A Look at Magical Bloodlines
Pureblood, Halfblood, Squib, Muggle, Mudblood – what exactly do all of these terms mean? We’ve broken them down magical bloodlines how we perceive them to work here at the Vault. Please note that this guide is not a strictly canon one, but a reference created for use specifically at Vault 713 to help you sort out your character’s blood status.
Though many pureblood wizards are said to be elitist in nature throughout the books, the term pureblood is simply to denote that there has never been a non-magical member of the family tree. While many witches and wizards see this as a way to set themselves apart from others as being “better,” it is often a reflection of families marrying within eachother to keep the line “pure,” as having a single non-magical family member can tarnish the entire family line in the eyes of some.
In the books, we see that there are very few “true” pureblood families. This is because the families either could not or would not marry relatives to keep the bloodline pure, and often the families claiming to be pure have denounced certain relatives from their clan. Notably we see that Andromeda Black Tonks married a muggle, keeping the Black family line from being truly pure, and that the Weasley Family is supposedly pure blood, though they have been slanderously referred to as “dirty blood” for having a relative marry a non-magical companion.
- In order for a family to be of completely pure blood, they must have married within the family tree at some time. It is not possible to be of “pure blood” without some trace of incest within the family’s history.
- In modern times, this terminology is mostly used by those who wish to brag about their family history, rather than common folk. The average wizard would not be bothered by blood status.
- Some believe that you only must be able to trace magical blood back to your grandparents, though others believe it must go further back to be truly pure.
Though the term half-blood is often thrown around in a variety of ways, it is true that most wizards are considered half-blood. This term can be applied either as someone who has one magical parent and one muggle parent or as someone who has a mixture of magical and non-magical folk in their family tree.
To be half-blood is to have the most common blood status. Because the world is so vast and witches and wizards are such a small percentage of the population, most families have at least one muggle relative through marriage, if not many more. Those who are considered half or mixed blood are not often concerned with blood status, and may only be bothered in instances to prove that they do come from some magical line, although it may contain non-magical blood from somewhere or other.
It occasionally happens that a muggle family has a child with magical abilities, referred to as a muggle-born witch or wizard. This usually is the result of there having been some sort of magical blood somewhere far back on the family tree, but often it is so far back that the muggles having the child are caught completely by surprise. While many muggle-borns across the world are regarded as just strange children and may never really know what they are capable of, many more fortunate children are addressed by a member of the magical government once they are of school age so that the parents understand their child’s abilities.
Muggle-borns are occasionally referred to as mudbloods by those who believe they are better than muggle-born witches and wizards. This is the equivalent of a swear word and children heard uttering the phrase are punished more often than not. No self respecting witch or wizard would be caught using the term, nor would it show up in any broadcasts or publications.
A non-magical person born to a witch and wizard is known as a squib, which means to say that they come from a magical family but do not have the powers that the rest of their family possesses. This is unpredictable and extremely rare. Many wizarding families are unsure what to do with squib children, occasionally resulting in them being abandoned at muggle adoption facilities or hidden from the rest of the wizarding world. Many squibs attempt to participate in Kwikspell, a learn-via-owl-post program to teach remedial spells, but it has proven to be ineffective.
Should a family with one muggle parent and one magical parent have a non-magical child, this child would just be referred to as a muggle. However, the nature of magical blood leads to very few births of this kind, and often if one child is of magical blood, it is likely the rest will be as well.