On Sirius, Harry, and Family

I’ve been rewatching every Harry Potter film with my kids for like the fourth time in maybe two months, and each pass through a couple things really stand out. Harry’s relationship with his surrogate father Sirius Black touches every one of my paternal heartstrings. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Gary Oldman and Daniel Radcliffe shared the same sort of bond in real life while making these films. Oldman is insanely good in this role. He’s cool as a cucumber, ferociously protective of Harry, witty, tender, and basically every other thing a man should be. Plus his fashion sense is killer and I want his suit. He’s just so cool. He does a behind-the-back wand maneuver in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in Order of the Phoenix, for goodness sake!

Sirius’s death is crushing, for Harry and audiences. That his killer is also his estranged cousin, and the person most affected by his passing is his surrogate son, just reinforces one of the great themes of the Potter universe: the family we make can be just as, if not more, important than the one we’re born into.

Rewatching these films has really made me appreciate aspects I only partially grasped the first few times through, all those years ago. And I’m irrationally excited, and weirdly proud, that my children love them so dearly as well.

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