- "I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more..."
- — Regulus' parting letter to Voldemort[src]
Regulus Arcturus Black (1961 – 1979) was an English pure-blood wizard, born to Orion and Walburga Black, and the younger brother of Sirius Black. He was a member of the noble House of Black, an old wizarding family which probably started around the Middle Ages.
He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1972 and was sorted into the Slytherin house. Regulus became a Death Eater in his youth, but defected when he found what Lord Voldemort would do in order to reach his aims. Regulus also learned about one of Voldemort's Horcruxes and decided to destroy it. He was killed after acquiring Salazar Slytherin's locket in 1979.
- "I hated the lot of them: my parents with their pure-blood mania, convinced that to be a Black made you practically royal... my idiot brother, soft enough to believe them... that's him. He was younger than me, and a much better son, as I was constantly reminded."
- — Sirius Black remembering his brother[src]
Regulus was born in 1961 into the wealthy, pure-blooded Black family, as the youngest son of Orion and Walburga Black and younger brother of Sirius Black. It is assumed that he was named after his great-uncle, also named Regulus, and his paternal grandfather, Arcturus. Relatives included Bellatrix Lestrange, a loyal Death Eater of Lord Voldemort's, Andromeda Tonks, who married a Muggle-born and was subsequently disowned by the family, and Narcissa Malfoy, who married Death Eater Lucius Malfoy.
Regulus' parents considered him to be much different from his older brother Sirius Black. Although Sirius was the older son and heir, he didn't in any way whatsoever follow the Black family traditions, unlike Regulus. Their parents disapproved of this, and Sirius was later sorted into Gryffindor house when he attended Hogwarts, causing an even bigger strain on his relationship with the rest of the family.
Following this, Sirius left home at the age of sixteen and was subsequently disowned and burned from the family tapestry by his parents like Andromeda Tonks a few years before. Regulus, on the other hand, was admired by his parents for his loyalty towards his family and upholding their traditions.
Hogwarts years (1972-1979)
Regulus, unlike Sirius, was sorted into Slytherin, and became a member of his house Quidditch team. Harry Potter discovered a photograph of Regulus' team years later, which suggested that he played as Seeker, based on the seating. He attended Hogwarts from about 1972 to 1979.
Life as a Death Eater
- "They're all about Voldemort. Regulus seems to have been a fan for a few years before he joined the Death Eaters..."
- — A collage of news clippings in Regulus' room[src]
From a young age, Regulus admired Lord Voldemort and had an ambition to become a Death Eater later on in his life. Regulus had photos and articles about the Dark Lord and his followers cut from the Daily Prophet, which were hung in his bedroom near a painting of his family crest. Regulus received his Dark Mark around the age of sixteen, which his family approved of as Voldemort was seen as striving to achieve pure-blood supremacy over other wizards and Muggles. Even though his parents were never Death Eaters themselves, they agreed with many of Lord Voldemort's own beliefs.
After becoming a Death Eater, Regulus began to consider abandoning Lord Voldemort, partly because his master mistreated and intended to kill the Black family's loyal house-elf Kreacher, whilst setting up the security measures for one of his Horcruxes.
Discovery of Voldemort's Horcruxes
- "He was murdered by Voldemort. Or on Voldemort's orders, more likely. I doubt Regulus was ever important enough to be killed by Voldemort in person. From what I found out after he died, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to back out. Well, you don't just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It's a lifetime of service or death."
- — Sirius Black's version of Regulus's death[src]
By 1979, Regulus had begun to have doubts about serving as a Death Eater, but was reluctant to act against the Death Eaters and Voldemort. One day, Voldemort asked Regulus for the use of his house-elf, Kreacher and Regulus eagerly accepted as he wanted to please his master. Voldemort used Kreacher to test the defences around his locket Horcrux, leaving him to die afterwards. Kreacher was able to escape using house-elf magic, and told Regulus of what had happened. Regulus worked out that the locket was a Horcrux and was the reason behind Voldemort's immortality.
This was the deciding factor in Regulus' defection. He created a duplicate of the locket and placed a note inside for Voldemort to find, expecting him to check on the Horcrux in the future, and then ordered Kreacher to take him to where the real locket was hidden. Kreacher guided Regulus past the cave's defences. At the island with the basin of potion containing the locket, Regulus ordered Kreacher to take the locket once the potion was gone and replace it with the fake one, then escape without him and find a way to destroy the Horcrux. Regulus drank the potion himself, and when he tried to get water from the lake to quench his thirst, he was dragged to his death by the Inferi. Kreacher obeyed his master's final order and switched the lockets before escaping. However, despite his best efforts, he was unable to destroy the Horcrux.
Regulus's father, Orion, also died sometime in 1979.
The true circumstances of Regulus's death were entirely unknown to the members of his family, as he had asked Kreacher to keep the events at the cave a secret, due to this being safer for the family. Sirius Black, not knowing the truth of the matter, came to believe that Regulus had simply gotten in too far and was killed for trying to back out of being a Death Eater. Remus Lupin believed that Regulus had tried to back out of being a Death Eater, commenting that he thought Regulus had lasted "a few days" after his defection before he had been killed.
In 1997, Kreacher told Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger of Regulus' attempt to destroy the Horcrux, having been there himself, as the trio also sought to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes. They then realised that Regulus was R.A.B. that was signed on the note to Lord Voldemort. Following this, Harry gave Kreacher the counterfeit locket that Regulus had replaced the real one with, showing Harry's own respect for the house-elf. Kreacher later earned this respect by subsequently showing more respect towards Harry, Ron and Hermione. The real locket was later destroyed by Ron Weasley with Gryffindor's Sword, finally accomplishing what Regulus had set out to do.
During the Battle of Hogwarts, Kreacher, having rallied many of the school's house-elves to assist him, ordered them to fight for Regulus while wielding knives against the Death Eaters' knees and shins.
- "Regulus was instantly recognisable as the boy sitting in the middle of the front row: He had the same dark hair and slightly haughty look of his brother, though he was smaller, slighter, and rather less handsome than Sirius had been."
- — Description of Regulus[src]
Regulus has been known to have resembled his older brother, with the black hair and haughty good looks common to their family history. Harry Potter made an opinion that Regulus was "smaller, slighter, and rather less handsome than Sirius had been." As a Death Eater, he bore the Dark Mark on his left inner forearm.
Personality and traits
Regulus, having been sorted into Slytherin house, was eager to show similarity with his parents, unlike Sirius, who would rather show difference. Regulus' parents had a preference of pure-blooded wizards, so it is assumed that Regulus took after them whilst growing up. Regulus' room was full of Slytherin banners, unlike Sirius, whose room was full of Gryffindor's. Harry at one point compared the sign on Regulus's bedroom door to something that Percy Weasley would write suggesting some similarities in personality, namely haughtiness and pompousness.
Regulus, like his parents, admired Lord Voldemort, and believed that he was a great Dark Wizard. However, after he became a Death Eater, he realised how desperate his master was to reach his goals, showing that Regulus had higher morals in spite of his general beliefs. Regulus later discovered the Dark Lord's creation of at least one Horcrux, and the reason for his immortality. Having turned against his master, he decided to destroy the locket while sacrificing himself in the process, which showed both his bravery and selflessness as well. He also commanded Kreacher (his family house-elf) not to tell his family what had happened in order to ensure their safety. This showed how much he cared for Kreacher and his family including Sirius, in spite of their estrangement, while further exemplifying how willing he was to sacrifice himself for people he cared about. Regulus also respected Kreacher as well, and was among those of many who believed that Voldemort would be destroyed by the Chosen One.
Despite hailing from a noble wizarding family, Sirius himself doubted Regulus was ever exemplary enough to be personally killed by Voldemort, showing just how high the barring standards that Death Eaters have for their membership.
Magical abilities and skills
- Flying: Regulus played as Seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team during his time at Hogwarts, meaning he was a highly accomplished and skilled broomstick flyer and very gifted at Quidditch, or at least so in his youth.
- Dark Arts: Being a former Death Eater, Regulus would have been proficient and accomplished with dark magic. Regulus also had excellent and esoteric knowledge of highly advanced dark magic, as he was intelligent and knowledgeable enough to know what Horcruxes are, dark arts of the highest and most depraved levels that only very few would ever know, and even deduced that Voldemort made one, when no other Death Eaters knew. He also managed to slip past the defences that Voldemort placed on the locket and managed to retrieve it in the Cave, though at the cost of his own life at the hands of Voldemort's Inferi in the cave's waters.
Regulus and his parents, Orion and Walburga, had a good relationship. Because his brother, Sirius, didn't share his parents' ideology, their parents told Sirius that "Regulus was a better son than him". Regulus' parents were very glad that their son was sorted into Slytherin house and that he became a Death Eater after leaving Hogwarts despite not being Death Eaters themselves. However, Regulus' parents were shocked when they learned what Voldemort would do to achieve his aims.
Regulus and his older brother Sirius didn't have a good relationship after their respective Sortings, in part because Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor house. Sirius also disliked Regulus because of his ambition to become a Death Eater, but he was unaware that Regulus later attempted to destroy one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. Sirius regretted how young his brother died, and wished Regulus hadn't been as soft to go with what their parents told him to do. Sirius originally speaks of his younger brother with derision though his feelings are later softened.
Regulus' relationship with other family members, such as his cousins Bellatrix, Andromeda and Narcissa, is unknown. It is likely that he got along well with Bellatrix and Narcissa, since they all supported pure-blood supremacy and were involved with the Death Eaters. It is possible that he and Andromeda weren't close, because the latter was considered a blood traitor for marrying Ted Tonks, a Muggle-born. She was also removed from the Black family tree tapestry. However, Bellatrix was a fanatically loyal Death Eater who would die for Voldemort. She was also among Voldemort's most sadistic followers.
- "To the Dark Lord. I know I will be dead long before you read this, but I want you to know it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more. R.A.B."
- — Regulus Black's letter to Lord Voldemort[src]
Regulus admired Lord Voldemort from an early age, having the same ideology as the Dark Lord. Voldemort thought Regulus was a loyal servant, as he trusted him enough to ask Regulus to lend him Kreacher, his house-elf. Voldemort wanted to test his magical protections, and went with Kreacher to the Cave. When Voldemort ordered Kreacher to drink a potion, the house-elf obeyed. Voldemort left the house-elf to die, and left the cave, laughing at Kreacher. However, the house-elf Disapparated, and told Regulus what had happened.
Regulus decided that he didn't want to serve Voldemort any more, and also discovered that Voldemort had created a Horcrux. Regulus went to the cave with Kreacher in order to take Salazar Slytherin's locket and drank the potion. He then ordered Kreacher to take the locket and leave. Regulus didn't manage to destroy the Horcrux, but was the first person who learned about Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Kreacher, the house-elf of the Black family was very loyal to Regulus, who always treated him with kindness. Kreacher respected Regulus very much, and he served Lord Voldemort when the latter asked Regulus to lend him a house-elf.
In fact, Voldemort wanted to test the magical protections of one of his Horcruxes. Voldemort ordered Kreacher to drink a potion, and the house-elf did so. Kreacher suffered dreadfully when he drank the potion, and he wanted water to quench the burning thirst that resulted. He tried to take some from the lake nearby, but he was caught by the Inferi. However, as Regulus had asked him to come back after he had accomplished Voldemort's task, Kreacher Disapparated and told Regulus what had happened. Voldemort's treatment of Kreacher and the knowledge of his Horcrux troubled Regulus deeply, eventually causing him to turn against his former master.
Knowing that he could not leave the Death Eaters and live, Regulus asked Kreacher to take him back to the Cave. This time it was Regulus who drank the potion, even though he could have instead made Kreacher do it for him but apparently saw the house-elf as having suffered enough due to Regulus' connections as a Death Eater. Having made Kreacher promise that he would not tell Walburga about any of this, Regulus switched the lockets and told Kreacher to leave and take the Horcrux locket back. Suffering from the insane thirst caused by the potion, Regulus was dragged under and killed by the Inferi in the lake.
Kreacher was devastated by Regulus's death. It was the knowledge that Harry, Ron and Hermione were endeavouring to do the same thing as Regulus that brought Kreacher onto Harry's side. He fought the Death Eaters of Voldemort in 1998, during the Battle of Hogwarts, in Regulus's name.
Members of the Black family and their history seem to have made a tradition of naming their children after stars and constellations. As a name, it has also been applied to the star Alpha Leonis, which is called "Heart of the Lion" in the constellation Leo. It also happens to be the brightest star in that constellation. It is noteworthy to consider that Rowling decidedly picked a name from the constellation that represents a Lion, who is also the animal to represent Gryffindor. Further more, she picked the star that is The Lion's Heart. The term "Lionheart" is defined as "a person of exceptional courage and bravery." Again the reference to courage being not only an association with the courage Regulus would exemplify when he sacrifices himself to obtain Slytherin's locket, but also a reference to one of the characteristics of being in Gryffindor. This is a noticeable divergence from the origins of other Slytherin house member's names, which consistently reference terms which have a correlation with things that reflect the Slytherin house.
Regulus was also the family name of a Roman general, Marcus Atilius Regulus, who was known for his honour and self-sacrifice.
It is also possible that Orion named Regulus after his grand-uncle, Regulus Black I.
In Latin, regulus means "little king" and was one term for a basilisk.
It is interesting that in the Russian version of the book, Regulus initials translated as "Р.А.Б.", that sounds like "раб" ("slave" in Russian).
Behind the scenes
- In the the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Regulus was portrayed by Tom Moorcroft in Slughorn's photograph.
- The glossary on the Scholastic official website, which appears to have been compiled before the release of Deathly Hallows, it initially claimed that Regulus was killed by his fellow Death Eaters, but had been later modified to state "He was killed by Lord Voldemort" instead.
- Sirius similarly told Harry that Regulus was either killed by Voldemort or on his orders (most likely the latter). It is possible however that Sirius merely assumed that this is what happened or this was a lie told to him by Kreacher.
- Remus Lupin once told Harry that Regulus only lasted two weeks after his betrayal before being killed, suggesting that either it was known that he was working against Voldemort, or Remus (and probably the rest of the Order) assumed this to be what happened.
- It's unknown what Voldemort believes to have happened to Regulus as he would likely be aware that Regulus wasn't killed by the Death Eaters. It's possible that Voldemort assumed him to have died by other means.
- On the Black family tree depicted in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Regulus' picture is depicted as a skull. Hesper Black was depicted in a similar way.
- J. K. Rowling stated in an interview that Regulus learned of Voldemort's Horcruxes because the Dark Lord indirectly let it slip, like he did in the Little Hangleton Graveyard. Subsequently, Regulus was intelligent enough to realise what it meant.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, when Harry opens the fake locket, a ghost of Regulus appears and blows a raspberry at him to which Harry reacts by throwing the locket off the balcony.
- Also in the game, his character is capable of casting the Patronus Charm, which logically cannot be considered canonical since J. K. Rowling has quoted that Death Eaters (aside from Severus Snape) were incapable of casting the charm, although it is unknown if an exemption exists for Regulus from this rule, given how similar to Snape, he defected from Voldemort and worked against him.
- Interestingly, Regulus possessed extreme bravery, chivalry and honesty and thus had all the traits required for a true Gryffindor.
- Regulus started at Hogwarts in 1972, one year after Severus Snape. As they were both sorted into Slytherin, it was likely that they knew each other but it is unknown how Severus would have acted towards Regulus since Regulus's brother, Sirius, was one of Snape's biggest rivals and a hated enemy.
- It's possible that Regulus was a part of a group of future Death Eaters when he was a student as he was known to have attended Hogwarts at the same time as them, but this is unconfirmed. It should be noted however that his cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange was part of said group.
J. K. Rowling compared Regulus to Draco Malfoy, his first cousin once removed, who also became a Death Eater at a young age and eventually defected. Like Draco, Regulus "got in a little too deep... He was attracted to it, but the reality of what it meant was way too much to handle".
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Appears on Black family tapestry)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (First appearance)
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- (see this image)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale) - "'He played Seeker, [...] He's sitting in the middle of the front row, that's where the Seeker … never mind,' said Harry"
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale) - "He had the same dark hair and slightly haughty look of his brother, though he was smaller, slighter, and rather less handsome than Sirius had been."
- J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, July 30, 2007
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn) - "The whole Black family had been in my house, but Sirius ended up in Gryffindor! Shame – he was a talented boy. I got his brother Regulus when he came along, but I'd have liked the set."
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale) - "Do Not Enter Without the Express Permission of Regulus Arcturus Black"
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 6 (The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black)
- Leo (constellation) on Wikipedia
- Regulus (disambiguation) on Wikipedia
- Scholastic Official Site - Glossary (archived16 June, 2013)
- Scholastic Official Site - Glossary (archived 24 August, 2013)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 6 (Draco's Detour)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- 16 July 2005 MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part II