Sirius Black is one of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter series. He is Harry Potter’s godfather and a loyal member of the Order of the Phoenix. He was also a talented wizard, an Animagus, and a Marauder. But is he related to Harry Potter by blood? The answer is not as simple as you might think.
The Black Family Tree
Sirius Black was born into the House of Black, one of the oldest and most prestigious pure-blood families in the wizarding world. The Blacks were known for their pride, arrogance, and disdain for Muggles and Muggle-borns. They also had a tradition of naming their children after stars and constellations.
The Black family traced its origin back to the Middle Ages. They claimed to have entirely magical ancestry, but as Sirius Black informed his godson Harry Potter, no true pure-blood families existed by the twentieth century, and the pure-blood families like the Blacks simply removed Muggles and Squibs from their family trees.
Sirius Black was the eldest son of Orion and Walburga Black, who were both Blacks by birth and second cousins. He had a younger brother, Regulus, who died after turning against Lord Voldemort in 1979 by attempting to destroy his Horcruxes¹. Sirius was also the cousin of Bellatrix Lestrange, Andromeda Tonks, and Narcissa Malfoy.
The Potter Connection
Harry Potter was the only child of James and Lily Potter, who were both killed by Lord Voldemort when Harry was one year old. James Potter was a pure-blood wizard, but he did not care about blood purity or status. He was a popular and talented student at Hogwarts, where he befriended Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. They formed a group called the Marauders, who created the Marauder’s Map and became Animagi to accompany Lupin during his transformations as a werewolf.
James Potter was also a distant relative of the House of Black. His paternal grandparents were Fleamont and Euphemia Potter, who were both descended from Henry Potter (also known as Harry), who was the son of Hardwin and Iolanthe Potter (née Peverell). Iolanthe Peverell was the granddaughter of Ignotus Peverell, one of the three brothers who received the Deathly Hallows from Death himself.
Ignotus Peverell was also an ancestor of the House of Black, through his daughter Iolanthe Peverell (not to be confused with James Potter’s ancestor), who married Hardwin Burke. Their son Linfred Burke married Isla Black, who was the daughter of Phineas Nigellus Black and Ursula Flint. Phineas Nigellus Black was the headmaster of Hogwarts in the late 19th century and the great-great-grandfather of Sirius Black.
Therefore, Harry Potter and Sirius Black were related through their common ancestor Ignotus Peverell, but they were very distant cousins. Their exact degree of kinship is not clear, but it is likely that they were something like third cousins four times removed.
The Godfather Bond
Despite their remote blood relation, Harry Potter and Sirius Black shared a much stronger bond as godfather and godson. Sirius Black was James Potter’s best friend and trusted him with his life. He was also one of the few people who knew that Lily Potter was pregnant with Harry. He offered to be their Secret Keeper when they went into hiding from Lord Voldemort, but they chose Peter Pettigrew instead, who betrayed them to their deaths.
Sirius Black spent twelve years in Azkaban for a crime he did not commit: killing Pettigrew and twelve Muggles with a single curse. He escaped in 1993 after seeing a picture of Pettigrew in his Animagus form (a rat) on the front page of the Daily Prophet. He tracked him down to Hogwarts, where he met Harry Potter for the first time.
Sirius Black revealed his innocence to Harry Potter and offered him a home with him after Pettigrew escaped again. Harry accepted his offer and felt a surge of happiness at having a family member who cared for him. However, their reunion was short-lived, as Sirius had to go on the run from the Ministry of Magic, who still believed him to be a murderer.
Sirius Black kept in touch with Harry Potter through letters and gifts. He also used his Animagus form (a large black dog) to sneak into Hogsmeade and watch over him. He became a member of the Order of the Phoenix again and used his family home at 12 Grimmauld Place as their headquarters.
Sirius Black died in 1996 during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, when he was hit by a curse from his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange and fell through the veil in the Death Chamber. Harry Potter was devastated by his loss and felt guilty for leading him into a trap. He later inherited his house and his possessions, including his flying motorbike.
Sirius Black was more than a relative to Harry Potter. He was a friend, a mentor, and a father figure. He loved him unconditionally and sacrificed himself for him. He was also one of the few people who understood what it was like to be an outcast and a rebel. He taught him to be brave, loyal, and compassionate. He was, in every way, his godfather.