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Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis



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  #281  
Old July 9th, 2012, 1:11 am
SnapesBane  Undisclosed.gif SnapesBane is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
I prefer analysis of the text over assumptions. We can certainly speculate that Bellatrix overpowered Tonks and Kingsley, but we can't be certain because the text isn't clear about either due to the battle being so chaotic and Harry being focused on other things. Bellatrix didn't seem to consider those victories either so
the text clearly states it's a victory regarding Tonks. IO don't think this can be disputed at all.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, pg. 803, US EditionThey both ducked again. A jet of green light had narrowly missed Sirius; across the room Harry saw Tonks fall from halfway up the stone steps, her limp form toppling from stone seat to stone seat, and Bellatrix, triumphant, running back toward the fray.


This indicates that her body was limp before toppling down the stairs. She lost. She didn't fall down the stairs and then Bellatrix considers that a victory, in my opinion. She's incapacitated before falling.



Last edited by SnapesBane; July 9th, 2012 at 2:43 am.
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  #282  
Old July 9th, 2012, 2:49 am
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
But if Voldemort didn't keep it a secret then she would know about it. And if she knew about it there was no reason to feel angry about being left out or lied to.
My impression is that she was angry that Harry would assume Voldemort kept secrets or lied to her because she was so certain that he would not.

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I think there were some Order members, especially in the first Order, that were equal to them and could best them in a duel. I don't know how powerful Lucius was and Snape has always seemed to me more knowledgable than powerful. We know next to nothing about his duelling skills. I do think both Bellatrix and Snape have been presented as more skilled and powerful than most other characters, including some Order members.
Snape was actually really good at dueling - we see that in HBP and DH. We don't know much about Lucius outside of Voldemort putting him in the top three. My impression is that - for Voldemort - the order was Snape, Bellatrix, and then Lucius. But to be honest, I really don't consider any them more skilled than the Order. Maybe a few of the Order members we don't see much of - like Dedalus Diggle - but the main members of the Order were more skilled overall, IMO.

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I don't really see that. She tries to hit Ginny and misses. We don't know if she had cast any other killing curses before that one. The author mentions the girls fighting their hardest but not Bellatrix. There is no indication that she was getting frustrated, IMO.
There's no indication that she was just taking it easy and playing, IMO. My impression has always been that Bellatrix was giving that fight her best and still unable to hit any of them with a spell. My speculation is that she would find that frustrating given what we see of her personality.

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She chose to stay and fight because there was still a chance the battle might turn around and the DEs emerge victorious. Once Dumbledore showed up and the Death Eaters were captured there was no longer any hope of that so she did the most sensible thing and retreated.
I think she stayed because she figured they outnumbered them - strength in numbers. Harry and Neville were the only ones left standing out of the kids - and Neville was pretty well incapacitated at that point. There were only five Order members that showed up so they still outnumbered their opponents two to one. That was what the Death Eaters did - they played it safe by attacking in large groups and/or attacking people who they believed were weaker than themselves. They weren't looking for a challenge - they were looking for guaranteed victory.

That's why there were 12 Death Eaters there that night to begin with - they thought that would guarantee victory over Harry. And they were still confident in attaining victory even when Harry showed up with his friends because they were facing 6 teenagers and outnumbered them 2 to one. The odds didn't change when the Order showed up because only Harry was left able to fight. Two to one odds in their favor was acceptable to them.

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But this makes no sense to me. Bellatrix is seen running away after Kingsley was hit. No other Death Eater was there. Harry notes that Kingsley attacked Bellatrix after she killed Sirius. They duel and Kingsley is hit. Bellatrix runs away. There is no mention of anyone aiding Bellatrix in the duel. All the other Death Eaters were otherwise engaged at that time.
There's no mention of Bellatrix actually casting a spell at Kingsley either. It is certainly possible that she did, but it is equally possible that Kingsley was hit by one of the stray spell ricocheting around the room from one of the other fights - which Harry noted - or that he was hit by a spell intended for Bellatrix as they finished off the other Death Eaters and that's why she "turned tail and ran". Personally, I think it's more likely that he was hit by a spell intended for Bellatrix. If she had actually defeated Kingsley herself, she would have killed him then and there, IMO.

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That's only in the movies, I think. There is no mention of her being proud in the books. She is happy Harry is hurting because of what she did but not of the skill she showed or anything like that.
I wouldn't say Bellatrix thought in terms of skill. For her it would have been more about the victory. She won - she killed Sirius. The movies are not canon - I don't use them as examples. It came across to me that Bellatrix was proud of killing Sirius in the book - though she was embarrassed about what happened that night as a whole from what we're shown in HBP.

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I prefer analysis over assumptions too but I see no indication of Bellatrix not counting these victories so that is an assumption on your part, IMO. I certainly don't recall her saying she didn't count those victories or feeling bad because Kingsley and Tonks survived.
If you have a quote about Bellatrix bragging about beating Tonks or Kingsley the way she bragged about killing Sirius, please post it. All I can find is Bellatrix being embarrassed about it when it came up in HBP. It does not appear to me that Bellatrix considered those victories at all.

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This was only because of the poetic justice thing, though. People also expected Harry to take care of Voldemort but that doesn't mean they didn't consider Voldemort powerful.
Not entirely. There were quite a few people who expected Harry to suddenly develop some super power that would enable him to defeat Voldemort on his own because of the whole "power he knows not" part of the prophecy. However, there were also people who knew that Harry would never be a match for Voldemort in a straight out duel and expected either someone else to step in to actually defeat Voldemort or Harry to win on a technicality. My own theory was that Harry would somehow manage to kill Voldemort with Gryffindor's sword - not using magic at all because he wasn't anywhere near Voldemort's skill level. I guess I was kind of right since they used the sword to destroy parts of Voldemort's soul, but that wasn't quite what I was thinking at the time.

Neville was expected to defeat Bellatrix based on his own skill - not because of a prophecy or suddenly developing a super power. Harry noting how much Neville improved in OOTP gave people a new perspective of Neville's abilities. Likewise, there were some who expected Harry to beat Bellatrix. I could see either of them defeating her actually - and they definitely could if they worked together, IMO.

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Agreed but that doesn't solve the issue of who sent them after the Longbottoms. Your explanation leaves no room nor any need for anyone to actually send the Lestranges after the Longbottoms and this is what Rowling's second answer also implies. Bellatrix was angry because of the arrests made by the Longbottoms and wanted to find Voldemort. Having someone send them is redundant because there are already plenty of reasons for them to go after Neville's parents.
Well, at this point, the person who sent them after the Longbottoms is completely unknown - and will remain unknown until Jo reveals who it was. The primary reason Bellatrix and the others were sent after the Longbottoms was to find Voldemort and restore him to power. The Potters were dead and Dumbledore had made sure they couldn't get anywhere near Harry. The Longbottoms were the only ones left with any connection to the prophecy - Neville being the second possibility for "the one" because his parents were good Aurors who had thrice defied Voldemort. Bellatrix didn't go after them because she was mad at them - the group went there because someone told them that the Longbottoms would have information that would help them find Voldemort and restore him to power. That's why they tortured them - they were trying to get information about Voldemort.

Like I said before, I see no inconsistency or contradiction with those responses. They work together to present a more full explanation - though we still don't know the whole story.

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But running away from Dumbledore isn't like running away from someone who might prove to be a challenge. She ran away from the most powerful wizard in the country whom even Voldemort feared. She didn't attempt to run away from Molly for example and Molly is certainly not a teenager. She didn't run away from Sirius either and he was a pureblood so she couldn't have considered him inferior because of blood status like you claimed she did with Tonks. So I don't see her as someone who is afraid of fighting capable opponents.
I think the question would be was she actually running away from Dumbledore? She didn't run when Dumbledore arrived after all. She finished the fight with Sirius. Bellatrix did not run until after Kingsley was hit by that spell - which I think was actually intended for her, as I said above. That didn't come from Dumbledore - he was busy restraining other Death Eaters and had his back to Bellatrix. And I wouldn't expect Bellatrix to run from Sirius. He may have been a pure-blood, but she still considered him inferior to her. He was a blood traitor - which was "next to mudblood" as far as Bellatrix was concerned.

I wouldn't say that was an issue of being afraid. I wouldn't even say it was something Bellatrix was consciously aware that she did. Or any of the Death Eaters for that matter. If it were pointed out to them that they always played it safe by attacking in groups or choosing victims they perceived as weaker, I think they would probably deny it. But we see on page that they all do this - even Voldemort. As I said before, it's a common tactic - even in real life. They aren't looking to challenge themselves - they're simply counting the "victories" from what we're shown.

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Even if the Goblins did fail in protecting the Horcrux it isn't their fault Bellatrix slipped the location of the Horcrux to Harry nor is it the Goblin's fault that Bellatrix didn't summon Voldemort when she needed to and lost both Harry Potter and her wand. That was entirely on Bellatrix. Harry would have never figured out the location of the Horcrux without her letting it slip. Voldemort would have surely seen these mistakes as rather grating. A disobedience to follow his order which resulted in a collosal mistake detrimental to him. If he was that angry because the Prophecy was lost he would definitely be angry about this as well. I would even argue that Bella's mistakes and incompetence were much more serious than Lucius's.
And how much of that did Voldemort know? He knew that Harry had stolen the cup from Gringotts, but there's nothing on page showing anyone telling him how Harry figured out where the cup was. I seriously doubt anyone present in Malfoy Manor would confess to waiting to alert Voldemort that Harry had been captured. They were all guilty of waiting so they would all keep that a secret, IMO. And Bellatrix knew Occlumency - she taught Draco.

Lucius intentionally put the diary in Ginny Weasley's hands directly. Direct action leading to the diary being destroyed. Bellatrix accidentally gave Harry a clue that he had to figure out on his own - and then he had to figure out how to get into Gringotts - and then he had to look through all that treasure without knowing exactly which Horcrux might be there - and then he had to get out of the vault and Gringotts with the cup. Certainly a mistake on Bellatrix's part, but nowhere near as large as Lucius handing the diary over to Ginny directly. Even with Bellatrix freaking out over the vault, that was an indirect action that depended on a lot of other factors. There was always the chance that Harry would not figure out why she freaked out - and the odds were completely against him being able to break into Gringotts, get into the Lestrange vault to take the cup, and get out again. There is a huge difference between what Lucius did and what Bellatrix did, IMO.

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Bellatrix admitted in HBP that her and Voldemort weren't exactly BFFs anymore. If even she admits it than it must mean Voldemort has made that very clear to her. And that was before the fiasco with the Cup.
Not quite. Bellatrix was adamant that Voldemort shared everything with her - that she was his most trusted and most loyal. She did express some doubt in terms of asking Voldemort about Snape, but all she actually said there was “He . . . lately, we . . . I am asking you, Snape!” She blamed Lucius for the failure at the Ministry - though it was clear she was very embarrassed by what happened that night, IMO.

Of course, that does reveal the truth - Voldemort did not share everything with Bellatrix as she wanted to believe. And it is eventually revealed that he never had shared everything with her - or with anyone else for that matter. However, Bellatrix was still choosing to believe that he did and got very angry over Snape insinuating that he would not.

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I am arguing that no one would feel sorry for losing a bad tool. There must have been something about Bellatrix, besides her dubious competence and useless loyalty, which Voldemort valued. He is not the type to forgive easily or let things slide and the period between the loss of the cup and the battle at Hogwarts is very short, much too short for Bellatrix to have redeemed herself in his eyes.
I really don't see anything that would suggest Voldemort felt sorry for losing Bellatrix. Angry that Molly killed her, yes, but not sorry. The third person narrator describes "Voldemort’s fury at the fall of his last, best lieutenant"- not grief. It is an entirely impersonal reaction that was not about Bellatrix dying so much as someone else taking away his "last, best lieutenant", IMO. That meant his top three were gone. He killed Snape himself - in spite of still considering him a favorite and Lucius had basically deserted - not fighting at all at that point. Bellatrix was the only one he had left. The rest of the Death Eaters were nowhere near the level of skill of the top three as far as we're shown. Being angry about that doesn't equal feeling love, IMO. As Jo said, Voldemort is a psychopath and psychopaths are not capable of feeling or understanding love.


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

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  #283  
Old July 9th, 2012, 10:11 pm
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
Snape was actually really good at dueling - we see that in HBP and DH. We don't know much about Lucius outside of Voldemort putting him in the top three. My impression is that - for Voldemort - the order was Snape, Bellatrix, and then Lucius. But to be honest, I really don't consider any them more skilled than the Order. Maybe a few of the Order members we don't see much of - like Dedalus Diggle - but the main members of the Order were more skilled overall, IMO.
What makes you say that? The Order members proved quite unable to defeat these three you list here.

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There's no mention of Bellatrix actually casting a spell at Kingsley either. It is certainly possible that she did, but it is equally possible that Kingsley was hit by one of the stray spell ricocheting around the room from one of the other fights - which Harry noted - or that he was hit by a spell intended for Bellatrix as they finished off the other Death Eaters and that's why she "turned tail and ran". Personally, I think it's more likely that he was hit by a spell intended for Bellatrix. If she had actually defeated Kingsley herself, she would have killed him then and there, IMO.
Not necessarily. She didn't kill Tonks after all. By the way thanks to SnapesBane for providing the quote which I think settles the matter. Tonks was unconscious before she fell so that would mean she was hit by Bellatrix.
I see Bellatrix as having defeated Kingsley by herself since I see no indication that there was any help there. None of the Order members left were fighting either (tonks unconscious, Moody was by her side, Remus was taking care of Harry, Sirius was dead and Dumbledore was campturing Death Eaters) so no one would be shooting spells at Bellatrix from the distance. Even if someone wanted to come to Kingsley's aid they would have done so by joining the fight not by shooting spells from a distance. I'm sure you could claim that she didn't defeat Kingsley if you really want to take that away from her but I don't see much support for it. We were told she was skilled so there would be no reason to doubt that she could handle Kingsley by herself, IMO.

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It came across to me that Bellatrix was proud of killing Sirius in the book - though she was embarrassed about what happened that night as a whole from what we're shown in HBP.
I thought she was taunting Harry with Sirius's death because that's what she does. When Snape attempts to soften her by praising her for killing Sirius she shows no reaction. I think she was indifferent to killing him though the movies did make it seem as though it was a huge deal for her.

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If you have a quote about Bellatrix bragging about beating Tonks or Kingsley the way she bragged about killing Sirius, please post it.
But she didn't brag about killing Sirius either. And no I don't have any such quote. I don't have my books with me but I don't remember any mention about how she felt about Kingsley or Tonks. She was embarassed because she had lost the Prophecy not because she lost a duel.

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Neville was expected to defeat Bellatrix based on his own skill - not because of a prophecy or suddenly developing a super power. Harry noting how much Neville improved in OOTP gave people a new perspective of Neville's abilities. Likewise, there were some who expected Harry to beat Bellatrix. I could see either of them defeating her actually - and they definitely could if they worked together, IMO.
Together maybe. On their own, I don't see it. Harry certainly tried just like he tried to defeat Snape and it didn't work out too well.

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Bellatrix didn't go after them because she was mad at them - the group went there because someone told them that the Longbottoms would have information that would help them find Voldemort and restore him to power. That's why they tortured them - they were trying to get information about Voldemort.

Like I said before, I see no inconsistency or contradiction with those responses. They work together to present a more full explanation - though we still don't know the whole story.
They could be seen as complementary, I agree. You could get send to torture someone you hate anyway, of course. However, I was mostly wondering why Rowling answered the same question (or a similar question) in two different ways. It led me to believe that she had two different back-stories for the Longbottoms and I see her second answer as more logical than her first since I don't see who would send the Lestranges after the Longbottoms. Bellatrix certainly didn't take orders from anyone besides Voldemort. I think it's very possible that Rowling simply had one back story and changed her mind deciding that the second explanation would be more easy to accept and need less development in order to make sense. It could be an inconsistency and it could be like you said. I really don't know.

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I think the question would be was she actually running away from Dumbledore? She didn't run when Dumbledore arrived after all. She finished the fight with Sirius. Bellatrix did not run until after Kingsley was hit by that spell - which I think was actually intended for her, as I said above. That didn't come from Dumbledore - he was busy restraining other Death Eaters and had his back to Bellatrix. And I wouldn't expect Bellatrix to run from Sirius. He may have been a pure-blood, but she still considered him inferior to her. He was a blood traitor - which was "next to mudblood" as far as Bellatrix was concerned.
She didn't run away sooner because she couldn't IMO. The opportunity only presented itself after Kingsley fell. It wouldn't have been too honorable for her to run away from a duel with Sirius. I would imagine Sirius laughing his butt off if she attempted to do so and I don't think she wanted to do it anyway. But when Dumbledore arrived and captured her pals there was no hope left for the DEs. All she could do was to run and it's a good thing she did since the prophecy had been destroyed anyway though she didn't know it at the time. It is interesting that she put her own safety above Voldemort's need for the prophecy.

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And how much of that did Voldemort know? He knew that Harry had stolen the cup from Gringotts, but there's nothing on page showing anyone telling him how Harry figured out where the cup was. I seriously doubt anyone present in Malfoy Manor would confess to waiting to alert Voldemort that Harry had been captured. They were all guilty of waiting so they would all keep that a secret, IMO. And Bellatrix knew Occlumency - she taught Draco.
I don't think Bellatrix could have hid the lack of wands for both her and Draco. Voldemort would have noticed that and demanded to know what had happened at which point she would have to tell him that a confrontation had taken place. I agree that she wouldn't have been so foolish as to actually tell him that she had let slip the location of the Cup. She probably kept that to herself and alerted the Goblins after Voldemort left the Manor. But I think it's clear that Voldemort was very angry and considered them to have failed him. He tortured them and later on said something about how stupid Bellatrix and Lucius had been, IIRC.

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Lucius intentionally put the diary in Ginny Weasley's hands directly. Direct action leading to the diary being destroyed. Bellatrix accidentally gave Harry a clue that he had to figure out on his own - and then he had to figure out how to get into Gringotts - and then he had to look through all that treasure without knowing exactly which Horcrux might be there - and then he had to get out of the vault and Gringotts with the cup. Certainly a mistake on Bellatrix's part, but nowhere near as large as Lucius handing the diary over to Ginny directly. Even with Bellatrix freaking out over the vault, that was an indirect action that depended on a lot of other factors. There was always the chance that Harry would not figure out why she freaked out - and the odds were completely against him being able to break into Gringotts, get into the Lestrange vault to take the cup, and get out again. There is a huge difference between what Lucius did and what Bellatrix did, IMO.
When you put it like that yes. But there is also the issue of Bellatrix letting Harry escape and losing her own wand in the process, only days before the great battle. Not to mention the fact that Bellatrix had also been involved in the failure to retrieve the Prophecy. She wasn't the leader and therefore not held accountable in the same way Lucius was but she wasn't exactly entirely forgiven either.

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Not quite. Bellatrix was adamant that Voldemort shared everything with her - that she was his most trusted and most loyal. She did express some doubt in terms of asking Voldemort about Snape, but all she actually said there was “He . . . lately, we . . . I am asking you, Snape!” She blamed Lucius for the failure at the Ministry - though it was clear she was very embarrassed by what happened that night, IMO.
I really don't know how much of this is simply a matter or power for the Death Eaters. They have to tell each other how much Voldemort favors them in order to present themselves as powerful and influential for their peers. I think that's what's happening between Bellatrix and Snape as well. Bellatrix is jealous of Snape and wants to assert herself in front of him so she claims Voldemort shares everything with her. I don't think any DE would admit Voldemort is unappy with them because that would be like showing weakness. When Snape uses the so called trust Bellatrix and Voldemort share and asks why Bella hasn't asked LV directly it is revealed that she doesn't consider them that close actually. But it's not something she readily admits because it puts her in a position of inferiority towards a man she despises.

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I really don't see anything that would suggest Voldemort felt sorry for losing Bellatrix. Angry that Molly killed her, yes, but not sorry. The third person narrator describes "Voldemort’s fury at the fall of his last, best lieutenant"- not grief.
If the Harry filter argument didn't annoy me so much I could use it here and say that Harry could not possibly be aware of the exact relationship between Bella and Voldemort and that that would be his interpretation of what happened.

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It is an entirely impersonal reaction that was not about Bellatrix dying so much as someone else taking away his "last, best lieutenant", IMO. That meant his top three were gone.
But his top three is a fanon construction, IMO. There is no indication in the books that Voldemort ranked his Death Eaters in this way or that he had any chain of command. He is shown as having one or a few favorites but this changes according to how much those persons help him. Snape wa very useful to him so he became the new favorite. Lucius fell from grace after the Ministry fiasco and there is no indication that Bellatrix had ever been a favorite. She was one of the most trusted DEs that's true but it seemed to me Voldemort only had two favorites: Lucius and more recently Snape. Any DE could become a favorite if they did something to help Voldemort and easily fall out of favor if they failed him in any way. Lucius and Bellatrix failed him. I really don't think Voldemort would care at all if Molly had killed Lucius for example. If Voldemort and his DEs had survived Bellatrix would have most likely become the new Lucius what with her incompetence and the fact she hadn't been valuable to Voldemort in over a decade. That's why his reaction to her death is so surprising, IMO.

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As Jo said, Voldemort is a psychopath and psychopaths are not capable of feeling or understanding love.
I'm not a psychiatrist so I don't know about that. I'm only calling it as I see it. It's never fun to lose a minion, that's true. In an ideal world no one would have killed Bellatrix. But even so Voldemort's reaction to her death is exaggerated, IMO. He stops what he's doing, gets rid of three opponents he wasn't making any progress with so far and attempts to avenge her death. That's something, IMO.

On a different note, I have seen The Women of HP part one and kind of liked what Rowling said about how Bellatrix saw Voldemort as her equivalent, as a male version of her and thus desired him. It makes for a rather interesting, narcissistic relationship. I think it adds to Bellatrix's strength as a character in some way, the fact that she wouldn't settle for just any man and wanted her man to be as brilliant as she was (or as she believed that she was). I don't understand why Rowling bashes Bellatrix so much. Sure, she is a villain and therefore unpleasant to say the least, but she is also one of the few female characters who are interesting to read about, appealing and strong, in my view. She defied many stereotypes.



Last edited by Sereena; July 9th, 2012 at 10:24 pm.
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  #284  
Old July 10th, 2012, 2:45 am
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
What makes you say that? The Order members proved quite unable to defeat these three you list here.
Among the Death Eaters, those were the top three in terms of skill and intelligence from what we're shown. The rest of the Death Eaters were pretty far below them, IMO.

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Not necessarily. She didn't kill Tonks after all. By the way thanks to SnapesBane for providing the quote which I think settles the matter. Tonks was unconscious before she fell so that would mean she was hit by Bellatrix.
That would be why I also question whether Bellatrix was actually the one who caused Tonks to fall. That quote did not say that Bellatrix hit Tonks with a spell. It only says she ran towards Sirius after Tonks fell. That's all Harry saw so we can only speculate as to who or what actually caused Tonks to fall. It might have been Bellatrix or it might have been a stray spell ricocheting around the room - same as the situation with Kingsley.

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I see Bellatrix as having defeated Kingsley by herself since I see no indication that there was any help there. None of the Order members left were fighting either (tonks unconscious, Moody was by her side, Remus was taking care of Harry, Sirius was dead and Dumbledore was campturing Death Eaters) so no one would be shooting spells at Bellatrix from the distance. Even if someone wanted to come to Kingsley's aid they would have done so by joining the fight not by shooting spells from a distance. I'm sure you could claim that she didn't defeat Kingsley if you really want to take that away from her but I don't see much support for it. We were told she was skilled so there would be no reason to doubt that she could handle Kingsley by herself, IMO.
Harry noted there were still spells flying about at the time actually.

OOTP, pg 807There was movement going on around them, pointless bustling, the flashes of more spells. To Harry it was meaningless noise, the deflected curses flying past them did not matter, nothing mattered except that Lupin stop pretending that Sirius, who was standing feet from them behind that old curtain, was not going to emerge at any moment, shaking back his dark hair and eager to reenter the battle —


Dumbledore had restrained most of the Death Eaters, but not all of them. There was still fighting going on with deflected curses flying around. Since Harry did not see Bellatrix actually hit Kingsley with any spell, it is just as likely he was hit by one of those stray spells or someone else was trying to hit Bellatrix and missed, hitting Kingsley instead. Since that was the moment that Bellatrix "turned tail and ran", I think the latter is most likely.

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I thought she was taunting Harry with Sirius's death because that's what she does. When Snape attempts to soften her by praising her for killing Sirius she shows no reaction. I think she was indifferent to killing him though the movies did make it seem as though it was a huge deal for her.
That came across as bragging to me as much as a taunt. She killed Sirius and she knew Harry had followed her to avenge him. She wasn't worried about Harry - seeing him as a "pathetic little boy". At least not until he revealed that the prophecy had been destroyed.

Her lack of reaction to Snape doesn't change that, IMO. Bellatrix had questions she wanted answered - specifically, she was suspicious of Snape because he had been in close proximity to Harry for several years and had not killed him.

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But she didn't brag about killing Sirius either. And no I don't have any such quote. I don't have my books with me but I don't remember any mention about how she felt about Kingsley or Tonks. She was embarassed because she had lost the Prophecy not because she lost a duel.
Her taunting Harry about him coming to avenge Sirius comes across as bragging to me. Her embarrassment about what happened at the DoM was due to more than just losing the prophecy. She was embarrassed that six teenagers had managed to hold them off until the Order arrived. She was embarrassed that the mission had failed in spite of them having two to one odds in their favor. She tries to cover by saying half the Order joined them, but it was actually only five members of the Order who showed up and were later joined by Dumbledore. If Bellatrix had considered any part of that a genuine victory, I think she would have used that to defend herself instead of trying to claim that there were more Order members there than there actually were.

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Together maybe. On their own, I don't see it. Harry certainly tried just like he tried to defeat Snape and it didn't work out too well.
No, I don't think Harry could have defeated Bellatrix on his own when he was 15 or 16. He hadn't come of age yet and still had some growing up to do - in terms of both maturity and power. He was still very prone to letting his emotions control him and making mistakes because of that in both OOTP and HBP. However, by DH, I think Harry would have had a better chance - as would Neville - as both of them really came into their own and Harry in particular had become better at controlling his emotions and thinking about what he was doing instead of flying off in a rage. It would certainly have been more difficult for one of them to defeat Bellatrix alone - and there would be no guarantee of course - but I see it as possible. Together, I think they definitely could have.

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They could be seen as complementary, I agree. You could get send to torture someone you hate anyway, of course. However, I was mostly wondering why Rowling answered the same question (or a similar question) in two different ways. It led me to believe that she had two different back-stories for the Longbottoms and I see her second answer as more logical than her first since I don't see who would send the Lestranges after the Longbottoms. Bellatrix certainly didn't take orders from anyone besides Voldemort. I think it's very possible that Rowling simply had one back story and changed her mind deciding that the second explanation would be more easy to accept and need less development in order to make sense. It could be an inconsistency and it could be like you said. I really don't know.
Well, the questions themselves were very different. The first wasn't actually a question - Jo was addressing a rumor that they had been sent after Neville because he was the other option for "the one" described in the prophecy. The second was about Neville's parents specifically because Jo had already debunked the rumor about Neville. That was one of the big questions after Jo debunked that rumor actually. If they didn't go after the Longbottoms because of Neville, then why were they attacked?

I think the phrase "sent after" simply means that someone told them that the Longbottoms could help them find Voldemort so they could restore him to power. I don't think they were actually following any specific orders there. Dumbledore told Harry in OOTP that part of the reason he had taken him to the Dursleys and put a second protection charm in place there was because there were Death Eaters at large who were "angry, desperate, and violent". They wanted Voldemort back and some of them - like Bellatrix and the rest of that group with her - would have done anything to achieve that. Being told that the Longbottoms might have information regarding Voldemort would have sent them on that path to torture the Longbottoms to find out what they knew, IMO.

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She didn't run away sooner because she couldn't IMO. The opportunity only presented itself after Kingsley fell. It wouldn't have been too honorable for her to run away from a duel with Sirius. I would imagine Sirius laughing his butt off if she attempted to do so and I don't think she wanted to do it anyway. But when Dumbledore arrived and captured her pals there was no hope left for the DEs. All she could do was to run and it's a good thing she did since the prophecy had been destroyed anyway though she didn't know it at the time. It is interesting that she put her own safety above Voldemort's need for the prophecy.
Bellatrix could have "turned tail and ran" at any point actually. That battle was very chaotic so it wouldn't have been difficult for her to do so. She chose to stay while she thought they could win because the odds were in their favor. She ran when she realized they had lost - but Dumbledore had been there for quite some time at that point. I don't think Bellatrix even realized Dumbledore had arrived at first because she was focused on fighting Sirius at the time and then Kingsley ran up to engage her. It seems more likely to me that someone had aimed a spell at her and missed - hitting Kingsley instead - and that is what made her aware that Dumbledore was there and that most of the Death Eaters had been restrained. That decreased the odds significantly so she ran, IMO.

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I don't think Bellatrix could have hid the lack of wands for both her and Draco. Voldemort would have noticed that and demanded to know what had happened at which point she would have to tell him that a confrontation had taken place. I agree that she wouldn't have been so foolish as to actually tell him that she had let slip the location of the Cup. She probably kept that to herself and alerted the Goblins after Voldemort left the Manor. But I think it's clear that Voldemort was very angry and considered them to have failed him. He tortured them and later on said something about how stupid Bellatrix and Lucius had been, IIRC.
Well, we know that they didn't hide the fact that Bellatrix's wand had been stolen - Travers mentioned it when the trio ran into him in Diagon Alley with Hermione impersonating Bellatrix. Bellatrix had been the one to alert Voldemort that they had Harry so they would have had to reveal that Harry escaped as well. Travers also mentioned everyone being punished - he was surprised to see Bellatrix out and about. That's part of what made Harry realize they had miscalculated in their plans to have Hermione impersonate Bellatrix to get into her vault.

However, the time between Bellatrix activating her Dark Mark to summon Voldemort and the actual escape was not very long. It would have been a simple matter for Bellatrix to alter the story and claim that she had alerted Voldemort as soon as they confirmed it was Harry with he and his friends managing to fight their way free - with help from a house-elf - immediately after. I doubt the Malfoys would have contradicted her - particularly considering they had gone along with the delay in summoning Voldemort.

Basically, all Voldemort would have known was that the snatchers had brought Harry to Malfoy Manor and a house-elf showed up - helping Harry and every other prisoner there escape. It stands out that Travers indicated that everyone had been punished. That seems more like one of Voldemort's general rages in which everyone around him was punished simply for being there rather than him blaming any specific person for what happened.

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When you put it like that yes. But there is also the issue of Bellatrix letting Harry escape and losing her own wand in the process, only days before the great battle. Not to mention the fact that Bellatrix had also been involved in the failure to retrieve the Prophecy. She wasn't the leader and therefore not held accountable in the same way Lucius was but she wasn't exactly entirely forgiven either.
Again, that would depend on what Voldemort knew. As I said above, he punished all of them equally from what we're shown so it does not appear that any one person was blamed for Harry escaping. And Dobby showing up to help them is also a factor. Bellatrix wasn't the only person who got disarmed in that escape - Draco did as well.

I don't think Voldemort blamed Bellatrix specifically for any of that actually. He did rescue her from the Ministry that night - leaving the other Death Eaters to be sent to Azkaban. He eventually got them out, but he let them stay there for about a year or so. That's why Lucius was not in HBP at all. So it does not appear that Voldemort held Bellatrix responsible. His attitude towards her in DH would suggest that he still favored her quite a bit over Lucius - but not as much as Snape.

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I really don't know how much of this is simply a matter or power for the Death Eaters. They have to tell each other how much Voldemort favors them in order to present themselves as powerful and influential for their peers. I think that's what's happening between Bellatrix and Snape as well. Bellatrix is jealous of Snape and wants to assert herself in front of him so she claims Voldemort shares everything with her. I don't think any DE would admit Voldemort is unappy with them because that would be like showing weakness. When Snape uses the so called trust Bellatrix and Voldemort share and asks why Bella hasn't asked LV directly it is revealed that she doesn't consider them that close actually. But it's not something she readily admits because it puts her in a position of inferiority towards a man she despises.
I would agree with that for the most part. It's more about status than anything for all the Death Eaters in general. They all want to think they're the most loyal and most trusted, etc... For Bellatrix, it's more personal because of her obsessive love - as Jo has discussed.

I think Bellatrix did choose to believe that she was the closest to Voldemort - and she certainly considered herself the most loyal and most trustworthy. And I would agree that - on some level - she had doubts due to what happened at the Ministry. She comforted herself by blaming Lucius entirely for the failure at the Ministry. And Voldemort's choice to punish Lucius - both in allowing him to be taken to Azkaban to stay and in choosing Draco for the assignment to kill Dumbledore - made her feel more secure in her position as a favorite. However, I would also say that was something Bellatrix would never admit - the sentence she started there did not strike me as an admission that she had lost favor so much as an attempt to make an excuse for why she didn't question Voldemort.

But the answer there is obvious I think - and Snape knew the real reason as well. Nobody questioned Voldemort because he wouldn't permit it. Bellatrix would never have directly questioned Voldemort regarding his choice to trust Snape regardless of the circumstances because that would be considered an act of disloyalty in his view. Bellatrix felt disloyal to Voldemort for even considering the possibility that he was making a mistake in trusting Snape - but her own doubts about Snape were too strong for her to ignore completely.

And Voldemort trusting Snape was an issue as well because it made her feel Snape was being placed at a higher level than herself and she didn't think he deserved that. It's interesting how the very questions Bellatrix asks Snape demonstrate why she could never have been Voldemort's most favorite - even though she believed herself to be. She couldn't understand why Voldemort would feel it more logical for Snape to wait a couple of hours until Dumbledore told him to go to Voldemort. She couldn't understand why Voldemort would see not killing Harry as a logical choice. Or why it was more logical for Snape to stay at Hogwarts instead of joining in a battle. I think that whole sequence emphasizes Bellatrix's greatest weakness - her own violent nature and impulsiveness leads her to act without thinking.

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If the Harry filter argument didn't annoy me so much I could use it here and say that Harry could not possibly be aware of the exact relationship between Bella and Voldemort and that that would be his interpretation of what happened.
Harry is not the third person narrator though. The HP books are written in third person limited flexible POV. The third person narrator tells the story from Harry's perspective in terms of what Harry observes and reveals Harry's thoughts - which is often subjective - but having an objective, third person narrator allows for information to be given that Harry does not know as well. That's why it's both limited and flexible - limited in that there are things Harry will not see or hear and flexible in that the third person narrator is objective and knows things Harry does not. It's not Harry saying that Voldemort was furious because of the fall of his "last, best lieutenant" - it's the objective, third person narrator.

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But his top three is a fanon construction, IMO. There is no indication in the books that Voldemort ranked his Death Eaters in this way or that he had any chain of command. He is shown as having one or a few favorites but this changes according to how much those persons help him. Snape wa very useful to him so he became the new favorite. Lucius fell from grace after the Ministry fiasco and there is no indication that Bellatrix had ever been a favorite. She was one of the most trusted DEs that's true but it seemed to me Voldemort only had two favorites: Lucius and more recently Snape. Any DE could become a favorite if they did something to help Voldemort and easily fall out of favor if they failed him in any way. Lucius and Bellatrix failed him. I really don't think Voldemort would care at all if Molly had killed Lucius for example. If Voldemort and his DEs had survived Bellatrix would have most likely become the new Lucius what with her incompetence and the fact she hadn't been valuable to Voldemort in over a decade. That's why his reaction to her death is so surprising, IMO.
I have to disagree with that. I think it was made very clear in the books that Snape, Bellatrix, and Lucius were Voldemort's favorites - the top three among the Death Eaters. Snape and Lucius were more intelligent and all three were more skilled in comparison to the other Death Eaters. They were the ones Voldemort would choose for things he considered important. I think Snape was always a favorite and that was why he was chosen to infiltrate Dumbledore's ranks and act as spy. Lucius would have been next in line - he was put in charge of the mission at the Ministry because he would be more cautious. Bellatrix was valued more for her unshakable loyalty I think - there was nothing she wouldn't do if Voldemort asked it of her. And I think Voldemort liked how vicious and violent she was by nature.

Lucius did lose favor - fell all the way to the bottom. But it's interesting that it wasn't just one thing that led to that. It was a chain of events. Voldemort gave Lucius chances to redeem himself. He even gave Draco a chance to redeem Lucius - though he didn't expect Draco to succeed. Bellatrix never actually failed like Lucius did - and the one thing that actually could be considered her fault was an incident she could easily pass off because nobody was going to tell Voldemort they waited to summon him and Dobby intervened. So I don't see Voldemort putting Bellatrix down to the same level he did Lucius. After all, Lucius was not given another wand - and still bore the marks of being punished after the incident at Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix had a new wand so she could join the battle and had no sign of injury. I'd say she was still in good favor with Voldemort.

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I'm not a psychiatrist so I don't know about that. I'm only calling it as I see it. It's never fun to lose a minion, that's true. In an ideal world no one would have killed Bellatrix. But even so Voldemort's reaction to her death is exaggerated, IMO. He stops what he's doing, gets rid of three opponents he wasn't making any progress with so far and attempts to avenge her death. That's something, IMO.
I think his reaction was predictable actually. He didn't stop what he was doing. He had an immediate reaction - the force of his fury knocking blasting McGonagall, Kingsley, and Slughorn backward - and then raises his wand at Molly. Being a psychopath, his focus is always on himself - how he is effected by things. Bellatrix belonged to him - all of the Death Eaters did. She was a tool - a possession for him to decide the fate of. And she was the last of his favorites - his "last, best lieutenant". Someone else made that decision for him by killing her and it made him angry. His response to that was no different than his response to discovering the cup had been stolen from Gringotts, IMO.

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On a different note, I have seen The Women of HP part one and kind of liked what Rowling said about how Bellatrix saw Voldemort as her equivalent, as a male version of her and thus desired him. It makes for a rather interesting, narcissistic relationship. I think it adds to Bellatrix's strength as a character in some way, the fact that she wouldn't settle for just any man and wanted her man to be as brilliant as she was (or as she believed that she was). I don't understand why Rowling bashes Bellatrix so much. Sure, she is a villain and therefore unpleasant to say the least, but she is also one of the few female characters who are interesting to read about, appealing and strong, in my view. She defied many stereotypes.
I didn't really get that with Bellatrix's character to be honest. I thought she was rather stereotypical for a villain - as well as in terms of classism and prejudice. She always does what her family expects of her. She marries a man she doesn't love simply because he's a pure-blood and her parents tell her to. As Jo said, she is drawn Voldemort because he is a psychopath similar to her and she develops this obsessive love for him that makes her willing to be completely subservient to him. She would do anything he asked of her - even if that was to kill her own children if she had any - and be proud to do it. She has no independence and displays very little free will - except when she's goaded into acting without thinking, which nearly always turns out to be a huge mistake on her part. She does what she's told and follows orders - even from Lucius in OOTP. That doesn't really make me see her as appealing or strong.


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

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  #285  
Old July 10th, 2012, 1:10 pm
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
That would be why I also question whether Bellatrix was actually the one who caused Tonks to fall. That quote did not say that Bellatrix hit Tonks with a spell. It only says she ran towards Sirius after Tonks fell. That's all Harry saw so we can only speculate as to who or what actually caused Tonks to fall. It might have been Bellatrix or it might have been a stray spell ricocheting around the room - same as the situation with Kingsley.
So all of Bellatrix's opponents were hit by stray spells? That doesn't seem too plausible to me. I think she defeated them and I see no reason to doubt that. She was skilled enough to do it IMO.

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If Bellatrix had considered any part of that a genuine victory, I think she would have used that to defend herself instead of trying to claim that there were more Order members there than there actually were.
I agree that she considered the mission a failure but I don't see anything that would suggest she considered her fights a failure.

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Being told that the Longbottoms might have information regarding Voldemort would have sent them on that path to torture the Longbottoms to find out what they knew, IMO.
Yes that's definitely a possibility. It could however be as simple as Rowling having changed the backstory for the Longbottoms. It isn't uncommon for an author to change their minds about something. Maybe Pottermore will answer these questions.

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Bellatrix could have "turned tail and ran" at any point actually.
I think she enjoyed the fights. It wasn't in her nature to run away from a battlefield especially if she believed there was still hope for them. And there was until Dumbledore showed up and began to capture them.

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However, the time between Bellatrix activating her Dark Mark to summon Voldemort and the actual escape was not very long. It would have been a simple matter for Bellatrix to alter the story and claim that she had alerted Voldemort as soon as they confirmed it was Harry with he and his friends managing to fight their way free - with help from a house-elf - immediately after. I doubt the Malfoys would have contradicted her - particularly considering they had gone along with the delay in summoning Voldemort.
Maybe. But that doesn't change the fact that Harry escaped from under her nose which I'm sure Voldemort wouldn't be too pleased about. Considering the fact that Lucius was punished harder than she was wouldn't he in his Cruciatus induced agony have mentioned that he tried to summon Voldemort but that Bellatrix stopped him?

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I don't think Voldemort blamed Bellatrix specifically for any of that actually. He did rescue her from the Ministry that night - leaving the other Death Eaters to be sent to Azkaban. He eventually got them out, but he let them stay there for about a year or so. That's why Lucius was not in HBP at all. So it does not appear that Voldemort held Bellatrix responsible.
That's another thing that to me suggests they were close. He would have no reason to punish all the other DE for the failure at the DoM but not Bellatrix. I can understand Lucius being held responsible more than others but why would Voldemort be more angry at say Dolohov than at Bellatrix? There is also no indication that she was punished after Voldemort took her with him which is quite odd. He doesn't seem to be as eager to punish her as he is about punishing the other Death Eaters.

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Bellatrix never actually failed like Lucius did - and the one thing that actually could be considered her fault was an incident she could easily pass off because nobody was going to tell Voldemort they waited to summon him and Dobby intervened. So I don't see Voldemort putting Bellatrix down to the same level he did Lucius. After all, Lucius was not given another wand - and still bore the marks of being punished after the incident at Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix had a new wand so she could join the battle and had no sign of injury. I'd say she was still in good favor with Voldemort.
Which is raher odd considering how merciless Voldemort is. Why would he punish Lucius more, who didn't even have a wand on him, than Bellatrix who did have a wand and could have stopped Harry from escaping? Why? Because Bellatrix had been loyal to him 20 years ago? Voldemort seems very much the type to expect efficiency and good results all the time, not the type to hold someone in high esteem because they did something nice for him two decades ago. He punished Lucius more than he punished Bellatrix even though the whole thing had been mostly her fault. Even if he didn't have all the details he could have put two and two together and understand that Harry had been captured and that Bellatrix allowed him to escape which resulted in the destruction of the Horcrux. Voldemort knew this and thought to himself about how stupid and reckless Bellatrix had been when he found out his Horcrux had been destroyed. He also understood that he had been a fool to trust her even as little as he did. That doesn't seem to me like he still valued her in any way. The trust was gone.

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It's interesting how the very questions Bellatrix asks Snape demonstrate why she could never have been Voldemort's most favorite - even though she believed herself to be. She couldn't understand why Voldemort would feel it more logical for Snape to wait a couple of hours until Dumbledore told him to go to Voldemort.
She did understand that when Snape explained it. She was surprised in the beginning when she heard the part about how it was all at Dumbledore's orders but she did understand it when she heard the arguments for it.

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She couldn't understand why Voldemort would see not killing Harry as a logical choice. Or why it was more logical for Snape to stay at Hogwarts instead of joining in a battle.
The part about killing Harry depends very much on what she considered would help Voldemort the most. Perhaps she believed Harry's death would be more helpful to Voldemort than having a spy at Hogwarts. And maybe it would have been. In retrospect it would certainly seem so.
Snape admitted to believing Voldemort was dead and staying at Hogwarts simply out of self preservation so it wasn't about doing anything for Voldemort actually. Bellatrix did understand the value of being a spy for Voldemort but she didn't believe that was what Snape was actually doing. She thought he was a traitor which he was. It is Voldemort who is a fool here not Bellatrix, if you ask me.

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It's not Harry saying that Voldemort was furious because of the fall of his "last, best lieutenant" - it's the objective, third person narrator.
I still see no contradiction between Voldemort feeling sorry for losing a good lieutenant who also meant something personal to him. It would be the part of Bellatrix that was useful to him that he would regret losing but it wouldn't be limited to that, IMO, especially in the light of recent events when she had disappointed him.

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I have to disagree with that. I think it was made very clear in the books that Snape, Bellatrix, and Lucius were Voldemort's favorites - the top three among the Death Eaters. Snape and Lucius were more intelligent and all three were more skilled in comparison to the other Death Eaters
I don't think Snape or Lucius were particularly intelligent actually. Snape had Dumbledore, the great mastermind, to guide him. Lucius wanted to be a turn coat and protect his family but he didn't really know how to act which made him easy prey for Voldemort. Just because Bellatrix wasn't a traitor doesn't mean she was stupid. She understood Voldemort well enough to know how he would react to certain things and followed him because she had nothing to lose by doing so. Snape betrayed him because of Lily and Lucius had his family. Bellatrix didn't have anyone more important to her than Voldemort except perhaps Narcissa but she was never forced to choose between them. I also doubt a dumb person could be prodigiously skilled at anything really.

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Bellatrix belonged to him - all of the Death Eaters did. She was a tool - a possession for him to decide the fate of. And she was the last of his favorites - his "last, best lieutenant". Someone else made that decision for him by killing her and it made him angry. His response to that was no different than his response to discovering the cup had been stolen from Gringotts, IMO.
Yes but the Cup contained a piece of himself, a piece of his soul. Bellatrix was not a Horcrux and, as I explained above, her value in Voldemort's eyes had greatly decreased.

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I didn't really get that with Bellatrix's character to be honest. I thought she was rather stereotypical for a villain - as well as in terms of classism and prejudice.
I agree that she was stereotypical in some ways but then again most HP characters are so I don't see that as an issue. She defied stereotypes in terms of what people generally expect from women and from female characters. She wasn't nurturing and maternal, she was a good warrior and she wasn't a passive actor in her society like her sisters.

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She always does what her family expects of her. She marries a man she doesn't love simply because he's a pure-blood and her parents tell her to. As Jo said, she is drawn Voldemort because he is a psychopath similar to her and she develops this obsessive love for him that makes her willing to be completely subservient to him. She would do anything he asked of her - even if that was to kill her own children if she had any - and be proud to do it. She has no independence and displays very little free will - except when she's goaded into acting without thinking, which nearly always turns out to be a huge mistake on her part. She does what she's told and follows orders - even from Lucius in OOTP. That doesn't really make me see her as appealing or strong.
I don't see it quite like that. She made her own choices and followed (and pursued) the man she wanted despite being married to another. She married a pureblood due to her convictions but she didn't give in to society's pressure in any other way. I believe we were shown she is a Death Eater because she wants to be one. There is nothing slavish about her IMO. If she decided she didn't want to follow Voldemort anymore she would leave him (or at least try to). She followed orders from Lucius but she also took over the Malfoy Manor two years later and bullied anyone who questioned her authority. I think she had plenty of free will and lived the way she wanted to. That makes me see her strong and to a certain extent even independent. She saw herself as equal to Voldemort though I'm sure he wouldn't view her the same way.



Last edited by Sereena; July 10th, 2012 at 1:34 pm.
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  #286  
Old July 10th, 2012, 6:11 pm
Goddess_Clio  Female.gif Goddess_Clio is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
Snape was actually really good at dueling - we see that in HBP and DH. We don't know much about Lucius outside of Voldemort putting him in the top three. My impression is that - for Voldemort - the order was Snape, Bellatrix, and then Lucius. But to be honest, I really don't consider any them more skilled than the Order. Maybe a few of the Order members we don't see much of - like Dedalus Diggle - but the main members of the Order were more skilled overall, IMO.
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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
What makes you say that? The Order members proved quite unable to defeat these three you list here.
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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
Among the Death Eaters, those were the top three in terms of skill and intelligence from what we're shown. The rest of the Death Eaters were pretty far below them, IMO.
Where does Voldemort include Lucius in "the top three?" Furthermore are you refering to the "top three" Death Eaters (which I would believe) or the "top three" DE duelers (which I find hard to validate based on canon in Lucius's case)? There are only two instances where Lucius is even in the room when a duel or battle is happening: in OOTP he duels (and loses to) Lupin and in DH he's in the room when Harry and gang escape Malfoy Manor - but he doesn't engage in the duel.

IMO, there's no evidence that the Order members are any more skilled "overall" than the death eaters were. It's the same argument that was going on in the Molly CA thread - Molly and Bellatrix received the same Hogwarts education and should theoretically have the same skill level (if that's how you interpret the situation - I'm not meaning to drag that dead horse to this thread so we can kick it some more). Death Eaters and Order members received the same Hogwarts education and so in theory should have the same skill levels. Clearly that's not the case as it's proven in canon that there are more skilled and less skilled members of both sides. The Order members had advanced members such as Moody, Tonks, Kingsley, etc. who were trained as aurors but the Death Eaters had people like Snape who proves his dueling skills to be excellent since he duels McGonagall who is very skilled herself (he "wins" the battle by fleeing when Flitwick and Sprout show up) and Bellatrix who singlehandedly duels Ginny, Hermione and Luna in the final battle and throughout the last three books engages and wins her duels.

In terms of Death Eaters versus Order members I'd call the skill levels a wash - the Order may have more aurors with advanced training but they also have an inordinate amount of children or very young adults who are inexperienced in duels or battling in real-life, war-zone type battles whereas most of the Death Eaters (with the only known exceptions to be Draco, Crabbe and Goyle) are adults with previous dueling/battle experience which does count for a lot! Bellatrix is in that category. Even if you don't subscribe to the theory that she's a skilled witch with a talent in dueling, she does have experience which means she's not overwhelmed by the situation and would be more mentally prepared for duels and battles.

Ug, this is going to be the Molly thread all over again, I just know it...


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  #287  
Old July 10th, 2012, 7:05 pm
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
So all of Bellatrix's opponents were hit by stray spells? That doesn't seem too plausible to me. I think she defeated them and I see no reason to doubt that. She was skilled enough to do it IMO.
Not all of them - she did defeat Sirius. But there's nothing on page to confirm her actually defeating Tonks or Kingsley. We can only speculate about that. As I said before, I think she might have defeated Tonks - but I wouldn't say that with any certainty because Harry only saw Tonks fall. I don't believe she defeated Kingsley at all - particularly with that being the moment she chose to run away.

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I agree that she considered the mission a failure but I don't see anything that would suggest she considered her fights a failure.
I think it would all be one and the same for her. Bellatrix would count any victory and use it in her defense, IMO.

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Yes that's definitely a possibility. It could however be as simple as Rowling having changed the backstory for the Longbottoms. It isn't uncommon for an author to change their minds about something. Maybe Pottermore will answer these questions.
I don't see any indication that there was a change as both of her responses are essentially revealing the same thing. Bellatrix and the others in that group were after the Longbottoms and not Neville. Who sent them remains a mystery - and hopeful that will be revealed on Pottermore - but I don't think that changes anything because the primary purpose for them was to find Voldemort and restore him to power.

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I think she enjoyed the fights. It wasn't in her nature to run away from a battlefield especially if she believed there was still hope for them. And there was until Dumbledore showed up and began to capture them.
I would agree that Bellatrix would stay and fight as long as she was certain of victory. But I do think it was her nature to run when victory could not be guaranteed. That was what all the Death Eaters would do given the opportunity, IMO.

Plus, as I said before, it does stand out that Bellatrix did not run when Dumbledore first arrived. I don't think she realized he was there because she was focused on fighting Sirius. I think she realized Dumbledore was there because Kingsley was either hit by a stray spell or a spell directed at her and that's what drew her attention to Dumbledore.

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Maybe. But that doesn't change the fact that Harry escaped from under her nose which I'm sure Voldemort wouldn't be too pleased about. Considering the fact that Lucius was punished harder than she was wouldn't he in his Cruciatus induced agony have mentioned that he tried to summon Voldemort but that Bellatrix stopped him?
He may have, but would Voldemort believe him? At that point, it would appear as though Lucius was simply trying to save himself - and Lucius was already at the bottom as far as Voldemort concerned. It was his house that Harry escaped from and Voldemort's order to be summoned if Harry was captured would trump anything Bellatrix said, so it's more likely that Lucius took the brunt of the blame there, IMO.

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That's another thing that to me suggests they were close. He would have no reason to punish all the other DE for the failure at the DoM but not Bellatrix. I can understand Lucius being held responsible more than others but why would Voldemort be more angry at say Dolohov than at Bellatrix? There is also no indication that she was punished after Voldemort took her with him which is quite odd. He doesn't seem to be as eager to punish her as he is about punishing the other Death Eaters.
Bellatrix managed to escape though. The other Death Eaters were in the DoM - restrained and being prevented from apparating by a anti-apparition jinx. Bellatrix had gotten out and was still trying to get the prophecy from Harry. She didn't know the prophecy had been destroyed because, again, that was Lucius - he had been the one trying to get it when it got broken. The mission had failed, but not because of anything Bellatrix did - though it is rather ironic that it was also Lucius who prevented Bellatrix from making such a mistake. Regardless, Voldemort had no reason to punish Bellatrix for that from what we're shown.

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Which is raher odd considering how merciless Voldemort is. Why would he punish Lucius more, who didn't even have a wand on him, than Bellatrix who did have a wand and could have stopped Harry from escaping? Why? Because Bellatrix had been loyal to him 20 years ago? Voldemort seems very much the type to expect efficiency and good results all the time, not the type to hold someone in high esteem because they did something nice for him two decades ago. He punished Lucius more than he punished Bellatrix even though the whole thing had been mostly her fault. Even if he didn't have all the details he could have put two and two together and understand that Harry had been captured and that Bellatrix allowed him to escape which resulted in the destruction of the Horcrux. Voldemort knew this and thought to himself about how stupid and reckless Bellatrix had been when he found out his Horcrux had been destroyed. He also understood that he had been a fool to trust her even as little as he did. That doesn't seem to me like he still valued her in any way. The trust was gone.
If that were the case, then Bellatrix would have been punished just as severely as Lucius was, IMO. Lucius was not allowed another wand. He was tortured and still bore the injuries from that in the final battle - which he could not participate in because he had no wand. Bellatrix showed no sign of injury and had been given another wand. There is no indication that she had lost any favor with Voldemort due to recent events. We are shown the opposite, IMO.

It appears that Voldemort blamed Lucius for these things as well. As I said above, it was his house. The prisoners - Ollivander and Luna - had been kept in his dungeon. The snatchers brought Harry and the other prisoners to Lucius. It was his responsibility to notify Voldemort that Harry had been captured and brought to his home - and Bellatrix did not have the authority to overturn Voldemort's direct order for them to notify him immediately if Harry was captured so Voldemort would still hold Lucius responsible for that, IMO. Draco would be part of that as well - being the one asked to verify Harry's identity as well as having not one, but three wands taken from him by Harry. One of those wands belonged to Bellatrix. So, again, Bellatrix was not directly defeated - she had actually taken control of the situation and had Draco retrieve her wand. Then Dobby showed up and Harry managed to overpower Draco to get all three wands from him.

That's not to say that Voldemort was not disappointed in Bellatrix at all - she was included in the punishment. However, it does stand out that Lucius took the brunt of the blame for all of that. Voldemort gave Bellatrix the chance to redeem herself in the final battle - the same as he had given Lucius a chance with the mission at the DoM in OOTP.

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She did understand that when Snape explained it. She was surprised in the beginning when she heard the part about how it was all at Dumbledore's orders but she did understand it when she heard the arguments for it.
I have to disagree with that. Bellatrix did not understand that from what we're shown - she continued to mock Snape about it afterward in fact. She didn't think Snape would actually go through with the Unbreakable Vow because she believed he was hiding behind Voldemort's orders to avoid having to fight. She could not argue against anything Snape said because Snape told her it was Voldemort's order - but she didn't understand it or agree that it was logical from what we're shown. She simply was not willing to say anything against her Master, IMO.

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The part about killing Harry depends very much on what she considered would help Voldemort the most. Perhaps she believed Harry's death would be more helpful to Voldemort than having a spy at Hogwarts. And maybe it would have been. In retrospect it would certainly seem so.
Not in Voldemort's opinion. He wanted to kill Harry personally - to prove that Harry was not more powerful than he was. Allowing another Death Eater to kill Harry could potentially make it appear that Death Eater was more powerful than Voldemort because he had not been able to kill Harry. Voldemort did not want that to happen and was adamant that he be the one to kill Harry. That's what Dumbledore realized and helped Snape to understand - Voldemort's failure to kill Harry as a baby made him even more desperate to kill Harry personally to prove that he was the most powerful.

Bellatrix makes the same mistake that Crouch Jr. made here. She assumes that Voldemort would be pleased if Harry was killed regardless. She didn't understand why Voldemort was pleased that Harry had not been killed by one of the Death Eaters. In her mind, all that mattered was for Harry to die. For Voldemort, what mattered was that he be the one to kill Harry personally.

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Snape admitted to believing Voldemort was dead and staying at Hogwarts simply out of self preservation so it wasn't about doing anything for Voldemort actually. Bellatrix did understand the value of being a spy for Voldemort but she didn't believe that was what Snape was actually doing. She thought he was a traitor which he was. It is Voldemort who is a fool here not Bellatrix, if you ask me.
Snape was very clever in how he handled that I think. He uses enough of the truth to prevent Bellatrix from being able to argue - her only available argument would have been to criticize Voldemort and she wasn't willing to speak against her Master from what we're shown. Snape was no longer loyal to Voldemort, but he was very careful to make sure that his actions would not betray that. And they didn't. The one thing he lied about was believing Voldemort to be dead - he had known all along that Voldemort was not dead and would eventually return because of Dumbledore. Keeping his position at Hogwarts and maintaining Dumbledore's trust was exactly what Voldemort wanted from Snape. That was why Dumbledore's plan worked - they played it exactly how Voldemort would expect Snape to act and used that to ensure Snape would be accepted back into the fold by Voldemort without question.

Snape's actions as a Death Eater were designed to prove his loyalty - it appeared that he was following Voldemort's orders to the letter because he actually was. Voldemort had ordered him to get a job at Hogwarts and gain Dumbledore's trust so he could spy on Dumbledore. That's exactly what Snape did. He kept that job and could honestly tell Voldemort when he returned that Dumbledore still trusted him. Voldemort expected him to pass along information about Dumbledore and the Order. That's exactly what Snape did. Voldemort ordered Snape to stay at Hogwarts and not join other Death Eaters in missions - i.e. the DoM. That's exactly what Snape did.

Bellatrix was right in suspecting that Snape was no longer loyal to Voldemort. However, her reasons for becoming suspicious were wrong - those were the things Voldemort wanted from Snape. That's why Dumbledore and Snape handled it that way. The reason Snape was no longer loyal had nothing to do with Harry or Dumbledore or the Order or even Voldemort disappearing after he failed to kill Harry. The reason Snape switched sides was something Bellatrix would never have considered - Voldemort killed Lily. Bellatrix could never have understood that anymore than she was able to see why Voldemort's reasons for trusting Snape made sense from what we're shown. And that's where Voldemort made his mistake as well because he was not capable of feeling love or understanding it. Dumbledore and Snape were able to play into Voldemort's expectations easily because Voldemort did not see any reason for Snape to turn against him.

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I still see no contradiction between Voldemort feeling sorry for losing a good lieutenant who also meant something personal to him. It would be the part of Bellatrix that was useful to him that he would regret losing but it wouldn't be limited to that, IMO, especially in the light of recent events when she had disappointed him.
I don't see any indication that Bellatrix meant anything personal to Voldemort at all actually. As far as Voldemort was concerned, Bellatrix was only a servant - a possession as far as we're shown. As Dumbledore explained, Voldemort never had any friends and never wanted any. He had no desire to share his secrets - he preferred to keep them to himself. He was not capable of feeling or understanding love. He formed no emotional attachments to anyone or anything. Voldemort saw himself above things like that and considered such emotional attachments a weakness. Being angry because someone else killed Bellatrix does not change that, IMO.

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I don't think Snape or Lucius were particularly intelligent actually. Snape had Dumbledore, the great mastermind, to guide him. Lucius wanted to be a turn coat and protect his family but he didn't really know how to act which made him easy prey for Voldemort. Just because Bellatrix wasn't a traitor doesn't mean she was stupid. She understood Voldemort well enough to know how he would react to certain things and followed him because she had nothing to lose by doing so. Snape betrayed him because of Lily and Lucius had his family. Bellatrix didn't have anyone more important to her than Voldemort except perhaps Narcissa but she was never forced to choose between them. I also doubt a dumb person could be prodigiously skilled at anything really.
In comparison to the other Death Eaters, Snape and Lucius were extremely intelligent - geniuses really. Even Bellatrix had more intelligence than the other Death Eaters. This was not a group comprised of intelligent, skilled people from what we're shown. That's why Snape, Lucius, and Bellatrix stand out among them, IMO.

Snape turned against Voldemort because of Lily being killed. However, Lucius never turned against Voldemort at all. Narcissa did to some extent - that one moment where she lied about Harry being dead - but Lucius did not. Lucius was trying to find a way to regain favor with Voldemort all along. That's why he was so excited when the snatchers showed up with Harry. That was part of why he was trying to get Voldemort to let him go look for Harry during the battle. He also wanted to find Draco, but like Draco, he believed that capturing Harry and bringing him to Voldemort would result in Voldemort forgiving everything so they could regain their position. Lucius didn't fight in the end - joining Narcissa to look for Draco - but we also have to remember that Lucius could not fight because he had no wand.

It's also interesting that Lucius' failures were actually due to things beyond his control. Voldemort never told him that the diary was a Horcrux so he had no idea what would happen - specifically that the fragment of soul in it would become fixated on Harry and draw attention to itself by setting a trap for Harry. Not to mention that was Voldemort's plan initially so Lucius believed he was simply carrying that out in Voldemort's absence. As Dumbledore said, if Lucius had known the diary was a Horcrux, he would have treated it with more reverence - and probably would have attempted to use it to bring Voldemort back right away. Likewise, the failure at the Ministry was the result of Snape telling the Order Harry had been lured into a trap. Harry was actually going to give Lucius the prophecy when the Order showed up. Had Snape not intervened, Lucius would have gotten the prophecy and captured Harry. Lucius gets blamed and punished for both of those failures because Voldemort was not willing to consider or admit his own mistake and none of them knew about Snape's betrayal. On the surface, it appeared that Lucius was directly responsible, but he actually wasn't. Rather ironic really.

I wouldn't say Bellatrix was stupid either. I do think Snape and Lucius were more intelligent than she was overall, but she was intelligent too. Her problem was primarily the fact that she was too impulsive and her own violent nature often led her to act without thinking. Snape and Lucius were more calculating and planned things out where Bellatrix tended to react and take action without planning or considering the consequences. Bellatrix remained completely loyal to Voldemort throughout - and I doubt she would have chosen anyone over Voldemort had she been put in such a position. She was willing to kill her own niece simply because Voldemort told her to. I think she would probably have done the same with Narcissa if Voldemort had given the order. She felt no loyalty to anyone but Voldemort so he would always come first for her, IMO.

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Yes but the Cup contained a piece of himself, a piece of his soul. Bellatrix was not a Horcrux and, as I explained above, her value in Voldemort's eyes had greatly decreased.
Voldemort had no emotional attachment to the cup though. It had a piece of his soul, but its value was entirely in the fact that it was a means for him to stay alive. He was willing to give up pieces of his soul to ensure his own immortality. His soul was not important to him - it was merely a means to an end. That's why he never realized that he had actually weakened himself by dividing it into so many pieces.

Bellatrix was not a Horcrux. However, she was a valued servant - and the only servant he held any value to after he had killed Snape from what we're shown. She was also the only servant who was having any success in that final battle in the Great Hall - everyone else was being taken down. They were dropping like flies. Bellatrix wasn't winning her battle, but she wasn't losing it either - until Molly stepped in and killed her. That basically left Voldemort as the last one standing - and that infuriated him.

Really, I think it was the entire situation. Nothing went as he expected it to. He expected Harry's "death" to end the rebellion against him. They were supposed to accept defeat and bow to him. They didn't. Freezing Neville and putting the Sorting Hat on him and setting it on fire was supposed to make them realize he had won. It didn't. They continued to resist. More people showed up to fight. The Centaurs joined in the fighting. The house-elves joined in the fighting. And they were winning. His "army" was dropping all around him. Bellatrix being killed was the last straw I think. It wasn't supposed to happen that way. That was supposed to be his moment of victory - strolling in with Harry's dead body and everyone else just giving up. Instead, it was turning into a moment of humiliating defeat - his army being crushed by a group of students, teachers, parents, and what he considered inferior magical creatures. I think his furious reaction was very predictable.

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I agree that she was stereotypical in some ways but then again most HP characters are so I don't see that as an issue. She defied stereotypes in terms of what people generally expect from women and from female characters. She wasn't nurturing and maternal, she was a good warrior and she wasn't a passive actor in her society like her sisters.
I don't really see Bellatrix defying any stereotypes simply because she was a Death Eater and liked to torture and kill people. I would say she was actually very passive because her actions were dictated by her family's expectations and Voldemort's orders - or what she thought Voldemort would want. From what we're shown, Bellatrix never made any choices based on what she wanted, but rather her choices were based on what her family expected and/or Voldemort wanted.

Narcissa actually showed independence and free will, IMO. She was the one willing to defy Voldemort by going to Snape and asking him to kill Dumbledore instead of Draco taking that risk. Bellatrix tried to stop her because she felt Narcissa should do exactly as Voldemort said without question. Narcissa was also the one willing to take the risk of lying to Voldemort about Harry being dead. I'd say Bellatrix would probably have tried to stop her from doing that as well. So, for me, Bellatrix was a lot more passive while Narcissa was more independent.

I'd say that was even more true for Andromeda. She defied her family's expectations by marrying a man she loved in spite of him being muggleborn. She was disowned for that. She lived her life as she wanted to and fought against Voldemort in spite of what her family would have wanted. So I would say that she was more independent and showed more free will than both of her sisters. Bellatrix is really the only one of them who showed that she was passive, IMO.

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I don't see it quite like that. She made her own choices and followed (and pursued) the man she wanted despite being married to another. She married a pureblood due to her convictions but she didn't give in to society's pressure in any other way. I believe we were shown she is a Death Eater because she wants to be one. There is nothing slavish about her IMO. If she decided she didn't want to follow Voldemort anymore she would leave him (or at least try to). She followed orders from Lucius but she also took over the Malfoy Manor two years later and bullied anyone who questioned her authority. I think she had plenty of free will and lived the way she wanted to. That makes me see her strong and to a certain extent even independent. She saw herself as equal to Voldemort though I'm sure he wouldn't view her the same way.
I would still have to disagree. Bellatrix didn't choose her husband - her family chose for her and she went along with that passively, as Jo revealed. She may have chosen to follow Voldemort, but she also made herself completely subservient to him - he was the Master and she was the servant. There was no equality there from what we're shown. She only bullied people she saw as inferior to herself - and even that stemmed from her believing what her family wanted her to believe so that comes back to being passive in doing what her family expected of her, IMO. I think that also stems from her wanting to impress Voldemort and being completely subservient to him. Voldemort's word was law for Bellatrix from what we're shown. She demonstrated no independence or free will in that respect, IMO. She followed orders and did what she was told. Almost every action by her was dictated by either her family's expectations, Voldemort giving her a direct order, what she thought Voldemort would want her to do, or what she thought Voldemort would not want her to do.

Bellatrix only did one thing independently and that was to confront Snape with her suspicions. And even there, she gives up because Voldemort trusted Snape and she could not find a way to argue against that without criticizing her Master. As I said before, that doesn't make me see her as appealing or strong. That presents her as very passive and subservient overall, IMO.


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

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  #288  
Old July 10th, 2012, 9:55 pm
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
IMO, there's no evidence that the Order members are any more skilled "overall" than the death eaters were.
I don't think so either. The first Order may have been more skilled since they were also more skilled than the second Order but mostly the Order members gett their butts kicked by the DEs.

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
Not all of them - she did defeat Sirius. But there's nothing on page to confirm her actually defeating Tonks or Kingsley. We can only speculate about that. As I said before, I think she might have defeated Tonks - but I wouldn't say that with any certainty because Harry only saw Tonks fall. I don't believe she defeated Kingsley at all - particularly with that being the moment she chose to run away.
I still don't understand why these cannot be considered her victories. If you check any HP encyclopedia available online you would see that these duels are listed as having been won by Bellatrix. There is no ambiguity there. Tonks had been knocked out before she fell down the stairs. To suggest that both Tonks and Kingsley were hit by stray spells and that Bellatrix was just lucky seems far fetched to me and I don't really see the point of such a suggestion. I could understand it if Bellatrix had been presented as unskilled but as she was presented as powerful and good at duelling no other explanations as to how those duels were won is needed, IMO. I see no mystery there but I respect your opinion of course.

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Plus, as I said before, it does stand out that Bellatrix did not run when Dumbledore first arrived. I don't think she realized he was there because she was focused on fighting Sirius.
It's possible. But her not running away immediately doesn't seem that strange to me. She stayed and fought for as long as she could but when there was no hope for victory she ran away so as to escape capture.

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He may have, but would Voldemort believe him? At that point, it would appear as though Lucius was simply trying to save himself - and Lucius was already at the bottom as far as Voldemort concerned. It was his house that Harry escaped from and Voldemort's order to be summoned if Harry was captured would trump anything Bellatrix said, so it's more likely that Lucius took the brunt of the blame there, IMO.
Why wouldn't Voldemort believe him though? He could use his Legilimency skills and find out if Lucius was lying. I'm sure he would have been interested in getting to the bottom of things instead of simply ignoring Lucius's accusation.

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Bellatrix managed to escape though. The other Death Eaters were in the DoM - restrained and being prevented from apparating by a anti-apparition jinx. Bellatrix had gotten out and was still trying to get the prophecy from Harry. She didn't know the prophecy had been destroyed because, again, that was Lucius - he had been the one trying to get it when it got broken. The mission had failed, but not because of anything Bellatrix did - though it is rather ironic that it was also Lucius who prevented Bellatrix from making such a mistake. Regardless, Voldemort had no reason to punish Bellatrix for that from what we're shown.
Voldemort is not exactly the type to think logically in these situations. He was angry and he needed to blow off some steam. Bellatrix was there and she had been involved in the failure so it wouldn't have been strange for her to get tortured. There is no indication that she was, though, even if it is implied in HBP that she did lose favor somewhat.

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If that were the case, then Bellatrix would have been punished just as severely as Lucius was, IMO.
My question is why she wasn't because it would make sense to me if she had been punished, even more so than Lucius since she did own a wand and could have stopped Harry from escaping. It makes me believe there is something else here unrelated to Voldemort not seeing her guilt.

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It appears that Voldemort blamed Lucius for these things as well. As I said above, it was his house. The prisoners - Ollivander and Luna - had been kept in his dungeon. The snatchers brought Harry and the other prisoners to Lucius. It was his responsibility to notify Voldemort that Harry had been captured and brought to his home - and Bellatrix did not have the authority to overturn Voldemort's direct order for them to notify him immediately if Harry was captured so Voldemort would still hold Lucius responsible for that, IMO. Draco would be part of that as well - being the one asked to verify Harry's identity as well as having not one, but three wands taken from him by Harry. One of those wands belonged to Bellatrix. So, again, Bellatrix was not directly defeated - she had actually taken control of the situation and had Draco retrieve her wand. Then Dobby showed up and Harry managed to overpower Draco to get all three wands from him.
Yes but once again, I don't see Voldemort as someone who would think in a sensible manner. To him it was very simple-- Bellatrix and Lucius had Harry, Harry escaped aided by a house elf, Harry found out about the Cup and stole it. Bellatrix and Lucius were both involved in this major fiasco. Lucius had no wand and therefore less of a chance to defend himself and stop Harry from escaping. Bellatrix tried to do so but was essentially defeated by a house elf, a creature Voldemort sees as inferior to wizards. And now, Voldemort lost a Horcrux because of all this and regrets having trusted Bellatrix (I will find that quote some day, I don't have my books with me).

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I have to disagree with that. Bellatrix did not understand that from what we're shown - she continued to mock Snape about it afterward in fact. She didn't think Snape would actually go through with the Unbreakable Vow because she believed he was hiding behind Voldemort's orders to avoid having to fight. She could not argue against anything Snape said because Snape told her it was Voldemort's order - but she didn't understand it or agree that it was logical from what we're shown. She simply was not willing to say anything against her Master, IMO.
She had already said plenty against Voldemort. The simple fact that she was there could have been construed as disloyalty. My understanding was that she found Snape's arguments convincing.

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Bellatrix makes the same mistake that Crouch Jr. made here. She assumes that Voldemort would be pleased if Harry was killed regardless. She didn't understand why Voldemort was pleased that Harry had not been killed by one of the Death Eaters. In her mind, all that mattered was for Harry to die. For Voldemort, what mattered was that he be the one to kill Harry personally.
Yes, which is she why she would have probably made the mistake of killing Harry if she had been in Snape's shoes. But Snape didn't refrain from killing Harry because of Voldemort. Bellatrix had him admit that he didn't do it simply because he didn't want to end up in Azkaban and had believed Voldemort dead. That's what bothered her, IMO. That Snape would put his own well being above Voldemort's.

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I don't see any indication that Bellatrix meant anything personal to Voldemort at all actually. As far as Voldemort was concerned, Bellatrix was only a servant - a possession as far as we're shown. As Dumbledore explained, Voldemort never had any friends and never wanted any. He had no desire to share his secrets - he preferred to keep them to himself. He was not capable of feeling or understanding love. He formed no emotional attachments to anyone or anything. Voldemort saw himself above things like that and considered such emotional attachments a weakness. Being angry because someone else killed Bellatrix does not change that, IMO.
It's not just that he was angry, it's the entire situation and what the previous books had shown as well. We have been discussing why Voldemort didn't punish Bellatrix as harshly as his other followers and I think both explanations offered are valid. The text supports both Voldemort's reaction being personal and it being related to how useful Bellatrix was to him.

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I wouldn't say Bellatrix was stupid either. I do think Snape and Lucius were more intelligent than she was overall, but she was intelligent too. Her problem was primarily the fact that she was too impulsive and her own violent nature often led her to act without thinking. Snape and Lucius were more calculating and planned things out where Bellatrix tended to react and take action without planning or considering the consequences.
Snape and Lucius had not spent 14 years locked up in a place and tortured daily. I wonder how smart they would have been then.
Also, according to Pottermore, Bella's wand wood is connected to intelligence. That surprised me since it would have thought it would make more sense for Hermione's wand to be made from that wood.

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She was willing to kill her own niece simply because Voldemort told her to.
Because she married a werewolf, I would say.

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Really, I think it was the entire situation. Nothing went as he expected it to. He expected Harry's "death" to end the rebellion against him. They were supposed to accept defeat and bow to him. They didn't. Freezing Neville and putting the Sorting Hat on him and setting it on fire was supposed to make them realize he had won. It didn't. They continued to resist. More people showed up to fight. The Centaurs joined in the fighting. The house-elves joined in the fighting. And they were winning. His "army" was dropping all around him. Bellatrix being killed was the last straw I think. It wasn't supposed to happen that way.
Both yes and no. They weren't supposed to die but on the other hand Voldemort had killed Harry and became the master of the Elder wand (or so he thought) so that part went according to his desire. He had no reason to be that desperate. He thought himself immortal and invincible with or without Bellatrix.

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I don't really see Bellatrix defying any stereotypes simply because she was a Death Eater and liked to torture and kill people. I would say she was actually very passive because her actions were dictated by her family's expectations and Voldemort's orders - or what she thought Voldemort would want. From what we're shown, Bellatrix never made any choices based on what she wanted, but rather her choices were based on what her family expected and/or Voldemort wanted.
On the contrary, I think she lived her life exactly as she wanted. It's true that she had to obey Voldemort but that was okay since he had never ordered her to do anything she didn't want to do from what we're shown. Her choices were her own, IMO.

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Narcissa actually showed independence and free will, IMO. She was the one willing to defy Voldemort by going to Snape and asking him to kill Dumbledore instead of Draco taking that risk. Bellatrix tried to stop her because she felt Narcissa should do exactly as Voldemort said without question.
She tried to stop her because she was about to put her son's life in the hands of a traitor.

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I'd say that was even more true for Andromeda. She defied her family's expectations by marrying a man she loved in spite of him being muggleborn. She was disowned for that. She lived her life as she wanted to and fought against Voldemort in spite of what her family would have wanted. So I would say that she was more independent and showed more free will than both of her sisters. Bellatrix is really the only one of them who showed that she was passive, IMO.
I agree about Andromeda but I think she did submit to society's expectations of her after she married though, that is what I meant. Narcissa strikes me as passive because despite her convictions she never fights for them, but rather lets her husband become a DE while she remains on the sidelines. That seems to be what most women in the HP world did and were expected to do. Bellatrix fought in a war, she wasn't passive in that regard. She got involved and avoided becoming a trophy wife like her sister.

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I would still have to disagree. Bellatrix didn't choose her husband - her family chose for her and she went along with that passively, as Jo revealed.
Actually we don't know that. Rowling said Bellatrix married a pureblood because it was expected of her but it might have been a pureblood of her choice. There is no indication that the marriage was arranged as far as I can tell.

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Voldemort's word was law for Bellatrix from what we're shown. She demonstrated no independence or free will in that respect, IMO. She followed orders and did what she was told. Almost every action by her was dictated by either her family's expectations, Voldemort giving her a direct order, what she thought Voldemort would want her to do, or what she thought Voldemort would not want her to do.
It was her choice to follow Voldemort though so if that means subservience to him maybe for her it was worth it. Voldemort's word was not law for her as she demonstrates in both HBP and DH. The Order members are also very subservient to Dumbledore and substitute their own judgment for his something Harry is also gulity of sometimes.
Bellatrix is by no means a perfect character or a good role model at all but she is different from most other female characters Rowling creates, not just because of her evilness but because she dares to pursue her own desires, makes her own choices despite what is expected of her (she married a pureblood but she was more than willing to cheat on him with a half blood after all), refuses to be defined as someone's Mrs (her husband is a non existant character) and is a full fledged character despite her brief scenes in the books. I'm not a fan of hers or anything but I do see her character as representing a more modern type of woman than many others. There are plenty of things wrong with her as well, I'm not contradicting that.


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  #289  
Old July 11th, 2012, 1:12 am
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meesha1971  Female.gif meesha1971 is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
I still don't understand why these cannot be considered her victories. If you check any HP encyclopedia available online you would see that these duels are listed as having been won by Bellatrix. There is no ambiguity there. Tonks had been knocked out before she fell down the stairs. To suggest that both Tonks and Kingsley were hit by stray spells and that Bellatrix was just lucky seems far fetched to me and I don't really see the point of such a suggestion. I could understand it if Bellatrix had been presented as unskilled but as she was presented as powerful and good at duelling no other explanations as to how those duels were won is needed, IMO. I see no mystery there but I respect your opinion of course.
I only go by the information presented in the books and by Jo. There are many encyclopedias online and for sale - and many of them have a lot of mistakes as well.

As I said before, Harry did not see either incident. He saw Tonks fall off the stairs - he saw Kingsley on the ground. That does not confirm that Bellatrix defeated either of them because Harry did not see Bellatrix cast a spell at either of them. If J.K. Rowling reveals that Bellatrix defeated them, that would be entirely different. But what we have in the text gives no confirmation so all we can do is speculate at this point.

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It's possible. But her not running away immediately doesn't seem that strange to me. She stayed and fought for as long as she could but when there was no hope for victory she ran away so as to escape capture.
I don't find that strange either. From what we're shown, it's typical Death Eaters strategy - if victory is not guaranteed, run away if possible.

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Why wouldn't Voldemort believe him though? He could use his Legilimency skills and find out if Lucius was lying. I'm sure he would have been interested in getting to the bottom of things instead of simply ignoring Lucius's accusation.
As you said yourself, Voldemort was not one to think things through logically - particularly when he was in a rage. He was already angry because Bellatrix had interrupted his interrogation of Grindelwald - arriving to discover that they had Harry and he escaped would have sent him further into a rage. Lucius was the was the one Voldemort would assume was responsible first - it was his house and his responsibility. And Lucius had already failed him so Voldemort expected him to fail.

Lucius would have known that pointing the finger at Bellatrix wouldn't help him because Voldemort had given a direct order for them to notify him immediately if Harry Potter was captured. Ignoring that for any reason would only make things worse.

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Voldemort is not exactly the type to think logically in these situations. He was angry and he needed to blow off some steam. Bellatrix was there and she had been involved in the failure so it wouldn't have been strange for her to get tortured. There is no indication that she was, though, even if it is implied in HBP that she did lose favor somewhat.

My question is why she wasn't because it would make sense to me if she had been punished, even more so than Lucius since she did own a wand and could have stopped Harry from escaping. It makes me believe there is something else here unrelated to Voldemort not seeing her guilt.
We know that Bellatrix was included in the punishment because of Travers' reaction to seeing "Bellatrix" in Diagon Alley. Bellatrix was tortured along with everyone else. However, Lucius was tortured worse than any of them - still showing the injuries in the final battle. Narcissa, Draco, and Bellatrix did not have such injuries so I think it's clear that Voldemort held Lucius responsible for what happened.

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Yes but once again, I don't see Voldemort as someone who would think in a sensible manner. To him it was very simple-- Bellatrix and Lucius had Harry, Harry escaped aided by a house elf, Harry found out about the Cup and stole it. Bellatrix and Lucius were both involved in this major fiasco. Lucius had no wand and therefore less of a chance to defend himself and stop Harry from escaping. Bellatrix tried to do so but was essentially defeated by a house elf, a creature Voldemort sees as inferior to wizards. And now, Voldemort lost a Horcrux because of all this and regrets having trusted Bellatrix (I will find that quote some day, I don't have my books with me).
Again, that depends on what Voldemort knew about the incident. Lucius was the one he punished the worst for it - as I said above. Bellatrix and the others were punished as well - according to Travers - but nowhere near as badly as Lucius. The issue was not who had a wand - it was who Voldemort held responsible. Narcissa and Draco had wands - and Draco lost his wand along with Bellatrix's wand in all of that.

Bellatrix had actually gained control back - she had Hermione and had forced Ron and Harry to drop the wands they were using. Then the chandelier fell on her - dropped by Dobby. And she managed to kill Dobby as they disapparated. It did not appear that Voldemort had any idea that Bellatrix had delayed summoning him or that she had revealed the location of the cup to Harry. As I said before, from what we see of Lucius in the final battle, it appears that Voldemort held him responsible for the escape.

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She had already said plenty against Voldemort. The simple fact that she was there could have been construed as disloyalty. My understanding was that she found Snape's arguments convincing.
Actually, the text reveals the opposite.

HBP, pg 32Bellatrix still looked unhappy, though she appeared unsure how best to attack Snape next. Taking advantage of her silence, Snape turned to her sister.


And this.

HBP, pg 35“Aren’t you listening, Narcissa? Oh, he’ll try, I’m sure. . . . The usual empty words, the usual slithering out of action . . . oh, on the Dark Lord’s orders, of course!”


That tells me that Snape's arguments did not convince Bellatrix at all. To that point, Bellatrix had not said anything against Voldemort beyond timidly telling Narcissa that she thought he might be mistaken to trust Snape. But she was not willing to openly criticize her Master - particularly in front of Snape, IMO.

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Yes, which is she why she would have probably made the mistake of killing Harry if she had been in Snape's shoes. But Snape didn't refrain from killing Harry because of Voldemort. Bellatrix had him admit that he didn't do it simply because he didn't want to end up in Azkaban and had believed Voldemort dead. That's what bothered her, IMO. That Snape would put his own well being above Voldemort's.
I agree that Bellatrix was angry with Snape - any Death Eater really - that put their own well being before Voldemort. That goes along with her being completely subservient to him, IMO. From the way Bellatrix talked, they were Voldemort's property and should consider that an honor.

Still, that was one of the things Snape lied about - it played into Voldemort's expectations. Snape told Bellatrix that the primary reason was to maintain Dumbledore's trust - killing Harry would have alerted Dumbledore that he could not be trusted. That was certainly true and was consistent with what Voldemort expected Snape to do. Likewise, many of the Death Eaters had wondered if Harry had survived because he was a great Dark Wizard himself and considered the possibility that he might be a standard around which they could all rally. Snape used that to his advantage - claiming to have been curious about those rumors, but realizing that Harry was "mediocre to the last degree".

Bellatrix cannot argue against the fact that Voldemort was very pleased that Snape never killed Harry and that Snape was successful in maintaining Dumbledore's trust for all of those years. She couldn't understand why because, to her way of thinking, it would have been smarter to take advantage of that situation to kill Harry and the idea of playing along with Dumbledore did not make any sense to her at all. But to argue that point, she would have to openly speak out against Voldemort - and she was not willing to speak out against her Master from what we're shown.

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It's not just that he was angry, it's the entire situation and what the previous books had shown as well. We have been discussing why Voldemort didn't punish Bellatrix as harshly as his other followers and I think both explanations offered are valid. The text supports both Voldemort's reaction being personal and it being related to how useful Bellatrix was to him.
The text directly states that Voldemort did not have any personal or emotional attachment to anyone or anything - I see no contradiction to that. As Jo said, Voldemort was a psychopath - they are not capable of such emotional attachments because they are not capable of feeling love. There's no getting around that, IMO. From what we're shown, Voldemort did not punish Bellatrix as harshly because she had never directly failed him as far as he knew. She was the only Death Eater who had any success at the DoM - killing Sirius and managing to escape to the Atrium while all the others had been captured and Lucius in particular caused the prophecy to get smashed. I think it's fairly clear that Voldemort blamed Lucius for Harry escaping Malfoy Manor - and simple enough for Bellatrix to pass the blame over to save herself. Lucius couldn't save himself by pointing the finger at Bellatrix because, by listening to her and not summoning Voldemort, he had directly defied Voldemort's orders. Either way, he was going to be punished and Voldemort already considered him a failure.

That's not to say that Voldemort was never disappointed in Bellatrix, but in comparison to the failures Lucius racked up, Bellatrix was a model Death Eater, IMO.

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Snape and Lucius had not spent 14 years locked up in a place and tortured daily. I wonder how smart they would have been then.
That was certainly a factor - though from the memory Harry saw in GOF, it does not appear that Bellatrix was ever completely sane. Jo's explanation that Bellatrix was also a psychopath makes a lot of sense because psychopaths are born - not made.

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Also, according to Pottermore, Bella's wand wood is connected to intelligence. That surprised me since it would have thought it would make more sense for Hermione's wand to be made from that wood.
That's interesting. Like I said before, I never felt that Bellatrix was stupid. I just wouldn't put her at the same level of intelligence we see from Lucius or Snape. Her impulsiveness and violent nature worked against her there, IMO.

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Because she married a werewolf, I would say.
Because Voldemort ordered her to - that was clearly stated on page. Bellatrix had known about Tonks marrying Lupin, but she didn't try to kill her until Voldemort told her that she should.

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Both yes and no. They weren't supposed to die but on the other hand Voldemort had killed Harry and became the master of the Elder wand (or so he thought) so that part went according to his desire. He had no reason to be that desperate. He thought himself immortal and invincible with or without Bellatrix.
Except that things were not working out as he wanted them to. The rebellion didn't end with Harry's death. They didn't accept defeat and bow to him. Neville broke through his binding charm - and was not injured by the burning hat at all. The Sorting Hat itself remained intact in spite of him setting it on fire. Harry's body vanished. His army was dropping like flies around him as more people and magical creatures showed up to fight against him. He thought he had mastered the Elder wand, but it still wasn't working for him like he thought it should. All of his Horcruxes had been destroyed - Neville destroying the last by killing Nagini in front of him. He was mortal, the wand wasn't working right, and everything was falling apart in front of his eyes. His "last, best lieutenant" being killed by Molly was simply the last straw, IMO.

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On the contrary, I think she lived her life exactly as she wanted. It's true that she had to obey Voldemort but that was okay since he had never ordered her to do anything she didn't want to do from what we're shown. Her choices were her own, IMO.
Except that she never considered killing Tonks until Voldemort ordered her to. That was not a choice - that was passively following an ordr to maintain Voldemort's good favor, IMO. Bellatrix's choices were not her own from what we're shown - they were Voldemort's or her family's. Enjoying what she did doesn't change the fact that she was passively going along with what other people expected or that her every thought was devoted to what Voldemort would want and what would make him happy, IMO.

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She tried to stop her because she was about to put her son's life in the hands of a traitor.
Not trusting Snape was part of it, but it is on page that Bellatrix tried to stop Narcissa because she was defying Voldemort's orders.

HBP, pg 21“In any case, we were told not to speak of the plan to anyone. This is a betrayal of the Dark Lord’s —”


She even agrees with Snape - whom she does not trust.

HBP, pg 32“If he has forbidden it, you ought not to speak,” said Snape at once. “The Dark Lord’s word is law.”

Narcissa gasped as though he had doused her with cold water. Bellatrix looked satisfied for the first time since she had entered the house.

“There!” she said triumphantly to her sister. “Even Snape says so: You were told not to talk, so hold your silence!”


Bellatrix was trying to prevent Narcissa from defying Voldemort's orders because the one thing she agreed with Snape about in that scene was that Voldemort's word was law.

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I agree about Andromeda but I think she did submit to society's expectations of her after she married though, that is what I meant. Narcissa strikes me as passive because despite her convictions she never fights for them, but rather lets her husband become a DE while she remains on the sidelines. That seems to be what most women in the HP world did and were expected to do. Bellatrix fought in a war, she wasn't passive in that regard. She got involved and avoided becoming a trophy wife like her sister.
You've lost me on that. Andromeda defied her family and joined the Order to fight against Voldemort. But she was passive because she got married? That makes no sense to me. I have to disagree about Narcissa as well - she was not a good person and her defiance was limited to protecting her immediate family, but I wouldn't call her passive. She risked her life by defying Voldemort twice. Likewise, Narcissa may not have had the Dark Mark, but she was included in Death Eater meetings - and it was implied that she was out there with the other Death Eaters during that scene they caused at the World Cup by torturing that muggle family in GOF. Nor did she strike me as passive when she threatened Harry and his friends in HBP. I wouldn't call Narcissa a trophy wife. From the way Draco talked and what we see in DH, it seemed more to me that Narcissa called the shots in that family.

Bellatrix wasn't the only female character who fought in either war. McGonagall, Sprout, Trelawney, Emmeline Vance, Amelia Bones (Voldemort killed her personally), Hestia Jones, Tonks, Molly, Fleur, Hermione, Ginny, Luna - all the female members of the DA actually, Lily Potter, Alice Longbottom, Marlene McKinnon, Dorcas Meadows (also killed by Voldemort personally), Andromeda, Arabella Figg (member of the Order in the first war as well) - they all fought against Voldemort. And there was Alecto Carrow - though she is the only other female Death Eater who had the Dark Mark. I'd count Narcissa as well since it is implied that she did things like participate in the attack on that muggle family in GOF even though she did not have the Dark Mark.

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Actually we don't know that. Rowling said Bellatrix married a pureblood because it was expected of her but it might have been a pureblood of her choice. There is no indication that the marriage was arranged as far as I can tell.
Jo also said that Bellatrix never loved Rodolphus. From what Jo said, she already had an obsessive love for Voldemort when she married Rodolphus. She only married him because her family expected her to so I would say that was her family's choice rather than hers.

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It was her choice to follow Voldemort though so if that means subservience to him maybe for her it was worth it. Voldemort's word was not law for her as she demonstrates in both HBP and DH. The Order members are also very subservient to Dumbledore and substitute their own judgment for his something Harry is also gulity of sometimes.
Subservience is still passive and allowing Voldemort to make choices for her, IMO. Bellatrix never defied Voldemort - her actions were always dictated by what she believed he would want or what he would not want. In most cases, she was simply following his orders. In others, she acted out of fear of disappointing him or being punished by him. But that all comes down to being passive because her actions were dictated by how she believed Voldemort would react, IMO.

I definitely disagree that the Order was subservient to Dumbledore. They respected him and trusted him so they usually agreed with him, but they also acted on their own. They didn't discuss telling Harry information in OOTP with Dumbledore - they independently decided that the situation had changed and Harry would have to be given more information. Molly was the only one who disagreed with that - but she was wrong on that occasion. Nor did they wait for orders when they found out that Harry had been lured into a trap - they independently decided to go after him and Sirius charged Kreacher with telling Dumbledore where they had gone when he arrived. And the Order was able to continue to function after Dumbledore died.

That's the difference between the Order and the Death Eaters, IMO. The Order could function with or without Dumbledore because they were more independent and thought for themselves. The Death Eaters fell apart without Voldemort because they were entirely dependent upon him from what we're shown.

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Bellatrix is by no means a perfect character or a good role model at all but she is different from most other female characters Rowling creates, not just because of her evilness but because she dares to pursue her own desires, makes her own choices despite what is expected of her (she married a pureblood but she was more than willing to cheat on him with a half blood after all), refuses to be defined as someone's Mrs (her husband is a non existant character) and is a full fledged character despite her brief scenes in the books. I'm not a fan of hers or anything but I do see her character as representing a more modern type of woman than many others. There are plenty of things wrong with her as well, I'm not contradicting that.
I would still have to disagree. The other female characters are shown to be strong, independent women who think for themselves and make choices independent of any male character, IMO. Even Narcissa was capable of that. Bellatrix was presented as a very passive person whose every action was dictated by either family expectation or how Voldemort would react. The only independent action we ever see from Bellatrix is her confrontation with Snape in HBP - and even with that, she backs down rather than risk openly criticizing Voldemort in front of Snape. Bellatrix was shown to be the servant with Voldemort as her Lord and Master - which was true for all of the Death Eaters except for Snape and Regulus, IMO. They kneel before him, beg for his mercy, do exactly what he tells them to do - or act in a manner they think will most please him. I wouldn't say Bellatrix represents a modern woman because of that - it seems more medieval to me actually.


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

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  #290  
Old July 11th, 2012, 1:03 pm
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Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
I only go by the information presented in the books and by Jo. There are many encyclopedias online and for sale - and many of them have a lot of mistakes as well.

As I said before, Harry did not see either incident. He saw Tonks fall off the stairs - he saw Kingsley on the ground. That does not confirm that Bellatrix defeated either of them because Harry did not see Bellatrix cast a spell at either of them. If J.K. Rowling reveals that Bellatrix defeated them, that would be entirely different. But what we have in the text gives no confirmation so all we can do is speculate at this point.
Rowling doesn't need to confirm anything as she has already written it, IMO. She knew people would interpret that as Bellatrix defeating Tonks and Kingsley and made no effort to change that. She could have mentioned that they were hit by a stray spell had that been the case but she didn't. Of course you can speculate and say that they weren't defeated by Bellatrix. Many things in the HP books can seem ambiguous to readers and Rowling has never been upset by people speculating and filling the gaps. If it is your theory that they were hit by stray spells then so be it but the general understanding seems to be that those were duels won by Bellatrix. There is nothing in the book which contradicts that the way I see it so it's a fair assumption. To say that she got so lucky as to have two of her adversaries hit by stray spells is a bit of stretch in my opinion but to each their own, I guess.

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We know that Bellatrix was included in the punishment because of Travers' reaction to seeing "Bellatrix" in Diagon Alley. Bellatrix was tortured along with everyone else. However, Lucius was tortured worse than any of them - still showing the injuries in the final battle. Narcissa, Draco, and Bellatrix did not have such injuries so I think it's clear that Voldemort held Lucius responsible for what happened.
Voldemort mentions in his thoughts that he held both Bellatrix and Lucius responsible. Narcissa and Draco are not included in that comment so it would apear he had been more lenient with them as Narcissa wasn't a DE and Draco was still very young. But Bellatrix and Lucius were both on Voldemort's black list.

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Bellatrix had actually gained control back - she had Hermione and had forced Ron and Harry to drop the wands they were using. Then the chandelier fell on her - dropped by Dobby. And she managed to kill Dobby as they disapparated. It did not appear that Voldemort had any idea that Bellatrix had delayed summoning him or that she had revealed the location of the cup to Harry
Voldemort would not have known Bellatrix managed to kill Dobby and I don't think it would have made any difference to him if he did. His Death Eaters had been defeated by a house elf and Harry Potter escaped him once more only to steal one of his Horcruxes. The only good thing that came out of the fiasco was that Voldemort became aware that Harry was looking for Horcruxes. I think he did make the connection between the Malfoy Manor incident and the Cup theft as he regrets having trusted Bellatrix with the Cup. That would imply he knew she had screwed up somehow and led Harry to the Cup.

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That tells me that Snape's arguments did not convince Bellatrix at all. To that point, Bellatrix had not said anything against Voldemort beyond timidly telling Narcissa that she thought he might be mistaken to trust Snape. But she was not willing to openly criticize her Master - particularly in front of Snape, IMO.
I think she believed Snape was a coward who was only looking out for himself. That's what he accuses him of doing and the fact that he did so on Voldemort's orders seems convenient to Bellatrix. That's not to say she didn't believe he was doing it on Voldemort's orders, just that it happened to suit Snape just fine. There is no indication in Dh that she still considers Snape a traitor. In fact, the thought never crosses her mind that Snape didn't send the real sword to her vault. That could have blown Snape's cover but Bellatrix was no longer suspicious of him.

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I agree that Bellatrix was angry with Snape - any Death Eater really - that put their own well being before Voldemort. That goes along with her being completely subservient to him, IMO. From the way Bellatrix talked, they were Voldemort's property and should consider that an honor.
She was just being hypocritical, the way I see it.

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The text directly states that Voldemort did not have any personal or emotional attachment to anyone or anything - I see no contradiction to that. As Jo said, Voldemort was a psychopath - they are not capable of such emotional attachments because they are not capable of feeling love.
Rowling also said Bellatrix was a psychopath which by that logic would make her also unable to form attachments. That being said, I'm not saying that Voldemort loved Bellatrix (or that Bellatrix loved Voldemort for that matter) but it comes across to me as though he valued her for something besides her being a good Death Eater- as she hadn't been one lately.

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That's not to say that Voldemort was never disappointed in Bellatrix, but in comparison to the failures Lucius racked up, Bellatrix was a model Death Eater, IMO.
I don't think Voldemort made such comparisons. He didn't care about how good people served them compared to other people. He wanted results. Bellatrix didn't give him any and indirectly contributed to his undoing. While you are suggesting that Voldemort simply didn't blame Bellatrix for any of the failures she had been involved in and thus explain the lack of punishment for her, I am arguing that Bellatrix not being punished equally hard supports the theory of there having been more between her and Voldemort than meets the eye. This is why I'm saying the text supports both explanations.

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That's interesting. Like I said before, I never felt that Bellatrix was stupid. I just wouldn't put her at the same level of intelligence we see from Lucius or Snape.
Snape had Dumbledore to help him out and Lucius... I never really saw any intelligent move on Lucius's part. He knew how to keep a low profile and throw his money around but once he was in trouble in a way in which money couldn't help him, he couldn't find a way to get out of it. Narcissa had to rise to the occasion.

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Because Voldemort ordered her to - that was clearly stated on page. Bellatrix had known about Tonks marrying Lupin, but she didn't try to kill her until Voldemort told her that she should.
Voldemort used the pureblood argument which always works with people like Bellatrix. It is also unclear whether or not she knew about the wedding since she didn't understand what Voldemort was talking about until he explained.

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All of his Horcruxes had been destroyed - Neville destroying the last by killing Nagini in front of him. He was mortal, the wand wasn't working right, and everything was falling apart in front of his eyes. His "last, best lieutenant" being killed by Molly was simply the last straw, IMO.
He didn't know Nagini was his last Horcrux though. Voldemort would have never considered himself defeated. His army falling was not ideal of course but he never cared much for any of his DEs (except maybe Bellatrix). He had the Elder wand which he thought to be unbeatable.

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Except that she never considered killing Tonks until Voldemort ordered her to. That was not a choice - that was passively following an ordr to maintain Voldemort's good favor, IMO. Bellatrix's choices were not her own from what we're shown - they were Voldemort's or her family's. Enjoying what she did doesn't change the fact that she was passively going along with what other people expected or that her every thought was devoted to what Voldemort would want and what would make him happy, IMO.
Tonks was killed because she was ruining the family's blood purity. Bellatrix accepted Voldemort's argument and she didn't care about Tonks anyway so it didn't cost her anything to kill her. All DEs wanted to keep Voldemort happy, it was part of the job description. Bellatrix showed that she could obey Voldemort but do so on her own terms, to keep herself safe and get what she wants from him.

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Bellatrix was trying to prevent Narcissa from defying Voldemort's orders because the one thing she agreed with Snape about in that scene was that Voldemort's word was law.
If Voldemort's word was law then she shouldn't have been there at all, making an Unbreakable Vow with a person she wasn't sure she could trust, as you argued. Like I said before she was being hypocritical as she had just said Voldemort was mistaken about Snape.

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You've lost me on that. Andromeda defied her family and joined the Order to fight against Voldemort. But she was passive because she got married?
No, of course not. I don't think she was passive, in fact we know so little about her that we can't form any opinion about her. I don't remember her being in the Order though.

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Bellatrix wasn't the only female character who fought in either war. McGonagall, Sprout, Trelawney, Emmeline Vance, Amelia Bones (Voldemort killed her personally), Hestia Jones, Tonks, Molly, Fleur, Hermione, Ginny, Luna - all the female members of the DA actually, Lily Potter, Alice Longbottom, Marlene McKinnon, Dorcas Meadows (also killed by Voldemort personally), Andromeda, Arabella Figg (member of the Order in the first war as well) - they all fought against Voldemort. And there was Alecto Carrow - though she is the only other female Death Eater who had the Dark Mark. I'd count Narcissa as well since it is implied that she did things like participate in the attack on that muggle family in GOF even though she did not have the Dark Mark.
Most of the characters you mentioned are names, not characters. The Order members were fighting to defend themselves and their society. While that is certanly not passive I wouldn't put that on the same level as fighting to change society, even if it's in a bad way. The Order was only reacting to what Voldemort and the DEs were doing. Bellatrix is unique in the sense that she didn't do what other pureblooded women did. If more women had been encouraged to join the war Voldemort would have had more female Death Eaters. Bellatrix was not only interested in joining the war but also in ruling the Wizarding world together with Voldemort. Narcissa was definitely not passive when it came to protecting her son but she did seem to be entirely devoted to Lucius and more than happy to stand on the side while he was doing his Death Eater business.

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Jo also said that Bellatrix never loved Rodolphus. From what Jo said, she already had an obsessive love for Voldemort when she married Rodolphus. She only married him because her family expected her to so I would say that was her family's choice rather than hers.
Bellatrix shared her family's convictions so making a pure blood marriage would not have gone against her will. It was what she believed was right. There is no indication that she was forced to marry Rodolphus.

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Subservience is still passive and allowing Voldemort to make choices for her, IMO. Bellatrix never defied Voldemort - her actions were always dictated by what she believed he would want or what he would not want. In most cases, she was simply following his orders. In others, she acted out of fear of disappointing him or being punished by him. But that all comes down to being passive because her actions were dictated by how she believed Voldemort would react, IMO
They were but I don't see that as being passive. She wanted to make Voldemort happy in order to achieve her own goals in the end. Being in Voldemort's good favor carries many perks, after all, which is why all the Death Eaters wanted it.

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I definitely disagree that the Order was subservient to Dumbledore. They respected him and trusted him so they usually agreed with him, but they also acted on their own. They didn't discuss telling Harry information in OOTP with Dumbledore - they independently decided that the situation had changed and Harry would have to be given more information. Molly was the only one who disagreed with that - but she was wrong on that occasion. Nor did they wait for orders when they found out that Harry had been lured into a trap - they independently decided to go after him and Sirius charged Kreacher with telling Dumbledore where they had gone when he arrived. And the Order was able to continue to function after Dumbledore died.
They didn't function at all, IMO, they started a radio talk show. The Order members held Dumbledore in great esteem and chose to trust him even when evidence showed he might be wrong. Lupin rejects Harry's doubts about Snape because Dumbledore trusts Snape. Sirius remains at the Grimmauld Place because Dumbledore said so. The only difference is that the Order members do not fear Dumbledore. Their safety is not in danger if they disobey and yet they still can't bear to hear a word against Dumbledore or to question his judgement.

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I would still have to disagree. The other female characters are shown to be strong, independent women who think for themselves and make choices independent of any male character, IMO. Even Narcissa was capable of that.
No she wasn't. Narcissa was more defined by her son and husband than Bellatrix had ever been by Voldemort. Narcissa is not shown to have any desire or dream of her own apart from keeping Lucius and Draco safe. I see very few female characters who make choices independent of male characters, actually. Most of them are driven by two things: either motherhood or romance. A possible exception would be Hermione and perhaps McGonagall. Romance is important for Bellatrix as well but I see that as different because it isn't so much about the man as it is about her. She thought Voldemort was her equal, was like her, so she loved him and in a sense loved herself. Her aspirations are different from most other female characters who aren't after power and glory. In that sense she was more modern though perhaps modern is a wrong word. What I mean is that there are very few things traditional about her and she seems to challenge the views most people have about women.


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Old July 12th, 2012, 8:03 pm
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

Can we please not make assumptions about what readers believe or do not believe? Find other ways to make your own theories fool-proof!


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  #292  
Old July 12th, 2012, 11:21 pm
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
Rowling doesn't need to confirm anything as she has already written it, IMO. She knew people would interpret that as Bellatrix defeating Tonks and Kingsley and made no effort to change that. She could have mentioned that they were hit by a stray spell had that been the case but she didn't. Of course you can speculate and say that they weren't defeated by Bellatrix. Many things in the HP books can seem ambiguous to readers and Rowling has never been upset by people speculating and filling the gaps. If it is your theory that they were hit by stray spells then so be it but the general understanding seems to be that those were duels won by Bellatrix. There is nothing in the book which contradicts that the way I see it so it's a fair assumption. To say that she got so lucky as to have two of her adversaries hit by stray spells is a bit of stretch in my opinion but to each their own, I guess.
Considering the chaos of the battle as it was presented and Jo's choice to leave that ambiguous by having Harry not see exactly what happened in either instance, I don't find that a stretch at all. It seems more deliberate to me. As I said, it's certainly possible, but what we are shown in the books does not definitively confirm that Bellatrix defeated either Tonks or Kingsley. That can only be speculation at this point, IMO.

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Voldemort mentions in his thoughts that he held both Bellatrix and Lucius responsible. Narcissa and Draco are not included in that comment so it would apear he had been more lenient with them as Narcissa wasn't a DE and Draco was still very young. But Bellatrix and Lucius were both on Voldemort's black list.
Voldemort's thoughts about it being a mistake to have given Horcruxes to Lucius and Bellatrix are separate from the events at Malfoy Manor where Harry escaped. Bellatrix was never on Voldemort's black list from what we're shown. That seems to have been limited to the Malfoy family directly - Lucius and Draco specifically, IMO.

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Voldemort would not have known Bellatrix managed to kill Dobby and I don't think it would have made any difference to him if he did. His Death Eaters had been defeated by a house elf and Harry Potter escaped him once more only to steal one of his Horcruxes. The only good thing that came out of the fiasco was that Voldemort became aware that Harry was looking for Horcruxes. I think he did make the connection between the Malfoy Manor incident and the Cup theft as he regrets having trusted Bellatrix with the Cup. That would imply he knew she had screwed up somehow and led Harry to the Cup.
Voldemort's thoughts reveal the opposite, IMO. He considered it a mistake to have given Lucius and Bellatrix Horcruxes, but only Lucius had directly caused one to get destroyed. I doubt Voldemort ever knew that Bellatrix had even mentioned her vault in Harry's presence. From what we're shown with Lucius being punished more severely and not being allowed another wand - where Bellatrix had no injury and was given another wand so she could fight in the final battle - I think it is clear that Voldemort still considered Bellatrix a valued servant who could be useful to him in battle.

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I think she believed Snape was a coward who was only looking out for himself. That's what he accuses him of doing and the fact that he did so on Voldemort's orders seems convenient to Bellatrix. That's not to say she didn't believe he was doing it on Voldemort's orders, just that it happened to suit Snape just fine. There is no indication in Dh that she still considers Snape a traitor. In fact, the thought never crosses her mind that Snape didn't send the real sword to her vault. That could have blown Snape's cover but Bellatrix was no longer suspicious of him.
We don't see the events of the sword being given to Bellatrix on page so we can't say if she actually trusted Snape or not. Bellatrix would have been following Voldemort's orders there as well - and Griphook did verify that the sword was real even though it was a fake so Bellatrix had no reason to question that. Given that, it would appear that Snape's word was not good enough for Bellatrix, IMO.

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Rowling also said Bellatrix was a psychopath which by that logic would make her also unable to form attachments. That being said, I'm not saying that Voldemort loved Bellatrix (or that Bellatrix loved Voldemort for that matter) but it comes across to me as though he valued her for something besides her being a good Death Eater- as she hadn't been one lately.
I think the text makes it clear that Voldemort only valued Bellatrix for her services as a Death Eater. There's nothing presented in the text that would indicate anything beyond that, IMO.

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I don't think Voldemort made such comparisons. He didn't care about how good people served them compared to other people. He wanted results. Bellatrix didn't give him any and indirectly contributed to his undoing. While you are suggesting that Voldemort simply didn't blame Bellatrix for any of the failures she had been involved in and thus explain the lack of punishment for her, I am arguing that Bellatrix not being punished equally hard supports the theory of there having been more between her and Voldemort than meets the eye. This is why I'm saying the text supports both explanations.
Actually, Voldemort did make such comparisons from what we're shown - particularly in GOF. Voldemort did hold Bellatrix in high regard as a Death Eater because her loyalty to him never waivered - she went to Azkaban rather than denounce him. Snape was valued because - from Voldemort's perspective - it was very clever of him to gain Dumbledore's trust and get Dumbledore to vouch for him so he could stay at Hogwarts where he could continue to gather information and easily continue his role as spy when Voldemort returned. Lucius had a strike against him there - having both denounced Voldemort and done nothing to try and find him - but Voldemort was willing to forgive him because the remaining Death Eaters did not have the intelligence or skill to get results on their own as Snape, Bellatrix, and Lucius had all demonstrated at one point or other.

Still, Lucius was in the position of having to redeem himself from the start - and failed to do so. As I said before, it is rather ironic that the failures Lucius was punished for were actually the result of Voldemort's mistakes and Snape double crossing them, but from Voldemort's perspective, Lucius was directly responsible for those failures.

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Snape had Dumbledore to help him out and Lucius... I never really saw any intelligent move on Lucius's part. He knew how to keep a low profile and throw his money around but once he was in trouble in a way in which money couldn't help him, he couldn't find a way to get out of it. Narcissa had to rise to the occasion.
Snape was inventing his own spells when he was 15 - Dumbledore didn't help him out in that regard. Snape was very intelligent in his own right - and for what Voldemort expected from his Death Eaters, Snape was more capable than the majority of them. Lucius had earned his position during the first war - in the second, he was put into the position of having to redeem himself.

Spoiler: show
Likewise, we now know that Lucius did get himself out of trouble at the end of both wars. The first time he managed to convince everyone that he had been forced to serve Voldemort against his will. The new information on Pottermore reveals that Lucius kept himself out of Azkaban the second time by giving information to the Ministry about Death Eaters who remained at large.


I think Lucius was primarily valued because he was intelligent and knew how to maintain a low profile - which enabled him to maintain a position of high regard with political figures within the Ministry. That gave Lucius more power and influence - which was useful to Voldemort. I think part of Lucius' failings in the second war was losing that power and influence - making him less useful to Voldemort.

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Voldemort used the pureblood argument which always works with people like Bellatrix. It is also unclear whether or not she knew about the wedding since she didn't understand what Voldemort was talking about until he explained.
I think it was clear that she knew about the wedding itself - though she did not initially realize that's what Voldemort was talking about. Once he revealed that to be the case, she was very embarrassed.

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He didn't know Nagini was his last Horcrux though. Voldemort would have never considered himself defeated. His army falling was not ideal of course but he never cared much for any of his DEs (except maybe Bellatrix). He had the Elder wand which he thought to be unbeatable.
His rage at Nagini being killed demonstrates otherwise, IMO - she was the last Horcrux and that made him mortal. Since Harry was already at Hogwarts and Alecto had failed to detain him, I think it was pretty clear that Harry had figured out the diadem, where it was, and had destroyed it during the first round of fighting. Likewise, the Elder wand was still not performing to his expectations of it - less so than it had before considering none of the spells he cast were binding. His army falling on top of that - particularly his most ruthless and capable fighter being killed right in front of him - just added to the mix, IMO.

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Tonks was killed because she was ruining the family's blood purity. Bellatrix accepted Voldemort's argument and she didn't care about Tonks anyway so it didn't cost her anything to kill her. All DEs wanted to keep Voldemort happy, it was part of the job description. Bellatrix showed that she could obey Voldemort but do so on her own terms, to keep herself safe and get what she wants from him.
Tonks was killed because Voldemort ordered that to be done from what we're shown. Bellatrix hadn't even considered killing Tonks until Voldemort told her she should. That was simply a means to please Voldemort, IMO.

I do agree that all Death Eaters thought that way - it was part of the job description and most of them were similar to Bellatrix in that they would do anything Voldemort asked without question. However, I would also say that simply shows that they were all subservient. From what we're shown, every choice Bellatrix made was on Voldemort's terms. Whether that was following his direct orders, or taking action to prevent him from punishing her makes no difference, IMO. All of that shows Bellatrix to be completely passive and subservient to Voldemort, IMO.

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If Voldemort's word was law then she shouldn't have been there at all, making an Unbreakable Vow with a person she wasn't sure she could trust, as you argued. Like I said before she was being hypocritical as she had just said Voldemort was mistaken about Snape.
She was there because she felt Voldemort's word was law - her goal was to stop Narcissa from defying Voldemort. That was stated on page. Narcissa had been ordered not to speak to anyone of the plan. However, Snape revealed that he already knew of the plan so Narcissa could freely discuss that with him without defying Voldemort. Likewise, Snape revealed that Voldemort expected Draco to fail and for him to be the one who actually carried the plan out. So, again, Narcissa was not actually defying Voldemort by asking Snape to do it instead because Snape had already been given the order to do so if/when Draco failed.

The only thing that was an actual defiance was asking Snape to protect Draco. However, even with that, it was not a direct defiance because Voldemort had never explicitly stated that he wanted Draco to fail or be killed in the process. That was simply what he expected to happen. Snape protecting Draco and trying to help him would not directly go against Voldemort's orders because the primary goal with that plan was to kill Dumbledore. Bellatrix did not do anything that night that could be considered a defiance beyond her confrontation with Snape - from which she backed down and accepted Voldemort's word as law from what we're shown.

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No, of course not. I don't think she was passive, in fact we know so little about her that we can't form any opinion about her. I don't remember her being in the Order though.
That's why Hagrid and Harry went to the Tonks home - they were part of the Order.

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Most of the characters you mentioned are names, not characters. The Order members were fighting to defend themselves and their society. While that is certanly not passive I wouldn't put that on the same level as fighting to change society, even if it's in a bad way. The Order was only reacting to what Voldemort and the DEs were doing. Bellatrix is unique in the sense that she didn't do what other pureblooded women did. If more women had been encouraged to join the war Voldemort would have had more female Death Eaters. Bellatrix was not only interested in joining the war but also in ruling the Wizarding world together with Voldemort. Narcissa was definitely not passive when it came to protecting her son but she did seem to be entirely devoted to Lucius and more than happy to stand on the side while he was doing his Death Eater business.
I'd have to disagree with that. Voldemort's desire to subjugate the wizarding world in general is not the issue. The Death Eaters went along with him simply because his goal would enable them to openly engage in torturing and murdering people they considered inferior without fear of repercussion because they were certain he would protect them. Without Voldemort, they disbanded and went into hiding. These were not "pro-active" people trying to change the world from what we're shown. Primarily, they were just along for the ride and enjoying the benefits of Voldemort's successes. Bellatrix was never shown to consider Voldemort an equal or to have any aspirations of ruling with him - she considered Voldemort her master and herself his most loyal servant from what we're shown.

Narcissa was not shown to be entirely devoted to Lucius either from what we're shown. To Draco, yes - but that is not passive at all, IMO. Protecting your child instead of blindly following orders that would put that child at risk or even result in him being killed is an independent action, IMO. Narcissa was passive at times - i.e. that first Death Eater meeting in which she said nothing and instructed Lucius to go along with Voldemort, but even with that we see that Narcissa has aspirations for her family to regain favor with Voldemort the same as Lucius did. It wasn't until she realized Voldemort was definitely going to lose that she actually did anything to defy him. Still, that was nowhere near as passive as Bellatrix - who was prepared to die fighting for Voldemort and would consider it an honor, IMO.

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Bellatrix shared her family's convictions so making a pure blood marriage would not have gone against her will. It was what she believed was right. There is no indication that she was forced to marry Rodolphus.
Passively going along with marrying a man she did not love simply because her family expected her to is not the same thing as being forced. I would say the opposite actually - if they had forced her to marry someone she didn't love, that wouldn't be a passive act because it was done against her will with her fighting against it. Blithely going along with it without argument simply because they expected it was completely passive, IMO.

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They were but I don't see that as being passive. She wanted to make Voldemort happy in order to achieve her own goals in the end. Being in Voldemort's good favor carries many perks, after all, which is why all the Death Eaters wanted it.
From what we're shown, Bellatrix wanted to keep Voldemort happy and help him achieve his goals. There is no indication of Bellatrix having any goals of her own - other than enjoying the benefits of being able to torture and kill people she considered inferior with confidence that Voldemort would protect her from any repercussions.

I do think that was true for all of the Death Eaters in general. This was not their plan - or their goals. Voldemort started that and gathered them around him as servants - they followed along while he was there to lead them. And they disbanded and went into hiding without him.

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They didn't function at all, IMO, they started a radio talk show. The Order members held Dumbledore in great esteem and chose to trust him even when evidence showed he might be wrong. Lupin rejects Harry's doubts about Snape because Dumbledore trusts Snape. Sirius remains at the Grimmauld Place because Dumbledore said so. The only difference is that the Order members do not fear Dumbledore. Their safety is not in danger if they disobey and yet they still can't bear to hear a word against Dumbledore or to question his judgement.
They did more than start a talk radio show - which was very useful to the rebellion in and of itself because it kept people informed as to what was really going on. They continued fighting against Voldemort. They came up with their own plans and made adjustments to plans Dumbledore had made before he died. They protected people - and encouraged others to protect people as well.

Lupin rejected Harry's doubts about Snape because he felt Snape had proved himself by not messing with the Wolfsbane potion the year he was at Hogwarts. He did trust Dumbledore's judgement, but he had his own reasons as well. Plus, Harry never had any concrete evidence against Snape that would give any of them any reason to have doubts. Even Ron and Hermione didn't fully agree with Harry at that point.

Sirius stayed at Grimmauld Place because of Dumbledore, but he also made his own choice to leave Grimmauld Place on two occasions that we know of. The first when he went to Kings Cross with them using his dog animagus form - the second when he went to the DoM with the others to rescue Harry. He may have left at other times as well - Harry wasn't there for the entire year so we don't know. He certainly planned to leave to go to Hogsmeade to try and visit with Harry during one of their Hogsmeade weekends, but Harry didn't go along with it.

The difference between Dumbledore and Voldemort is that Dumbledore did not subjugate the Order. He didn't consider them his servants or expect them to follow his orders exactly without ever doing anything independently. Dumbledore rarely gave orders - he made requests. The Order members were free to make decisions and come up with plans independently - Dumbledore didn't even attend the meetings from what we're shown. I think he showed up once while Harry was at Grimmauld Place - and that was only a brief visit. The fact that they trusted his judgement and had faith in him doesn't change that, IMO. They still acted independently and didn't feel the need to check in with Dumbledore for every decision they made. That was the advantage the Order had over the Death Eaters, IMO.

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No she wasn't. Narcissa was more defined by her son and husband than Bellatrix had ever been by Voldemort. Narcissa is not shown to have any desire or dream of her own apart from keeping Lucius and Draco safe. I see very few female characters who make choices independent of male characters, actually. Most of them are driven by two things: either motherhood or romance. A possible exception would be Hermione and perhaps McGonagall. Romance is important for Bellatrix as well but I see that as different because it isn't so much about the man as it is about her. She thought Voldemort was her equal, was like her, so she loved him and in a sense loved herself. Her aspirations are different from most other female characters who aren't after power and glory. In that sense she was more modern though perhaps modern is a wrong word. What I mean is that there are very few things traditional about her and she seems to challenge the views most people have about women.
I think Narcissa was shown to be a lot more independent than Bellatrix on the whole. Loving her husband and son doesn't change that - nor does it define who she is. Wanting to protect her child doesn't define her either. Her motivation does not change her independent actions, IMO. I would say that for all the female characters. Being married, having children, or even just dating someone doesn't make a woman any less independent or define who they are, IMO.

We don't see Molly making decisions based on what Arthur would want or whether it might make him angry - or her children. Molly thinks for herself and acts accordingly. She occasionally asks Arthur to back her up, but the decisions are her own - and even if Arthur didn't agree, that didn't change Molly's mind. We don't see Hermione making decisions based on what Ron would want or whether or not he would get angry - she thinks for herself and speaks her mind. Tonks didn't make decisions based on what Lupin wanted or what might make him angry - if she had, they would never have gotten together.

Bellatrix is shown to be an exception to that, IMO. Where other women take action independently, Bellatrix never does. Every action Bellatrix takes is defined by what Voldemort wants or what Voldemort does not want or what might make Voldemort angry - the sole exception being the confrontation with Snape that she eventually backed down from to avoid defying Voldemort. And I wouldn't really consider that as completely independent because she did back down from it only because Voldemort trusted Snape. From what we're shown, Bellatrix never considered herself an equal to Voldemort - he was the Master and she was the servant - and she was proud to subjugate herself to him completely.

Honestly, I can't see other female characters doing that. If Arthur had told Molly that he wanted her to kill her squib cousin - whom Molly did not like according to Jo - Molly would not have said, “Yes, my Lord. At the first chance!” like Bellatrix did when Voldemort told her to kill her own niece. Molly probably would have coshed Arthur over the head with that fire poker and told him to get out if he had tried to order her to do anything she didn't want to do. Hermione didn't cower in fear or freak out over the possibility of Ron getting angry with her - she stood toe to toe with him and argued her position. McGonagall had no problem arguing with Dumbledore when she disagreed with him - she didn't cower before him or grovel at his feet. That's true for most of the female characters - they make their own decisions and speak their minds. They stand up for themselves. That's what shows independence, IMO.


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

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  #293  
Old July 13th, 2012, 8:52 am
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
Voldemort's thoughts reveal the opposite, IMO. He considered it a mistake to have given Lucius and Bellatrix Horcruxes, but only Lucius had directly caused one to get destroyed. I doubt Voldemort ever knew that Bellatrix had even mentioned her vault in Harry's presence.
If he didn't blame her for the destruction of his Horcrux then he would have no reason to have mentioned her along with Lucius. The fact that he did implies to me that he did consider her responsible and possibly even suspected she had somehow hinted at the Horcrux being in her vault. Voldemort wasn't stupid (well, not always anyway) he would have put two and two together.

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We don't see the events of the sword being given to Bellatrix on page so we can't say if she actually trusted Snape or not. Bellatrix would have been following Voldemort's orders there as well - and Griphook did verify that the sword was real even though it was a fake so Bellatrix had no reason to question that. Given that, it would appear that Snape's word was not good enough for Bellatrix, IMO.
I don't think the events matter much here. If Bellatrix didn't trust Snape her first reaction would be to assume Snape had lied about sending the sword to her vault. She didn't. Instead she assumed Harry and his friends had entered her vault which means she didn't suspect Snape.

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I think the text makes it clear that Voldemort only valued Bellatrix for her services as a Death Eater. There's nothing presented in the text that would indicate anything beyond that, IMO.
Well, this is what we have been discussing so far isn't it?

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Actually, Voldemort did make such comparisons from what we're shown - particularly in GOF.
He did but there is no indication that he would forgive a DE simply because s/he failed him less than another DE. There is also no indication of a top three, IMO. Death Eaters won and lost favor according to what they did, there is no indication that Voldemort would give any special treatment to either Lucius, Bellatrix or Snape unless they were useful to him and didn't fail him. I don't see that he would still value them simply because they were once in his favor.

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His rage at Nagini being killed demonstrates otherwise, IMO - she was the last Horcrux and that made him mortal.
He could have been angry at losing Nagini because she was a Horcrux and because he cared about her as Dumbledore said. She didn't have to be last Horcrux for Voldemort to have any reaction to her death.

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His army falling on top of that - particularly his most ruthless and capable fighter being killed right in front of him - just added to the mix, IMO.
But it is Bellatrix herself he is shown as reacting to not the context, IMO. The narrator could have just said that Voldemort was angry because he realized he was losing but the reaction was made to be about Bella's death. The other things you speak of were not included.

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Tonks was killed because Voldemort ordered that to be done from what we're shown. Bellatrix hadn't even considered killing Tonks until Voldemort told her she should. That was simply a means to please Voldemort, IMO.
There is no mention of that death pleasing Voldemort. Voldemort manipulates Bellatrix into thinking that such a marriage spoils the purity of her blood, an argument which of course works with a person as obsessed with blood purity as she was. She accepts Voldemort's arguments but that was it.

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She was there because she felt Voldemort's word was law - her goal was to stop Narcissa from defying Voldemort.
That's what she says when Snape's there-- or rather Snape says so and she agrees. But another reason for her wanting to stop Narcissa would be more about Narcissa herself than about Voldemort because if Snape was a traitor then he was going to, not only betray Voldemort, but also get Draco killed with certainty (or so Bellatrix thought). So there was more than one reason to stop her going to Snape. It is only when Snape mentions that the Dark Lord's word is law that Bellatrix uses that to pressure Narcissa into not divulging anything to Snape. She makes no mention of that when she and Narcissa are alone.

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The only thing that was an actual defiance was asking Snape to protect Draco. However, even with that, it was not a direct defiance because Voldemort had never explicitly stated that he wanted Draco to fail or be killed in the process. That was simply what he expected to happen.
That was what he intended to happen, IMO. The outcome was actually better than he expected as he got rid of Dumbledore but Narcissa is correct in that Voldemort expected Draco to die.

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I'd have to disagree with that. Voldemort's desire to subjugate the wizarding world in general is not the issue. The Death Eaters went along with him simply because his goal would enable them to openly engage in torturing and murdering people they considered inferior without fear of repercussion because they were certain he would protect them. Without Voldemort, they disbanded and went into hiding. These were not "pro-active" people trying to change the world from what we're shown. Primarily, they were just along for the ride and enjoying the benefits of Voldemort's successes.
The fact that their priorities changed after Voldemort was defeated and they had considered the battle lost doesn't mean they weren't waging war on the Wizarding World. Many Death Eaters had families, like Lucius, and weren't too keen on going to Azkaban. That doesn't mean they had never wanted to put purebloods in charge, they simply adapted to an ordinary life and admitted defeat. The Nazis also went into hiding after the end of the war but I don't think that means they ever stopped being for white supremacy. But they had lost and their principles took a back seat to survival.

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Bellatrix was never shown to consider Voldemort an equal or to have any aspirations of ruling with him - she considered Voldemort her master and herself his most loyal servant from what we're shown.
She considered Voldemort to be her equivalent, like a male version of herself which to me suggest she considered him her equal even though he never acknowledged that. Rowling even compared Voldemort/Bellatrix to Dumbledore/Grindelwald which was also based on a narcissistic love of oneself projected onto someone else. Bellatrix didn't want to be Voldemort's servant, she wanted to be his partner and his lover from what we're shown.

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Narcissa was not shown to be entirely devoted to Lucius either from what we're shown. To Draco, yes - but that is not passive at all, IMO. Protecting your child instead of blindly following orders that would put that child at risk or even result in him being killed is an independent action, IMO
Narcissa had no dreams, desires or aspirations apart from keeping Lucius and Draco safe. That is very reasonable of course but it doesn't make her come across as very independent to me.

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Blithely going along with it without argument simply because they expected it was completely passive, IMO.
It depends on how one defines passive. I don't define passive as acting according to your principles.

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From what we're shown, Bellatrix wanted to keep Voldemort happy and help him achieve his goals. There is no indication of Bellatrix having any goals of her own - other than enjoying the benefits of being able to torture and kill people she considered inferior with confidence that Voldemort would protect her from any repercussions.

I do think that was true for all of the Death Eaters in general. This was not their plan - or their goals. Voldemort started that and gathered them around him as servants - they followed along while he was there to lead them. And they disbanded and went into hiding without him.
Dumbledore explains why the Death Eaters followed Voldemort. Some of them were simply into torturing and the other, more ambitious persons, wanted shared glory. I would put Snape, Bellatrix and Lucius in the latter category. Bellatrix shared Voldemort's goals and his values. She made no difference between her goals and his IMO. There is no indication that she served Voldemort out of the goodness of her heart without expecting anything in return.

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I think Narcissa was shown to be a lot more independent than Bellatrix on the whole. Loving her husband and son doesn't change that - nor does it define who she is. Wanting to protect her child doesn't define her either. Her motivation does not change her independent actions, IMO. I would say that for all the female characters. Being married, having children, or even just dating someone doesn't make a woman any less independent or define who they are, IMO.
It certainly doesn't in general, but in the HP series I would say it does, at least when it comes to some women. Narcissa is presented as Lucius's wife and Draco's mother. She even turns against her own sister and highlights her connection to Lucius and her devotion to him. It is clear that she views herself as a Malfoy more than as a Black. We have no idea who she is as a person aside from her desire to protect both Lucius and Draco though especially Draco.

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We don't see Molly making decisions based on what Arthur would want or whether it might make him angry - or her children. Molly thinks for herself and acts accordingly. She occasionally asks Arthur to back her up, but the decisions are her own - and even if Arthur didn't agree, that didn't change Molly's mind. We don't see Hermione making decisions based on what Ron would want or whether or not he would get angry - she thinks for herself and speaks her mind. Tonks didn't make decisions based on what Lupin wanted or what might make him angry - if she had, they would never have gotten together
Maybe not, on the other hand Bellatrix doesn't lose her powers and good mood because Voldemort isn't holding her hand. Molly and Arthur were married so I wouldn't compare that to being a servant to the Dark Lord. Same goes for Ron and Hermione. These relationships aren't similar to Bellatrix's.

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Bellatrix is shown to be an exception to that, IMO. Where other women take action independently, Bellatrix never does. Every action Bellatrix takes is defined by what Voldemort wants or what Voldemort does not want or what might make Voldemort angry - the sole exception being the confrontation with Snape that she eventually backed down from to avoid defying Voldemort. And I wouldn't really consider that as completely independent because she did back down from it only because Voldemort trusted Snape. From what we're shown, Bellatrix never considered herself an equal to Voldemort - he was the Master and she was the servant - and she was proud to subjugate herself to him completely.
Bellatrix backed down after questioning Snape for two pages. If she were so subservient to Voldemort she wouldn't have done that. Bellatrix was proud of Voldemort considering her loyal to him because that would mean she would get rewarded. I don't think she wanted to be a servant forever. In fact we are shown quite the opposite. She wanted her and Voldemort to be romantically involved and I seriously doubt that the thought of ruling the world at Voldemort's side never crossed her mind. She was a servant because that was what Voldemort needed at that point, not because she didn't want to be anything else.

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Honestly, I can't see other female characters doing that. If Arthur had told Molly that he wanted her to kill her squib cousin - whom Molly did not like according to Jo - Molly would not have said, “Yes, my Lord. At the first chance!” like Bellatrix did when Voldemort told her to kill her own niece. Molly probably would have coshed Arthur over the head with that fire poker and told him to get out if he had tried to order her to do anything she didn't want to do. Hermione didn't cower in fear or freak out over the possibility of Ron getting angry with her - she stood toe to toe with him and argued her position. McGonagall had no problem arguing with Dumbledore when she disagreed with him - she didn't cower before him or grovel at his feet. That's true for most of the female characters - they make their own decisions and speak their minds. They stand up for themselves. That's what shows independence, IMO.
Yet they also back down once the men have made it clear that they disagree with them. McGonagall was never trusted by Dumbledore the way she wanted to be. Molly may act as though she wears the pants in the family but she backs off the moment Arthur asserts himself. Hermione does what she wants most of the time but she does fear she might lose Ron.
I agree that Bellatrix was subservient to Voldemort and that she had to be that way in order to survive around him (a man who doesn't like being challenged or defied). Like I said before, her situation is not comparable to any of the other female characters', in my view. But the fact remains that Voldemort never orders Bellatrix to do anything that goes against her own will. Had he done that we don't know how she would have reacted. When Bellatrix disagrees with Voldemort she says so and does her own investigation, as with Snape. That's much smarter than confronting him. When she wants to help her sister, she does so. When she wants to wait instead of summoning him immediately, she does so. These are not great examples of defiance but I think they show she wants to serve him on her own terms instead of blindly following his orders.


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Old July 13th, 2012, 6:48 pm
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
If he didn't blame her for the destruction of his Horcrux then he would have no reason to have mentioned her along with Lucius. The fact that he did implies to me that he did consider her responsible and possibly even suspected she had somehow hinted at the Horcrux being in her vault. Voldemort wasn't stupid (well, not always anyway) he would have put two and two together.
Briefly thinking about it being a mistake to have given Lucius and Bellatrix Horcruxes is not the same as directly blaming Bellatrix for the cup's destruction, IMO. Bellatrix did not personally hand the cup over to someone close to Harry - as Lucius had done with the diary. Voldemort knew that Bellatrix was not directly responsible because a goblin came and told him what had happened at Gringotts. Likewise, we are shown that Bellatrix did attempt to prevent that from happening by giving the goblins special instructions regarding her vault. Voldemort would still consider it a mistake to have given it to her, but only because it turned out that her vault at Gringotts was not as secure as he had believed it to be, IMO.

Not having all of the information necessary to put it together doesn't make him stupid, IMO. There's no indication given on page that Voldemort ever knew that Bellatrix had delayed summoning him or that she had even mentioned her vault in front Harry.

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I don't think the events matter much here. If Bellatrix didn't trust Snape her first reaction would be to assume Snape had lied about sending the sword to her vault. She didn't. Instead she assumed Harry and his friends had entered her vault which means she didn't suspect Snape.
The events matter because Bellatrix had Griphook verify that the sword she was putting into her vault was actually Gryffindor's sword. I think that makes it obvious that Bellatrix still did not trust Snape. If she had trusted Snape, she would have simply taken his word that was Gryffindor's sword and would not have felt the need to have that verified by a goblin.

Since Griphook had verified the sword in her vault to be Gryffindor's sword, Bellatrix had every reason to think that someone had taken it out of her vault when she saw it at Malfoy Manor. It was not entirely logical for her to automatically assume Harry had broken into her vault - particularly with the Greyback being the one who had the sword and Griphook being one of the prisoners, but she had reason to believe it had been taken from her vault. At that point, there was no reason for her to assume Snape had anything to do with it because she had gotten Griphook to verify the sword before she put it into her vault and Snape had nothing to do with the capture of any of those prisoners.

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He did but there is no indication that he would forgive a DE simply because s/he failed him less than another DE. There is also no indication of a top three, IMO. Death Eaters won and lost favor according to what they did, there is no indication that Voldemort would give any special treatment to either Lucius, Bellatrix or Snape unless they were useful to him and didn't fail him. I don't see that he would still value them simply because they were once in his favor.
There is a lot of evidence presented in the texts that demonstrates that Snape, Lucius, and Bellatrix were Voldemort's top three - his favorites among the Death Eaters. This was demonstrated in the fact that he preferred to have one of them in charge of any mission he considered important as well as demonstrating more trust in the three of them than he did any other Death Eater.

Likewise, there are indications of Voldemort forgiving Death Eaters based on what their transgressions were - and that he was more lenient on Snape, Lucius, and Bellatrix. Avery was never seen again after giving Voldemort the wrong information in OOTP - except for in memories of the past. Karkaroff was killed for running away instead of reporting to the graveyard in GOF.

Yet, from what we're shown, Snape received no punishment for waiting two hours to return that night because he showed up with a lot of information and the news that Dumbledore still trusted him so he could easily resume his role as spy. Likewise, Voldemort never doubted Snape's loyalty - even when Harry told him straight out that Snape had betrayed him. Lucius was given chances to redeem himself - and even Draco being chosen to kill Dumbledore was, in part, a chance to redeem Lucius. Voldemort did not expect Draco to succeed, but "all being forgiven" was part of the incentive. Even after those failures with Lucius definitely being on Voldemort's black list in DH, he still had a chance to redeem himself - which is why he and Narcissa were so excited when the snatchers showed up with Harry. It's interesting that there is no indication of Lucius having been tortured as punishment before Harry's escape from Malfoy Manor - suggesting that was the last straw for Voldemort.

From what we're shown, Bellatrix was never punished in such a manner because she never did anything that would earn such punishment from Voldemort. He held her in very high regard for her unshakable loyalty. He didn't blame her for what happened at the DoM at all - Lucius was the one blamed for that and Voldemort left him to be taken to Azkaban and didn't break him out for at least a year. Nor was Bellatrix blamed for Harry escaping - again we see that Lucius was blamed and severely punished for that. Voldemort regretted giving Bellatrix the cup to hide in her vault, but did not directly blame her for it being stolen from what we're shown. She was not punished for it and continued to serve as Voldemort's "best lieutenant" in that final battle. By DH, it would appear that Snape and Bellatrix were the two favorites with Lucius sinking to the bottom of Voldemort's black list.

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He could have been angry at losing Nagini because she was a Horcrux and because he cared about her as Dumbledore said. She didn't have to be last Horcrux for Voldemort to have any reaction to her death.
He would have been angry at losing Nagini regardless because she was a Horcrux - the same as he was furious about each of the other Horcruxes being destroyed because they were the means to prevent him from dying. However, when Nagini was killed, Voldemort would also have known - or at least suspected - that she was the last. Harry had gotten to Hogwarts before him - making it clear that Harry did know there was a Horcrux hidden there. Alecto failed to detain Harry - she summoned Voldemort, but had been captured with the castle protections having been reinforced by the time he arrived. Voldemort wasn't taking any chances at that point - and he didn't remove the protection around Nagini until he believed that Harry was dead.

Dumbledore never said that Voldemort cared about Nagini. What he actually said was that Nagini underlined Voldemort's Slytherin connection, which enhanced his mystique and that he thought he was "as fond of her as he can be of anything". The point being that Voldemort was not capable of genuinely caring for anyone or anything because he was a psychopath. At best he could develop a limited fondness based on the significance of the person or object to himself. Voldemort's reaction wasn't about Nagini being killed - it was about losing another Horcrux from what we're shown. And I think he did know - or at least suspect - that she was the last because Harry had gotten to Hogwarts before him and Alecto failed to detain Harry.

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But it is Bellatrix herself he is shown as reacting to not the context, IMO. The narrator could have just said that Voldemort was angry because he realized he was losing but the reaction was made to be about Bella's death. The other things you speak of were not included.
Actually, they were - Harry uses that to taunt Voldemort. Voldemort's reaction was not about Bellatrix dying from what we're shown. It was about losing his "last, best lieutenant". That's all Bellatrix was to him according to the text.

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There is no mention of that death pleasing Voldemort. Voldemort manipulates Bellatrix into thinking that such a marriage spoils the purity of her blood, an argument which of course works with a person as obsessed with blood purity as she was. She accepts Voldemort's arguments but that was it.
Voldemort presented the order to kill Tonks as a means of redemption - expressing his disappointment that they had not done anything indirectly through mocking the marriage. Bellatrix readily agreed because she felt that Voldemort was disappointed in her and wanted to prove herself from what we're shown. That's why her eyes "swam with tears of gratitude" - she was grateful to be given a chance to prove herself to Voldemort from what we're shown.

Likewise, there is no indication that Bellatrix had ever considered murdering her sister or her niece as necessary to keep her family tree healthy. That was not the standard practice among pure-bloods after all. In pure-blood families, those who married muggles and their offspring were disowned and ignored - not murdered. From what we're shown, Bellatrix did not want to kill Tonks - she felt she had to kill Tonks in order to maintain favor with Voldemort and was grateful to him for giving her a chance to prove herself worthy of that favor.

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That's what she says when Snape's there-- or rather Snape says so and she agrees. But another reason for her wanting to stop Narcissa would be more about Narcissa herself than about Voldemort because if Snape was a traitor then he was going to, not only betray Voldemort, but also get Draco killed with certainty (or so Bellatrix thought). So there was more than one reason to stop her going to Snape. It is only when Snape mentions that the Dark Lord's word is law that Bellatrix uses that to pressure Narcissa into not divulging anything to Snape. She makes no mention of that when she and Narcissa are alone.
Bellatrix showed no concern for Draco's life at all. On the contrary, she said Narcissa should be proud to have the opportunity to sacrifice her only child for Voldemort - adding that she would gladly sacrifice her own children if she had any. Draco's life was never the issue for Bellatrix. Bellatrix only went with Narcissa because she was trying to stop Narcissa from betraying Voldemort. I would agree that was twofold, but only in that she was suspicious of Snape and thought he would tell Dumbledore of the plan if Narcissa revealed it to him - in which case, the plan might fail due to Dumbledore being prepared to defend himself. Regardless, that comes back to betraying Voldemort. And Bellatrix did say that directly to Narcissa before they arrived at Snape's - reminding her that they had been told not to speak of the plan to anyone and telling her that she would be betraying Voldemort by doing so.

However, those concerns were quickly addressed with Snape revealing that he already knew about the plan and was part of it - which meant that Narcissa discussing it with him was not a betrayal of Voldemort at all.

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That was what he intended to happen, IMO. The outcome was actually better than he expected as he got rid of Dumbledore but Narcissa is correct in that Voldemort expected Draco to die.
Voldemort did expect Draco to fail - Snape told Dumbledore that himself. However, that didn't necessarily mean that Draco would die. Voldemort would not have expected Dumbledore to kill a child if there was any way for him to avoid it. More likely, Voldemort thought that Draco might end up in Azkaban with Lucius. Likewise, Snape was not punished for rescuing Draco from either fate so I would say that Voldemort never instructed him or anyone else to make sure Draco died or got sent to Azkaban. Voldemort merely instructed Snape to let Draco make the attempt first. If/when Draco failed, Snape was to do it instead.

As such, Narcissa asking Snape to protect Draco and do it for him it seemed he would fail was not a direct defiance of any order Voldemort had given. Voldemort never decreed that Draco could not have help with his assignment - he even sent Death Eaters to the castle that night to help Draco himself. He never stated that he intended for Draco to die or be sent to Azkaban so protecting and rescuing Draco was acceptable. If anything, I would say that actually played into Voldemort's plans because it enabled him to punish Draco - and the rest of the Malfoy family - personally for their combined failures.

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The fact that their priorities changed after Voldemort was defeated and they had considered the battle lost doesn't mean they weren't waging war on the Wizarding World. Many Death Eaters had families, like Lucius, and weren't too keen on going to Azkaban. That doesn't mean they had never wanted to put purebloods in charge, they simply adapted to an ordinary life and admitted defeat. The Nazis also went into hiding after the end of the war but I don't think that means they ever stopped being for white supremacy. But they had lost and their principles took a back seat to survival.
That's the thing. They hadn't actually lost. Voldemort disappearing didn't change the fact that they were winning and could have continued to fight. As Lupin pointed out in OOTP, the Death Eaters outnumbered them. They had people inside the Ministry in key positions that nobody knew about at the time Voldemort disappeared. If what they were really after was changing the world or some other political gain, it would have been a simple matter for them to continue - promote someone else as leader and keep on fighting. Keep making changes from within the Ministry itself. The fact that they didn't even attempt to do so in spite of having such advantages demonstrates that they were not actually trying to change the world, IMO. From what we're shown, they were simply going along for the ride with Voldemort - enjoying the opportunities he gave them to torture and kill those they considered inferior with the belief that he would protect them from any repercussions. When Voldemort was gone, they went into hiding because he was no longer there to protect them, IMO.

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She considered Voldemort to be her equivalent, like a male version of herself which to me suggest she considered him her equal even though he never acknowledged that. Rowling even compared Voldemort/Bellatrix to Dumbledore/Grindelwald which was also based on a narcissistic love of oneself projected onto someone else. Bellatrix didn't want to be Voldemort's servant, she wanted to be his partner and his lover from what we're shown.
There is nothing in the text that shows Bellatrix to consider Voldemort her equivalent. On the contrary, everything Bellatrix says and does reveals that she considered him to be her superior - her Master. Jo said that Bellatrix was drawn to Voldemort because they were both psychopaths - not that she considered him her equal. Feeling a physical attraction to him doesn't change that because she would always see him as her Master regardless, IMO. Bellatrix was only a servant to Voldemort and quite proud to be his servant from what we're shown.

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Narcissa had no dreams, desires or aspirations apart from keeping Lucius and Draco safe. That is very reasonable of course but it doesn't make her come across as very independent to me.
Narcissa also wanted to maintain her family's position in society - she enjoyed being wealthy and having all that political affluence. Keeping her family safe was only part of that. That has nothing to do with what makes a person independent. Being independent is about making your own decisions rather than simply following orders. We are shown that Narcissa made her own decisions and stood by them.

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It depends on how one defines passive. I don't define passive as acting according to your principles.
I would define passive as always doing what is expected of you by others and/or following orders - allowing other people to dictate your every thought or action. And that is all we ever see from Bellatrix, IMO.

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Dumbledore explains why the Death Eaters followed Voldemort. Some of them were simply into torturing and the other, more ambitious persons, wanted shared glory. I would put Snape, Bellatrix and Lucius in the latter category. Bellatrix shared Voldemort's goals and his values. She made no difference between her goals and his IMO. There is no indication that she served Voldemort out of the goodness of her heart without expecting anything in return.
I would agree that many of them wanted shared glory. However, shared glory through association is not equality. It doesn't make them any less servants to Voldemort. Bellatrix knew that she would never rule at Voldemort's side as an equal from what we're shown. She always had and always would see him as her superior - her master. The only shared glory that she would achieve from that would be that people would fear her because she was a servant of Voldemort and she could indulge in torturing and killing those she considered inferior while being confident that her Master would always protect her. She found glory in considering herself Voldemort's most loyal servant, but she always put herself below him in the place of a servant from what we're shown.

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It certainly doesn't in general, but in the HP series I would say it does, at least when it comes to some women. Narcissa is presented as Lucius's wife and Draco's mother. She even turns against her own sister and highlights her connection to Lucius and her devotion to him. It is clear that she views herself as a Malfoy more than as a Black. We have no idea who she is as a person aside from her desire to protect both Lucius and Draco though especially Draco.
Actually, Narcissa is presented as a wealthy woman of society who happens to be married to Lucius Malfoy and have a son named Draco. She had wealth before she married Lucius so that wasn't an issue. That was a lifestyle she wanted to maintain from what we're shown. Of course she loved her husband and her son, but that doesn't define who she is even in the story, IMO.

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Maybe not, on the other hand Bellatrix doesn't lose her powers and good mood because Voldemort isn't holding her hand. Molly and Arthur were married so I wouldn't compare that to being a servant to the Dark Lord. Same goes for Ron and Hermione. These relationships aren't similar to Bellatrix's.
Bellatrix was never rejected by Voldemort either. He always kept her around and kept her happy with any little bit of attention he chose to give her from what we're shown.

Those relationships are not similar to what Bellatrix had with Voldemort because they actually are relationships based on mutual love and respect between people who don't define themselves as master or servant, but rather as partners. All Bellatrix had was her status as a loyal servant to her Master - that's all we're shown. Voldemort could not love her and only considered her in relation to how useful she was to him as a servant, IMO.

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Bellatrix backed down after questioning Snape for two pages. If she were so subservient to Voldemort she wouldn't have done that. Bellatrix was proud of Voldemort considering her loyal to him because that would mean she would get rewarded. I don't think she wanted to be a servant forever. In fact we are shown quite the opposite. She wanted her and Voldemort to be romantically involved and I seriously doubt that the thought of ruling the world at Voldemort's side never crossed her mind. She was a servant because that was what Voldemort needed at that point, not because she didn't want to be anything else.
Bellatrix backed down when it got to the point that she would have to openly criticize Voldemort for trusting Snape as well as ordering Snape not to participate in battles she thought he should have. It was one thing to very meekly admit to Narcissa in private that she thought Voldemort might be mistaken about Snape, but it was quite another to challenge Snape directly regarding the evidence he gave proving that he was following Voldemort's orders. All of which, Bellatrix had been aware of and couldn't argue against. She was willing to consider the possibility that Snape might have managed to fool Voldemort - and being able to prove that he had would certainly have earned her a reward from Voldemort so I would say that was a factor as well. But she was not willing to directly criticize Voldemort's decisions or his judgement. She did not believe Snape from what we're shown and she never trusted him, but she backed down and accepted Voldemort's word as law on that. Which makes it all the more ironic that she was right about Snape because, had Bellatrix been independent and willing to make decisions for herself, she probably would have been able to prove that Snape was a spy for Dumbledore.

The only aspiration we are presented with for Bellatrix is her desire to be Voldemort's most loyal and most trusted servant. Her physical attraction was only presented as an extension of her complete submission to him as her Master, IMO. There is no indication in the text that she ever saw herself as anything more than a servant or that she ever wanted to be anything more than a servant to Voldemort. Every thought and every action Bellatrix makes is designed to prove what a good servant to Voldemort she is. Even her confrontation of Snape was primarily about proving that she was more a more loyal servant to Voldemort - and possibly being rewarded for being the most loyal servant and proving Snape was a traitor. Regardless, it always comes back to what Voldemort wants for Bellatrix from what we're shown.

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Yet they also back down once the men have made it clear that they disagree with them. McGonagall was never trusted by Dumbledore the way she wanted to be. Molly may act as though she wears the pants in the family but she backs off the moment Arthur asserts himself. Hermione does what she wants most of the time but she does fear she might lose Ron.
There's a difference between coming to an understanding and backing down from an argument. McGonagall thought the Dursleys were a bad choice for Harry's guardians, but she understood the reasons Dumbledore gave for leaving him there. They were the only family Harry had left and being raised in an environment where he was practically worshiped for something he wouldn't even remember wouldn't have been good for him. It does appear that McGonagall was eventually told about the protection charm as well. Likewise, when she wanted to fight with Dumbledore in OOTP, she realized that Dumbledore was right about one of them needing to remain at Hogwarts to protect the students. Dumbledore never told anyone everything about his plans or reasons for doing things, but he did give them explanations they could understand.

Molly and Arthur disagree on two occasions where Arthur stood his ground - both of which involved giving information to Harry. In both cases, Molly was wrong for the very reason both Arthur and Lupin presented to convince her. Giving Harry information was better than trying to keep him in the dark because he would then try to find out on his own and likely end up in danger because of it. Which was exactly what ended up happening in POA because Arthur didn't have time to explain things to Harry like he wanted to - as well as in OOTP because they all decided it would be best for him not to know about the prophecy and didn't warn him that Voldemort might try to trick him into getting it. Molly didn't like it, but she did accept that they were right about Harry trying to get information on his own. Harry had demonstrated that too many times for her not to accept that, IMO.

Hermione never allowed any concerns about Ron's feelings for her to prevent her from being true to herself. She never tried to be something she wasn't to impress him and didn't back down from an argument simply to appease him anymore than McGonagall or Molly ever did. Hermione understood - and passes this advice along to Ginny - that if a guy doesn't like you for who you are, it's not worth the time. And if you don't be yourself around that guy then he can't get to know you for who you are. Hermione never took action based entirely upon what Ron wanted or how he might react.

Disagreements happen in every relationship - whether it be between friends or romantic partners. Sometimes such issues are resolved with a compromise. Sometimes one is able to convince the other. And sometimes they just agree to disagree. That doesn't remove the independence of either person involved or make them passive. It simply means they were able to come to an understanding and resolve the issue.

We see the opposite with Bellatrix. Every thought and action she takes is based entirely on what Voldemort wants or how he might react. She was never completely true to herself because she was always thinking in those terms, IMO. She was very passive in that she always did what was expected of her or followed orders from what we're shown. There were no disagreements or issues being resolved there because Bellatrix always submitted to Voldemort - accepting him as her superior and considering him her Master from what we're shown.

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I agree that Bellatrix was subservient to Voldemort and that she had to be that way in order to survive around him (a man who doesn't like being challenged or defied). Like I said before, her situation is not comparable to any of the other female characters', in my view. But the fact remains that Voldemort never orders Bellatrix to do anything that goes against her own will. Had he done that we don't know how she would have reacted. When Bellatrix disagrees with Voldemort she says so and does her own investigation, as with Snape. That's much smarter than confronting him. When she wants to help her sister, she does so. When she wants to wait instead of summoning him immediately, she does so. These are not great examples of defiance but I think they show she wants to serve him on her own terms instead of blindly following his orders.
Actually, I would say that Bellatrix always either blindly followed Voldemort's orders or formed her action based on what she thought Voldemort would want her to do. There is nothing presented in the text that I would consider an independent action from Bellatrix because it was always framed in the context of what Voldemort had ordered her to do or what she thought he would want her to do. Everything Bellatrix did was on Voldemort's terms - not her own, IMO.

We can't say if Voldemort ever gave Bellatrix an order against her will because she never stood up to him in any capacity. We can say for certain that it was not Bellatrix's idea to kill Tonks and we do know that it is unlikely that she would ever have considered doing so on her own because that's not what pure-blood families did. They disowned and ignored family members who married muggles or came from such a marriage - they did not kill them. That was Voldemort's order and we are shown that Bellatrix agreed to it simply because Voldemort asked her to do that and presented it as an opportunity for her to prove herself to him.

Likewise, Bellatrix never actually investigated Snape - even though she was right and probably would have been able to prove that if she had taken the initiative to investigate. Bellatrix vented to Snape himself regarding her suspicions - which in and of itself was illogical because it alerted him to be on guard and made it less likely for her to be able to actually prove anything - and she backed off of that completely when it became clear that the only argument she could present would involve criticizing Voldemort's judgement and decisions. In that case, Bellatrix's complete submission to Voldemort was a disadvantage because it prevented her from proving Snape had betrayed them. Had she been independent, she would have investigated Snape in secret and presented her findings to Voldemort directly, IMO.

Nor did Bellatrix do anything to help Narcissa. Her goal was only to stop Narcissa from betraying Voldemort because she felt that every Death Eater should be as completely submissive to Voldemort as she was. Once it became clear that Snape knew of the plan and was part of it, she backed down because Narcissa was not betraying Voldemort by talking to Snape. Likewise, in DH, it appears that she willingly threw Narcissa and Lucius under the bus to maintain her own good standing with Voldemort since Lucius took all the blame for Harry escaping and was severely punished for that.

As I said before, it is rather ironic because Bellatrix was actually right about quite a few things and her mistakes were the result of her blind devotion and complete submission to Voldemort from what we're shown. Had she been capable of thinking for herself and acting independently, she likely would have caught Snape as a spy. Harry would never have figured out there was a Horcrux in her vault if she hadn't been so blindly devoted to doing exactly what Voldemort wanted and terrified of what he would do if someone had broken into her vault. There are no examples in the text of Bellatrix doing anything independently or on her own terms because it was always about what Voldemort would want or how he would react for her. It was always about proving herself to be a good servant to Voldemort. That is what I would define as being completely passive.


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

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  #295  
Old July 13th, 2012, 10:52 pm
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Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
Briefly thinking about it being a mistake to have given Lucius and Bellatrix Horcruxes is not the same as directly blaming Bellatrix for the cup's destruction, IMO. Bellatrix did not personally hand the cup over to someone close to Harry - as Lucius had done with the diary. Voldemort knew that Bellatrix was not directly responsible because a goblin came and told him what had happened at Gringotts. Likewise, we are shown that Bellatrix did attempt to prevent that from happening by giving the goblins special instructions regarding her vault. Voldemort would still consider it a mistake to have given it to her, but only because it turned out that her vault at Gringotts was not as secure as he had believed it to be, IMO.
He blamed her personally, not her vault. He says it was her stupidity and recklessness that had lost him his Horcrux and that he now realized how foolish it was to trust people. That to me indicates that he did blame her and that he did make the connection between the events at Malfoy Manor and the theft of the Cup by Harry.

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The events matter because Bellatrix had Griphook verify that the sword she was putting into her vault was actually Gryffindor's sword. I think that makes it obvious that Bellatrix still did not trust Snape. If she had trusted Snape, she would have simply taken his word that was Gryffindor's sword and would not have felt the need to have that verified by a goblin.
Snape had nothing to do with that. Hermione said the sword was a fake, Bellatrix dismissed this as a "likely story" at which point Lucius interfered and told Bellatrix the Goblin could check the sword. Snape wasn't mentioned at all, they were trying to verify Hermione's story.

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Yet, from what we're shown, Snape received no punishment for waiting two hours to return that night because he showed up with a lot of information and the news that Dumbledore still trusted him so he could easily resume his role as spy.
Yes, there was no reason for Snape to be punished.

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From what we're shown, Bellatrix was never punished in such a manner because she never did anything that would earn such punishment from Voldemort. He held her in very high regard for her unshakable loyalty. He didn't blame her for what happened at the DoM at all - Lucius was the one blamed for that and Voldemort left him to be taken to Azkaban and didn't break him out for at least a year.
He also left all the other death eaters in Azkaban not just Lucius. I find it hard to believe that he blamed all those other death eaters but not Bellatrix. She had failed him as well, regardless of whether or not she had killed Sirius. The mission wasn't about killing Sirius, it was about retrieving the Prophecy. Since Bellatrix was the only Death Eater who was with Voldemort after the fiasco it is strange that he didn't punish her to let some of his anger out if not anything else. We're talking about the man who killed a bunch of his servants simply because they were in the room with him when he was angry.

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She was not punished for it and continued to serve as Voldemort's "best lieutenant" in that final battle. By DH, it would appear that Snape and Bellatrix were the two favorites with Lucius sinking to the bottom of Voldemort's black list.
She was not punished as hard as Lucius but as I have already stated I consider that to be for other reasons than Voldemort not holding her accountable, which we are shown that he did.

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Likewise, there is no indication that Bellatrix had ever considered murdering her sister or her niece as necessary to keep her family tree healthy. That was not the standard practice among pure-bloods after all. In pure-blood families, those who married muggles and their offspring were disowned and ignored - not murdered. From what we're shown, Bellatrix did not want to kill Tonks - she felt she had to kill Tonks in order to maintain favor with Voldemort and was grateful to him for giving her a chance to prove herself worthy of that favor.
Voldemort taunts Bellatrix about her diseased family tree not about her having lost favor with him. He never mentions that killing Tonks would please him, only that it would solve something he considered to be Bellatrix's problem. The only reason Voldemort brought that up was because he knew how incensed Bellatrix would be at the suggestion that her family is less than pure.

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Bellatrix showed no concern for Draco's life at all. On the contrary, she said Narcissa should be proud to have the opportunity to sacrifice her only child for Voldemort - adding that she would gladly sacrifice her own children if she had any. Draco's life was never the issue for Bellatrix. Bellatrix only went with Narcissa because she was trying to stop Narcissa from betraying Voldemort. I would agree that was twofold, but only in that she was suspicious of Snape and thought he would tell Dumbledore of the plan if Narcissa revealed it to him - in which case, the plan might fail due to Dumbledore being prepared to defend himself. Regardless, that comes back to betraying Voldemort. And Bellatrix did say that directly to Narcissa before they arrived at Snape's - reminding her that they had been told not to speak of the plan to anyone and telling her that she would be betraying Voldemort by doing so.
I don't think she cared too much about Draco, but I think she cared about Narcissa. Narcissa was going to put her son's life in the hands of a traitor which could lead to Draco being killed or arrested if the plan was revealed to Dumbledore. That would not serve Narcissa's purpose so Bellatrix tries to disuade her from going to Snape using all the arguments available. She told her she would be betraying Voldemort because that was the truth but she agreed to help Narcissa out with the Vow. If she had still been suspicious of Snape at that point, then it would have been a betrayal of Voldemort to get Snape involved in such a manner.

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Voldemort did expect Draco to fail - Snape told Dumbledore that himself. However, that didn't necessarily mean that Draco would die. Voldemort would not have expected Dumbledore to kill a child if there was any way for him to avoid it. More likely, Voldemort thought that Draco might end up in Azkaban with Lucius. Likewise, Snape was not punished for rescuing Draco from either fate so I would say that Voldemort never instructed him or anyone else to make sure Draco died or got sent to Azkaban. Voldemort merely instructed Snape to let Draco make the attempt first. If/when Draco failed, Snape was to do it instead.
Voldemort intended to have Draco killed if Draco failed. Dumbledore wasn't supposed to get out of it alive so what Dumbledore would have done to Draco was irrelevant. Voldemort did allow Draco to have some help but look at what help-- the DEs he had with him where not the sharpest knives in the drawer. It's not like Voldemort sent Bellatrix and Snape to help Draco out. It would seem as though Voldemort intended to keep Snape out of it so he wouldn't help Draco.

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That's the thing. They hadn't actually lost. Voldemort disappearing didn't change the fact that they were winning and could have continued to fight. As Lupin pointed out in OOTP, the Death Eaters outnumbered them. They had people inside the Ministry in key positions that nobody knew about at the time Voldemort disappeared. If what they were really after was changing the world or some other political gain, it would have been a simple matter for them to continue - promote someone else as leader and keep on fighting. Keep making changes from within the Ministry itself. The fact that they didn't even attempt to do so in spite of having such advantages demonstrates that they were not actually trying to change the world, IMO. From what we're shown, they were simply going along for the ride with Voldemort - enjoying the opportunities he gave them to torture and kill those they considered inferior with the belief that he would protect them from any repercussions. When Voldemort was gone, they went into hiding because he was no longer there to protect them, IMO.
Eliminating the powerful leader is always going to be a huge blow for any organization regardless of how well they were doing. Voldemort was irreplaceable, IMO, because no one was as powerful as he was. The DEs might have outnumbered the Order of the Phoenix but there were other wizards who opposed them in Wizarding world.

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There is nothing in the text that shows Bellatrix to consider Voldemort her equivalent. On the contrary, everything Bellatrix says and does reveals that she considered him to be her superior - her Master. Jo said that Bellatrix was drawn to Voldemort because they were both psychopaths - not that she considered him her equal.
For me this is what her use of the word equivalent implies. Bellatrix saw Voldemort as a male version of her and as I've said before the relationship was comparable to that between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. This is why Bellatrix so easily believes that Voldemort is paying her a compliment or that he shares everything with her. She thinks herself worthy of it, never questions it and doesn't consider the fact that Voldemort sees her as inferior to himself.

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I would agree that many of them wanted shared glory. However, shared glory through association is not equality. It doesn't make them any less servants to Voldemort. Bellatrix knew that she would never rule at Voldemort's side as an equal from what we're shown. She always had and always would see him as her superior - her master. The only shared glory that she would achieve from that would be that people would fear her because she was a servant of Voldemort and she could indulge in torturing and killing those she considered inferior while being confident that her Master would always protect her. She found glory in considering herself Voldemort's most loyal servant, but she always put herself below him in the place of a servant from what we're shown.
Bellatrix doesn't need Voldemort to protect her, she isn't Peter Pettigrew after all. I think she found glory and pride in being his servant because that was what Voldemort wanted from her. It's not like she was offered to be his equal and refused. She never got the chance to be anything else. I really don't think she would pass on the opportunity of being Voldemort's equal because that would mean she no longer served him.

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Actually, Narcissa is presented as a wealthy woman of society who happens to be married to Lucius Malfoy and have a son named Draco. She had wealth before she married Lucius so that wasn't an issue. That was a lifestyle she wanted to maintain from what we're shown. Of course she loved her husband and her son, but that doesn't define who she is even in the story, IMO.
What else is there to her? She is a Black, yes, but like I said before she considered herself a Malfoy above all. All her actions are about protecting Lucius and Draco. She is not shown as having any ambitions, dreams or aspirations and is only a part of the story in order to keep Draco safe and help Harry along the way.

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Bellatrix was never rejected by Voldemort either. He always kept her around and kept her happy with any little bit of attention he chose to give her from what we're shown.
I don't think she was that happy actually and there is no evidence that Voldemort indulged her in any way. When she thinks he is paying her a compliment he is actually mocking her. She wasn't treated especially well.

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Bellatrix backed down when it got to the point that she would have to openly criticize Voldemort for trusting Snape as well as ordering Snape not to participate in battles she thought he should have.
I still don't understand this-- she was questioning Snape which automatically means she wasn't happy with the fact that Voldemort trusted him. She thought Voldemort was mistaken. Snape asks her whether or not she thinks Voldemort's questioning of him had been thorough and she doesn't know what to answer but it's clear that she doesn't believe that it was. She doesn't want to admit to doubting Voldemort but she did doubt him. Otherwise why bother asking any questions at all? She believed Snape had fooled Voldemort.

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The only aspiration we are presented with for Bellatrix is her desire to be Voldemort's most loyal and most trusted servant. Her physical attraction was only presented as an extension of her complete submission to him as her Master, IMO. There is no indication in the text that she ever saw herself as anything more than a servant or that she ever wanted to be anything more than a servant to Voldemort.
I think there was a very clear indication that she wanted to be Voldemort's lover and thought she was more than worthy of being so.

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We see the opposite with Bellatrix. Every thought and action she takes is based entirely on what Voldemort wants or how he might react. She was never completely true to herself because she was always thinking in those terms, IMO. She was very passive in that she always did what was expected of her or followed orders from what we're shown. There were no disagreements or issues being resolved there because Bellatrix always submitted to Voldemort - accepting him as her superior and considering him her Master from what we're shown.
I think it would be quite impossible for anyone to disagree that Bellatrix was Voldemort's servant or that she wanted to be in his good graces. I'm not contesting that at all. I'm simply saying that I don't think that takes anything away from her character and that it just constitutes another way of living and getting what you want. Bellatrix didn't follow Voldemort blindly nor was she dependent upon him. If Voldemort died Bellatrix would still have her fortune, her power and her good pedigree (well, she would be a wanted escapee but all she would need to do would be to flee the country). In that sense she wasn't dependent upon him in the same way Wormtail was, for example. She enjoys following Voldemort and working as a Death eater (if that can be called working). We are shown that she made her choices and is proud of them. She was even proud of going to Azkaban. It would be different if we were shown Bellatrix suffering from serving Voldemort but not daring to leave his service. But instead she feels empowered by her position and fully believes there is more glory for her to attain.

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Actually, I would say that Bellatrix always either blindly followed Voldemort's orders or formed her action based on what she thought Voldemort would want her to do. There is nothing presented in the text that I would consider an independent action from Bellatrix because it was always framed in the context of what Voldemort had ordered her to do or what she thought he would want her to do
I don't think Voldemort wanted her to follow her sister and go to Snape's house for a Vow, to question Snape, to make everyone wait until they summoned him at the Malfoy Manor in order to hide her mistake, to run away from the battlefield before getting the Prophecy, to hdie what really happened at the Malfoy Manor in order to make herself look good, to teach Draco Occlumency or in any way improve his chances for succeeding.

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There are no examples in the text of Bellatrix doing anything independently or on her own terms because it was always about what Voldemort would want or how he would react for her. It was always about proving herself to be a good servant to Voldemort. That is what I would define as being completely passive.
I don't call that being passive, I call that having a goal. We might not agree that it was a good thing to strive towards but it was what Bellatrix wanted. She wanted to be trusted by Voldemort, to be above the other Death Eaters and possibly even to be Voldemort's partner. She did what she could in order to achieve this. Passive would be not doing anything about it. She even attempted to find Voldemort and restore him to power when no one else dared to do so.

Why are we alone in this thread? Are we scaring people off?


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  #296  
Old July 15th, 2012, 8:54 pm
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meesha1971  Female.gif meesha1971 is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
He blamed her personally, not her vault. He says it was her stupidity and recklessness that had lost him his Horcrux and that he now realized how foolish it was to trust people. That to me indicates that he did blame her and that he did make the connection between the events at Malfoy Manor and the theft of the Cup by Harry.
Voldemort was projecting his own mistakes there - and his thoughts were not that specific. The actual mistake was that he never told them what he had given them - both Lucius and Bellatrix would have been more cautious if they had actually known those objects contained a piece of Voldemort's soul. There is no indication that Voldemort ever made any connection to Bellatrix being the one who revealed the location of the cup to Harry - on the contrary, he was completely shocked to discover that Harry had stolen the cup and could not conceive of any way for Harry to have known the cup was in the vault at Gringotts. Instead, it appears that he is angry because Bellatrix put the cup in her vault at Gringotts rather than in a more secure location - projecting his own mistake onto her because he had initially wanted the cup to be put in Gringotts because he also considered it secure.

Voldemort came to the conclusion that Dumbledore had figured out that he had multiple Horcruxes along with where they were hidden and passed that information to Harry before he died. Voldemort never realized that Bellatrix had revealed to Harry where the cup was hidden from what we're shown.

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Snape had nothing to do with that. Hermione said the sword was a fake, Bellatrix dismissed this as a "likely story" at which point Lucius interfered and told Bellatrix the Goblin could check the sword. Snape wasn't mentioned at all, they were trying to verify Hermione's story.
I was actually referring to Griphook revealing that the sword in Bellatrix's vault was a fake in that conversation the trio overheard in the forest. Snape gave the sword to Bellatrix to put into her vault - Bellatrix apparently felt it necessary to verify the authenticity of the sword before doing so. Griphook decided not to tell her the sword was a fake so she believed it was real. That reveals that she still did not trust Snape, IMO.

At Malfoy Manor, Snape was not an issue at all. Bellatrix was already certain that the sword in her vault was the real sword because she had gotten its authenticity verified before putting it into her vault. Once Griphook told her that the sword the snatchers had brought in was a fake, she was confident that Harry had never been in her vault so the cup was safe.

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Yes, there was no reason for Snape to be punished.
I think any other Death Eater who showed up two hours late would have been punished for that. Snape was shown leniency and allowed to explain himself because he was a favorite, IMO.

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He also left all the other death eaters in Azkaban not just Lucius. I find it hard to believe that he blamed all those other death eaters but not Bellatrix. She had failed him as well, regardless of whether or not she had killed Sirius. The mission wasn't about killing Sirius, it was about retrieving the Prophecy. Since Bellatrix was the only Death Eater who was with Voldemort after the fiasco it is strange that he didn't punish her to let some of his anger out if not anything else. We're talking about the man who killed a bunch of his servants simply because they were in the room with him when he was angry.
I don't find that hard to believe at all. All the other Death Eaters - including Lucius - had been captured and were being held below. Bellatrix had escaped capture and was still trying to get the prophecy from Harry - not knowing that Lucius had caused it to get smashed during the fight. Bellatrix did not fail Voldemort there at all. Lucius and the others who were captured had failed him.

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She was not punished as hard as Lucius but as I have already stated I consider that to be for other reasons than Voldemort not holding her accountable, which we are shown that he did.
There is no indication that Bellatrix was punished or held accountable at all actually. She had no injury and was allowed to procure a new wand so she could fight in the final battle. As far as we're shown, Bellatrix was still a favorite. In reading through that again, it stands out that Travers was aware that Bellatrix's wand had been stolen and had been told that the inhabitants of Malfoy Manor had been confined to the house. But as far as actually being punished, only Lucius bore the marks of that so it would appear that Voldemort blamed Lucius entirely for Harry escaping Malfoy Manor.

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Voldemort taunts Bellatrix about her diseased family tree not about her having lost favor with him. He never mentions that killing Tonks would please him, only that it would solve something he considered to be Bellatrix's problem. The only reason Voldemort brought that up was because he knew how incensed Bellatrix would be at the suggestion that her family is less than pure.
Voldemort's taunts were exactly what made Bellatrix fear she had lost favor from what we're shown. His order to kill Tonks was framed in a manner that led her to believe that was necessary to regain his favor. From what we're shown, Bellatrix was content to simply ignore her sister and niece and pretend they were not part of her family - which was what pure-blood families typically did in such situations. She only agreed to kill Tonks because Voldemort wanted her to and she felt that was necessary to maintain his good favor - which is why her eyes "swam with gratitude", IMO.

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I don't think she cared too much about Draco, but I think she cared about Narcissa. Narcissa was going to put her son's life in the hands of a traitor which could lead to Draco being killed or arrested if the plan was revealed to Dumbledore. That would not serve Narcissa's purpose so Bellatrix tries to disuade her from going to Snape using all the arguments available. She told her she would be betraying Voldemort because that was the truth but she agreed to help Narcissa out with the Vow. If she had still been suspicious of Snape at that point, then it would have been a betrayal of Voldemort to get Snape involved in such a manner.
From what we're shown, the only thing Bellatrix cared about in that situation was that she believed Narcissa was betraying Voldemort and wanted to stop her from doing so. She didn't think Snape knew about the plan and was concerned that Narcissa telling Snape about it would enable Snape to betray Voldemort as well. From what we're shown, that was Bellatrix's only reason for following Narcissa - to prevent her from betraying Voldemort by telling Snape about the plan. Bellatrix was shown to be quite disgusted with Narcissa there - telling her that she should be proud to sacrifice her son in Voldemort's service.

Likewise, Bellatrix could not deny that Snape was already involved after they arrived. Voldemort had not only told Snape about the plan, he had made Snape part of the plan as Draco's backup. Bellatrix realized that Narcissa discussing it with Snape was not a betrayal since he already knew about it. Narcissa's original request - for Snape to simply take over and kill Dumbledore himself - was rejected because Voldemort had already insisted that Draco make the attempt first. Snape was expected to be the one who actually did the deed, but only after Draco had tried and failed. Narcissa altered her request so that it was consistent with Voldemort's orders - asking Snape to watch over Draco and do it for him if he failed was not betraying Voldemort in any capacity.

I think it is clear that Bellatrix was still suspicious of Snape, but there was nothing she could do to prevent Snape from finding out about a plan that Voldemort had already included him in personally. The damage had already been done there by Voldemort himself - to continue to protest that would be speaking out against Voldemort directly and Bellatrix was not willing to do that from what we're shown. Agreeing to be the bonder for the Vow didn't betray Voldemort because Narcissa did not ask Snape to do anything that went against his orders from Voldemort. Bellatrix had no reason to refuse at that point.

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Voldemort intended to have Draco killed if Draco failed. Dumbledore wasn't supposed to get out of it alive so what Dumbledore would have done to Draco was irrelevant. Voldemort did allow Draco to have some help but look at what help-- the DEs he had with him where not the sharpest knives in the drawer. It's not like Voldemort sent Bellatrix and Snape to help Draco out. It would seem as though Voldemort intended to keep Snape out of it so he wouldn't help Draco.
There is no indication that Voldemort intended to have Draco killed if he failed. On the contrary, Draco did fail and he was not killed for it. He was punished in similar ways to Lucius for his failure. And Voldemort did have Snape in place to help Draco - Snape was the backup from the start. The other Death Eaters were there as additional support - with Snape being in charge of them from what we're shown. Voldemort never had any intention of keeping Snape out of it from what we're shown - he expected Snape to be the one who actually killed Dumbledore all along because he expected Draco to fail. Of course, if Draco had actually succeeded, that would have been more beneficial and Snape could have remained at Hogwarts with the Order still trusting him - and Voldemort would have rewarded Draco for his success had that been the case. However, Voldemort never expected Draco to succeed and he felt that he would no longer need Snape to be a spy once Dumbledore was dead so all of that worked out as he expected it to.

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Eliminating the powerful leader is always going to be a huge blow for any organization regardless of how well they were doing. Voldemort was irreplaceable, IMO, because no one was as powerful as he was. The DEs might have outnumbered the Order of the Phoenix but there were other wizards who opposed them in Wizarding world.
And the Death Eaters still had the advantage over all of it. Nobody knew their identities. They had people in place at the Ministry in key positions. Voldemort's disappearance didn't change any of that. It was a blow, but not one that would have resulted in failure if they had been capable of functioning without him, IMO. I think they would have continued to fight if they had actually been trying to change the world - the fact that they folded so easily demonstrates that it was not really about the cause for them, IMO. Voldemort was powerful and they all considered him their Master, but they were still only following Voldemort. The cause was irrelevant to them overall - and easily given up once they no longer had Voldemort as their Master from what we're shown.

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For me this is what her use of the word equivalent implies. Bellatrix saw Voldemort as a male version of her and as I've said before the relationship was comparable to that between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. This is why Bellatrix so easily believes that Voldemort is paying her a compliment or that he shares everything with her. She thinks herself worthy of it, never questions it and doesn't consider the fact that Voldemort sees her as inferior to himself.
Jo has also revealed that Grindelwald was simply using Dumbledore and taking advantage of his feelings - he did not reciprocate them. In that respect, the situations are comparable because Voldemort was also using Bellatrix and taking advantage of her absolute submission and devotion to him. But that's where the similarity ends, IMO. Dumbledore's feelings for Grindelwald were genuine and he tried to delude himself as to what Grindelwald really was - in the end, he was forced to accept that and he turned against Grindelwald.

Bellatrix would never turn against Voldemort. She never deluded herself as to what he was. She reveled in that because she was also a psychopath. But there is no indication in the text that Bellatrix ever saw herself as Voldemort's equal or had any aspirations along those lines. It is made clear that Bellatrix only saw herself as the servant with Voldemort as her superior - her Master, IMO.

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Bellatrix doesn't need Voldemort to protect her, she isn't Peter Pettigrew after all. I think she found glory and pride in being his servant because that was what Voldemort wanted from her. It's not like she was offered to be his equal and refused. She never got the chance to be anything else. I really don't think she would pass on the opportunity of being Voldemort's equal because that would mean she no longer served him.
I disagree. We have a direct statement on page from Bellatrix herself that she expected Voldemort to protect her - to free her from Azkaban and reward her for her loyalty as his servant. Bellatrix never behaved in a manner consistent with her seeing herself as Voldemort's equal. She only saw herself as his most loyal servant from what we're shown. I think it is clear that Bellatrix knew that she would never be anything more than a servant to Voldemort and she was fine with that. Her only goal was to prove herself to be Voldemort's most loyal servant from what we're shown.

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What else is there to her? She is a Black, yes, but like I said before she considered herself a Malfoy above all. All her actions are about protecting Lucius and Draco. She is not shown as having any ambitions, dreams or aspirations and is only a part of the story in order to keep Draco safe and help Harry along the way.
Marrying into the Malfoy family didn't get rid of the fortune she inherited as a Black. She had her own money and she enjoyed being wealthy and having political affluence and power as a Malfoy. That type of power and affluence was her ambition from what we're shown and she had already achieved that long before Harry ever met her. By DH, her ambition is to get that back - which is why she and Lucius were both so excited when the snatchers showed up with Harry. Voldemort winning and forgiving them was their only means to regain the power and affluence they had always enjoyed. If Voldemort lost, they would never regain that because their allegiance to Voldemort had been confirmed. If Voldemort won, but did not forgive them, they would not get it back because he would continue to punish them. Narcissa was no longer concerned with Draco's safety at the beginning of DH - he had failed, but he had also lived. Voldemort had no intention of killing him. She was focused on regaining their power and affluence at that point - up to the final battle when it became obvious that Voldemort was going to lose.

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I don't think she was that happy actually and there is no evidence that Voldemort indulged her in any way. When she thinks he is paying her a compliment he is actually mocking her. She wasn't treated especially well.
I think it's made clear that Bellatrix was completely happy in Voldemort's service. She believed him to be complimenting her and was grateful for any scrap of attention he paid to her from what we're shown. She was happy to be perceived as Voldemort's most loyal servant and had no aspirations to be anything more than that from what we're shown. I do agree that Voldemort did not treat Bellatrix well, but I would also say that Bellatrix felt she was treated well because her gratitude to Voldemort is shown on page.

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I still don't understand this-- she was questioning Snape which automatically means she wasn't happy with the fact that Voldemort trusted him. She thought Voldemort was mistaken. Snape asks her whether or not she thinks Voldemort's questioning of him had been thorough and she doesn't know what to answer but it's clear that she doesn't believe that it was. She doesn't want to admit to doubting Voldemort but she did doubt him. Otherwise why bother asking any questions at all? She believed Snape had fooled Voldemort.
That is exactly my point. Bellatrix did believe Snape had fooled Voldemort. She did believe that Voldemort had made mistakes in how he handled Snape. She felt it was wrong for Snape to have been ordered not to participate in battles - i.e. the DoM. However, in spite of such doubts, Bellatrix backs down - she completely gives up and submits to Voldemort's will on that. She could not bring herself to admit that Voldemort was wrong - that he had made mistakes. She buries that and accepts Voldemort's judgement because to do anything less would mean that she wasn't Voldemort's most loyal servant and that's all she wants to be from what we're shown.

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I think there was a very clear indication that she wanted to be Voldemort's lover and thought she was more than worthy of being so.
I wouldn't dispute that - there was an obvious physical attraction on her part. However, I would also say that would not make her Voldemort's equal or his partner - and Bellatrix knew that from what we're shown. That would only make her more of a slave to him in that it would be another means for him to control her - giving her something she wanted when she did well, withholding it as punishment if she did not. Again, Bellatrix never gave any indication that she saw herself as Voldemort's equal. She only saw herself as his most loyal servant with him as her superior - her Master - from what we're shown. Becoming his lover wouldn't change that at all, IMO.

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I think it would be quite impossible for anyone to disagree that Bellatrix was Voldemort's servant or that she wanted to be in his good graces. I'm not contesting that at all. I'm simply saying that I don't think that takes anything away from her character and that it just constitutes another way of living and getting what you want. Bellatrix didn't follow Voldemort blindly nor was she dependent upon him. If Voldemort died Bellatrix would still have her fortune, her power and her good pedigree (well, she would be a wanted escapee but all she would need to do would be to flee the country). In that sense she wasn't dependent upon him in the same way Wormtail was, for example. She enjoys following Voldemort and working as a Death eater (if that can be called working). We are shown that she made her choices and is proud of them. She was even proud of going to Azkaban. It would be different if we were shown Bellatrix suffering from serving Voldemort but not daring to leave his service. But instead she feels empowered by her position and fully believes there is more glory for her to attain.
I would say that we are shown that Bellatrix followed Voldemort blindly and was completely dependent on him. Her entire identity was wrapped up in being Voldemort's most loyal servant. Her every thought and action is framed around what Voldemort would want. She does not make any choices or decisions for herself - it's always for Voldemort. She wasn't proud to go to Azkaban for herself - she was proud to go to Azkaban for Voldemort. She wasn't worried about someone breaking into her vault and stealing her possessions and treasures - she was worried that someone has stolen Voldemort's treasure. If Voldemort died, she wouldn't care about anything else because her entire identity was wrapped up in being his most loyal servant - without that, she would feel she had nothing from what we're shown. That's why she was so desperate to find him when he disappeared, IMO. Feeling empowered by being Voldemort's most loyal servant doesn't make Bellatrix any less passive or submissive because that was entirely confined to her complete and total submission to Voldemort. She wasn't her own person - she never did anything on her own terms. She was Voldemort's most loyal servant and she did everything on his terms from what we're shown.

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I don't think Voldemort wanted her to follow her sister and go to Snape's house for a Vow, to question Snape, to make everyone wait until they summoned him at the Malfoy Manor in order to hide her mistake, to run away from the battlefield before getting the Prophecy, to hdie what really happened at the Malfoy Manor in order to make herself look good, to teach Draco Occlumency or in any way improve his chances for succeeding.
Actually, if the situation had been what Bellatrix perceived - that Snape did not know about the plan - that is exactly what Voldemort would have wanted her to do. He had given specific instructions to Narcissa not to reveal the plan because it was supposed to be a secret. Only certain people had been told of it. Bellatrix was acting in Voldemort's interests there and that would have been rewarded. It turned out that Narcissa was right in assuming that Snape would know about the plan so neither of them had betrayed Voldemort that night. Bellatrix asked her questions and gave up when she was reminded that all of those things had been done on Voldemort's orders. She didn't like it, but she submitted because she considered Voldemort her Master and was not willing to openly criticize him from what we're shown.

The same is true for the situation at Malfoy Manor. If Harry had broken into her vault to take the sword, then Voldemort would want her to make sure the cup was still safe. She didn't know exactly what it was, but she had been charged with protecting it so that was following Voldemort's directive as well. Yes, she was worried that Voldemort would punish her if the cup had been stolen, but that's still acting on Voldemort's terms rather than her own. Her entire focus was on protecting Voldemort's treasure to please him and she panicked at the implication that she had failed because that would not please him. She had verified that they had not been in her vault before the escape so she saw no need to inform Voldemort of that - again, her primary concern being to please him and maintain her role as his most loyal servant. She then made sure to inform Gringotts that her wand had been stolen and give them special instructions regarding her vault - again, her primary goal being to protect Voldemort's treasure to please him and maintain her role as his most loyal servant.

It stands out that Voldemort was not aware of any of that. He did not know that Bellatrix had said anything about her vault in front of Harry. He did not know that Bellatrix had contacted Gringotts to give them special instructions regarding her vault. Bellatrix did all of that because she wanted to please Voldemort by keeping the cup safe, but she does not tell him about it out of fear that he would punish her - she throws the blame on Lucius from what we're shown. When the goblin showed up and told Voldemort that Harry had stolen the cup, Voldemort was furious, but he was also extremely confused because he did not know of any way that Harry could have known about the cup or where it was. He eventually concludes that Dumbledore must have figured it out and told Harry. That demonstrates that he did not know about Bellatrix talking about her vault in front of Harry - which means he would not have known she delayed summoning him for that purpose as well, IMO.

Bellatrix ran away from the battle in the DoM to avoid capture, but she also knew Harry was following her and believed he still had the prophecy. She took advantage of that to try and get the prophecy from Harry. She did not know that Lucius had caused the prophecy to get smashed during the battle - and her distress when Harry revealed that was obvious. That's when Voldemort showed up and assured her that Harry was telling the truth. Voldemort saw his most loyal servant had escaped capture - unlike the Death Eaters below - and was still diligently trying to get the prophecy from Harry. Bellatrix did nothing that would go against Voldemort's orders or that would disappoint him there - not from his perspective. Lucius and the others had - Lucius caused the prophecy to get smashed and they were all captured.


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I don't call that being passive, I call that having a goal. We might not agree that it was a good thing to strive towards but it was what Bellatrix wanted. She wanted to be trusted by Voldemort, to be above the other Death Eaters and possibly even to be Voldemort's partner. She did what she could in order to achieve this. Passive would be not doing anything about it. She even attempted to find Voldemort and restore him to power when no one else dared to do so.
Aspiring to be a servant to someone else is a very passive goal to have, IMO. There's no indication that Bellatrix ever saw herself as an equal to Voldemort or even that she considered herself worthy of being his partner. All we're shown is that she wanted to be his most loyal servant - completely and totally submissive to him - and that she saw him as her superior - her Master. We are shown that she was completely passive to Voldemort. We are shown that her every thought and action were framed around what Voldemort would want - or what he would not want. We are shown that she did nothing on her own terms - it was always on Voldemort's terms. We are shown that she made no choices or decisions for herself - it was always based on what Voldemort would want or what he would not want. We are shown that she was not her own person and had no independence - her entire identity was completely wrapped up in being Voldemort's most loyal servant. Bellatrix seemed to feel that she could not have any power or agency in her own right, but rather that she only had power through being completely submissive to Voldemort and was entirely dependent on him for that from what we're shown. Bellatrix Lestrange did not exist as an independent individual with her own thoughts and goals - she only existed as Voldemort's most loyal servant to follow his orders and achieve his goals from what we're shown.


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"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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  #297  
Old July 16th, 2012, 12:14 am
Sereena's Avatar
Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
Voldemort was projecting his own mistakes there - and his thoughts were not that specific. The actual mistake was that he never told them what he had given them - both Lucius and Bellatrix would have been more cautious if they had actually known those objects contained a piece of Voldemort's soul. There is no indication that Voldemort ever made any connection to Bellatrix being the one who revealed the location of the cup to Harry - on the contrary, he was completely shocked to discover that Harry had stolen the cup and could not conceive of any way for Harry to have known the cup was in the vault at Gringotts. Instead, it appears that he is angry because Bellatrix put the cup in her vault at Gringotts rather than in a more secure location - projecting his own mistake onto her because he had initially wanted the cup to be put in Gringotts because he also considered it secure.
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?

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I was actually referring to Griphook revealing that the sword in Bellatrix's vault was a fake in that conversation the trio overheard in the forest. Snape gave the sword to Bellatrix to put into her vault - Bellatrix apparently felt it necessary to verify the authenticity of the sword before doing so. Griphook decided not to tell her the sword was a fake so she believed it was real. That reveals that she still did not trust Snape, IMO.
I don't remember that one so I can't really comment here.

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I think any other Death Eater who showed up two hours late would have been punished for that. Snape was shown leniency and allowed to explain himself because he was a favorite, IMO.
He was shown leniency because he had a good reason for being late, IMO.

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I don't find that hard to believe at all. All the other Death Eaters - including Lucius - had been captured and were being held below. Bellatrix had escaped capture and was still trying to get the prophecy from Harry - not knowing that Lucius had caused it to get smashed during the fight. Bellatrix did not fail Voldemort there at all. Lucius and the others who were captured had failed him.
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.

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There is no indication that Bellatrix was punished or held accountable at all actually. She had no injury and was allowed to procure a new wand so she could fight in the final battle. As far as we're shown, Bellatrix was still a favorite.
Oh, I'm sure she was a favorite. The question is what for

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Voldemort's taunts were exactly what made Bellatrix fear she had lost favor from what we're shown. His order to kill Tonks was framed in a manner that led her to believe that was necessary to regain his favor. From what we're shown, Bellatrix was content to simply ignore her sister and niece and pretend they were not part of her family - which was what pure-blood families typically did in such situations. She only agreed to kill Tonks because Voldemort wanted her to and she felt that was necessary to maintain his good favor - which is why her eyes "swam with gratitude", 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.

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From what we're shown, the only thing Bellatrix cared about in that situation was that she believed Narcissa was betraying Voldemort and wanted to stop her from doing so. She didn't think Snape knew about the plan and was concerned that Narcissa telling Snape about it would enable Snape to betray Voldemort as well. From what we're shown, that was Bellatrix's only reason for following Narcissa - to prevent her from betraying Voldemort by telling Snape about the plan.
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.

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Agreeing to be the bonder for the Vow didn't betray Voldemort because Narcissa did not ask Snape to do anything that went against his orders from Voldemort.
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.

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There is no indication that Voldemort intended to have Draco killed if he failed. On the contrary, Draco did fail and he was not killed for it. He was punished in similar ways to Lucius for his failure.
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.

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And the Death Eaters still had the advantage over all of it. Nobody knew their identities. They had people in place at the Ministry in key positions. Voldemort's disappearance didn't change any of that. It was a blow, but not one that would have resulted in failure if they had been capable of functioning without him, IMO. I think they would have continued to fight if they had actually been trying to change the world - the fact that they folded so easily demonstrates that it was not really about the cause for them, 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.

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Jo has also revealed that Grindelwald was simply using Dumbledore and taking advantage of his feelings - he did not reciprocate them.
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.

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I disagree. We have a direct statement on page from Bellatrix herself that she expected Voldemort to protect her - to free her from Azkaban and reward her for her loyalty as his servant. Bellatrix never behaved in a manner consistent with her seeing herself as Voldemort's equal. She only saw herself as his most loyal servant from what we're shown. I think it is clear that Bellatrix knew that she would never be anything more than a servant to Voldemort and she was fine with that. Her only goal was to prove herself to be Voldemort's most loyal servant from what we're shown.
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

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Marrying into the Malfoy family didn't get rid of the fortune she inherited as a Black. She had her own money and she enjoyed being wealthy and having political affluence and power as a Malfoy. That type of power and affluence was her ambition from what we're shown and she had already achieved that long before Harry ever met her. By DH, her ambition is to get that back - which is why she and Lucius were both so excited when the snatchers showed up with Harry. Voldemort winning and forgiving them was their only means to regain the power and affluence they had always enjoyed.
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.

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I think it's made clear that Bellatrix was completely happy in Voldemort's service. She believed him to be complimenting her and was grateful for any scrap of attention he paid to her from what we're shown. She was happy to be perceived as Voldemort's most loyal servant and had no aspirations to be anything more than that from what we're shown. I do agree that Voldemort did not treat Bellatrix well, but I would also say that Bellatrix felt she was treated well because her gratitude to Voldemort is shown on page.
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.

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I wouldn't dispute that - there was an obvious physical attraction on her part. However, I would also say that would not make her Voldemort's equal or his partner - and Bellatrix knew that from what we're shown. That would only make her more of a slave to him in that it would be another means for him to control her - giving her something she wanted when she did well, withholding it as punishment if she did not.
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.

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That is exactly my point. Bellatrix did believe Snape had fooled Voldemort. She did believe that Voldemort had made mistakes in how he handled Snape. She felt it was wrong for Snape to have been ordered not to participate in battles - i.e. the DoM. However, in spite of such doubts, Bellatrix backs down - she completely gives up and submits to Voldemort's will on that. She could not bring herself to admit that Voldemort was wrong - that he had made mistakes.
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.

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She does not make any choices or decisions for herself - it's always for Voldemort. She wasn't proud to go to Azkaban for herself - she was proud to go to Azkaban for Voldemort.
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.

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She wasn't worried about someone breaking into her vault and stealing her possessions and treasures - she was worried that someone has stolen Voldemort's treasure. If Voldemort died, she wouldn't care about anything else because her entire identity was wrapped up in being his most loyal servant - without that, she would feel she had nothing from what we're shown. That's why she was so desperate to find him when he disappeared, IMO. Feeling empowered by being Voldemort's most loyal servant doesn't make Bellatrix any less passive or submissive because that was entirely confined to her complete and total submission to Voldemort. She wasn't her own person - she never did anything on her own terms. She was Voldemort's most loyal servant and she did everything on his terms 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.

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The same is true for the situation at Malfoy Manor. If Harry had broken into her vault to take the sword, then Voldemort would want her to make sure the cup was still safe. She didn't know exactly what it was, but she had been charged with protecting it so that was following Voldemort's directive as well. Yes, she was worried that Voldemort would punish her if the cup had been stolen, but that's still acting on Voldemort's terms rather than her own. Her entire focus was on protecting Voldemort's treasure to please him and she panicked at the implication that she had failed because that would not please him.
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.

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Bellatrix ran away from the battle in the DoM to avoid capture, but she also knew Harry was following her and believed he still had the prophecy.
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.

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Voldemort saw his most loyal servant had escaped capture - unlike the Death Eaters below - and was still diligently trying to get the prophecy from Harry.
And like I said before Voldemort was not exactly kind to her and implied she would get punished.

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All we're shown is that she wanted to be his most loyal servant - completely and totally submissive to him - and that she saw him as her superior - her Master
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.

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Bellatrix Lestrange did not exist as an independent individual with her own thoughts and goals - she only existed as Voldemort's most loyal servant to follow his orders and achieve his goals from what we're shown.
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.


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  #298  
Old July 18th, 2012, 4:55 pm
meesha1971's Avatar
meesha1971  Female.gif meesha1971 is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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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.

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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".

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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  #299  
Old July 18th, 2012, 7:54 pm
Divvie  Female.gif Divvie is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Sereena View Post
.... Like her fellow DEs she wants power and sees Voldemort as a means to that power. .... 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.
Personally, I think so too. Bella was certainly a hardcore supremacist, but she also admired Voldemort and his power-hunger. I see her essentially as an alpha female looking for an alpha male - and being a psychopath, her criteria were imo best met by the residing psycho-alpha. So, she would accept Voldy both as a leader and as potential love interest because she simply would consider anything else below her, her marriage to Rodolphus Lestrange non-withstanding.
I don't think she had any competition in that sense, so from her perspective she WAS the DL most loyal servant and his equal (as in both being "alphas").

She wasn't around in the first DE meeting after Voldy's resurrection or she might have taken offense by his reference to Barty jr. as his most faithful servant (I think that was his expression in GoF); but as I agree with the above observation that Barty jr. was more looking for a father-figure, I suppose Bella would have not felt too threatened by him.



Last edited by Divvie; July 18th, 2012 at 10:30 pm.
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  #300  
Old July 18th, 2012, 10:16 pm
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Sereena  Female.gif Sereena is offline
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Re: Bellatrix Lestrange: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Divvie View Post
Personally, I think so too. Bella was certainly a hardcore supremist, but she also admired Voldemort and his power-hunger. I see her essentially as an alpha female looking for an alpha male - and being a psychopath, her criteria were imo best met by the residing psycho-alpha. So, she would accept Voldy both as a leader and as potential love interest because she simply would consider anything else below her, her marriage to Rodolphus Lestrange non-withstanding.
I don't think she had any competition in that sense, so from her perspective she WAS the DL most loyal servant and his equal (as in both being "alphas").
I agree. That was my interpretation of her character as well. She thought her and Voldemort would make a perfect match because of how alike they are. Besides, it's not like she had great competition, the only other female DE was Alecto and there was no way Voldemort would choose her over Bellatrix. At least not according to Bellatrix.


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Originally Posted by meesha1971 View Post
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.
I'm finally home and can now provide the long awaited quote so here it is:

DH, chapter 27it had been a grave mistake to trust Bellatrix and Malfoy: didn’t their stupidity and carelessness prove how unwise it was, ever, to trust?


So he regrets having trusted them and also implies that they both had somehow failed him when it comes to keeping the Horcruxes safe. It's possible that he didn't know how Bellatrix's information to Harry had led to the destruction of the cup but he is aware that she has made a mistake, through her "carelessness and stupidity". I don't see this as Voldemort admitting that his mistake was to not trust them, on the contrary.

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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.
Avery's mistakes were detrimental to Voldemort while Snape coming to meet him two hours later was not.

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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.
Bellatrix was also guilty of more than one failure. She had been involved in the mission of the DoM in which she failed. Whether or not she killed Sirius and escaped Dumbledore is irrelevant. What Voldemort wanted was the prophecy, she didn't get it for him. That would constitute failure in his eyes, IMO, and I think we were shown that it did. This is why Snape also teases Bellatrix about that mission- because even he knew Voldemort had not been pleased. He did show her mercy that evening because he could have easily let his anger out on her. Whether or not that would have been reasonable doesn't matter because Voldemort is not shown to be reasonable in these situations. He kills some of his followers simply because they were in the same room with him. Those people weren't guilty of anyhting.

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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
Bellatrix was protesting but I wouldn't call that putting her foot down. Narcissa did what she wanted despite Bellatrix's arguments. I would agree that she attempted to convince Narcissa to refrain from speaking to Snape but in the end she let that decision up to Narcissa.

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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.
The whole point of having Draco do it was as Narcissa says, to punish Lucius. If Snape helps Draco then Draco is no longer in any danger and Lucius is not punished for his failures as Voldemort intended.

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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.
Why? I think he could have said that as a spy he got to know Dumbledore closely and knew Dumbledore wouldn't do that to one of his students. It was no secret to anyone that Dumbledore wasn't evil so Snape saying that doesn't blow his cover at all.

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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.
Draco did not entirely fail. He managed to disarm Dumbledore and let the DEs into the castle. He kept Dumbledore there until Snape appeared and killed him. In that sense, he didn't fail.

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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.
Then there would be no point in comparing those two relationships yet they were compared. I'm not saying everyone should agree with Rowling and her opinions but in this case I do see her point.

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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.
Bellatrix could have and would have ditched her husband if Voldemort wanted to be with her. Her husband meant nothing to her and I think we have every reason to believe that she did want to be with Voldemort.
His Death Eaters were not willing to subjugate themselves to him as proven by their denial of ever having known him when he disappeared. They were looking out for themselves and Voldemort knew this.

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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.
At that point it wasn't obvious that Voldemort would lose. He had managed to break down the resistance and also killed Harry. For all the Death eaters knew, he had won. Narcissa never cared about that because all she wanted was to keep Draco safe. In the beginning of DH it is obvious that her family is still in danger. Voldemort mocks Lucius and even goes as far as to take his wand. That shows that they were still in danger as Voldemort wasn't happy with them.

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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.
Snape explained that he had believed Voldemort dead so he certainly wasn't following his orders. What he managed to do was to convince Bellatrix that his actions had benefitted Voldemort and his order. But those actions were not dictated by Voldemort, at least not all of them. Bellatrix didn't want to stop suspecting Snape or admit that she had been wrong but she was forced because as you say she couldn't think of anything else to throw at Snape.

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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 would consider it an honor of which she was worthy, IMO. I think we were shown that she considered herself worthy of being his lover, which is why she is also noted to talk to him "as if to a lover" or whatever the phrase was. This is also why she never questions his kind words to her in DH, which are later revealed to be mockery. This never crosses her mind because she is so convinced it does mean a great deal to Voldemort to hear her say that to him.
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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.
A Voldemort restored to power certainly carried some gains for Bellatrix and her pals as well, I would say. It wasn't entirely selfless of her. Going to Azkaban was also not done for Voldemort as it didn't help Voldemort at all. On the contrary. But it did help Bellatrix. Her expecting a reward is certainly about her. I don't see how her expecting a reward is in any way for Voldemort's sake unless we're arguing that he got some kicks out of rewarding his faithful servants who against their will accepted those rewards

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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.
But she wants to be Voldemort's most loyal servant and be rewarded "above all others". This is not something she is doing for Voldemort, she is doing it for her, because she wants to. Whether she did it in hopes of being his other half, or in hopes of gaining power or both is debatable but I don't see how her wanting to be his "anything" isn't about her desires. Voldemort has no interest in making her his most loyal servant, he is indifferent in regards to who serves him best. This was not about his desires.

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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.
Bellatrix didn't want to be punished so she waited until she summoned Voldemort and only did so once she believed she was out of harm's way. I don't see that as being about Voldemort. It's about Voldemort in the sense that it's his punishment she wants to avoid but it's not about, say, protecting him from getting tired from casting the Cruciatus on her. It's about avoiding punishment, pain and humiliation, IMO.

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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 didn't put his safety above hers. She stuck around because he was already there and could protect her. Not to mention it would have angered Voldemort for her to Disapparate away once he was there.

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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 think this is where we differ because I don't consider submission to automatically mean that a person has no goals of their own. Quite the contrary. Sometimes you need to submit in order to get what you want. Just because you work for someone doesn't mean you have no dreams or ambitions of your own. I think all DEs had that as Dumbledore also explained. There was nothing selfless about following Voldemort and if that meant they could be put in charge of the Wizarding world then they considered it worthwhile to submit to him. They lacked the power they wanted and needed in order to achieve their goals. Voldemort had that power. I agree that Bellatrix considered him her superior in terms of power and magical ability. I don't think she believed she was better than him in any way but I disagree that she has no interest of her own in following him. Nor do I believe she would choose to be his servant if she could be something else. I also think she aspired to be something else as proven by her lusty interactions with him in DH.

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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
I would say Voldemort is parroting the beliefs of familes such as Bellatrix's. Those were not his beliefs and they existed way before he was even born. I think we know quite a lot about Bellatrix's dreams and aspirations. We know she was a pureblood supremacist, she enjoyed the Dark Arts and she was sort of in love with Voldemort. She doesn't parrot Voldemort's dreams and aspirations at all. Voldemort wants to be immortal- she shows no interest in this for example.

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Bellatrix's thoughts and feelings do not matter to her - she is only concerned about what Voldemort thinks and feels.
I don't see how this can be. She only thinks about what Voldemort thinks and feels in relation to her, not in general. She is worried that he might not like her, that he might be disappointed in her, that he might punish her. She is worried about his anger because of what it can do to her, not because it is such a negative feeling for Voldemort to feel. Likewise, her failures worry her not because they are a set back for him but because they might result in her being punished. She doesn't mind Voldemort failing as long as it isn't her responsible for the failure. I don't think it matters at all to her what Voldemort thinks or feels in general, as long as he is content with her and shows it by rewarding her or wanting to be close to her.


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