The wizarding families of Harry Potter are a huge part of why the Potterverse feels so rich, magical, and never-ending. From their obsession with blood status to generations of magical adventures to retell, these fictional families are a godsend for anyone hungry for weird Potter facts. But of course, not all of these family stories are so whimsically pretty—the history of magic has plenty of darkness too. Cast a spell on these 43 secretive facts about the Wizarding families of Harry Potter.
1. 28 Reasons Why
It’s no spoiler to say the Wizarding World is obsessed with “blood purity.” In fact, wizards who were especially concerned with the “issue” in the 1940s published a list of 28 families whose blood was considered pure enough to pass as marriable among self-respecting wizards. This roster would be called the “Sacred Twenty-Eight.”
2. One Big Happy Family
Naturally, the Sacred Twenty-Eight feature elite and “no Muggles allowed” families such as the Malfoys and the Lestranges. However, less wealthy and more muggle-allied families such as the Weasleys, Longbottoms, and Shacklebolts also made the list—almost like blood snobbery is a choice.
3. Not to Stir the Potter
The Potters are an established wizarding family, but they are not on the “Sacred Twenty-Eight” list of established purebloods. Why? According to J.K. Rowling, it’s because “Potter” is a very common Muggle surname, so “the anonymous compiler of that supposedly definitive list of pure-bloods suspected that they had sprung from what he considered to be tainted blood.”
4. Empathy Runs in the Family
The Potter family has a much longer tradition of defending Muggles and Muggle-borns than most people realize. Harry’s ancestor Henry Potter condemned the Ministry of Magic after they forbid helping Muggles during World War One. Likewise, another ancestor, Ralston Potter, who sat on the Wizengamot in the 17th century, supported the Statute of Secrecy while many wizards wished simply to wage war on Mugglekind.
5. Not to Split Hairs About It
Believe it or not, Harry Potter is the heir to a magical hair gel fortune. His grandfather, Fleamont Potter, managed to quadruple the Potter family’s already impressive wealth by inventing “Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion,” a magical substance that slicks back locks in only two drops. (Side note: considering how many times the books emphasize Harry’s mop of untidy hair, I hope you find this as hilarious as I do).
6. Keeping It In the Family
Pure-blood families have an ugly history of inbreeding to keep the family tree Muggle-free. One such example is the House of Black, who frequently marry cousins. It’s rumored this is the cause of the family’s recent legacy for instability (*cough* Bellatrix *cough*). The practice is likewise found in the legendary House of Gaunt, Voldemort’s maternal family. By the 1920s, it’s believed that inbreeding led to the disintegration of the Gaunt offspring’s mental and physical capacities, which led to the loss of their fortune.
7. Black Magic Widow
Slytherin student (and Malfoy pal) Blaise Zabini is the son of a legendarily beautiful witch. Mrs. Zabini has been married seven times and her husbands all have a habit of mysteriously dying and leaving her huge amounts of money…
8. A Very Tudor Potterverse
One of the Malfoys—the first Lucius Malfoy—plotted to marry Queen Elizabeth I of England. So much for being too good for Muggles, right? The Golden Age ruler rejected Malfoy’s offer; it’s rumored the wizard jinxed her with frigidity in response, explaining (in the Potterverse at least…), why Elizabeth turned down every offer of marriage before dying single at the ripe age of 69.
9. I Put My Malfoy In You
The surname “Malfoy” is Old French for “bad faith.” Real subtle, Rowling.
10. I Owe It All to My Willy
As much as they poo-poo non-magic society, the Malfoy family has a long history of cavorting with Muggle royalty. For instance, the founder of Malfoy Manor, Armand Malfoy, came to the British Isles alongside William the Conqueror during the Norman Invasion.
11. Home Sweet Land Grant
It’s believed Armand Malfoy performed various “services” to William the Conqueror (Probably magical services; get your mind out of the gutter). In exchange for their loyalty, King William bestowed Malfoy Manor upon the wizarding family. In other words, the Malfoys are hypocrites who owe their fortune to Muggles.
12. We’ve Got Bad Blood
Draco Malfoy’s wife, Astoria Greengrass, died in 2019 due to a blood curse that was cast on her ancestor generations ago. #FirstWorldWizardingProblems, am I right?
13. Join the Hate Club
Despite their inclusion in the Sacred Twenty-Eight list of pureblood families, the Weasleys condemn their own status. The family’s outward sympathy to Muggles and Muggle-borns have made them persona non grata to many of the other 27 families.
14. The Brodeo Is Over
The Weasleys birthed only boys for several generations until their daughter Ginny was born. That seems to have broken the “No Girls Allowed” curse; most of Arthur and Molly Weasley’s grandkids are girls.
15. Closer Than We Think
Draco Malfoy and Nymphadora Tonks are first-cousins by their mothers being sisters. However, they’re not close—Tonks’ mother, Andromeda Black, was cast out of her family after she married a Muggle-born wizard named Ted Tonks.
16. We’re All Children of the Earth
With so few “pure-blood” wizarding families, most of them are related to some degree. For instance, Sirius Black is not just related to the Malfoys, but also the Weasleys.
17. The Hunt Is Off
Sirius Black’s cousin, Araminta, once tried to get a bill passed in government that would legalize Muggle-hunting. It goes without saying, such an act didn’t pass.
18. Don’t Harp Her About It
Not all “half-blood” wizards come from Muggles. Fleur Delacour is one-quarter “Veela” (a fairy-like humanoid magical creature) after her father married a half-Veela witch. To date, it’s still unclear if she and her siblings can transform into harpy creatures like her ancestors.
19. Just Say “Hssss”
“Bloody purity” wasn’t the only gene that Voldemort’s maternal family wanted to keep in the family. As descendants of Salazar Slytherin, they are fluent in Parseltongue—if it meant marrying a cousin or two to keep the ability in the family, so be it.
20. Maybe We Have More In Common Than We Thought
Because both Draco Malfoy and his wife Astoria Greengrass are from the Sacred Twenty-Eight families, it is very likely they are related to each other. But don’t think of wizardly inbreeding as only a “bad guy” trait…
21. Running in Circles
You might remember the Harry Potter epilogue, where we hear of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s daughter, Victoire, “snogging” Teddy Lupin. Now, remember that Teddy’s mom, Tonks, is related to the Weasleys via their own relation to the House of Black. It’s a distant relation, but fans still note: you don’t need to go far for find wizardly incest.
22. Not a Lot of Potters
On his father’s side, Harry comes from a long and almost uninterrupted line of only children. When looking for next of kin, the Dursleys were truly the best he could do.
23. Big Government is in The House
For all their hatred, the Malfoys used to mingle with rich muggles quite frequently. That is, until the founding of the Ministry of Magic. Now that the wizarding world had its own “heart of power,” to quote J.K. Rowling, the family quickly dropped their designs for using Muggles and embraced legally magical means to glory.
24. No Magic for You
Not all children of wizards are lucky enough to inherit the magical touch. These children are called “Squibs.”
25. The Pure-Blood Plotter
Draco Malfoy’s paternal grandfather, Abraxas, is largely credited with a plot that ended with the first ever Muggle-born Minister of Magic leaving office. Of course, nothing was ever proven.
26. I’ll Do Anything For Family, But I Won’t Do Them
The Malfoys have done a lot of questionable things, but at least they drew the line at incest. Unlike pureblood houses like the Blacks, Lestranges, or Gaunts, the House of Malfoy did not participate in marrying close cousins and risk their good genes just to keep the lines pure. Instead, they were willing to marry half-bloods—though they still probably kept it on the down-low.
27. My Baby Is Vintage
Draco Malfoy’s wife, Astoria, was of delicate health and it was a miracle she conceived their son, Scorpius. This led to rumors that somehow Astoria had gotten a time-turner and went back to conceive a child with the Dark Lord Voldemort himself. You know, classic wizard family gossip.
28. Sonic the Squib
In the 17th century, a wizard named Thaddeus Thurkell had seven sons—all of whom turned out to be magicless Squibs. Enraged, he did the natural thing and transformed them all into hedgehogs.
29. Better Late Than Never
Seamus Finnigan’s mother didn’t tell his Muggle father that she was a witch until after they married. To quote Seamus, “It came as a nasty shock to him when he found out.” At least it had a happy ending; Mr. Finnigan eventually accepted the status quo.
30. Magic Comes In All Forms
It’s implied that Albus Dumbledore is of Native American ancestry. When Harry sees a picture of the headmaster’s Muggle-born mother, the woman’s dark coloring and cheekbones remind Harry “of photos of Native Americans he’d seen.”
31. Fantastic Cameos and Where to Find Them
Luna Lovegood grows up to marry the grandson of Newt Scamander (yes that Newt, of Fantastic Beasts fame), Rolf Scamander. Sorry, all you Neville/Luna shippers.
32. When Love Looks Familiar
Fred Weasley may have taken Angelina Johnson as his date to the Yule Ball, but it was his twin brother George whom Angelina ends up marrying after the Second Wizarding War that resulted in poor Fred’s death. George and Angelina named their son “Fred II” in tribute.
33. Bottoms Up
The “Hagrid” family name is derived after the Old English word “hagridden,” which means “nightmarish night.” It’s also a euphemism for a hangover.
34. The Height of Romance
Hagrid’s father was short wizard even by human standards. Ironically, he fell in love and married a giantess named Fridwulfa, with whom he welcomed the half-human, half-giant wizard we all know and love named Rubeus Hagrid.
35. Big Loss
Unfortunately, Hagrid’s giantess mother took a giant leap out of their family forever when he was only three years old. Hagrid’s father was heartbroken and died himself when the boy was just 12.
36. Too Cool to Survive School
Gellert Grindelwald caused the death of many wizards, including the grandfather of Triwizard Tournament contestant and Quidditch pro Victor Krum. When some Durmstrang students thought it was “edgy” to wear the Grindelwald symbol on their clothing, Victor Krum and other family members of Grindelwald’s victims taught them a “lesson” on how “cool” it was…
37. Tragic Bloodlines
Cedric Diggory, the doomed Triwizard Tournament contestant, comes from an overachieving family. One of his ancestors, Eldritch Diggory, served as the Minister for Magic in 1733 and founded the Auror program. Unfortunately, he died tragically early in 1747 from Dragon Pox. Maybe dying young runs in the family too…
38. Mama’s Magical Boy
The egotistical and ill-fated Gilderoy Lockhart is a half-blood, born to a witch mother and Muggle father. He is also the only one of their three children to inherit magical power, as his two older sisters were both born Squibs. As a result, Lockhart’s mother openly loved him most of all the children.
39. Skeletons in The Pink and Fluffy Closet
One of the cruelest villains in the whole series, Dolores Umbridge, is a half-blooded witch. After her parents split, her Muggle mother took her Squib brother back to the non-magical world and Dolores never spoke of that side of her family again.
40. Build Your Own Family Tree
Dolores Umbridge went to extreme lengths to hide her “lowly” heritage. As her career in the Ministry of Magic rose, she paid her father, who was a low-level employee in the Department of Magical Maintenance (he was a janitor), to stay away from public life. She would claim her father was dead and also a member of the esteemed Wizengamot court.
41. Papa, Can You Hear Me?
When he first attended Hogwarts, Dean Thomas thought he was a Muggle-born. In truth, his father was a wizard who left the family when Dean was very young. Mr. Thomas thought he was protecting his son from the First Wizarding War by obscuring the truth. Tragically, Dean’s father was later murdered by Death Eaters before he could tell his family the truth.
42. Just Like Bart
The Crouch family was one of the oldest pureblood lineages in Great Britain, but their status took a slide because of their involvement with Voldemort in the First Wizarding War. Barty Crouch Sr. was the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement until he gave his son, Barty Jr., a life sentence for his Death Eater crimes. Eventually, Jr. would kill his father, and received the Dementor’s Kiss as a result, meaning the family went completely extinct in 1996.
Helena Bonham Carter iconically played the most deranged member of the Lestrange family, Bellatrix, but that wasn’t the original plan. Actress Helen McCrory was meant to play the role when she made her debut in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. However, McCrory became pregnant and had to drop out of the movie. But that wasn’t the last we’d see of her: She eventually returned to the film franchise when she was cast as Narcissa Malfoy, Bellatrix’s sister.
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