It’s actually a problem that has plagued the wizarding community for many decades, leading to the rise of Dark wizards, prejudice against Muggle-borns, and many broken families.
So, which wizarding family was most guilty of keeping themselves the ‘purest’? To find out, let’s dig through the Sacred Twenty-Eight, a directory of pure-blood families, and select a few...
Look at Neville Longbottom – he’s pure-blood and he can hardly stand a cauldron the right way up.’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Neville comes from a long-line of pure-blood wizards, although we don’t know as much about the individuals as we do with some other wizarding families. What we do know is that both of Neville’s parents were pure-blood, as was his gran, Augusta. When the family feared that Neville’s early lack of magical prowess might mean he was a Squib, his great uncle Algie pushed him off Blackpool Pier with the hope of forcing a bit of magic out of him. This may imply that certain members of Neville’s family felt a bit delicate about the thought of having a non-magical member.
Although the family seem generally good-natured, there is evidence of the Longbottoms marrying into the Black family tree. ‘Harfang Longbottom’, who is presumably one of Neville’s ancestors, is seen on the Black family tapestry connected to Callidora Black. Most pure-blood families from the Sacred Twenty-Eight directory do tend to be connected. After all, there aren’t really that many properly ‘pure’ blood wizards to choose from. And some families tend to go so hardcore they marry within their own line...
This leads us nicely on to the Gaunts, the despicable descendants of Salazar Slytherin, and the ancestors of Lord Voldemort. Determined to keep the family line ‘pure’ and pass down certain Slytherin skills, such as Parseltongue, the Gaunts had a tendency to marry their cousins, as Albus Dumbledore observed. As a result, the likes of Marvolo and Morfin Gaunt are cruel, mentally unstable and abusive. And the family seem to share the same strange physical traits too, such as their eyes facing opposite directions.
The Black family motto speaks for itself: ‘toujours pur’, meaning ‘always pure’ in French. Indeed, the Blacks spent a lot of effort keeping non-magical types out of the family, to the extent that members were literally burnt out of the famous family tapestry if any ‘blood treachery’ was found. Usually, this punishment was served to people who married half-bloods or Muggle-borns, but was also a general chastisement for anyone who displayed any sort of rejection of the Black family’s ideals, such as Sirius.
We’ve linked the Malfoy and Black family together for this section, as the two clans are inextricably intertwined – again – an effort to maintain their blood purity. Narcissa, a Black member, being the most notable link to the Malfoys. As such, Draco’s family and ancestors pride themselves on their pure-blood status and the riches that come with it. There is also a history of cruelty towards Muggles, such as Nicholas Malfoy, who was rumoured to have ‘despatched’ various Muggles under the guise of the Black Death...
The family is also known for being chiefly placed in Slytherin house. Something they hold with honour. And despite Draco carrying on this tradition, with his Slytherin-based son Scorpius and his pure-blood wife Astoria,
he still managed to create tension with his parents by softening his views on blood purity. And Cursed Child fans will know that Scorpius is an absolute sweetheart. Could this be the beginning of a more sympathetic branch of the Malfoy family tree?
As with the above, Bellatrix’s family are tied to the Blacks and the Malfoys quite significantly. Indeed, Bellatrix, married into the Lestrange family specifically because of how steeped in pure-blood richness they were. From the way Bellatrix reacts around Lord Voldemort, it may be fair to say her love isn’t entirely reserved for her husband Rodolphus...
In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, we met a much earlier Lestrange member, Leta. We were also introduced to their family history a little more, which is steeped in French ancestry, with many dark secrets woven within. In terms of the family’s pure-ness, they seem quite dramatically so, and would do pretty much anything to achieve those ends. Take the cruel Corvus Lestrange, who forced a member of the Kama family (another very pure-blood family) to conceive with him under the Imperius Curse...
'You’d never know the Weasleys were pure-bloods, the way they behave.’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
We finish on a family who are technically quite pure-blood, but are deemed ‘blood traitors’ by various peers, and seem proud of it. It is, indeed, the Weasleys’ compassion and morals that led to several members marrying half-bloods, Muggle-borns, etc. and creating a family made with love, kindness and definitely not much blood purity. Look at Ron and Hermione as a major case study! Then there’s Arthur Weasley, who shows such an affinity with Muggles, he made a career based on his interest in Muggle artefacts. The only remotely bad apple we seem to find in the Weasley clan is Aunt Muriel, who seemed contemptuous of Hermione’s Muggle-born status.
The Weasleys may not be the purest pure-blood family in the wizarding world, but their hearts are certainly the purest of the lot.