So I was thinking this over the other day, we see that at Malfoy Manor Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix as a means to obtain information about the sword. However, why wouldn’t Bellatrix also ask her during the interrogation if it really is Harry Potter? I would think this would take importance over the sword? Or even ask her both...


Bellatrix was already certain it was him.

Lucius Malfoy correctly identified Hermione, and by extension Harry, well enough that Bellatrix was willing to call Voldemort with her own Dark Mark before she interrogated Hermione. She did not doubt that Harry was correctly identified.

“But surely,’ she said quietly, ‘this is the Mudblood girl? This is Granger?’

‘Yes, yes, it’s Granger!’ cried Lucius. ‘And beside her, we think, Potter! Potter and his friends, caught at last!’

‘Potter?’ shrieked Bellatrix, and she backed away, the better to take in Harry. ‘Are you sure? Well, then, the Dark Lord must be informed at once!’

She dragged back her left sleeve: Harry saw the Dark Mark burned into the flesh of her arm, and knew that she was about to touch it, to summon her beloved master –”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

The entire reason she wanted to wait to call Voldemort was because of the sword. It was not because she had any lingering doubts about whether it was really Harry. She was actively fighting for the honor to call him herself before she saw the sword.

“Gold!’ laughed Bellatrix, still attempting to throw off her brother-in-law, her free hand groping in her pocket for her wand. ‘Take your gold, filthy scavenger, what do I want with gold? I seek only the honour of his – of –’

She stopped struggling, her dark eyes fixed upon something Harry could not see. Jubilant at her capitulation, Lucius threw her hand from him and ripped up his own sleeve –

‘STOP!’ shrieked Bellatrix. ‘Do not touch it, we shall all perish if the Dark Lord comes now!’ Lucius froze, his index finger hovering over his own Mark. Bellatrix strode out of Harry’s limited line of vision.

‘What is that?’ he heard her say.

‘Sword,’ grunted an out-of-sight Snatcher.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

Doubt about Harry’s identity had nothing to do with the reason she wanted to interrogate Hermione at all, so she did not ask Hermione to verify his identity - she was already certain enough of that. As soon as she verified that the sword was fake, she called Voldemort immediately after that.

“Well?’ Bellatrix said to Griphook. ‘Is it the true sword?’

Harry waited, holding his breath, fighting against the prickling of his scar.

‘No,’ said Griphook. ‘It is a fake.’

‘Are you sure?’ panted Bellatrix. ‘Quite sure?’

‘Yes,’ said the goblin.

Relief broke across her face, all tension drained from it.

‘Good,’ she said, and with a casual flick of her wand she slashed another deep cut into the goblin’s face, and he dropped with a yell at her feet. She kicked him aside. ‘And now,’ she said, in a voice that burst with triumph, ‘we call the Dark Lord!”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

The only reason she ever waited to begin with was because she was not certain if they had the sword.

  • But why put Harry and ron in the cellar if she knew it was him? It sounded like they were unsure so they contained them in the cellar in the meantime. She could have also tortured hermione about Harry’s identity... or even use legitimency
    – Ryan smith
    May 15 at 2:02
  • Bellatrix puts them in the cellar while she figures out what the situation with the sword is, to keep Harry contained so Voldemort can kill him himself after. “The Dark Lord wishes to dispose of Potter himself … but if he finds out … I must … I must know …’ She turned back to her sister again. ‘The prisoners must be placed in the cellar, while I think what to do!” - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
    – Obsidia
    May 15 at 2:07

She wasn't thinking properly. She was terrified out of her mind. And with good reason it turns out; recall that later when Voldemort did learn that someone had been in the Lestrange vault and had stolen the cup, he began indiscriminately killing everyone in the room, which very nearly meant her.

"It was... it was... the P-Potter b-boy and the t-two accomplices..." "And they took?" he said, his voice rising, a terrible fear gripping him, "Tell me! What did they take?"

"A... a s-small golden c-cup m-my Lord..."

The scream of rage, of denial left him as if it were a stranger's. He was crazed, frenzied, it could not be true, it was impossible, nobody had known. How was it possible that the boy could have discovered his secret? The Elder Wand slashed through the air and green light erupted through the room; the kneeling goblin rolled over dead; the watching wizards scattered before him, terrified. Bellatrix and Lucius Malfoy threw others behind them in their race for the door, and again and again his wand fell, and those who were left were slain, all of them, for bringing him this news, for hearing about the golden cup."

Meanwhile, they had the example of Rowle and Dolohov, who falsely called back Voldemort and were tortured for their incompetence. Bellatrix was at risk of being killed on the spot or tortured, and was understandably a bit more fixated on the possibility that would mean her death.

Also, they were pretty sure it was Harry. It was not at all a hard deduction given that they were positive about Hermione, and that she was traveling with two teens with the same hair as Harry and Ron, and that Harry wore glasses and had something resembling a scar on his forehead. I mean, even the Snatchers figured it out.


Why didn't she ask about Harry?

  • Hermione might lie about Harry. She could say that the person was a random traveller whom they (Hermione and Ron) met and joined forces with (or anything, for that matter).
  • Bella also knew that it would take a long time for the Hex to wear off and for her to confirm if it was Harry indeed.

Wouldn't asking Hermione about Harry hold more importance?

  • She cares about Voldemort more than capturing Harry. Since the Dark Lord himself gave her the sword to keep in her vault, she cared more about it than anything else.
  • Another reason might be that she was afraid that the Lord might punish them (Bella and the others) if he found out. To make sure that there was no confusion, she tortured Hermione and finally relied on Griphook's word to accept that it was not the actual sword.

Why not ask about both?

  • She didn't have the opportunity to do so. Just after her word with the Goblin, the trio, with Ollivander and Luna escaped.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.