Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Cool Characters: Sirius Black

So, this is the first post of these that I'm doing. This is like a little monthly thing where I focus on a character that I really enjoy or just one that I think is the coolest thing since ice discovered it could jump into icy water and become cooler. Or in other words, characters I really like. Keep in mind, these are just my opinions-and they won't always be the heroic characters. In fact, sometimes they'll be the villains. These are just characters I enjoy and are my favourite to read/watch. And first up is Sirius Black.

I'm going to be honest with you, Sirius Black was my first crush. Yes, seriously. At age eight, my first crush was an escaped fugitive who was on the run with a stolen giant bird-horse and who was suspected by everyone else of being a murderer. You can't say I didn't start as I meant to go on.

But a little background. Sirius Black is one of the more popular characters in the Harry Potter series. He gets a brief mention in the first book-in which he has a flying motorbike. Starting to see why I adore him?-and then appears in the third book in which he is set up as the main villain. But-and obvious spoilers if you haven't read the third book yet-it turns out Sirius is innocent and someone else is the villain, having set Sirius up years ago. Oh, and he's Harry's godfather. Cool.

Obviously, Sirius ends up on the run and for the next two books he serves as a sort of older brother figure to Harry and the others, as well as being one of the series' snarkiest, bad-boy type characters. While Sirius definitely has a reckless streak, that's kind of part of the charm. He spent twelve years locked up in Azkaban and as a result, is kind of a case of arrested development. (And never really recovered from the loss of his best friend, Harry's father. The guy he's accused of betraying to Voldemort. It's a long story.)

So why do I love Sirius Black?

Well, firstly, there's the whole he-was-the-first-person-whose-poster-I-wanted thing. (I didn't own one. I still need one.) But aside from that, Sirius was kind of my introduction to the character I like to know as the Dark Outsider Type-the guy who lives on the edge, is snarky, sarcastic, and is often a bit of a woobie too. Sirius is pretty much all of that, plus is pretty hilarious with it. He's the first real experience Harry has in the series with a genuine family, and he's just hilariously cool. The guy rides around on a flying motorbike, goes on the run with Buckbeak, the stolen Hippogriff, can turn into a dog at will-yeah, I forgot to mention that. Who doesn't want their future husband to have an alternate canine life?

                                 "Sorry, honey, I couldn't catch the dinner."
That came out creepier than I intended.

Anyway, I've got to be honest-one of the main things I love about Sirius is his whole "What's life without a little risk?" attitude. (He says it.) He's hilariously relaxed about breaking the rules which he just sees as a bit of boredom alleviation. Oh, and he gets some pretty cool witty lines, too, especially in the films. Plus, the dynamic between him and Lupin in both the books and the films is pretty cool. Especially given that they give off the old-married-couple vibe-not shipping, just...observing. *hums and stares innocently in the opposite direction* Even Snape notices it.

Remus: Be quiet, Sirius...
Sirius: Be quiet yourself, Remus!-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, film.

I rest my case.

But more than that, Sirius is a really well-written character. He's very clearly a good guy by the end of the third book, but he has definite flaws-he can be cruel on occasion, he does get too reckless at times, and he can be arrogant. But they're all clearly depicted as flaws. It's one of the things I like best about J K Rowling's writing-she can clearly demonstrate her heroic characters as flawed people, and nobody's expected to be an angel just because they're one of the good guys. It's a clever introduction to the whole idea of just because someone's a good person, doesn't mean they've never done bad things, and it serves as a reminder that just because someone's flawed doesn't mean they're a bad person, just a human one. It's a lot deeper than you get in a lot of kids' books though I'd argue that Harry Potter isn't just for kids (though don't get me started on that one, I'll be here for hours.)

Sirius was the first cool outside rebel I really came across and he had the whole dark and mysterious thing. As a kid, I kind of wanted to marry him. Or at least have a ride on his motorbike. (That is not a double entendre.)

Oh, and I'll be honest; the scene where Sirius Black dies was the first time I ever cried reading a book. No, seriously. I was nine years old, and I remember quite vividly the moment I read it. True story time: it was Friday evening and I was sitting in the kitchen waiting for a McDonald's meal. I got to the page, and just stared at the words. Then I went back and reread the chapter. I kept hoping. Maybe I'd got it wrong. Maybe it was all a mistake.

It wasn't. He was gone. I didn't say anything. I simply went and sat in a corner of the kitchen, curled up and cried quietly. I swear, it was like a defining moment in my childhood. (In case you were worried, when my mother came in and saw me, her first response was to give me a hug. And then tell me she was sure Harry would be OK.) My first experience with grief was through a fictional character. Once again, I'm not sure what that says about me.

Also, the first time I saw a Youtube video of Sirius Black to the song Nutshell by Alice in Chains, I cried. I'm too attached to this character.

Anyway, Sirius Black is, to this day, one of my favourite characters. He's witty, he's funny, he's the outsider-and OK, he has a mean side, it's touched on a lot in the books. But he grows out of it-mostly-and he's still there for Harry and he's just plain cool. And he's played by Gary Oldman in the movies. Just thought I'd throw that in.

Oh, and when I read that Harry named his first kid James Sirius? I kind of squealed and jumped around the room. I'm not ashamed.

So that's my first Cool Characters post and I'm just going to add a little message at the end here; if you like my blog, tell me! Just leave me a comment below, and you'll make me very, very happy. Happier than when Sirius gets into a sparring match with Snape. And that's all for today.

Don't make me cry, Sirius.

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