At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Spoilers will be present within the article.
Early life (1970s-1983)
Born in the early 1970s, Ismelda Murk had a sister, who achieved great success as a student and so was showered with love and attention from their parents at Ismelda's expense. This parental neglect prompted Ismelda to begin acting out in the hopes of getting more attention. Her futile tactics involved Transfiguration, hexes, and animal abuse. Her desire for attention became increasingly dormant until it was a pivotal part of her personality.
Hogwarts years (1984–91)
During the 1986–1987 school year, she, along with fellow Slytherin Barnaby Lee, joined Merula Snyde on her search for the Cursed Vaults. When Barnaby asked his associates' opinion on what the next Cursed Vault could contain, Ismelda hoped it to be "something that could bring the Dark Lord back".
Ismelda accompanied Merula to confront Jacob's sibling, Tulip Karasu, Barnaby, and another of their friends at the entrance of the Restricted Section, hoping to beat them to get into the next Cursed Vault first. When Jacob's sibling beat Merula over a fair duel, Ismelda fired Everte Statum out of the blue, which would have hit Jacob's sibling had Barnaby not jumped out to take the hit. Ismelda showed no remorse about harming her former ally, and when Barnaby refused to back down, she stated he could suffer with his new friends. Both Ismelda and Merula were then held back by Barnaby while the others entered the Restricted Section to figure out how to gain entry to the next vault.
Sometime during her fifth year, Ismelda accidentally bumped into the popular Gryffindor Emily Tyler in the Courtyard. When Ismelda didn't apologise, however, Emily thought it a 'fitting punishment' to snatch the former's diary and read it aloud. This soon escalated into a commotion, which drew a large crowd of onlookers. Penny Haywood noticed the disturbance and requested for Jacob's sibling to come to the Courtyard, after which the two students asked around the crowd of onlookers so as to know what was happening, with Jacob's sibling noting that although some of the onlookers were laughing, most of them looked uncomfortable. Jacob's sibling and Penny then watched as Emily cruelly taunted Ismelda by reading aloud her diary, publicly humiliating her and revealing from it Ismelda's love confession to Barnaby Lee, which highly surprised Jacob's sibling. Emily then continued to relentlessly insult Ismelda upon this discovery, asserting that the latter was unlovable and repulsive, upon which Penny expressed that she couldn't watch this anymore.
Once the commotion was over, Ismelda requested that Jacob's sibling meet her in the Great Hall. Upon their arrival, Ismelda revealed that she was desperate and needed someone to confide in, to which Jacob's sibling inquired of her reasoning behind asking them, noting that that the two of them weren't exactly friends, prompting Ismelda to state that Merula Snyde, one of her few friends, would only mock her if she told her about her problems while the Bloody Baron, her house ghost, refused to give comment, leading Ismelda to the conclusion that she could only confide in to Jacob's sibling as she didn't have many friends. When Jacob's sibling inquired as to if this was related to the commotion earlier, Ismelda disclosed that she thought Emily might be right in calling Ismelda unlovable, declaring that Barnaby could only ever like her if he was forced to. This prompted Jacob's sibling to note that they had never seen Ismelda talk like this before, to which she arrogantly warned them not to get used to it, as she still detested them. Upon this, Jacob's sibling flushed angrily, inducing Ismelda to express how she didn't mean that and beseeched them to talk with her, to which they supposed they could at least hear her out.
After successfully addressing Ismelda's concerns over confessing her feelings to Barnaby, Jacob's sibling contacted a friend who could help her in preparing to talk to Barnaby. Soon after, Ismelda decided to show her appreciation for Jacob's sibling's help by teaching them the Curse of the Bogies, even allowing them to try it out on her. Jacob's sibling then accompanied Ismelda and watched her confess to Barnaby. Barnaby, however, completely misunderstood Ismelda's love confession, causing her to run away, upset. Concerned that she might try something drastic, as she insinuated that she would use a love potion on Barnaby, Jacob's sibling and Penny soon found her consorting with Jae Kim, who gave her a sandwich infused with love potion, which she could give to Barnaby. Jacob's sibling, upon intervening, could prompt Ismelda to give Barnaby the love potion-infused sandwich or dissuade her from it.
Regardless, Ismelda will resolve to remain friends with Barnaby after openly talking with him, to which Jacob's sibling lauded her for her suprising maturity and level-headedness. Upon revealing her appreciation for their assistance towards her, Jacob's sibling asked Ismelda if this meant that she no longer despised them, to which she disclosed that she never actually did, but rather despised who they reminded her of. Upon further inquiry, Ismelda revealed that it was her sister, who had achieved great success as a student and so was showered with love and attention from their parents at Ismelda's expense. This parental neglect prompted Ismelda to begin acting out in the hopes of getting more attention, thus explaining somewhat her behaviour in general. While Ismelda acknowledged that she wasn't friends with Jacob's sibling, she proposed to threaten them with bodily harm less often, which they somewhat appreciated. Before they could leave her, however, Ismelda finally thanked them properly for all their help, but instantly threatened to cast the Killing Curse on them, should they tell anyone about this. She then sped off, leaving them completely bewildered.
When Xenophilius Lovegood announced a contest for a front-page photo of a magical creature on The Quibbler and prize of 87 Galleons, Ismelda recruited some cronies in a secret attempt to hunt down a suspected werewolf - Chiara Lobosca. She intended to capture Chiara with the Full Body-Bind Curse before the full moon to both win the prize and expose Albus Dumbledore for harbouring a werewolf on campus. This was thwarted by Jacob's sibling who used the Knockback Jinx to push Chiara out of harm's way, and then by Tulip Karasu and Nymphadora Tonks in a werewolf costume convincing Ismelda that there was no real werewolf in the school.
In her sixth year, Ismelda started hanging out with Beatrice Haywood. The two spent time tossing Puffskeins. They could also be found at Flourish and Blotts where Ismelda mentioned working on a hex that spoils novel endings.
Sometime that same year, Rowan Khanna was tragically murdered by the dark witch Patricia Rakepick, who was working for the organisation "R". This motivated Jacob's sibling, Ben Copper, and Merula Snyde, to create a group devoted to avenging Rowan, which they called "Circle of Khanna". The groups motives were to Fight "R" and locate the final Cursed Vault of Hogwarts. She joined a team which consisted of Merula Snyde and Beatrice Haywood, who found about the Circle of Khanna from the two and showed interest in joining. The three went to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, where they studied curses and dark artefacts, as this knowledge could be useful for entering a Cursed Vault. Some time later, Jacob's sibling came to the classroom to see how the group was doing and was surprised to find Beatrice, as the group was meant to be secret. Not long after, Penny came to the classroom, as she heard from Cedric Diggory that Beatrice had gone there.
Personality and traits
Ismelda was generally a mean-spirited and even cruel young witch, saying that she would "cast the killing curse on the first Gryffindor" she would see, or coming up with the idea to torture Jacob's sibling with the Cruciatus Curse in order to obtain information about the Cursed Vaults. She was overheard telling Merula Snyde that she once had a jar of Muggle blood that dried out, and gleefully voiced her hope that she would see Professor Silvanus Kettleburn "lose his other eye this year." She also appeared to sympathise with the ideals of Lord Voldemort, as she sometimes voiced support for his extreme beliefs in the importance of pure-blood supremacy and her apparent support for the usage of the Dark Arts, for which even her friend Merula called her crazy. It is unknown, however, how many of these sentiments are her actual opinions or feelings, or if she said them merely for shock value.
That being said, Ismelda wasn't entirely unsympathetic; she had a soft spot for dogs (in contrast to her general predilection towards cruelty), and seemed to value her friendship with Merula Snyde. She also befriended and seemed protective of Beatrice Haywood. She also had a romantic attraction to the third member of their trio, Barnaby Lee, and though she reacted poorly to his wishing to remain friends with her, could be persuaded to eventually accept his decision. Finally, although often antagonistic towards Jacob's sibling, Ismelda was nonetheless willing to be their date for the Celestial Ball if asked (and claimed she didn't "want to be unpleasant" towards them despite rarely being kind to them). She was also willing to help them humiliate Rita Skeeter, albeit more for the chance to work mischief than sympathy for their plight.
Finally, Ismelda had a sense of inferiority as a result of living in the shadow of her older sister, who had achieved great success as a student and so was showered with love and attention from their parents at Ismelda's expense. This parental neglect prompted Ismelda to begin acting out in the hopes of getting more attention, thus explaining somewhat her behaviour in general. This was also reflected in her attitude towards Jacob's sibling and Penny Haywood, saying that she hated the former because they reminded her of her sister, and contrasting the "popular and pretty" Penny with herself, who she was convinced would never be loved and thus resorted to a love potion.
Magical abilities and skills
- History of Magic: Before the O.W.L. for the subject, Ismelda had shown her expertise in the subject during a study session with Jacob's sibling and Badeea Ali. Despite falling asleep in lessons like many others, she fell asleep due to her already knowing the subject so well, which matched her love for bloodshed and gore.
- Potions: While her skills were not quite as proficient as Merula Snyde in the art of potion-making, Ismelda was capable of successfully producing Weedosoros, a potent poison which she learned how to concoct in Potions class.
- Care of Magical Creatures: Ismelda earned an O.W.L. in this subject, and studied it further at N.E.W.T. level, showing aptitude in the field of Magizoology. However initially, she merely took the class to find out the weaknesses of magical creatures, so that she could either kill them, or capture them to kill others.
- Duelling: Whilst she was not as skilled a duellist as her friend Merula, she was still fairly competent in martial magic, being able to cast a variety of offensive spells which would cause significant damage to her opponent in duels. She was known to have been able cast a particularly strong Everte Statum, an offensive spell very useful in duelling.
- Dark Arts: Ismelda was rather skilled with dark magic, as she could successfully cast a number of dark charms, such as the hex Densaugeo, Trip Jinx, Sea Urchin Jinx, Stretching Jinx, Ear-Shrivelling Curse and the Curse of the Bogies, the latter of which she even taught to Jacob's sibling.
- Divination: Ismelda was proficient in Divination, as she achieved an O.W.L. in the subject and studied it further at N.E.W.T.-level.
- Defence Against the Dark Arts: Ismelda was skilled in Defence Against the Dark Arts, as she was to achieve an O.W.L. in the subject and study it further at N.E.W.T.-level, thus showing aptitude in the subject.
- Astronomy: Ismelda was skilled in Astronomy, as she was able to achieve an O.W.L. in the subject and study it further at N.E.W.T.-level, thus showing aptitude in the subject.
- Healing magic; Ismelda had some skill in the field of healing, as she was able to successfully cast the healing spell Episkey.
- Charms: Ismelda was rather skilled in charm-work, as she was capable of casting some duelling charms such as the Disarming Charm, Tickling Charm, Freezing Charm and Everte Statum successfully.
- Muggle Studies: Ismelda earned an O.W.L. in Muggle Studies and continued the subject at N.E.W.T. level, though she stated that the only reason she took the class was to deride Muggles.
- Wand: Ismelda owned a wand, which was of an unknown length, wand wood and core material. She presumably purchased her wand from Ollivanders in Diagon Alley, London, before starting her first year at Hogwarts in 1984.
- Diary: Ismelda owned her own personal diary, which she wrote in to record her personal experiences and events throughout her school life. It also detailed her romantic crush on her friend Barnaby Lee.
Murk is an Americanised or Germanic spelling of the following, with the majority of them meaning "dark": Old English mirce, Proto-Germanic *merkuz, and Proto-Indo-European *merg-. It also cognate with various languages with the meaning of "dark," including Danish and Norwegian mørk, Swedish mörk, and Icelandic myrkur.
Behind the scenes
- Ismelda appears in year 1 via retcon; upon the game's release, Merula's duel with Jacob's sibling was witnessed by a crowd of generic students. An update changed this to remove most of them and added Ismelda next to Merula; the updated version is seen by new players and also old players reviewing the scene via the Memory feature.
- When Ismelda first appeared in the House Cup scoreboard, her name appeared as "Ismelda Placeholder".
- It seems extremely odd and contradictory that the game would have Ismelda choose to study Muggle Studies, considering she is depicted as a pure-blood supremacist who supports the ideals of the Death Eaters. This was probably oversight or deliberate irony by the game's developers.
- The game also depicts all of Ismelda's unidentified friends as belonging to houses other than Slytherin, even Gryffindor. This also seems very odd considering how the series has usually depicted Slytherins (especially mean-spirited ones like Ismelda) as having strong hostile rivalries with students belonging to other houses, especially Gryffindors.Though other examples of Slytherin Gryffindor inter-house friendships have been shown in canon before, like Merlin and Sir Cadogan, Severus Snape and Lily Evans, and Merula Snyde and Tulip Karasu.
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (First appearance)
Notes and references
- "World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000 - "Hogwarts just serves Britain and Ireland."
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Side Quest "Crushed"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, "WELCOME TO THE SPHINX CLUB" Achievement
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 20 (A Circle of Friends)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 2 (Boggarts and Butterbeer) - Potions Lesson "Wideye Potion"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 1, Chapter 5 (The Duel)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4 onward, Care of Magical Creatures class in general
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 2 (Curses and Prophecies)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 3 (On the Case)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 9 (The Vault of Fear)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, "Celestial Ball" Achievement
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, "THE QUIBBLER: FIGHT FOR THE FRONT PAGE" Achievement
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 7 (Niffler Hunting)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 10 (Cloaks and Conflicts)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 20 (A Circle of Friends)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 20 (Peter Pettigrew)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 6 (The Letter from No One)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 5 (Tulip Karasu)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 1 (Year Four Begins) - Care of Magical Creatures Lesson "Fire Crab"
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, "Ordinary Wizarding Levels" Achievement
- Ismelda | Baby Names Pedia
- Baby Name Trend Report: Insight from the top-selling baby name author by Bruce Lansky, page 158
- Murk | Ancestry.com
- Murk on Wiktionary