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Cygnus Black (18291851) was a pure-blood wizard. He was an early member of the House of Black, and possibly the brother of Arcturus and Misapinoa and father of Phineas Nigellus and his siblings (Sirius, Elladora, and Iola), but his precise relationship to other known members of the Black family is unknown. He married Ella Max.[1]

Behind the scenes

  • This character appears only on the version of the Black family tree shown in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He was not included on the version of the tree which J. K. Rowling gave to a charity auction in 2006.[2] However, according to director David Yates, Rowling provided the filmmakers with a copy of the Black family tree going back eight generations.[3] The filmmakers presumably received a more complete version of the tree than the one auctioned off, which only goes back six generations.
  • Cygnus was probably the son of Licorus Black.
  • Given his placement on the tree in the film, this character may have been the older brother of Arcturus I, and the father of Sirius I, Phineas Nigellus, Elladora (who would have been named after her mother Ella), and Iola.
  • If Iola was Cygnus' daughter, that means that he died before or after she was born, because she was born after 1850 and he died in 1851.
  • Based on a statement of Horace Slughorn, Cygnus may have been a member of Slytherin House. However, he attended Hogwarts c. 1840 - 1847, when Slughorn was not Potions teacher.
  • If it is proven that Cygnus is the father of Phineas Nigellus Black, then it can be said that the name Cygnus is, by tradition, skipped every other generation, or his descendants are named after him out of respect for him.
  • Cygnus would have been quite young to have become a father (starting at 16 with Sirius I, 18 with Phineas, 21 with Elladora, and, 22 for Iola). J.K. Rowling has stated that Math was not her strong suit.


Cygnus means "swan". A possible grandson of Cygnus I is named after him. Cygnus is also the name of a constellation in the Northern Hemisphere near Lacerta and Lyra, containing the star Deneb. Also called Northern Cross and Swan.


Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) DVD (Disc 2 - menu opening sequence)
  2. "Black Family Tree" on The Harry Potter Lexicon
  3. "'Empire' Magazine Feature on OotP" from The Leaky Cauldron