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Top Ten Tuesday: (Five) Reasons Why I Love… Sirius Black

Created by and with thanks to That Artsy Reader! This Tuesday’s prompt is a freebie on something bookish and beloved–and it comes right after I’ve finished my reread of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the last 150 pages of which were a whirlwind of anxiety, dread, and heartbreak over the death of Sirius Black.

Sirius had to die: as a writer, I get that. All the Marauders died for Harry; Harry had to lose his parental figures, one by one; there had to be a heart-wrenching death at the end of Phoenix, or there would be no stakes, which would stop Voldemort feeling like an actual threat (yes, Cedric was sad, but let’s face it, on a personal, emotionally-attached level, he doesn’t mean nearly as much as Sirius, or Dumbledore, or the grief-fest that is the death count in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Someone more important had to die at this stage).

I get it, but it still destroys me; so I thought I’d devote this week’s prompt to him. Here’s to you, Padfoot, you truly fantastic beast!

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Reason 1: He disowned the Dark Arts
When I put it like that, it doesn’t sound wildly impressive. But he came from an infamously Dark family, and had the Dark Arts and blood purity pushed on him birth: and yet by the time he was eleven, he was already questioning their beliefs; throughout his teenage years, he plastered his bedroom walls with pro-Muggle paraphernalia and anything he could to make it clear he wasn’t like them; and by the time he was sixteen, he’d run away, getting himself cut off from almost his entire family, because he knew their beliefs weren’t right. That takes some serious Gryffindor guts and marks his determination and courage; and for that, I love him.

Reason 2: His time in Azkaban
Sirius did twelve years in the worst place in the wizarding world for a crime he didn’t commit. He spent those twelve years mourning James, the person he’d loved most in he world, and Lily, who loved him enough that he was probably the last person she wrote to, sending photos and her love. He also knew that his godson was growing up not even knowing he existed; that Lupin, his only remaining friend, believed he’d murdered their best friends; and that Pettigrew, who’d good as murdered James and Lily and sent Sirius to prison, was living as a free man. He knew the entire wizarding world thought him guilty of the worst thing to happen in his whole life, and he’d likely die in Azkaban because of it. And in all that time, his innocence kept him sane, when insanity might have been an easier route. My heart bleeds for him, and for that, I love him.

Reason 3: He broke out of Azkaban (and continually risked everything he had) for Harry
Aside from the fact that everyone thought it was impossible, and his prodigious teenage skill let him manage it–he did it for Harry. He spent twelve years thinking Harry was better off without him, but at the slightest whiff of danger to Harry, he broke out and risked everything to save him. At the end of Phoenix, Harry only accepts Sirius’s death because he knows Sirius wouldn’t keep him waiting; that he’d always risked everything, no matter how dangerous, to be there for Harry, and only death could stop that–and for that, I love Sirius.

Reason 4: Everything he does between the end of Azkaban and the beginning of Phoenix
He’s on the run, having had his dream of raising Harry–having a family, and his freedom–dashed. But he still writes to Harry, so Harry can know he’s safe; he thinks to write a permission slip so Harry can visit Hogsmeade; he sends Ron a new pet, as if it’s his fault Ron’s turned out to be Pettigrew; he lives in caves and off rats to stay close to Harry; he breaks into wizarding houses to talk to Harry through magical fireplaces; and he admits he’ll only ‘breathe easy’ when the whole Triwizard Tournament is over, because he’s that worried about Harry. Harry’s never had an adult care for him like Sirius does (not to downplay Hagrid or Molly; it’s just not the same), and for that, I love Sirius.

Reason 5: All the little things he does that prove that he loves, really deeply
His first thought on breaking out of Azkaban was to try to sneak a peek at Harry at the Dursleys’–Harry, the godson he hadn’t seen since he was a toddler, who Sirius had broken out to keep safe. He risked being caught living in the Forbidden Forest to sneak into the Quidditch stands and watch Harry play. He sent Harry parchment stamped with paw prints as good luck cards throughout the Triwizard Tournament. He and Lupin bought Harry a set of Defence Against the Dark Arts books for Christmas the year Harry was running the DA. He personally tended to Buckbeak’s wounds. He asked about Ron’s well-being before escaping on Buckbeak. You can feel the love radiating off the page when Harry asks him about teenage James, after seeing Snape’s worst memory in the Pensieve in Phoenix. There were very few people in the world Sirius loved, but he loved them hard–and for that, I love him.

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So there’s my Top Five Reasons Why I Love Sirius Black! (Though if you’ve read any of my thoughts on Prisoner of Azkaban, you won’t be surprised.) What did I miss?

9 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: (Five) Reasons Why I Love… Sirius Black

Add yours

  1. I love this list! Sirius is still one of my favourite characters in the series, for all the reasons you’ve listed, and it still breaks my life that so much of his life was so tragic. I do love that, upon escaping Azkaban, his thoughts aren’t on proving his innocence to the world, but to Harry. ❤

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