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A recent comment claimed that "Hogwarts prefects seem to (largely) come from privileged backgrounds". I'm dubious about this claim, but didn't want to make an extended discussion in an only tangentially related question when this'd work perfectly well as a question on its own.

Do Hogwarts staff display favouritism based on class? While this is widespread in real-life Britain ("No, of course not, the posh kids win, they always do"), in Rowling's magical Britain the snobbery and elitism seem to be generally more based on blood purity than class. Not entirely - the Malfoys certainly look down on the Weasleys for being poor too, but being "blood traitors" seems to be a bigger deal for them.

Another thing to take into account is that real-life schools like Hogwarts (boarding schools) tend to be associated with students from privileged backgrounds anyway, whereas in magical Britain Hogwarts is essentially the only choice for young wizards and witches from all backgrounds. So if we do see more posh-seeming students in Hogwarts, that might be just because they're more naturally associated (for a British writer) with such an environment. Is there any evidence that students from privileged backgrounds are favouritised within the school?

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    Slytherin's prefects are (exclusively) chosen from the Sacred 28 families, with the exception of Tom Riddle. – Valorum Jul 12 at 19:57
  • Besides for Malfoy and the Weasleys, I don't think there is much discussion about the wealth status of Harry's fellow students. – Alex Jul 12 at 20:02
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    If Hermione is a single child and both her parents are dentists, I'd expect them to be comparatively very well off. Maybe not extremely rich, but on the higher end; certainly better off than the average UK family. Anecdotal, but I tutored my dentist's daughter in maths - they had an amazing house in the posh part of town, sent both children to prestigious private schools, owned multiple very nice cars... Of course, she was in charge of the whole practice. – Showsni Jul 12 at 23:26
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    @Showsni but wizarding class is entirely different to muggle class. Hermione was near the bottom of the food-chain when it comes to blood status, and wealth doesn't seem to matter as much. – marcellothearcane Jul 13 at 5:27
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    @marcellothearcane My question is about class as we know it in the real world (which does still exist in the wizarding world, just not as important as blood status). I'm not asking about favouritism based on blood status, which is definitely a thing in at least one Hogwarts House. – Rand al'Thor Jul 13 at 5:32
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Being at Hogwarts does not automatically mean a family is posh/rich as the Ministry of Magic covers the tuition fees and therefore attendance costs the students and their families nothing.

I will classify each known Prefects into "Posh" meaning monetarily privileged, i.e. rich, or "Not Posh", i.e. poor or at least not of wealth, based on evidence from the text describing their wealth or upbringing. I will also mention blood-status but only use that if other supporting information is limited as blood-status does not mean wealth but can be seen as a social status point.

The following students are known Prefects:

Gryffindor: 1 out of 7 Posh

  • Lily Evans - A Muggle-born from a "a rundown industrial area of the English Midlands" - Not Posh
  • Percy Weasley* - Not Posh
  • Bill Weasley* - Not Posh
  • Ron Weasley* - Not Posh
  • Charlie Weasley* - Not Posh
  • Hermione Granger - A Muggle-born with two dentists as parents, was able to relocate her parents to Australia during the Second Wizarding War seemingly with ease - Posh
  • Remus Lupin - A half-blood whose in early childhood was bitten by a werewolf causing his parents to have to constantly move - Not Posh
  • *One of the Weasley's main characteristics that they have little money, I don't feel this needs further explanation.

Slytherin: 3 out of 4 Posh

  • Draco Malfoy - Pure-blood, the Malfoy family is known for being wealthy for "ten consecutive centuries". - Posh
  • Pansy Parkinson - Pure-blood, not much known other than her status a bully, family is one of the "Sacred Twenty-Eight", ancestor was a Minister of Magic - Posh
  • Lucius Malfoy - Pure-blood, same reasons as Draco - Posh
  • Tom Riddle - Half-blood, grew up an orphan with nothing, mother lived a run-down shack, father was wealthy but was under the effect of love potion - Not Posh

Hufflepuff: 2 out of 4 Posh

  • Hannah Abbott - Half-blood, the Abbotts are one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, nothing else known about the family, ends up marrying Neville and owning the Leaky Cauldron, can probably be seen as middle class - Not Posh
  • Ernie MacMillan - Pure-blood, the MacMillans are one the Sacred Twenty-Eight, known to be quite pompous, ancestor Melania married into the Black family (who would not likely let in any riff-raff) and is the grandmother of Sirius - Posh
  • Teddy Lupin - Half-blood, son of Remus Nymphadora, raised by his grandmother Andromeda Tonks nee Black, Tonks family not known for anything with Ted being described as a "right old slob" when compared to the Dursleys - Not Posh
  • Cedric Diggory - Pure-blood, father works for the Ministry, ancestor Eldritch was a Minister for Magic - Posh

Ravenclaw: 0 out of 2 Posh

  • Padma Patil - blood status unknown, described often as good looking, - Not Posh
  • Anthony Goldstein - half-blood, nothing known outside what JKR has posted on Twitter which is that he is Jewish and a descendant of Queenie Goldstein. - Not Posh

In conclusion there does not seem to be any class favoritism in selecting Prefects, except for possibly Slytherin.

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    I don't know if if pure blood and works for the ministry of magic counts for posh as that would also fit the Weasley's – Joe W Jul 13 at 16:20
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    Ahhh, the non-Brits not grokking the difference between posh and rich :-) You can be rich without being posh, or vice versa. That aside though, you're on the money (pun unintended) with all these classifications except Hannah Abbott, Padma Patil, and Anthony Goldstein, for which I don't think you've provided enough evidence to say "Not Posh" for sure. – Rand al'Thor Jul 13 at 17:51
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    @Randal'Thor Yeah, I was trying to keep some of the words you used in your question with keeping a connection to the classes. I think we don't know enough the three you mention to I erred on the side of "not". For Hannah I don't think if you are rich you are buying the Leaky Cauldron, and for Padma and Anthony the only thing we may have to go on is their ethnicity which starts to make some dubious stereotype assumptions. – Skooba Jul 13 at 18:27

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