R.A.B.: The Overlooked Black

by Adolf V. Castillo

“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.
R. A. B.”
Three sentences and seven lines is all we were given to attempt deciphering the identity of the mysterious R.A.B. Yet, numerous theories have already been expounded throughout the internet as to the true identity of R.A.B. In the ongoing poll over at The Leaky Cauldron, we muggles are given five people to vote for in their poll titled, “Who is R.A.B?” Regulus Black, Borgin, and Amelia Bones are among the options. An editorial here argued that a supposed muggle Amy Benson is R.A.B. I, however, believe that R.A.B is none of these people. I believe that R.A.B is a witch whose name I have rarely seen appear in forums or editorials throughout the internet.

I have concluded that R.A.B is Andromeda Black, the mother of Nymphadora Tonks.

Why do I believe that this obscure witch who we hear very little about throughout the book series is R.A.B? Because of the numerous flaws in all of the arguments for people like Regulus Black, Amy Benson, Borgin, Amelia Bones, and all of the other witches, wizards and muggles that have been argued for. Of course, I have other reasons to believe that Andromeda Black is R.A.B, but I will first discuss the reasons why wizards like Regulus Black could not possibly be R.A.B.

From the message found in the fake locket we know the following:

1. R.A.B. cannot be, or have ever been, a Death Eater – but he/she has to have been in contact with or known Death Eaters.

Why could R.A.B. never have been a Death Eater? Because of what Voldemort says in the graveyard in OotP: “And I asked myself, but how could they have believed I would not rise again? They, who knew the steps I took, long ago, to guard myself against mortal death?” (648, GoF) This quote shows that Voldemort confided the details of the steps he took to gain immortality to his Death Eaters. It is therefore easy to conclude that Voldemort’s Death Eaters knew that Voldemort had a Horcrux or Horcruxes.

This brings us back to the letter left in the locket, which states, “… I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret.” R.A.B. clearly wants Voldemort to know that he or she was the one that DISCOVERED his secret of immortality. If R.A.B. had been a Death Eater and known of Voldemort’s plants for immortality then the letter would have said something different like, “I want you to know it was I who discovered the locations of your Horcruxes.”

Why does R.A.B. have to have been in contact with or known Death Eaters? “To the Dark Lord,” – the words “Dark Lord” are only ever spoken by Death Eaters or by people who have been around Death Eaters for a long time. Evidence of this is Dobby, who is not a Death Eater, but still calls Voldemort “the Dark Lord.” Narcissa and Draco Malfoy also referenced Voldemort as “the Dark Lord,” Draco even before he became a Death Eater. This was due to them being around Lucius Malfoy, a Death Eater for a very long time.

2. R.A.B. was not in the original Order of the Phoenix, nor is he or she in the recently recalled Order of the Phoenix.

This is evident because had R.A.B. been in the Order of the Phoenix then, he or she would have told Dumbledore that Voldemort had made Horcruxes and that one was in a certain cave. We know from reading HBP that Dumbledore was not certain Voldemort had chosen to use Horcruxes to make himself immortal until Harry was able to get the memory from Slughorn. Before viewing that memory,Dumbledore only suspected that Voldemort had used Horcruxes to make himself immortal.

R.A.B. had to be a very gifted and powerful witch or wizard.

When Harry and Dumbledore travel to the cave in HBP searching for a Horcrux,Dumbledore says that Voldemort would have thought that only a very powerful witch or wizard would have been able to get into the cave in the first place. It is also evident from reading this particular chapter that the wizard would have needed to be very gifted to find the entrance of the cave, figure out how to get inside the cave and then find an invisible handle, triggering a boat to appear.

4. R.A.B. has to be dead.

It is obvious that R.A.B is no longer alive based upon the message that R.A.B. left in the locket. R.A.B. states, “I know I will be dead long before you read this…” Of course someone defying Voldemort and attempting to destroy one of his Horcruxes would fear for their life. However, R.A.B. is not saying that he or she will probably be dead before they read this, R.A.B is saying that they will without a doubt be dead before Voldemort reads the message. Why is R.A.B. so unoptimistic? R.A.B. knows that the potion he or she will drink to retrieve the Horcrux will kill him/her in a matter of hours.

R.A.B. also says, “I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can.” This part of the message has little relevance for Voldemort because if he were to ever find his real Horcrux missing he would have to assume that it was destroyed. However, I believe this line was written by R.A.B. to enforce in R.A.B. the urgency in which he or she needed to act to destroy the Horcrux because they would soon die from the potion. If R.A.B. was not in mortal danger than he or she would have said something like, “I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it.”

“I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more.” This last segment of the message reads as the dying wish of R.A.B. R.A.B. acknowledges that he or she is about to die, but is hoping that their sacrifice will leave Voldemort susceptible to death when he meets an equal.

5. R.A.B. has to have met Voldemort and probably has suffered a setback due to Voldemort.

R.A.B. did not sign their name on the message; they merely included their initials. As we can all see from the sheer amount of possibilities of witches and wizards that could have the initials R.A.B, this R.A.B. had to have known Voldemort in order to be confident that Voldemort would know them by their initials.

From the tone of the message R.A.B. has left, it seems as he or she is stealing the locket in revenge. R.A.B. is telling Voldemort, “I have discovered your secret. I will destroy your Horcrux. I hope you will be mortal when you meet your match.” We also know that R.A.B. was willing to die to destroy one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Not many people who had never suffered wrongdoing by Voldemort would be willing to sacrifice themselves in an attempt to make Voldemort mortal. This is why I believe that Voldemort did something to R.A.B. to instill in R.A.B. a need for revenge.

With these guidelines we can immediately eliminate many of the proposed R.A.B.’s including, but not limited to: Amelia Bones (Head of Magical Law Enforcement, she does not dine with Death Eaters), Regales Black (was a Death Eater, and was not known to have any extraordinary magical talent; he was just a teenager when he became a Death Eater – also if he had been powerful enough to steal one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, then he should have been able to elude the Death Eaters for more than just three days), Borgin (is still alive) and Amy Benson (not been in contact with Death Eaters, not to mention she is a muggle with no magical powers or she would not have been as traumatized as Dennis when Voldemort brought her into the cave). With these guidelines we can also eliminate countless other witches and wizards that have been thought to be R.A.B., but I cannot list all of them here.

Now to my theory: Andromeda Black

R.A.B.

Roll the letters forward and you get…

S.B.C.

Sirius Black’s Cousin.

“‘…anytime the family produced someone halfway decent they were disowned. I see Tonks isn’t on here.’ 

‘You and Tonks are related?’ 

‘Oh yeah, her mother, Andromeda, was my favorite COUSIN,'”
(113, OotP)

The Guidelines:

1. Has Andromeda been in contact with, or known Death Eaters?

Both of her sisters, Narcissa Black and Bellatrix Black, became part of Voldemort’s inner circle.

2. Was Andromeda ever in the Order of the Phoenix?

From what we know of who is currently in the Order, and from what we know about who died in the Order, we can assume that Andromeda nor her husband Ted Tonks were ever in the Order.

3. Was Andromeda a powerful and gifted witch?

We do not know very much about her, but we do know that she gave birth to a Metamorphmagus – a very rare happening. We also do not have any evidence that she was an average or under-talented witch.

4. Is Andromeda dead?

I would think that she is. If she is alive, why isn’t she in the Order? Sirius said that she was his favorite cousin, yet we do not see her once in any of the books. In HBP, Mrs. Weasley said she got the impression that Tonks would be spending Christmas alone in response to Harry’s saying that Tonks probably had her own family to go to.

5. Has Andromeda met Voldemort or suffered because of him?

My theory is that once Voldemort had Narcissa and Bellatrix on his side he attempted to get Andromeda to join him. However, we know that Andromeda married a muggleborn and was Sirius’s favorite cousin, so she probably would not have wanted to become a Death Eater. Upon realizing that Andromeda would not join him, I believe that he killed her husband Ted.

How did Andromeda steal the Horcrux?

I believe that once Voldemort murdered her husband, she began looking for a way to kill Voldemort. She might have already known that Voldemort had Horcruxes – or was in some way immortal – due to her sisters. Her sisters might have tried to convince her to become a Death Eater because they believed the immortal Voldemort was the future. We know that Bellatrix even went looking for Voldemort after his curse against Harry backfired, so Bellatrix obviously knew that Voldemort was not permanently incapacitated. Aside from being Andromeda’s sister, Bellatrix was one of Voldemort’s most faithful servants. Voldemort may have even told Bellatrix of the location of one of his many Horcruxes as a reward for her loyalty. And, Andromeda being the powerful witch I believe her to be, could have forced the information out of Bellatrix. Then all she would have had to do was travel to the cave with the Black family house elf, Kreacher. Kreacher, being a magical creature, would probably be able to ride in the boat with Andromeda. After all, Harry, an underage wizard, was able to ride in the boat with Dumbledore. All Andromeda would then have had to do would be to order Kreacher to force-feed her the potion. She could have even ordered Kreacher to drop the fake locket into the basin and bring the real locket and her out of the cave. From previous Harry Potter books, we know that house elves have very powerful magic; thus Kreacher would probably have been able to very easily defeat the Inferi and escape the cave. Andromeda may have underestimated the power of the potion, and she might have died before destroying the locket. Kreacher probably would not have cared much for Andromeda seeing as she married a muggleborn and was probably only following her orders because he had to. With Andromeda dead, Kreacher would probably have just brought the precious locket back to 12 Grimmauld Place… where we know a locket was found in the OotP.

I believe R.A.B. was indeed a Black, but I think R.A.B. is the overlooked Andromeda Black.

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