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 Sirius Black

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PostSubject: Sirius Black   Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:28 am

Sirius Black is a fictional character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Sirius was first mentioned briefly in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as a wizard who lent Rubeus Hagrid a flying motorbike shortly after Lord Voldemort killed James and Lily Potter. His character becomes prominent in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, in which he is the titular prisoner, and is also revealed to be the godfather of the central character Harry Potter.

Sirius Black is the last heir of the House of Black, a once notable pure-blood Wizarding family. His parents, Orion and Walburga Black, were both Blacks by birth and second cousins. Sirius had a younger brother, Regulus, and three older cousins: Bellatrix Lestrange, Andromeda Tonks (his favourite cousin and mother of Nymphadora Tonks), and Narcissa Malfoy (mother of Draco Malfoy). "Sirius" is a traditional Black family name, recurring in at least three generations and following a family tradition of naming children after stars and constellations. Sirius's early life proved unhappy; he had come to hate most of his relatives, in particular his mother. He rejected his family's pure-blood elitism and reverence for the Dark Arts. At Hogwarts, the Black family were all sorted into Slytherin, where as Sirius was placed in Gryffindor.

In contrast to his home life, Sirius greatly enjoyed life at Hogwarts, where he was inseparable from his best friend, James Potter. Sirius and James were immensely popular and known for their exceptionally good looks. Students liked his biting humour, and teachers respected his intelligence, though not his behaviour. His popularity was not universal, as a mutual hatred sprang up between James and Severus Snape. Sirius actively supported James, leading to Snape developing an equal and lifelong loathing of Sirius. Sirius and James often went out of their way to bully Snape, whom they despised for his great interest in the Dark Arts. They also became best friends with another student, Remus Lupin, whom they later discovered was a werewolf. To support Lupin, Sirius, James, and another friend, Peter Pettigrew, secretly (and illegally) became Animagi, which allowed them to safely accompany Lupin during his transformations and keep him under control. After mastering Animagery, Sirius's form took the shape of a huge black dog, from which his nickname Padfoot was derived.

Sirius left home at the age of sixteen and took refuge with James and his parents. His outraged mother burned his name off the family tree. Sirius's Uncle Alphard left him a large inheritance, causing Walburga to also remove Alphard's name. He was left financially independent by his uncle's generous bequest. After leaving school, Sirius fought against Voldemort, eventually joining the Order of the Phoenix. He remained close friends with James and eventually attended James and Lily's wedding as best man. When their son, Harry, was born, Lily and James named Sirius Harry's godfather.

In the first part of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius is portrayed as a dangerous murderer and supporter of Voldemort who had escaped Azkaban, the wizarding prison, to kill Harry, who believes Sirius betrayed his parents and develops an intense hatred of him. However, later chapters of the book reveal that he was actually innocent, and that he escaped Azkaban to take revenge on Peter Pettigrew, the real traitor and murderer.

The truth is exposed during dialogues between the characters. When the Potters became aware that their son was Voldemort's specific target, Albus Dumbledore advised them to go into hiding using the Fidelius Charm, a highly complex spell allowing a secret to be concealed within another person (the "Secret Keeper"). Trusting Sirius above all of their other friends, Lily and James wanted him to be their Secret Keeper. Sirius, however, worried that Voldemort would immediately suspect him of being the Potters' Secret Keeper and would target him; so he convinced the Potters to reassign Pettigrew as their Keeper because he didn't believe Voldemort would ever suspect a “weak, talentless thing” like Pettigrew. Eventually, Lily and James were betrayed by Pettigrew and murdered by Voldemort.

Sirius then tracked down Pettigrew, determined to kill him in revenge. However, Pettigrew outwitted him: confronted by Sirius on a city street, he created an explosion, faking his own death (leaving a severed finger behind as evidence) and killing twelve Muggles in the process. Sirius was arrested, accused of murdering Pettigrew and the muggles and of serving Voldemort. He spent the next twelve years in the prison, brooding over his friends' deaths and obsessing over Pettigrew's betrayal. Sirius states that unlike most other Azkaban prisoners (who often became insane during their terms of imprisonment), he was able to keep his sanity because he knew he was innocent.

Twelve years later, Sirius saw a picture of the Weasley family on the front cover of the Daily Prophet, in which a rat stood perched on the shoulder of Ron Weasley. This served as a turning point in the series and set the events of the third novel, as Sirius immediately recognised Pettigrew in his Animagus form. He realised that stationed at Hogwarts, Pettigrew would easily be able to deliver Harry to Voldemort if Voldemort ever regained power. This knowledge cleared his mind and gave him the mental strength to escape Azkaban. He is the first person known to have escaped the wizard prison, accomplishing this feat by transforming into his Animagus dog form. The dementors' inability to perceive unsophisticated canine minds, along with his severe weight loss from malnutrition, allowed him to slip through his cell bars. After his escape, Sirius took refuge in and around Hogsmeade, intent on exacting revenge upon Pettigrew and on remaining near Harry. Knowing that the dementors were stationed around Hogsmeade and at Hogwarts, Sirius remained in his Animagus form during this time, and was able to enter the Hogwarts grounds without being recognised by the dementors. Harry catches several glimpses of Sirius in his dog form and mistakenly believes him to be the Grim. Sirius befriends Hermione Granger's cat Crookshanks, who recognised that Sirius was not actually a dog, and who recognised Pettigrew for what he really was.

Towards the end of the novel, Harry, Ron, and Hermione confront Sirius and Harry nearly kills him; however, Lupin's timely intervention prevents Harry from doing this. Lupin, who has learned that Sirius is innocent, is reunited in friendship with him. Pettigrew is unmasked, and, most importantly, Harry stops Sirius and Lupin from murdering Pettigrew, arguing that his father would not want his friends to commit murder. Harry begins to view Sirius as a surrogate father, although events swiftly turn against him again – Pettigrew escapes, and Sirius is captured by the dementors at Hogwarts and sentenced to the "Dementor's Kiss", a fate worse than death. Harry and Hermione help him escape with Buckbeak, a hippogriff who had also been unjustly condemned. Sirius is once again a wanted man.

Sirius is described as a tall man with long, black hair and gray eyes. Several times during the series, Sirius is stated to be very good-looking and "carelessly handsome" prior to his imprisonment; Harry also noted that as a teenager, Sirius always had a slightly spoiled, haughty look on his face. His long years in Azkaban made his face gaunt, and lack of grooming resulted in long, dirty hair and yellow teeth. Harry's first impression of Sirius is of a corpse.

As a student at Hogwarts, Sirius was well-known for being a troublemaker, and once mentioned to Harry that he, James, Lupin, and Pettigrew "were all idiots." He once stated that he had never been appointed a prefect as he always spent too much time in detention with James. Sirius is protective of Harry, but also encourages him to take unwise risks and sometimes - inappropriately - acts with him as he used to with James. On this, the author commented that "what Harry craves is a father." Rowling has stated that though she likes Sirius, "I do not think he is wholly wonderful." According to her, despite being brave and loyal, Sirius is also reckless, embittered, and "slightly unbalanced by his long stay in Azkaban." When asked if Harry has a godmother, Rowling replied that "Sirius was always too busy being a big rebel to get married."

Unlike his parents and brother, Sirius detested the Dark Arts and did not believe in the so-called purity of blood. Rowling has said that Sirius has also proven to "be very good at spouting bits of excellent personal philosophy, but he does not always live up to them." This primarily has to do with his treatment of Kreacher the house-elf; because Kreacher was a reminder to Sirius of the home he had always hated (and also due to Kreacher's parading of the attitudes and views of Sirius's parents), Sirius is hateful to Kreacher and consistently mistreats him. This in turn comes back to haunt him, as Kreacher eventually betrays Sirius to Voldemort, leading to Sirius's death. Rowling has also stated that unlike Lupin, who is the same age as Sirius and appears more mature in nature, Sirius never really grew up, as he was placed in Azkaban during his early twenties and therefore had not had a very normal adult life. Despite all of this, Rowling states that Sirius's "redeeming quality is the affection that he is capable of feeling. He loved James like a brother and went on to transfer this attachment to Harry."

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

Sirius became an Animagus at only age fifteen, and was able to turn himself into a large black dog. As he is unregistered, he is able to take advantage of his ability to continually elude the Ministry of Magic. In his Fifth year, Sirius held his own against Severus Snape, who "knew more jinxes in his first year than most seventh years". 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 underestimated his opponent and even openly mocked her, before being hit by an unknown spell that blew Sirius backwards and he disappeared through the Veil.

Most of the members of The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black were advocates of blood purity, and many were involved with the Dark Arts. The Black family home at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, London, contains many artefacts of dubious origin and/or dangerous ability. The family motto is Toujours Pur, which is French for "Always/Still Pure," because the Black family is one of the few remaining completely pure blood lineages

The Blacks intermarried with several other pure-blood families, including the families of known Dark (or at least, malicious) wizards such as Flint, Bulstrode, Malfoy, Crabbe, Rosier, Yaxley, and Lestrange, but also non-Dark families such as Potter, Crouch, Longbottom, Macmillan, Prewett, and Weasley. This was done to ensure that pure-bloods would last in the years to come. That is why most of the pure-blood families are interrelated; because their ancestors married other pure-bloods. The last several generations of Blacks all trace their ancestry back to Phineas Nigellus Black and Ursula Flint. The Blacks believed in Voldemort's idea of "purifying the Wizarding race", but many, such as Sirius's parents, refrained from outwardly supporting him once they saw what he was willing to do for power. Sirius's brother, Regulus Black, was a Death Eater, but later reconsidered after Voldemort tried to kill the house elf Kreacher. Although there are several living Black family members throughout the series, all are either female, female-line distaff Black descendants, or descendants of disowned family members, and none of them has the name of Black. The last known surviving bearer of the family name, Sirius, is murdered by his cousin Bellatrix in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The family tree is described in the fifth book, but it came more directly to public attention in January 2006 when the author donated a version she had hand-drawn to a Book Aid International charity auction. The tree shows the members of one of the oldest magical families, and their links by marriage to a number of other families whose members also appear in the books. The tree described in the books extends back some seven hundred years, but the version drawn by Rowling only covers approximately one hundred fifty years. Exact details of the tree were kept secret during the charity auction by publishing only incomplete or partially blurred images of the item for sale. However, a number of people attending the auction made notes that were used to confirm the details upon it, and a compilation of the details was published. This was later amended by further information from another copy of the tree incorporated into the film set for Order of the Phoenix where the tree appears displayed in the Black family house, Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. The tree caused a considerable stir amongst fans as it provided new information about elements of the plot of the series in between publication of volumes six (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and seven (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). It was eventually purchased for £30,000 on behalf of British actor Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter in the film series.
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PostSubject: Re: Sirius Black   Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:02 pm

He is my favorite character in the Harry Potter series. I love the stories of him and Harry's father when they were in school and if Rowling had written a book on them I would have been ecstatic. What do you think about Sirius?
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PostSubject: Re: Sirius Black   Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:39 pm

I loved him. I almost cried when he died.

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