The Beldam, more commonly known as the Other Mother, is the main antagonist of the novel Coraline and its film adaptation. She is the creator and ruler of the Other World, a parallel dimension.
For decades she would lure children unhappy with their lives into the Other World under the pretense that she was their Other Mother. Soon, the children would become happier in the Other World and the Other Mother would ask them to stay in the Other World forever. First, they would have to have buttons sewn into their eyes. When they did, she would eat them and lock their souls away in the Other World forever. One of her victims was the sister of Wybie's grandmother.
In the film, the Other Mother is voiced by Teri Hatcher, who also voices Coraline's mother.
When the Jones family arrived in the Pink Palace, the Other Mother made a doll of Coraline Jones and sent it out into the real would to spy on her. Coraline was led into the Other World by a mouse the Other Mother sent out. When Coraline reached the Other World, the Other Mother had taken the form of Coraline's mother, except she had button eyes. Coraline was initially disturbed by this, but soon began to enjoy the Other World. Coraline falls asleep and later wakes up in her own room. Despite warnings from her neighbors, Coraline ventured into the Other World again, where the Other Mother presented Coraline with a mute Other Wybie to be Coraline's companion. Coraline soon becomes intrigued by the Other World after another of the Other Mother's creations, the Other Bobinsky, presents a circus show for her.
During Coraline's third visit where she meets the Other Spink and Other Forcible, the Other Mother requests that Coraline remain in the Other World. However, upon revealing that Coraline needs to have button sewn into her eyes in order to remain, Coraline refuses. At that point, the Other Mother becomes abusive towards her creations, including the Other Wybie, who's face she sews into a permanent grin. Coraline later on argues with the Other Mother, leading the Other Mother to transform into a taller, thinner version of herself and imprison Coraline in a mirror. White trapped, Coraline meets the ghosts of the Other Mother's previous victims, who asks her to help set them free by finding their eyes, Coraline is then rescued by the Other Wybie and escapes into the real world. As punishment, the Other Mother kills the Other Wybie and then abducts Coraline's parents.
Coraline, aided by the Other Mother's nemesis, a black cat, returns to the Other World, where Coraline challenges the Other Mother to a game: if Coraline can find her parents and the eyes of the ghost children, the Other Mother must free everyone she has trapped, but if Coraline loses, she must remain in the Other World forever. The Other Mother accepts the game, and utilizes her distorted creations as obstacles against Coraline. However, Coraline, with help from the Cat, finds the eyes of the ghost children and returns to the Other Mother, who has revealed her true form as a large spider witch. The Beldam reminds Coraline that she still needs to find her parents. Coraline discovers her parents to be trapped in a snow globe, but the ghost children warn her that the Beldam will never let her go. Thus, Coraline tricks the Beldam into opening the door to the real world.
The Beldam is attacked by the Cat, who gouges her button eyes out. Enraged, the Beldam transforms the Other World int a spider web, but Coraline manages to reach the door. The Beldam attempts to stop her, but Coraline slams the door on her hand, severing it, before escaping into the real world and locking the door. Coraline's parents and the ghost children are freed, but Coraline is warned that the Beldam will continue to seek the key to the Other World. Coraline ventures into the nearby forest to dispose of the key in the well, but the Beldam's severed hand follows her and attacks her. Wybie, however, intervenes and he and Coraline battle the Beldam's hand, culminating in Wybie smashing it with a rock. Coraline and Wybie then drop the key and the remains of the hand into the well, thus trapping the Beldam in the Other World.
When luring a victim into her realm, the Other Mother appears under the guise of a loving and doting person who wishes to make the child happy. She devotes large amounts of time to pleasing the child in her clutches in order to entice them to remain with her.
In truth, however, this is merely a guise to entrap her victim. The Beldam is, in reality, a selfish and monstrous creature who feeds on children. When things don't go according to the Beldam's plans, and the child refuses to obey her, the Other Mother is quick to reveal her true, malevolent self. When her creations likewise displease her, the Beldam has no compunctions with mutilating and killing them, as seen with the Other Wybie.
The Beldam is shown to have a fondness of games, and though she may not play fair, she'd never refuse one. She also despises the Cat due to his ability to freely pass into her dimension as he pleases.
- The Other Mother claims to have had a mother herself, whom she buried alive within a grave.
- The Other Mother is one of the oldest Laika villains, being over a hundred years old. The only other villain to rival her in age is The Moon King.
- The name 'Beldam' means 'witch' or 'hag'.