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Sirius Black was a character in the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.

Sirius was the best friend of James Potter and Godfather of Harry Potter. He joined the Order of Phoenix in the First Wizarding War, until he was betrayed and framed by Peter Pettigrew for crimes he had committed, including betraying James, Lily and Harry Potter to Voldemort. He escaped from Azkaban to find Pettigrew and went into hiding at 12 Grimmauld Place. He was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries helping to save Dumbledore's Army from the Death Eaters.

Biography

Early life

Orion, Regulus, Walburga and Sirius

Sirius was the elder child of Orion and Walburga Black, who were second cousins. He had a younger brother, Regulus Black.

He was born into the Noble House of Black, an ancient and pure-blood wizarding family who studied the Dark Arts and supported blood purity. The House of Black disowned any one in their family that they found unsuitable for the preservation of their bloodline. He was raised to think pure-bloods were better than everyone else and he was pressured into upholding these values.

Sirius grew up to be rebellious against these values, causing conflict. He was not close to Regulus, who was their parents' favourite because he was better in their eyes at upholding their values. He was closer to family who were disowned, including a cousin, Andromeda Tonks who was disowned for being a blood traitor.

He had an unhappy childhood and hated life at 12 Grimmauld Place. He was not fond of Walburga and he hated family members, including a cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. He was accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at age eleven. He was expected to be Sorted into Slytherin, the House of the family.

Education

In September 1971, he began attending Hogwarts. Sirius was Sorted into Gryffindor instead of Slytherin. He was very proud, even though that set him apart in the family. At home in Grimmauld Place, he put up Gryffindor banners and photos of him and his friends around the bedroom in determination to annoy Orion and Walburga.

He befriended James Potter in the train to their first-year. They heard Lily Evans and Severus Snape talking what House they wanted to be in, but James was very rude when he heard Snape was hoping for Slytherin. Sirius told James how his whole family had been Sorted into Slytherin, and James told everyone he wanted Gryffindor. Sirius soon snarked at how Snape wasn't brainy or brawny, causing Lily and Snape to leave. James tried to trip Snape up and someone shouted "Snivellus" when he walked away. They continued to bully Snape for years.[6]

Sirius loved life at school away from home. He and James later befriended fellow Gryffindor students, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew and the four friends were inseparable. He and James were like brothers, and enjoyed pranking people. They would get Rosmerta to laugh whenever they went to the Three Broomsticks Inn.[7] Even though he acted foolish, he was academically intelligent. He and James were very popular because they were rebellious and many of the girls had a crush on him because he was good-looking.

Sirius, James and Peter eventually worked out that Remus was a werewolf in their second-year. They spent three years training to illegally be Animagi in order to join him in the Shrieking Shack whenever he transformed, and keep him company. He could soon turn into a large, black dog, and they adopted a name for their gang, Marauders, for which he was given a nickname, Padfoot. They soon gained confidence to let Lupin loose and wander school grounds, and foolishly found it funny if Lupin nearly escaped. Through exploring the school, they found hidden passageways and created the Marauder's Map.[3]

But their pranking could turn into bullying, and their teasing and bullying of Snape got worse. They had even adopted a name, Snivellus, which they used for taunting. In June 1976, they took an O.W.L. examination and walked round school grounds when it was finished. Sirius was bored, so James decided to pick on Snape for fun. Sirius encouraged James to hex and humiliate Snape by laughing. Lily defended Snape, leading to further teasing.[3]

Sirius found Snape very annoying, especially when he started getting curious about where Lupin was going when he saw him being taken to the Whomping Willow one day. Sirius ended up telling Snape how to tap a knot in the trunk of the Willow to get into a secret passageway to the Shrieking Shack, knowing he would get into danger when he was confronted by a werewolf. Snape unknowingly headed towards danger, but James found out what Sirius had done and pulled Snape back before he was killed.[3]

Years later, Professors would say he and James were troublemakers. Rubeus Hagrid knew they would have given pranksters Fred and George a runaround. People had a good opinion of Sirius when he was attended school, and didn't think he would ever get involved in the Dark Arts.[7]

First Wizarding War

He was Best Man at James and Lily's wedding[7], where a photograph was taken which was later given to Harry.[8] He was chosen to be their first child, Harry Potter's godfather.[7]

Because of a prophecy Voldemort heard about how Harry would one day have a power he could use defeat him, James and Lily had to go into hiding. ThFey needed a Secret Keeper, but they had to choose wisely because they had a spy in their ranks. Sirius suspected Lupin could be a spy, and didn't even think of Peter because he had appeared too cowardly to even consider being a spy.[9]

James wanted Sirius to be their Secret Keeper because he knew would willingly do anything necessary to keep Harry safe. But Sirius knew he was going to be suspected, and suggested they use Peter instead because he was their less obvious choice. Because he thought Lupin could be a spy, Lupin was kept in the dark about switching Sirius for Peter. However, Peter was a spy and he told Voldemort less than seven days later. Sirius would feel life-long guilt for trusting Peter, and thought he had gotten James and Lily killed by being so foolish.[9]

Imprisonment

Because he knew Peter was the Secret Keeper, he had to go and check in on Peter in a hiding place to see if he was okay. He went round to check one night and found out he was gone, but he was worried when he couldn't find any sign of a struggle. He went to the Potter cottage in Godric's Hollow and found James and Lily dead.[7]

He wanted to keep Harry and raise him, knowing it was the role James and Lily wanted him to have in the event they died, but Albus Dumbledore wanted Harry to be raised by the Dursley family. He eventually gave Harry to Rubeus Hagrid who was sent to collect Harry, and he let Hagrid borrow his flying motorbike.[10] He was devastated, and had to be consoled by Hagrid.[7]

He later found and confronted Peter for what he done, intending to bring him to justice. Instead, Peter fought back and faked his own death in an explosion. He killed twelve Muggles in the process[11], cut his finger off, even asked Sirius how HE could have betrayed James and Lily and snuck away in Animagus form to go into hiding. Ministry officials found nothing but Peter's finger and blood-stained robes in front of a laughing Sirius. He was taken prisoner by Hit Wizards from the Magical Law Enforcement Squad, who thought he was insane.[7]

These actions bought Sirius infamy. He was thought to be a deranged supporter of You-Know-Who, and the wizarding world lived in fear of him. People even suggested he wanted to be second-in-command to the Dark Lord, and that he was the Secret Keeper who betrayed James and Lily.[11] Knowledge of Sirius supposedly killing Peter and being a Secret Keeper was not widely known in the wizarding world. He was kept in the highest security.[7]

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Sirius started to grow insane in Azkaban, but he was kept sane by the knowledge that he was innocent. It wasn't a happy thought, so the Dementors couldn't have too profound an effect. He called that thought an obsession rather than a happy thing, and he stayed rational. He brooded about losing James and Lily and grew angry at Peter's betrayal.[9]

Sirius heard things in Azkaban, including Death Eaters who had anger towards Peter. They knew fhat Peter had told Voldemort where to find the Potters, so when the Dark Lord supposedly died in the encounter, they suspected he set him up to fail. Sirius thought that was why Peter stayed a rat for years, because he was too scared to break cover and get caught not just by Aurors, but even by Death Eaters.[9]

In July 1993, Cornelius Fudge inspected Azkaban and gave Sirius a newspaper. He saw a photograph of Peter in Animagus form, having been adopted by a wizarding family. He deduced Ron was in Harry's year at Hogwarts School, and stayed near a wizarding family to hear any news. He was concerned for Harry in case Peter was biding time until he heard Voldenort was back, and was going to kill Harry when that happened to get back into the Death Eaters good books.[9]

Sirius wanted to find and kill Peter in anger for what he had done and to protect Harry. The guards heard Black talking when he was sleeping, saying "he's at Hogwarts" and people thought he was talking about Harry[12] instead of Peter.[9] Sirius was now undernourished and thinned, but he was able to transform into Animagus form and get through the bars of the cell. He was able to get past Dementors and escape because it was less easy for them to detect feelings of an animal. Fudge attended Azkaban that very night and was told what Sirius was saying when he was sleeping, causing concern for Harry.[12]

The news of Sirius escaping Azkaban caused panic in the wizarding world. He was the first known prisoner to ever escape, he was called dangerous and people thought he was intending to kill Harry[12] and find the Dark Lord.[7] The hunt to find Sirius failed, and got to a point where he was featured in the Muggle news. They weren't told what he had done, but a phone line was established. Harry saw Sirius for the first time in TV.[13]

Appearance

He was handsome when he was younger[14], but when he escaped Azkaban he was gaunt and had elbow-length, tangled hair.[13]

Notes and sources

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 16 stated that James and Lily Potter were born in January and March 1960. Sirius was in their year at Hogwarts, and had to be born in Sept 1959 to Aug 1960 to be in their year group.
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 determined that the Battle of the Department of Mysteries took place on the third Thursday in June. That places the date in or around 18 to 20 June.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 6
  5. J.K. Rowling's World Book Day Chat
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10
  8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 11
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1
  11. 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 3
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4
  13. 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 2
  14. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11
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