Rodolphus Lestrange was a pure-blood wizard who, with his brother Rabastan, joined the Death Eaters and fought in the First Wizarding War. The Lestranges were considered to be among Lord Voldemort's most loyal and trusted servants and were the only ones along with Barty Crouch Jnr who searched for him after his first downfall.
After Voldemort was defeated by Harry Potter when Harry was only a baby, Rodolphus and his wife Bellatrix, along with Rabastan and Barty Crouch Jnr participated in the torture and permanent incapacitation of Alice and Frank Longbottom and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban. About fourteen years later, Rodolphus escaped with a group of other Death Eaters and fought in several battles of the Second Wizarding War, including the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the Battle of the Seven Potters. After Lord Voldemort's final defeat, Rodolphus was imprisoned in Azkaban once more.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 Personality and traits
- 4 Magical abilities and skills
- 5 Relationships
- 6 Etymology
- 7 Behind the scenes
- 8 Appearances
- 9 Notes and references
When Rodolphus attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in the 1970s, he was sorted into Slytherin house. He became friends with many other pure-blood students and, according to Sirius Black joined a group of friends that included many future Death Eaters like; Bellatrix Black, Lucius Malfoy, Evan Rosier, and Severus Snape.
First Wizarding War
He and Bellatrix eventually married sometime before 1971 and both took the Dark Mark, fighting in the First Wizarding War. She married him only to uphold her family's tradition of marrying respectable pure-bloods as she was obsessively in love with Lord Voldemort. It is unknown how Rodolphus felt about her. However, the two did seem to work together effectively as Death Eaters.
In 1981, when Lord Voldemort was defeated the first time, Rodolphus and his wife refused to accept it. Along with Rodolphus' brother Rabastan and Barty Crouch Jnr, they attacked Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members Alice and Frank Longbottom. They tortured the couple with the Cruciatus Curse to the point of insanity, and were subsequently captured and imprisoned in Azkaban prison for this crime. Upon their trial, the Lestranges proudly declared their continuing devotion and awaited their master's return.
Second Wizarding War
In 1996, the Dementors of Azkaban revolted, and Rodolphus and Bellatrix escaped prison along with eight other Death Eaters, including his brother Rabastan to rejoin Voldemort, who had regained his powers and was stronger than before thanks to Wormtail and Barty Crouch Jnr.
Battle of the Department of Mysteries
Rodolphus participated in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries soon afterwards; he and Bellatrix were paired together, and pursued Luna Lovegood, Ron and Ginny Weasley into the Space Chamber along with two other Death Eaters. He was likely one of the Death Eaters who went on to fight the Order of the Phoenix in the Death Chamber, though his presence isn't noted. In the aftermath, Rodolphus was returned to prison, although his wife eluded capture.
Battle of the Seven Potters
By 1997, Rodolphus was again at large, and participated in the Battle of the Seven Potters, pursuing Nymphadora Tonks and Ron Weasley, who was disguised as Harry Potter with Polyjuice Potion, with his wife and other Death Eaters. Tonks injured Rodolphus at some point during the pursuit, and she and Ron escaped.
During the Battle of Hogwarts the next year, Rodolphus lost his wife, who was killed by Molly Weasley. What happened to Rodolphus remained unknown during the battle but at some point he is imprisoned again for his crimes.
Sometime in between the war's end and 2020, Rodolphus escaped from Azkaban for the third time and sought out the daughter of his former master, Delphini. Rodolphus revealed Delphi's heritage to her and it is currently unknown what has become of him, as he didn't appear to be involved with Delphini's plan to use Albus Potter to bring back Lord Voldemort.
Rodolphus was a tall, thickset man with very dark hair, and after being in Azkaban, he appeared thin and his looks might have diminished. As a Death Eater, he bears the Dark Mark on his left inner forearm, which has since faded to a scar upon Voldemort's death.
Personality and traits
Rodolphus was one of Voldemort's most loyal Death Eaters and therefore can be considered to be sadistic and a pure-blood supremacist. His crime against the Longbottoms confirms his willingness to use the Dark Arts to an unspeakable extent. He might not have been concerned at all about being sent to Azkaban as he "stared blankly" throughout the course of his trial, possibly sharing Bellatrix's belief that Voldemort would return and free them. He did not show any resent towards his wife for having an affair with Voldemort, and even went onto notifying their daughter, Delphini, on her heritage and destiny. He didn't talk very often and, unlike his wife, he seemed to be an extremely serious person who barely even smiled.
Rodolphus stood to be a reasonably skilled wizard, as he managed to use the Cruciatus Curse to devastating effects, driving Frank and Alice to insanity. He also managed to escape from Azkaban three times before 2020, an unprecedented feat with apparently no outside help in the last case.
Magical abilities and skills
- Dark Arts: Rodolphus was able to cast an effective Cruciatus Curse (which takes power, nerve, and ability to perform). He participated in driving Frank and Alice Longbottom into insanity.
- Martial magic: As one of Voldemort's top Death Eaters he likely took part in many battles during both wars against trained Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members. He was one of the Death Eaters to capture Frank and Alice Longbottom (both being immensely skilled). He participated in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries where he fought against the Order members who arrived, though he was defeated and captured following the battle. He also fought in the Battle of the Seven Potters but was defeated and injured by his niece Nymphadora Tonks. It is unknown if he was present during the Battle of Hogwarts but if he was it is highly likely he was defeated long before his wife.
- Flying: In the Battle of the Seven Potters, he duelled his niece during flight in a losing effort.
In marrying Bellatrix Black, Rodolphus made a "respectable pure-blood marriage", as was expected of him. There is no indication that their relationship went beyond this. She never expressed any love or concern for him. It was Voldemort to whom she spoke in a romantic manner instead. However, she and Rodolphus did seem to work effectively together as Death Eaters. Rodolphus tortured Alice and Frank Longbottom alongside his wife, brother, and Barty Crouch Jnr in 1981. He fought with Bellatrix during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. He was also with her during the Battle of the Seven Potters, as Nymphadora Tonks mentioned cursing him and being pursued by Bellatrix. Sirius Black described them as part of the same "gang of Slytherins" at Hogwarts, which also included Lucius Malfoy, Evan Rosier and Severus Snape.
Bellatrix once told Narcissa that if she had sons, she would "be glad to give them up to the service of the Dark Lord".
No children appear beneath Bellatrix and Rodolphus' names on the Black family tapestry, indicating that she had no daughters with Rodolphus either. However, Roldolphus did allow Bellatrix to have access to his family's vault at Gringotts Wizarding Bank upon marriage, as Bellatrix referred it as "[my] vault".
It was later revealed that Bellatrix had a daughter named Delphini with Lord Voldemort. This indicates that Bellatrix didn't have much marital loyalty to Rodolphus at this time. It is entirely possible that Rodolphus approved his wife's relationship with their master, as the Lestranges worshipped Voldemort, furthering that their relationship as a couple is strictly professional.
Delphi claimed that Rodolphus found her after many years of him being in prison. It is unknown what sort of relationship he had with his wife's daughter.
Rodolphus is the Latin form of the name 'Rudolf', which is derived from the Germanic name Hrodwulf, meaning "famous wolf". This may allude to prominent Nazi Rudolf Hess, as the Death Eater ideology has similarities to those of Nazism, according to J. K. Rowling. Removing the l, Rodophus is Greek for 'Rosy-cheeked'.
Behind the scenes
- J.K. Rowling has revealed that Bellatrix Lestrange's true love was Voldemort, suggesting that the Lestranges' marriage was not affectionate, at least on the part of Bellatrix, who merely made "a respectable pure-blood marriage", as was expected of her. Rodolphus' feelings are not known.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince someone by the surname "Lestrange" is shown having gone to school with Tom Riddle. It is unknown if this person is Rodolphus' father or another relative.
- It's unknown if Rodolphus was aware of Voldemort giving Helga Hufflepuff's Cup to Bellatrix, or if he was aware of its presence in his family vault.
- Rodolphus may have been a Seer, as he told Delphini a Prophecy of the Dark Lord's return.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Mentioned on the Black family tree)/(Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World
Notes and references
- Both Rodolphus and his brother Rabastan were of-age (17) by the end of the First Wizarding War in 1981, since they were tried on charges of capture and torture of Frank and Alice Longbottom, with no apparent aggravation for the use of underage magic.
- World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling. The Lestrange family is known to be British.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- July 30, 2007 Web Chat with J. K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- The First Wizarding War began in 1971, so they were married by then as they are referred to as "The Lestranges" at that time.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Behind the Name: Rudolf
- F.A.Q. Section at J. K. Rowling's official site
- 30 July 2007 WebChat with J.K. Rowling