Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Re: Sirius Black

In response to Tyrannosauruslexxx's post about Sirius Black yesterday.

In the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius Black is definitely not shown in his best light. Honestly, almost none of the characters are shown in their best light. He seems reckless and at times treats Harry more as a friend, or replacement for James, than he does a godson. Dumbledore won't talk to or acknowledge Harry despite the promises made following Harry's return from Little Hangleton. Harry is a whiny adolescent for most of the book, even locking himself up with Buckbeak after deciding everyone would be better without him.

I think Sirius in the Order of the Phoenix isn't upset that he's stuck in Grimmauld Place like a grounded teenager. It is about not being able to help the Order; not being able to do anything to protect Harry. Lupin, Hagrid, Dumbledore and worst of all Snape were able do be active in the Order. He didn't like that his friends were in so much danger or that his enemy was able to be hero while he had to remain sedentary and could easily be made out to be a coward. Sirius could deal with being stuck in Grimmauld Place, but not while the world was going to hell all around it.

In The Order of the Phoenix, Sirius and Harry were actually in pretty similar situations. Sirius is stuck in his house. Harry is under the thumb of the biggest bitch* in the series. Sirius definitely advised Harry to do some reckless things, but most of it wouldn't put Harry in any real danger. The exception being proposing the meeting in Hogsmeade, but even that probably wasn't as horribly risky as it may seem and is out of desire to see Harry as much as getting out of Grimmauld Place.

Still, I don't think Sirius completely dropped the ball as 'grown-up' in the Order of the Phoenix. There are a few particular points in that book where he put aside his grumpiness and was a bit more parental.

The first is the fight between him and Molly about what Harry should be allowed to know about what was going on with the Order. At that point in Harry's life he had already faced Voldemort three times and certainly deserved not to be kept in the dark about what was going on. Molly was being over-protective. She was not serving as a better parental figure than Sirius. Keeping Harry in the dark to 'protect' him would have likely caused Harry to do something stupid or dangerous.

"Molly, you're not the only person at this table who cares about Harry," said Lupin sharply, "Sirius, sit down."

When the children returned to Grimmauld Place after Mr. Weasley was attacked, Sirius was very mature and acted as a authority figure. He wasn't going to try to rescue Arthur himself. He didn't rush them to go see their father. He was calm and had them stay put and wait for word. That certainly wasn't a rash thing to do, but it was what was for the best.

There's no denying that Sirius had a bad temper. Still, I don't think that hurt his ability to do well as Harry's godfather. This bring me to the Occlumency lessons. I think that what Sirius did when Snape showed up at Grimmauld Place to tell Harry about the lessons is probably what James would have done in that position. It may not have been the wisest thing, to almost duel in the kitchen, but it was out of love for Harry and hatred of Snape. When Harry used Umbridge's fire to talk to Sirius, it was a combination of Lupin's telling him that he must continue with the lessons no matter what and Sirius' indignation that showed Harry how important those lesson's were. Sirius wanting to 'have a word with Snape,' wasn't the smartest thing for him to consider, but it clearly showed how much he cared about Harry and his understanding of the importance of those lessons despite Snape.

"Nice one!" shouted Sirius, forcing Harry's head down as a pair of Stunning Spells flew at them. "Now I want you to get out of---"

Finally that brings me to the Battle at the Ministry. Sirius came to protect Harry. He fought Death Eaters while trying to get Harry to get out of there. He loved Harry cared that Harry was safe way more than he cared about himself and his actions in the battle clearly showed that. Ultimately he died because he loved Harry so much.

Going backwards, in the Goblet of Fire, Sirius was definitely a more sound advice giver to Harry. It was clear to him that Harry was in real danger at Hogwarts that year. Whereas in the fifth year, the danger was real, but in reality Harry was safer in the fifth year than the forth. Voldemort had no chance to get into Hogwarts in year five and unlike year four there was no agent of his in the school.

That's all we really end up getting about Sirius. We know the actual Sirius for two books. He wasn't the best role model. He was definitely arrogant and brash. Still, he loved Harry like a son and having that capacity is amazing considering he was locked in Azkaban for so long. He didn't show Harry how to be the ideal wizard. However, he did show loyalty, courage and the power of love. Those were the lessons Harry really needed; not a how to keep his temper under control.


I couldn't really find a way to put this into the post, but it fits so here it goes.

I really think that Sirius and Dumbledore both feel tremendous guilt about the Fidelius Charm on the Potter's home. It's obvious in hindsight that Sirius' idea to use Peter Pettigrew instead of himself was really dumb. I think this is part of the reason he doesn't fill the father role exactly, but treats Harry more like a peer in some circumstances. He doesn't think he's worthy to fill James' shoes, because he blames himself for his and Lily's deaths.

The strange about that to me is that I think the end result would have been the same, just slightly delayed had Sirius been the secret-keeper. Sirius would have been killed by Voldemort, because as talented of a wizard as Sirius was he would be no match. As we learned after Dumbledore's death, once the Secret-Keeper dies everyone who know about it becomes Secret-keeper. Peter Pettigrew would've undoubtedly would've know about the Potter's home and once Sirius was dead it would be the same result.

I think Dumbledore feels guilt about not forcing James and Lily to make him Secret-keeper. Voldemort wouldn't have dared take on Dumbledore, so the Potter's home and little Harry would have been safe. I think that is at least part of the reason he was always certain of Harry's safety and took such an interest in him.

So today comments are for your thoughts on Sirius Black and the Fidelius Charm.

Thanks for reading and please comment.

*Ok, the biggest bitch not named Bellatrix LeStrange

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