This article, Other Mother (Beldam), is under active construction! Coraline Wiki apologizes for the inconvenience.
Pink Palace,Coraline, Ghost Children
Book and Film
The Belle-dame (French for 'Beautiful lady' how ever there are connotations to 'Belle-mere' which literally translates as 'Beautiful Mother' but means 'Step-mother'), which the Ghost Children referred to her as, is the main antagonist of the Coraline novel and its film adaptation. She generally introduces herself to her victims as their Other Mother to lure them into fake satisfaction. She is the source of the Other World and also its creator of everything within it. Since having her appearance in the book, it is already very clear that there's something very, very strange about the Other Mother. The description was enough to know that the Other Mother was not to be trusted.
The Belle-dame was first seen in the beginning of the film (her hands only), customizing a doll that looked like the Sweet Ghost Girl, Mrs. Lovat's disappeared twin sister. She then began to dismantle the doll and sewing it again, and turning it similarly to Coraline Jones's physical appearance before throwing it to what seemed like an opened window and to the Real World. Later, it was revealed that the Belle-dame spied on her victims through the little doll's eyes, indicating that whatever happens in the Real World, she fixes it and makes it better.
The Other Mother had never had a solid identity. However, it is known that she is quite old, considering the children, who Coraline met behind the mirror and the Belle-dame had stolen and killed, had been in the Other World for years, evidence of their old-styled speech. The Belle-dame was clearly a mystery, having little information of her origin, which even the Cat does not say anything about and presumably doesn't know anything about her, too. However, the Beldam's anonymous origin and identity had made her a lot terrifying.
Other than wanting love and eating lives from victimised children, what the Belle-dame wants was truly never identified. In the film, her intentions to consume Coraline's soul are much more obvious, and it is implied this has always been her nature and her kindness to the children she lures has always been a ruse. In the book, however, it is made clear that the Belle-dame does wish for something to love, and the only reason she kills her children is because she became bored with them and stopped loving them once she has them for herself.
However, love can mean a lot of different things. The Other Mother does want love, a kind of love she'd want to manipulate. It is the type of love which she sees everything as objects to control and also a type of love that ends up destroying people. Much like what had happened to the Ghost Children, once she finally had them for themselves, she had grown bored which ended up she taking their souls.
When the Belle-dame told Coraline she loves her, Coraline nodded despite herself because it was true. According to her, the Other Mother truly loved her. But she loved Coraline as a miser loves money, or a dragon loves its gold.
Unlike the real Mel Jones, the Other Mother was definitely more fun and also appeared to be better in cooking, offering Coraline exotic food that she found rather very delicious and tasty. However, after Coraline had told her real mother it was the perfect time to go gardening in the rain (which she only said to have something to say), the Other Mother made her first mistake by suggesting to play in the rain. Coraline noticed her tapping her fingers on the table, which she had found rather awfully suspicious. However, she overlooked it when the Other Mother showed Coraline her room, a better version of her room, and also curing the Poison Oak Rash. When Coraline visited the neighbors, the Belle-dame made more entertaining versions of them, hinting that the other mother paid more attention to Coraline's liking.
After Coraline's third visit to the Other World, the Other Mother finally said that Coraline could stay in the Other World forever if she sew buttons on her eyes. When the Other Father tried to say to Coraline that it wouldn't hurt, the Other Mother was seen kicking the Other Father under the table with a face of displeasure. When Coraline refused and lied about being tired, the Other Mother showed patience and told Coraline, "Soon, you'll see our way," which was the beginning of the Other Mother's action into changing.
After talking to the Other Father, whom seemed to become rather different and gloomy, Coraline saw the Other Mother in the living room, expecting her. The Other Mother forced Coraline to accept her love in which Coraline refused again, and finally, the Other Mother's appearance began to change and became more of her real one.
While Other Mother appears good at cooking, she is never seen eating. While both Coraline and Other Father have a full plate and eat from it, Other Mother never puts anything on her own plate.
The Belle-dame's appearance had never really been very specific. In the book and film, it is said and shown that she looked like Coraline's mother, which presumably is what she does to lure children. The Belle-dame must have taken the form of the children's mothers in order to gain their trust, fooling them into believing her lies.
When first met by Coraline, the Other Mother strangely had the same appearance of Coraline's mother, Mel Jones. Except: her physical attributes were better than the original, such as, being prettier and healthier, noticing the fact that she dosen't have bags under her eyes and she had black buttons instead. She had more accented curves, mainly due to the lively clothing she wears unlike the real Mel Jones, whom appeared to be rather dull.
In the book, Coraline described the Other Mother: She looked a little like Coraline's mother. Other . . . Only she was white as paper. Only she was taller and thinner. Only her fingers were too long and they never stopped moving, and her dark red fingernails were curved and sharp.
After Coraline refused her love and said that she was not her mother, the Other Mother, who was sitting in the art room, stood up, and up and up: and she seemed taller than Coraline had remembered and also much more like her real form. In the film, the same had happened. The Other Mother stood up until she was a longer and terrifying version of herself, and her rib cage showing. Her hair had also become quite unnerving, and the back had turned pointed. Furthermore, her fingers became much longer and also her nails had become sharper and pointier.
The second form is already hinted at a scene earlier earlier, when Other Mother picks Coraline up after Miss Spink and Miss Forcible show. Other Mother's dress clearly shows or hides an abdomen-like part that that even shows red marks like a redback or widow spider.
By the time Coraline had found all the Ghost Children's eyes, the Belle-dame was finally in her real form. The appearance was much like her second form, but only scarier and unbecoming. Her paper white face was marred with cracks and her cheekbones were sharper. Her body was also unnerving, possessing excessively thin waist and bone-like chest. Her hands had also become made of needles, which was the hand that was first seen in the movie; and she stood taller and hunched back with a feature that resembled that of a spider.
- (To Coraline) "You know I love you."
- "Maybe they got bored with you and moved to France."
- "Black is traditional."
- "But if you prefer pink, or vermillion or chartreuse"
- "Sharper than a serpent's tooth is a daughter's ingratitude. Still, the proudest spirit can be broken, with love."
- "In each of three wonders I've made just for you, a ghost eye hides in plain sight"
- " You may come out . . . when you've learned to be a loving daughter."
- "Don't leave me! Don't leave me! I'll die without you!"
- In the book, she sweared at her mother's grave, and implied that she was sadist even when since childhood:
- Belle-dame: ''" I swear it on my own mother's grave."
- Coraline:"Does she have a grave?"
- Belle-dame:"Oh yes, I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back."
- Coraline: Swear at something else, so I can believe you.
- The Seamstress in the film 9 was a nod to the Other Mother in Coraline. Both films were created by Focus Features.
- In Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, on the DC Universe perspective, a doll of the Joker can be seen. Like the Coraline doll that the Belle-dame is shown creating at the start of the film, the Joker doll has buttons for eyes.
- It could be possible that, since her creation, the Belle-dame 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.