Bellatrix (Black) Lestrange
'Oh, he knows how to play, little bitty baby Potter. Very well, then -'
--Bellatrix Lestrange (OP35)
'Shut your mouth! You dare speak his name with your unworthy lips, you dare besmirch it with your half-blood's tongue, you dare -'
--Bellatrix Lestrange (OP35)
"Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy? You need to mean them Potter! You need to really want to cause pain -- to enjoy it -- righteous anger won't hurt me for long -- I'll show you how it is done, shall I? I'll give you a lesson --" (OP36)
On this page:
Father: Cygnus Black (1929-1979) (BFT).
Mother: Druella Rosier (BFT).
Sisters: Narcissa (Black) Malfoy and Andromeda (Black) Tonks.
Husband: Rodolphus Lestrange (OP6), though Voldemort was her only love (BLC).
Cousins: Sirius and Regulus Black.
Nephew: Draco Malfoy.
Niece: Nymphadora Tonks.
Possible name origin:
'Bellatrix' is Latin for "female warrior;" also the name of a brilliant star in the constellation Orion that is sometimes called "the Amazon star."
'Lestrange' could refer to Roger L'Estrange, a 17th-century English journalist who was very much against religious tolerance (Cambridge History of English and American Literature).
Eyes: Dark, heavy-lidded.
Hair: Long, black hair (DH26) .
Other characteristics: Tall, with a harsh voice, and a thin mouth.
Pre-Azkaban: had thick, shining hair (GF).
Post-Azkaban: face is gaunt and skull-like (GF).
Wand: Walnut and dragon heartstring, 12 & 3/4 inches, unyeilding (DH24). Captured by Harry during their escape from the Malfoy mansion and given to Hermione for her impersonation of Bella at Gringotts.
“Bella” was the oldest daughter of Druella Rosier and Cygnus Black of the “Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.” Her sisters are Narcissa (Black) Malfoy and Andromeda (Black) Tonks. A particularly enthusiastic member of Voldemort’s inner circle of Death Eaters, Bella relishes causing pain, especially when her victims are powerless; her specialty is the Unforgivable Cruciatus Curse.
She is also capable of tremendous loyalty. During Voldemort’s first reign of terror, Bella and Lucius Malfoy were so high in Voldemort’s trust that they were each entrusted with one of his Horcruxes. Bella was given the Hufflepuff cup which she secured in the Lestrange family vault deep in Gringotts.
Having successfully avoided capture and imprisonment in the immediate aftermath of Voldemort's fall, she (together with three other Death Eaters) attempted to find and restore Voldemort, torturing Frank and Alice Longbottom into madness for information. For this she was given a life sentence in Azkaban prison (GF27, GF33), where she was held until her escape more than 14 years later. After her escape, Bella took part in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, where she managed to defeat her cousin Sirius, sending him falling through the ancient veiled archway in the Death Chamber (OP35).
Bellatrix's snarling conversations with fellow Death Eater Severus Snape in the beginning of Book 6 (HBP2) set up the story's central question: Whose man is Snape? In the end, she goaded him into taking an Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa to protect Draco and kill Albus Dumbledore if Draco failed.
After Dumbledore’s death, Snape was ascendant in Voldemort’s trust, and the Malfoys and Bella were singled out for humiliation; Bella was taunted and told to “prune” the Muggle-born and half-blood members of her family tree. So when Greyback and the snatchers captured Harry, Ron and Hermione with the Sword of Gryffindor, she panicked. The sword should have been in her vault at Gringotts, so she assumed it had been breached and delayed telling Voldemort that Harry had been captured. She couldn’t bear falling further from favor because the cup might have been stolen from its hiding place along with the sword. Unfortunately for Bella, she dithered too long. Dobby appeared and helped Harry, Ron and Hermione (and others) escape the mansion, knowing exactly where to find one of the last Horcruxes. To Harry’s deep sorrow, Bella killed Dobby with an accurately-thrown knife. Bella survived Voldemort’s fury and later fought in the Battle of Hogwarts where she was killed by Molly Weasley.
Bella had the aristocratic Black good looks: tall with black hair and (in her case) heavily-lidded eyes and air of arrogance; although as with Sirius, Azkaban left its mark (GF30, OP25).
"Bellatrix" L. ‘female warrior;’ also the name of a brilliant star in the constellation Orion that is sometimes called "the Amazon star."
Quotes by and about Bellatrix Lestrange
"Imagine that Voldemort's powerful now. You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able stop themselves. You're scared for yourself, and your family, and your friends. Every week, news comes of more deaths, more disappearances, more torturing … The Ministry of Magic's in disarray, they don't know what to do, they're trying to keep everything hidden from the Muggles, but meanwhile, Muggles are dying too. Terror everywhere … panic … confusion … that's how it used to be."
“Well, times like that bring out the best in some people and the worst in others." (GF27)
To Harry: "You dare speak his name?" whispered
"Yeah," said Harry, maintaining his tight grip on the glass ball, expecting another attempts to bewitch it from him. "Yeah, I've got no problem saying Vol--"
"Shut your mouth!" Bellatrix shrieked. "You dare speak his name with your unworthy lips, you dare besmirch it with your half-blood's tongue, you dare --"
"Did you know he's half-blood too?" said Harry recklessly. Hermione gave a little moan in his ear. "Voldemort? Yeah, his mother was a witch, but his dad was a Muggle -- or has he been telling you lot he's pure-blood?"
"STUPIF--" (OP35) "
One of the Death Eaters seized Neville from behind, pinioning his arms
to his sides. He struggled and kicked; several of the Death Eaters laughed.
It's Longbottom, isn't it?" sneered Lucius Malfoy. "Well your grandmother is used to losing family members to our cause.... Your death will not come as a great shock...."
"Longbottom?" repeated Bellatrix, and a truly evil smile lit her gaunt face. "Why I have had the pleasure of meeting your parents, boy...."
"I DOE YOU HAB!" roared Neville, and he fought so hard against his captor's encircling grip that the Death Eater shouted "Someone stun him!"
"No, no, no," said Bellatrix. She looked transported, alive with excitement as she glanced at Harry, then back at Neville. "No, let's see how long Longbottom lasts before he cracks like his parents.... Unless Potter wants to give us the prophecy --"
"DON'D GIB ID DO DEM!" roared Neville, who seemed beside himself, kicking and writhing as Bellatrix drew nearer to him and his captor, her wand raised. "DON'D GIB ID DO DEM, HARRY!" (OP35)
To Harry: "Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?" she yelled. She had abandoned her baby voice now. "You need to mean them Potter! You need to really want to cause pain -- to enjoy it -- righteous anger won't hurt me for long -- I'll show you how it is done, shall I? I'll give you a lesson --" (OP36)
Only one couple were still battling, apparently unaware of the new arrival. Harry saw
Sirius duck Bellatrix's jet of red light: He was laughing at her. "Come
on, you can do better than that!" he yelled, his voice echoing around
the cavernous room.
The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest.
The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock. [....]
It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall. His body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backward through the ragged veil hanging from the arch....
And Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather's wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though a high wind and then fell back into place. (OP35)
See also: Black Family Tree
Bellatrix in the Movies
The role of Bellatrix in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was initially given to Helen McCrory (IMDb), but when she became pregnant the role was recast and given to Helena Bonham Carter (IMDb).
Primary editor: Lisa Waite Bunker.
Original artwork of Bellatrix in the style of Aubrey Beardsley ©2004 Red Scharlach, used with permission
Original artwork of Bellatrix ©2005 Makani, used with permission.
Original page date 1 January, 2001; Last page update June 25, 2012 SVA.