Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Black Family

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Vote up the most sinister details.

Pureblood families see themselves as the backbone of the Wizarding World in the Harry Potter series. Only Ron Weasley of the main trio has a long wizarding family history, but the Weasleys don't put much of any focus on their ancestry. Fanatically devoted pureblood families tend to keep records of where they come from and have sketchy pasts that they seek to hide. Sirius Black was the final member of the Black family, and their family was one of the oldest to exist in the Wizarding World.

While Sirius was ashamed (rightfully so) of the actions of his ancestors, it's worth looking into points of interest related to them as a way to see just how different Sirius was. It's also interesting to see the ties the Blacks have to other pureblood families and the way the Wizarding World is connected.


  • 1
    19 VOTES

    The Portrait Of Sirius' Mother Is Deranged Because It Was Painted After Her Husband's And Regulus's Deaths

    The Portrait Of Sirius' Mother Is Deranged Because It Was Painted After Her Husband's And Regulus's Deaths
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Walburga Black, mother to Sirius and Regulus, had a portrait of herself made near the time of her death to essentially remain at 12 Grimmauld Place after her physical demise. Wizarding portraits need to be taught who the person they are modeled after is supposed to be - Walburga had pretty much lost her mind by that point.

    Walburga wasn't a deranged and addled person during her younger days, and her screaming portrait is an exaggeration of her personality. The elderly Walburga was wracked with grief over the deaths of her husband and Regulus, which led her to teach her portrait to be a representation of her final days.

    19 votes
  • 2
    19 VOTES

    Phineas Nigellus Black's Sister Married A Muggle And Was Disowned

    Phineas Nigellus Black's Sister Married A Muggle And Was Disowned
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Phineas Nigellus sure had multiple direct family members who defied his views of pureblood supremacy, and his own sister was cast out of the family for her association with Muggles. Iola Black fell in love with a Muggle named Bob Hitchens and went on to marry him; this was the gravest insult to the Black family.

    Iola was promptly disowned, with her name in the family tree burned off to signify that she was permanently cut off. Iola is the only known Black who married a Muggle and she's doubly unique as a former Slytherin who went against her house's pureblood teachings to be in union with a non-magical person.

    19 votes
  • 3
    23 VOTES

    The Family Had The Practice Of Naming Children After Constellations And Reusing The Names For Later Generations

    The Family Had The Practice Of Naming Children After Constellations And Reusing The Names For Later Generations
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Black family's obsession with keeping everything within the family extended to names as well, and several people were named after their ancestors. The names would be discontinued if a certain family member was disowned and following generations would refuse to acknowledge it; people in the family were also usually given names based on constellations.

    Alphard is the brightest star in the constellation Hydra - the name wasn't used again because he was disowned for supporting Sirius after the latter ran away.

    Andromeda is a constellation in the Northern Hemisphere - she was disowned for marrying a Muggle-born.

    There were three Blacks named Arcturus, which is the brightest star in the Boötes the Herdsman constellation. The Arcturus name remained popular and was used in three different generations; it was Regulus Black's middle name as well.

    Bellatrix is a star in the Orion constellation.

    Cassiopeia is a constellation in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Cygnus is a constellation in the Northern Hemisphere - there were three Black family members named Cygnus in different generations.

    Orion is one of the most well-known constellations in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Pollux is a star in the Gemini constellation - Pollux Black was the grandfather of Bellatrix, Andromeda, Narcissa, Sirius, and Regulus.

    Regulus is the brightest star in the Leo constellation - there were two men named Regulus in the family.

    Sirius is the brightest star in the Canis Major constellation and is also known as the "Dog Star" - Sirius' animagus form was a dog, as was his Patronus. There were three Black family men named Sirius in different generations.

    23 votes
  • 4
    8 VOTES

    The Family's Motto Is All About Blood Purity

    The Family's Motto Is All About Blood Purity
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Pureblood families that are aware of their roots from centuries back have the practice of preserving a family motto. The House of Black was no different, and members of the family would teach their children to uphold the values that the motto was meant to communicate.

    The motto is Toujours pur - it's French for "Always pure," which alludes to the family's obsession with blood purity. In fact, the motto is written on the Black family tree tapestry that has recorded the members for the last seven centuries. 

    8 votes
  • 5
    17 VOTES

    Sirius Black Is The Only Known Gryffindor In The Black Family

    Sirius Black Is The Only Known Gryffindor In The Black Family
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Sirius Black was the last remaining member of the Black family prior to his demise and it's ironic considering the family placed such emphasis on Slytherin house. Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor, which brought in much anger from his mother in particular.

    Sirius's ancestors would have had the same reaction as his mother because none of them were in any house at Hogwarts other than Slytherin. It's known for certain that the Black family was exclusively in Slytherin House throughout the 20th century - Horace Slughorn taught all of them and mentions he was their head of house in Half-Blood Prince. As it happened, the family that was fanatically devoted to Slytherin House ultimately ended with a Gryffindor member.

    17 votes
  • 6
    7 VOTES

    The Black Family Does Not Come From Royalty But Pretends They Do

    The Black Family Does Not Come From Royalty But Pretends They Do
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Blacks' obsession with their family name was such that they made the Wizarding World believe they were descendants of royalty. The family's official name is "The Noble and Most Ancient House of Blacks," which is a way to further the notion that the name is supposed to mean something.

    The Blacks used their wealth to portray themselves as noblemen and their descendants simply continued with the facade. It's very likely that the Blacks believed their own lies because their justification was that being a Black made them "practically royal."

    7 votes