Podcast Question of the Week: Episode 225

So many of the events in the series rely on what happened on a single night. So what if something had been different?

In this chapter we find out that, while at the ruined Potter cottage, Sirius asked Hagrid if he could take Harry away with him. If Sirius had been given Harry do you think he still would’ve gone after Peter?

Let us know what you think in the comments below, and listen to our next recap episode for some answers!

 

  • Arthur Dent

    I think if Hagrid had given Harry to Sirius, it wouldn’t have made a difference in the end. Dumbledore would have gone to Sirius and persuaded him to hand Harry over to the Dursleys, because that way he would have the best possible protection growing up. Thus the only change would be Sirius going after Wormtail a few hours later than he originally did.

    • Paigers

      I rarely get to listen to the podcast in time to comment, but I’m dropping in here to say that I 100% agree.

      (Assuming, of course, that Sirius had managed to convince Dumbledore about the secret-keeper switch.) I think that, using a combination of both the blood protection you mentioned and the fact that Sirius was a single, 22-year-old loose canon with no stability and probably no clue what to do with a baby, Dumbledore could have convinced Sirius to hand over Harry to the Dursleys.

      What I think might have been different though, is that even if Sirius had gone after Wormtail after that, Wormtail might have gotten far enough away — or the circumstances might have been just different enough — that things might have gone better for Sirius. Or at least differently. He might have been able to think rationally hours or days later than he was able to immediately after seeing his friends’ bodies.

      • Gryffindork

        I like this thought, but I doubt that Sirius would ever be able to think rationally about his friends’ death. We see in PoA that he is still ravenous for revenge even 12 years later (though how much of this is Sirius’ personality and how much is his time in Azkaban is anybody’s guess).

        I think of Sirius as impulsive and irrational person who lets his heart lead – sometimes to his own detriment. I feel like even if Sirius had given up baby Harry to Dumbledore, he would spend the rest of his days searching for Peter to avenge his friends no matter how many people tried to dissuade him. How this would affect the rest of the series though…boy, who knows!

        • Paigers

          That is…fair, haha. Possibly he might not have gotten himself in Azkaban, though. Possibly.

  • BloodCharm

    No, not at first. Harry’s well-being would have been his priority if he had been given to him and would have made his protection his first priority. He could have possibly left Harry alone at an unknown location with protection charms even the Fidelius Charm around him as protection and could have gone after Peter afterwards, Of course, babies need to be fed so not sure if this would be a good decision, however, Sirius is also quite reckless, so this is quite a possible scenario.

    • Sirius was only 21 years old right? A 21 year old isn’t exactly the most developed or mature adult yet. I don’t know if we have ever seen Sirius level-headed enough to believe that at 21 years old he would just let Peter go. Peter murdered Sirius’s best friend, his brother.

  • SwishAndFlick27

    I agree that Sirius would still have gone after Peter. He was too driven by grief and anger to think clearly at that point. I think he would have left Harry at home, or even given him to someone else for a few hours while he chased Peter. I wonder if he would have left Harry with Remus. Although the Marauders didn’t trust Remus at this point because they thought he was the spy, maybe Sirius would go to make amends and explain what had happened. Remus has always been the more logical one. Perhaps he could have persuaded Sirius to hold on and not go after Peter straight away? They could have contacted Dumbledore or the Ministry, and they could go after the real traitor.

  • travellinginabluebox

    I think it would largely depend on one other variable: Dumbledore

    Would Dumbledore believe Sirius? – Yes, I think he would, especially since he is the owner of a pensieve, which can be very helpful in situations like this.

    Would Dumbledore allow Harry to stay with Sirius? – This I am not so sure about, and looking forward to read your ideas. On the one hand I think Dumbledore would believe it would be best for Harry and his bigger role to grow up with the Dursleys on the other hand Sirius is a very adept wizard, so certainly able to provide protection especially combined with Dumbledore’s own magic. However, Sirius is hardly known as a sensible and stable man, especially at the age of 22 when his best firends just died and another turned traitor. However, if we put Lupin in the picture (yes, I know there is about a million fanfiction like this) it could work out, since Lupin could ground Sirius enough and together they would be able to raise a kid.

    Would Sirius hunt Pettigrew? – Again, this would depend on Dumbledore. Let’s assume Dumbledore believes Sirius and would be able to convince the Ministry of Sirius innocence than an auror squad plus the remains of the Order could go hunt for Pettigrew, with a much more successful outcome. And if they fail in that task at least the truth would be out there. However, I think it is save to assume that Sirius would be participating in the hunt for Pettigrew. As far as we know he is an auror himself and would probably remain in that position, so it would be easy for him to be part of the Pettigrew task force. But it would be more organized and maybe more successful.

    • Paigers

      I’m not sure Dumbledore would have gone for anything less than the full blood protection of the Dursleys, but ultimately, whose decision would it have been? Everyone listens to Dumbledore, but if Sirius had really put his foot down (esp. if he knew how bad the Dursleys could be), I wonder if that would have worked.

      And you bring up a good point about there potentially being professionals and other Order members hunting for Wormtail. I hadn’t thought of that. Perhaps things would have gone much better (though technical point: Sirius wasn’t an Auror, but he was a full-time Order member, and totally agree he would have gotten in on that action one way or another.)

      • travellinginabluebox

        Good point about Dumbledore still going for the blood protection. However, if Sirius’ name is cleared than he is the legal guardian and thus should have the right to say what happens to Harry. At least technically this is how it should work. Dumbledore could have of course convinced Sirius otherwise, but I highly doubt that Sirius would have given in on that matter.

        Thanks, for clearing up my false guess that Sirius was an auror, I obviously mixed canon with fanfiction there 😉
        The professional hunt for Pettigrew only has one downside: The aurors, as we know them, are not that proficient, after all the were hunting for Sirius for over a year without any success. They didn’t know he was an animagus, so I’ll give them a little credit back there. But even knowing Pettigrew transforms into a rat – hunting for a rat is a lot harder than looking for a big black dog. Even with Dumbledore’s help will only be doing so much good.

  • thePetrichorPatronus

    This is such a great question! Choices and Love are perhaps two of Rowling’s biggest themes, and both are so present regarding this question (if one pretends that Harry didn’t need to be with the Dursleys due to the blood protection and if Sirius wasn’t believed to be the betrayer especially).

    So if that was the case would Sirius choose to take care of Harry due to his love for James and Lily (and Harry of course, who let’s remember he did actually know)? Or would his anger and grief (which of course also comes from love) make him unable to put aside those emotions and result in him leaving Harry with someone else to pursue Peter?

    I think it is really important to remember that the Sirius we knows as readers is definitely severely affected by his long stay in Azkaban. The dementors aside, he was basically isolated 24/7 and had no life at all. Spending all those years only having his loss of his closest friend to think about and Peter’s betrayal.

    Of course he would still be the rash and action-first thinking-later person we know and his love for James was very deep and that loss would change him. But I remember reading Order of the Phoenix and how much happier Sirius was when other people were around and how depressed he got being isolated and alone, unable to leave the house. I’m not sure if he would have been an ideal guardian to Harry though, especially on his own (the Dursleys are not hard competition though). Sirius is not one of my favourite characters but I would like to think that with Harry alive and Lupin there he would have been able to process the loss and move on better (then he did – evident by how he saw James so much in Harry and so on).

    • thePetrichorPatronus

      Also glad to be here and commenting, have only commented once or twice a long time ago – love the podcast 🙂

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      I reckon it might have worked out even with everyone thinking Sirius was a traitor. If he didn’t go after Pettigrew, he could have gone straight up to Dumbledore and said, ‘I wasn’t the traitor, look, check my memories if you want, but do you really think I’d do something like that?’ And then the Order *may* have caught Pettigrew before he went into hiding. Even if they didn’t, the fact that he would go into hiding would be highly suspicious anyway, seeing as Voldemort had just vanished. They would know who was a spy, Lupin and Sirius would be reconciled (cause remember, Sirius thought Lupin was the spy before Pettigrew betrayed them), and then Harry could have at least been raised in a loving home.

      Of course, this is all assuming that Dumbledore wouldn’t put his foot down about the love protection; but on the other hand, Sirius is stubborn as hell, and I don’t think he would have let Harry live in an abusive situation if he could have done anything at all about it.

  • Yes, Sirius would have gone after Peter no matter what. Peter is responsible for the death of Sirius’s best friend. James was like a brother to Sirius. Sirius did everything he could to separate himself from the dark arts and in the end his friend Peter brought it all back. There is no way Sirius is just gonna let Peter go.

    I don’t know what he would have done with Harry. That is a scary thought. Would Sirius have left him someplace all alone?

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    Does anyone else remember that comic sheet about Sirius knocking at Remus’s door at night, telling him he’s done something bad? – and then he reveals baby Harry whom he has been carrying beneath his coat in a baby sling. I’ve been trying to find it but no success yet.

    That’s how I picture the events if Sirius had gotten to take care of Harry. He would find Remus and plan from there. It may be unlikely, we don’t know where Remus was during that time, but my wolfstar shipper heart wants it to be true.

    • frumpybutsupersmart

      I think Lupin’s biography on Pottermore says that he was somewhere in the north of England when everything happened.

      • travellinginabluebox

        Yeah well, distances kind of lose their point if you can apparate…

    • But isn’t there something about Sirius not knowing if Lupin was good or bad at the time?

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        at this point they knew Peter was the traitor. If Sirius didn’t believe both his friends were on the dark side, Remus would have been an ally at least.

  • Sherry Gomes

    Response to comments in the recap episode.

    The hosts were questioning whether or not Sirius was Harry’s
    guardian, as well as the godfather. In POA, near the beginning of the chapter
    called The Dementor’s Kiss, as they are walking through the tunnel from the
    shack—before Lupin goes wolf—Sirius says “your parents appointed me your guardian.”
    First he asks if Harry knows about him being the godfather. Harry responds affirmatively,
    and then Sirius says that the Potters appointed him Harry’s guardian. Guardian
    is a very definite word.

    Also, what evidence do we have that Sirius was brash and
    reckless. Even at the time of the Potters’ deaths? We don’t have any canon that
    says this, do we? Seems to me it’s fandom canon, but not real. He first wanted
    Harry and only went after Peter when Hagrid, whom I love but who can’t think
    for himself if it’s not something Dumbledore planted, insists on taking Harry.
    It seems that the Sirius haters forget all about the man who lived in a cave
    and ate rats to be near his godson in GOF. I’m sure a muggle psychiatrist would
    diagnose him as having a terrible case of PTSD. And it surely did not help to
    be forced to live in that hateful house, with his horrible mother’s portrait
    screaming at him, Kreacher insulting him, Molly and Dumbledore bossing him
    around as if he was a child not a man at all. Ah, don’t even get me started on
    Molly and Dumbledore in regard to Sirius. They both should be ashamed of
    themselves! If people base the brashness on Sirius rushing after Peter, I just
    wonder what any of us would have done if the people we loved most in the world
    were murdered and we knew who had brought it about. I’m not sure I would have
    sat idly by, especially when the one thing that could have anchored me was stolen
    away on the whim of a meddlesome old man.

    But back to my point, Sirius was appointed Harry’s guardian.
    What actual legal right did Dumbledore have ever in Harry’s upbringing? If
    Sirius had insisted and argued with Hagrid, how could Dumbledore have overridden
    that? Since I’m scornful and skeptical about the blood protection, since it
    didn’t protect Harry in the miserable home Dumbledore sent him to, I think
    sirius would have been a far better choice. He would have loved Harry and
    protected him with his life. Remember, both McGonagall and Lupin talk about how
    James and Sirius were the brightest students in their classes. I know that Fan
    Fiction always portrays an idiot Sirius and the smart wise Lupin reining him
    in, but actual canon states that Sirius and James were the smartest ones. So, I’m
    confident he could have taken good care of Harry, made mistakes along the way
    as all parents do, but would have done his best and given his all to make sure
    he had a safe and loving upbringing.

  • JusticeforBookGinny

    I’m a little late to this discussion, mostly because I recently overcame my nerves about posting and am jumping in headfirst! I love this question, because I love Sirius Black. And I think he values his duties and his responsibilities to his beloved friends much more highly than he values revenge. In PoA, when he escapes from Azkaban, the first thing he does is find Harry. At this point, he knows exactly where Pettigrew is, knows with which family he resides, and knows that in just a few short weeks, Pettigrew will be much more difficult to grasp as he will be living at Hogwarts. However, knowing all of this, he still seeks out Harry first who is probably much more difficult to find, given the protections that surround Harry when he is at the Dursleys, and knowing that Harry will probably be a more dangerous person to seek than Pettigrew, as people will be expecting him to go after Harry. Despite the personal risks, and despite the greater opportunity for Sirius to get revenge before the school year starts than after, he gives up time and energy right after he escapes to check on his godson. I think, if Sirius had been allowed to keep Harry, or even visit Harry, or if he had chosen to come with Hagrid to drop Harry off instead of just lending Hagrid his motorcycle, he could have explained everything to Dumbledore, who could have taken action to ensure that Pettigrew was caught and punished. Sirius and Remus could have reconnected under the knowledge that neither of them was the actual traitor, and their lives would have benefited from the balance that they give each other.

    I’m inclined to think that Dumbledore would still have made sure that Harry stayed with the Dursleys, but I have a funny feeling that Sirius would have immediately purchased the house next door. He would not have accepted Harry living with anyone else unless Dumbledore explained why; Dumbledore, knowing this, most likely would have explained just enough to satisfy Sirius. Sirius would have been the least popular, most intimidating neighbor on the block, but he would be the cool guy that Harry always looked up to, who Dudley and Vernon could never seem to intimidate, and who took a special liking to Harry even while everyone else in his life disliked him. Sirius could have been the one to deliver the Hogwarts acceptance letter, threaten the Dursleys, and take Harry shopping in Diagon Alley. Remus could have come around as another friend and mentor for Harry, both the silent protectors of the Boy who Lived, the boy who was loved by them before he was born.

    So no, I don’t think Sirius would have immediately gone after Pettigrew. If Pettigrew still got away, I think Sirius would have made it his life’s work to track him down, exhausting all possible resources to do so, but I think that Sirius has a code of honor and loyalty to James and Lily, and a true love for his godson that would have made him protective, longing to preserve the only remaining piece of his best friends. He would have done everything in his power to ensure that Harry stayed safe, protected, and would have become a mature man, a fun uncle, who cared and protected, but still lived a little on the edge, rather than a man ravaged by grief, torn apart by the constant presence of his worst memories, and then made miserable and lonely, forced to stay locked up even after he earns his freedom for a crime he never committed.

  • JusticeforBookGinny

    I’m a little late to this discussion, mostly because this comment was originally marked as spam for some reason…I love this question, because I love Sirius Black. And I think he values his duties and his responsibilities to his beloved friends much more highly than he values revenge. In PoA, when he escapes from Azkaban, the first thing he does is find Harry. At this point, he knows exactly where Pettigrew is, knows with which family he resides, and knows that in just a few short weeks, Pettigrew will be much more difficult to grasp as he will be living at Hogwarts. However, knowing all of this, he still seeks out Harry first who is probably much more difficult to find and knowing that Harry will probably be a more dangerous person to seek than Pettigrew, as people will be expecting him to go after Harry. Despite the personal risks, and despite the greater opportunity for Sirius to get revenge before the school year starts than after, he gives up time and energy right after he escapes to check on his godson. I think, if Sirius had been allowed to keep Harry, or even visit Harry, or if he had chosen to come with Hagrid to drop Harry off instead of just lending Hagrid his motorcycle, he could have explained everything to Dumbledore, who could have taken action to ensure that Pettigrew was caught and punished. Sirius and Remus could have reconnected under the knowledge that neither of them was the actual traitor, and their lives would have benefited from the balance that they give each other.
    I’m inclined to think that Dumbledore would still have made sure that Harry stayed with the Dursleys, but I have a funny feeling that Sirius would have immediately purchased the house next door. He would not have accepted Harry living with anyone else unless Dumbledore explained why; Dumbledore, knowing this, most likely would have explained just enough to satisfy Sirius. Sirius would have been the least popular, most intimidating neighbor on the block, but he would be the cool guy that Harry always looked up to, who Dudley and Vernon could never seem to intimidate, and who took a special liking to Harry even while everyone else in his life disliked him. Sirius could have been the one to deliver the Hogwarts acceptance letter, threaten the Dursleys, and take Harry shopping in Diagon Alley. Remus could have come around as another friend and mentor for Harry, both the silent protectors of the Boy who Lived, the boy who was loved by them before he was born. So no, I don’t think Sirius would have immediately gone after Pettigrew. If Pettigrew still got away, I think Sirius would have made it his life’s work to track him down, exhausting all possible resources to do so, but I think that Sirius has a code of honor and loyalty to James and Lily, and a true love for his godson that would have made him protective, longing to preserve the only remaining piece of his best friends. He would have done everything in his power to ensure that Harry stayed safe, protected, and would have become a mature man, a fun uncle, who cared and protected, but still lived a little on the edge, rather than a man ravaged by grief, torn apart by the constant presence of his worst memories, and then made miserable and lonely, forced to stay locked up even after he earns his freedom for a crime he never committed.