Note: This article is about the incarnation of Lady Tremaine from the 2015 movie. The mainstream version can be found here: Lady Tremaine.
You shall NOT go to the ball!
~ Madonna Tremaine
It is the king I'm thinking of. It would be an insult to the royal personage to take you to the palace dressed in these old rags.
~ Lady Tremaine to Ella regarding her mother's dress.
Lady Madonna Tremaine is the main antagonist of the 2015 live action film/fantasy romance film Cinderella.
She is portrayed by two-time Academy Award winning actress, Cate Blanchett, who also played Irina Spalko, Marissa Wiegler and Hela and will portray Kaa in the 2018 movie, The Jungle Book.
Lady Tremaine has had her share of broken dreams, which have left her cold, bitter, and mercenary. She longs to have a life that is taken care of from a financial point of view and a secure future for her daughters. However, she is easily jealous of any affection her second husband bestows upon his biological daughter, Ella, whom she grows to resent for her youth, innocence, and goodness.
Following the death of her second husband, the financial pressures and panic cause Lady Tremaine's jealousy to grow, and it manifested itself through cruelty and contempt directed at her stepdaughter, who is forced to become the servant of her own house. In the end, though, Lady Tremaine's jealousy, spite, and ambition get the better of her.
Described by the film's narrator to be "a woman of keen feeling and refined taste", Lady Tremaine was once married to Sir Francis Tremaine, the Master of the Mercer's Guild, with whom she had two daughters: Drisella and Anastasia.
According to her, her first marriage had been a love match, and she viewed her first husband as "the light of her life". When he died, her second marriage to Ella's father had been more for her daughters' sake than her own.
In the beginning, Lady Tremaine did not seem to bear any particular animosity towards her stepdaughter, and instead focused on restoring life and laughter to the estate, which appeared to have been shrouded in a sad, silent serenity after Ella's mother died. However, her methods - such as holding gambling parties to which even the nobility attended - didn't appeal to her husband and Ella, the former of whom even remarked that he didn't mind missing out on them as they were all the same. Later on, her overhearing a private heart-to-heart conversation between her husband and Ella incited her jealousy and spite of the latter, for it seemed to confirm that her husband loved her stepdaughter more than he did her, and he still dearly cherished the memory of his first wife (Ella's mother).
After he departed on a trip, Lady Tremaine started displaying, little by little, her true colors towards Ella. The first incidence was to indirectly make Ella move out of her bedroom into the attic, and when it was obvious that her daughters were making fools of themselves to Ella, she deliberately did things to distract her while making her work like a servant, such as pretending to accidentally upset a plate of biscuits. When the news of her husband's death came, Lady Tremaine was again angry, hurt, and jealous that his dying words had only been of Ella and her mother. When her daughters inquired about their lack of promised gifts, she rebuked them by stating that it didn't matter, for they were all ruined, and lamented about how they were to live.
Due to financial pressures, Lady Tremaine dismissed the entire staff of servants, and had no further qualms about being open about how she truly felt towards her stepdaughter: as described by the narrator, Ella grew to be ever misused by her step-family, who increasingly viewed her as more of a servant than a relation.
During the announcement of the royal ball, Lady Tremaine refused to allow Ella to join her and her daughters, even ripping apart Ella's mother's dress when she tried to attend anyways. While attending the ball, Tremaine grows suspicious with Prince Kit is entranced by a mysterious girl in a blue gown. She is later informed that the Grand Duke had promised Kit's hand in marriage to another princess, causing her plan for one of her own daughters to marry Kit seemingly collapse.
Tremaine eventually realizes that the girl at the ball is Ella herself, and finds her glass slipper in the attic. She confronts Ella, and proposes that Ella marry Kit and make Tremaine the head of the royal household, ensuring that Anastasia and Drisella marry wealthy husbands. When Ella refuses, Tremaine destroys the glass slipper and locks Ella in the basement. She then blackmails the Grand Duke into making her a countess and allowing her daughters to marry wealthy husbands.
After Ella was discovered by the captain in the attic, Tremaine demanded that, as her mother, Ella would not be allowed to try on the glass slipper. Ella replied that Tremaine was not, and never would be, her mother. As she leaves with Kit, however, Ella tells Tremaine that she forgives her, causing a dejected Tremaine to sink to the ground in defeat. After this, the Tremaines and the Grand Duke left the kingdom.
Relationship with Ella
When she was first married to Ella's father, she was nice to Ella at first. But as she heard her and father's conversation during a party, it was revealed that Ella's father cared about his daughter than his step wife, thus making her jealous. As Ella's father left for a business trip, Lady Tremaine made Ella sleep in the attic. After hearing the news about her father's death, Lady Tremaine had to fire her staff, in order to save money, making Ella do the dirty work. As time went by, Lady Tremaine and her stepdaughters started to treat Ella badly. One day, the king was dying and his son, Kit, had to pick a bride at the upcoming ball. Lady Tremaine bought dresses for her two daughter, but not one for Ella, making her wear her mother's old dress. As soon as Tremaine saw Ella in her dress, she and her daughters rip it off, leaving her heartbroken.
Later at the ball, when Ella arrived and started dancing with the prince, Lady Tremaine became jealous. She didn't knew it was Ella until after the ball, where she returned home and found her glass slipper. She locked up Ella as the royal guards came, refusing to let her marry the prince. As the guards leave after the stepsisters fail to put on the slipper, they start to hear Ella singing, forcing Lady Tremaine to free her. As Ella prepared to leave, she forgive her stepmother for all the times she treated her badly, leaving her mentally injured. Ever since, she or her daughters were never heard from again.
This version of Lady Tremaine is significantly more conniving, intelligent, obsessive and borderline psychopathic than her animated counterpart. She actually inflicts open hatred against Cinderella in the film, whilst the original character was far more subtle with her hatred.