Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, everyone knows is a fugitive from the Ministry of Magic, which mistakenly believes him to be a death eater. He was able to escape Azkaban because he is an Animagus. He changed into his dog form, squeezed through the bars of his cell, and swam to his freedom. Let’s try to understand why Why Did Sirius Black Choose A Black Dog As His Animagus Form?
Why Did Sirius Black Choose A Black Dog As His Animagus Form?
His journey in the Harry Potter series was short-lived. The cool Godfather, friend, and a rebel – Sirius won hearts of many. He was arrogant, but he had the right amount of arrogance. He could kill his friends and die for them too. Also, he was revengeful, and passionately so. And that was probably why he could transform into his Animagus form even without having a wand in Azkaban.
Almost every Harry Potter fan is aware of the story of Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. In the book, Rowling talks about how Lupin, Pettigrew, and James became werewolf, rat and stag respectively, but the same explanation is missing about Black’s form of a dog. Here is why Sirius chose this particular form:
The Dog Star
As an Animagus form, a black dog suits him perfectly. The name ‘Sirius’ comes from the name of a star often referred to as the Dog Star. It has that nickname because it is in the constellation known as the Great Dog. The star was given the name ‘Sirius’ because it is the brightest star in the sky. The Greek word seirios means ‘burning’.
The star has great significance in the magical world. As the symbol of the goddess Isis, it was central to the religion and philosophy of Egypt, where most magic originated.
The Egyptians used Sirius to set their calendars because its movements are linked to the seasons. On the first day of summer, it rises just before the Sun. That was New Year’s day in ancient Egypt. It forecasts the annual flooding of the Nile river, which gave vital nourishment to the growing fields. We refer to the long, hot days of summer now as ‘dog days’ because Sirius marks their arrival.
The Animagus form of a black dog is appropriate to Sirius Black in more than name alone. Magical dogs appear mysteriously throughout Europe and North America. There have been many sightings in Britain, where they are known by names like Black Shuck, Old Shuck, Shucky Dog, the Shug Monster and Shag Dog. The residents of Staffordshire gave it the name Sirius uses: Padfoot.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rowling reveals that names taken from astronomy are a Black family tradition. Sirius’s cousin, Andromeda is named for a galaxy, her sister Bellatrix is named for a bright star in the constellation Orion and Sirius’s third sister Narcissa is named for the brightest star in the constellation Leo.
Scholars were once convinced that the black dog was the preferred form of the Devil. Even among people with less anxious minds, black dogs are widely feared. Many consider them an omen of death. This is precisely what Professor Trelawney tells Harry his early sightings of Sirius mean.
Every animagus has a story. Sirius’s form had one too. And now you know it.
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