Early life and family Bellatrix Black was born in 1951 to Cygnus and Druella (Rosier) Black. Her given name translates exactly from Latin as the feminine form of the noun "warrior", though the diminutive "Bella" also suggests beauty. Like many members of the Black family, Bellatrix is named after a star: Bellatrix, also known as Gamma Orionis, is one of the brightest stars in the constellation Orion.
Bellatrix is related by blood and marriage to many characters in the novels: she has two younger sisters, Andromeda and Narcissa (who calls her "Bella"). Andromeda married a Muggle-born, Ted Tonks, and was subsequently disowned by the Blacks; Narcissa married Lucius Malfoy, heir of a wealthy pure-blood family. She is also a first cousin to Sirius and Regulus Black, and an aunt to Nymphadora Tonks and Draco Malfoy. Bellatrix married Rodolphus Lestrange after leaving Hogwarts. It is implied that she has no children. For more information on Bellatrix's pure-blood pedigree, see the Black family tree.
It is suggested that, as a student, Bellatrix associated with a group of students - including Snape, Avery, Rodolphus Lestrange, Evan Rosier and Wilkes - who nearly all became Death Eaters. It is assumed Bellatrix was at least initially drawn to Lord Voldemort because they both believe in an ideology that favors pure-bloods over other members of the wizarding community. This elitism, shared by the Malfoy and Lestrange clans, was instilled in Bellatrix since childhood. The Black family motto, "toujours pur" (French for "always pure"), reflects this steadfast belief in blood purity.
Bellatrix and her husband were active in Voldemort's rise to power, and managed to evade capture and suspicion until after the Dark Lord's downfall on October 31, 1981. Rather than desert their leader like many other Death Eaters, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, Rabastan, and Barty Crouch Jr tortured the well-known Aurors - Frank and Alice Longbottom - in an attempt to gain information about Voldemort's location. For using the Unforgivable Cruciatus Curse to torture the Longbottoms until they went insane, Bellatrix and her three associates were sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban. At their trial, Bellatrix proudly and defiantly proclaimed, "The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban; we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!" After his rebirthing ritual, Voldemort stated that the Lestranges were among the most faithful members of his inner circle.
Fourteen years after his fall, Bellatrix was one of the many Death Eaters who escaped Azkaban and rejoined Voldemort in January 1996. Over the years, her good looks were reduced to a remnant of their former beauty, making her appear gaunt and skeletal in mug shots printed in The Daily Prophet.
It has been suggested at several points in the narrative that Bellatrix is insane. For example, in the Department of Mysteries, she is described as having "mad eyes" and has a "fanatical glow" in her face; she loses all self-control whenever Harry "besmirches" the name of Voldemort. She is also a sadist, as she enjoys using the Cruciatus Curse on victims and delights in torture and pain. In The Half-Blood Prince, she is described as "snarling," "passionate" and it is said that "in her fury she looked slightly mad." She also has a fierce and dangerous temper, a trait she shares with her cousin Sirius and her aunt Walburga. The battle at the Ministry seems to have affected Bella's judgement, making her more paranoid. While pursuing her sister Narcissa she mistakes a fox for an Auror in disguise, only realizing it isn't when she has killed it, though this should hardly be considered a sign of mental decline - rather, a precaution. She also constantly suspects Snape of being Dumbledore's spy. She is easily distracted when riled (e.g. in the Department of Mysteries). Her insanity is much more overt in the film than the book however and Sirius at one point explicitly refers to her as "deranged."
Bellatrix is fanatically devoted to Voldemort (who in turn uses her pet name, Bella). For example, she proudly boasts to Harry of having been personally taught the Dark Arts by Voldemort himself; she comments that, if she had a son, she would willingly give him into the service of the Dark Lord; and, most notably, she was willing to boast of her service to him even as she was being sentenced to Azkaban. She also splutters in her meeting with Snape at Spinners End that "The Dark Lord has, in the past, entrusted me with his most precious-", though she never clarifies this further. Despite Bellatrix's devotion Voldemort does not repay her the same level of love as she gives to him, although he does choose to rescue her above the others in the fifth book. Bellatrix is a very skilled duelist, managing to defeat Sirius Black, Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt and was also able to defeat and torture Neville's parents, who were esteemed Aurors, in the past.
Verses A younger AU verse where she's not so bat crazy. Older verse: Canon although she didn't die at the end of the book.