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Old July 18th, 2012, 3:55 pm
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
He regrets having trusted Bellatrix and Lucius with his Horcruxes because they had been stupid and reckless and lost them. He only blames himself for trusting them, he doesn't blame himself for the loss of the cup. By thinking about Lucius and Bellatrix in this manner he is actually putting Bellatrix's mistakes on par with Lucius's who also lost him one of his Horcruxes-- the diary. It surely would have seem like a strange coincidence to Voldemort than only a few days after the incident at Malfoy Manor, Harry and his friends break into Bellatrix's vault and steal the cup. He would have at least suspected a connection. Besides, we know from the book that Bellatrix had been punished along with the others so she was clearly blamed. The only question here is why she wasn't punished as harsh as Lucius was, why was Voldemort once again showing her mercy?
Voldemort was never going to acknowledge his own mistakes regarding the Horcruxes - at least not in terms of what those mistakes actually were. He decided his only mistake was in giving those objects to Lucius and Bellatrix. The actual mistake was that he did not trust them and didn't tell them what those objects actually were.

As I said before, the differences in those situations stands out in that Lucius was directly responsible for the diary being destroyed. He chose to go through with Voldemort's plan to put the diary into the hands of a student without Voldemort giving him permission. He personally put the diary into Ginny Weasley's cauldron with her other books. He chose Ginny as a means to carry out his own personal vendetta against Arthur Weasley - intending for Ginny to get caught and blamed for attacking muggleborns so he could use that to prevent Arthur's Muggle Protection Act from being passed. His actions led to Harry becoming involved and the diary being discovered and subsequently destroyed.

Bellatrix did not do anything directly. She didn't even mention the cup. Harry only figured it out because he already knew about the Horcruxes and he got lucky in that Griphook was one of the captives and was grateful to Harry for helping all of them escape instead of just himself, Ron, and Hermione - which is who Dobby showed up to rescue initially. Bellatrix also made the effort to prevent anyone from getting into her vault by contacting Gringotts to alert them that her wand had been stolen and give them special instructions regarding her vault. Bellatrix was nowhere near as reckless with the cup as Lucius had been with the diary.

As far as we're shown, Voldemort never knew that Bellatrix had delayed summoning him or that she had mentioned her vault to Harry. His confusion as to how Harry could possibly have known about any of his Horcruxes or the locations they were hidden in was shown directly on page. He did not blame Bellatrix for that. He concluded that Dumbledore must have figured it out and told Harry.

Likewise, Voldemort did show Lucius mercy at first in regards to the diary. He was furious to learn that it had been destroyed, but Lucius remained a favorite at that point and was still put in charge of the mission at the DoM to acquire the prophecy. It was the combination of Lucius' failures that resulted in him being on Voldemort's black list. The diary being destroyed was initially forgiven. His additional failure at the DoM is what actually dropped his status - though even there, Voldemort was still willing to forgive everything if Draco had actually managed to succeed in killing Dumbledore. Draco's failure only added to it. From what we're shown, Harry's escape was blamed entirely on Lucius as well. Voldemort did not show any special treatment to Bellatrix there - he showed her the same mercy he had shown Lucius for his initial mistake, IMO.

I don't remember that one so I can't really comment here.
The trio overheard Griphook telling Ted Tonks that the sword in Bellatrix's vault was a fake while they were camping. Letting Bellatrix believe it was the real sword was his means of revenge because he didn't like how Voldemort was trying to gain control at Gringotts - which is why the chapter was titled "The Goblin's Revenge".

He was shown leniency because he had a good reason for being late, IMO.
Avery had good reason for believing that Bode would be able to retrieve the prophecy as well, but that did not lead to Voldemort showing him any leniency for being wrong. Snape was shown leniency before Voldemort even knew he had a good reason by being allowed the opportunity to explain why he was late rather than being punished immediately upon his arrival from what we're shown. He would not have been given that chance if he had not been one of Voldemort's favorites, IMO.

Voldemort actually implies to Bellatrix that she will get tortured and isn't exactly thrilled with her performance that night when he shows up to kill Harry. Bellatrix is scared when she finds out the Prophecy had been smashed and begs Voldemort not to punish her knowing she has failed him. I can understand Voldemort holding Lucius responsible more than any of his other DEs but I can't imagine him not blaming Bellatrix at all. She was there, she could have done something to complete the mission she had been given. She failed to do so. I believe this is why Snape also mentions the fiasco at the Ministry to Bellatrix-- he knows which buttons to push and knows Voldemort wasn't happy with Bellatrix for that.
Of course Bellatrix was scared - she was worried that she had displeased her Master after all. It's rather interesting that Bellatrix behaves towards Voldemort a lot like Dobby did regarding the Malfoys in such situations, IMO. Voldemort was angry when he arrived and had not fully assessed the situation. All he was certain of in that moment was that the prophecy had been destroyed so he could not hear its full contents. He did not threaten Bellatrix with torture - he merely said he would deal with her in a moment. He also ignored her attempt to warn him that Dumbledore was there - which would also be a factor in him realizing Bellatrix had not failed him, IMO.

Of course, Bellatrix would likely have interpreted that to mean that Voldemort was going to punish her, but that would be due to her considering Voldemort her superior, IMO. She felt that she had failed in her duties as his most loyal servant from what we're shown. However, Voldemort did not seem to think that she had failed him at all. He had no reason to think that once he learned that Dumbledore was there. Lucius had directly failed him again - not just in failing to deal with a group of teenagers adequately, but also in being responsible for the prophecy being destroyed in that he was the one trying to get it from Harry when that happened.

Bellatrix was dueling Sirius and managed to kill him and then escape capture by Dumbledore - with Harry following her out. She continued to attempt to get the prophecy from Harry once they were well away from Dumbledore - not knowing that it had been destroyed. That's where Voldemort came in - hearing Harry tell Bellatrix that it had been destroyed and Bellatrix calling him a liar. It was Voldemort who confirmed to Bellatrix that Harry was telling the truth. After dueling with Dumbledore, Voldemort takes Bellatrix and leaves - at which point he would have realized that it was not Bellatrix who failed in that mission, IMO.

Oh, I'm sure she was a favorite. The question is what for
Her unshakable loyalty as well as her brutality and vicious nature would be why Voldemort considered her a favorite, IMO.

I think she was embarassed over Tonks's marriage because her family would no longer be pure enough or good enough for Voldemort. That is what the passage suggests to me. Voldemort offers Bellatrix an opportunity to fix that and she takes it.
I would agree that Bellatrix was only concerned with Voldemort's opinion there and that the only reason she wanted to kill Tonks was because Voldemort told her to. That is what we are shown in that passage, IMO.

She was certainly nagging Narcissa but she didn't exactly put her foot down in any way. She still went along with Narcissa and stood there in Snape's house looking upset but she didn't even wanted to waste time questioning Snape until he let her vent her suspicions.
Actually, she was continually trying to stop Narcissa up to the moment that Snape revealed that he knew about the plan. She even interrupted Narcissa and told her that she ought to hold her tongue to try to prevent her from speaking of the plan. Once it had been revealed that Snape knew about the plan, she had no valid reason to protest because Narcissa was not betraying Voldemort by discussing the plan with Snape since Voldemort himself had not only told him about it, but also made him part of it. That was the only reason Bellatrix stopped protesting and allowed Narcissa to continue from what we're shown.

It didn't go against his orders from Voldemort but we're still talking about three DEs taking initiative and plotting behind Voldemort's back. I don't think that would be viewed in an accepting manner by Voldemort. Narcissa wanted to protect Draco, Voldemort certainly didn't want anyone to protect Draco. If he did he would have given him Snape as his mentor. He only meant for Snape to take over once Draco failed, not aid Draco in his quest.
There is no indication that Voldemort did not want anyone to protect Draco actually. Voldemort expected Draco to fail and certainly would have considered that a punishment for Lucius. However, he was also prepared to forgive everything if Draco actually did succeed - and he himself provided protection for Draco by allowing several of his Death Eaters to go to Hogwarts when Draco contacted him after he had repaired the Vanishing Cabinety - which would enable them to get inside the castle. Likewise, he had Snape in place as Draco's backup. Primarily, Snape was supposed to follow through if Draco failed, but he was not forbidden from helping Draco to succeed either. The overall goal was to kill Dumbledore - I doubt Voldemort really cared how that occurred as long as the mission was a success. The only thing Voldemort was adamant about was that Draco make the attempt before Snape intervened.

Narcissa was not plotting against Voldemort at all - none of them were. If that had been Narcissa's intention, she would have gone to the Order or Dumbledore himself to warn him and ask him to show Draco mercy. She went to Snape because she was loyal and wanted the plan to succeed. She simply wanted to ensure her son's safety as well. She was only forbidden to reveal the plan to anyone who didn't know about it. Discussing it with Snape and asking him to help Draco did not go against Voldemort's orders at all. Bellatrix had no reason to protest anything Narcissa did that night once it had been revealed that Snape knew about the plan and was part of it.

I think he meant Draco to die. This is what Narcissa also suspects and Snape confirms it, which is when Bellatrix makes her lovely comment about how Narcissa should be proud of sacrificing Draco. If Draco hadn't been put in harm's way then there would have been no reason for Narcissa to be there asking for Snape's protection. If Voldemort never intended Draco to die, then he could have ensured Snape's protection of him himself.
Actually, what Snape confirmed was that he thought Voldemort intended that to be a punishment - slow torture for Draco and his parents. Snape never said that Voldemort intended Draco to be killed. And he knew that Dumbledore would never have actually killed Draco. Voldemort would have known that as well. Worst case scenario was that Draco might get sent to Azkaban. Narcissa thought Dumbledore would kill Draco in the attempt because she knew Draco was no match for Dumbledore. Snape couldn't tell her that Dumbledore would never do that without giving himself away - and after he had so cleverly argued his loyalty to Bellatrix only moments before, it would have been foolish for him to risk that, IMO.

The reality was that Voldemort didn't really care one way or the other. He expected Draco to fail for the same reason Narcissa did - Draco was no match for Dumbledore. However, he was also prepared to reward Draco if he actually did succeed - which Snape also confirmed. As it happened, Draco did fail and Voldemort did not kill him - which proves in and of itself that he never intended to kill Draco, IMO.

None of the Death Eaters were invincible or even nearly as powerful as Voldemort had been. Arresting them would not have been very difficult for the Auror especially since they had that fanatic Crouch in charge, allowing them to use the Dark Arts. Also, Voldemort did not manage to infiltrate or gain control of the Ministry during the first war, as Rowling confirmed.
Actually, Voldemort did manage to infiltrate the Ministry during the first war. He had not yet gained control of it, but he had several people on the inside - including Rookwood. And Voldemort himself was not entirely invincible - as his failure to kill Harry demonstrated. The majority of the Death Eaters believed he had been killed so it does not appear they believed him to be invincible at that time. They considered him the most powerful.

Regardless, if someone actually believes in a cause and genuinely wants to enact change, they will continue to fight for it in my experience. The fact that the majority of the Death Eaters literally just gave up and focused on themselves the minute Voldemort disappeared demonstrates that they didn't really care about the cause, but rather were simply going along with Voldemort because they enjoyed being able to torture and kill people under his protection, IMO. And even the four Death Eaters who didn't just give up - which included Bellatrix - were not fighting for a cause - they were only trying to find Voldemort from what we're shown.

That might be but that doesn't mean Dumbledore saw himself as Grindelwald's servant. On the contrary I would say. He believed they were kindred spirits, working towards the same goal, both brilliant and powerful. This is what Bellatrix also believed in her and Voldemort's case, according to the comparison Rowling made.
No, Dumbledore did not see himself as Grindelwald's servant. On the contrary, he actually considered himself slightly more skilled than Grindelwald overall. That was the difference between Dumbledore and Bellatrix. Dumbledore saw himself and Grindelwald as equals - with himself slightly more skilled. From what we're shown, Bellatrix saw Voldemort as her superior - her Master - and only considered herself a servant to him. There is nothing presented in the text that would demonstrate Bellatrix ever considered herself to be Voldemort's equal, IMO.

She expected Voldemort to come back, yes. I don't see that as wanting his protection. Bellatrix never struck me as someone in need of protection actually. And I think you are seeing yourself as someone's equal if you fantasize about being romantically involved with that person and readily believe they share everything with you. Bellatrix never shows any modesty when Voldemort's attitude towards her is discussed. She always believes Voldemort considers her the greatest thing since pumpkin pie
Bellatrix expected Voldemort to come back and rescue her from Azkaban - she said that herself. He would come back and free them. She expected him to give her a reward for her loyalty - for proving what a good servant she was. Being physically attracted to Voldemort does not change that at all. Bellatrix wasn't looking for a romantic relationship with Voldemort in any capacity from what we're shown. She married another man in spite of her obsessive love for Voldemort simply because Rodolphus was a pure-blood and Voldemort was not and her family wanted her to marry a pure-blood. At best, she would have had an extramarital affair with Voldemort - not a romantic relationship based on mutual love and respect. Voldemort was not capable of love so that wouldn't have been possible and he didn't genuinely respect any of the Death Eaters because they were all so willing to subjugate themselves to him completely. I don't think Bellatrix ever thought about it in those terms. From what we're shown, Bellatrix always considered Voldemort her superior - her Master in every way.

Voldemort forgiving would mean Draco is safe which is what I believe Narcissa's main priority was. I don't think she was interested in anything besides that though I'm sure Lucius would have liked to get his power back.
It was actually Narcissa who summoned Draco to confirm Harry's identity. Likewise, it was Narcissa who recognized Hermione from their encounter at Madame Malkin's the previous year - and was excited because that made it likely that was Harry Potter and she also believed that Voldemort would forgive everything if they captured him and turned him over to Voldemort.

Draco's safety was certainly a priority for Narcissa, but it was pretty obvious that was no longer a concern at the beginning of DH. Voldemort did not kill him for his failure. At that point, the primary goal was to regain their position - the power and affluence they had previously enjoyed. Narcissa was shown to have that goal as well. She did not deviate from that until the final battle - when it became obvious that Voldemort was going to lose. At that point, she just wanted to find Draco and get out of there and she realized their only chance to avoid Azkaban with Voldemort losing was to find a way to get leniency, IMO.

Yes, because as I said she was arrogant enough to believe Voldemort saw her as more than just a servant and valued her above all others. To clarify, I agree with Bellatrix here but I still think she is arrogant for believing this, if that makes sense.
There is no indication in the text that Bellatrix ever believed that Voldemort saw her as anything more than his most loyal servant. Believing that he valued her above his other servants is not the same thing as seeing herself as his equal. From what we're shown, Bellatrix considered Voldemort her superior - her Master.

Hmm, I'm not sure Bellatrix knew that and I don't see how we were shown that she did. I think she worshipped Voldemort and wanted to get into his bed but I see that as her being presumptuous instead of humble.
I wouldn't say that was humble. Bellatrix would certainly have considered it an honor, but that would primarily be due to the fact that she considered Voldemort her superior so any attention from him was an honor. If he patted her on the shoulder, she'd probably weep with gratitude from what we're shown. As I said before, there is nothing in the text that would indicate Bellatrix ever considered herself Voldemort's equal. From what we're shown, she always considered Voldemort her superior - her Master.

She backs down when she is done questioning Snape and receiving semi satisfying answers. She doesn't fully trust him but she cannot find any flaw with what he had just told. She is therefore forced to accept that Snape's arguments make sense. We are shown that she as a Death Eater is buying Snape's story and this is a way for the author to convey to us that Snape plays his part well and manages to infiltrate the Death Eaters (plus, his answers are so convicing that it makes fans doubt where they have him). If Snape's answers had holes in it Bellatrix would continue to interogate him. He puts all her worries to rest.
Not exactly - it is stated on page that Bellatrix only stopped arguing because she couldn't think of another argument. It was made clear that she did not really believe Snape and she did not think any of his actions made any sense at all, but could not argue against it without calling Voldemort's judgement and decisions into question because Snape had made an iron clad case that he had followed Voldemort's orders.

That was the crux of the issue really. Bellatrix was not questioning Snape - she had already decided that he was not trustworthy and nothing Snape said changed that. Bellatrix was actually questioning Voldemort's judgement and decisions regarding Snape - she just didn't want to admit that and tried to frame her arguments around Snape's actions to avoid making any direct criticism against Voldemort. Snape shut her down by forcing her to acknowledge that everything he had done had either followed Voldemort's order or been what Voldemort wanted him to do - Bellatrix couldn't argue against that without openly criticizing her Master so she dropped it. She subjugated herself to Voldemort's judgement completely in spite of the fact that her every instinct told her that Snape could not be trusted - which only made it more ironic that she was right, IMO.

What do you mean for herself though? Should she have been proud of getting captured? She was proud of being Voldemort's servant and in his favor when he would return. Voldemort did not order her to go to Azkaban, that had nothing to do with him. She was standing her ground and ensuring Voldemort would reward her when he got back.
That had everything to do with Voldemort actually. She was captured in her efforts to find Voldemort to restore him to power. She willingly and proudly went to Azkaban because she felt that proved her to be his most loyal servant. She expected Voldemort to reward her for being his most loyal servant when he returned and rescued her from Azkaban. Bellatrix did not do any of that for herself - it was entirely about Voldemort from what we're shown.

Like I said, I won't deny she was his servant and that she did try to avoid his anger and gain his favor. That is very clear from the books. However, I think she did do things on her own terms, chose how to act in certain situations in order to get what she wanted. Whether what she wanted was to be Voldemort's servant or lover or whatever is irrelevant, IMO. She had a goal and she pursued it.
The thing is, Bellatrix was never shown to be doing anything on her terms - she was always acting on Voldemort's terms. It was never about what she wanted - it was always about what she thought Voldemort wanted. That was her only goal from what we're shown - to do exactly what Voldemort wanted and prove herself to be his most loyal servant.

Because that would, as she says, possibly lead to her death, or all of their deaths. That wasn't about Voldemort's happiness so much so as it was about Bellatrix's safety. I don't think Voldemort wanted his minions to lie to him and hide their failures. He gave strict orders that he should be summoned if Harry is caught. Bellatrix knows this and thinks aloud assessing the situation. She knows Voldemort should be called but does what she wants instead, in order to cover up her own mistake and ensure her safety.
That was entirely about what Voldemort wanted - her safety was only in question because she thought there might be a possibility that she had failed him. Bellatrix was acting in what she thought was Voldemort's best interest because he had given the cup to her to protect. If she had failed, he would be angry with her because she let him down. She fully intended to summon Voldemort once she had ascertained that his property remained safe.

That's the type of thinking we see from the majority of the Death Eaters. They all try to figure out what Voldemort wants and act accordingly. It's always about what they think Voldemort wants and how they expect him to react. Bellatrix was no exception to that from what we're shown.

But she didn't know Harry would follow her. She acts surprised when he does as she has made no attempts to lure him away from the others and get the Prophecy. She suddenly remembers the Prophecy when Harry is there attacking her but she had shown no consideration for it when she decided to bolt.
She knew that Harry was following her though. She was not surprised to see him at all. Once she got to the safety of the atrium, she turned and confronted him. She knew exactly why he had followed her and tried to use that to her advantage because she thought he still had the prophecy.

That's what Voldemort saw when he arrived - Harry revealing the prophecy had been destroyed and Bellatrix calling him a liar as she diligently tried to get it from him. He was angry that the prophecy had been destroyed, but Bellatrix was not responsible for that - Voldemort got that from Harry. She also tried to warn him about Dumbledore. By the time it was over, Voldemort was left with the knowledge that Bellatrix had escaped Dumbledore, continued to attempt to get the prophecy, and put his safety above her own by sticking around to try to warn him that Dumbledore was there. She proved herself to be very loyal there and he had no reason to be disappointed in her when it was all said and done. Lucius was blamed for the failure to get the prophecy from what we're shown.

All DEs want Voldemort to consider them useful servants, to rely on them and keep them close. They are also insulted if anyone suggests they are not close to Voldemort or have not served Voldemort well. Bellatrix is no different in this regard. Like her fellow DEs she wants power and sees Voldemort as a means to that power. Unlike her fellow DEs she also genuinly likes Voldemort which makes her more loyal to him than the rest of them. I don't see any of this as Bellatrix not wanting be anything more than a servant. In fact I think the books show that she did want more than that. Just like Barty Crouch Jr who also thought being useful to Voldemort would bring them close in a father-son relationship. Barty saw a father in Voldemort while Bellatrix saw a lover and her equivalent. Both Death Eaters believed loyalty was the way to Voldemort's heart, as cheesy as that sounds.
I would still disagree with that. Wanting Voldemort to see them as the most valuable servant does not make them any less servants to him. Crouch Jr. was no different than Bellatrix in that regard - and both were referred to as being the most loyal of his servants. I didn't count Crouch Jr. among the favorites before because he was basically gone after what happened in GOF, but I should have - he was certainly a favorite.

Regardless, it is still a very submissive and passive attitude demonstrated by all of the Death Eaters - including Bellatrix, IMO. They were not seeking power in their own right from what we're shown. They were willing to accept power in terms of being Voldemort's servants - always seeing him as their superior - their Master in every capacity. Bellatrix was no exception to that. There was nothing presented in the text that would indicate that she ever saw herself as Voldemort's equal or that she wanted anything more than to be his most loyal servant. Bellatrix had no goals or aspirations of her own - everything she thought and did was entirely wrapped up in what she thought Voldemort wanted. She was only interested in Voldemort's goals and aspirations from what we're shown. Bellatrix was shown to be completely submissive to Voldemort - to have always viewed Voldemort as her superior - to have always considered him her Master.

I have no problem imagining Bellatrix as her own individual actually, more so than many other female characters who are only presented as being someone's wives, mothers or girlfriends. Bellatrix was Voldemort's servant and his sidekick but that doesn't mean she doesn't have her own goals. For such a secondary character we know quite a lot about her dreams, ambitions and aspirations, more than about Minerva's for example. I think this comes across very clear when Rowling's talks about her as well. It's always about how she views Voldemort, how prejudiced she is, her relationship with her sister, etc. It's irrelevant what Voldemort thinks about her, it is her thoughts and feelings which matter, which develop her character. I think she very much has her own identity and her own goals so in this sense she isn't passive. I don't think she was defined by Voldemort either since she made her own choices in regard to him and followed her own lust and hunger for power. That is what defined her. Voldemort doesn't matter, he is only an object onto which those desires are projected.
There is nothing in the text that would present Bellatrix as her own individual, IMO. We know nothing about Bellatrix's dreams, ambitions, or aspirations because she only parrots Voldemort's dreams, ambitions, and aspirations - it was entirely about Voldemort for her and there was nothing presented to separate her from his goals. Bellatrix's thoughts and feelings do not matter to her - she is only concerned about what Voldemort thinks and feels. Her character is developed as a subservient extension to Voldemort, IMO. She does nothing on her own terms - she always acts on Voldemort's terms. Her every thought and action is completely dictated by what she thinks Voldemort would want. That is what I got from Jo discussing how Bellatrix was completely submissive to Voldemort as well - I fully agree with that because that is exactly what was presented in the books, IMO. Bellatrix was never presented as an independent individual. She was presented as completely submissive to a man she considered her superior in every capacity - her Lord and Master. Bellatrix had no identity outside of being Voldemort's most loyal servant from what we're shown.


Reform must come from within, not from without. ~ James Cardinal Gibbons

"So, if people want information on my characters, then they have to accept that I'm going to give them the information on the characters. And if they don't like it, that's the nature of fiction. You have to accept someone else's world because they made that world, so they probably know a little better than you do what goes on there." ~ J.K. Rowling

All posts are my opinions and interpretations based on reading the Harry Potter books and interviews with J.K. Rowling.

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