Harry Potter


Character: Harry Potter

Source Text:  Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter Series. New York: Scholastic, 1998-2007. Print.

Entry Author: Jessica Davis

Harry James Potter holds half-blood status in Rowling’s imagined wizarding world because his mother is Muggle-born and his father is pure-blood. There are three main blood statuses; pure-blood, half-blood, and Muggle-born, which are all methods of determining a witch or wizard’s magical lineage. Pure-blood status is kept by only marrying other pure-bloods, Muggle-borns are the magical product of two Muggle parents, and half-bloods are any mixture of Muggle-born and pure-blood parents. This can be a pure-blood or half-blood witch or wizard procreating with a half-blood, Muggle-born, or Muggle. Blood status (like race) has nothing to do with magical ability, but is a long-lasting prejudice by the self-appointed superiority of pure-bloods. Many pure-blood witches and wizards intermarry within the series to keep their status “pure” and many lie about their status, claiming complete purity of their family tree. Harry possesses impressive magical abilities, proving that his half-blood status has no correlations with magical ability.The significance of Harry’s half-blood status is his middleman position between the Muggle and wizarding worlds. The first ten years of Harry’s life were spent growing up with his magic-hating aunt and uncle in the muggle world, which allows him Muggle world knowledge when he goes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but also an innate comfort and belonging in the wizarding world. Harry’s half-blood status also keeps him balanced between his two best friends, Ron Weasley, who is of pure-blood status, and Hermione Granger, who is a Muggle-born witch, and top student in the school. During Rowling’s second novel of the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we uncover some of the story’s underlining racism through Draco Malfoy’s inappropriate slur towards Hermione.

“Mudblood is a really foul name for someone who was Muggle-born – you know, non-magical parents. There are some wizards – like Malfoy’s family – who think they’re better than everyone else because they’re what people call pure-blood… I mean, the rest of us know it doesn’t make any difference at all” (Rowling, Chamber of Secrets, 89).

Mudblood is a sort of racial term describing a witch or wizard born to two muggle parents, describing their blood as filthy.

One of the most profound advocates for equal rights of blood status, is Albus Dumbledore. He is a constant reminder in the series to treat people equally, and never judge them based on where they come from or what they may be.

“You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!” (Rowling, Goblet of Fire, 708).

This sort of stance is what Rowling is trying to teach her readers that differences mean nothing to those with open minds and a willingness to accept others. The pureness of a witch or wizard’s blood is thought to keep magical ability within magical families, but magic can be passed down even through muggle families.

Ironically, Harry’s half-blood status is one of the greatest plot movers, since Lord Voldemort uses this fact to choose Harry as his eventual downfall, due to a prophecy. The choice is between Harry the half-blood, and Neville Longbottom, a pure-blood schoolmate of Harry’s. It is believed that Lord Voldemort chooses Harry because his half-blood status is closest to Lord Voldemort’s half-blood status. This choice drives the whole novel from beginning to end, with the underlying message of tolerance towards others and social discrimination.