I'm watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the Christmas scene just showed. Harry meets up with Sirius in the Black family tree room. While Sirius explains the blast marks throughout the tapestry, the camera pans across the name "Phineas", which is blown off the family tree.

Phineas Nigellus is the only "Phineas" in the Potter books -- why would Phineas be blasted off the Black family tree? I realize I am crossing canon sources -- the movie versus the novel -- in search of an answer, but I'm surprised at the thought of Phineas being removed from the family tree. In the novel Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Phineas Nigellus is portrayed as ideal Black. He's prejudiced against Muggles and "Mudbloods"; he supports the enslavement of House Elves; he is a former Headmaster of Hogwarts; he is a Slytherin.

Q: Is there anything in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that would explain why Phineas Nigellus might possibly be blasted off the Black family tree? An answer based in canon is preferred but barring a direct quote, an answer made in the spirit of canon is acceptable as well.

1 Answer 1


It was a different Phineas, and he was blasted off for having "supported Muggle rights"

The family tree used in the movie was based off a sketch drawn by J.K. Rowling, which was later published in Harry Potter Film Wizardry and Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey.

enter image description here

As can be seen there's more than one person named Phineas. The one who was blasted off was Phineas Nigellus's son, and the reason given in Rowling's note at the bottom is that he supported Muggle rights.

enter image description here

Phineas - supported Muggle rights

  • 3
    That tree does not make a lot of sense. Considering the first line, they are all called Nigellus because the name Black is not inherited. For an "ancient" House, it's also rather small.
    – Sulthan
    May 4, 2018 at 7:29
  • 5
    @Sulthan - Whether or not it makes sense, that is the tree Rowling drew, and it was this exact source that the movie used for their tree, which is what the question is asking about. FWIW I always considered this as a "subset" of the Black Family tree, not the actual one that exists in the books.
    – ibid
    May 4, 2018 at 7:31
  • 8
    @Sulthan what do you mean Black is not inherited? It is standard to omit the "house" name from all the members of a family tree to save space.
    – OrangeDog
    May 4, 2018 at 11:39
  • 13
    @Sulthan that's his middle name. His full name is Phineus Nigellus Black.
    – OrangeDog
    May 4, 2018 at 12:05
  • 1
    Man, for being "the most ancient house", that tree doesn't seem like it goes back very many generations. May 4, 2018 at 19:52

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