Hesper Black was an early member of the House of Black. She was a pure-blood witch, and it is possible that Licorus, Alexia Walkin, Phoebe and Eduardus Limette were her siblings. She never married or had any children.
Hesper traces back to Hesperia, which means "sunset". Sunsets and the night that follows it are often considered evil, like the colour black. It could also refer to the "setting of her bloodline" since she didn't have children.
Black can be considered a colour, and is the result of the absence of, or complete absorption of, light. In Western culture, the colour black has typically been associated with evil, darkness, and witchcraft, but also with prestige and sophistication — appropriate for the House of Black. Black has also been associated with life and prosperity by other cultures. In ancient China, black was the symbol of the element of water, which also corresponds to Slytherin, the Hogwarts house of almost all members of the Black family. In English heraldry, black represents darkness and ignorance; a possible allusion to the prejudice common to members of the House of Black.
However, the English word black is derived from either the Old English blœc, meaning "black", or blac, meaning "pale". Pallor is associated with sickness and the colour white, which is usually held to symbolise purity in Western and Indian culture, and death in East Asian cultures. This mirrors the typical colouring of members of the House of Black — dark hair and pale skin.
Behind the scenes
- Based on a statement by Horace Slughorn, this character may have been a member of Slytherin house. However, she attended Hogwarts in the 1830s, when Slughorn wasn’t even born.
- 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. She was not included on the version of the tree which J. K. Rowling gave to a charity auction in 2006. However, according to director David Yates, Rowling provided the film-makers with a copy of the Black family tree going back eight generations. The film makers presumably received a more complete version of the tree than the one auctioned off, which only goes back six generations.
- On the Black Family tree depicted on the 2nd DVD of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hesper’s picture is depicted as a skull. Regulus Black is also depicted in the same way, and it is unknown why some people have skulls instead of pictures. It is possible that the skull denotes those Blacks who have died violent deaths, as opposed to natural causes.
- The skull bears a striking resemblance to the Death’s Heads worn by the Nazis SS troopers during the Second World War. This may simply be coincidence or it could be done to emphasise the support for repression of certain groups of people exhibited by several prominent Blacks (support of Muggle-hunting, et cetera).
- It is interesting to note that there are no dates on the scroll of Hesper, where only her first name is written: it is possible that she was a stillborn child, as there would be no need for dates.
- She shared her first name with Sirius Black II's wife Hesper Black née Gamp.
- She is one of the only Blacks not to bear the name of a star. However, a variant of her name, Hesperus, was the Greek name for the divine personification of planet Venus in the evening.