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Sirius Black is one of the most interesting Harry Potter characters. He’s Harry Potter’s godfather. He was wrongfully convicted as the Prisoner of Azkaban. He’s also a very lovable character and helped Harry when he needed it. Like Harry, he was in House Gryffindor. Even though he’s a full-blood wizard, he didn’t disagree with the blood purity beliefs of his family and of House Slytherin.
I personally love Sirius Black. He was one of my favorite characters in the entire series. But Sirius Black is often misunderstood and mysterious among the massive character list in the series.
Do you want to learn more about Sirius Black? In our bio, we discuss his life, his time at Hogwarts, his imprisonment, and more.
Sirius Black Quick Facts
- Full name: Sirius Black III
- Date of birth: November 3, 1959
- Birthplace: Islington, England
- Nicknames: Snuffles and Padfoot
- Death date: June 18, 1996
- Age when series started: 34
- Zodiac sign: Scorpio
- Siblings: Regulus Black
- Children: N/A
- Partner/spouse: N/A
- Most memorable moment: His fight with Lucius Malfoy
- Magical heritage: House of Black — an ancient family known for being one of the largest and wealthiest pure-blood wizard families in Great Britain.
- Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
- Wand: Wood and core, length unknown
- Patronus: Large dog
- Actor who played him: Gary Oldman
Sirius Black Birthplace
Sirius Black was born in Islington, England, a town located in the London area.
Sirius Black Parents
His parents are Orion and Walburga Black. Unlike Sirius, his parents are dark wizards and members of House Slytherin (I’m also reading they were second cousins). House of Black is a noble wizarding family and Sirius was the last heir. Sirius didn’t have a close relationship with his parents or his younger brother, Regulus.
Sirius Black Physical Traits
Sirius Black’s appearance differs in the book from the movie. J.K. Rowling described him as having long, filthy hair that went all the way to his elbows. He has gray eyes and was overall handsome. As a prisoner, he looked like a corpse — his skin was waxy, his eyes were bleak, and he was skin and bones. In the movie, his hair is much shorter — it only goes down to his shoulders. His eyes are blue and he has facial hair — a mustache and goatee.
There are similarities between the movie and book characters. Both are pale and slender with long dark hair. He’s of average height in both the movie and the book — about 5’9″.
Sirius Black’s Early Life
As stated previously, Sirius Black had a strained relationship with his family because he didn’t believe in their blood purity elitism. His family discriminated against Muggles, Muggle-born wizards, Squibs, and any traitors of their wizarding bloodline.
Sirius was a rebel. He displayed Gryffindor memorabilia everywhere he could and even had pictures of Muggle women and models on his bedroom walls. He also had interests that aligned more with Muggle boys of his age, such as jets and motorcycles. All of this caused tension between him and his family — many of his family members hated him.
Because of all of this, Sirius Black had an unhappy childhood. He found a family in his closest friends, including James Potter and Lily Potter — Harry Potter’s parents!
Sirius Black’s Hogwarts Years
Sirius Black entered Hogwarts in 1971 and was sorted into House Gryffindor. He loved life at Hogwarts. Sirius was popular and the teachers thought he was intelligent, though he thought he was an idiot. Sirius was handsome and was popular among the ladies. However, the rebellion he experienced in his family bled into his life at Hogwarts, and his teachers didn’t always appreciate his behavior.
Sirius Black wasn’t loved by everyone. For example, he and Severus Snape disliked each other. Sirius and James Potter would often bully Snape.
In addition to James Potter, his other best friends were Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin. To better support his friend Remus’ werewolf transformations, the friends became Animagi (though it was illegal). He took the shape of a large black dog, and his friends called him Padfoot. His ability to change into animals benefitted him after escaping from Azkaban and meeting Harry Potter.
In order to get around teachers, the boys made the Marauder’s Map. They could see where everyone in the castle was so they could sneak around easier.
Sirius Black broke away from his family at age 16. He first moved in with James Potter — his parents were happy to adopt him as their son. His uncle, Alphard, left a large inheritance for Sirius and he was able to live off of that.
The Order of the Phoenix
After graduating from Hogwarts, Sirius Black joined The Order of the Phoenix. This was a secret organization founded by Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. The goal of The Order of the Phoenix was to defeat Voldemort, his followers, and the Death Eaters. However, his imprisonment in Azkaban forced him to leave the Order.
Rejoining The Order of the Phoenix
After Lord Voldemort was restored to his physical form, Dumbledore re-formed the Order. Sirius Black was one of the first wizards to re-join. Dumbledore ordered him to recruit the former Order members, or at least the ones who were still alive. The Order would meet at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place — Sirius Black’s family home.
There were some issues with Sirius Black rejoining the Order. Even though he was innocent, this was never proved by the courts and he was a wanted man. Sirius was mainly in hiding and was useless in the group, except for providing a headquarters. He also fell into a deep depression and was drinking heavily. When he would be out, it was often with Harry and he disguised himself as Harry’s dog.
Since he was in hiding, he lived through Harry and was open about the Order and Voldemort’s danger. This concerned many people, including Harry’s friends, because they felt he was too young to know this information.
Imprisonment and Escape
During Halloween 1981, Sirius noticed that Peter Pettigrew was missing. He also noticed that the Potter’s house was destroyed and they were dead — except for baby Harry Potter.
Overcome with grief, Sirius realized that Pettigrew betrayed the Potters and was determined to get vengeance. Sirius confronted Pettigrew in the middle of a city street and Pettigrew unleashed an explosive curse. This killed 12 Muggles and Pettigrew was able to fake his own death and escape in Animagus form.
The surviving Muggles blamed Sirius for the attack and he was arrested and sentenced to life at Azkaban. He was placed in solitary confinement and Dementors were his guards. He focused on his innocence, which not only led to his escape but also kept his sanity.
Escape From Azkaban
Sirius Black escaped Azkaban in 1993. He was the first prisoner to ever escape Azkaban. Sirius transformed into a dog and was able to escape undetected. He was thin enough to escape through the bars. Dementors have a hard time pinpointing the emotions of animals, so they didn’t notice Sirius’ transfigured state.
From here, Sirius swam through the North Sea and reached the Mainland. He first appeared to Harry in Animagus form; the large dog scared Harry. Around this time is when the guards caught wind of Sirius’ disappearance and his mugshot appeared in the wizard press. There were many theories surrounding Sirius’ escape, notably that he would murder Harry, cause another mass murder, or simply revive Voldemort.
Sirius Black’s relationship with his family deteriorated after he rebelled against their elitist beliefs. He didn’t have a lover in either the books or the movie.
Instead, his lifelong friends, Remus Lupin and James Potter, in addition to his godson Harry Potter, served as his family. He also loved Hogwarts and became close with the staff, including Albus Dumbledore.
After Sirius’ escape, he became closer with the other members of The Order of the Phoenix, including Rubeus Hagrid. Sirius also befriended Harry’s best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry and his friends even helped out Sirius, bringing him food to his cave where he was hiding. Sirius also had a good relationship with the Weasley family.
Sirius Black’s Magical Abilities and Special Skills
Sirius Black was an extremely powerful wizard. Potion-making was one of his strongest abilities. Along with James Potter, Sirius brewed an Animagus Potion to turn a human into an animal. It took a lot of time to brew and was complex. There was room for error, and an improperly brewed potion came with consequences.
In addition to making the Animagus Potion, Sirius was excellent at transfiguration, which was also how he would transform into an animal. He never registered his Animagus, so he used his transfiguration skills to escape Azkaban.
His defensive magic skills, specifically stunning and disarming spells, benefitted him in combat. These spells are very difficult and prove his skill. His combat skills, in general, are excellent. He has amazing speed and control, so he can handle nearly any opponent. This includes both human and animal forms. His dueling abilities are also superb and has defeated deadly opponents, including a Death Eater.
Charms were also a strong point. Sirius used his charm skills to create the Marauder’s Map. Only the friends could read it; if anyone else tried to read the Marauder’s Map, the map would insult them. This isn’t Sirius’ only use of charms. He cast a Shield Charm to protect Harry during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. He could also produce a non-corporeal Patronus, which is extremely advanced.
While Sirius Black was a rebel and powerful wizard, he had a soft side. He gained the trust of magical creatures. He also possesses healing magic.
Sirius Black’s Wand
Not much is known about Sirius Black’s wand. While we don’t know the exact size, some sources I’m reading speculate it was 15 inches long. We also don’t know the type of wood used or any core materials.
Sirius Black Trivial and Fun Facts
Here are some fun facts I discovered about Sirius Black:
- His family disowned him by burning his face off of the family tree
- He has a tattoo of a gray wolf
- J.K. Rowling got his name because “Sirius” represents the brightest star in astronomy
- Robson Green was originally supposed to play Sirius, not Gary Oldman. Green was original director Chris Columbus’ choice. However, director Alfonso Cuarón cast Oldman instead.
Sirius Black’s Appearance in the Books
His first official appearance was in the book The Prisoner of Azkaban, though he was mentioned in The Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. His last appearance was in The Order of the Phoenix, where he was killed by his cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. He also came up in memory during The Deathly Hallows.
When Harry first meets Sirius, he was scared of him. During The Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius lured Harry and his friends to the Shrieking Shack. Sirius wanted to get his hands on Peter Pettigrew, who was hiding out as Ron Weasley’s pet rat. It was during this time that Harry and his friends learn that Sirius was innocent and that Sirius is his godfather.
Since he was in hiding, Sirius Black was very careful about speaking face-to-face with Harry. They often met at the cave he was staying at. During these visits, Sirius Black informed Harry and his friends about certain professors at Hogwarts, such as Severus Snape, and information such as the Death Eaters.
While most often appeared in human form, he also appeared in Animagus form, unbeknownst to the other characters that Sirius came in the form of other animals.
When the two couldn’t talk face-to-face, Sirius and Harry still kept a close bond. He was often speaking to Harry through the Gryffindor fire and through owl letters.
In the books, Sirius and Harry develop a close bond. While Sirius did assume the role of godfather and mentor, he was also a friend to Harry. The main theory is Sirius looks at Harry as his former best friend, Harry’s own father.
Harry looks at Sirius as the father he didn’t have. As we all know, Harry’s parents died when he was young and he was raised by his Muggle family, the Dursleys. Sirius Black is Harry’s wizard father figure.
Sirius Black’s compassion shows in many scenes of the book. For example, at the end of the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry’s best friend, Ron Weasley, is upset his pet rat turned out to be a middle-aged man. Now left with no pet, Sirius gifts him the owl, Pigwidgeon.
By far the most notable scene was the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in the book Order of the Phoenix.
Lord Voldemort lured Harry by implanting a false vision into his mind of Sirius Black being tortured. All of this led to the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, where Order members fought Voldemort’s followers and Death Eaters. Unfortunately, this is the scene where Sirius died; he was defeated by his own cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange.
I personally think Sirius Black was better represented and had a bigger role in the books than in the movies. Still, he’s considered to be a major character. Like the books, we first meet Sirius Black in The Prisoner of Azkaban movie. And like the books, he was first introduced as a menacing figure and soon is re-introduced as Harry’s loving godfather. He was played by actor Gary Oldman.
Still, there were many notable Sirius moments in the film. I personally loved Sirius’ reunion with his old pal, Remus Lupin, and how they defeated Peter Pettigrew together. And of course, the Ministry of Magic Battle in the film was just as heartbreaking as it was in the book.
But my personal favorite Sirius Black film moment is actually one where he’s not in it, but his presence is known. In the Prisoner of Azkaban movie, Harry received the esteemed Firebolt broomstick as a Christmas present. The gift was anonymous, though came with a gray feather. This was enough of a hint that the gift was from Sirius Black.
Answer: According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, Sirius Black was an ENTP. This stands for Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Prospecting. Sirius Black was a very creative person but was also bold, which explains how he was able to wield so much power and develop innovative charms. Plus, he was fun, restless, and very opinionated. This also explains why he was so popular but also why he was rebellious.
Answer: This depends on your perspective of him. I developed a connection to Sirius Black while I was reading the books. Even if Sirius isn’t your favorite character, he has many good qualities. He’s loyal, a great friend, and always keeps his promises. He also invested in Harry’s life, teaching him about himself, his family, and why his friends are so important. He was also protective of Harry.
Answer: This is a good question and one that readers, including myself, often ask. I think it boils down to J.K. Rowling and how she perceived the situation. She makes it very clear that Sirius was innocent.
Plus, there was enough proof that Sirius was innocent; for example, Sirius was a member of the Order of the Phoenix and Peter Pettigrew betrayed the Order. While Sirius did assign Pettigrew as the Potters’ Secret-Keeper, no one knew he was a spy for Voldemort and betrayed the Potters’ location to the dark wizard. As you read, you know Sirius’ protectiveness of Harry is genuine and that he loves the young wizard.
Sirius Black is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. Born Sirius Black III, he was born in a small town in London. Sirius was born into a family with roots in House Slytherin. They discriminated against Muggles, Muggle-borns, Squibs, and more. He rebelled against his family in many ways; he loved Muggle women, had interests and hobbies that aligned with Muggles, and was a member of House Gryffindor.
The biggest fact that stands out about Sirius is how he differs from the book and the movie. I think he has a bigger role in the books and you learn more about him. While he’s still seen as a major character, I see him portrayed as more of a secondary character in the movies. Nonetheless, Sirius Black is an important character in the series.