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Today’s profile: Bellatrix Lestrange
Bellatrix was born in 1951 to Cygnus Black III and Druella Black (née Rosier) both from Pure Blood families. She was the elder sister of Andromeda and Narcissa Black. When her family disowned her sister Andromeda for marrying a Muggle-born wizard, Ted Tonks, Bellatrix was quick to cut all relations with her.
She also held her cousin Sirius Black in contempt for being a “blood traitor” openly defending Muggles and Muggle-borns in front of his family. It was clear that she held her views on blood supremacy over family ties and relations.
Bellatrix attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a member of the Slytherin House.
“Snape… was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters. Rosier and Wilkes — they were both killed by Aurors the year before Voldemort fell. The Lestranges — they’re a married couple — they’re in Azkaban.”
After graduation, she married Rodolphus Lestrange, a fellow wealthy pure-blood and Slytherin. They married out of obligation to their Pure-blood families, but later worked well together in their service to You-Know-Who.
The First Wizarding War
With aligning views on Pure-Blood Supremacy, both Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange joined You-Know-Who’s army and became Death Eaters. Not only did they fight alongside You-Know-Who, but remained loyal to him throughout the wizarding war and even after he was defeated by Harry Potter.
After the Dark Lord’s fall on 31 October, 1981, the Ministry began rounding up and arresting all suspected Death Eaters. A small group of followers, including Bellatrix, managed to avoid capture or execution by Aurors.
“If I had sons, I would be glad to give them up to the service of the Dark Lord”
Bellatrix Lestrange, Pottermore
In an attempt to find and revive their master, the group kidnapped Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members Alice and Frank Longbottom. Bellatrix and her partners used the Cruciatus Curse to torture Alice and Frank for information on Voldemort’s whereabouts. The two Aurors refused to divulge any information. The repeated use of this Unforgivable Curse eventually drove both Aurors to insanity.
After the disappearance of You-Know-Who and with Aurors rounding up Death Eaters everywhere, the general public was beginning to feel safe. That was probably one of the main reasons this crime caused such an uproar that the Ministry was critically pressured to find the culprits.
Soon after the crime, Barty Crouch Jr, Rodolphus Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange and Bellatrix Lestrange were captured.
Between the Wars
After the fall of You-Know-Who, Bellatrix stood trial for her crimes. Unlike many other Death Eaters, she did not lie about her loyalty — she proudly claimed that she was loyal to Voldemort and that she would wait for his return.
“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!”
The Council of Magical Law sentenced Bellatrix and her cohorts to life imprisonment in Azkaban with no chance of release. She would spend the next fifteen years in a maximum security cell until her escape. Her time in Azkaban took a toll on her already unstable mentality, as well as hollowing out her appearance until only the faintest traces of her familial beauty remained.
The Second Wizarding War
When Voldemort returned to power in June 1995, he lauded Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange as faithful members of his inner circle. He believed they should be rewarded, as they did not denounce him after they were captured and tried. Although he probably used their example as a way to instill fear in those who had denounced him, he did order his Death Eaters to break them out of Azkaban.
Escape From Azkaban
In January 1996, a mass breakout from Azkaban set ten long-imprisoned Death Eaters loose, including Bellatrix. She immediately rejoined You-Know-Who, as well as the Dementors whom Dumbledore correctly predicted would that had sided with Voldemort.
These ten escapees were some of the most dangerous and highly guarded convicts, their crimes brutal and legendary. As a result, Bellatrix and her allies became wanted witches and wizards. They lived in hiding to avoid being captured by the Ministry.
It was during this time that Bellatrix became pregnant and gave birth to Delphini. The father of her child was You-Know-Who. Their daughter’s existence remained a secret for decades.
The Department of Mysteries
Later that same year, Bellatrix took part in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries as a member of a Death Eater task force led by Lucius Malfoy. Their goal was to steal a prophecy regarding Harry Potter and the Dark Lord.
“Let him watch while we torture the little girl. I’ll do it.”
Once the Death Eaters arrived at the Department of Mysteries, they encountered several members of the DA (Dumbledore’s Army), including Harry Potter. Bellatrix’s lack of control over her temper led her to attack the DA members and endanger the Prophecy Sphere.
When the Order of the Phoenix members arrived, Bellatrix duelled and defeated several of them, including her cousin Sirius Black, whom she killed. She soon realised, however, that the Order of the Phoenix would eventually defeat them, so she decided to flee. Although she was the only Death Eater to evade capture, she failed to retrieve the Prophecy for her Master. The Orb was destroyed during the battle.
The Golden Trio
In March 1998, a group of Snatchers captured Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, and brought the trio to Malfoy Manor, the current Death Eaters’ Headquarters.
She couldn’t recognise Harry because of a Stinging Hex Hermione had placed on them to disguise their identities. Despite that, she decided to take Hermione away for interrogation. Bellatrix brutally tortured her with the Cruciatus Curse in an attempt to find out how they came to possess Gryffindor’s sword. Even in extreme pain Hermione managed to lie, assuring her the sword was a fake.
“You’re lying, you filthy Mudblood, and I know it! You have been inside my vault at Gringotts! Tell the truth, tell the truth! What else did you take? What else have you got? Tell me the truth or, I swear, I shall run you through with this knife! What else did you take, what else? ANSWER ME! CRUCIO!”
While Bellatrix tortured Hermione, Ron and Harry managed to get loose and came to her rescue. With the help of Dobby, they managed to escape from the manor, although Dobby died as a result of the fight.
The Battle of Hogwarts
During the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998, Bellatrix murdered her niece, Nymphadora Tonks among many other Order Members.
When You-Know-Who called a temporary retreat, waiting for Harry Potter to turn himself in, Bellatrix waited by his side. She also stood alongside him as he announced Harry Potter’s death. Bellatrix in particular gloated at the survivors’ despair.
But Harry Potter wasn’t dead, and soon reinforcements for the Order of the Phoenix began to arrive.
As the battle resumed, Bellatrix fought Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood all at once, having become the last Death Eater standing. Despite all three young witches being skilled duellers, they did not equal Bellatrix’s magical abilities even when working together. Bellatrix had more duelling experience and a wider arsenal of spells that the three girls combined.
During the fight, a laughing Bellatrix cast a Killing Curse at Ginny, which narrowly missed its mark by an inch. This enraged Molly Weasley enough to charge forward.
A formidable adversary
Bellatrix’s laughter quickly turned to rage as Molly attacked. She quickly realised her opponent was more formidable then she had anticipated. The two began to duel,their power so intense it caused the ground beneath them to become hot and cracked due to their intent to finish the other off once and for all.
Despite this, Bellatrix continued to laugh and mock her opponent with sadistic glee, eventually providing an opening for Molly to strike her in the chest with a curse which proved fatal. As her body toppled to the ground, an outraged Voldemort turned on Molly.
This prompted Harry, who had watched the battle unfold beneath his Invisibility Cloak, to reveal himself, and the final showdown between him and Voldemort ensued. Bellatrix did not live to find out that her mistrust of Snape had been valid, and she did not live to see her master’s final defeat moments later.
“Molly’s curse soared beneath Bellatrix’s outstretched arm and hit her squarely in the chest, directly over her heart. Bellatrix’s gloating smile froze, her eyes seemed to bulge: for the tiniest space of time she knew what had happened, and then she toppled, and the watching crowd roared, and Voldemort screamed.”