Celebrating Sirius Black
Happy Chinese New Year! For those unfamiliar with the zodiac myth, the Jade Emperor wanted a way to measure time. He decided that there should be a race. The first 12 animals across the river would have a year of the zodiac named after them. The rat jumped on the ox’s back and came first. This meant that the ox came second followed by the tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
It is now the Year of the Dog. The qualities most associated with people born in the Year of the Dog are honesty, loyalty, friendliness, and intelligence. Several characters in the Harry Potter series have these traits, but since Sirius’s Animagus is a dog, I thought I’d focus on him.
Sirius values loyalty to his friends more than anything else. His loyalty and desire to avenge the person responsible for James’s death kept him going while he was in Azkaban.
‘You don’t understand!’ whined Pettigrew. ‘He would have killed me, Sirius!’
‘THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED!’ roared Black. ‘DIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU!’” (PoA 375)
This loyalty further extended to those in the Order. Sirius proved this when he risked his own life to save Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, and Ginny in the Department of Mysteries. Unfortunately, his allegiance led to his own downfall.
Sirius was a brave, clever, and energetic man, and such men are not usually content to sit at home in hiding while they believe others to be in danger” (OotP 825).
Sirius didn’t want to keep secrets from Harry about what was going on the Order. He didn’t feel the need to protect him or mollycoddle him like some of the others. Sirius felt that Harry’s past experiences prepared him for the truth, and so he never kept anything back from him.
‘Since when did someone have to be in the Order of the Phoenix to ask questions?’ asked Sirius. ‘Harry’s been trapped in that Muggle house for a month. He’s got the right to know what’s been happen—’” (OotP 87).
After people stopped thinking he was a murderer, he was able to let down his walls and befriend Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the Order. In time, his relationship with Harry grew into a familial love, something they were both lacking and needed.
‘Like the fact that the person Sirius cared most about in the world was you,’ said Dumbledore quietly. ‘Like the fact that you were coming to regard Sirius as a mixture of father and brother.’” (OotP 831)
Lastly, intelligence is another characteristic that Sirius possesses. The fact that he managed to break out of Azkaban, escape the Dementors, and help the Order proves this. Sirius’s cleverness was prevalent from his time at Hogwarts. It would have taken a lot of brainpower to successfully turn into an Animagus.
‘Precisely,’ said Professor McGonagall. ‘Black and Potter. Ringleaders of their little gang. Both very bright, of course — exceptionally bright’” (PoA 204).
Despite his hardships, Sirius’s positive qualities demonstrate his strength of character. He is the epitome of the great traits that are associated with this new year.