ðéúåç ãîåúå ùì ñéøéåñ áì÷
îàîø îàú â'ñé (Sirius)
In what ways has Sirius Black changed from PoA to the end of OotP? What factors from his past and adult life could have caused these transformations?
The first time we are introduced to the character of Sirius Black, it is not in positive connection. He was the first to escape Azkaban, the most guarded wizarding prison. and was considered to be one of the more dangerous wizards of that time. After that we find out the reasons why he was sent to Azkaban: Black was Lord Voldemort’s supporter and murdered 12 muggles and a wizard in a daylight.
"He murdered thirteen people?" said Harry, handing the page back to
Stan. "With one curse?"
"Yep," said Stan, "In front of witnesses an' all. Broad daylight. Big
trouble it caused, dinnit, Ern?"
He is described as a scary looking man, reminding Harry of a vampire, when the only human thing about him was his eyes. This motif is used a lot by Rowling to tell us about Sirius.
“Harry looked into the shadowed eyes of Sirius Black, the only part of
the sunken face that seemed alive. Harry had never met a vampire, but he
had seen pictures of them in his Defense Against the Dark Arts classes,
and Black, with his waxy white skin, looked just like one.”
As time goes on, we find out even more about this horrible wizard: Sirius Black was Harry’s godfather and a close friend of his parents. We find out that Sirius betrayed James and Lily when he was chosen to be their secret keeper. Sirius was believed to have told lord Voldemort all about their location. Sirius is described as mad mostly by his laugh, but is still an unbelievably strong and powerful wizard. We are witnesses of his violent behavior when he attacks the fat lady and Ron - Here we are asking ourselves “Why didn’t he kill Ron?” We know Sirius Black is a mad cruel and powerful wizard – The image begins to crack.
At the scene of the shrieking shack, again we find a description of Sirius:
“A mass of filthy, matted hair hung to his elbows. If eyes hadn't been
shining out of the deep, dark sockets, he might have been a corpse. The
waxy skin was stretched so tightly over the bones of his face, it looked
like a skull. His yellow teeth were bared in a grin. It was Sirius
Again, the eyes symbolize his humanity and strength. Although he is desperate and broken, his eyes remain human.
We see that Black is harsh, impulsive and threatening but the cracks grow even bigger:
Why does he care about Ron?
“"Lie down," he said quietly to Ron. "You will damage that leg even
Why doesn’t he try to kill Harry right away?
Why did he care about the cat? Here we begin to suspect there’s something more to this person. At the end of this book we find out that all we believed about him was wrong: Sirius Black is innocent and Peter was the real traitor.
In the Goblet Of Fire we meet entirely different Sirius – from the first chapter we find out that Sirius sent Harry letters, making sure Harry knows he’s there if he needs him.
“Sirius's letters, which were now hidden beneath the highly useful loose
floorboards under Harry's bed, sounded cheerful, and in both of them he had reminded
Harry to call on him if ever Harry needed to.”
From the madman he was in PoA, Sirius became some kind of a father figure, a person Harry can trust and consult.
Sirius shows a lot of concern about Harry, willing to risk himself in order to be available in case Harry needs him.
I’m flying north immediately. This news about your scar is the latest in a
series of strange rumors that have reached me here. If it hurts again, go straight to
Dumbledore - they’re saying he’s got Mad-Eye out of retirement, which means
he’s reading the signs, even if no one else is.
I’ll be in touch soon. My best to Ron and Hermione. Keep your eyes open,
Sirius changes; he shows more mature and responsible sides, he gives wise advice and behaves in a more “stable” way. Sirius feels responsible for Harry and he is willing to do anything to help him and be there for him (even eat rats)
His looks change also. Now that he is free, Sirius feels much better and it shows:
face breaking into the first smile he had worn for days, he scrambled out of his chair,
crouched down by the hearth, and said, “Sirius - how’re you doing?”
Sirius looked different from Harry’s memory of him. When they had said goodbye,
Sirius’s face had been gaunt and sunken, surrounded by a quantity of long, black,
matted hair - but the hair was short and clean now, Sirius’s face was fuller, and he looked
younger, much more like the only photograph Harry had of him, which had been taken at
the Potters’ wedding.”
The change comes from the fact that Sirius was able to feel free for a while, after so many years of being a prisoner. Sirius enjoyed to struggle for his life every day when he had to keep him self unseen ( “‘Personally, I’d have welcomed a Dementor attack. A deadly struggle for my soul would have broken the monotony nicely. You think you’ve had it bad, at least you’ve been able to get out and about, stretch your legs, get into a few fights… I’ve been stuck inside for a month.’” OotP) Sirius hates leading a boring life without any stimulations, so it was a nice challenge for him to be on the run.
Rowling uses his hair to describe his emotional state – when Sirius feels good his hair is short and clean, and when he sinks in to depression he lets the hair grow. When Sirius worried about Harry his appearance was changed once more:
“Sirius was wearing ragged gray robes; the same ones he had been wearing when
he had left Azkaban. His black hair was longer than it had been when he had appeared in
the fire, and it was untidy and matted once more. He looked very thin.”
Sirius shows a lot of wisdom when he tells Ron that the best way to know what a man like is to watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.
In OotP we get to meet a darker side of Sirius. He becomes bitter and self concerned, and doesn’t want to stay alone in that house, secretly hoping Harry will get expelled and come to live with him. Sirius is frustrated because he feels that he’s not being useful to the Order.
Harry, who had expected a better welcome, noted how hard and bitter Sirius’s voice sounded. He followed his godfather to the bottom of the steps and through a door leading into the basement kitchen”
“ ‘Oh yeah,’ said Sirius sarcastically. ‘Listening to Snape’s reports, having to take all his snide hints that he’s out there risking his life while I’m sat on my backside here having a nice comfortable time… asking me how the cleanings going-’”
“Over the next few days Harry could not help noticing that there was one person within number twelve, Grimmauld Place, who did not seem wholly overjoyed that he would be returning to Hogwarts. Sirius had put up a very good show of happiness on first hearing the news, wringing Harry’s hand and beaming just
like the rest of them. Soon, however, he was moodier and surlier than before, talking less to everybody, even Harry, and spending increasing amounts of time shut up in his mother’s room with Buckbeak. “
Sirius was forced to spend a lot of time in a place that reminded him of his childhood. The memories from that house which he loathed, and Snape’s teasing about him doing nothing, probably made a regression in Sirius’s mental state. He was unable to separate Harry from James at times and responded to Snape's childish behavior instead of ignoring him. As a rash, impetuous person, Sirius can’t stand being imprisoned and it sometimes makes him want to live through Harry and his friends. Spending so much time in Azkaban left him confused; he didn't have the chance to grow up and this is something we can see well in OotP.
In this book we are able to see Sirius as a very human character, having faults a layers like a real human being.