Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Lestranges

Celebrate, for I have at last been able to download the Lestrange photos and will be posting them momentarily.  But first, a short history on the characters and costume choice.

From her first introduction in the books, I was captivated by Bellatrix.  The image stirred in my mind was that of a beautiful, wealthy socialite torn down by years of torture awaiting the return of her master and she is described as such:

"Bellatrix was described as a tall woman with long, thick, shining dark hair. She had thin lips, dark hair long eyelashes, heavy-lidded eyes, and a strong jaw. She had the classic 'great good looks' and arrogant bearing common for members of the House of Black, but like her cousin Sirius, time in Azkaban took a toll on her appearance. After her lengthy imprisonment, she was described as having a gaunt and skull-like face, but managed to retain some vestige of her great beauty."

Now, I am a firm supporter of Helena Bonham Carter's depiction of Bellatrix in the films, but I do count "Book Bellatrix" and "Movie Bellatrix" as two completely separate entities.  Movie Bellatrix is very much insane and impulsive, whereas I always felt that Book Bellatrix was much more calculated and aware of her actions, which I believe created a completely terrifying and evil villain.

While the depiction in the films was an interesting take and definitely mirrored Bellatrix's fracture psyche, I always felt that Bellatrix would have gone straight back to attempting to regain her former glory, dressing and acting as she would have when her family was a prominent member of Wizarding high society.  Apparently, DeviantArtist Makani felt the same way, because her depiction of Bellatrix and the rest of the Black family perfectly represents the way I had always pictured Bellatrix when I was reading the books.

A note on Rodolphus:

Not many are familiar with Rodolphus Lestrange, but I assure you he is an important member of the Harry Potter story.  Rodolphus is responsible for the torture of the Longbottoms (along with wife Bellatrix and brother Rabastan) and he is one of Voldemort's most dedicated disciples.  Unlike Bellatrix's sister (Andromeda and Narcissa), Bellatrix and Rodolphus' marriage was not from love, but rather an understanding that joining two pure-blood families was expected of Wizards in their position.

Bellatrix's first love was always Voldemort, but the two remained dedicated to each other and fought side by side in both Wizarding Wars.  Both refused to accept the Dark Lord's defeat at the end of the first war, leading to attacks on Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members Alice and Frank Longbottom, leaving the couple insane and the Lestranges in Azkaban where they patiently awaited the return of their master.

While I don't have a film representation to compare to, I had always pictured Rodolphus as an attractive man with a highly pure-blood supremacist attitude.  I couldn't see a woman like Bellatrix agreeing to marry any other kind of man; even if she didn't love him, she would expect him to have the same attitude she did.  As such, I would also expect him to go straight back to living like the high society, perfect Wizard he saw himself as.

My costumes are based entirely on Makani's depictions of the characters, the makeup represents the sunken appearance they would possess after their many years in Azkaban, and our attitudes towards the other filmgoers (and our house elf) kept consistent with the characters' supremacist attitudes.

I will post detailed breakdowns of each costume in a bit, but until then, I want to give you a teaser of the images I based the costumes on and an image that my amazing photographer friend Alex took that perfectly catches the attitude and look that I was going for.  I could not have been happier with the way the whole thing came together and I owe special thanks to Alex for the amazing photos, Jon for putting up with the degrading treatment the whole night and my good friend Shawn for dressing up in Victorian fashion and posing with me for these portraits.  You guys are amazing.


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