katherine MacDougal, Morag MacDougal
Macmillan Extant Ernie Macmillan, Melania Black née Macmillan
Malfoy Extant Abraxas Malfoy, Astoria Malfoy née Greengrass, Brutus Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy née Black, Scorpius Malfoy
Max Unknown Ella Black née Max
Nott Extant Nott Sr., Mrs. Nott, Theodore Nott
Peverell Extant only in female line Antioch Peverell, Cadmus Peverell, Ignotus Peverell, Ignotus Peverell's son
Potter Extant, but no longer pure-blood[15] Charlus Potter, Dorea Potter née Black, Charlus and Dorea's son, James Potter I, Mr. Potter, Mrs. Potter
Prewett Extant only in female line Fabian Prewett, Gideon Prewett, Ignatius Prewett, Lucretia Prewett née Black, Molly Weasley née Prewett, Mr. Prewett, Mrs. Prewett, Muriel[16]
Prince Most likely extinct[17] Eileen Snape née Prince
Rosier Unknown Druella Black née Rosier, Evan Rosier
Selwyn Unknown Selwyn, Dolores Umbridge (claimed[18])
Slytherin Extinct[19]

Salazar Slytherin

Tripe Unknown Mrs Black née Tripe
Weasley Extant, but no longer all pure-blood Arthur Weasley, Arthur's two brothers, Bilius[20], Cedrella Weasley née Black, Bill Weasley, Charlie Weasley, Fred and George Weasley, Ginny Weasley, Molly Weasley née Prewett, Percy Weasley, Ron Weasley, Septimus Weasley,
Yaxley Unknown Lysandra Black née Yaxley, Yaxley

OtherEdit

Author's commentsEdit

On the subject of blood purity, J. K. Rowling has said the following:

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.[2]

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[5] suggests 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.

Behind the scenesEdit

AppearancesEdit

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 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
  2. 2.0 2.1 F.A.Q. Section: Blood purity at J.K. Rowling's Official Site
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  7. Sirius and Regulus Black both died without having had children. Their cousins Andromeda Tonks née Black and Narcissa Malfoy née Black both had children, thus the Black family continues in the female line through the Malfoy family and Teddy Lupin, though the latter is not a pure-blood.
  8. Millicent Bulstrode is a half-blood witch, indicating that the Bulstrodes married Muggles and/or Muggle-borns.
  9. Vincent Crabbe died in 1998; it is unknown if he had any siblings or if they had issue.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Algie is a relative of the Longbottoms, though it is unknown if his surname is Longbottom.
  13. Enid is a relative of the Longbottoms, though it is unknown if her surname is Longbottom.
  14. It is unknown if the "Grandad" Neville once mentioned was his paternal or maternal grandfather.
  15. Harry Potter and his children are half-bloods.
  16. Muriel is an aunt of Molly Weasley née Prewett, though it is unknown if her surname is Prewett.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Slytherin’s only known descendants died with the Gaunts and Tom Riddle.
  20. Bilius is a relative of the Weasleys, though it is unknown if he is a relation of Arthur or Molly.
  21. Harry Potter and Me

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