Phoebe Black (18101882) was a pure-blood witch, and possibly a sister of Alexia Walkin, HesperLicorus and Eduardus Limette. She was also possibly the aunt of Cygnus Black I, Misapinoa and Arcturus Black I.[1] She never married or had any children.


Eduardus Limette and Phoebe

Images of Eduardus Limette and Phoebe on the family tree

Phoebe is a Titaness of the Moon in the Greek mythology. She is a daughter of the Sky and the Earth, Ouranos and Gaea.[2] She is by her brother Coeus the mother of Leto and Leto is by her cousin Zeus the mother of Apollo (Sun) and Artemis (Moon).

There is also a bird called The Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans.

Phoebe is also the name of a moon of Saturn that is described as being lamp black in colour. This loosely fits in with the Black family tradition of using celestial names for their 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".[8]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 of Horace Slughorn, Phoebe was possibly a member of the Slytherin house. However, she attended Hogwarts from 1821 to 1828, before Slughorn was 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.[3] However, according to director David Yates, Rowling provided the filmmakers with a copy of the Black family tree going back eight generations.[4] The filmmakers presumably received a more complete version of the tree than the one auctioned off, which only goes back six generations.
  • Charis Black's face is very similar to Phoebe's in the films' tapestry. This is because moviemakers wanted to save time when they were making the tapestry. They also did the same thing with Elladora and Callidora's pictures.
  • She is one of the few Blacks not to bear the name of a star, but it still has a connection to astronomy (see Etymology).


Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
  2. She is mentioned as their daughter by Hesiod in Theogony.
  3. "Black Family Tree" on The Harry Potter Lexicon
  4. "'Empire' Magazine Feature on OotP" from The Leaky Cauldron
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