|“||We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.||„|
|~ Sirius Black teaching his godson about the sides of good and evil.|
|“||We'll see each other again, You are — truly your father’s son, Harry…||„|
|~ Sirius to Harry.|
Sirius Orion Black (born November 3, 1959 - died June 18, 1996, aged 36), also known by his nickname Padfoot, is a major character from the Harry Potter series. First mentioned in the prologue of Philosopher's Stone, he made his official debut in the series as the false main antagonist/tritagonist of Prisoner of Azkaban, and went on to become a major protagonist in The Goblet of Fire, the deuteragonist in Order of the Phoenix and a posthumous hero in The Deathly Hallows.
Sirius Orion Black was born on November 3, 1959 in apartment number 12 of Grimmauld Place in the London borough of Islington. Although heir to a family of wizards with elevated status and wealth, he disagreed with their belief in blood purity and defied tradition, leading to conflict with his father Orion, a security expert in the employ of the British Ministry of Magic, and mother Walburga, both of whom were distant cousins and eventually doted on his younger brother Regulus as a "better son". To show his difference from the rest of the family, Black decorated his room into looking like that of a Muggle (non-magical) boy his age, putting up pictures of motorcycles and fighter jets, as well as posters of bathing beauties.
Honouring Muggle accomplishments annoyed his parents more, but none of it did so much as angering his mother that her son considered Muggle women attractive, even though Muggles weren't a different species. This gave Black an unhappy childhood as he came to hate and hold in contempt most of his relatives, in particular his mother and cousins Bellatrix and Narcissa, who desired to marry within the pure-blood tradition (to Rodolphus Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy respectively) while their sister Andromeda was disowned for marrying a Muggle-born wizard named Ted Tonks.
At the start of his first year at the major wizarding school up in Scotland, called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1971, Black was sorted into Gryffindor instead of Slytherin (since the majority of his family who went there were sorted into the latter) due to his courage in showing that his views already diverged from those of his family. As his relationship with his relatives deteriorated, he gained great friendship within the gang of Gryffindors he joined known as the Marauders (consisting of James Potter, Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin), luckily finding a best friend and brother in Potter.
After their discovery of Lupin's status as a werewolf inhabiting the mysterious Shrieking Shack in the nearby village of Hogsmeade that they nicknamed "Moony", Black studied in his third year with Potter and Pettigrew about secretly (and illegally) becoming Animagi (witches and wizards capable of morphing into animals at will), allowing them to support Lupin himself by safely accompanying him during his monthly transformations and keeping him under control. Black took the Animagus form of a shaggy black dog with padded feet, from which his nickname "Padfoot" was derived, while Potter and Pettigrew took the Animagi forms of a tall red stag with pronged horns (Prongs) and a fat gray rat with a wormy tail (Wormtail). In addition, the four friends allowed themselves to see where everyone in the Hogwarts castle was at a given time by creating their own map of the school that they labeled the "Maurauders' Map", which made sneaking around and avoiding teachers much easier.
Although seeing himself as an idiot later on, Black grew immensely popular alongside Potter. Many of the teachers, including Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, respected his intelligence though not his behavior, and girls adored his dark handsome looks, making them fawn over his bad boy attitude. The teachers regarded him and Potter as troublemakers or practical jokers, but Black's popularity was not universal since the two friends at some point used the illegal hex Engorgio Skullus on a Ravenclaw boy named Bertram Aubrey and and were rewarded with a double detention. During his fifth year, a mutual hatred sprang up between Potter and an unpopular Slytherin student, Severus Snape, who bestowed a life-long grudge upon Black for supporting Potter, whereas Black showed equal dislike of Snape's interest in the Dark Arts since their first moments at Hogwarts. He and Potter often bullied the annoyed Slytherin out of boredom, but ended this campaign of ill treatment when a Muggle-born Gryffindor whom Snape loved since childhood, Lily Evens, tried to defend her friend, only to part ways with him after Snape inadvertently let slip the foul name for Muggle-born (Mudblood).
This incident almost turned against the Marauders to get them expelled when Snape noticed Lupin disappearing during the full moon, and hoped to find out his secret. Seizing this opportunity to play a prank on him, Black informed Snape how to get past the Whomping Willow's branch defenses and enter the tunnel underneath the tree leading to the Shrieking Shack. When Potter found out what trouble his best friend got them into, he went after Snape and saved him by pulling him out of the tunnel, but not before Snape glimpsed Lupin finishing his transformation in the shack. Dumbledore swore all four boys (Black, Potter, Pettigrew and Snape) to keep such discovery a secret, but Lupin's supposed true nature was clear to Snape.
In the winter of his sixth year, Black finally broke away from his family by running away from home, eventually letting his outraged mother disown him for not supporting the family's supremacist ideology. He took refuge with Potter and his parents, who generously adopted him but let him camp out in their backyard during the school holidays. By the start of his seventh year, he was able to buy a home for himself when his uncle Alphard died, sympathizing his young nephew with a large inheritance which likely caused Walburga to disown him as well. This left Black financially independent by his uncle’s bequest, but he was always welcomed back to the Potters for Sunday lunch.
Following his graduation from Hogwarts in 1978, Black eventually joined his fellow Marauders in the Order of the Phoenix, a secret society founded by Dumbledore to stand up against the tyrannical rise of the psychopathic dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who aimed take over the wizarding world with a large conflict against its social order and shape it in his supremacist views with the aid of an army of followers which he named Death Eaters, with Regulus, Bellatrix, Narcissa and Snape among the latter group. He remained the best of friends with Potter, and attended the latter's wedding to Lily Evens as his best man.
Although he had outstanding courage, Black grew very reckless in battle when it came to partnering with Potter, such as when they were involved in a motorbike chase with two policemen that started off as a bit of fun, but turned slightly more serious when the pair were attacked by three Death Eaters on broomsticks. The two wizards used their wands to raise the police car chasing them and made their attackers crash into it, and despite the cost, it remained unknown as to whether or not this incident got the duo into trouble with the Ministry of Magic. In spite of his service to the Order, however, Black learned of his father's death at some point and unfortunately found himself roiling with mistrust and stress due to the great terror that was Voldemort, possibly after learning that Regulus was killed by his own master's Inferi (corpses re-animated by dark magic into creatures similar to a zombies) for attempting to betray the dark wizard himself. This discomfort took its toll, and by the waning years of the war, Black no longer came to trust an old misunderstood friend like Lupin, suspecting the werewolf as a Death Eater spy excluding him and the Order from important information.
When a prediction regarding Voldemort's own destruction at the hands of a child born at the end of July in 1980 to those who defied him three times and lived was made, the dark wizard came to learn of two boys who matched the description, the most probable of which believed to be James and Lily Potter's then-unborn son Harry, who Black was named the godfather of. Dumbledore eventually learned of the supremacist wizard marking the Potters for death through Snape (who defected from the enemy in desperation of finding a way to protect his childhood sweetheart) and had the family go into hiding via the legendary Fidelius Charm, which he hoped would conceal them from their doom.
The old wizard offered to be the Secret-Keeper of the charm, but Potter insisted that Black should have the role, believing that his best friend would willingly die rather than betray them. Black, however, believed that such a move would be too obvious for the Death Eaters and suggested that "weak, taint-less thing" like Pettigrew would be a less obvious choice. The Potters luckily agreed, and reassigned their latter choice the position of their Secret-Keeper with Black as a decoy, eventually keeping everyone else, including Lupin and Dumbledore, in the dark. On Halloween night a year later, unfortunately, Black arranged to check on Pettigrew in his hiding place, only to find him gone.
Unsettled with finding no signs of a struggle, Sirius (having realised that Pettigrew betrayed the Potters to Voldemort) frantically sped on his flying motorbike to the Potter cottage in the wizard-famous West Country village of Godric's Hollow and discovered the house destroyed and the Potters dead, having been murdered and their bodies simply stepped over by Voldemort; only Harry was still alive, having somehow caused the psychopathic wizard's Killing Curse for him to rebound back at its castor and obliterate his body, leaving his army shocked and distraught, as well as making the boy himself famous for being the first to ever survive one of the Unforgivable Curses.
Black luckily found Dumbledore's half-giant gamekeeper at Hogwarts, Rubeus Hagrid already at the scene digging Harry out of the ruined cottage, and offered to take the boy himself, since he was Harry's chosen guardian in the events the parents' deaths. However Hagrid told him that he had orders from Dumbledore to bring Harry to the family of Lily's sister Petunia and her husband Vernon Dursley as soon as possible, to which Black accepted after attempting to argue. He gave the giant his own motorbike, which Hagrid promised to return afterwards.
With the Ministry now looking for him due to Dumbledore telling them of the Potter's insistence on the Secret-Keeper position, a grieving and enraged Black went to track the real traitor down in vengeance, luckily finding Pettigrew being hunted down on a London street by a mob of Muggles for some unspecified crime. As part of his bluff to get away, Pettigrew screamed that it was Black who betrayed the Potters and (quickly pulling his wand out from his back pocket before his wizard opponent could draw his) killed twelve of his Muggle pursuers by blowing up the street with a Blasting Curse, creating a crater large enough for the sewer pipes underneath to show.
Then, in the midst of the destruction, he faked his own death by cutting off one of his fingers and leaving it at the crime scene as he turned into his Animagus form and fled into the sewer pipe. Black at first thought that his old friend accidentally committed suicide with this curse at found joy in that, but was horrified by what Pettigrew must've really done when the finger was presented to him as evidence. The Ministry caught up with him, and the surviving Muggles who witnessed it swore that that they saw Black murder Pettigrew along with the twelve other victims on the spot and had their memories modified with an excuse from the Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee that a gas-leak occurred before they could remember what really happened. This left Black framed for Pettigew's Death Eater activities, for which he was thus arrested by twenty Aurors in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and sentenced to life incarceration in the wizard prison Azkaban without a trial shortly afterwards.
Pettigrew, on the other hand, was unjustly awarded the Order of Merlin First Class for his "confrontation" with his old friend, which, along with the finger they recovered, was posthumously given to his mother. As time passed, due to misconceptions, most of the wizarding community believed that Black drew his wand and killed Pettigrew before the other had a chance of even drawing. Even the other remaining Marauder, Lupin, believed it was Black who betrayed their brotherhood.
Marked as Azkaban prisoner PZ-390, Black was detained in solitary confinement and driven to the brink of madness at the mercy of the Dementors (foul wraith-like creatures used as the prison's guards that feed on human happiness and cause depression and despair to anyone near them) stationed at his cell door day and night. Unlike the other prisoners affected by their depressing aura, however, he was able to retain his sanity because he had knowledge of his innocence, as this was an unhappy thought the Dementors could not detect and take.
This luckily helped Black keep his mind stable despite it giving him little comfort, as well as regain enough strength to turn into his Animagus form within his cell to clear his mind when it became too much. The Dementors were blind even to this ability, and since they had difficulty sensing the less complex emotions of animals, he remained relatively unaffected as a dog. It was not at all trouble to them, though, since they thought it meant he was losing his mind like every other convict in their custody, including Bellatrix and some of her fellow Death Eaters. Black thus began hearing many different theories regarding why Harry survived Voldemort's attack and was able defeat the warmonger himself being made by the confined Death Eaters, the most persistent of which indicating that they believed Pettigrew to have betrayed Voldemort since the dark wizard met his downfall on his information.
This most likely meant to the framed wizard (as he was the sole person who knew Pettigrew was still alive) that his former friend had gone into hiding from the half of his Death Eater comrades who avoided Azkaban by claiming to have been under the Imperius Curse, afraid that they will be motivated to kill him if his continuing existence became known, if not to return to their master. In preparation for finding him, the vengeful Animagus waited until any leads to the discovery that Pettigrew was staying with a wizarding family as a rat to keep up on current news about Voldemort reached within the prison walls, all while getting very weak with no hope of driving the Dementors back without a wand, as his was taken from him and stored away under Ministry safety repercussions. At some point after his imprisonment, Black's mother died, leaving the family house-elf Kreacher alone in the apartment with her bossy portrait while the residence itself was thus left abandoned.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Twelve years later in 1993, during a summer inspection of Azkaban from Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, Black was given an issue of the Daily Prophet wizarding newspaper from Fudge himself. On the front page, he saw a picture of the trip to Egypt that the Head of the Ministry of Magic's Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office Arthur Weasley took his family on to visit their oldest son Bill (who worked as a curse-breaker at the Gringotts Wizarding Bank there) after winning a Grand Prize Galleon Draw for seven hundred galleons held by the Prophet itself, the spared amount of which he used to buy a new wand for his youngest son Ron, who was Harry's best friend at Hogwarts. When Black noticed Ron's pet gray rat Scabbers perched on his owner's shoulder in the picture, further reading which unfortunately revealed that the Weasleys had him as a pet for longer than three years (which was the life expectancy of all rats) and seeing a toe missing on his right front paw helped identify the rat as Peter Pettigrew's animal form.
At that point, the convicted dog Animagus panicked and became thin at the realization that Pettigrew was grasping this closeness to Harry as an opportunity for himself to capture the young Potter and bring him to Voldemort as a welcome-back gift, which would dissuade the other Death Eaters from ever daring to claim him a traitor. Filled with the desire for revenge and making it more of an obsession than a happy thought, Black took advantage of his extreme weight loss to turn into his animal form one night when the Dementors were bringing him his dinner and escape the prison by slipping past them (now thin enough to squeeze through the bars), leaving them extremely confused. He swam across the North Sea to mainland, and went on a two-day journey across England as a dog which nearly killed him, bent on getting the timid rat Animagus away from his godson.
Once he made his way to the Dursleys' neighborhood in the Surrey town of Little Whinging, Black caught a glimpse of Harry running away after inadvertently his uncle Vernon's sister Marge in his anger over the insults she made about his parents, but his animal appearance unfortunately startled his godson until the sudden appearance of the Knight Bus spooked the escapee wizard away. As news of Black muttering "he's at Hogwarts" in his sleep and subsequently escaping, was released, the wizarding community went on high alert, believing that he planned to murder Harry in a mad attempt to bring Voldemort back. He later followed the Hogwarts Express as it carried Harry, Ron and their Muggle-born friend Hermione Granger back to Hogwarts for their third year with Pettigrew still accompanying them as a rat, eventually stopping to let a Dementor come aboard to search the train for Black himself before it was driven away by a Patronus Charm cast by Lupin, who was recently appointed the school's new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. The convicted wizard was later seen stopping at Dufftown (located not far from Hogwarts castle) in human form by a Muggle woman who called the Muggle Crime Watchers Hotline, but was able to disappear by the time the Ministry of Magic's Witch Watcher arrived at the sighting.
Black took refuge around the Hogwarts area near Hogsmeade village and within the Forbidden Forest, where his animal form was spotted a few times by Harry and mistaken for the Grim. He luckily made acquaintance with Hermione's new cat, Crookshanks, who saw that Black wasn not actually a dog and had already seen Pettigrew for what he was. The cat attempted to bring Pettigrew to Black many times, but Ron was very protective of his so-called pet. The half-crazed and desperate fugitive wizard took his time to lose his patience with these attempts and by the time of the Halloween celebrations, Black took it upon himself retrieve his timid old friend, sneaking into Hogwarts through the old passageway from the Shrieking Shack and slashing the Fat Lady's portrait when she refused to allow him entry to Gryffindor Tower without the password. This prompted the entire Hogwarts staff to send all the students to the Great Hall and put almost the entire school on lockdown overnight in fear of the threat Black was thought to represent