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Old February 22nd, 2013, 5:48 am
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BrianTung  Male.gif BrianTung is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

1. Bellatrix is often seen as the most fanatical of Voldemort's supporters. Why do you think it is that she has devoted her life and efforts so wholly to Voldemort? What influences in her family and life could have led to her becoming one of the most feared Death Eaters? Could she have any romantic feelings for Voldemort?

Voldemort's movement resonates with Bellatrix. She's a front-runner--i.e., a person who enjoys power, and who enjoys the machinations involved in retaining and expanding that power. (That perspective seems to be part and parcel of the Black family, to the point that family members have to explicitly break out of that mold.) Voldemort enables her to act out those impulses to the hilt.

Bellatrix does at times seem to have deeper feelings for Voldemort than simply allegiance, but I hesitate to call them "romantic." They seem more like straightfoward lust to me, but it's hard to say for sure.

2. What do you suppose leads Bellatrix to distrust Snape so, as seen in the HBP chapter 'Spinner's End'? Does this cast any doubts upon her complete trust in Voldemort? Does it speak of any prior relationship with Snape?

She distrusts him as much as anyone might, I think, but more than that, she is envious of his position as Voldemort's trusted lieutenant, a position she would dearly love to assume. She is therefore additionally motivated to suspect Snape, as any clear indication of his disloyalty would (so she thinks) advance her in Voldemort's esteem.

3. What kind of relationship do you think that Bellatrix had with her cousin, Sirius, for her to so easily battle against, and ultimately have a hand in killing him?

He was a traitor. He rejected the family House, and he rejected their notion of blood purity. It was not really her place to disown him, as such, but she considered him as having been removed from the family--note his eradication from the family tree--and probably thought even worse of him (because of the family name he essentially spat on) than she would a Muggle-born stranger. She therefore had no compunctions about bringing about his death.

4. Bellatrix is said to have been at school and joined forces with several other Death Eaters prior to Harry's parents being at Hogwarts. What factors do you see as contributing to the turning of Bellatrix and her peers to Voldemort, and how could they have gotten away with this in the middle of Hogwarts?

I don't think there is any mystery to her joining other Death Eaters (nor did it take substantial "turning"): It was a power play, plain and simple. Power beckons to Death Eaters. They think of that power as being their birthright, and so what they do is not cruel or evil or immoral, but simply natural. (Think of all that people have wrought in the real world in the name of "natural" power.)

And just as Bellatrix would have been swayed to see untrustworthiness in Snape even where it might not have been, so the school administration was likely to overlook an uncomfortable truth in their own student body until the countervailing evidence was overwhelming. We see this in many of the administration Wizards in the series--notably Fudge, who steadfastly ignored evidence of Voldemort's evidence until to continue was madness (and possibly even a little beyond).

5. Bellatrix seems to have a fondness for the Cruciatus curse. What do you think that this says about her personality and history?

She's cruel. She derives pleasure from inflicting pain and suffering. I'm not sure she's exactly psychopathic in the clinical sense, but it's in that direction. (It's worth noting that IANAD, and neither I suspect is Rowling.)

6. What do you think of her hatred of Tonks for marrying a werewolf?

She despises werewolves. They have their uses, but she does not think of them as being in the class of Wizards--certainly not of pure-blood Wizards. So she despises Tonks for descending to that level, above and beyond any hatred she has for Tonks being a Mudblood sympathizer.

7. Do you think Bellatrix could have been redeemed?

First in the list of requirements for redemption is a desire to be redeemed. I think Bellatrix is disqualified on those grounds, for the simple reason that I doubt she would think of herself as needing redemption. She thinks of herself simply as doing what best puts herself in the position to which she is "naturally" destined, on top of the Wizarding world with her dark prophet, Voldemort.


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