|Voiced by:||Teri Hatcher (movie)|
|Amanda Troop(video game).|
The beldam, best known as other mother to her victims, is a shape-shifting entity who can transform into any mother in order to lure kids into the other world and eventually keep them captive. In order to entice and lure her victims, she creates beautiful things in the other world that contrast the dull and boring things of the real world. After ingratiating herself with her victim, she convinces them to let her sew buttons into their eyes in order to consume their lives and steal their souls.
- An excerpt from the main article: Coraline (filmography)
This section requires expanding with knowledge derived from the movie.
- An excerpt from the main article: Coraline (books)
This section requires expanding with knowledge derived from the books.
- An excerpt from the main article: Coraline (video game)
This section requires expanding with knowledge derived from the video game.
Powers, Abilities, Knowledge
The beldam demonstrates many abilities, but is likely capable of much more, which are elaborated here.
The beldam's appearance wasn't specific until the graphic novel (comic) and the movie. In the novella (book), it is written that she appeared like Coraline's mother but taller and thinner with the notorious button eyes, the graphic novel (comic) reflected on the novella (book)'s description; unlike in the movie, she is identical to Coraline's mother with the exception of a more tidier look and the button eyes.
- First Form
- This form resembles Mel Jones, except with a better hair-style and a tidier look. It is likely that this form resembles the appearance of the child the beldam wants, the appearance of Mel Jones merely being the mother of the latest child that the beldam wants.
- Second Form
- After Coraline refused the other mother's love and mothership, the other mother stood up and transformed into a longer and scarier version of herself; seemingly the combination of the beldam's actual appearance and her appearance as the other mother. Her rib cage showed and she had an overall more skeletal appearance. Her hair had also become quite unnerving, and the back had turned pointed. Additionally, her fingers became much longer and her nails had become more pointed, her mole increased in size and moved to the edge of her face.
- Third Form/True form
- The third form is the beldam's true form. She appears to be a skeletal spider-like creature with a noticeably cracked, seemingly porcelain face and hands made of connected sewing needles. Her hair becomes significantly sharper, and her overall posture is lanky and keen. The beldam also appears to have metallic-spider like legs.
The beldam demonstrates the ability to create life; such as other copies of people, which appear to be hand-crafted in the same manner as an sculpture artist and a seamstress does, the beldam created other Wybie from saw-dust and other father from a pumpkin.
The beldam does not appear to be able of complete control of this created life, some of her creations have disobeyed her at numerous times. Control of her creations appear to be loyalty instilled by either punishment or rewards; the beldam punished other Wybie for failing to smile all the time by sewing his mouth stuck in a smiling position and had to kick other father's leg to prevent him from scaring Coraline.
The range of control of this created life seems to stem from the intelligence a creation has; for example, plants and flowers where completely controlled by the beldam where sapient creations appeared to have a choice; other Bobinsky & other Spink & other Forcible sided with the beldam where as other father & other Wybie sided with Coraline, the only obvious factor to this decision is how attached the other creation is to the child victim.
The Other World
The beldam demonstrates some but not complete control of the other world. The cat, an arch-enemy of sorts, has the courage to wander in the other world with no fear of the beldam, despite the beldam's disfondness for the cat, that is until a passageway to the real world closes as a result of the beldam. The beldam appeared to rely on the key to the Pink Palace Apartments' door to either open or close the door leading to the other world. When the key is located in the real world with the door locked; the beldam uses her devices to recover it, but these methods can be prevented which would leave the beldam sealed in the other world. The beldam also used the doll to spy and coordinate, in addition to rats, disguised as jumping mice from Bobinsky's mouse circus to direct and lead, Coraline to open the door to the other world for her, early in the movie.
The beldam is shown to kidnap and store the parents of her victims, as Coraline's parents were held captive by the beldam in the snow globe. When freed, seemingly due to being removed from the other world and returned to reality, they emerged without any memory of the experience and their appearance slowly reverted to original.
She is also able to claim the souls of her victims, such as the spirits of the three ghost children, whose souls were trapped in the other world, bound to their eyes which now belonged to the beldam. This prevented them from moving on.
The beginning of the film also shows that the beldam could possibly predict the future. When she changes the doll to look like Coraline, it looks brand new and when Coraline gets the doll, it looks aged and worn out a lot. The beldam sends the doll back to the real world as soon as she's finished chaning it to look like Coraline, so it's likely Wybie's grandma owned it for a while before Coraline was probably even born.
History, Folklore, Mythology, Etymology
One of the child souls captured by the beldam, the tall ghost girl, is most likely the first victim due to her characteristics stemming from the early 1900s, this, in addition to that Charlie Jones claims that the Pink Palace Apartments building is 150 years old, suggest the beldam to have come into existence between the mid 1800s to early 1900s.
Beldam or Belle-dam is another word for witch or hag, although the two are not exactly the same thing. A beldam has been referenced in several legends across the globe..
"God gave Beldam (Muma Pădurii) the designation to stand for the forest and inhabitant away from people unkindness. The Beldam is a spirit of the forest in a very ugly and old woman's body. Sometimes she has the ability to change her shape. She lives in a dark, dreadful, hidden little house. In time, though, the Beldam started to hate foolish people increasingly because they have destroyed what she was trying to defend. If she primarily scared and ran them out, altogether she got to kill indiscriminatingly those who she has met walking in the forest. The Beldam had a girl, The Forest Girl (Fata Pădurii). She is a demon who attracts the young people in the forest, where she kills them. She has two appearances: for the first time when she appears to them, she is a young and very beautiful woman. After the victim is charmed by her beauty, the Beldam transforms into a hideous and tremendous monster, she kills the young and eats his heart because only like this she can keep her youthful appearance. She came out only at night and she never gets out the forest, so she never attacks the people villages but only those who pass through the forest. "
The beldam also shares similarities that of faeries, specifically one that is able to make glamour spells (spells that can enchant one thing to appear as something entirely different). In this case, the beldam would have been using glamour spells to make the other world as well as herself and her creations more appealing to appear welcoming for Coraline and previous victims.
It is emphasized in the original book that eating the food the other mother serves is highly dangerous, and eating it makes Coraline's head feel fuzzy and make her less able to see through the beldam's illusions. There is no reference to this in the movie; but it is worth noting that Coraline stresses on how the food seems 'better' in the other world. This correlates to faerie folklore; as it is believed that eating food from the faerie world is terribly dangerous, and consequences range from being trapped in the faerie realm forever, turning into some sort of animal, or never being satisfied with the food of the human realm ever again. The fact that the first thing the other mother did upon Coraline's arrival was to serve her a meal only proves this point further, as the food may give the other mother certain power over Coraline.
The adder stone that Miss Spink made for Coraline also comes into play. Such stones with holes in it are also known as hag stones, witch stones, and faerie stones. These stones are believed to ward off evil and, in the book, reference is made to this when Coraline clutches the stone into her hand to protect herself. Looking through the hole of an adder stone also is believed to grant the user the ability to see through false illusions and find real things, something Coraline did to search for each of the lost children's souls and her parents.
Goody ColeThere is also a legendary figure known as Goody Cole who was said to be a beldam.
It would appear that the location for the film could be an adaptation of a valley in Yosemite, which can be connected to the image in this story, as found on the link provided.
These references shared themes with the story. Themes include shape-shifting, child destruction, and being buried in a pit (well).
- The title; beldam, may have been taken from the French word belle dame, which means "beautiful woman". There are other connotations such as belle-mere which literally translates as "beautiful mother" but also means "step mother," and the archaism that means "witch".
- It is also possible that the title was influenced by John Keats' Poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci (The Beautiful Woman Without Mercy), in which a knight is seduced by a beautiful woman, who appears to feed off of him. The knight is told by her "death-pale" past victims that he has fallen for her facade. This is comparable to how the other mother gives Coraline the life she wants, and attempts to trick her into staying so that she can take Coraline's soul to keep her alive.
- "Bedlam" is a word that is very similar toan anagram of "Beldam". "Bedlam" means "mad man, lunatic (obsolete)", "an asylum for the mentally ill", and "a place, scene, or state of uproar and confusion".
These quotes are all said in chronological order.
- "You're just in time for supper, dear!"
- "We've been waiting for you, Coraline."
- "Black is traditional...but if you prefer pink, or vermilion or chartreuse...though you might make me jealous."
- "They say even the proudest spirit can be broken, with love."
- "Everyone likes...games.
- "In each of three wonders I've made just for you, a ghost eye is lost in plain sight."
- "So... you're back. And you've brought...vermin with you?"
- "You know I love you..."
- "You horrible cheating girl!"
- "Don't leave me! Don't leave me! I'll die without you!"
- The other mother was #9 on IFC's list of Worst Mothers in movies.
- In the graphic novel (comic book), the beldam claims she put her own mother in a grave herself and then put her back in when her mother tried to crawl out.
- The Seamstress in the film 9 was a nod to the other mother in Coraline. Both films were created by Focus Features.
- It could be possible that, since her creation, the beldam relies on the souls of the children to continue existing, to the point that she becomes increasingly desperate and more impatient to get Coraline to sew the buttons on her eyes. This is shown when she screams that she will die due to not getting Coraline.
- Whenever the beldam prepares seemingly normal human food it is shown that, unlike Coraline and the other father, she eats none of it. Either having an empty plate or having no plate at all, she prefers to keep her attention on Coraline. The only time she is ever shown eating in the book or film is when she eats a live cocoa beetle(s), or regular bugs. This could allude to her spider-like qualities, having an interest in bugs. It is worth noting that Coraline wears a small dragonfly hairpin, further alluding to the fact that the other mother thinks of her as food.