11

Viktor Krum mentioned how some students in Durmstrang thought it's edgy to draw the Hallows symbol, so he and his fellow relatives of Global Wizarding War's victim 'taught them the error of their ways'.

Drawing parallel of kids showing Nazi symbol in a school filled with Holocaust survivors, why didn't Draco's open use of blood prejudice draw open condemnation or at least bullying from fellow students who lost their family in the last war?

I can understand the adults fearing Lucius retaliation, but how come these teenagers doesn't snap and turn Draco into jelly? They did snap after Diggory's death, but that's almost four years of tolerating the brat.

  • 3
    Blood prejudice was widespread in the wizarding world. There were many, many people who hated Voldemort, but who were also strongly anti-Muggle (or indeed more subtly anti-Muggle). – Adamant Aug 29 '16 at 7:29
  • 2
    Actually, the example of Durmstrang kind of gives us a better understanding of what is going on. Durmstrang, in the present day, is known for the Dark Arts, and does not admit Muggle-borns. Yet many students there still hate Grindelwald. – Adamant Aug 29 '16 at 7:35
  • 3
    As explained to Harry by Sirius Black "The world is not divided between Good people and Death eaters". Many "Good people" were deeply magic-racists. – Aegon Aug 29 '16 at 7:35
  • 3
    @Martheen - Yes, but more than that: many of Voldemort's victims (and their families) are also prejudiced against Muggles. Voldemort was a terrorist. You do not have to like Muggles to oppose a terrorist, and Voldemort would kill anyone in his way. – Adamant Aug 29 '16 at 9:21
  • 3
    @Martheen - The wizarding world in general is an especially depressing place. Slavery, dark magic, mind-control and murder seem fairly ubiquitous. – Valorum Aug 30 '16 at 0:39
7

Blood prejudice is widely accepted

Someone like Lord Voldemort does not develop in a vacuum. Voldemort was a wizard of formidable skill, but by himself he was simply one person. He could not have led a campaign of terror and murder against Muggles and Muggle-borns, nor overthrown the Ministry, without widespread support.

How was Voldemort able to recruit dozens of Death Eaters? How was he able to maintain control over the Ministry of Magic even after he had turned into an obviously anti-Muggle apparatus?

Because prejudice against Muggles was already deeply ingrained in the magical world.

You didn’t need to be mad (Bellatrix Lestrange, Crouch Jr.) to join Voldemort’s side. The Death Eaters counted in their ranks members of some of the oldest, most respectable pureblood families: Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange. People bearing the names Avery, Black, Rosier, Carrow.

These were the pillars of society—and they were sufficiently devoted to pureblood supremacy that they were willing to risk it all at the side of a murderous psychopath.

Even people who were vehemently opposed to Voldemort were likely to show prejudice against Muggle, Muggle-borns, or non-human magical creatures.

For example, Cornelius Fudge:

“You are blinded,” said Dumbledore, his voice rising now, the aura of power around him palpable, his eyes blazing once more, “by the love of the office you hold, Cornelius! 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! Your dementor has just destroyed the last remaining member of a pure-blood family as old as any — and see what that man chose to make of his life!”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Or Horace Slughorn:

“Your mother was Muggle-born, of course. Couldn’t believe it when I found out. Thought she must have been pure-blood, she was so good.”

“One of my best friends is Muggle-born,” said Harry, “and she’s the best in our year.”

“Funny how that sometimes happens, isn’t it?” said Slughorn.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Even Arthur Weasley, the drafter of the Muggle Protection Act and a committed opponent of pureblood supremacy, sometimes displayed a condescending and paternalistic attitude toward Muggles:

“Fascinating!” he would say as Harry talked him through using a telephone. “Ingenious, really, how many ways Muggles have found of getting along without magic.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

As does Molly Weasley, while also hinting at the prevalence of such attitudes in the broader society:

When at last they were all in the car, Mrs. Weasley glanced into the back seat, where Harry, Ron, Fred, George, and Percy were all sitting comfortably side by side, and said, “Muggles do know more than we give them credit for, don’t they?”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Voldemort did not merely target Muggle-borns, Muggles, and those who supported them. He killed anyone who got in his way, anyone who spoke out against him. And given that his goals included taking over the Ministry of Magic through force, and potentially eventually revealing witches and wizards to Muggles, the list of people who opposed him would have included an enormous number of people with blood prejudice of their own.

So of course their children and relatives would hate Voldemort. He killed their families. But that doesn’t mean they disagreed with all his ideas.

Draco Malfoy mainly expressed pureblood supremacist ideals, as well as ideas about the superiority of wizards and witches over Muggles. As such, there would really be little for many witches and wizards to disagree with, even those who had seen family die at Voldemort’s hands.


Still, why didn’t the less prejudiced people get into fights with Malfoy?

They did! Hermione, Harry, and Ron got into fights with Malfoy all the time, and so might have many other people.

  • Hermione punched Malfoy in the face in Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry tried to fight a duel with Malfoy in Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Ron hexed Malfoy when he used a slur against Muggle-borns in Chamber of Secrets

And all this before Voldemort even returned. There was no love lost between Malfoy and many other students.

Nonetheless, many people might have been discouraged from seeking fights with Malfoy, both from fear of punishment by teachers, and fear of retaliation or censure, either by their more-prejudiced peers, or by Crabbe and Goyle.

3

The very simplest answer is that the world of Harry Potter is a caste system, with wealthy "pure-bloods" at the top and various descending classes below

These are (in order)

  • The Sacred 28 pure-blooded families
  • Those who purport to be pure-blooded
  • Half-bloods
  • Mud-bloods
  • Squibs and various non-human sentients
  • Muggles
  • And finally, a slave class, the house-elves.

As with all 'casted' societies, each social class has a strong tendency to look down to those who are below them, and a tendency to defer to those in the castes above them. The fact that Draco expresses "blood purity" speech is considered reprehensible but not acted because even those who openly condemn it themselves rely on that categorisation for their own place in society.

The Weasleys (supposedly one of the purest blooded families) might protest greatly about being added to the "Sacred 28" but note their total indifference to the suffering of muggles, squibs and elves, the castes below them. They even go so far as to "shun" a relative who had so little magical ability that he lives as a muggle accountant.

Hermione Granger (a muggle-born witch) shows concerned over the lives of the slave caste but yet we never see any indication that she has the slightest interest in the suffering of Muggles, evidence of her increasing indoctrination into the casted wizarding society.

  • Some of this is true, but I think there an important point that needs to be added. The question equates supporting blood prejudice with “being a supporter of Voldemort.” But in reality, many of those who opposed Voldemort expressed blood prejudice themselves. Voldemort was opposed by many people because he posed a threat to the existing social order (and was a murderous psychopath), even if they openly approved of his pure-blood supremacist views. Thus a survivor of the war against Voldemort could hate the Dark Lord himself, while nonetheless approving of the sort of things Draco said. – Adamant Aug 30 '16 at 0:46
  • 2
    I also am not sure I agree with your assessment of the Weasleys and Hermione. It’s fairly accurate to say that Arthur Weasley, for example, has some prejudice against Muggles. His attitude toward them could best be described as “paternalistic.” But that’s not exclusive with being concerned with the suffering of Muggles. It was Arthur Weasley, for example, who introduced the Muggle Protection Act, aimed at preventing witches and wizards from pawning off dangerous artifacts to Muggles. – Adamant Aug 30 '16 at 0:52
  • 1
    It’s a measure of the complexity of human behavior that Arthur Weasley, who in fact was very concerned with the suffering of Muggles, nonetheless himself had a slightly condescending attitude toward them. As far as Hermione not being concerned with how wizards treat Muggles, that’s a bit inaccurate. The typical wizarding attitude to Muggles might be described as “detached superiority.” As such, there are few instances where wizards are harming Muggles. The major exceptions, of course, were the actions of people such as Voldemort, which Hermione did oppose. – Adamant Aug 30 '16 at 0:53
  • The main routine harm that wizards do to Muggles, of course, is arguably Memory Charms, which are used routinely by the Ministry to cover up evidence of magical activity. Their ethics, though, are complicated: there’s a decent argument to be made, based on past Muggle campaigns against witches and wizards, that the exposure of the wizarding world would cause great harm. Whether that justifies the use of Memory Charms is a difficult question, but it not simply a straightforward issue of wizards exerting their superiority. – Adamant Aug 30 '16 at 0:59
  • 3
    Maybe by this point I should just write an answer. :) – Adamant Aug 30 '16 at 1:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.