When author J.K. Rowling returns to the Harry Potter universe, as she does on occasion on her Pottermore website, she has a plethora of characters to play with. In her most recent return, she could have chosen to write about the Boy Who Lived (that would be Harry Potter) or the Boy Who Bunny-Hops (that would be Neville Longbottom). But this time she chose a more obscure character: Celestina Warbeck.
Celestina Warbeck is a witch who has only been referred to by other characters. Celestina's real talent lies not in Unforgivable Curses or instant tent-building but in singing. According to Today.com, Rowling said,
Celestina Warbeck is one of my favourite 'off-stage' characters in the Harry Potter series … Although we never lay eyes on Celestina during the whole seven volumes of the Potter books, I always imagined her to resemble Shirley Bassey in both looks and style.
For those of you who don't recognize the fabulous Welsh singer, check out her hit song, "Diamonds Are Forever," from the James Bond movie of the same name, as well as a more danceable hit, "History Repeating," with the Propellerheads.
Rowling's writing isn't so much of a story as a biography. But we get to learn that Celestina is a half-blood, has a larch-and-phoenix feather wand and has been married three times in scandalous circumstances. For example:
Internationally-acclaimed singing sensation Celestina Warbeck (sometimes known as 'the Singing Sorceress’) hails from Wales. Her father, a minor functionary in the Muggle Liaison Office, met her Muggle mother (a failed actress) when the latter was attacked by a Lethifold disguised as a stage curtain.
We also get a look at—as well as a listen to—Celestina's music. The clip on Today was brief, so after consulting with that other repository of magic, YouTube, we found a more toe-tapping version, below.
The character of Celestina isn't just based on a singer. She's sort of based on a real person. According to Rowling,
I stole her first name from a friend with whom I worked, years ago, at Amnesty International's Headquarters in London; 'Celestina' was simply begging to be scooped up and attached to a glamorous witch.