Being born to James and Lily, how can Harry be called a half-blood?

It is said that admission in Hogwarts is given to children of Muggles when they show magical talents as a child, and Lily was no exception to this. This makes Lily a witch, so why is Harry half-blooded?

  • 2
    That this distinction is unimportant and pretty arbitrary is a fairly central theme of the books; blood means nothing.
    – BoBTFish
    Feb 7, 2014 at 11:43

3 Answers 3


Pureblood status was irrelevant to the majority of witches and wizards. To those who it did matter to something as inconsequential as having a Muggle-born mother would be more than enough to "taint" you, likely for multiple generations. The "best" you could hope for, if you actually cared, is to be Half-blood.

Of course, in practice the application of these "rules" is inconsistent at best. Families like the Malfoys were more than willing to serve Lord Voldemort, whose father was a Muggle (not even a Muggle-born wizard). I'm sure Ministry officials like Dolores Umbridge - during the period when Voldemort controlled the Ministry of Magic - would have been more than willing to trade "Pureblood" status for valuable information (I can't remember if there's any hard evidence for this in the books, though).

Blood status in the Harry Potter books has huge parallels with the Nazis treatment of the Jews. There's a famous quote from a high-ranking Nazi (I believe it was Hermann Goering) that goes "I decide who is a Jew."

The same applies here, I think: Harry is a Half-blood because the people blood status matters to said so.


I was always under the impression that "Pure Blood" properly refered to those wizarding families such as the Blacks and Malfoys that only intermarry and dont have any muggle blood. Lily was not of these families and therefore is not pure blood.

This is only my impression and interpretation however and there may be some canon references I have forgotten about that disprove this


Lily was Muggleborn, or more commonly referred to as mudblood by the Pureblood lines. James, however, was Pureblood. When Lily and James had a child, Harry, he became half-blood. The only way to achieve Pureblood status is to have your entire line of ancestry be Pureblooded. Your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on, all had to have Pureblood status. The Malfoys, Blacks, and Weasleys were some of the only Pureblood families left in the wizarding world. With the Weasleys being Blood-traitors (not joining Voldemort in his renegade), only the Blacks and Malfoys would marry one another, to remain Purebloods.

  • 2
    Pureblood families were dying out, but those were not the only three. harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Pure-blood_families Feb 7, 2014 at 15:31
  • Which I think is correctly represented by the statement "SOME OF" the only pureblood families left.
    – JohnP
    Feb 7, 2014 at 17:05
  • 1
    @JohnP - But is contradicted by "only the Blacks and Malfoys would marry one another". There were other options, they just didn't come up much.
    – Bobson
    Feb 7, 2014 at 17:47

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