There’s a shocking revelation in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that may leave you wondering: Did J.K. Rowling ever hint at romance between those two in canon during the original book series?
Obvious spoiler warning!
Yep, that happened: Bellatrix and Voldemort had sex sometime around Order of the Phoenix or Half-Blood Prince, and their wild night in bed led to a child named Delphi Diggory/Riddle/Lestrange. According to Delphi herself, she was born sometime before the Battle of Hogwarts. She’s a prominent character in The Cursed Child and the main antagonist, looking to travel to the past to meet her father and avenge his death.
This raises lots of questions — “Voldemort has a dick?” is one of them — but perhaps the biggest is this one: Did J.K. Rowling ever hint at romance between Voldemort and Bellatrix in the original series? And has she been holding this twist in her head all of these years, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to release it? Or, did the play’s producers come up with this?
We all know that Jo is fantastic at foreshadowing, and there may be some hints in the book. In fact, a few readers picked up on them.
A quick Google search reveals plenty of conversations online over the past decade in which fans ponder a potential romance between Voldemort and Bellatrix due to the latter’s obsession with the Dark Lord. And there are a couple of reasons why this all adds up:
In ‘Deathly Hallows,’ Jo hints at Bellatrix’s deep love for Voldemort:
The following is an excerpt from the beginning of Chapter 36, “The Flaw in the Plan”:
“My Lord . . . my Lord . . . ”
It was Bellatrix’s voice, and she spoke as if to a lover.
In a 2007 web chat after the release of ‘Deathly Hallows’, Rowling was asked if Bellatrix loved her husband — a pure blood — or Voldemort:
Isabel: Did Bellatrix ever love her husband, or did she have love only for Voldemort?
J.K. Rowling: She took a pureblood husband, because that was what was expected of her, but her true love was always Voldemort.
In December 2007, Rowling made it clear in an interview with PotterCast that Bellatrix was sexually attracted to Voldemort
Actress Helena Bonham Carter even played up the sexual attraction, but filmmakers had to tell her to tone it down.
“And Bellatrix, was, as I think is clear– you know, I doubt that people will be particularly shocked to hear, ’cause I’m sure they’ve deduced, that Bellatrix is madly, romantically in love with Voldemort. This is– you know, that’s the obsession of her life. And I believe that Helena Bonham Carter had to be asked to tone it down after she– (laughs) The producer called me and said, you know, give me some background on Bellatrix so we can tell Helena about it. And I said, well of course, it’s a sexual attraction. She’s madly in love with this man, and obsessed by him. (laughs) Apparently, they had to ask her to bring it down because she was being a bit too sexy.”
So when did they hook up? Here’s one idea: In ‘Order of the Phoenix,’ there was THIS moment:
At the very end of Chapter 24 in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry experiences “pain so severe he thought that someone must have sliced into the top of his head.”
Maniacal laughter was ringing in his ears: [Voldemort] was happier than he had been in a very long time: jubilant, ecstatic, triumphant: a wonderful, wonderful thing had happened.
[…] [Harry] could not help feeling that his first foray into Occlumency had weakened his mind’s resistance rather than strengthening it, and he wondered, with a feeling of great trepidation, what had happened to make Lord Voldemort the happiest he had been in fourteen years.
At the beginning of the next chapter we learn about the breach at Azkaban, during which Bellatrix escaped. Voldemort was thrilled over several of his followers getting out, and one of them loves him deeply. What better way to celebrate a release than having a release?
And Bellatrix is the one who stands out to Harry when he, Hermione, and Ron are learning about the breakout. In the book, Harry is “concentrating on Bellatrix” mere paragraphs after he felt Voldemort’s “jubilant, ecstatic,” “wonderful, wonderful” sensations.
The only problem with Voldemort having sex? Voldemort never loved anyone
Time and time again, J.K. Rowling has said that Voldemort can not love. “He loved only power, and himself,” the Harry Potter author said in the aforementioned 2007 web chat. “He valued people whom he could use to advance his own objectives.”
And sure, one could argue that Voldemort only had sex because he wanted to be in power, but would the Dark Lord ever bring himself to a human level by being so intimate with someone, ever? Can we believe that Voldemort had a moment of weakness? Can we believe he succumbed to the temptations of sex? It seems very unlike him.
Continuing on with the theory…
Let’s say they had sex in January 1996, when Bellatrix escaped from Azkaban in Order of the Phoenix. Is there any more proof of romance between these two beyond that?
Yes, arguably, as a Redditor pointed out last year. In Chapter 2 of Half-Blood Prince, an interesting line comes from Bellatrix at Spinners End. The scene takes place in the summer of 1996, after Narcissa grows upset that her “only son” may die for Voldemort:
“You should be proud!” said Bellatrix ruthlessly. “If I had sons, I would be glad to give them up to the service of the Dark Lord”
That’s “sons,” not “son.” Why is Bellatrix thinking plural when Naricissa mentioned her only son, Draco? Is it because she knows she already has one on the way?
What’s more: Bellatrix is absent from the Astronomy Tower at the end of the book, which takes place in May 1997. Perhaps her child, Delphi, is the reason for her absence.
But what about those wings?
In the play, Delphi has a pair of wings that are concealed until the end of the story, when she flies in the air above the others. It’s the same pair of wings seen on the cover of the script book.
This part can’t be explained in canon save for the fact that Voldemort is capable of flying. Obviously he didn’t have wings, but we think the playmakers added them for a dramatic effect on the stage.
J.K. Rowling on Voldemort’s sex life
Notably, Rowling did once comment on Voldemort’s sex life when posed the question by a Slate writer. Her response: Give the guy some privacy!
@michaeljtabb Does a dehumanised wizard killer who murders in the pursuit of his own immortality forfeit the right to ALL privacy, Michael?
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 17, 2014
How do you think the Voldemort and Bellatrix romance adds up?
We hope that Rowling explains this twist in the future. We doubt she’ll do it soon, because she’ll want to give everyone plenty of time to read the play and discover the secrets for themselves.
In the mean time, leave your theories in the comments — we’re dying to hear ’em!