Bellatrix scrabbles for Voldemort's favour

Voldemort humiliates Bellatrix

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

‘My Lord,’ said a dark woman halfway down the table, her voice constricted with emotion, ‘it is an honour to have you here, in our family’s house. There can be no higher pleasure.’

She sat beside her sister, as unlike her in looks, with her dark hair and heavily lidded eyes, as she was in bearing and demeanour; where Narcissa sat rigid and impassive, Bellatrix leaned towards Voldemort, for mere words could not demonstrate her longing for closeness.

‘No higher pleasure,’ repeated Voldemort, his head tilted a little to one side as he considered Bellatrix. ‘That means a great deal, Bellatrix, from you.’

Her face flooded with colour; her eyes welled with tears of delight.

‘My Lord knows I speak nothing but the truth!’

‘No higher pleasure … even compared to the happy event that, I hear, has taken place in your family this week?’

She stared at him, her lips parted, evidently confused.

‘I don’t know what you mean, my Lord.’

‘I’m talking about your niece, Bellatrix. And yours, Lucius and Narcissa. She has just married the werewolf, Remus Lupin. You must be so proud.’

There was an eruption of jeering laughter from around the table. Many leaned forward to exchange gleeful looks; a few thumped the table with their fists. The great snake, disliking the disturbance, opened its mouth wide and hissed angrily, but the Death Eaters did not hear it, so jubilant were they at Bellatrix and the Malfoys’ humiliation. Bellatrix’s face, so recently flushed with happiness, had turned an ugly, blotchy red.

‘She is no niece of ours, my Lord,’ she cried over the outpouring of mirth. ‘We – Narcissa and I – have never set eyes on our sister since she married the Mudblood. This brat has nothing to do with either of us, nor any beast she marries.’

‘What say you, Draco?’ asked Voldemort, and though his voice was quiet, it carried clearly through the catcalls and jeers. ‘Will you babysit the cubs?’

The hilarity mounted; Draco Malfoy looked in terror as his father, who was staring down into his own lap, then caught his mother’s eye. She shook her head almost imperceptibly, then resumed her own deadpan stare at the opposite wall.

‘Enough,’ said Voldemort, stroking the angry snake. ‘Enough.’

And the laughter died at once.

‘Many of our oldest family trees have become a little diseased over time,’ he said, as Bellatrix gazed at him, breathless and imploring. ‘You must prune yours, must you not, to keep it healthy? Cut away those parts that threaten the health of the rest.’

‘Yes, my Lord,’ whispered Bellatrix, and her eyes swam with tears of gratitude again. ‘At the first chance!’

‘You shall have it,’ said Voldemort. ‘And in your family, so in the world … we shall cut away the canker that infects us until only those of the true blood remain …’

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling