- "My mother didn't have a heart, Kreacher. She kept herself alive out of pure spite."
- — Walburga's unpleasant personality[src]
Walburga Black (1925 – 1985) was a British pure-blood Dark witch, the daughter of Pollux Black and Irma Crabbe, the sister of Alphard and Cygnus, the wife and second cousin of Orion Black, and the mother of Sirius Black III and Regulus Black II. She was also a member of the Black family, an old wizarding family and one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight.
Walburga lived in Grimmauld Place starting at an unknown point in her life, presumably after she married her second cousin Orion. She died in 1985, but her portrait still remains at 12 Grimmauld Place. Walburga's portrait makes anyone not in the pure-blood elite quite uncomfortable in her home, by constantly shouting insults and epithets at them.
- Harry Potter: "Were — were your parents Death Eaters as well?"
- Sirius Black: "No, no, but believe me, they thought Voldemort had the right idea, they were all for the purification of the wizarding race, getting rid of Muggle-borns and having pure-bloods in charge… I bet my parents thought Regulus was a right little hero for joining up at first."
- — Sirius Black regarding his family's views[src]
Walburga was a member of the traditionalist pure-blood House of Black, who looked down on any except other "respectable" pure-blood wizards and believed in pure-blood supremacy. She was the daughter of Pollux Black and Irma Crabbe, and sister of Alphard and Cygnus. Shortly after graduating Hogwarts, Walburga waited for her second cousin Orion to finish his education and married him at some point in the 1950s.
Family life and death
Walburga gave birth to a son, Sirius, on 3 November, 1959. However, Sirius was a severe disappointment to her because he did not agree with the ideology of blood purity and was sorted into Gryffindor House at Hogwarts, rather than the family's traditional house, Slytherin. Growing up, he ticked off his parents (particularly his mother) by decorating his room with posters from the muggle world depicting bikini-clad women and motorcycles, and had stuck those to the walls with irreversible sticking charms that infuriated her.
Sirius was disinherited and removed from the Black Family tree when he left home at the age of sixteen to live with the Potter family. Walburga personally blasted her son from the tapestry. She maintained a habit of blasting people from the Black family tree which stood in the hall of the family home at 12 Grimmauld Place if they displeased her; she did so to her brother Alphard simply because he left gold to Sirius despite being disowned. According to Kreacher, Walburga was heartbroken by this abandonment, but nonetheless disowned both of them to cleanse the tapestry.
Luckily for her, Walburga gave birth to another son, Regulus, around 1961. He followed the family traditions and joined the Slytherin House, and eventually became his mother's favourite, as well as heir to the wealth, position, and traditions of the Black family. Regulus became a Death Eater during the First Wizarding War; although neither Walburga nor Orion were followers of Lord Voldemort themselves, according to Sirius, they thought he "had the right idea", until they saw that Voldemort was ruthless in his pursuit for power, at which point they got cold feet. Regulus was killed in 1979 after trying to destroy Voldemort's Horcrux, and died childless without an heir. As Regulus forbade Kreacher from telling this to anyone, Walburga thought Regulus died trying to leave the organisation. Walburga's husband Orion also died in the same year from an unknown cause. Walburga was obviously devastated when her husband and son died.
In 1981, Walburga's disowned son, Sirius was framed for the murder of his friend, Peter Pettigrew and 12 Muggles and was thus sent to Azkaban. It is possible that if Walburga heard of this, she would have been pleased.
- Walburga Black: "Freaks."
- Kreacher: "There, there, mistress."
- — Portrait of Walburga on the people staying in her house[src]
Walburga's portrait remained magically fixed to the wall in the hallway of her family home, using a Permanent Sticking Charm. The picture, which was covered in canvas when inactive, showed an insane old woman, prone to screaming insults at anyone who disturbed the portrait, particularly that of non-pure-bloods. This happened several times when the Order of the Phoenix used Grimmauld Place as their headquarters after her death, and they tried unsuccessfully to remove the portrait for quite sometime.
Walburga survived the deaths of her family, but the destruction of it may account for her final madness. After their deaths, she was alone in the house except for the family house-elf, Kreacher, who seemed equally deranged due to his parroting her beliefs, up until Harry Potter came to know and treat him better one year after inheriting him.
Personality and traits
Walburga Black, like most members of her family, was obsessed with blood purity, and her portrait would often scream insults at blood traitors, half-bloods or muggle-born wizards. She had little affection for her son Sirius, as he was viewed as a blood traitor by the Black family but appeared to have a fairly good relationship with Sirius' younger brother, Regulus, and was proud of him when he joined the Death Eaters. Although she was not a Death Eater herself, she was convinced that Voldemort was doing the right thing by trying to eliminate Muggles and bringing wizards and witches out of hiding for them to rule both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. Despite this she is known to have become disillusioned with the Death Eaters toward the end of the First Wizarding War, showing that even she believed that they were going too far.
Walburga was kind to her house elf, Kreacher, who shared her views on blood purity, and as such Kreacher was very loyal to her. Based on her portrait's tendencies of screaming uncontrollably, she seems to have had a very violent temper, similar to her elder son when angered. Sirius justified this by claiming that his mother was an intensely spiteful and heartless woman, though Kreacher did say Walburga was heartbroken by Sirius' defection.
Magical abilities and skills
- Charms: Whilst the true extent of her skill in this field is unknown Walburga Black was proficient enough to have placed a Permanent Sticking Charm on the back of her portrait to prevent anyone from taking it off the wall. The charm held in place for more than a decade after her death. She could not, however, cast the Patronus Charm.
- Dark Arts: Walburga was proficient in dark magic, being able to cast both the Killing Curse and the Imperius Curse successfully and was also skilled in the handling cursed objects.
Walburga and Orion had a happy marriage and relationship, especially since they shared blood purity ideology. Walburga was likely devastated when her husband died. Walburga's eldest son, Sirius was a huge disappointment to her and the rest of the family, since he disagreed with the Black family's beliefs in blood purity and was sorted into Gryffindor rather than Slytherin. When Sirius left home at the age of 16, she blasted his name off the tapestry. If she had heard about his being sent to Azkaban, she was likely pleased. Though she hated him, Kreacher did state Walburga was heartbroken by Sirius' departure.
Walburga greatly admired and favoured her younger son, Regulus because he remained loyal to the Black family traditions and was sorted into Slytherin. Walburga was obviously devastated when her son died.This event may have finally made her to begin doubting the cause of the Death Eaters and begin to think that they were taking things to far due to the death of her favoured son.
- Walburga is a variation of the name Walpurga, who was a saint for whom Walpurgis Night is named. Historically, Walpurgis Night was considered to be a time when the barrier between the living and the dead was weak and when witches held celebrations. Also, the Knights of Walpurgis (later known as the Death Eaters) were named after Walpurgis Night.
- Walburga was also the given name of the mother of Josef Mengele, a Nazi doctor who conducted horrific experiments on prisoners in concentration camps. She was said to have been extremely cruel and a Nazi supporter, rather like Walburga Black's views on retaining blood purity.
- 256 Walpurga is a large Main belt asteroid. It was discovered by Johann Palisa on April 3, 1886 in Vienna and was named after Saint Walpurga. This loosely fits in with the Black family tradition of using celestial names for their children.
Behind the scenes
- Walburga Black's likeness on the Black Family Tapestry, as featured in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, seems to have been based on a depiction of a noblewoman from the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, currently in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Walburga's portrait was not heard screaming, but she could be heard muttering behind her curtain, and Kreacher still talked about the "scum" in 12 Grimmauld Place, such as "Mudbloods" and "Blood traitors".
- Walburga's father was only thirteen when Walburga was born, although it is possible this is a mathematical error on Rowling's part (Rowling has admitted she lacks skills with mathematics).
- On the tapestry from the film, Walburga and Orion are depicted together, and their heads looking in different ways, although they are in marriage. This is likely because both Walburga and Orion were born into the House of Black, and their marriage may have been arranged.
- Walburga was probably educated at Hogwarts as Horace Slughorn mentions that he has taught the whole Black Family.
- Since Walburga and Lucretia Black were born in the same year, it is more likely that they were classmates at Hogwarts.
- Walburga may have known Tom Riddle, as he was one or two years behind her, so she could have encountered him at Hogwarts.
- It's unknown why Walburga and Orion never joined the Death Eaters, though it's likely that they merely hoped to reap the benefits of their cause, especially because they, as Sirius claims, were very pleased when Regulus became a Death Eater.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Appears in portrait(s))
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (First appearance)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Black family tree (see this image)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn), Horace Slughorn states: "The whole Black family had been in my house, but Sirius ended up in Gryffindor!" This implies that all Blacks except Sirius were sorted into Slytherin while Slughorn was teaching at Hogwarts. As revealed in Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Chapter 3 (Horace Slughorn), Slughorn had "completed half a century of service" at the time of his retirement in 1981, meaning he started teaching there circa 1931. If Walburga, born in 1925, attended Hogwarts from 1936 to 1943 or 1937 to 1944, she likely would have been a student of Slughorn.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 6 (The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 5 (The Order of the Phoenix)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix