Author has written 3 stories for Harry Potter.
Female, Norwegian and probably old enough to be your grandmother. Aspiring writer - I hope to be able to publish a novel one day. If I don't spend too much time procrastinating around here, that is... Which means - I am not going to put as much work into the fics I will put up here as I do in my more 'serious' writing. So don't expect masterpieces - what I do here will be for fun only.
Also, I'm sorry to say, I don't always update as often as I maybe owe the few readers who subscribe to my stories. The pesky little thing often called 'Real Life' tends to get in the way. I do apologise to anyone who may be frustrated because of this.
I only write Harry Potter fanfics. I love the universe and the characters, but not always the plot of the books. The last two especially disappointed me in a number of ways. Still love the first four, enjoy large parts of five, and three is my favorite.
Sirius Black is my all time favorite character, so all my fics will be centered around him. I'm not a 'marauder' fan, though. Yes, they were Sirius' surrogate family while he was at school, so they do of course interest me. And the dynamics between them may be interesting, too. But they are often done too cute in fanfics (oh what lovable little rogues...) and too young - as if they were nine or ten, not testosterone challenged teenage boys.
One of the best marauder fics I have read is 'Anatomy of a Prank' by Xylodemon. Check it out on LiveJournal here: http://xylodemon.livejournal.com/443689.html She is one of the few who has got the teenage boy dynamics down to perfection IMO - all that rude, crude, loud, insufferable superficial show of teenage males in a pack - with all their charm, vulnerability, loyalty and friendship beneath it all. Which of course they have no language for and you may sometimes look very hard to find. A both realistic, fantastic and hilarious fic. If you want marauders, you can't get it much better than this. Don't look at my stories to get it - I don't write 'marauders'.
My take on canon
To me, 'canon' means: every single word JKR put into her published books. Nothing else. Whatever she says in interviews or on her website about her books or her universe are only her opinions and ideas about her story. Not the story itself, and therefore not canon. If you want to take interviews etc. into account when you write your fics, that's fine. Absolutely fine. If you want to disregard it all and still say you write canon, that's absolutely fine, too, as far as I'm concerned.
Who am I to come here and say every word from JKR isn't canon? It's her world, not mine! Shouldn't she be the one to say what is canon and what isn't? Doesn't me protesting this mean that I don't respect her, that I belittle and berate her, that I'm very ungrateful and basically an impossible, arrogant little berk who should never be allowed to call myself a fan? Shouldn't I just accept what she says as law no matter where she says it - and label my fics AU and shut up already if I don't like it?
Well - no. I do respect her as a very successful writer. I do believe it is her world - a fantastic world, a world that opened up my own creativity in new and surprising ways for me - the number one influence that made me finally decide to do something about my own life-long ambition and seriously try to write something fit for publication myself. So I am forever grateful and in debt to the creator of the fantastic Harry Potter Universe.
It is precisely because I do respect her as a writer that I have to disagree with her, when she wants everything she says about her own world to be 'the official version'.
I say this as an aspiring writer myself. No, I haven't published anything yet - and maybe I never will. But I have struggled enough with my own stories to know that any writer has a very long way to go from an idea, a fact, a plot bunny, a description of a place, character, event etc. - to the finished product: the completed story. To create a literary universe is not just about reporting the lists of facts and ideas you have about your characters and your story. Those ideas and facts are only where the creative process begins. Not where it ends.
Which means that any which of your ideas may need to be abandoned during the actual writing process. You may be absolutely thrilled with an idea you have about your world or your characters. And yet, as you struggle to fit it into the rest of your story, you may discover that it just doesn't work. That it's too cheesy, too out there, too elaborate, too superficial, too uninteresting or contrary to the rest of the text. For instance. So you may have to abandon or else seriously alter and rewrite your wonderful idea if it is not going to ruin your whole story.
JKR herself has told us about this process on her website. For GoF, she had originally planned Sirius to live as a lovable stray with the highly eccentric, dog-loving old witch Mopsy. But her editor asked her to get rid of this character - and she agreed. Because, as she says: it made more sense to stow Sirius in a simple cave so he and the trio could chat about Barty Crouch Jr. without distractions. Exit Mopsy - no longer canon. No matter how much JKR initially loved the idea of a batty dog lover as opposed to the batty cat lover Mrs. Figg: In the actual writing process, she was made to discover that Mopsy added nothing to the plot and was instead a distraction.
Same with the Weasley cousin Mafalda, 'the nosy, eavesdropping Slytherin', who made it far into GoF before Jo had to cut her and create Rita Skeeter instead. Because Mafalda just didn't do the job she was supposed to do for the plot.
My point is: Neither we the fans nor JKR herself knows how many of the new characters and plot ideas she tells us about now would turn out to be Mopsys and Mafaldas if she actually sat down to write them into a post-second-war story: Wonderful as ideas, but impossible to work into a good, coherent story. Because the only way to find out whether any idea is good enough to become canon, is to actually write the story and see how it works. And as we all know: JKR herself is the only one who has the right to transform her ideas into a new story and call it canon. For the rest of us, it will only be fanfiction. And even if we thought our fics based on her interviews were good enough to say, yes, those ideas and facts do work so they should be canon - we have absolutely no way of knowing whether the writer and copyright holder herself would think they were good enough if she sat down to write them.
Then what about her comments on what she has written already? When she says Dumbledore is wise, Sirius post Azkaban is 'a case of arrested development' - don't I have to bow down to that and write my stories accordingly, if I am to call them canon compatible?
Again, no. Anyone can disagree with her, and read her characters differently than she intended them to be read - but only if we back it up with canon evidence. Which is to say, I could say (and I do) that Sirius post Azkaban is not a case of arrested development, but of depression and post traumatic stress disorder - because the way JKR actually let him act and speak in OotP is a text book case of those conditions. In the same vein I can say - again building on the way JKR actually wrote Dumbledore in her books - that Dumbledore doesn't come across as a very wise man. In her books I read about a man who is immensely knowledgeable about the workings of magic, but whose understanding of the human heart is poor, as is his insight in his own motives. And some of his strategic choices are abysmally stupid and/or morally dubious. This cannot be summed up as wisdom.
So yeah. Published books = canon. Interviews, website, films, published notebooks and whatnot = NOT canon.
None of the above should be taken to mean that I hate everything Rowling says outside her books. On the contrary - I agree with or find a lot of what she says very interesting, and may sometimes use it in my stories. I just believe that I am much more free to either disregard or include what she says outside her books, than I am with the text in the books themselves.
So. If I deviate from the books in significant ways in a story, I will mark it AU in the summary and explain why. If I deviate from interviews etc., I will not mark the story AU, and will explain nothing.
In case you are tempted to check out my stories, this is what you will get:
The Universe of My Stories
I do my very best to keep my stories as canon compatible as possible (see my take on canon above), both with regards to the institutions and mores of the wizarding world, canon events and character personalities. Reviews telling me how well or otherwise I am able to do this will always be very welcome!
But there is one crucial exception. I want to use some of my stories to explore what might happen to the plot if Dumbledore was met with some substantial opposition. His outrageous manipulations only work (as far as they do work, that is) because no one around him ever seriously challenges him. I believe a Sirius that either was never in Azkaban, or was allowed to recover and come back to his full strength and confidence well before the second war started, would be the best bet for that kind of opposition. It's not necessary to change his personality as written in the books (at least not the way I read them) to make that happen. Just his circumstances.
I have toyed with the idea of Peter never getting the chance to frame him. I have not used this in a full-fledged story yet, but maybe I will one day... In my story Out of Azkaban Sirius gets his name fully cleared after eight years 'only' - in good time before Harry starts Hogwarts. My future stories will in all likelihood take place in this AU.
I admit that another important reason for this canon deviation is pure wish-fulfillment: When I first read book five and saw Sirius utterly castrated as 'The Prisoner of Grimmauld Place', and then killed off at the end of the book - I landed in a dump of depression for weeks. Seriously. (No pun intended; I loathe that old Sirius/Serious pun!) So I keep imagining alternative endings for him as a sort of self-therapy... (Don't worry, I won't post any story here unless I believe it has some merit other than my own private self-indulgence!)
Don't get me wrong, I do understand why she did it. I've spent enough time pondering over what would have happened if she didn't to know that the plot she wanted never would have worked with an in-character Sirius still alive...
My Take On the Character Sirius Black
One pet peeve of mine is the widespread idea in fanfiction that Sirius is this idiot who never reads a book, was barely able to scrape through school, and needs to have finer points and longer words explained to him by the likes of Lupin or Snape. I really don't know where this is coming from. One guess is from the pensieve scene in OotP where we see Lupin revise for their transfiguration exam, while Sirius snorts: I don't need to look at that rubbish. I know it all.
So he can't be bothered to study for their transfiguration exam. OK. But he's not saying he hates to read or never studies. He says he doesn't need to look at rubbish. This may of course be called arrogant. But he's right. He does know it all at this point. (And so does James, who is also not seen studying in this particular pensieve scene.) At this point he had been studying hard for three years, reading heaps of extra-curriculum transfiguration books and patiently practicing what he read, in order to become an Animagus. Something canon states is extremely difficult. Of course their fifth year transfiguration book would seem like rubbish in comparison. Revising for their transfiguration exam would have been a waste of his time.
Another reason why this idea has become so widespread may be a simple case of stereotyping: A school boy troublemaker must spell a lazy and/or stupid student! And the bright kid getting good marks must also be a rule-obeying good kid and/or teacher's pet. But this is what McGonagall has to say about James and Sirius in PoA: Both very bright, of course - exceptionally bright, in fact - but I don't think we've ever had such a pair of troublemakers - That's the stupid troublemaker stereotype killed right there.
In my view, Sirius was an exceptionally bright student and therefore a quick learner, who had no need to ponder for hours over lessons to understand and remember. Listening to what the professors lectured in class, plus breezing through the chapter in question, would normally have been enough to give him top marks, with plenty of time to spare for trouble-making. Unfair to the hard toilers who should get more credit for all the work they put in, absolutely - but that's life, I'm afraid. I see this as one reason for the arrogance you find in both James and Sirius when they were young. But this doesn't mean Sirius never read any extra-curricular books (we know he did, see above paragraph) or had no other interests than the next silly prank.
I see adult Sirius as a fairly wide-read man with a keen intellect, able to quickly grasp the essence of what he reads and hears, and make connections to both life and other written works and theories. If a subject really interests him, he will study it extensively and achieve a high level of proficiency and knowledge about it. If he finds a skill necessary or interesting to learn, he will practice it patiently, over years if need be, until he masters it to perfection. Adult, out-of-Azkaban Sirius will eventually become a highly skilled wizard, a force to be reckoned with - but with some glaring holes in his knowledge. Because if a subject does not interest him, and is not absolutely necessary to know, he won't be bothered to learn it.
He will also be able to 'think outside the box' and form his own, well thought out theories and ideas. He will always go for the bigger picture and be less interested in nitpicking details, and has no time for the politics and intrigues of the wizarding world. Not that he doesn't understand any of it, but he finds it boring and pointless and slightly despicable.
Another widespread idea in the fandom is that Sirius is always impatient and rash, a 'loose canon' that cannot control his impulses and therefore needs to be put under administration, or at least shouldn't be given too much responsibility. This is of course supported by statements from the writer herself. But I don't agree with this either. At least not without some major qualifications.
Because when judged from his actual actions and choices as written in canon, and not just from what anybody says about him, be it Molly Weasley or Hermione Granger or JKR herself, adult Sirius does not appear all that rash and reckless to me. I won't try to argue that he never is, that would be silly. But in moments of crisis or where crucial interests are at stake, Sirius often displays the exact opposite traits: patience, caution and self-sacrifice.
I know this is a controversial view, but it does guide the way I write Sirius in my stories. I will therefore go through my canon evidence in some detail below.
Sirius was a trusted member of the Order during the first Voldemort war, and was never caught, maimed or killed. No reason to believe this was because he never took part in any serious action. This alone proves that even at that young age he was able to follow orders and control his impulses, even in the agitated fray of battle. If he had been the complete 'loose canon' he is later made out to be, he wouldn't have survived in a real war for very long.
The 'perfect ruse' of making Peter the secret-keeper may seem stupid in light of Peter's treason. But that's hindsight. No one suspected Peter at this point. In my opinion this plan shows a man who is no longer an arrogant berk. He understands that Voldemort will come after him as soon as it becomes clear secret-keeping is involved. Facing this threat, Sirius admits he is not invincible. He may break under torture; he may fall under the Imperio spell. When faced with an enemy, no matter how strong, Sirius' primary impulse will always be to fight, not run and hide. For him, this is also a matter of honour. But in order to protect his friends, he is still willing to back down from the fight and go into hiding himself.
To me, this 'perfect ruse' plan spells realism and due caution, not hotheaded bravado. It wasn't Sirius' fault that it went so horribly wrong. That was Peter's doing.
Some fans maintain that Sirius' decision to go after Peter instead of looking after Harry is one of the prime examples of his irresponsible recklessness. A choice that made his incarceration partly his own fault, and was in effect a betrayal of poor little Harry, who was left to his fate with the horrible Dursleys.
Again, I disagree. Sirius' first impulse when he discovers the dead bodies of his friends, is not to go after Peter. It's to take custody of Harry. Quote Hagrid in PoA: An' then he says, "Give Harry ter me, Hagrid, I'm his godfather, I'll look after him. Hagrid is not willing to give Harry up; he is set on following Dumbledore's orders. But he has to argue for it. Black argued, but in the end he gave in, Hagrid says. Sirius needed to be convinced that Dumbledore's plan was the better solution before he would allow Hagrid to leave with Harry.
Canon doesn't tell how that argument went. What could have been said is left to the readers' imagination. I believe Hagrid would have stressed very strongly that it was Dumbledore who thought Lily's sister was the best caregiver for Harry: 'That's good enough for me and should be good enough for you!' Sirius of course trusted Dumbledore completely at this point. As did everyone else in the Order. (Big mistake - but they didn't know that.) I imagine that Sirius had never met Lily's sister, but knew she was a Muggle who did not like magic and had not been at good terms with Lily. This would have made him sceptical to the idea of leaving Harry with her. But he also knew she was Harry's only surviving family, and could offer him something Sirius knew he couldn't: a normal family environment. We, the readers, know at this point in the story what kind of woman Lily's sister is. But Sirius doesn't know at this point in his life that Petunia is a cold, child-abusing woman. Blaming him for not taking this into account is another argument from hindsight.
I believe that when Sirius finally lent Hagrid his motorbike, so his godson could be safely and quickly transported to Petunia's place, it was because he was convinced the boy would be better off with her than with him. This, in my opinion, is one example of how Sirius is able and willing to sacrifice his own needs and desires for the benefit of someone he loves. He is able to listen to reason, even when in a state if shock. Because, let's face it - considering Sirius' situation at that point, and the emotional state he was in, he probably wouldn't have been the best choice as Harry's primary caregiver. Later, absolutely - but not immediately after finding James dead. (He would of course have been far better than the horrible Dursleys, but like I said - he didn't know that.) It does him credit that he was able to admit this to himself.
So - it's only after he has made sure Harry will be OK that he takes off to find the traitor and kill him. Not a rash response, acted out at the spur of the moment, then...
But yes, I do believe he went after Peter in a state of rage and wild grief, driven by hatred and despair. Absolutely. Not pretty, not wise or even morally commendable. But I don't find it hard to understand and forgive Sirius here. Also, the effect of Voldemort's demise wouldn't have been clear so soon after the fact. As far as Sirius knew, the war was still on and he was one of its soldiers. As a soldier in a war, you don't arrange trials, you kill the enemy whenever you come across them, and traitors are free game. It's ugly, yes. But that's war for you.
It could be argued that it was idiotic to try and kill the only one who knew about the switch. As the supposed secret keeper, Sirius would soon come under suspicion. He must have known this. So yes, I do believe this is a case where Sirius acted out of hot emotion, not cold reason. All he wanted was revenge and an outlet for his pain - he didn't give the possible consequences too much thought. But I also believe that underneath his rage was a firm trust in his friends and allies, Dumbledore especially. I believe that if he had stopped to think it through, he would have expected to be believed anyway. I see this as a case of the naive idealism of youth, not recklessness. And he was of course painfully wrong...
I also believe he was convinced no one would blame him for killing the filthy rat. (See the argument of war time justice above.) He didn't foresee how cleverly Peter would frame him. This was maybe arrogant. But to insist that it was reckless would be another argument from hindsight. Sirius couldn't have known he would be thrown in Azkaban without a fair trial!
I wonder why the way he survived Azkaban, with his mind and integrity intact, is not taken into account more often when Sirius' character is up for debate. It baffles me that he seems to be given so little credit for this. For twelve years he was forced to live without hope in an environment where everything around him was designed to break him, everyone had abandoned him and the Dementor torture was meant to continue the whole day every day until he died. (Fudge states in PoA that the Dementors were outside his door day and night). If you take the description of the Dementor effect in canon seriously, this is a torture so cruel it is beyond words. Beyond belief.
I tried to convey some of this in my Out of Azkaban story, but don't know if I succeeded. I've read too many stories where the writer seems to forget or disregard what the Dementors are about, and write as if coming out of that prison is nothing, you can immediately pick up your life where you left it and move on. Sadly, it seems the canon characters around Sirius post-Azkaban believe this, too. Selfish, having the sullens - I swear there were times while reading OotP when I wanted to crawl inside the pages and slap Molly around the face for her lack of compassion and respect! (Hermione had the excuse of being only 15...)
But Sirius was able to hold on to the core of who he was through all those dark years, and never laid himself down to die or allowed himself to disappear into madness. This is testimony of a courage and a personal and spiritual strength almost beyond belief, and is maybe the strongest canon argument against an understanding of adult Sirius as nothing but reckless, irresponsible and immature...
The year following his escape is another strong argument for a Sirius capable of the utmost patience and self-sacrifice. He lived off rats and moles as a dog in the woods for a whole year, dangerously close to his Dementor tormentors, patiently awaiting his chance to get at Peter, in order to save Harry. This did involve a high degree of risk, certainly. But it was either accept the danger, or admit defeat. Given the circumstances, I can't see any of his actions during that year as either rash or stupid.
Because seen from Sirius' point of view, his situation was desperate. He was the only one who knew that Peter was alive and had placed himself so close to Harry. He couldn't ask anyone for their help. He had every reason to believe this would only mean renewed incarceration, if not instant execution or exposure to the Dementor's kiss. No one had believed him at the time of his arrest, why should he expect anyone to believe him at the time of his escape? He had to take on Peter on his own. I believe the fact that he was able to stay that close to the Dementor-guarded school for a whole year without being caught, proves that his actions were calculated, not headless. No one has that amount of dumb luck.
The attack on the fat lady, for instance, happened while everyone in the castle was assembled in the Great Hall, and the risk of being caught or having to hurt anyone was down to a minimum. When that didn't work, he didn't just blindly repeat his attempts. He recruited Crookshanks to do the inside work for him. He came back in the night while everybody slept, and went straight for Ron's bed where he knew Peter was. He knew he could get away safely as a dog in the dark, which he did when Ron raised the alarm. He didn't just desperately lash out.
Then Peter disappeared. That must have been sheer agony for Sirius. But he didn't go on any blind rampage just to do something, and find him anywhere. He had the courage and patience to bide his time, sit put, and wait for months. When he finally saw Peter reappear in the grounds, with only the trio around him, he must have thought he had to strike while the chance was there. It might never come again, and then everything would have been lost.
Again he meant to kill Peter, not expose him and bring him to justice. Wouldn't that have ruined Sirius' chance to prove his innocence and get his life back? Wasn't that stupid?
Maybe. One could argue, though, that producing Peter's recently dead body, when he was supposed to have blasted that same Peter to smithereens twelve years earlier, would have been more than proof enough of his earlier innocence. And that it wouldn't be completely unreasonable to expect mercy given the horrible nature of Peter's crimes against him, and the spell of Azkaban time he had suffered already. But the way I see Sirius, this was not his reasoning. I believe Azkaban had long ago taken out of him any thought of clearing his name and getting his life back. To the point where he could no longer imagine a normal life in freedom, or even remember what it used to be like. All he had left at this point was his obsession to save Harry, and his wish to punish Peter. Thoughts of his own future was not part of the equation.
Some fans say it was only lust for revenge that drove him that year. That he had no real concern for Harry's needs. Rubbish, I say. His thirst for revenge must have been there during all his twelve years in prison. That would not have been a happy thought the Dementors could suck out of him. But it was only when he realised that Peter had placed himself so close to Harry that he found the strength to break out. It lit a fire in my brain, he says. Coming to Harry's rescue was the burning need that drove him during that whole year. Getting his life back only appeared as a possibility in his mind after Lupin had acknowledged him and Harry accepted him, and they were actually on their way to the castle to clear his name.
In GoF he came back from the security of the South to again risk both Dementors and death, in order to protect and help a Harry who was in real mortal danger. Because he always put Harry's security above his own. During that whole year, he took no unnecessary risks. The cave he lived in was a place DD had advised - proof that this was a thought-through, calculated and debated plan, not something done on a whim. Every advice he gave Harry during the whole of GoF was good, wise and responsible as far as I can see, all about fairness and caution. In the cave scene with the trio for instance, he was not willing to accuse Snape of being a Death Eater and traitor without proof. Even though he loathed Snape, the boys were all for it, and the evidence he listed may be said to lean heavily towards the "guilty" side. This in stark contrast to how Snape had been all about feeding both Sirius and Lupin directly to the Dementors without hearing them out the last time they met.
Perhaps young Sirius had a tendency to pounce at everyone and everything that got his hackles up, and felt the need to rebel just for the sake of rebellion. But the adult Sirius described in canon is not like this. Even at his lowest in OotP, incarcerated and depressed, he does not strike back when a grief-stricken Fred Weasley accuses him of cowardice: The little colour remaining in Sirius' face drained from it. He looked for a moment as though he would quite like to hit Fred, but when he spoke, it was in a voice of determined calm. 'I know it's hard (...)
Determined calm. Sirius is quite able to restrain himself, no matter how hard he is stung, if he believes the situation demands it or he feels compassion towards the one attacking. He doesn't where Snape is concerned, true. He has no compassion for Snape. And he rises when Molly's berates him in front of Harry. Also true. This is not an argument saying he never gets angry, and never chooses to act on his anger. It's an argument saying that when he acts on his anger it's the result of a conscious choice, not a lack of self control. Whether his choices are always wise is another matter. Personally I applaud him in the case of Molly and wish he could have shown a bit more restraint in the case of Snape.
He is also perfectly able to obey orders he hates from an authority he respects, when convinced of their necessity. That's why he agreed to be voluntarily incarcerated in G12, just because Dumbledore said so. Even though all his instincts must have screamed against it. (Not following his instincts here was one of his biggest mistakes, I think. This was one of Dumbledore's more cruel manipulations. But again, different discussion...) It takes its toll and he hates it, but he does follow through. (He goes out in dog form only once, and when spotted by Malfoy, never repeats it.)
At closer inspection, every meeting he has with Harry over the course of that year seems to have been planned and executed with all due caution. Harry believes Sirius could have been stupid enough to come bouncing through Hogsmeade as Snuffles and give himself away - and is therefore stupid enough in his turn to not use the mirror to communicate with him (which amounts to abysmally stupid and completely unbelievable in the crisis situation at the end of OotP, of course - yet another discussion that does not belong here.) But Sirius himself is never shown to do anything as stupid as that. In my view, Harry has been indoctrinated by Molly's and Hermione's view of his godfather at this point, and his relationship with Sirius suffers as a result. In the end, Harry's tragic stereotyping of his godfather will indirectly lead to Sirius' death...
Hermione goes as far in her stereotyping of Sirius as to say they should perhaps not form the DA because it is Harry's immature godfather that has advised it. This is more than ironical in light of the events in DH, of course, where it is the DA children that raise the fight and inspire the rest of the wizarding community to do the same. As far as I'm concerned, this more than vindicates Sirius' position. Caving in to the fear of Umbridge and act as if they were faced with no greater danger than a risk of expulsion, would perhaps have kept them relatively safe for the duration of their fifth year. In the long run it would have been devastating.
But wasn't urging them to set up the DA 'living through Harry', when Sirius was denied the opportunity to take an active part himself? Yes, of course. His incarceration at G12 ate at him in a way only Azkaban had done before. But - was trying to take part through Harry really such a bad thing? Why was it so horrible that it reminded him of his times at Hogwarts with James? And why should this automatically have to mean that his advice would be bad and not worthy of following? Sirius knew what was at stake. He had fought in a war against Death Eaters before. There was no reason to dismiss his expertise. Later events proved him right.
It is painful to follow Sirius' development in OotP, as he sinks further and further into depression and despair. His reactions to Dumbledore's imprisonment: mood swings, irritability, social withdrawal, lack of personal grooming, drinking, regression to reaction patterns from the only time before the trauma when he was happy: his school days with James - are actually text book symptoms of clinical depression and post-traumatic stress reactions. It is not uncommon for people who have survived severe trauma without showing any significant symptoms (the way Sirius appeared in GoF) to break down completely when exposed to new circumstances with too many reminders of the original trauma. And such reminders of the Azkaban situation were plenty at G12. He was denied the possibility of acting as a free agent in his own life - the number one characteristic of the prison situation. He was exposed every day to what was probably among his worst memories in that Dark childhood home. Every day he would be forced to listen to the endless rants from Kreacher and his mother's portrait about how worthless he was as a human being - imitating the Dementors, as it were. All in front of his friends and of Harry, too - and on top of that endure Snape's constant digs and insults, his palpable glee of seeing his old enemy down.
After Sirius' death, Dumbledore explains to Harry that Sirius' reaction to the imprisonment Dumbledore forced on him was nothing but an 'energetic' man's restlessness when having to stay inactive. But Dumbledore should not be taken as the final authority on anyone's character. His 'explanations' are too often mere manipulations, and he is not always wise.
Sometimes I wonder why the writer felt she had to torture Sirius like this. I understand that she needed to kill him in the end, in order to make her plot work. But why did she feel the need to castrate and humiliate him so thoroughly first? A driving motive behind several of my stories is to try and rescue Sirius from this sorry fate...
But at least, she let him die a hero. Some fans argue that this, too, was a reckless, hotheaded act. He should have listened to Snape and stayed at home to inform Dumbledore... Some even go so far as to say that to join the rescue party to the Ministry was not at all about saving Harry, only about a chance to fight.
I have no patience for this line of argument. The situation was desperate, and if the available Order members had not arrived in time, Harry and the kids would all have perished. End of Harry's story, right there. The Order members were seriously outnumbered. One wand hand less might have meant they were not able to hold the DEs till Dumbledore arrived. Kreacher had to obey a direct order and tell Dumbledore everything he needed to know. Which he did, too. That Sirius should have to stay behind to inform Dumbledore was a ridiculous suggestion, and can only be seen as yet another dig from Snape.
There is nothing in canon to support the idea that Sirius should not be driven by a motive to save Harry. I can't see this as anything but a pure fanon construct, from fans who utterly despise Sirius and is not able to admit there could be even the tiniest shred of good in him. This is not to say that the chance to finally go against his enemies in a real battle, after all those years of forced inactivity and hiding, didn't lift Sirius' spirits. Of course it did. Whether this also made him overconfident and a too easy target for Bellatrix, is another matter...
Many in the fandom see Sirius as nothing but the cruel bully who (together with James) is responsible for all Severus Snape's sufferings and later bad choices. I obviously disagree with this. But the cute and goofy 'clown' some writers of marauder fics try to make him into is no more convincing to me. (I really don't get where this fandom cliche is coming from!) I agree with JKR when she says Sirius was the most dangerous of the marauders.
Because Sirius is in many ways a very troubled person. He is not flawless at all, so I do understand why many HP fans don't like him. There's no denying the streak of arrogance in his character, for instance. But his most prominent faults are his fierce and dangerous anger, coupled with an ability to be cruel to his enemies. This has made him commit acts that are very hard to defend – as in the infamous Whomping Willow incident when he was a teenager. He is a very dangerous person to cross, and I won't try to excuse or explain away this side of him. I do believe it can be explained by his very dysfunctional background, but explaining is not the same as excusing or defending. To me, the canon evidence suggesting an abusive childhood is as strong in Sirius' case as it is in Snape's, perhaps even more so. I will always take this as a given in my Sirius stories. (My story The Front Doors explores one possible form of this abuse in some detail.)
I do empathise with Regulus' survival strategies in that Dark Magic home: to totally identify with his parent's ideas and expectations - this is what most children will do. But this makes Sirius's choice to become a blood traitor at the early age of eleven, while he was still dependent on his blood fanatic parents, stand out as even more remarkable. It would have been so easy for him to walk down the dark path his parents wanted him to take, together with his brother. I see this as something that went much deeper than your average teenage rebellion. Sirius paid a very high price for this choice to go against his ideological heritage and side with and fight for what he saw as the just and the good. Yet he never caved. I originally planned to make The Front Doors the first part of a greater story: The Making of a Blood Traitor, because I thought it would be very interesting to try and make this development believable in a story. But I don't know if I will ever get to finish that - it was years ago since I wrote it...
I see Sirius, in spite of his flaws, as a person who at his core has an immense moral courage and strength of spirit. He truly has the ability to do what is right instead of what is easy. His ability to love, deeply and profoundly with a loyalty to the death, defines him in a major way. His love of freedom over personal security is also very prominent; this is a trait that may get him into trouble sometimes, but I believe it is still at the core of his strength. I can also see a sense of old fashioned honour in this character. He would have died rather than betrayed his friends, and there is not a shred of pretense or falsehood about him.
I believe that if allowed to live in freedom, in full command of his own life, he will be able to grow and mature, and perhaps overcome or soften some of his flaws. Being respected, and being allowed to develop a close relationship with his godson that will not be tainted by any stereotypes, might make a lot of difference to him. For me, these are very interesting themes I hope I will be able to explore in more fanfics about him on this site.
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