Percy and Padfoot

chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry wakes early on Saturday and sends an owl to Sirius, running into Cho in the Owlery. Then after a disastrous Quidditch practice and a disastrous weekend-long homework session, Ron gets an owl from Percy encouraging him to rat on Harry, and Sirius shows up in the fire to talk about Fudge and Umbridge.
 

In the Owlery, by bluefooted

“Right, I know this says ‘Snuffles’ on the outside,” he told her… “but it’s for Sirius, okay?”


 

Thestral, by sharpfish

…and then he saw it. A great, reptilian winged horse, just like the ones pulling the Hogwarts carriages, with leathery black wings spread wide like a pterodactyl’s, rose up out of the trees like a grotesque, giant bird.


 

Cho Chang, by Laurence Peguy

“Tha Umbridge woman’s foul,” she said in a low voice. “Putting you in detention just because you told the truth about how – how – how he died. Everyone heard about it, it was all over the school. You were really brave standing up to her like that.”


 

Keeper Seeker, by Leela Starsky

“I mean, we can do [the homework] tonight,” said Ron, as he and Harry walked down the sloping lawns toward the Quiditch pitch, their broomsticks over their shoulders, Hermione’s dire warnings that they would fail all their O.W.L.s still ringing in their ears.


 

Homework, by bluefooted

They worked on while the sky outside the windows became steadily darker; slowly, the crowd in the common room began to thin again.


 

The Trio Receives an Unexpected Visit From Sirius in the Common-Room Fire, by Drew Graham

There in the middle of the dancing flames sat Sirius’s head, long dark hair falling around his grinning face.


 

Sirius Black, by LMRourke

“You’re less like your father than I thought,” [Sirius] said finally, a definite coolness in his voice. “The risk would’ve been what made it fun for James.”


 

about the chapter

 

One of my favorite lines in the books comes in this chapter, when Sirius is discussing Dolores Umbridge and tells Harry that “the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters.” It’s a beautiful take on all the mysterious shades of grey that exist between good and evil, and the way Harry has watched them play out in people like Umbridge, Snape, Rita Skeeter, Cornelius Fudge, and Mundungus Fletcher. So I always remembered the line, and was hoping it would make it into the movie. Well make it into the movie it did – and the script writer demolished its meaning, by repurposing it to have Sirius describing not Umbridge, but Harry. Harry is a good person, and so the line didn’t make much sense. There are a few things that bother me about the films (though I do like them overall), but I think if I had to pick the worst, that line would be it. Blegh.
 

The Wizarding World

Percy’s letter to Ron gives some substantial insights into the Ministry of Magic, and their attitudes towards Harry (not to mention Dumbledore). Probably the scariest line of all (though Harry doesn’t notice it, as he’s a little distracted by all the slights to his own character) is when he says “I feel bound to tell you that Dumbledore may not be in charge at Hogwarts much longer.” We know Cornelius Fudge is paranoid when it comes to Dumbledore, but the separation of Hogwarts from politics has proved to be an important one when it comes to the education of young wizards. And Fudge clearly is ready to walk all over that for his own means. Yikes. Fudge may not think like Voldemort does, but their end goals (tyrannical domination of the wizarding world) seem eerily similar from this vantage point.
 

The Boy Who Lived

I know Sirius has spent virtually his entire adult life in Azkaban, and never really had a chance to grow up. But it still seems awfully selfish of him to criticize Harry – “You’re less like your father than I thought” – for not wanting to risk Sirius’s going out again. The risk may have made things fun for James, but the risk Sirius seems to be thinking of was a detention – not life in Azkaban. And we know James wasn’t risking leaving the house, even in disguise, when he and his family were being hunted by Voldemort. Harry’s got so much on his shoulders right now, that however frustrated Sirius may be with his own position, he’s stooping pretty low to make Harry feel this lousy.
 

Something to Remember

In his excitement over meeting Cho Chang in the Owlery, Harry doesn’t stop to think much about why Filch would have suspected him of ordering Dungbombs. But it’s pretty clear – and Hermione would have noticed as much, if Harry had thought to mention it to her – that somebody is trying to read Harry’s mail. Given that he’s sending a letter to Sirius, it’s not too hard to guess who it might be. But it’s not a good sign at all.
 


39 Responses to “Percy and Padfoot”

  1. Sirius’ line to Harry is also one of my favorites. And yes, I agree that Sirius is not the father/brother figure that Harry so desperately needs and wants. I guess spending 12 years in Azkaban didn’t mature Sirius as much as it just HARDENED him. And yes, there is a difference.

    Once again, thank you SO MUCH, Josie, for the Harry Potter Companion. I came over here from the Lexicon, and I am so glad I did!

    (Modified by Editor on 11/18)

  2. I would like to politely disagree with you on the “the movie ruined the “the world is not divided into good people and Death Eaters”.
    while yes It might not have the far reaching significance it did in the Context of the book. it still has loads of significance for Harry.
    that line works perfectly to help the context of each medium. in the book it was to anticipate that not all good people are 100 good and not all bad people are 100 percent bad. in the movie it was to help harry overcomming his fear of becoming like voldemort, which seem to be what was distancing him from almost everyone, and he needed to break away from that.

    also I think it gave a better light to the relationship between Sirius and Harry (to some extend, the movie did things like that scene right, things like sirius yelling the wrong name at the DOM VERY VERY wrong*)
    instead of having Sirius acting childish and selfish we have a Sirius that, while a bit self-absorbed, is still capable of breaking out of his personal bubble briefly enough to help harry.

    that’s my two cents

  3. I also love that line of Sirius’ (in the book). It really is an explanation for the world in many ways. And, I remember being just slightly confused when Sirius said that line to Harry in the movie, but I never really thought through exactly why. But you’re right: it has a totally different meaning as included by Michael Goldenberg (OotP screenwriter).

    But back to the chapter…

    (Modified by Editor on 11/18)

  4. I hadn’t much thought about the repackaging of that line, but I suppose when Sirius says it in the movie, he’s basically saying “the world isn’t split into good people and bad people,” isn’t he? Rather than the deeper explication I get from the context in the book.

    One of the things that’s so meaningful to me is Sirius’ inability to grow up. When Snape tells Dumbledore that Sirius was capable of murder at 16, he’s not far from the truth, though it’s not due to Sirius’ intentions. Sirius seems to have always been WAY more reckless than the average Gryffindor, and much less capable of anticipating the consequences of his actions (“Hey, wouldn’t it be funny to trick Snivellus into going to the Shrieking Shack?” “I know, let’s meet in Hogsmeade even though I’m the second-most wanted wizard in the world”).

    He and Snape both seem stuck in a very childish frame of mind throughout their adult lives. Forget being a 21 year old in a 36 year-old body, Sirius displays the emotional maturity of a 5 year-old at times, such as the one you reference in this chapter. Snape, of course, is just as bad – worse, in fact, as he’s a teacher making childish, scarring jabs at his students. But I digress.

    Emily – I was really pleased with Sirius accidentally calling Harry “James.” It was a way for the movie to include the idea, present in the book, that Sirius was too eager to see his lost best friend in Harry.

    (Modified by Editor on 11/18)

  5. I do agree that Sirius calling Harry “James” was a nice touch, though perhaps I’m a bit biased, because as my grandpa gets older, more and more often he calls me by my dad’s name (my dad died when I was 10), and I feel a pang every single time. I do wonder if Harry would have confronted Sirius about it after the battle.

    (Modified by Editor on 11/18)

  6. I wonder to what extent Percy truly believes what he is saying, and to what extent he is just mimicking what those around him are saying. Already at this point, is he that far gone? But then again, Mrs. Weasley believed the stuff Rita Skeeter wrote about Harry in book four, so I suppose Percy could be completely sincere. It’s quite sad, really.

    (Modified by Editor on 11/18)

  7. I’m not even going to comment on the movies, having stopped throwing my money at those trainwrecks after PoA. But Sirius… Sirius has always been my favorite character. I’ve roleplayed him for years, really done what I can to get inside his head. And the thing is, Sirius IS immature, and selfish, and arrogant, and spoiled, and capable of murder in a completely off-handed way–people BELIEVED he could have murdered thirteen people with a single curse, including one of his best friends, the day after betraying another best friend and his whole family, believed it strong enough to convict him without a trial. Sirius wasn’t some shining example of all that is good in Gryffindor. He may hate his family and what they stand for, but in almost every way, Sirius is the best representation of the Black family out there. Everything is about Sirius, with the sole exception of when things are about James. Growing up with the Blacks set that mentality in place. Not long after he left the Blacks, he wound up in prison, and noted FBI profiler John Douglas says that prison completely stops development–if when profiling a case, he said someone around the age of twenty committed a crime, he also makes sure to acknowledge that it could also be someone the age of forty who spent twenty years in prison and recently got out, because prison freezes your maturity level almost all the time.

    And Azkaban… Sirius was trapped in his memories, the worst memories of his life, replaying constantly. He didn’t lose his knowledge of his innocence, but he wasn’t immune to the Dementors. His worst memories probably started pretty young, eleven or twelve, with his Sorting into Gryffindor and falling out of favor with his family… in a way, Azkaban brainwashes you into behaving as if you were younger, as it constantly replayed your past.

    When Sirius escaped, he ended up in Grimmauld Place, his home for the first sixteen years of his life, another prison, another memory-trap like Azkaban. The Dementors weren’t around, but how many people revert to a slightly younger mentality when they go home to their parents? My sister, adult, moved out on her own, likes having ‘mommy’ take care of her when she’s really sick. It makes her feel like a child again. At Grimmauld Place, Sirius is once again remembering his childhood. And it doesn’t help that he’s being treated like a child. He can’t go outside, he can’t be helpful, he can’t be an adult member of the Order. He gets to sit in on the meetings, but other than that, he’s even less-helpful than the Weasley kids. Molly’s presence, as a strong mother figure, cannot be helping Sirius do the growing up he needs.

    And then his comment to Harry. “You’re less like your father than I thought.” He is SUCH a petulant teenager there, his voice cool to cover up how upset this makes him. We know Sirius was likely one of the cool kids, from what we saw of him in Snape’s memories. He doesn’t get emotional when he’s upset, he just gets chilly (except maybe with James and the Marauders, but this line is excluding Harry from that circle of trusted friends). And Sirius’ words are chosen to hurt Harry more–again, I’m seeing that teenage bully side of Sirius. He knows what hurts you worst and he will not hesitate to hit you there. Sirius IS a Black.

    But what I like best about this line is the implication that is probably entirely in my head, but I like it anyway. “You’re less like your father” COULD mean “You’re more like your mother.” And Sirius does not approve of this. I don’t think Sirius cared much for Lily. He ACCEPTED her, eventually, and when he’s not mad at Harry, he never says anything bad about her, but Lily took his best friend away. And, if you do the math, Lily started being friendly toward James in their sixth year. Sirius was sixteen. He ran away from home permanently when he was sixteen. Emotionally, Sirius was in a bad state–much as he hated his family NOW, for the ten years BEFORE Hogwarts, we have absolutely no indication that he was anything less than their beloved prince, much like how the Malfoys dote on Draco. For at least ten years, they adored Sirius. For five-six years, things started to fray. I can’t see Sirius not secretly wanting his family to love him again. And now that he had cut the ties permanently, was set adrift, had NO family of his own (The Potters were amazing and took him in, but they weren’t HIS), no money (Alphard probably hadn’t died quite yet)… Sirius needed James, and Lily was taking more of James’ attention. Just a bad mix altogether, and all the more reason for Sirius to be so, SO messed up in the head.

    Aaand… that was a very long ramble about Sirius, not even beginning to touch on so many of my theories about him. But… yeah. Tl, dr: Sirius is messed up and immature and never had a chance to heal from a lot of trauma.

  8. Spider, I have to take issue with your conclusion that Sirius disliked Lily. I think your reasoning is good, but we have to remember the friendly and affectionate letter from Lily to Sirius that Harry finds in book 7. If Lily had sensed any coolness toward her on Sirius’s part, I think the tone of that letter would have been quite different.

    But as you say, it would have been very natural, almost inevitable, for Sirius to resent Lily. And if Sirius was able to overcome that resentment to the extent that Lily’s letter implies, he must have been more mature and less self-centered in his late teens than we see him in his mid-thirties.

  9. emily, I guess I’m not sure what you mean when you say the purpose of the line in the movie “was to help harry overcomming his fear of becoming like voldemort, which seem to be what was distancing him from almost everyone, and he needed to break away from that.” To me, the line is a fancier way of saying ‘There are bad people in the world who aren’t Death Eaters.’ By addressing it to Harry, I felt like Sirius was telling him that he was becoming a bad person, and that that was okay. But maybe there’s another way to read it that I’m not seeing?

    Also: I’m just going to edit down some of the comments on the quality (rather than the content) of the movies – I’d rather this comment board not turn into an argument over the quality of the films, because it’s ultimately just a matter of opinion and not really a productive conversation. I’ve also modified my own movie-comments on the page, so they’re slightly less inflammatory – I should clarify that despite occasional criticisms I’m generally a fan of the movies myself. :)

  10. Spider – well said. :)
    I’ve also read into that line “You’re more like your mother than your father,” seeing how Lily was, at lest in Hogwarts, a kill-joy to Sirius.

  11. I know most of the conversation here has centered around Sirius and his maturity but there is one other significant moment I wanted to mention: Ron tearing up Percy’s letter and tossing it in the fire. Ron may have his character flaws, and he and Harry have a wonderfully complex friendship, but this moment is such a great one, I think, demonstrating his ultimate loyalty and compassion for his best friend. I also love Hermione’s reaction to Ron: finally giving in and helping the boys with their essays. Two great moments of honest friendship among the hundreds that Rowling has written so well over seven books.

    Great website, by the way; I’m addicted!

  12. It is truly uinfair for Sirius and anyone else to compare Harry to his parents personality-wise. He never met them, most people think of them as heroes/martyrs and tend to overlook their flaws. There is no reason why he would resemble either of them, they weren’t there to influence his own personality traits. He doesn’t really know whether it’d be better to be more like James or Lily. Later in this book, he will realize this, that he never thought of them as anything less than perfect, excluding the times Snape told him about his father, but he dismissed that because, well, it was Snape who said it.
    Outside of the fictional world, I doubt that we have enough information to properly compare them with Harry.
    I really enjoyed your thoughts on Sirius, spider.

  13. Percy is another of those characters that, like Fudge, isn’t inherently evil, but IS very ambitious to the point of viciousness. He’s willing to step on his family to move up the career ladder, same as how fudge is willing to do anything to remain in power. When the lies Fudge has built around himself tumble down, we see just how much he’s returned to his former, blustering state, with a new crumpled quality to him. When Percy sees sense, he becomes much more likable and even somewhat self-deprecating.

    Percy and Fudge are, I think, on the whole, good people. But, they both let power go to their head too much, and end up building personas for themselves. I think the Percy we see at the end of DH is much more the real Percy than the pompous git from the earlier books. The Fudge of OotP is probably an image too. He;s so desperate for people to take him seriously, he goes too far in trying to make himself appear as a tough, respectable leader.

    Perhaps Fudge had a childhood somewhat like Percy. Being a smart boy, with older brothers to live up to, and a father with little ambition.

    Percy is a pretty interesting character to study, actually. People overlook him a little too much.

  14. Martin, I completely agree with what you’re saying about folks comparing Harry to his parents – it’s really not fair to him. But I don’t know if I agree that we don’t have enough information to compare them ourselves. Rowling is a master at saying a whole lot in just a few words, and we actually get some pretty deep glimpses into James and Lily through Sirius and Snape, not to mention quotes like this one of Dumbledore’s: “[Harry is like his father] in looks, perhaps, but his deepest nature is much more like his mother’s.”

  15. Well said, everybody. Some very interesting comments this chapter. I’ve never thought to much about Sirius’s character, and I’m erally impressed with all the information here.
    And Meri, I agree. Ron throwing that letter into the fire is one of my favorite scenes. His loyalty amazes me sometimes. Where can I get friends like Ron and Hermione?

  16. Mickey, you can get Hermione in a bathroom that has a troll in it, and Ron on ebay for 99 cents. ;)

  17. Hpboy- Really? Awesome! I’m going to go start my search!

  18. josie,
    what I understood from that quote was that Harry was freaking out about turning into voldemort because of his visions, and because he thought of biting professor dumbledore and it was better to distance himself from people, and what sirius said “about the world not divided into good people and deatheaters” kind saying yes, you might have thought of wanting to bite prof dumbledore but that doesn’t make you bad, nad staying away from your friends is not going to help you or fix the problem

    not so sure if i made sense this time, but hopefully

  19. Does anyone else think that LMRourke’s picture of Sirius looks like actor Hugh Jackman?

  20. Jeremy – yes! The resemblance is uncanny!

  21. After reading Josie’s last post, I’ve had a small revelation about an often-used statement in the series – people often say that Harry looks like his dad but has his mum’s eyes etc, and I’ve just thought that this is maybe a clue as to Harry’s similarities to his mother. The eyes are often considered as ‘windows to the soul’, and the similarities between Harry’s and his mother’s eyes could symbolise this similarity in character. People often just assume that Harry’s ‘uncanny knack’ for getting into trouble means he is much more like his father, but I think that it does make sense that he has a lot more in common with his mother than people originally think. For example, he is certainly willing to put his life on the line for the people he loves (i.e Sirius), which although I don’t doubt James doing, his mother certainly shows this when protecting him.

  22. Another subject: Hermione corrects Ron’s essay about Jupiter’s moons “and it’s Io that’s got the volcanoes”. If I’m not mistaken not even Hubble can see Io’s volcanoes, you have to send a probe to Jupiter to actually see them. Wizard telescopes are THAT good?

  23. Sirius not growing up: I agree with what everyone has said so far. He is an eternal youth. I think he always would have been. Look at Lupin and Wormtail both. Lupin never was the “bad boy”. He had a calm demeanor as a youth. It seems that he was always pretty level headed. And most of the reckless behavior he does is because he is a werwolf. He hasn’t changed much as he has gotten older. The same goes for Wormtail. He was a little boy who felt left out and he followed stronger people (Lupin, James and Sirius were the best in the year). He does the same thing with Voldermort. Sirius always has been the most reckless of the bunch. He is rash and just jumps to do things. He thinks from his heart not his head (Which makes him an excellent Gryffindor btw).

    Sirius comment to Harry: I found this to be one of the most hatful things he has ever done. It shows 2 things. 1. How he believes that Harry is James. 2. How he gets angry when things don’t go his way. This is one of the few times I’m revolted by Black.

    Percy: he is a git. I never forgave him for his actions in OOTP.

    Fudge is a prime example in that evil comes in many forms. I totally agree that Fudge and Voldermort have the same end goal, power. And both are willing to go to any means to get (Fudge slightly less so). I think it’s a brilliant metaphor that the leader of evil and the leader of good are very much alike. Both feel inadequate (Fudge cause he doesn’t deserve this job and Voldermort because he is halfblood) and they make up for it in power.

  24. Fudge In A Better Light: I was a bit harsh of Fudge in my last post so I would like to argue for all the reasons fudge is good. Here we go.
    I see Fudge as misguided. He isn’t truly evil but he is scared to face reality. The worst thing in the world that could happen is Voldermort being back. If he is back that means panic and terror for his world. The world he is supposed to run is about to be in terror so he is hiding from that. He isn’t evil. Just not brave.

  25. LMRourke’s picture of Sirius is absolutely amazing! That is really the first time I’ve ever seen a picture/image that really captured that “sunken” and “waxy” look that Sirius has after years of Azkaban! Brilliant job!

  26. “To me, the line is a fancier way of saying ‘There are bad people in the world who aren’t Death Eaters.’” – Josie

    That’s how I understood it in the book, that not all bad people become, or would even want to become, Death Eaters. That doesn’t mean they’re not just as evil. In the movie he’s kind of saying the opposite. He’s using the term Death Eaters as synonymous with evil, in order to say to Harry that good and bad are not extremes of black and white. It annoys me, though not nearly as much as flying down the Thames. Ugh! Lol.

  27. LMRourke’s picture of Sirius looks so much like Hugh Jackman. That’s awesome.

  28. Josie, I can’t help but think that you aren’t getting the broader idea of “the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters” in the movie, because right after, Sirius says “we’ve all got good and bad inside of us. It’s what side we choose to act on that show who we truly are.” (paraphrase, as it’s off the top of my head). In the movie, Sirius isn’t telling Harry it’s “okay to be bad”, he’s saying it’s okay to have good and bad feelings inside of us, as long as we choose to act on the good in the end, which I think is a very powerful and meaningful message that a lot of people don’t understand very much. He’s really discussing the feelings inside, not Harry’s actions themselves. Harry is worried that after everything he’s been through, he’s starting to go evil, that he’s turning into Voldemort. Sirius clearly states, “I need you to listen to me very carefully Harry: you’re NOT a bad person.” So I’m just going to have to politely disagree with you that Sirius is telling Harry it’s okay to be bad, cause that really isn’t what he’s telling Harry at all. He’s just saying that nobody is perfect, we all think of good and bad things, but that’s okay as long as you choose to walk the good path in the end. Does that make sense?

  29. Casey, I do see what you mean, and I’m sure that’s what was intended by it. Perhaps I’m just having a hard time seeing it that way because the line’s meaning in the book is so different, and also because the line in the book is a concept that is important to me personally – I’ve run into a few Umbridges, Lockharts, and other people in my time who were well-meaning, I suppose, but really just awful people.

    Still, though… there *had* to be a more eloquent way of getting that point across than cutting and pasting a line from a completely different scene that was written to address a completely different situation. Ugh.

  30. Sirius is one of my fave characters, but there is one line that I’ll always kind of hate him for, and that’s “You’re less like your father than I thought…” He says it just to make Harry feel like bad (especially consitering how highly Harry thinks of him)!

    Plus, even Sirius should know better than trying to fool Harry into lose his only father figure.

  31. The thing I’ve always admired about J.K Rowling is how she portrays her politicians. The way I’ve been seeing it lately is that Voldemort and Fudge are like communism and facism (not in ideology, sort of metaphorically) in the sense that in theory they’re complete opposites but when put into practice they’re exactly the same. Or… maybe a better example would be Cromwell, taking power after abolishing the monarchy to make life better for British people but really becoming a terrible dictator.

  32. There is a line in Percy’s letter that bugs me: “the people who count have a very different – and probably more accurate – view of Potter’s behavior”

    [sacasm] Yeah Percy, tell Ron, who is usually with Harry, that the Ministry has a better understanding of Harry. [/sarcasm]

  33. I agree with the thoughts on Sirius, but I’m really going to be commenting about Percy. I definitley think he’s a “prat”, like the book says, but I also think he is a very realistic character that people fail to see from his perspective.
    What makes the HP books so real and easy to relate to is, among other things, how the Wizarding world is inhabited by characters who are just the same as in our world – we see the self-absorbed celebrity and the outcasts with prejudices haning over their heads, we see the caring mother and the father with a crazy hobby – all people we are recognizing from our world and our reality.
    I think Percy is definitley one very real person, the teenager who desperatly wants to put distance between himself and his family in order to become more of his own. Just like Ron, I think Percy suffers from being “just” a Weasley brother, easily over-shadowed by his other siblings. His way of coping is to try and be as good as possible at everything he does, a bit like Hermione. Percy is so absorbed in trying to be his own, and finding his own identity, that he turns towards his family the moment his plans of rising above them is interrupted by them.
    I do think Percy is really not a character to hate, but rather someone to pity.

  34. “You’re less like your father than I thought,” [Sirius] said finally, a definite coolness in his voice. “The risk would’ve been what made it fun for James.”
    I was very shocked after I read that and everyone seemed to think that Sirius was being mean; when I first read it, I thought he was saying that Harry has more of his Mother’s personality in him. We don’t know it yet but James and Sirius didn’t get on with Lily until their last year of school and Sirius, known to be reckless, might have thought she was a bit of a ‘goody-two-shoes’.

  35. Hi! I’m back again. Just thought that u might want 2 hear this. I would like to politly disagree with your statement in the boy who lived section that says that James didn’t leave the house when his family had left the house. I think that in DH, in Lily’s letter to Sirius, it states that James is unhappy because Dumbledore borrowed his invisibility cloak, so he can’t go out on excursions anymore. This stands to reson that he had been leaving the house before Dumbledore had borrowed the cloak. just sayin

  36. I love the juxtaposition in this chapter. Percy, who has turned against his family, believes the most important thing is trusting authority and obeying all the rules. He projects this onto Ron, presumably because he feels a certain ‘Weasley middle child’ affinity with him.

    Then we have Sirius, who also turned against his family, but who believes in recklessly breaking rules and flouting authority. This he projects onto Harry because of his relationship with Harry’s father.

    Percy and Sirius are clearly both making errors in their advice to Ron and Harry respectively.

  37. I can’t help but think of Dumbledore and how he refuses to go down the Percy/Fudge/Umbridge path… He knows that power corrupts, that he could become “evil,” without being a Death Eater. Dumbledore is the example of how to BE – even with impulses that drive him to want or revere power and glory, he checks himself. This is the lesson that Harry learns throughout the books. You may want to do bad things, and you may feel bad things, but its your actions that define who you really are.

  38. And this is an absolutely wonderful site. I can’t say how thrilled I was to discover it. Read it every day, along with the books (again.)

  39. Lovely debate. My comment may have SPOILERS.
    I now what Sirius says is, quite frankly, horrible, but… How close to Halloween is the conversation?
    I do think that, while he might have been a pampered prince until, say eight or so, the ties began loosening when he started to question things. I mean, it seems that his “pro-Muggle” attitude was in place before the train ride.
    I believe that his family got quite harsh on him for punishments during school years, before he’d had enough and just left.
    I do think he tried to grow up fast in the last years of the war. But Azkaban stunted that process.
    Spider is right in that, in order for the growing up process to start again, he needs to be not *treated* like a child, which can’t happen in OotP. Being back at the house he grew up in (not his home; he’s another kid who’s home is Hogwarts) with the certain unseen dark presence of the Horcrux hanging over him (remember, in DH it affected the trio without them noticing). It made him regress if anything.
    That comment….. Argh! The one thing that kept Sirius sane in that old house the first time was the knowledge that his friends, especially James, who was more like a brother, were just beyond the walls. So he reacts stupidly. I like to think Sirius and Harry had a little heart-to-heart at Christmas. Sirius knows who Harry is and loves him for it, but he’s also a wishful thinker who wants his brother in all but blood back.
    It’s such a shame Jo killed him, as the second war & beyond would have forced him to begin growing again after he had been cleared.
    I understand why she did it though. Someone really close to the kids had to die for them to understand the war & its dangers better. And o understand that there are things worth dying for.

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