- "The door of the vault melted away to reveal a cavelike opening crammed from floor to ceiling with golden coins and goblets, silver armour, the skins of strange creatures -- some with long spines, others with drooping wings -- potions in jeweled flasks, and a skull still wearing a crown"
- —Description of the interior of the Lestrange Vault as seen by Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Griphook when they break in[src]
The Lestrange Vault is a vault at Gringotts Wizarding Bank in London, England that belongs to the Lestranges, a very old and wealthy pure-blood family. In addition to containing large amounts of gold, Galleons, and treasure, it was the hiding place of Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes. Noticeably, the vault was robbed in 1998 by Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley with the assistance of former Gringotts employee Griphook during the Second Wizarding War.
It is unknown what happened to the vault and the Lestrange fortune after Voldemort's fall, or if the fortune even survived the dragon's rampage during the robbery, as no known members of the Lestrange family survived without going to Azkaban.
Not much is known about the early history of the vault except that it was used by multiple members of the Lestrange family to hide the treasure.
Addition of the Horcrux
At some point in time, Lord Voldemort gave Bellatrix Lestrange Hufflepuff's Cup, one of his Horcruxes, to keep safe in her vault, though he didn't tell her its true nature. Presumably, the reason Voldemort had his Horcrux hidden in the vault is because, as an orphan, he never had a vault at Gringotts and was envious of wizarding families with a Gringotts vault, considering it to be a great honour. Voldemort also knew the Lestrange's vault was well protected and thought it was a safe place to hide Hufflepuff's Cup.
Addition of the Fake Sword
- "You're a lying, you filthy Mudblood, and I know it! You have been inside my vault at Gringotts! Tell the truth, tell the truth! What else did you take? What else have you got? Tell me the truth or, I swear, I shall run you through with this knife! What else did you take, what else? ANSWER ME! CRUCIO!"
- —Overheard parts of Bellatrix's interrogation of Hermione Granger[src]
Harry had Griphook (also held captive at Malfoy Manor) to lie and say it was a fake, but Bellatrix's panic led to Harry thinking that there could be something else of Voldemort's in her vault — his Horcrux, Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, seeming most likely. Bellatrix Stunned all the Snatchers, intending to kill them later, as Draco was unwilling to himself. Bellatrix then interrogated Hermione and tortured her with the Cruciatus Curse, but Hermione managed to lie, claiming the real sword was only a copy. In fact, the true sword presented itself to Harry and his friends in the Forest of Dean at the bottom of a frozen lake, as the sword had to be retrieved under circumstances where bravery and valour had to be shown.
Bellatrix also threatened Hermione with a knife, after Harry and Ron escaped from the cellar with the assistance of Dobby and Ron disarmed her. While holding the knife to an unconscious Hermione's throat, Bellatrix demanded that the boys drop their wands, and then pressed her Dark Mark, calling Voldemort. However, Dobby reappeared and caused the chandelier to fall from above Bellatrix's head, prompting her to release Hermione and jump out of the way. As the house-elf Disapparated with Harry, Bellatrix threw the knife at Dobby, fatally wounding him in the chest. She and her relatives were severely punished by Voldemort for allowing Harry to escape. Bellatrix also lost her wand in the skirmish.
Not long afterwards, Hermione used some of Bellatrix's hair, which had fallen onto her clothes while Bellatrix held her hostage, to create Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Bellatrix. This made it possible for her, Harry and Ron to steal the Horcrux from the Lestranges' vault.
Around Easter of 1998, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were captured by Snatchers and brought to Malfoy Manor. There, Bellatrix Lestrange panicked at the sight of Godric Gryffindor's Sword among their possessions, as she had believed the sword to be in her vault at Gringotts, along with another item Voldemort had given to her. Thus, after the trio escaped the Manor, they planned to break into Gringotts in order to steal the item from Lestrange. Gringotts was warned that imposters might try to get in and had extra security precautions in place.
In spite of this, on 1 May, 1998, Harry, Hermione, and Ron were able to break into the vault with the assistance of goblin and former Gringotts employee Griphook. They realized that the treasure had been protected with the curse of Flagrante and Gemino, thus, every time they touched the treasure it would burn them and multiply, raising the danger that they would be crushed to death by the searing hot metal. Despite the security measures placed on the contents of the vault, the trio obtained Helga Hufflepuff's Cup and escaped on the back of the dragon that had been guarding the vault door.
The Lestranges' vault contained great treasures, crammed from the floor to ceiling with gold coins, silver armour, skins of great creatures with long spines and drooping wings, potions in jewelled flasks and a skull donning a crown.
The most prominent of its contents was the cup of Helga Hufflepuff, which was turned into a Horcrux by Voldemort, and the fake Sword of Godric Gryffindor. Voldemort chose this vault as his Horcrux's hiding place due to the fact that, since his childhood, he envied the wizards who owned a vault, as he himself did not due to his orphan-status. As a result, along with his once high-regard for the Lestranges and knowing Gringotts' high security measures, he entrusted the Lestranges with the cup as well as the sword.
In order to reach this vault, one must be escorted by an employee of Gringotts on a cart, which will be inundated by the Thief's Downfall if this defence is activated by the Gringotts goblins. A dragon guards the door and will only shrink back at the sound of a goblin's clankers, in anticipation of being painfully punished. With the touch of the employee, the door will open. For this vault, it required the goblin employee to put his entire palm on the door, rather than just a finger, to open it.
As discovered by Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Griphook's break-in of the vault, all the treasure inside had been cursed with Geminio and Flagrante. Thus, everything is hot to the touch and will replicate at a rapid rate if touched, until the potential thief is buried and burned. These replicates are identical in appearance, but have no monetary value whatsoever.
The high security of this vault suggests that it is even deeper underground than Vault 713, which also had to be accessed by cart and by a goblin employee, but did not have any kind of creature guarding it.
Behind the scenes
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the treasure is cursed with Geminio, but not Flagrante.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7