In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry discovers that he has a godfather. His father’s old best friend, Sirius Black, is a fugitive mass murderer who eventually finds Harry — only to inform him that it’s not true, and he was framed. Sirius and Harry form a close relationship after his third of year of Hogwarts, with Sirius taking up the parental role he never had the chance to during his twelve years in Azkaban.
Warm, protectively, and genuinely caring, Sirius initially seems like the dad Harry never had. His recklessness and wild nature from being cooped in prison for so long makes him prone a lot of risks though, and he doesn’t always seem to be thinking about Harry’s best interests when he acts. Great parental figure, or reckless bad influence? A bit of both, to be honest. No one’s perfect.
10 Great Parental Figure: Broke Out Of Azkaban To Save Harry
No one’s ever broken out of Azkaban prison — it was once thought impossible. When Sirius picked up a Daily Prophet and saw Peter Pettigrew was at Hogwarts, putting Harry in mortal peril, he found the strength to slip through the bars in his dog form and swim all the way to the shore. The strength required after all those years wasting away surely near-killed Sirius, but the determination to save his godson kept him going.
9 Too Far: Was Not Subtle About It… At All
Sirius clearly wasn’t in his right mind entirely when doing this, though. He broke into Hogwarts, slashed a portrait in rage, and was seen standing over Ron’s bed with a knife. Although it was Pettigrew he was after, he also severely injured Ron when he dragged him into the Whomping Willow, mauling his leg. The ultimate goal was to save Harry, but Sirius didn’t seem to much care just how much collateral damage he caused, even if that damage involved Harry’s friends.
8 Great Parental Figure: Gave Harry To Hagrid
Perhaps the single most sensible decision Sirius ever made was to hand baby Harry over to Hagrid rather than keep him. We know why this was, of course: he was about to hunt down Pettigrew, and perhaps knew he was about to commit murder and go to prison regardless of what happened there. He also was said to be not-particularly mentally stable after the death of the Potters, and perhaps knew deep down that he wasn’t a fit full-time parent.
Whatever his reasoning, he selflessly handed Harry to Hagrid to be looked after before he went after his once-friend for revenge, and he truly believed it to be in Harry’s best interests. Maybe it wasn’t, in the end — er, the Dursleys — but Harry might have died with Sirius, so it all worked out. Sort of. In a way. Harry’s still alive, isn’t he?
7 Too Far: Encouraged Him To Be More Reckless
Sirius made it quite clear he wasn’t cut out to be a father when he encouraged Harry to sneak off to Hogsmeade with him in the midst of a lot of danger. Sirius had already been sighted and was fairly close to being imprisoned again, so Harry told him no, not to come to Hogsmeade. Although Harry, despite being the teenager, was the one thinking clearly, Sirius acted very childishly. He essentially told him he wasn’t having enough fun, and was cold with him for weeks after.
Er, okay, Sirius. Your godson doesn’t want you thrown back in prison and also doesn’t want to die (and is being hunted by the darkest wizard alive), but sure, you get yourself in a bad mood over this. Sounds reasonable for an adult.
6 Great Parental Figure: Rushed After Him To The Ministry
When Harry went to the Ministry to rescue Sirius, after seeing a vision of him tortured, he showed up to find that it was all a trick and that the Death Eaters and Voldemort were converging on him. Knowing there was a high chance he’d never return from that fight, Sirius ran after him without a second thought, because he could never have lived with himself if he left James’ son to die.
This, of course, proved to be Sirius’ death when he was murdered by his cousin.
5 Too Far: Wanted To Induct Him To The Order
The Order of the Phoenix was an elite secret society of dark wizard fighters, founded to keep Voldemort at bay. It was strictly for adults due to the nature of the missions — many of which would involve members risking their lives, or even throwing them away for the cause. Sirius, however, seemed to think it was perfectly reasonable to induct Harry at fifteen years old. Harry’s brain wasn’t even biologically developed yet, but Sirius wanted to give him the chance to make a decision that may have meant throwing his life away at some point.
4 Great Parental Figure: Lived Off Rats To Be Close To Him
When he was hanging around Hogwarts during the Triwizard Tournament to keep an eye on Harry, Sirius had to keep out of sight at all times. It’s mentioned in the books that he had to dwell in a cave and live off of rats. Rats. The guy seriously ate rodents just to be close to his godson and make sure he could be around if he were to get into too much danger. That, we have to admit, is some parenting dedication.
3 Too Far: Tried To Accompany Him To The Hogwarts Express
In his dog form, Sirius tried to accompany Harry to Hogwarts. Since people were already on the lookout for Sirius, it was a mistake, particularly as Sirius was acting very un-doglike. Lucius Malfoy later hinted he knew who Sirius was even in the form of the big black canine, so this move definitely was risky, as Harry could have ended up being questioned and dragged into Sirius’ supposed crimes.
2 Great Parental Figure: Stood Up To Snape
Let’s get one thing straight — Sirius was a horrific bully in school. He was so infatuated with his best friend that he mercilessly bullied Snape who, at the time, was only guilty of showing affection for the woman James Potter was obsessed with.
But as adults, Snape abused his position of power and bullied his students. This cycle does not justify the way he treated powerless teenagers and when Sirius got wind of the private Occlumency lessons, he was quick to tell Snape that using these sessions to abuse Harry would have consequences. Say what you like about Sirius as a teenager — this was justified.
1 Too Far: Got Angry With Molly Weasley
It wasn’t truly fair of Sirius to get angry with Mrs. Weasley for being protective of Harry. She was rightly worried about Sirius’ influence on him, knowing him to be reckless, but Sirius almost seemed to be jealous of Harry having a parental figure who wasn’t him. The twelve years in Azkaban seemed to stunt Sirius’ maturity growth, leaving him as a moody twenty-one year old even emerging the prison many years later. Is it his fault? No, but it often didn’t benefit Harry.