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Sirius Black Profile.JPG
Sirius Black
Biographical information
Born

c.1959

Died

June 17, 1996 (aged 37)

Blood status

Pure-blood

Alias
  • Padfoot
  • Snuffles
Physical description
Species

Human

Gender

Male

Hair colour

Black

Eye colour

Grey

Family information
Family members
Magical characteristics
Animagus

Dog (unregistered)

Wand

unknown

Affiliation
House

Gryffindor

Loyalty
.
"Sirius was a brave, clever, and energetic man, and such men are not usually content to sit at home in hiding while they believe others to be in danger."
Albus Dumbledore[src]

Sirius Black III (c. 1959[1] - June 17, 1996) was a pure-blood wizard, member of the Order of the Phoenix, and godfather to Harry Potter. Although he was the heir of the House of Black, Sirius disagreed with his family's belief in blood purity and defied tradition when he was sorted into Gryffindor instead of Slytherin at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which he attended from 1971 to 1978. As Sirius's relationship with his relatives deteriorated, he gained great friendship in James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. The four friends, also known as the Marauders, joined the Order to fight against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War. However, Pettigrew betrayed them: he told Voldemort where James and Lily Potter were hiding with their infant son, and framed Sirius for the crime, as well as the murder of twelve Muggles. Sirius was sent to Azkaban for twelve years, eventually becoming the only known person to escape the prison unassisted by transforming into his Animagus form of a dog. Sirius exposed Pettigrew's treachery to his old friend Remus and his godson, and rejoined the Order. He was killed by his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.

BiographyBearbeiten

Family DynamicsBearbeiten

Sirius was the last heir of the House of Black, a once-notable pure-blood wizarding family. His parents, Orion and Walburga, were both Blacks by birth and second cousins. Sirius had a younger brother, Regulus, who died after turning against Lord Voldemort in 1979 by attempting to destroy his Horcruxes. He was killed by the Inferi guarding one of his Horcruxes.[2]

"Sirius" is a traditional Black family name, recurring in at least three generations and following a family tradition of naming children after stars, constellations, and galaxies. The names Cygnus, Arcturus, and Regulus have also occurred at least twice each. Notably, however, only one Sirius (the subject's great-grandfather) left a line of descent, which ended with the youngest Sirius.[3]

Harry: "Were - were your parents Death Eaters as well?"
Sirius: "No, no, but believe me, they thought Voldemort had the right idea, they were all for the purification of the wizarding race, getting rid of Muggle-borns and having pure-bloods in charge."
— Sirius on his family's beliefs[src]

The Black family believed strongly in pure-blood elitism. They refused to consort with Muggles or Muggle-borns, and even disowned Squib family members, such as Sirius' great-uncle Marius Black, and insisted that their members only marry within respectable pure-blood classes. They also held the Dark Arts in reverence. Sirius rejected these values, leading to conflict with his family. He even put permanent-sticking charms on Gryffindor banners, as well as pictures of Muggle girls and motorcycles on the walls of his room to emphasize his differences from the family and annoy his parents[4]. When his cousins Bellatrix and Narcissa made desirable pure-blood marriages, to Rodolphus Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy respectively, Sirius held them in contempt. His favourite cousin, Andromeda Tonks, was disowned by the family as a "blood traitor" when she married Ted Tonks, a Muggle-born wizard.

Sirius would later share this designation and was held in contempt, even hatred, by some members of his family. However, in his later life, Sirius established friendships with his first cousin once removed, Nymphadora Tonks, as well as his godson Harry (whom he loved as a son), Harry’s friends Hermione and Ron, and his distant cousins in the Weasley family.[2]

Early lifeBearbeiten

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Sirius and James in their 5th year

Sirius's early life proved unhappy; by adolescence he had come to hate most of his relatives, in particular his mother and his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange. Whereas all other members of the Black family were sorted into Slytherin house, Sirius was placed in Gryffindor, showing that his views had already diverged from those of the rest of the family before he came to school. Sirius also took great care in hanging Gryffindor banners all over his room at number 12, Grimmauld place to show his difference from the rest of the family.

By contrast, he greatly enjoyed life at Hogwarts, where he was inseparable from his best friend, James Potter, as well as with Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. Remus, they later discovered, was a werewolf. To support him, Sirius, James, and Peter secretly-and illegally-became Animagi, which allowed them to safely accompany Remus during his transformations and keep him under control. Sirius's form took the shape of a huge black dog, from which his nickname “Padfoot” was derived. The four friends called their gang "Marauders" and used the nicknames "Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs"; Padfoot, Prongs and Wormtail after their three Animagi forms and Moony after his werewolf condition.[5]

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Sirius as "Padfoot" in 1994.

Sirius: "Did you like question ten, Moony?"
Remus: "Loved it. ‘Give five signs that identify the werewolf.’ Excellent question."
James: "D’you think you managed to get all the signs?"
— Sirius, Remus and James joking in school.[src]

Although he later considered himself "an idiot" during this time, Sirius, along with James, was immensely popular: teachers respected his intelligence, though not his behaviour, and students liked his biting humour, which he shared with James and later Harry. Very handsome with black hair and grey eyes, Sirius was also popular among girls. Many teachers regarded him and James as troublemakers or practical jokers; Hagrid once compared them to the mischievous twins Fred and George Weasley.

Sirius' popularity was not universal, however. Early on, a mutual hatred sprang up between James Potter and Severus Snape. Sirius actively supported James, leading to Snape bestowing an equal and life-long loathing upon Sirius. Sirius hated Snape as "this little oddball who was up to his eyes in the Dark Arts." He and James often went out of their way to bully Snape. While watching one of Snape’s memories in the Pensieve, Harry saw Sirius and James physically bully him only because they were bored. Sirius attempted to justify this by claiming that Snape's memories were biased and that he had a cruel streak, though he did admit that he and James were "arrogant little berks", and that he wasn't proud of his bullying of Snape.[2]

James: "How'd the exam go, Snivelly?"
Sirius: "I was watching him, his nose was touching the parchment. There'll be great grease marks all over it, they won't be able to read a word..."
— James and Sirius bully Severus Snape as teenagers[src]
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Sirius as a student.

Late in his Hogwarts career, the feud between Snape and Sirius reached its climax when Sirius played a potentially lethal practical joke on Snape. He informed Snape of how to enter a tunnel under the Whomping Willow that would lead to the Shrieking Shack where, unbeknownst to Snape, Remus Lupin was confined during his transformations. Snape went there during a full moon, and James was forced to rescue him. Sirius excused his own actions, explaining that he had simply told Snape what he wanted to know about the tunnel, whilst omitting crucial information. He simultaneously claimed it "served Snape right". The resentment Snape felt for Sirius was never healed.

At age sixteen, Sirius finally broke with his family and took refuge with James Potter and his parents. His outraged mother blasted his name off the family tree. Sirius’s uncle Alphard, Walburga's brother, sympathised with his young nephew and left him a large inheritance, causing Walburga Black to also blast Alphard's name off. Sirius was left financially independent by his uncle’s generous bequest.[2]

First Wizarding WarBearbeiten

Sirius: "What was there to be gained by fighting the most evil wizard that ever existed? Only innocent lives, Peter!"
Peter: "You don’t understand! He would have killed me, Sirius!"
Sirius: "THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED! DIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU!"
— Sirius confronting Peter in 1994[src]

After leaving school, Sirius fought against Lord Voldemort, eventually joining the Order of the Phoenix. In 1977, he and James were involved in a motorbike chase with two policemen. Although the chase started off as a bit of fun, it turned slightly more serious when the pair were attacked by three men on broomsticks. Sirius and James used their wands to raise the police car that had been chasing them, and their attackers crashed into it.[6]

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Sirius during The First Wizarding War.

He remained friends with James Potter and attended James' wedding to Lily Evans as best man. When their son Harry was born, James and Lily named Sirius godfather, thus designating him as Harry's guardian in the event of their deaths. He also gave Harry his first broom at the age of one as a birthday present, as stated by Lily in a letter found by Harry.[4]

After joining the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius found himself roiling with mistrust and stress due to the great terror that was Lord Voldemort. It took its toll – by October 1981, he no longer trusted his old friend Remus Lupin, suspecting he was a spy and excluding him from important information. However, he trusted Peter Pettigrew implicitly, a decision he would grow to regret for the rest of his life.

In 1981, the Potters were aware that Harry, along with the son of Frank and Alice Longbottom, two other Order members, had become Lord Voldemort's specific targets. Albus Dumbledore advised the Potters to go into hiding using the Fidelius Charm, which Dumbledore hoped would conceal them from doom. James was adamant about Sirius being their Secret-Keeper, believing that Sirius would willingly die rather than reveal where they were. However, believing Voldemort would suspect him, Sirius suggested a "weak, talentless thing" - Peter Pettigrew - instead. Keeping everyone else, including Remus Lupin and Albus Dumbledore, in the dark, Sirius and the Potters reassigned Peter Pettigrew to be Secret-Keeper with Sirius as a decoy.[5]

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Sirius Black wanted poster posted around Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and other Magical Locations

ImprisonmentBearbeiten

"I COMFORTED THE MURDERIN' TRAITOR!"
—Rubeus Hagrid recollecting his last meeting with Sirius[src]

On Halloween night 1981, Sirius went to Pettigrew’s hiding place and found him missing. Unsettled by the missing signs of a struggle, Sirius frantically sped to Godric's Hollow, discovering the Potters' house destroyed and his friends dead; only baby Harry was still alive. When Rubeus Hagrid appeared on the scene to rescue Harry, on Dumbledore's orders, Sirius offered to take Harry himself. However, Hagrid told him that Dumbledore had made arrangements to send Harry to Lily's sister, Petunia. Sirius conceded, and gave Hagrid his flying motorcycle, telling him he wouldn't need it; nevertheless, after Hagrid had handed the baby, he intended to return Black his bike.[7]

After leaving Godric's Hollow, Sirius tracked Pettigrew down, determined to kill him in vengeance. However, Pettigrew outwitted Black: confronted by Sirius on a city street, he created a huge explosion which enabled him to fake his own death, leaving a severed finger behind as evidence, and killed thirteen Muggles in the process. Sirius was arrested by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and was sentenced without trial to Azkaban for the murder of Pettigrew and the thirteen Muggles, for giving the information about the Potters whereabouts which lead to their death and for being in the service of Lord Voldemort. He would spend the next twelve years in solitary confinement at the mercy of the Azkaban guards, the Dementors.

Driven to the brink of madness, he retained his sanity by focusing on his innocence. As it was more an obsession than a happy thought, it could not be detected by the Dementors, but still gave him small comfort. However, his brooding over his friends' deaths and Pettigrew's betrayal became an obsession as well.

Escape from AzkabanBearbeiten

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Sirius Black

"I never betrayed Lily and James. I would have died before I betrayed them."
—Sirius trying to convince Harry of the truth in 1994.[src]

Sirius Black III's escape was legendary to say the least. In 1993, he became the first known person to ever escape from the wizard prison of Azkaban. After several trying years in Azkaban, Sirius regained enough strength to tranform into his Animagus from. The simpler dog mind of this form proved less affected by the Dementors, who in turn had difficulty sensing the animal's emotions. After casually borrowing Cornelius Fudge's Daily Prophet during an inspection, he discovered that Pettigrew was still alive and in hiding in his Animagus form as a pet rat, seeing him in Animagus form with the Weasleys in a picture on the front. Filled with the desire for revenge and to protect Harry, Sirius formed a hasty escape plan. He transformed into his Animagus form and, with his malnourished physique, slipped through his bars. Slipping past the Dementors, he swam across the North Sea to freedom, though the journey nearly killed him.

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Sirius, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Lupin in the Shrieking Shack.

Sirius took refuge around Hogsmeade; he was spotted a few times and mistaken for the Grim. He made the acquaintance of Hermione Granger's cat Crookshanks, who had recognised that Sirius wasn't actually a dog, and who had also recognised what Peter was. Half-crazed and desperate, he snuck into Hogwarts though the old passageway from the Shrieking Shack, and on one occasion slashed the Fat Lady's portrait when she refused him entrance to Gryffindor Tower. Later, he was able to enter the Gryffindor common room with a list of passwords stolen from Neville Longbottom by Crookshanks, and shredded Ron Weasley’s bed curtains in his search for Scabbers. Harry, not knowing the truth, believed Sirius had betrayed his parents and was trying to kill him.

Through a series of events and explanations, Harry confronted Sirius and discovered the truth from him. He subsequently prevented Sirius from murdering Pettigrew, believing that it would be better to force Pettigrew to face justice, but he was able to escape and fled back to the service of Voldemort.

Sirius was briefly re-captured by the Dementors at Hogwarts, and was sentenced to the Dementor's Kiss, a fate worse than death. Miraculously, Harry and Hermione helped him escape through use of Hermione's Time-Turner. Sirius was once again a wanted man, although alive and with his soul intact.[5]

Events Surrounding the Triwizard TournamentBearbeiten

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Sirius talks to Harry at the Gryffindor Common Room fire in 1994.

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
—Sirius giving advice to Harry[src]

Sirius fled Europe beyond the Ministry of Magic's jurisdiction. He communicated with Harry by owl very seldomly to retain the secrecy of his location. Harry grew to greatly rely on Sirius' advice in time of need.

When Harry was mysteriously entered in the Triwizard Tournament, Sirius returned to Britain when Harry gave him notice that his scar had been hurting. This came to be known as a signal of Lord Voldemort’s presence or power. Sirius hid out near Hogsmeade and provided mostly moral support to Harry during this time.[8]

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Sirius and Harry at the King's Cross Station.

The Second Order of the PhoenixBearbeiten

"I ran away from home...I'd had enough...Why did I leave?...Because I hated the whole lot of them...I don't like being back here...I never thought I'd be stuck in this house again."
—Sirius on being forced to remain in his family home[src]

With Lord Voldemort restored to his physical form, Dumbledore reinstated the Order of the Phoenix. Sirius donated his ancient family home at 12, Grimmauld Place in London as Order Headquarters. Unfortunately because he was still wanted by the authorities, Sirius could never safely leave the house and became quite bitter over his perceived "uselessness." When he briefly left the house to see Harry to the Hogwarts Express, Draco Malfoy nastily complemented Harry on his "pet dog", which, coupled with comments Malfoy made on the train, suggested Sirius' cover was blown.

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Sirius in a meeting of the Order

Harry and Sirius stayed in touch during Harry's school year via owls and the Floo Network, though Sirius' presence was nearly discovered by Dolores Umbridge during her dictatorial managing of Hogwarts that year.

Sirius acted as a father and older brother figure to Harry throughout his hardships with Umbridge, encouraging him to oppose her reforms and strongly approving of Harry's secret defensive tutorial group for students, Dumbledore's Army. He also willingly answered all Harry's questions about the Order and Voldemort, though most of Harry's mentors felt it was inappropriate because of his youth.[2]

Battle of the Department of Mysteries and DeathBearbeiten

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Harry's vision of Sirius in the Department of Mysteries.

"It was cruel that you and Sirius had such a short time together. A brutal ending to what should have been a long and happy relationship."
Albus Dumbledore, to Harry Potter in 1996.[src]

Voldemort used Legilimency to implant a false vision into Harry's mind that Sirius was being tortured in the Department of Mysteries. Harry was thus convinced that Sirius was being tortured, and, along with Ron, Hermione and other D.A. members Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, he flew to London via Thestral. The students made their way through the deserted Ministry of Magic and gained access to the Department of Mysteries, only to be ambushed by Death Eaters.

Ironically, it was Severus Snape who ultimately saved their lives by alerting the Order. Sirius, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, Alastor Moody and eventually Albus Dumbledore all arrived and began battling the Death Eaters. Tragically, however, during a frenzied duel with his hated cousin Bellatrix, Sirius was struck with an unnamed curse and pushed through a veil in the Death Chamber, to his death.[2] It would be years before Harry could fully come to terms with the loss of his godfather.

Post-MortemBearbeiten

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Sirius falling through the veil in the Department of Mysteries.

Harry: "Does it hurt?"
Sirius: "Dying? Not at all. Quicker and easier than falling asleep."
— Sirius's spirit speaks to Harry through the Resurrection Stone[src]

Following the presentation of evidence as to the guilt of Peter Pettigrew for the betrayal of James and Lily Potter and the murders of innocent people, Sirius was posthumously exonerated.

Sirius is not known to have had any children. As Phineas Nigellus, Sirius's dead relative in portrait form, stated, the ancient Black family ended with Sirius's death.[2] Had Regulus Black lived, he would have been the heir of the Black home; however, he predeceased Sirius. By right of primogeniture, then, his heir was either Bellatrix Lestrange (his eldest cousin, but legally invalidated by her murder of Sirius), Andromeda Tonks (his second-eldest cousin, who was disowned), or Draco Malfoy, the next senior male of the Black family through his mother, Narcissa "Cissy" Malfoy (née Black). However, their rights were superseded by Sirius’s will, which designated Harry Potter as heir to all his worldly possessions. Thus, by the will, Harry inherited 12 Grimmauld Place, the hippogriff Buckbeak (later known as Witherwings), the house elf Kreacher, and the remaining Black fortune. Having no great love for 12 Grimmauld Place, the house that held so many painful memories for Sirius, Harry chose to give it to the Order of the Phoenix for their continued use as Headquarters. Kreacher, forced to serve Harry by Sirius's will, was sent to work as a Hogwarts House-elf in the school kitchens (an imposition which did nothing to improve Kreacher's hatred of Harry). Buckbeak passed back into Rubeus Hagrid's care under the assumed name Witherwings.

Sirius had given Hagrid an enchanted, flying motorbike 16 years prior at Godric's Hollow, after Sirius discovered the Potters had been killed. After begging Hagrid to give him baby Harry - a request Hagrid refused because he had orders to take young Harry to Little Whinging - Sirius gave Hagrid the bike before setting off to hunt down Peter Pettigrew. The bike was in Hagrid's possession until it was needed to bring Harry from Number 4, Privet Drive to Order Headquarters shortly before Harry's seventeenth birthday. The bike ended up crashed, as the Order was ambushed by Death Eaters. Arthur Weasley collected the debris and later repaired the bike.

Sirius was one of the four spirits that came out of the Resurrection Stone to speak to Harry as he went to what he believed to be his death in 1998. Sirius assured his godson that dying was not painful, and that they would stay with him as he went to confront Lord Voldemort.[4]

Physical AppearanceBearbeiten

"And there he was... his face wasn't waxy at all but handsome and full of laughter."
—Sirius's early appearance[src]

Sirius was tall, lean, and, as a young man, very handsome. He had dark, long hair with grey eyes and was known for his "casual elegance". This vestige of aristocratic beauty is apparently an attribute passed down through the Black Family. But like his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange, his good looks suffered in Azkaban. When Harry Potter first saw him in the Shrieking Shack, in 1994, he had waxy skin and Harry thought he looked like a corpse.

Magical abilities and skills Bearbeiten

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Sirius' transformation, from a dog into a human form

Sirius was described as powerful wizard by Minerva McGonagall, his former teacher.

Animagus Transfiguration: Sirius became an Animagus at age 15 only, and was able to turn himself into a big black dog.

Nonverbal Magic: Sirius was able to perform human transfiguration and defensive spells nonverbally.

Duellist: In his fifth year, Sirius held his own against Severus Snape, who was a very powerful wizard even in his childhood. During the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, he survived a duel against Antonin Dolohov. However in the following fight against his cousin Bellatrix, he didn't take her seriously, openly mocking her, and was hit by a spell that blasted him through the veil to his death.

Personality and TraitsBearbeiten

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Sirius with his godson, Harry Potter.

Hermione: "You don’t think he has become…sort of…reckless…since he’s been cooped up in Grimmauld Place? You don’t think he’s…kind of…living through us?"
Harry: "What d'you mean, 'living through us'?"
Hermione: "I mean...well, I think he’d love to be forming secret Defence societies right under the nose of someone from the Ministry... I think he’s really frustrated at how little he can do where he is…so I think he’s keen to kind of…egg us on."
Hermione Granger on Sirius in 1996[src]

Sirius was very brave and very loyal, as shown by his participation in both wars and willingness to die for those he loved. He was a talented and clever wizard, though he was a troublemaker in his youth, arrogant and given to bullying people occasionally, especially Severus Snape with his friend James. Sirius could be vicious towards those whom he disliked, sometimes unjustifiably; by sending Snape off to the Shrieking Shack as a teenager, he could have gotten Snape killed and he risked exposing his friend Remus's condition as a werewolf.

He was also cruel to his house-elf Kreacher, though this was mainly because Kreacher praised Sirius's hated mother and made disparaging comments to members of the Order. At times, he was irresponsible, risking getting caught by the Ministry because he felt stir-crazy in his house and advising Harry to take impulsive actions. Much of this can likely be attributed to the years Sirius spent in Azkaban, stunting his emotional development and making him especially eager to spend time with, and protect, his loved ones. However, his true heart never wavered, even during his stay in Azkaban.

RelationshipsBearbeiten

FamilyBearbeiten

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Sirius's cousin Bellatrix casting the curse that killed him.

It is not known what kind of relationship Sirius had with his family in his early childhood, but when he was eleven years old and Sorted into Gryffindor at Hogwarts, his family strongly disapproved. Sirius, in turn, became increasingly rebellious, flaunting his house affiliation and disdain for their pure-blood values. His relationships with his mother and cousin Bellatrix became particularly antagonistic; Walburga disowned Sirius when he left home at the age of sixteen, burned his name off the family tree, and even treated her brother Alphard to the same punishment simply for leaving gold to his nephew. Little is known about Sirius' relationship with his younger brother, Regulus, but from Regulus joining the Death Eaters and from rather nonchalant comments Sirius later made about his death when he tried to leave, it is likely that they did not get along.[2]

"Does it matter if she's my cousin? As far as I'm concerned, they're not my family. She's certainly not my family. I haven't seen her since I was your age, unless you count a glimpse of her coming into Azkaban. D'you think I'm proud of having a relative like her?"
—Sirius to Harry discussing his cousin Bellatrix[src]
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Sirius's burn mark on the Black family tree.

Sirius would later claim to have "hated the whole lot of them", aside from his cousin Andromeda, who also rejected the notion of blood purity and married a Muggle-born wizard. After his escape from Azkaban, Sirius became friendly with Andromeda's daughter, Nymphadora Tonks, another member of the Order of the Phoenix. He was killed by his cousin Bellatrix during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in a duel, during which he was taunting her; she laughed after killing him. His other cousin, Narcissa Malfoy, also seemed to hold Sirius in low regard, as she taunted Harry Potter about his death when they argued in 1996.[9]

The MaraudersBearbeiten

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The Marauders.

"It's been fourteen years, and still not a day goes by that I don't miss your dad."
—Sirius to Harry[src]

While his family shunned him, Sirius gained three good friends who were in Gryffindor with him: James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. The group was very popular and loved to play pranks. When they discovered that Remus was a werewolf, instead of ostracizing him as many would have, they endeavored to become Animagi in order to keep him company during his monthly transformations. When Sirius ran away from home at age sixteen, James' family took him in. After graduating from Hogwarts, the group of friends joined the Order of the Phoenix. Sirius was James' best man at his wedding to Lily Evans, and the godfather to their son.

At some point during the First Wizarding War, Sirius came to distrust Remus, suspecting that he might be a spy. Thus, he did not reveal to Remus that he decided not to be the Potters' Secret-Keeper when they became targets of Lord Voldemort, instead giving the job to Peter. This was a mistake Sirius would regret for the rest of his life, as Peter betrayed them all. James and Lily's deaths devastated Sirius, who would have died for them and who would miss his best friend for the rest of his life. He was sent to Azkaban for Peter's crimes, and Remus initially believed that he was guilty. After he escaped from prison in 1993, he told Remus the truth and, together, they planned to kill Peter for his treachery, though they were stopped by Harry. The two reclaimed their friendship afterwards.[5]

Severus SnapeBearbeiten

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Severus Snape

Sirius: "I've warned you, Snivellus. I don't care if Dumbledore thinks you've reformed, I know better --"
Snape: "Oh, but why don't you tell him so? Or are you afraid he might not take the advice of a man who has been hiding inside his mother's house for six months very seriously?"
Sirius: "Tell me, how is Lucius Malfoy these days? I expect he's delighted his lapdog's working at Hogwarts, isn't he?"
Snape: "Speaking of dogs, did you know that Lucius Malfoy recognized you last time you risked a little jaunt outside? Clever idea, Black, getting yourself seen on a safe station platform...gave you a cast-iron excuse not to leave your hidey-hole in future, didn't it?"
— Sirius and Snape in 1995[src]

Sirius immediately got off on the wrong foot with Severus Snape when they met on the Hogwarts Express in their first year, as did James Potter, who would become Sirius's best friend. Sirius snapped at Snape after he sneered at James' wish to be sorted into Gryffindor house, and the two bestowed the mocking name of "Snivellus" on the Slytherin student.[4] They loathed Snape as "this little oddball up to his eyeballs in the Dark Arts", and, according to Sirius, the other boy was jealous of their popularity and always took to following them around, trying to get them into trouble. Sirius and James outright bullied Snape frequently during their years at Hogwarts, sometimes simply out of boredom.[2] Sirius also played a potentially lethal prank on Snape once, telling him how to get into the Shrieking Shack while omitting the fact that a werewolf was on the other side, showing a shockingly callous attitude towards Snape's safety.

Sirius and Snape maintained their hatred of each other into adulthood. Snape was eager to see Sirius receive the Dementor's Kiss, a fate worse than death, after he escaped from Azkaban in 1993, though his efforts to capture Sirius were thwarted by Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley.[5] Later, Snape delighted in taunting Sirius about his "uselessness" to the Order while he was forced to remain cooped up in Number 12 Grimmauld Place, and the two needled each other at every opportunity.[2]

Harry PotterBearbeiten

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Sirius with Harry in battle.

Sirius: "If anyone’s got a right to know it’s Harry. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t even know Voldemort was back! He’s not a child, Molly!"
Molly: "He’s not an adult either! He’s not James, Sirius."
— Sirius argues with Molly about keeping things from Harry[src]

Sirius was Harry Potter's godfather, and acted as a confidant and father figure to him. Sirius loved Harry very deeply and was the only person Harry felt comfortable confiding in about his scar hurting in 1994.[8] Some of the other Order members criticized Sirius's behaviour towards Harry, claiming that he acted as if Harry were James, rather than a child. Sirius shared a lot of information about the First Wizarding War with Harry, much to the disapproval of Molly Weasley, and supported Harry and his friends' efforts to sabotage Dolores Umbridge's dictatorial rule over Hogwarts in their fifth year. While Harry craved a father figure, Sirius wasn't equipped to be one, and more or less considered Harry to be his friend, the way his father was before him[10]. Voldemort lured Harry to the Department of Mysteries in 1996 by planting a vision of Sirius suffering in his mind, knowing that Harry would do whatever it took to save his godfather.[2] He was devastated by Sirius's death, and Sirius's spirit, along with those of Harry's parents and Remus, spoke to Harry through the Resurrection Stone in 1998.

Harry later named his first son after both James and Sirius.[4]

EtymologyBearbeiten

The name "Sirius Black" is a pun on his Animagus form of a black dog, as the star Sirius is known as the Dog Star, and is the brightest star in Canis Major, the Great Dog constellation, as well as in the entire night sky. Sirius is derived from the Ancient Greek Σείριος, Seirios, meaning "glowing" or "scorcher". In Arabic, the star is known as al-shira, "the leader", and in Scandinavia, it has been referred to as Lokabrenna, meaning "Loki's torch". Loki was a trickster god in Norse mythology, a possible allusion to Sirius' days of mischief-making as one of the Marauders.

Black hounds also appear on the Black family crest. Additionally, the "black dog" is a metaphor used by Winston Churchill for his depression. Sirius certainly suffered from depression at times in his life.

Author's CommentsBearbeiten

J.K. Rowling has said that she likes Sirius as a character, but she does not think he is "wholly wonderful":

"Sirius is very good at spouting bits of excellent personal philosophy, but he does not always live up to them. For instance, he says in "Goblet of Fire" that if you want to know what a man is really like, 'look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.' But Sirius loathes Kreacher, the house-elf he has inherited, and treats him with nothing but contempt. Similarly, Sirius claims that nobody is wholly good or wholly evil, and yet the way he acts towards Snape suggests that he cannot conceive of any latent good qualities there... Sirius's great redeeming quality is how much affection he is capable of feeling. He loved James like a brother and he went on to transfer that attachment to Harry."[11]

Rowling also described Sirius as a "bit of a loose cannon" and a "case of arrested development"[10] and once described Sirius as "brave, loyal, reckless, embittered and slightly unbalanced by his long stay in Azkaban."[11]

Behind the scenesBearbeiten

  • Sirius is portrayed by Gary Oldman in all the film adapations in which the character makes an appearance.
  • The names Sirius and Regulus are also names of two main characters in the video game Bomberman 64. Interestingly enough, in Bomberman, Sirius is thought to be a good guy when in actuality he is a bad guy, which is the exact reverse of Sirius Black.
  • In the film version of the Department of Mysteries battle, Sirius mistakenly refers to Harry as "James", a slip of the tongue that does not occur in the book.
  • Also, in the film version of the Department of Mysteries battle, Sirius is hit with a Killing Curse by Bellatrix Lestrange and survives six seconds before falling into the veil. However, in the book, he fell back and into the veil after being hit by an unknown spell cast by his cousin Bellatrix.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the way Sirius describes his brother's death implies that Regulus was killed by the Killing Curse. But in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is established that Regulus was killed by the Inferi in Voldemort's Horcrux cave. However, Sirius states regarding his brother's death "from what I've found out since I got out (of Azkaban)", so it is likely Sirius received this information second hand, so his source may have been mistaken or Sirius may have assumed it was the killing curse.
  • In Order of the Phoenix, when Sirius arrives with the other members of the Order, he punches Lucius Malfoy exclaiming, "Get away from my godson." This also didn't happen in the book.
  • Also in the film, Sirius unknowingly causes the destruction of The Prophecy Orb by punching Lucius Malfoy who falls and drops the Orb, contrary to the book, in which Neville Longbottom drops it.
  • There is also a suggestion that Sirius might have done underage magic. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius states that he ran away from home at age 16. However, in Deathly Hallows, it is revealed that Sirius put permanent sticking charms of the back of all his pictures and posters hanging on his bedroom wall. But, considering he ran away from home at 16, and did not return until about age 35, he would have been underage at the time he performed the permanent sticking charm. However, since he was in the home of a witch and wizard at the time, this would not have registered.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the length of time Sirius has known Peter Pettigrew was hiding at Hogwarts is consistent. From Arthur Weasley's conversation with Mrs. Weasley at the Leaky Cauldron, Sirius was after Harry, saying "He's at Hogwarts" in his sleep, for several months before his escape from Azkaban. In the Shrieking Shack, Sirius shows that he was actually after Pettigrew, and he learned his location from a newspaper clipping that Fudge lent him, and it became an obssession until he was strong enough to escape.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it is notable that despite Snape, Lupin, and Dumbledore all knowing Sirius was aware of the passageway to the Shrieking Shack and, persumably, convinced of his guilt, the passageway was not blocked off or guarded.
  • In the film versions of the series, Sirius has many tattoos, but it is never stated in the book if he has any.

AppearancesBearbeiten

Notes and referencesBearbeiten

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