Bellatrix Lestrange

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Bellatrix Lestrange (née Black) (1951-2 May, 1998) also known as Bella, was a pure-blood witch, the daughter of Cygnus and Druella Black and elder sister to Andromeda and Narcissa. She attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1962 and was sorted into Slytherin house. After graduating from Hogwarts, she became a Death Eater who was fanatically loyal to Lord Voldemort. She was one of the few females in the group, as well as among the most dangerous and sadistic of Voldemort's followers. At the end of the First Wizarding War, Bellatrix and her husband, Rodolphus Lestrange, his brother Rabastan, and Barty Crouch Jr. tortured Aurors Alice and Frank Longbottom to the point of insanity searching for information on Lord Voldemort after his first downfall.

Bellatrix was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban for the crime, but escaped in the 1996 mass break-out, along with nine other Death Eaters. She participated in several battles of the Second Wizarding War, making it a particular goal to kill any relatives who were members of the Order of the Phoenix, including her cousin Sirius Black and niece Nymphadora Tonks. She also killed the Malfoy family's former house-elf, Dobby, who had become a firm ally of Harry Potter. She was also the last Death Eater standing during the final battle, and was eventually killed by Molly Weasley.


[edit] Biographical information

Born: 1951

Died: 2 May, 1998 (aged 47) in the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle

Blood status: Pure-blood

Also known as: Bella

[edit] Family information

Family members

[edit] Backstory

When the First Wizarding War broke out, Bellatrix and her husband Rodolphus both fought for Voldemort as two of his Death Eaters, and remained loyal to Voldemort throughout the war and even after he had fallen.

After the Dark Lord's fall in 1981, Bellatrix and a group of Death Eaters, including her husband, brother-in-law, and Barty Crouch Jr., captured Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members Alice and Frank Longbottom, new parents to Neville Longbottom. Bellatrix and her associates used the Cruciatus Curse to torture them to insanity, a crime for which they were tried before the Wizengamot, and sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban. As a result of their torture, Alice and Frank spent the rest of their lives at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, unaware they even had a son together.

Unlike many other Death Eaters, Bellatrix did not attempt to lie about her loyalty — she proudly proclaimed that she was loyal to the Dark Lord and that she would wait for his return. Indeed, Bellatrix was so proud of her loyalty to the Dark Lord that, during her trial before the Wizengamot, she was said to have sat upon the chair she was chained to as if it were a throne. She would later describe herself as his "most loyal servant" and even Lord Voldemort, whom Bellatrix admired most of all, gained a considerable deal of respect for her.

[edit] Appearances

[edit] Fourth Book

When Lord Voldemort returned to power in 1995, he stated that the Lestranges were among the most faithful members of his inner circle.

[edit] Fifth Book

In January of 1996, Bellatrix was one of the many Death Eaters who escaped from Azkaban and rejoined Voldemort when the Dementors defected to the Dark Lord. As a result, Bellatrix became a fugitive, and lived in danger of the Ministry re-instating her imprisonment if she was ever to be captured.

Later that year, Bellatrix participated in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in a bid to steal a prophecy regarding Harry Potter and Voldemort, as second-in-command to Lucius Malfoy. She became enraged when Harry spoke Voldemort's name, and when he stated that Voldemort was a half-blood. Later, she briefly tortured Neville Longbottom with the Cruciatus Curse, in an attempt to coerce Harry into handing over the prophecy. It was clear that, given the chance, she would have enjoyed continuing to torture Neville to further punish his parents.

When the Order of the Phoenix arrived, Bellatrix duelled and defeated her niece, Nymphadora Tonks, and then began fighting her cousin, Sirius Black, who taunted her as they dueled. She hit him with an unknown curse which knocked him through a veiled stone arch in the Death Chamber, killing him. She then defeated Kingsley Shacklebolt in a duel and deflected a spell from Albus Dumbledore before fleeing. She was pursued by Harry, whom she taunted over his godfather's death. Harry was enraged to the point that he attempted the Cruciatus Curse on her, though he only succeeded in knocking her down and causing her a few seconds of pain. She then shouted at him that one had to "mean it" to use one of the Unforgivable Curses.

Voldemort arrived at the Ministry shortly after, and he and Dumbledore began to duel in the Ministry Atrium. Bellatrix was pinned to the floor by a statue animated by Dumbledore, while her master fought. After trying to possess Harry, failing, and being spotted by arriving Ministry officials, Voldemort fled, taking Bellatrix with him as he Disapparated


[edit] Sixth Book

In July of 1996, Bellatrix reluctantly accompanied her sister, Narcissa Malfoy, to the house of Severus Snape at Spinner's End. Once there, Bellatrix interrogated Snape and voiced her distrust of him. Snape's calm, reasonable, and logical answers to her aggressive questioning rendered her dissatisfied, but temporarily without retort. Narcissa, however, proceeded to beg Snape to look after her son Draco's welfare while he attended Hogwarts and tried to fulfill Voldemort's orders to kill Albus Dumbledore. Snape shocked Bellatrix by asking her to bind him and Narcissa with an Unbreakable Vow to assist Draco. Bellatrix also assisted her nephew in his task by teaching him Occlumency, a tool he used against Snape in order to conceal the details of his mission. Bellatrix showed her obsessive loyalty to her master's cause in telling her sister that she should be proud, instead of worried, that her son was not "shrinking away from his duty". Bellatrix went on to say that had she had sons, she would have gladly handed them over to Voldemort's service.

Almost a year later, in June of 1997, Bellatrix was among the group of Death Eaters who led an assault at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which ended with the death of Albus Dumbledore. Despite not witnessing it, Bellatrix was delighted to hear of the successful assassination, and she escaped the castle through the Great Hall, where she walked over the Gryffindors' table, breaking much of the tableware. Before leaving the castle, she proceeded to smash the Great Hall's high windows, letting a gust of wind enter the room, blowing all of the room's lights out. She was among the group of Death Eaters who saw Rubeus Hagrid's hut being set on fire before fleeing the school grounds.

[edit] Final Book

By the next year, Bellatrix was living with Narcissa at Malfoy Manor so that she could be closer to Voldemort. She was the only resident of the manor who was actually pleased beyond measure that he was staying there. When Voldemort humiliated the Malfoys by bringing up their relative Nymphadora Tonks' marriage to werewolf Remus Lupin, Bellatrix eagerly told her master that she would "prune her family tree". When the Death Eaters subsequently attacked the Order of the Phoenix while they were moving Harry Potter out his relatives' home, Bellatrix and her husband targeted Tonks in particular. Rodolphus was injured in the pursuit, and Tonks escaped. Bellatrix at Malfoy Manor.

Soon afterwards, a copy of Godric Gryffindor's Sword was secured in Bellatrix's family vault at Gringotts Wizarding Bank on Voldemort's orders, Voldemort and Bellatrix both unaware, at the time, that it was merely a copy. Thus, in 1998, when Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were captured by Snatchers and brought to the Manor with the real sword, Bellatrix panicked. This led to Harry thinking that there could be something else of Voldemort's in her vault — his Horcrux, Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, seeming most likely. Bellatrix Stunned all the Snatchers, intending to kill them later, as Draco was unwilling to himself. Bellatrix then interrogated Hermione and tortured her with the Cruciatus Curse, but Hermione managed to lie, claiming the real sword was only a copy.

Bellatrix also threatened Hermione with a knife, after Harry and Ron escaped from the cellar with the assistance of Dobby and Ron disarmed her. While holding the knife to an unconscious Hermione's throat, Bellatrix demanded that the boys drop their wands, and then pressed her Dark Mark, calling Voldemort. However, Dobby reappeared and caused the chandelier to fall from above Bellatrix's head, prompting her to release Hermione and jump out of the way. As the house-elf Disapparated with Harry, Bellatrix threw the knife at Dobby, fatally wounding him in the chest. She and her relatives were severely punished by Voldemort for allowing Harry to escape. Bellatrix also lost her wand in the skirmish.

Not long afterwards, Hermione used some of Bellatrix's hair, which had fallen onto her clothes while Bellatrix held her hostage, to create Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Bellatrix. This made it possible for her, Harry and Ron to steal the Horcrux from the Lestranges' vault.

Bellatrix finally succeeded in killing Nymphadora Tonks, her estranged sister's daughter, during the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998. When Voldemort called a temporary retreat, waiting for Harry Potter to turn himself in, Bellatrix waited by his side; she offered him help when he was dazed after using the Killing Curse on Harry, but was coldly rebuffed. When the Death Eaters marched back to Hogwarts with a "dead" Harry, she laughed at Minerva McGonagall's cry of despair.

When the battle resumed, Bellatrix fought Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood all at once, just as her master fought three by himself. She nearly hit Ginny with a Killing Curse, which enraged Ginny's mother, Molly Weasley, who took over the duel; though Bellatrix didn't take Molly seriously in the least, and even taunted her over the death of her son, Fred, Molly hit Bellatrix over the heart with a curse, killing her.

After she toppled to the ground, an enraged Voldemort turned on Molly. This prompted Harry to reveal himself, and the final showdown between he and Voldemort ensued. Bellatrix ultimately died in vain, because Voldemort was killed only moments after she had died for him.

[edit] Characterisation

[edit] Outward appearance

Bellatrix was described as a tall, beautiful woman with long, thick, shining black hair. She had thin lips, dark, heavy-lidded eyes, and a strong jaw. She had the classic 'great good looks' and arrogant bearing common for members of the House of Black, but like her cousin Sirius, time in Azkaban took a toll on her appearance. After her lengthy imprisonment, she was described as having a gaunt and skull-like face, but managed to retain some vestige of her great beauty. Bellatrix was noted to physically resemble her sister Andromeda, as Harry mistook Andromeda for Bellatrix on one occasion. Also, Harry noted that as much as Narcissa is fair as Bellatrix is dark, the two sisters still resembled each other.

[edit] Personality and traits

Bellatrix was little more than a complete psychopath and was just as merciless and sadistic as Lord Voldemort himself. She was an intensely sadistic witch, who, at certain points, seemed mentally unbalanced; for instance, she once killed a fox because she was paranoid it might have been an Auror. Bellatrix was intelligent, but could be easily distracted, and had a fierce and dangerous temper, a trait that she shared with her cousin Sirius and her aunt Walburga.

She was highly devoted to Voldemort, believing that she proved her loyalty by her time in Azkaban, which seems to have furthered her mental decline. She was one of Voldemort's most trusted and loyal followers, as well as one of his cruellest Death Eaters, always eager to inflict the Cruciatus Curse on enemies; Albus Dumbledore once noted that she liked "to play with her food before she eats it." Harry Potter noted that Bellatrix was as "mad as her master." Bellatrix was a steadfast believer in the supremacy of blood purity, as was taught to her by her family, and seemed particularly eager to kill her own relatives if they violated this ideology.

Aside from all "blood traitors," half-bloods, Muggle-borns, and Muggles, Bellatrix also treated people below her as scum. Born in the aristocratic House of Black, Bellatrix was heavily spoiled into thinking being born a Black means not only to cherish her blood purity to the fullest, but it also made her practically royalty. In one of her deranged tantrums, Bellatrix was screaming at her youngest sister and nephew, despite usually getting along well with them. When Hermione disguised herself as Bellatrix and gave Tom a polite greeting, the landlord was surprised.

Bellatrix was a natural leader and took charge in tricky situations, such as during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor. Another mark of her decisiveness and ruthlessness, Bellatrix took no unnecessary prisoners, preferring to kill them instead, as she planned to do with a group of Snatchers who attempted to defy her in Malfoy Manor in 1998.

Despite her sadistic personality, Bellatrix was not incapable of feeling affection for others and appeared to care about her younger sister Narcissa, following her to Severus Snape's house, when Narcissa went to beg Snape to help her son. She was also in love with her master, Lord Voldemort, though he, being incapable of love, did not return her feelings. However, she was quick to turn on family members who were considered "blood traitors", such as her sister Andromeda, and her cousin Sirius. She even duelled and ultimatetly killed both Sirius and Nymphadora, her niece.

Bellatrix was arrogant and very confident in her abilities but this often caused her to underestimate her opponents. Her arrogance ultimately led to her death at the hands of Molly Weasley.

[edit] Magical accomplishments and skills

Bellatrix Lestrange was an extremely powerful witch, second only to Lord Voldemort among the Death Eaters. She was a master of the Dark Arts, an incredibly skilled duellist, and an Occlumens. Her prodigious skill was proven by her many victories over other talented wizards and witches.

  • Dark Arts Mastery: Bellatrix claimed to have been trained in the Dark Arts by Voldemort himself, and displayed particular proficiency with the Cruciatus Curse. She boasted to have knowledge of Dark spells that few could comprehend the power of; a claim supported by her status as Voldemort's "best lieutenant". Like her master, Bellatrix was capable of casting the Killing Curse with no regard for the life she wished to extinguish.
  • Nonverbal Magic Expert: Bellatrix also seemed highly adept at using non-verbal spells. She slew a fox with a flash of green light on her way to Spinner's End, in 1996, which was highly likely to have been a non-verbal Killing Curse. She also ferociously duelled Molly Weasley with such intensity that the floor around her became "hot and cracked" without mentioning a single incantation.
  • Master Duellist: Bellatrix Lestrange was an incredibly talented duellist, and defeated Aurors Nymphadora Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt in duels during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, as well as her cousin Sirius, and was the only Death Eater to deflect a spell from Albus Dumbledore himself, allowing her to escape the renowned wizard[4]. She also quickly and single-handedly defeated four Snatchers and Fenrir Greyback, and later killed her niece in battle. Just before her death, Bellatrix duelled Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley all at once, and was described as being equal in power to all three of the talented, if inexperienced, witches. Her death at the hands of Molly Weasley was due to her vastly underestimating the witch, who was fuelled by grief over the murder of her son. In addition, despite her years of captivity within Azkaban, Bellatrix displayed incredible reflexes that outmatched the much younger and physically fit Harry Potter; she was able to conjure a Shield Charm and deflect his own spell back at him the moment he cast it.[4] She was also physically fit enough to throw a knife with lethal accuracy across a room to strike her target. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Bellatrix was the last Death Eater standing, apart from Lord Voldemort, and it should be noted that she was wielding a wand that which she had most likely not won the allegiance of, which is further evidence of her exceptional duelling skills.
  • Occlumency and Legilimency: Bellatrix trained her nephew Draco Malfoy in Occlumency as part of his mission to kill Albus Dumbledore, and thus was likely a Legilimens as well. Considering that Severus Snape was forced to use Legilimency in order to teach Harry Potter Occlumency, it is likely that Bellatrix needed to use the same power when teaching Draco.
  • Unbreakable Vow Bonder: Bellatrix was capable of acting as a Bonder in initiating an Unbreakable Vow.

[edit] Posessions

Wand: Walnut, 12¾", dragon heartstring

Wand: Her second wands used in the Second Wizarding War

[edit] Etymology

Like many members of the House of Black, Bellatrix's name is derived from that of a star. Bellatrix is the third brightest star in the constellation Orion; it is also known as the Amazon Star. This is presumably an allusion to Bellatrix Lestrange being among the most dangerously skilled Death Eaters. The Amazons were warrior women in Greek mythology. Her name likely has Latin, French and English origins: Bella is Latin both for the plural of bellum, meaning war, and the feminine singular adjective meaning "beautiful;" trix is Latin feminine suffix (i.e. Bellatrix is the Latin word for a female warrior or a personification of feminine beauty), and Lestrange is likely a play on l'étrange, which is French meaning "the strange one". Her name thus alludes to both her beauty and her mental instability.

[edit] Additional Canon

[edit] The Films

  • Actress Helena Bonham Carter stated that Bellatrix suffers from a sadistic personality disorder. However SPD is no longer recognised as a valid mental disorder by the DSM so were she a real person (and alive) it is more likely that Bellatrix would be diagnosed with some form of sociopathic or antisocial personality disorder.
  • Bonham Carter is notable for frequently playing Bellatrix-like characters (such as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd" and the Red Queen in the 2010 verison of "Alice in Wonderland").
  • Originally, Helen McCrory was going to play the role of Bellatrix in the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but due to her pregnancy, she opted out of the film and was replaced by Helena Bonham Carter. Ironically, Bonham Carter herself learned she was pregnant shortly after completing filming. McCrory was eventually cast as Bellatrix's sister Narcissa in the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In the film, Bonham Carter is noticeably wearing looser clothing, as opposed to her form-fitting costume of the previous film (see below).
  • In the Order of the Phoenix film, Bonham Carter's costume reflected the mental state of the character, thus the torn gloves and dress, she also had alternate attires with a hood worn up and a mask, but they were not used in the final cut of the film.
  • On the tapestry depicted in the film, the face of Bellatrix pictured is a face of Helena Bonham Carter. On the DVD there is a different picture of Bellatrix on the tapestry, where she has a purple hat and looks stylistically similar to her sisters.
  • In the book version of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Bellatrix casts an unnamed spell that knocks Sirius Black through the veil in the Death Chamber whilst in the film version, she casts the Killing Curse at him and he dies before falling through the veil.
  • There is a notable difference between Bellatrix's personality from the books and her portrayal in the films where her hot temper and reflexive attacks have been largely omitted. Bellatrix is also often shown in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, to have a more deranged quality about her that is not as established in the books in which she is typically more severe and murderous. For instance, during the Skirmish at the Burrow (a scene that occurs only in the sixth film), Bellatrix adopts her raucous mocking of Harry Potter, repeating the childish, sing-song phrase used in the fifth film: "I killed Sirius Black!" Followed by, "He's coming to get me!"
  • Helena Bonham Carter, who portrays Bellatrix in the films, described the character as being "as bonkers as they come", commenting that Bellatrix has "a bit of a child-like madness... like boys who like to pick apart an insect for the sake of it".
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Bellatrix participates in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower but in the book there is no mention of her. Also, a new scene has been added of The Burrow being attacked and burned over the Christmas holidays by Bellatrix, Fenrir Greyback, and an unknown Death Eater, possibly Amycus Carrow, Yaxley, or Thorfinn Rowle.
  • In the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Bellatrix appears in the adapted scene of the Battle of the Astronomy Tower despite there being no mention of her presence there in the sixth book. Also of difference is the fact that there is no literal "Battle" between the Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix during this scene; allowing the former group to pass through Hogwarts without resistance and Bellatrix to walk insanely on the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall before casting a spell to destroy all of the Hall's many windows. It is during the segment in the Astronomy Tower that Bellatrix speaks the line, "well done", to Draco for cornering Dumbledore. In the book, it is Amycus Carrow who congratulates Draco for his work. Bellatrix then proceeds to order Draco to hurry and murder Dumbledore, in place of Yaxley (who does not make a true appearance at all in the film). Also different in this section of the film is that Bellatrix casts the Dark Mark into the sky after Dumbledore's death, whereas in the book, it is Gibbon who does so prior to the death of the Headmaster. Finally, Bellatrix (in the film) is shown to perform the main acts of crime that were committed by Thorfinn Rowle in the book. These include burning down Hagrid's hut (although the film shows the burning process to be more explosive than it was described to be in the book) and briefly torturing Harry with the Cruciatus Curse.
  • Bellatrix's wanted poster is featured on an official Warner Brothers Harry Potter t-shirt. It says that Bellatrix was convicted for murder. In the book, she was sentenced to Azkaban for her participation in the torture of Frank and Alice Longbottom.

[edit] Other Stuff

  • The house-elf Kreacher has a great fondness for Bellatrix. Harry Potter eventually came to understand that Kreacher responds to respect and kindness, and Hermione Granger realised that Bellatrix and Narcissa were indulgent with him, in contrast with Sirius' abuse. When they were kind to him, he gave them the information that they wanted.
  • Sirius Black told Harry Potter that Bellatrix ran in the same crowd as Severus Snape while at Hogwarts, but her date of birth makes this impossible. Bellatrix would have attended Hogwarts from 1962 to 1969, or possibly 1963 to 1970, depending on which month in 1951 she was born in, whereas Snape began his schooling in 1971. This may simply be an error, as J. K. Rowling has admitted that maths is not her strong suit.[8] Another possible explanation could be that both Bellatrix and Snape went around with the same type of people, some of whom may have overlapped depending on age.
  • Bellatrix's wand is 12¾" walnut wood, with a dragon heartstring core. It was described by Ollivander as "unyielding".
  • J. K. Rowling stated in an interview that she had always intended that Molly Weasley would be the one to kill Bellatrix, for two main reasons: Firstly, so that Molly could "have her moment" and show that simply because she had dedicated herself to her family didn't mean that she wasn't a powerful witch, and second, to show the clash of Molly's "maternal love" against Bellatrix's "obsessive love" She considered Neville might be the one to kill Bellatrix as revenge for torturing his parents.
  • If Bellatrix's enemy, Harry Potter, is the grandson of Charlus and Dorea Potter (nee Black), then Bellatrix (along with her sisters and cousins) would be Harry's second cousin.
  • Bellatrix has the distinction of being the only person in the series to duel all three main characters on separate occasions. She attacked Harry Potter during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, fought Ron Weasley in the sky during the Battle over Little Whinging, and duelled with Hermione Granger in the Battle of Hogwarts.

[edit] References