|Regulus Arcturus Black|
1979 (aged 18)
|Also known as||
Regulus Arcturus Black (1961 – 1979), also known as R.A.B., was a pure-blood wizard, born to Orion and Walburga Black, and the younger brother of Sirius Black. He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1972 and was sorted into the Slytherin house. Regulus became a Death Eater in his youth, but defected when he found what Lord Voldemort would do in order to reach his aims. Regulus also learned about one of Voldemort's horcruxes, and decided to destroy it. He was killed after acquiring Salazar Slytherin's Locket in 1979.
Regulus was born in 1961 into the wealthy, pure-blooded Black family, as the youngest son of Orion and Walburga Black and younger brother of Sirius Black. It is assumed that he was named after his great-uncle, also named Regulus, and his paternal grandfather, Arcturus. Relatives included Bellatrix Lestrange, a loyal Death Eater of Lord Voldemort's, Andromeda Tonks, who married a Muggle-born and was subsequently disowned by the family, and Narcissa Malfoy, who married Death Eater Lucius Malfoy.
Regulus' parents considered him to be much different from his older brother Sirius. Although Sirius was the older son and heir, he didn't whatsoever follow the Black family traditions, unlike Regulus. Their parents disapproved of this, and Sirius was later sorted into Gryffindor house when he attended Hogwarts. Following this, Sirius left home at the age of sixteen and was subsequently disowned and burned from the family tapestry by his parents like Andromeda Tonks was. Regulus, on the other hand, was admired by his parents for his loyalty towards his family and their traditions.
Regulus, unlike Sirius, was sorted into Slytherin, and became a member of his house Quidditch team. Harry Potter discovered a photograph of Regulus' team years later, which suggested that he played as Seeker, based on the seating. He was a member of the elite Slug Club. He went to Hogwarts from about 1972 to 1979.
Life as a Death Eater
From a young age, Regulus admired Lord Voldemort and made an ambition to become a Death Eater in later life. Regulus had photos and articles of the Dark Lord and his followers from newspapers hung in his bedroom near a painting of his family crest during his childhood. Regulus received the Dark Mark during his adolescent years, which his family approved of as Voldemort was seen as striving to achieve pure-blood supremacy over other wizards and Muggles. Even though his parents were never Death Eaters themselves, they agreed with many of Lord Voldemort's own beliefs.
After becoming a Death Eater, Regulus began to consider abandoning his Death Eater title, partly because his master mistreated and intended to kill the Black family's loyal house-elf Kreacher, whilst setting up the security measures for one of his Horcruxes.
Discovery of Voldemort's Horcruxes and death
- "He was murdered by Voldemort. Or on Voldemort's orders, more likely. I doubt Regulus was ever important enough to be killed by Voldemort in person. From what I found out after he died, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to back out. Well, you don't just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It's a lifetime of service or death."
- —Sirius Black.[src]
By 1979, Regulus had begun to have doubts about serving as a Death Eater, but was reluctant to act. One day, Voldemort asked Regulus for the use of his house-elf, Kreacher. Voldemort used Kreacher to test the defenses around his locket Horcrux, leaving him to die afterwards. Kreacher was able to escape using house-elf magic, and told Regulus of what had happened.
This was the deciding factor in Regulus' defection. He took a duplicate locket and placed a note inside for Voldemort to find, then ordered Kreacher to take him to where the real locket was hidden. Kreacher guided Regulus past the cave's defenses. At the island with the basin of potion containing the locket, Regulus ordered Kreacher to take the locket once the potion was gone and replace it with the fake one, then escape without him and find a way to destroy the Horcrux. Regulus drank the potion himself, and when he tried to get water from the lake to quench his thirst, he was dragged to his death by the Inferi. Kreacher obeyed his master's orders and switched the lockets before escaping. However, despite his best efforts, he was unable to destroy the Horcrux.
Regulus's father, Orion also died sometime in 1979.
"To the Dark Lord,
I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match you will be mortal once more."
--Regulus' letter to Voldemort hidden in the locket.
In 1997, Kreacher told Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger of Regulus' attempt to destroy the Horcrux, having been there himself, as the trio also sought to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes. They then realised that Regulus was R.A.B. that was signed on the note to Lord Voldemort. Following this, Harry gave Kreacher the counterfeit locket that Regulus had replaced the real one with, showing Harry's own respect for the house-elf. Kreacher later earned this respect by subsequently showing more respect towards Harry, Ron and Hermione. The real locket was later destroyed by Ron Weasley with Gryffindor's Sword, finally accomplishing what Regulus had set out to do.
Regulus has been known to have resembled his older brother, with the black hair and haughty good looks common to their family history. Harry Potter made an opinion that Regulus was "smaller, slighter, and rather less handsome" than Sirius.
Magical abilities and skills
- Quidditch: Regulus played as Seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team during his time at Hogwarts.
- Magical Knowledge: Regulus was intelligent and knowledgeable enough to know what horcruxes are, dark arts of the highest levels that only very few would ever know, and even deduced that Voldemort made one, when no other Death Eaters of the highest loyalty ever knew. He also managed to slip past the defences that Voldemort placed on the locket and managed to retrieve it, though at the cost of his own life.
Personality and traits
Regulus, having been sorted into Slytherin house, was eager to show similarity with his parents, unlike Sirius, who would rather show difference. Regulus' parents had a preference of pure-blooded wizards, so it is assumed that Regulus took after them whilst growing up. Regulus' room was full of Slytherin banners, unlike Sirius, whose room was full of Gryffindor's. Regulus, like his parents, admired Lord Voldemort, and believed that he was a great Dark Wizard. However, after he became a Death Eater, he realised how desperate his master was to reach his goals, showing that Regulus had high morals in spite of his general beliefs. Regulus later discovered the Dark Lord's creation of Horcruxes, and what they meant. Having turned against his master, he decided to destroy them, sacrificing himself, which showed his bravery and his selflessness, as well as he commanded Kreacher not to tell his family what had happened, to ensure their safety. This showed how much he cared for Kreacher and his family, including Sirius, despite their estrangement thus showing how much of a caring person he was. Regulus also respected his family house-elf, Kreacher. The character was among those of many who believed that Voldemort would be destroyed by the Chosen One.
Regulus and his parents, Orion and Walburga, had a good relationship. Because his brother, Sirius, didn't share his parents' ideology, their parents told Sirius that "Regulus was a better son than him". Regulus' parents were very glad that their son was sorted into Slytherin house and that he became a Death Eater after leaving Hogwarts. However, Regulus' parents were shocked when they learned what Voldemort would do to achieve his aims.
Regulus and his older brother Sirius didn't have a good relationship after their respective Sortings, in part because Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor house. Sirius also disliked Regulus because of his ambition to become a Death Eater, but he was unaware that Regulus later attempted to destroy one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. Sirius regretted how young his brother died, and wished Regulus hadn't been as soft to go with what their parents told him to do. Sirius originally speaks of his younger brother with derision though his feelings are later softened.
Regulus' relationship with other family members, such as his cousins Bellatrix, Andromeda and Narcissa is unknown. Its likely that he got along well with Bellatrix and Narcissa, since they all supported pure-blood supremacy and were involved with the Death Eaters. It is possible that he and Andromeda weren't close, because the latter was considered a blood traitor for marrying Ted Tonks, a Muggle-born. She was also removed from the Black family tree tapestry. Regulus may have had a good relationship with Bellatrix and Narcissa, both of whom had a pure-blood obsession. However, Bellatrix was a fanatically loyal Death Eater who would die for Voldemort. She was also among Voldemort's most sadistic followers. Regulus started to hate her, when he started to hate Lord Voldemort, too.
- "To the Dark Lord. I know I will be dead long before you read this, but I want you to know it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more. R.A.B."
- —Regulus Black's letter to Lord Voldemort.[src]
Regulus admired Lord Voldemort from an early age, having the same ideology as the Dark Lord. Voldemort thought Regulus was a loyal servant, as he trusted him enough to ask Regulus to lend him Kreacher, his house-elf. Voldemort wanted to test his magical protections, and went with Kreacher to the Horcrux cave. When Voldemort ordered Kreacher to drink a potion, the house-elf obeyed. Voldemort left the house-elf to die, and left the cave, laughing at Kreacher. However, the house-elf Disapparated, and told Regulus what had happened. Regulus decided that he didn't want to serve Voldemort any more, and also discovered that Voldemort had created many horcruxes. Regulus went to the cave with Kreacher in order to take Salazar Slytherin's Locket, and drank the potion. He then ordered Kreacher to take the locket and leave. Regulus didn't manage to destroy the horcrux, but was the first person who learned about Voldemort's horcruxes.
Kreacher, the house-elf of the Black family was very loyal to Regulus, who always treated him with kindness. Kreacher respected Regulus very much, and he served Lord Voldemort when the latter asked Regulus to lend him a house-elf. In fact, Voldemort wanted to test the magical protections of one of his horcruxes. Voldemort ordered Kreacher to drink a potion, and the house-elf did so. Kreacher suffered when he drank the potion, and he wanted water to quench the burning thirst that resulted. He tried to take some from the lake nearby, but he was caught by Inferi. However, as Regulus had asked him to come back after he had accomplished Voldemort's task, Kreacher Disapparated and told Regulus what had happened. Voldemort's treatment of Kreacher and the knowledge of his horcruxes troubled Regulus deeply, eventually causing him to turn against his former master. Knowing that he could not leave the Death Eaters and live, Regulus asked Kreacher to take him back to the Horcrux cave. This time it was Regulus who drank the potion. Having made Kreacher promise that he would not tell Walburga about any of this, Regulus switched the lockets and told Kreacher to leave and take the Horcrux locket back. Suffering from the insane thirst caused by the potion, Regulus was dragged under and killed by the Inferi in the lake. Kreacher was devastated by Regulus's death. It was the knowledge that Harry, Ron and Hermione were endeavouring to do the same thing as Regulus which brought Kreacher onto Harry's side. He fought the Death Eaters of Voldemort in 1998, during the Battle of Hogwarts in Regulus's name.
Members of the Black family and their history seem to have made a tradition of naming their children after stars and constellations. In Latin, regulus means "little king" and was one term for a basilisk. As a name, it has also been applied to the star Alpha Leonis, which is situated at the heart of the lion in the constellation Leo. Regulus was also the family name of a Roman general, Marcus Atilius Regulus, who was known for his honour and self-sacrifice. Arcturus is also a star, in the constellation Boötes. It is derived from Ancient Greek meaning "bear guardian". It is also possible that Orion named Regulus after his grand-uncle, Regulus Black I.
It is interesting that in the Russian version of the book, Regulus initials translated as "Р.А.Б.", that sounds like "раб" ("slave" in Russian).
J. K. Rowling compared Regulus to Draco Malfoy, his first cousin once removed, who also became a Death Eater at a young age and eventually defected. Like Draco, Regulus "got in a little too deep... He was attracted to it, but the reality of what it meant was way too much to handle".
Behind the scenes
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is established that Regulus was killed by the Inferi in Voldemort's Horcrux cave. But in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the way Sirius describes Regulus' death implies that he was killed by the Killing Curse. However, Sirius' information came second-hand, and whoever told Sirius of Regulus' death did not know exactly how he died, barring the possibility that Kreacher was the one who told him.
- On the Black family tree depicted in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Regulus' picture is depicted as a skull.
- Hester Black was depicted in a similar way.
- In the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Regulus was portrayed by Tom Moorcroft in Slughorn's photograph.
- J. K. Rowling stated in an interview that Regulus learned of Voldemort's Horcruxes because the Dark Lord indirectly let it slip, like he did in the Little Hangleton Graveyard. Subsequently, Regulus was intelligent enough to realise what it meant.
- Interestingly, from 1937 to 1971, there was a Justice of the United States Supreme Court named Hugo Black. Black, in his youth, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but when he was on the Supreme Court, his literal interpretation of the Bill of Rights and his theory of incorporation often translated into support for strengthening civil rights and civil liberties. Late in life, Black would admit that joining the Klan was a mistake and said "I would have joined any group if it helped get me votes".
- There is another possible connection between Regulus Black and British politician Richard Austen Butlerwho was known to his friends as "Rab." In the 1930's, Butler was stongly linked with the policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany. Later, he claimed that he supported appeasement simply as a way to buy time for Britain to prepare for war. Once war broke out, Butler was involved in the highly secret planning for resistance in case of a German invasion of Britain, and was designated to serve as a regional leader of the resistance movement if that became necessary.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, when Harry opens the fake locket, a hologram of Regulus appears and blows a raspberry at him to which Harry reacts by throwing the locket off the balcony.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Appears on Black family tapestry)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears in photographs)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Notes and references