Bellatrix "Bella" Black Lestrange is a fictional character in the Harry Potter book series written by J. K. Rowling. She evolved from an unnamed periphery character in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire into a major antagonist in subsequent novels. Bellatrix was the first female Death Eater introduced in the series, and remained the only woman explicitly identified as such until Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Bellatrix's name has been translated into other languages in a variety of ways. Many of the changes accentuate the evil nature of her character, such as the Norwegian "Bellatrix DeMons" or Dutch "Bellatrix van Detta". In the novels, Bellatrix is described as a tall woman with coarse black hair, a thin mouth, dark, heavily lidded eyes, pale skin, and the Black family's patrician good looks and bearing.
Early life and family
Bellatrix Black was born to Cygnus and Druella (Rosier) Black. According to the family tapestry in the film version of Order of the Phoenix, she was born in 1951. Her given name translates exactly from Latin as the feminine form of the noun "warrior". Like many members of the Black family, Bellatrix is named after a star: Bellatrix, also known as Gamma Orionis, is one of the brightest stars in the constellation Orion.
Bellatrix is related by blood and marriage to many characters in the novels: she has two younger sisters, Andromeda and Narcissa (who calls her "Bella"). Andromeda married a Muggle-born, Ted Tonks, and was subsequently disowned by the Blacks; Narcissa married Lucius Malfoy, heir of a wealthy pure-blood family. She is also a first cousin to Sirius and Regulus Black, and an aunt to Nymphadora Tonks and Draco Malfoy. Bellatrix married Rodolphus Lestrange after leaving Hogwarts. It is implied that she has no children.
It is suggested that, as a student, Bellatrix associated with a group of students - including Snape, Avery, Rodolphus Lestrange, Evan Rosier and Wilkes - who nearly all became Death Eaters. It is assumed Bellatrix was at least initially drawn to Lord Voldemort because they both believe in an ideology that favors pure-bloods over other members of the wizarding community. This elitism, shared by the Malfoy and Lestrange clans, was instilled in Bellatrix since childhood. The Black family motto, "toujours pur" (French for "always pure"), reflects this steadfast belief in blood purity.
Death EaterBellatrix and her husband were active in Voldemort's rise to power, and managed to evade capture and suspicion until after the Dark Lord's downfall on October 31, 1981. Rather than desert their leader like many other Death Eaters, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, Rabastan, and Barty Crouch Jr tortured the well-known Aurors - Frank and Alice Longbottom - in an attempt to gain information about Voldemort's location. For using the Unforgivable Cruciatus Curse to torture the Longbottoms until they went insane, Bellatrix and her three associates were sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban. At their trial, Bellatrix proudly and defiantly proclaimed, "The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban; we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!" After his rebirthing ritual, Voldemort stated that the Lestranges were among the most faithful members of his inner circle. Fourteen years after his fall, Bellatrix was one of the many Death Eaters who escaped Azkaban and rejoined Voldemort in January 1996. Over the years, her good looks were reduced to a remnant of their former beauty, making her appear gaunt and skeletal in mug shots printed in The Daily Prophet.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Bellatrix was present at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, in which a group of Death Eaters attempted to steal Sybill Trelawney's prophecy pertaining to Voldemort's downfall. During the mission she proved her magical prowess by defeating two Aurors (her niece Nymphadora Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt) in one-on-one duels, killing her cousin Sirius by knocking him through the veil in the Death Chamber, and deflecting one of Albus Dumbledore's spells as she made her escape. Harry attempted to use the Cruciatus Curse on her in revenge for killing Sirius, but the curse was ineffective due to the justifiable actions behind it ("You need to mean them, Potter! Righteous anger won't hurt me for long."). Before she could do anymore, Bellatrix was joined by her master, who ignored her warning that Dumbledore was in the building. Bellatrix was subdued by Dumbledore in the Ministry of Magic's Atrium while dueling Voldemort. Voldemort interceded on Bellatrix's behalf, grabbing her and taking her with him as he Disapparated, though not before being glimpsed by Ministry officials.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Following Dumbledore's surmise of the Black family's inheritance tradition, as next of kin Bellatrix should have inherited her cousin Sirius' estate (including Number twelve, Grimmauld Place) after his death. However, Sirius willed his estate to his godson, Harry Potter. To make sure there would be no dispute over the legal ownership of Sirius's property (and prevent the Order of the Phoenix's headquarters from falling into enemy hands), Kreacher was brought before Harry to see if the house-elf would obey him. Despite Kreacher's intense hatred for Harry and fondness for Bellatrix, the magic that binds house-elves to servitude proved the legality of Harry's inheritance.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
In the seventh and final Harry Potter book, Bellatrix is revealed to be the guardian (though she is unaware of its true nature) of Helga Hufflepuff's cup, which Voldemort had entrusted to the Lestranges to keep in their Gringotts vault (a copy of Godric Gryffindor's sword was sent to this vault by Snape as well). Bellatrix and the Malfoys detain Harry, Ron, and Hermione Granger at Malfoy Manor, and Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix when she suspects the trio has broken into the Lestrange vault. Dobby intervenes and saves the prisoners, but not before being impaled by a knife thrown by Bellatrix. A stray hair of Bellatrix's left on Hermione's robes leads Harry, Ron and Hermione to disguise Hermione as Bellatrix and enter the Lestrange vault and steal the cup. Though Voldemort apparently scolds Bellatrix severely for interrupting his Elder Wand side quest only to have Potter escape, she nevertheless fights for Voldemort in the Second Battle of Hogwarts. There she duels Hermione, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley simultaneously, nearly hitting Ginny with a Killing Curse. An enraged Molly Weasley rushes out to fight Bellatrix herself, and as Bellatrix jeers Molly, she is hit in the chest by Molly's curse and falls over, echoing Sirius's final moments.
It has been suggested at several points in the narrative that Bellatrix is psychotic. For example, in the Department of Mysteries, she is described as having "mad eyes" and has a "fanatical glow" in her face; she loses all self-control whenever Harry "besmirches" the name of Voldemort. She is also a sadist, as she enjoys using the Cruciatus Curse on victims and delights in torture and pain. She despises simply killing her victims, instead delighting in "playing with her food before she eats it". In The Half-Blood Prince, she is described as "snarling," "passionate" and it is said that "in her fury she looked slightly mad." She also has a fierce and dangerous temper, a trait she shares with several members of her kin. The battle at the Ministry seemed to have affected her judgement, making her more paranoid. While pursuing her sister Narcissa she mistakes a fox for an Auror in disguise, only realizing it isn't when she has killed it. She also constantly suspects Snape of being Dumbledore's spy (which proves to be true in the end). She is easily distracted when riled (e.g. in the Department of Mysteries and dueling with Molly Weasley).
Bellatrix is fanatically devoted to Voldemort (who in turn uses her pet name, Bella). For example, she proudly boasts to Harry of having been personally taught the Dark Arts by Voldemort himself; she comments that, if she had sons, she would willingly give them into the service of the Dark Lord; and, most notably, she was willing to boast of her service to him even as she was being sentenced to Azkaban. She also splutters in her meeting with Snape at Spinner's End that "The Dark Lord has, in the past, entrusted me with his most precious-", though she never clarifies this further (presumably it was the Horcrux in her vault at Gringotts).
Despite Bellatrix's devotion Voldemort does not repay her the same level of love as she gives to him, as is shown when he brutally rebuffs her comfort in the final book after being floored by "killing" Harry Potter. Regardless, Voldemort values Bellatrix's service, as even Harry described her as being Voldemort's "last, best lieutenant".
Bellatrix is a very skilled duelist, managing to defeat Sirius Black and Nymphadora Tonks, and was also able to defeat and torture Neville's parents, who were esteemed Aurors, in the past. She was able to take on several Snatchers and a werewolf all at once, and is apparently adept at using normal weapons such as knives. It is also of note that when Dumbledore arrives at the Ministry to capture the Death Eaters, she is the only one to manage to deflect his spell.
I make a pretty good Bella