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Thread: Walburga Black

  1. #1

    Walburga Black

    I looked through all of the characters that people have asked questions about, and I didn't see any for Walburga Black, and I hope I didn't just overlook it somehow. If I did, I am terribly sorry!


    I am currently starting a new fic, and in the beginning five chapters, Walburga Black is the main person. Now, we have heard some things about her, and we all know that she is in the portrait at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. What I need/want to know is more of what she looked like. I don't remember if JK had written anything about that. Like for example, did she have the same features as most of the Blacks when she was younger? Did she have grey eyes? Black hair? Or did she look the complete opposite? Light eyes? Light Hair?

    I need to know more of what she looked like when she was younger, like around the time she married Orion because that is the age she is in the beginning of my fic.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated! I may come back soon and post a thread about Orion Black, too if I can't find enough information about him on the lexicon. Thank you so much guys!


  2. #2
    All right, I'd figure I'd add some of my own thoughts on this thread.

    The way I've always pictured Walburga Black (and I really don't have a particular reason *why*) is that of the traditional Black family appearance, for the most part. (She *is* a Black by blood, after all, unlike most who've married into the family.)

    Usually, when I write her, I've given her black hair, of course, that does grey over time. (I want to say that her portrait has her with grey hair, but I'll admit to not being 100% sure without checking the books.)

    As for eyes, (and this is part of the "I have no idea where this interpretation comes from" vein), but I've always wanted to give her blue eyes, rather than the grey like Sirius's. For some reason, I've had Orion have the grey eyes that seem more common with the Black family -- and a trait that Sirius inherits himself -- while Walburga's eyes are a blue colour, and a trait that Regulus inherits.

    Here's a bit from my Sirius-centric short story collection, Shades of Black, where I add some detail on Walburga's appearance:
    Walburga Black was a tall woman compared to the girls’ mother; Druella stood barely over five feet, after all. She had the long, darkly-coloured hair of a Black, and the locks trailed down her narrow back as she continued towards the children. As her gaze fell upon the shattered glass littering the floor, her own dark blue eyes seemed to burn with a barely suppressed anger, and she looked at each of the children in turn, though not a one of them met her stare.
    And, now that I look at that fic, I've noticed that I also give Regulus the grey eyes there as well as Sirius, but for some reason, I've never put Walburga with grey eyes.

    But the black hair and a lighter skin tone (again, I've just always envisioned the Blacks as being lighter in their skin tone; don't know why) have always been in how I pictured her.


  3. #3
    Ironic Inspiration
    I'm writing a very Black centered fic in which I'm tellign the story of Cedrella Black and Spetimus Weasley, so I've had to do alot of research on the Blacks. Though, Walburga is not in my fic, I did pick up a few things on her.

    One thing you must understand with this character, is that she was probably arranged to marry Orion. It was most likely not her original choice, for he was acutally her cousin. She was Pollux Black's and Irma Crabbe's daughter, and Orion was Arturus Black and Melanie McMillian's son.

    It's possible she didn't mind, but it was obviously something that was resulted from the lack of purebloods in her time. It was an obsession for the Blacks to be pureblood, and so it's completely understandable that they would forced Walburga to marry her own cousin.

    Anywho, her appearence, I think was probably dark hair and eyes. Her father was a Black so he probably dawned black hair and eyes, and then her mother was a Crabbe, who I imagine did as well. But, it's not required to give her dark features. Look at Narssica Black Malfoy with very white blond hair and light (grey?) eyes. Anything is possible.

  4. #4
    Thank you, Megan and Ironic Inspiration. You guys helped a lot.

    Ironic Inspiration, I was looking up information about Walburga Black, and I think it said that she really didn't have a problem with marrying Orion. She, of course, felt the same way about the purity of blood, so she knew that the only way to keep it that way, may be just to marry her second cousin. I mean, it's not like they were forcing her to marry her first cousin or something, so I guess it wouldn't have bothered her too much. Same with Orion.. I don't think either of them cared too much about it, just as long as they were keeping the purity of blood alive.

    Megan, I actually started writing this fic a little bit, and the way you described Walburga was the same exact way I described her in the first paragraph. Like I've just been jotting down things here and there when they come to me, and I wrote some of it during one of my classes at school today, and I just basically wrote down a long description of what I thought she looked like. And actually, I kind of pictured her with the long black hair, ice-blue eyes, and for some reason, I kind of pictured her as a little heavy-set for some reason. I don't know why, but I just do... Lol.

    Thank you guys again!

    If anyone else has any comments, feel free to add them in. I'm open to anything!


  5. #5
    Third Year Hufflepuff
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    Here's a passage from the first chapter of my Marauder era fiction in which Mrs. Black Floo's home after giving birth to Sirius.
    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Rose and a White Lily
    Mrs. Black went straight to her room, kept the baby in the cot and went to the mirror to inspect her self. She was not up to her usual self and that was sort of surprising for her. She had not been warned that having a baby was going to be the most difficult effort of her life. There was a little bit of soot on her thick black hair (no doubt from travelling using the Floo), which she brushed off. Then she applied mascara on her beautiful long eyelashes. She applied black eye make up, which literally made her eyes look black. But she looked beautiful all the same.

    Then she turned the long deserved attention towards the infant and she actually smiled. It was not the usual cold, artificial smile of hers. It was genuine and one which reached her eyes.
    I've always pictured her as beautiful. Good looks run in the family. Bella, Sirius, Reg... all are supposed to be good looking. All families have this trait which practically everyone has, with the Blacks, it's the black hair. I'd have Mrs. Black having long, thick hair (till her waist), which she often ties up so that they do not get in the way. And the black makeup: mascara, kohl and all. But i sirius-ly don't know about the eyes. Maybe blue or grey? Oh, and I'd have her tall, it just fits her personality. lol. But whatever she is from the inside, she has to be beautiful physically.

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  6. #6
    Sirius Girl 08

    I've not done any research into Walburga Black so this is just *my* image of her that I get in my head when I see her name mentioned.

    You know the pictures that you see of Queen Victoria in morning after the death of her husband Albert? We that's what my image of Walburga in the painting at number twelve is like - a woman sitting down with her hands folded in her lap and she's sitting tall and proud with her head held high. She's dressed in black (again a reference to Queen Victoria's clothes choice) with a few pieces of jewelery (which of course are Black family heirlooms) on her hands and around her neck. Her hair is greying (in a dignified way) but it was once jet black and it is very long and has been wound up into a bun at the back of her head - there are no pieces of hair hanging down from the bun as to Walburga that would be untidy and untidiness is something which cannot be tolerated (maybe Sirius' flopping, untidy hair was a source of annoyance to her? ). Her skin is very fair and next to the black clothing looks almost white like porcelaine (or at least certainly would have when she was younger). In OotP she is described as wearing a hat so maybe thats where my leap to Queen Victoria came from - as she wore a black bonnet with lace attached to it which went down her back.

    As for eye colour I would go for dark, almost black eyes like Bella, or grey eyes or brilliant blue eyes like Cissy but dark would be my first choice. However, as we have no cannon proof about this matter then I would say go with what ever eye colour you see her having.

    Anyhoo, that's enough of my 11.30pm at night you should just to go to bed!

    Good luck with the story,


  7. #7
    First Year Hufflepuff
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    I've been thinking a bit about the Black family, and about Sirius' relationship with his mother. I'm particularly interested in what Walburga thought of him before he ran away from home and she blasted him off the tapestry.

    Now, I've read heaps of fics where Walburga is portrayed as being a very abusive mother, and hexing Sirius all the time. Do you think that she was like this? All we have of her in the books is her mad portrait, and although it certainly reflects Walburga's opinions, it was painted later on in her life, after she lost both of her sons and her husband.

    In OoTP (I'm not quite sure where), Kreacher says that Sirius was a nasty, ungrateful swine who broke his mother's heart. Do you think Walburga loved Sirius? Do you think she was affectionate towards him? Although she would have disagreed with his ideas, his house and his choice of friends, do you think she was disappointed in him, or simply hostile? If he hadn't run away, would she and Orion have supported him as the heir of the Blacks?

    How do you think she felt when Sirius finally left?

    I know that's a lot of questions, but I want to get a more nuanced portrayal of Walburga than just the deranged, hex-throwing mother, and I'm not an expert on the Blacks, like I know a lot of people are. Any thoughts would be lovely!


  8. #8
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    I too have read lots of fics where Walburga is nasty and abusive, shouting at Sirius for the most trivial of things, even when he's a young child. I don't like this idea, and it seems to me that people portray her this way to make her even more nasty and unlikable and Slytherin.

    I think that when Sirius was young, she would have been a loving parent, though I can imagine her as strict; she's got the family reputation to uphold and wouldn't want her children to act like slobs. It's also the reason why I don't think she'd beat him up or curse him; it's not a very seemly thing to do and if word got out, she'd be thought less of as a mother. She'd punish him if he got into mischief like any parent would, but not overly.

    However, I think it was probably a different story when Sirius got older, perhaps around the age of fifteen or so when he had the confidence to be a bit more rebellious. Then I think she might fire a jinx or two at him for crossing her or being rude to her. He's slipping out of her grasp by then, and she'd want to hang onto him and control him.

    I think she'd show her disappointment in him by being hostile. I can't imagine life was very good for Sirius when (or if) he returned home for Christmas that first year. I don't think she would have talked to him much. She would have perhaps lectured him for being in Gryffindor, and perhaps thrown out remarks about it afterward, but I think that would be her way of showing disappointment.

    I highly doubt that Sirius is entirely innocent in all that went on. When he was older I imagine that he would seek to annoy his parents in any way possible (we know that he decorated his room in a way that would certainly annoy them), and I think this is what caused so much hatred between them. Walburga may well have loved him, he was her son after all, but I think she soured a lot after he ran away and she realised that he was never or would never come back to them. I think this is why she blasted him off.

    I'm not sure about the inheritance thing. Half of me thinks that they may well have made an empty threat in cutting him off, but actually leaving everything to him when they died, if he hadn't run away. The other half thinks that (if it was possible) they would have cut him off as their heir and given it to Regulus instead, but still left him money. I think they wouldn't have left him in the cold if he hadn't run away.

    I have no idea if any of that makes sense, I was just typing as the thoughts came into my head, but I hope this is of some help.

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  9. #9
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    Now, I've read heaps of fics where Walburga is portrayed as being a very abusive mother, and hexing Sirius all the time. Do you think that she was like this? All we have of her in the books is her mad portrait, and although it certainly reflects Walburga's opinions, it was painted later on in her life, after she lost both of her sons and her husband.
    I don't believe she would have ever hexed either of her sons for whatever reason. Maybe an innocuous charm or two, but I don't think for a second that she would harm her child, no matter how much of a pain he was. In terms of her personality, I see her as bigoted, opinionated, immutable in her beliefs, and a stickler for proper etiquette in the presence of company (anyone, even family visiting), but really, weren't all the wizarding aristocracy much the same? It was not uncommon, and she was not, in my opinion, an uncommonly cruel woman.

    I do think she went a bit mad after Regulus died, because she knew that Sirius was lost to her forever, and the one baby boy that did hold up the family honor was slain by Voldemort (or at least that was the popular consensus at the time). Orion died shortly after, and she was alone, left to live with only the cantankerous Kreacher, who was probably a little out of his mind himself because of Regulus's death and the circumstances surrounding it. That could drive anyone to the edge of sanity.

    In OoTP (I'm not quite sure where), Kreacher says that Sirius was a nasty, ungrateful swine who broke his mother's heart. Do you think Walburga loved Sirius? Do you think she was affectionate towards him? Although she would have disagreed with his ideas, his house and his choice of friends, do you think she was disappointed in him, or simply hostile? If he hadn't run away, would she and Orion have supported him as the heir of the Blacks?
    Of course she loved Sirius, because only someone you love can hurt you enough to hate them for what they've done to you. As for affection, I believe Walburga to be a stiff woman in many regards, in terms of mannerisms and ideals, so the 'mommy didn't hug me enough' principle could have been a direct effect of Sirius's aberrant personality. She probably hated every Gryffindor fiber of his being, because it was the antithesis of everything that she held dear, and she may have even seen herself as a failure of a mother because of his Muggle loving ideals and behavior. I do believe that she was disappointed that he spurned the beliefs that she had held her whole life and knew to be the only truth. How could she have bred this child of contradictions? I think she and Orion would not have disowned him, because in the end, he was still their son, a pureblood, and a Black. To do so would have been a social faux pas.

    How do you think she felt when Sirius finally left?
    She had, in essence, lost everything once Regulus died, but I don't believe that she had blasted Sirius of the tree until Orion died after Regulus. Essentially, since Sirius had made no bones about his family being dead to him, she could have taken this as a sign that he was now dead to her, though I do really think that, had Sirius approached her after Orion's death and offered to return, she would have tried to make amends for their past squabbles, because I don't care if I'm stuck with an enemy in an empty still beats an empty room.
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  10. #10
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    I think you need to bear in mind the era here. Whilst I'm not saying she would have been a really abusive mother, punishment and discipline for children in those days was generally a 'clip round the ear', a smack or even corporal punishment (The cane or belt were commonly used in UK schools until the late seventies when it was banned.)

    So, I actually think it would be highly unusual for a mother in the fifties and sixties to not use smacks, slaps etc as a form of discipline. It doesn't make her cruel, but the concepts of time out and the naughty step were simply not thought of in that time period.

    Personally, I think she probably did hit Sirius (and Regulus). You only have to see how desperate Regulus was to please her to realise they had a strict upbringing. But Sirius would have pushed her and his dad continually.

    Kreacher says Sirius broke his mother's heart. I think that's true and she genuinely loved him, but couldn't cope with his difference (an affront to Black family pride) and then his rejection of her.

    Regarding the inheritance. I find this very interesting. If his parents really hated Sirius then they could have excluded him from the will. Sirius manages to leave everything to Harry, so it doesn't have to be left to a family member. Also Kreacher never obeys Tonks and doesn't appear to punich himself when he ignores her, so I think it's clear that Andromeda has been disinherited, but Sirius never was. Perhaps Walburga and Orion hoped he'd come back some day. Or *sudden thought* perhaps when Sirius was sent to Azkaban and they thought him in league with Voldemort, they reinstated him in the will. *plot bunny moment*


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