Sirius Black

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Sirius Black

Sirius Black is Harry's godfather and he was James Potter's best friend. He is an animagus, a black dog, and one of the Marauders. He was accused of murder of Peter Pettigrew and 13 Muggles, even though he is innocent. Sirius goes to Azkaban without a trial and stays there until he escapes during Harry's third year at Hogwarts.



Character development

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Sirius is mentioned in the opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when Hagrid answers Professor Dumbledore's question regarding the motorbike he, Hagrid, is riding. Hagrid answers that he borrowed it from Sirius. We later learn that this seemingly simple transaction occured not long before Sirius is arrested for the murder of Peter Pettigrew and 13 muggles.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Sirius Black is not mentioned in Chamber of Secrets.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Portrayals within films

Sirius is portrayed by Gary Oldman.

(more to come)


Outward appearance

The first description of Sirius Black appears at the beginning of Chapter 2 of Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry has come down for breakfast and the Dursleys are watching the news on the TV. There is a report about an escaped prisoner, only referred to as Black (PoA2). Sirius is seen looking gaunt, with elbow length, matted and tangled hair.

Harry Potter later describes Sirius as resembling a vampire with his sunken face, shadowed eyes and waxy white skin (PoA3). This description is further expanded on when Harry faces Black for the first time in the Shrieking Shack, when this combination of tightly stretched, waxy skin, and deep eye sockets makes Harry think of a corpse whose yellow teeth are bared. (PoA17) During this confrontation Sirius is described as being tall, but his features (in particular his wrist and arms) are described as wasted and shrunken.

When Sirius speaks it is with a hoarseness that may be due to its lack of use in the past 12 years. (PoA17) During a conversation on their way up to the castle, Sirius smiles in delight at the prospect of Harry coming to live with him. Harry is surprised at the change in his appearance caused by this smile, noticing that it makes him look as though a younger man was shining through the gaunt face. (PoA20)

We know that this degraded state of his appearance is due to his time in Azkaban because Harry finds a photograph of Sirius at Harry's parent's wedding. In this photograph, taken a couple of years before his arrest, Sirius is seen to be handsome. (PoA11)


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Magical accomplishments and skills

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Sirius owned a flying motorbike which he and James had used on at least one occasion to flee from two policemen, Sergeant Fisher and PC Anderson, and three unknown people on brooms. (Harry Potter Prequel) On the night of the Potter's deaths, Sirius leant this motorbike to Hagrid in order for Hagrid to take Harry from his parent's destroyed house to Dumbledore. Very shortly after this night, Sirius was arrested and the motorbike ended up in hands of Arthur Weasley (HBP).

In The Order of the Phoenix we learn that after Sirius left his parent's house he was able to get a house due to his Uncle Alphard leaving him some money. The whereabouts of this house are unknown.

Sirius owned a magical mirror that, when used with its pair, can act as a communication device and he also owned a magical knife that could open any lock. Both of these objects were given to Harry as gifts by Sirius. (OotP)

Sirius is able to escape from Hogwarts at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban by the use of the Hippogriff, Buckbeak. We later see Buckbeak at 12 Grimmauld Place who is also in hiding with Sirius. After Sirius' death, at the beginning of Half-Blood Prince Dumbledore comes to collect Harry and also to inform him of the possessions he has been given. One item on this list is Buckbeak who Harry says can stay with Hagrid. This implies that although Buckbeak was the property of Hogwart's and was in the care of Hagrid, once Sirius in effect stole him in order to escape, Buckbeak became his possession.

On the death of his mother, Sirius inherited Number 12 Grimmauld Place which included the possession of his family's house elf, Kreacher. On Sirius' death, this house and house-elf were bequethed to Harry Potter.


The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black was one of the largest and oldest pure-blood wizarding families in Britain. Many wizarding families in Britain are distantly related to the House of Black. The Black family tree is displayed in the drawing room of the family home at 12 Grimmauld Place in London, England on an intricate tapestry, as an ornate mural. It starts in the Middle Ages and shows the dominant line of the family up to the present day.[1]

By the late twentieth century, the House of Black had become extinct in the male line with the deaths of Sirius and Regulus Black, neither of whom had children. The female line remained extant through the Malfoy family and Teddy Lupin, though the latter descends from a Black who was disowned.

   " parents, with their pure-blood mania, convinced that to be a Black made you practically royal..." 
   —Sirius Black to Harry Potter on his family's values

The Black family traces its origin back to the Middle Ages. They claim to have entirely magical ancestry, but as Sirius Black informed his godson Harry Potter, no true pure-blood families existed by the twentieth century. The pure-blood families like the Blacks simply removed Muggles and Squibs from their family trees. The Blacks place a great importance on blood purity, considering themselves akin to royalty in the wizarding world and disdaining Muggles, Squibs, Blood traitors and Muggle-borns. The family motto, which can be found on the family crest, is Toujours Pur, which means "Always Pure" in French. Many members took this phrase very seriously.

Family information Family members

   * Orion Black (father/second cousin once removed) †
   * Walburga Black (mother/second cousin once removed) †
   * Regulus Arcturus Black (brother) †
   * Arcturus Black III (paternal grandfather)
   * Melania Macmillan (paternal grandmother)
   * Pollux Black (maternal grandfather) †
   * Irma Crabbe (maternal grandmother)
   * Bellatrix Lestrange (first cousin) †
   * Andromeda Tonks (first cousin)
   * Narcissa Malfoy (first cousin)
   * Alphard Black (maternal uncle)
   * Cygnus Black (maternal uncle)
   * Druella Rosier (maternal aunt)
   * Lucretia Black (paternal aunt)
   * Ignatius Prewett (paternal uncle by marriage)
   * Phineas Nigellus Black (paternal/maternal great, great, grandfather) †
   * Draco Malfoy (first cousin once removed)
   * Nymphadora Tonks (first cousin once removed) †
   * Dorea Black (maternal great-aunt) †
   * Charlus Potter (maternal great-uncle by marriage) †
   * Weasley family
   * Prewett family
   * Black family 

Because of their views, a large number of the Black family members practise the Dark Arts and supported Lord Voldemort during the First and Second Wizarding Wars. A few Blacks even became Death Eaters, while many others never took the Dark Mark but believed in the "purification" of the wizarding world nevertheless.[2] A few members of the family, however, disagreed with the traditional views of their family; Sirius Black, for example, joined the Order of the Phoenix, as did Nymphadora Tonks, a distaff member of the Black family. Both were murdered by Bellatrix Lestrange née Black, Sirius's cousin and Tonks's aunt, in battle.

With Sirius's death, the male line of the Black family ended; the female line continues through the descendants of his cousins Andromeda Tonks and Narcissa Malfoy, his second cousin, once removed, Arthur Weasley, the Burke family, the Crouches, the Longbottoms and possibly the Potter family.


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In popular culture

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Additional Canon

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External links

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