The Marriage of Bellatrix Lestrange

My marriage and courtship class has me looking at the relationships in other books I’ve been reading as well. Recently I’ve finally caught up on all the Harry Potter movies in preparation for when part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out and it had me thinking about Bellatrix’s marriage.

For those that don’t remember, in the books Bellatrix is married to Rodolphous but there are many who think the marriage isn’t one of affection. In the fanfiction community a good number of stories show Rodolphous being either abusive or indifferent towards his wife.  Add the fact that she is attracted to Voldemort, and on paper it would appear to be a rather dysfunctional marriage.

I don’t blame anyone that would jump to that conclusion. I would think that too and I felt sorry for her at one point. Then my Hail Wedded Love class read The Princess of Cleves by Marie-Madeline de Lafayette.  In the book the Princess is married to the Prince by her mother as a hope that the marriage will be a good match and will provide her daughter with good fortune. However the Princess finds herself attracted to another man in the court called Monsieur de Nemours who is known for his many affairs with women.  Though they never carry out a sexual affair the thought that the Princess is emotionally cheating on him destroyed the Prince and he dies of a broken heart.

The storyline of the novel got me thinking about the role love plays in marriage.  For the Princess, being in a relationship with a man that loved her was unbearable and yet the prospect of taking up with Monsieur de Nemours, despite her feels for him, was ghastly.  In this case, mutual passion and unrequited passion were killing the Princess just as much.

As we discussed this I couldn’t help but think about Rodolphous and Bellatrix Lestrange. (Really I even wrote it in the margin of my notebook!)  Considering how attached the Blacks are to the idea of  “pureblood wizards” I wouldn’t be surprised if Bellatrix’s marriage was one set up by her mother for her gain power and if love was absent from their marriage then it shouldn’t matter cos they would both be free to do as they chose.

With that I open it up to you guys. What are you thoughts on love and marriage? (You don’t have to reference Bellatrix but you can if you want.)

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5 thoughts on “The Marriage of Bellatrix Lestrange

  1. Because I’ve been analysing the crap out of Macbeth and freakin anything Chaucer touched… I’m totally going to focus on the Bellatrix side of things.

    I definitely agree that her marriage to Rodolphus would have been arranged, and I think that’s the consensus amongst most fans. The idea of their marriage being loveless definitely isn’t helped by JKR saying that the love of her life was Voldermort (older men, the girl has class).

    Personally I’ve always imagined there was love involved on some level. I definitely don’t agree with the idea that she was abused by Rodolphus. Can you honestly look at this character and assume she would put up with that? Possibly she was abused as a child in one form of another, whether it was physical or emotional, that would have led to her retaining that sadistic nature that a lot of children possess. But I couldn’t see her being abused by anyone other than say… Voldermort himself. She is in essence his second in command, so she would be more along the lines of dishing out the abuse rather than taking it.

    To be honest I don’t even know where I’m going with this comment. But that’s my view and now… DISCUSS. kthx.

    1. That is how I see things too. I don’t know if she would put up with an abusive marriage but I don’t know how affectionate they are with each other. There’s a quote in the Princess of Cleves about how the Prince never felt like the Princess was really present but he took comfort in the fact that there was no one who could reach her heart but then this other man did. I am not sure how much that dynamic shaped their relationship. I would imagine Rodolphous being very jealous of Voldemort if he did care for her and I’m kind of surprised he isn’t more central in that triangle.

  2. I have to say this article made me stroke my beard in thought. This action allowed me to not only form an opinion about your article, but I had a snack because of a rogue chip hiding in my facial hair. There is no way Rodolphus could have felt any resentment toward his master or his wife.Their marriage was one of convenience, arranged for blood status and best genetic output. That being said, it is made painfully obvious in the books that even if they weren’t in love, they were a very tight duo. They stood by each other through Azkaban, were paired by Voldemort during raids for their combat dynamic so on and so forth. This means they:1) Had a polyamorous/open relationship or 2) Rodolphus was homosexual and Bellatrix was his cover and he hers for her infatuation with Voldemort. Neither of these things are beyond the realm of possibility. Especially when you throw in the origins of the Lestrange name. You should be careful to not restrict your analysis to traditional (read: VANILLA) or overtly romaticised concepts. I am also interested to see how you would fit Rabastan Lestrange into your reasoning, as he was always their third. Three Lestranges. One castle. One tomb.

    1. I actually need to reread the Harry Potter books to form this argument a little more, particularly where Rabastan is concerned but I do have to agree that I thought their marriage was one of convenience. What I want to explore, perhaps in a larger essay is exactly how the marriage between these two character (if only for position and best genetic output) hurt them in the long run.

      I myself have thought of their marriage going several ways. Particularly in the simple arranged marriage as you described and also to other aspects like having to set an example to her sisters and making a proper marriage. What also really strikes me is that she’s infatuated with the Dark Lord, who himself is a half-blood. I would find it kind of odd if she didn’t know this, being part of his inner circle. I just wonder exactly how knowing his blood status would effect her feelings towards him.

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