Saying that Bellatrix Lestrange is one the most notorious villains in the Harry Potter franchise is the understatement of the century. As one of the most evil witches in wizarding history, she is the personification of what a villain is on film and in novels. Many of the most wicked acts in this series were perpetrated by Bellatrix, and she is known to induce nightmares in frightened viewers. Other than Voldemort himself, there isn't anyone more dangerous on the evil side of the Harry Potter universe.
There is no denying how evil Bellatrix is, however that does not mean there are not misconceptions about her. Like every great villain, she is not black and white. There are many things about Bellatrix that the average Potter fan does not know, and many things that movie-only fans get wrong. It is difficult to paint someone like Bellatrix with a two-dimensional brush as she is very complicated. While very few people would confuse her with a good person, there are things that need to be known before she can be fully understood.
As evil as Bellatrix is, she is still a person who has a lot going on underneath the surface. To fully understand her, both her past and present need to be analyzed, and each of her actions need to be looked at objectively. The only question is - who is brave enough to dive in and learn more about her?
For only the bravest witches and wizards, here are 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Bellatrix Lestrange.
20 She Is Not "Crazy"
It would be easy to point the finger at Bellatrix and say that she is the craziest witch in the Harry Potter universe. She has given more than enough reasons for everyone to think so. However, what makes her even more dangerous is that she knew exactly what she was doing the entire time.
When Voldemort employed Bellatrix as his right-hand woman, he made an excellent choice. Bellatrix fully believes Voldemort's ideologies, and will do anything to ensure that his vision is carried out. She has done some unspeakable things, but it cannot be blamed on mental illness. She willingly participated in these acts, and would do it again if given the opportunity. Bellatrix did not need an excuse; she would have followed Voldemort through anything.
19 She Is No Longer Beautiful
While Bellatrix Lestrange is played by the beautiful Helena Bonham Carter in the Harry Potter universe, her novel counterpart is not described as good-looking. In fact, her withered features were even described as "ghastly" by Potter's group.
During her fifteen year stint in Azkaban, Bellatrix had an understandably difficult time. Due to the severity of her crimes, she was kept in solitary confinement for her prison sentence, which began to take its toll on her features. As a woman from a wealthy family, she had always been well-fed and taken care of. However, prison time is very different and she began to wither away and lose her once beautiful features. Though Carter sported some fake teeth and wild hair in the films, it didn't quite match up with her descriptions from the book.
18 She's Almost as good in battle as Voldemort
Voldemort's group of Death Eaters have often been compared to Stormtroopers from Star Wars - they look menacing but have very poor aim. In fact, each time that Harry Potter and his group come face-to-face with Voldemort's followers, they are able to either escape or defeat them. However, Bellatrix Lestrange is certainly one of the few who can stand out from this group.
While Death Eaters like Macnair and Dolohov are defeated by Potter, Bellatrix has much more magical strength than people give her credit for. Not only does she not back down from a fight, but she can hold her own. In fact, her magical powers may put her on nearly the same level as Voldemort. During the battle at the Ministry of Magic in Order of the Phoenix, Bellatrix is faced with Dumbledore's intense power. However, she is able to deflect one of his spells and escape. Only a truly strong witch would have been able to do so.
17 She didn't use Avada Kedavra On Sirius
This visual of Bellatrix taking out Sirius Black during the Order of the Phoenix is truly heartbreaking. Whether a fan read it in the book or saw it in the films, it was a very difficult moment to process. However, the two different mediums treated the tragedy very differently.
The movie universe featured Bellatrix casting Avada Kedavra at Sirius before he disappeared through the mysterious veil in the Death Chamber. However, the book does not name the spell that she uses. Furthermore, it is not accompanied by the flash of green that signifies the Unforgivable Curse. Since the book came before the film, it stands to reason that this how JK Rowling meant for it to be portrayed. Regardless of the method she used, it does not make the news of Sirius' passing easier to deal with.
16 She wasn't Actually Present For Dumbledore’s Demise
Speaking of the differences between films and books, Bellatrix's involvement in another depressing Harry Potter moment is also different based on the medium. During the plot to end Albus Dumbledore, the film depicts Bellatrix being present for his demise. She even furthers the situation by destroying the Great Hall at Hogwarts and setting Hagrid's hut on fire in celebration. The visual of her happily prancing through the grounds and casting the Dark Mark will not soon be forgotten, but it never occurred in the books.
The Half-Blood Prince book does not show Bellatrix present in the Astronomy Tower that night. Whether she was present or not, there are still legions of fans recovering from that night.
15 Her plans for Delphini
Fans familiar with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, they know that Bellatrix Lestrange had a daughter named Delphini. It was revealed that Delphini's father was none other than Lord Voldemort himself. It stands to reason that a daughter like this would wind up as one of the most evil people in the wizarding world. However, it seems that Bellatrix actually had other intentions.
While she did not have children with her husband Rodolphus, Bellatrix did say that if she had a son she "would gladly give them up to the service of the Dark Lord." Yet, she does not mention anything about if she had a daughter. It seems that Bellatrix may have had a soft spot for her daughter, and actually intended to hide her from the world of being a Death Eater.
14 She was one of the only female Death Eaters
Bellatrix may have become one of the most feared witches in the world, but her life was not without adversity. As they say, it's a man's world. Well, it also appears to be a wizard's world, as Bellatrix had to deal with the patriarchy in her evil cult.
Through all the ranks of Death Eaters, Bellatrix is only one of two females in Voldemort's party. For her and Alecto Carrow, there was likely a lot of sexism to work through on her way up the ranks of evil. Even her sister Narcissa, the sole female member of the infamous Death Eater family, the Malfoys, wasn't a full Death Eater. It would be a mistake to assume that Bellatrix did not have to deal with gender politics.
13 Voldemort wasn't the only one she loved
Bellatrix's love for Voldemort is on display each time fans see them together. She is constantly fawning over him, making it very clear that she has romantic feelings for him. It is also made very clear that Bellatrix's marriage to Rodolphus was only for show. However, it seems that Bellatrix was capable of loving others who were not Voldemort.
The Black family elf Kreacher did not have any love for many people other than his master. However, as hateful as she is to most people, Bellatrix was always very kind to Kreacher. In fact, Kreacher even kept a picture of Madame Lestrange by his bed because of how kind she was to him. It seems strange that Bellatrix would have been so kind to Kreacher, but she obviously made enough of an impression on him for him to believe there was love between them.
12 She purposely taught Harry about Unforgiveable curses
One of the often cited criticisms against Bellatrix is that she provided Harry with information he could have used to defeat her. During their battle at the Ministry of Magic, Bellatrix goaded Harry into performing an Unforgivable Curse on her. When his Cruciatus Curse did not cause her the pain he intended, she gives him the secret to performing it - he has to really mean it.
Fans say that giving Harry the key to causing her harm was a big mistake. However, Bellatrix is the type of foe who enjoys taunting her opponent. Giving Harry this information was calculated on her part since she knew he would not be able to do it. This was her way of flexing her muscles during the fight, as she always had the upper hand even after letting Harry in on the secret.
11 Her name's positive meaning
Most fans would consider calling Bellatrix beautiful to be an affront to humanity. Also, the "strange" part of her name seems to be typically on the nose, as is JK Rowling's habit when naming characters. However, the etymology behind her first name actually gives way to something beautiful.
The term Bellatrix comes from the constellation Orion, where Bellatrix is the third brightest star in the cluster. It also comes from the Greek term "female warrior." While her actions during the Wizarding War were anything but beautiful, this does describe her very well. Bellatrix is certainly a strong warrior, and also shines very brightly as a member of the Death Eaters.
10 Helena Bonham Carter Was Not The First Choice
It is very difficult to picture anyone else besides Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. The actress was very well-suited for this role and brought her to life as all Harry Potter fans had envisioned. However, it appears that if director David Yates originally had his way, she never would have appeared.
Prior to the Order of the Phoenix, Helen McCrory was cast as Bellatrix instead of Bonham Carter. However, when McCrory had to bow out due to pregnancy, the role was recast. While McCrory would eventually be cast as Narcissa Malfoy, most fans see this as a blessing due to how well Bonham Carter did with the role. It is very difficult to think that someone else almost took up the mantle as this character, but thankfully fans got Bonham Carter's portrayal.
9 She'd didn't Care About Voldemort’s Blood Status
As many Harry Potter fans are quick to point out, Voldemort's crusade towards a pure-blood world is hypocritical. Considering that Tom Riddle Sr. was a muggle, that means that Voldemort himself is only a half-blood. However, his resolve towards pure-blood status has made many people forget this fact, especially because he keeps it hidden. However, most fans have wondered whether or not Bellatrix knew about it.
It would be foolish to think that his second-in-command did not know this personal secret about him. While Bellatrix does hold strong ideals about blood status, she holds a love for Voldemort that is even deeper. If she is able to get past his snake-like features, she can make do with him being a half-blood.
8 She couldn't have been Snape's classmate
At one point, Bellatrix Lestrange was a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Given the wicked things she does in adulthood, it is difficult to picture her as a teenager. However, the book describes her as hanging around a group of Slytherins who would all eventually turn to the dark side, including Severus Snape. While it makes sense that they would be in the same social circle, the math does not add up.
Bellatrix was born in 1951, which means she started at Hogwarts in 1962. Meanwhile, Snape was only born in 1960, so he would have only started at Hogwarts long after Bellatrix had graduated. Given her proclivity for evil activity, Bellatrix does not seem like the type to hang around school after she was finished.
7 She's Actually A Very Capable Teacher
While most fans would consider learning Potions from Snape to be difficult, imagine what a class taught by Bellatrix Lestrange would be like. Learning from a Death Eater would not be an easy task, but it seems that Bellatrix is more of a capable teacher than most would think.
In order to execute Draco's plan to defeat Dumbledore, he must project his thoughts from being read. To execute this, Bellatrix teaches Draco Occlumency in order to keep his thoughts hidden. With skilled wizards throughout Hogwarts, this was not an easy task. Had it not been for Bellatrix's teaching methods, Draco would not have succeeded. She may have a bad reputation, but she is able to teach better than others.
6 She didn't mean to eliminate Sirius
Harry Potter fans can still hear Bellatrix's sing-song voice yelling that she ended Sirius' life, especially because of how proud she sounded. Any opportunity that she got, she would remind everyone about what she did. However, if fans look close enough they may detect a moment of humanity from Bellatrix Lestrange.
In the Order of the Phoenix, directly after she hits Sirius with Avada Kedavra, the camera focuses on Bellatrix closely. Right before her mouth curls in to a wicked smile, her face shows an emotion that fans would not expect - regret and surprise. Despite them being enemies, it seems that the gravity of the situation lands on her. She realizes that she just took out her cousin. It is just a flicker, but it is impossible to hide.
5 Her Wand Played A Part In Her Evil
Pinning down just what makes Bellatrix Lestrange evil would be nearly impossible. Due to a combination of her upbringing, family background and social circle, Bellatrix ended up among the Death Eaters. However, there is one additional aspect which cannot be ignored - Bellatrix's wand is predisposed to evil deeds.
Bellatrix's wand core is dragon heartstring, which is known in wandlore to be associated with darkness. Other dark wizards and witches also yield wands with this core. People like Peter Pettigrew, Lucius Malfoy, and Dolores Umbridge are all known to have wands like this. While good witches like Hermione have this as well, there are many more evil ones who possess it. While the wand core itself is not considered evil, it does seem to lean towards that side.
4 She Was Not The Only One Who Hurt Neville’s Parents
Unfortunately, the abuse of Frank and Alice Longbottom is among one of the most tragic events in the Harry Potter universe. Very fittingly, Bellatrix Lestrange was involved in it. While the blame is usually placed on her any time the incident is brought up, it is important to note that she did not act on her own.
Following Voldemort's downfall, his Death Eaters aimed to get more answers about the prophecy. In order to obtain it, Frank and Alice were tormented with the Cruciatus curse to the point of insanity. Bellatrix was certainly among the perpetrators, but she also acted alongside Barty Crouch Jr. and her husband Rodolphus. Having accomplices does not absolve her, and she was locked away in Azkaban for the crime. However, most fans forget that she did not do everything on her own.
3 She Is Not Supposed To Have Curly Hair
Helena Bonham Carter brought a lot to her portrayal of Bellatrix Lestrange. Not only did she finally give a face and voice to this Harry Potter villain, but she was able to put her own creative spin on some aspects of the character. While most elements aligned with JK Rowling's vision, there are some deviations from the source material.
Bellatrix is described in the novels as having long, thick, and straight black hair. However, Bonham Carter's depiction has wild, curly black hair which covers her face. Since this has been her only appearance on film, it is difficult to picture her otherwise.
2 She's Related To "Blood Traitors"
With so much dissent in the wizarding world, there was bound to be a difference of opinion even within families. Bellatrix's Black family tree is not as pure as she would have everyone think. Despite having a deep-seated hatred for anyone less than pureblood, Bellatrix has some blood traitors in her own family.
While much of the Black family maintains their hatred for those who are not pure-blood, there are some aspects of her own family tree that they would like to keep hidden. Bellatrix's sister Andromeda was among the first to settle down with a muggle, leading to her expulsion from the family. Furthermore, since the pure-blood family lines run so closely, this also makes Bellatrix a distant relative of the Weasley family. However, it is very unlikely that they ever exchanged Christmas cards.
1 Prefers Attacking Females
It may seem as though the only thing Bellatrix does not discriminate about is who she attacks during battle. However, while most Death Eaters do not hesitate to attack any opponent, Bellatrix appears to have a specific "type" that she enjoys engaging in battle, regardless of their blood status.
Throughout the course of the Harry Potter saga, Bellatrix is seen specifically targeting other strong female characters. Women like Ginny and Hermione are not safe from Bellatrix, as she seems to have it out for them. Perhaps she sees them as a greater threat than the males, but she seems to take pleasure in harming them. Ultimately, this is her undoing, as her attack on Ginny prompts Molly Weasley to attack her back. Every fan knows how that turns out for Bellatrix.
Are there any other common misconceptions about Bellatrix in Harry Potter? Make sure to let us know in the comments!