Blood Status

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In the Harry Potter canon, blood status is the percentage of magical ancestry a person has. The following terminology is used in the novels:

  • Pure-blood - a witch or wizard without any identifiable non-magic (Muggle) ancestors
  • Half-blood - a witch or wizard with at least one magic and one Muggle ancestor
  • Muggle-born - a witch or wizard born to Muggle parents
    • Mudblood - an insulting and disdainful term for a Muggle-born used by blood purists
  • Squib - a person with no magical capabilities born to magical parents

Blood prejudice is a major theme of the Harry Potter series and thus garners a lot of attention in meta and fanfiction.

Symbolic Interpretations

Blood status has generally been interpreted as an allegory for race. J.K. Rowling has described deliberate parallels between "pure-blood" extremists and Nazis.

If you think [the blood status terminology in Harry Potter] is far-fetched, look at some of the real charts the Nazis used to show what constituted 'Aryan' or 'Jewish' blood. I saw one in the Holocaust Museum in Washington when I had already devised the 'pure-blood', 'half-blood' and 'Muggle-born' definitions, and was chilled to see that the Nazis used precisely the same warped logic as the Death Eaters. A single Jewish grandparent 'polluted' the blood, according to their propaganda.[1]

Additionally, Lord Voldemort is a half-blood with a Muggle father, just as Adolf Hitler's father is thought to be Jewish,[2] and the Dark Wizard Grindelwald is said to have been defeated in 1945, suggesting a connection to World War II.

Some fans have drawn other parallels. Fan writer and essayist Barb describes Squibs, people without magical abilities born to magical parents, as "metaphorical gays," and likens the Kwikspell course to conversion therapy programs.[3]

Pureblood Culture

Pureblood culture is often described as distinct and separate from other cultures, including those of other humans and non-human beings. In fanfics, some pureblood families have a tradition of using certain types of names which is expanded from existing canonical names, such as Latinate or French names (Lucius Malfoy, Sirius Black -- also name of constellations/star in that case), or names from mythology (Daphne Greengrass) or plants (Pansy Parkinson). Purebloods often teach magic use to their children, although this is not always done and is frowned upon by magical authorities. Purebloods often value their bloodline and have influence in certain magical ministries, which can give them advantages over other magical groups, such as half-bloods and muggle-borns. Pureblood culture is not accessible to outsiders, as purebloods often try to maintain a sense of apartness.[4] Purebloods often celebrate pagan holidays such as Samhain and Yule instead of Halloween and Christmas.[5]

These depictions of pureblood culture have been criticised:

It’s my opinion that the integration of Muggleborns is a little one sided. Most rituals have become obsolete and Samhain and Yule are substituted constantly. Any thoughts?

This seems dangerously close to real world anti-immigration and racial supremacist arguments. Muggleborns are a vast minority with no institutional power, while the government and legal system is essentially run by old Wizarding families- who also hold monopoly over most of the wealth.

In other words: They couldn't destroy 'Pureblood Culture' even if they tried.

In addition the whole 'Wiccan Purebloods' concept is fanon and is quickly becoming a very tired trope. There is no indication in canon whatsoever that Wizards are Pagan. If anything they seem mostly Christian, given that even the Malfoys celebrate Christmas and use terms like 'Good Lord!' in their vocabulary.

This doesn't mean you can't have Pureblood culture, or even Pagan Pureblood culture, it just means that you will need to work to make it stand out amongst the ocean of other stories which use the same ideas you discuss.

And I'd avoid the concept of 'Muggleborn invaders' entirely. It's an ugly look.

If you want a more solid motivation for the Death Eaters, beyond what we get in canon, you could make some Dark Wizard or Witch of old, like Morgana Lefay or Emeric The Evil, be Muggleborn.

That way you have a more solid origin for Blood tensions, while still making it clear that Muggleborns as a whole are not responsible and the Death Eaters are in the wrong- using the distant past and the actions of a few to justify the persecution of an entire demographic.[6]

I don’t necessarily think the idea of pureblood culture is invalid - there certainly could be a pureblood culture that we didn’t hear about because the narrow POV in the books didn’t allow for it. But whatever it is that pureblood culture entails, I don’t think it’s centered around celebrating neo-wiccan holidays like most pureblood culture fics suggest, and I don’t think Muggleborns are at fault for it disappearing (if it even was disappearing).

I think the idea that Muggleborns are causing pureblood culture/wizarding holidays to be destroyed/erased is illogical based on what we see in the text. Muggleborns appear to be a minority in the wizarding world - there’s only a few named Muggleborns in Harry’s year, and the make-up of JKR’s “Original 40“ list of Harry’s class seems to indicate that roughly 20% of the class was muggleborn.

Muggleborns also don’t hold the power in the wizarding world - pretty much all of the big Ministry department heads that we know are from wizarding families. The first time there was a muggleborn Minister was in 1962, and he was run out of office by a pureblood plot. Purebloods like the Malfoy family use their wealth to gain influence at the Ministry of Magic. The Hogwarts Board of Governors members include Lucius Malfoy, and likely others from wizarding families.

There aren’t signs of muggleborn integration having a major influence on the wizarding world at large - they still use quills instead of pens, they still wear robes instead of Muggle clothes, they still use owls for mail and the floo instead of telephones, etc. Wizard and witches pick up Muggle things when they’re useful - like the Hogwarts Express, and cars, and the radio - but there is no full-on “Muggle-ifying” of the wizarding world going on in canon.

So, knowing all that, where are Muggleborns getting the power and authority to do things like substitute the celebration of wizarding holidays with Muggle holidays at Hogwarts and elsewhere? (If wizarding holidays actually existed, even though there’s no indication in canon that they did). Why aren’t they influencing the magical world in other ways, and integrating more Muggle things and Muggle culture into the wider wizarding world?[6]

See also


  1. ^ J.K. Rowling. J.K.Rowling Official Site, Section: F.A.Q. Why are some people in the wizarding world (e.g., Harry) called 'half-blood' even though both their parents were magical?, Archived version. (Accessed 05 July 2011.)
  2. ^ Lizo Mzimba. Transcript of interview with J.K. Rowling, BBC Newsround via Accio Quote!. Fall 2000. (Accessed 05 July 2011.)
  3. ^ Barb Purdom (psychic_serpent). Queerness in the HP Books. 20 August 2003. (Accessed 05 July 2011.)
  4. ^ encyclopediaarcana (13 August 2015). "The Encyclopaedia Arcana, Chapter 26 - Pureblood Culture: "A Culture Apart"". Tumblr. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  5. ^ u/Green53468 (27 March 2020). "What are you headcanons for Pureblood culture or their traditions?". Reddit. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  6. ^ a b u/Different_Jelly_6111 (1 July 2022). "PureBlood Culture". Reddit. Retrieved 24 December 2022.