Making Children Fight Your War Act 1

In the last post, we took a bit of a detour if you will where we looked at the life of Tom Riddle. A tragic story in a lot of ways but we could not fault Albus Dumbledore too much for that. Up until this point we have seen that Albus is someone who thinks a tad too highly of himself. He would also rather wait to help someone until it is the only decent thing to do. I mean I do not condone violence but going for a duel when Tom asked for a job the second time would have been a benefit I think to the wider community. Nevertheless, that is not what happened and the newly christened Lord Voldemort was ready to wreak havoc for another day. This post is a bit longer than the others and like the last one bit more off-topic. Throughout the books, we learn quite a lot about the first war and the things that transpired. But we never get a clear answer, or a decent timeline so that is what I am doing today.

The first wizarding war
In 1970 the first (British) Wizarding war breaks out, this is the year James and Lily turn 10 years old (both being born in 1960). What I find interesting is that this war must have been very different from the second war. In canon you get this distinct idea they were quite similar. In ways I think they would have been, we had the same two generals on either side of the battlefield. Because even when Albus Dumbledore was dead he was still directing his soldiers from beyond the grave. People were even listening to his portrait which is a whole different level of odd. Why then do I think that the war was significantly different? Lily Evans that is why.

There are no inquiries about where Muggle-borns get their magic, as they would have surely figured it out in the eleven years that followed, or the subsequent 16 years. Muggle-borns are still able and allowed to walk in the streets and go to school. Muggles are allowed on the platform to wave their children goodbye, we know this because Lily has a row with Petunia on the platform while her parents neglect to parent as they are too busy looking around. Lily Evans is a Muggle-born who goes to school for seven years with little problem. Now yes, there is name-calling as well as the use of dark magic on students with such a heritage, and this is obviously wrong. Yet, it’s the fault of the administration and reflects rising tensions in the wider community. Yet, when Lily leaves school she joins a vigilante organization and she isn’t locked up for it. She is allowed to be in open resistance, she is allowed to marry a pureblood even, and she can without trouble birth a child. The trouble is of course the date of birth later on but until this point, there has been no significant discrimination based on her blood status. James for that matter feels confident enough in himself and his family name to marry a Muggle-born and also join a resistance group. He could have easily married some other pureblood or like Sirius not get married. They could have sat back and done nothing like a lot of other people did. Yes, in war times people join resistance groups, and people fall in love. But what I mean is that there are no laws that disallow this. There is no open discrimination. Because we would have been told and we haven’t been. Without the killing of random muggles, without the persecution of Muggle-borns. Everyone we know who died in the first war where in the order of the Phoenix. One might wonder… What was this war actually about? I know that the ministry hadn’t fallen in the first war but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have been influenced, not to mention that they could have easily killed muggles and muggle-borns walking around in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade. But we never heard of the Hogsmeade slaying of 1973 or something.

Interlude- the marauders at school
I have some words about Snape that I will not say today, what I will say is that it is canon that Snape and his wannabe death-eater friends used slurs in the hallway and dark magic toward students they found lesser. There was also hexing in the hall and name-calling by James and Sirius and they are probably not the only ones. However, Snape knew more dark magic in his first year than anyone else in school Sirius tells Harry. Meaning he used it on others, otherwise, no one would know. Snape hangs out with people using dark magic on random people, they call everyone who is muggle-born a mudblood. He invents levicorpus and uses it against others so frequently that his ‘enemies’ learn how to cast it. I know that a lot of people view Snape as the ultimate victim of bullying and James as the ultimate bully. I do not agree with this, if we look at book five, the scene where the DA hexes Draco Malfoy and his friends, and we see a memory of that. We would say Harry is a vicious bully who doesn’t even have the decency to bully someone himself. We see in book six that Narcissa elutes to this “Put those away’, she said coldly. ‘If you attack my son again, I shall ensure it is the last thing you’ll ever do’” (HBP: 6, 95). The thing is no one would call Draco an innocent victim of bullying but he was in that instance. We cannot know exactly what went on when James was at school, but what we do know is that things that happened were not alright, using dark magic on Mary MacDonald was wrong, and dangling Severus Snape by his ankle was also wrong. The important question is where are the teachers? Where is the detention, the suspension? The hash talks with parents? Why is anything like this allowed to happen? Where is the headmaster in all of this? Especially when there is a war going on. Why are there children eager to join the death eaters? Why doesn’t anyone teach them that they are all the same because they all have magic? As a matter of fact, why is Regulus Black able to go to school marked at 16, and no one is making me believe he was the only one. Let’s say Dumbledore doesn’t care about people becoming death-eaters for whatever reason. He is so big for muggle and muggle-born rights, right? Why does he let this discrimination continue? He is the headmaster he could say no dark magic, he could say don’t use the word mudblood. Dumbledore could have created a safe and healthy environment for everyone. A haven if you will for children that didn’t want to join Voldemort. But he didn’t do that, he started a vigilante group and was much too busy with that.

Other than the vicious bullying, let us talk about Remus Lupin. Does Remus deserve to be at Hogwarts? Absolutely yes. But where are the other werewolves? He isn’t the only one. He cannot be. As a matter of fact, where are child vampires? Why don’t they have  Veela students? It is a bit odd that out of everyone there is one werewolf that is allowed to get an education and this werewolf later is an important piece in the war chessboard that Dumbledore is playing with. Now, I believe that Remus should have been allowed to go to school as he was. What I do not understand is why he needs to stay at the school grounds for his transformation, that is so dangerous. It didn’t go wrong but it could have been and it almost did. The excuses he comes up with are also weak or his roommates wouldn’t have figured it out. The thing is they could have sent him home with a portkey every month and made up a ready excuse that made more sense. He needs a special check-up every month. Or he has mind healing and this healer comes to his house and might as well spend the night with his family. He could say that he has a sister/mother/grandmother/father/uncle with attachment issues so he goes home to make it easier for her/him. There are so many ideas to make the whole thing safer and less suspicious. Not only that but the tunnel to go to the shrieking shack is so small that Harry has to crawl in the tunnel (DH: 32, 532). We know that Harry is the same height as James and Remus is roughly the same height (not being much shorter or taller compared to James as far as we know). This means that this poor boy has to crawl to a somewhat safe location each month while he is in pain before/after transforming. It is just bad. As I said earlier he could have been home or I don’t know a warded-off piece of wood far away from other school children. The reality is for those 12 hours or so he is very unsafe but that doesn’t mean he has to crawl his way to a shack and stay there. Also, why didn’t the headmaster know he didn’t stay there is whole time? I know he claims he didn’t know, I am not doubting that. But, it’s his job to know so even if it is ignorance it’s still neglect. 15-year-old Remus who wants friends and has been a werewolf since he was six didn’t think through the whole scenario of what could go wrong but Dumbledore should have. That is his job as the headmaster to protect these children from themselves.

The first order of child soldiers
We don’t know exactly when James and Lily join the Order of the Phoenix. Nor, do we know why. What we do know is at the age of 21 they have met Voldemort at least three times, some of this must have been because of this order. So, I ask, why did Lily and James have the chance to defy Voldemort three times before the age of twenty-one? In my opinion, none of them should have been in the order. James, Remus, Lily, and Sirius were so young and their whole lives were ruined they all died before the age of 40. I know that in the world wars countries recruited very young men. The reason for this is mainly that they are young and vibrant. They can duck away from bullets and learn new things such as driving a tank with relative ease. That doesn’t fly for the wizarding world though. In the wizarding world, it’s mostly one-on-one combat. Where people can be quite stiff (such as the ministry ‘duel’ between Dumbledore and Voldemort no ducking there). Being older means having more experience, being able to do more magic, and having a better arsenal of spells. In the wizarding world where youth does not matter it’s quite clear older people are more capable than younger people. Thus, there was no reason to have children in this fight. Especially as they have their whole life ahead of them and the continuation of bloodlines is important. And as a Zebra doesn’t change its stripes how many fights did we see or hear Dumbledore partake in this whole series, two? The duel with Grindelwald and the duel at the ministry with Tom. So, by the time Lily and James are in hiding and celebrating Harry’s first birthday, they have defied Voldemort three times. Dumbledore hasn’t defied him, at all. It’s interesting to think about. He is shown to be this great sorcerer and wonderful and brilliant by his own admission, but he is cowering behind teenagers.

Another question is why was there an order in the first place. The ministry might have been corrupt alright but that is not stated anywhere. When Voldemort disappeared, they were even looking for him, so Voldemort hadn’t taken over in any official capacity or so we can assume. Maybe that is also why the muggle-borns such as Lily felt relatively safe going to Hogwarts and saying goodbye to their parents. If the ministry is not that bad, why then make a little group against the death eaters, why not give these people training and let them become Aurors? Frank and Alice (Neville’s parents) for example are aurors. (They were clearly older than James and Lily as they had time to do the training and they were known aurors as well so they probably worked there for a while). Why did they join this organization? It’s odd. It’s also quite clear that they had much more years to defy Voldemort three times. It’s a fun idea that it could have been Neville but it quite clearly couldn’t have been. Let’s for the sake of argument say James and Lily joined up when they finished school. They had roughly three years to get married, defy him three times, and get pregnant, or two years if you take the prophecy into account. The timeline is so cramped that it must have had faiths hand in it. This was a total tangent what I mean is that none of it should have been allowed in the first place. If a child says I want to fight in this war that has very little to do with me. You say ‘no’. Dumbledore allows these children to fight in a war that started when they were ten. They put their lives on the line,  they make sacrifices. I would want to know. What did Albus Dumbledore sacrifice?

The prophecy shenanigans
In the Order of the Phoenix when Harry is 15 Dumbledore tells him about the prophecy saying he heard it “one cold, wet night sixteen years ago, in a room above the bar in the Hog’s Head Inn”. In the next book, Trelawny says she has been working at the school for nearly 16 years. Thus, with Harry being sixteen she probably started in September of 1980. The words of the prophecy talk about someone approaching, and Dumbledore thought this meant being born. Therefore, the prophecy had to be given before Harry’s birth in July of 1980, it then follows that she started working at the school in September of that same year. Making it her sixteenth year of teaching in half-blood Prince. We can reasonably argue that it isn’t a cold night in the months of July, June, May, and April. Wet most definitely but not cold. Making it the most reasonable that the prophecy was given somewhere between September of 1979 and April of 1980. The prophecy itself can be interpreted in various ways but I care very little about this. It also does not matter how anyone would interpret it except for Dumbledore and Voldemort. Even if it would make more sense if it was some adult traveling into the country that didn’t happen, everyone was looking for a baby. The Potters went into hiding and we assume the Longbottom’s did as well. Putting an even bigger target on their own backs. But that has little to do with Dumbledore because even if it was his idea they did it anyway. Trelawny said that Dumbledore went to the Hogs Head for an interview as a courtesy to her, however, why would anyone do this? There is a war on, the pub itself is known for its shady clientele. Dumbledore could have done several things; invite her somewhere else, Invite her to Hogwarts (although in a war I admit that this might not be a good idea), the woman must have lived somewhere he could have made a house call. He could have put some ward or enchantment or spell up so that they could not be overheard. I mean Snape was listening at the door, that should not be possible when a conversation is held between two grown wizards (or witches or many combinations).

What happens next
Here is the timeline thus far Trelawny gives her prophecy and gets a job. Snape tells Tom about the prophecy. Harry Potter is born (July 1980), Somewhere in this situation the Potters go into hiding or are already into hiding (or are confined to their house). Tom thinks the prophecy is about the Potters, Snape warns Dumbledore and becomes a spy. James and Lily are told at once (POA:10, 217). The Fidelius charm is put on the house in Godric’s Hollow (roughly October 24th, 1981). Two weeks later, the Potters perish.

To answer a few questions about the timeline, you might have. Fudge tells us that the Potters were betrayed “barely a week after the Fidelius Charm has been performed-“. Meaning the charm was performed somewhere in October (POA: 10, 217). But in July, 3 months earlier Harry’s birthday is celebrated as per Lily’s letter and she explains that James is getting frustrated being shut up in the house now that doesn’t just happen by being there for a short time. She also says that Dumbledore still has James’ invisibility cloak. Now the word still, to me, means that the item has been gone for a while and I have expected to have it back by now (DH: 10, 145). I’ll come back to Dumbledore’s lies about the cloak in a later post. They thus, have been confined to their house for a few months. We know for a fact that they have been out of their house at the end of June or very early in July. I assume this is the time when Dumbledore asked for James’ cloak if we are being generous and we are because we are fair. We know Lily and James were outside of the house because they had their photo taken that Moody showed Harry (OOTF: 9, 160). Marlene was in this photo and she and her family died two weeks later. The weekend before Harry’s birthday Peter Pettigrew seemed down and Lily thought it had to do with the dead of the McKinnon’s which would have been around that time.  Meaning the picture had to have been taken roughly around the end of June (DH, 10, 145). They have thus been confined to their house for around a month at least when Harry’s birthday comes around. Meaning they were in hiding for a minimum of five months. Another interesting fact is that McGonagall says that Dumbledore thought someone on their side turned traitor and was telling Voldemort a lot of information (POA: 10, 217). But you do not have to be a genius to figure that out.

The traitor
The photo Harry is shown was made at the end of June as we established. Lily and James Potter die at the end of October effectively ending the war. That means in the months of July, August, September, and October a lot of people died. Pettigrew was down in July and the implication is clear, he had something to do with the dead of the McKinnons. Thus, at this point, he was already a spy. As I said it is not hard to figure out because before James and Lily died but after the photo was taken the following people died:

  • Marlene McKinnon + her family
  • Benji Fenwick
  • Edgar Bones + his family
  • Gideon Prewitt
  • Fabian Prewitt
  • Dorcas Meadows

And those are the people from the Order of the Phoenix in this photo. We don’t know about other people. About all the muggles and other families that were killed. Everyone around them dies but we haven’t heard of an attempt of murder towards Remus, Sirius, Pettigrew, or James and Lily at this point. Is it thus odd to think about the fact that it probably comes from somewhere in that corner? No, not at all they would be my prime suspect as well. Once again, I ask you, why are these people in this group to begin with? I find resistance stories from the World War as interesting as everyone else. But with the Order of the Phoenix, what did they do? Who did they save? We never heard anything of the sort. It gives off the vibe of the old stories of French battlefields where soldiers were running forward to be used as cannon fodder while the generals were sipping their teas at the edge of the battlefield. But say what you will about Voldemort, at least he got his hands dirty. At least he was there, fighting. For the wrong thing mind but he was there nonetheless.

Back to Snape’s spying. At our most generous he has been spying for 15 months (around Harry’s birth as he shows up when Tom thinks it’s Lily’s child) or more likely around the time Fidelius is cast meaning he only spied for three weeks at most. Why not before Harry’s birth you might wonder. Lily was pregnant but her baby wasn’t born, no one knew it was about Harry at that point. He could have come early or late and he wouldn’t have been born “when the seven month dies”. The whole timeline of Snape being a spy never made much sense to me because what could he have done at that time? What serious plots could you have uncovered in three weeks, I mean the thing he turned traitor for went sideways so fast it’s almost scary. It saves Snape from Azkaban when he has shown no remorse nor personal development because there wasn’t time. This is the man Dumbledore fought tooth and nail for to stay out of Azkaban but what did their side get in return? It wasn’t as if he supplied a list of followers, or testified against the captured Death Eaters. Also, why didn’t Snape know Pettigrew was a spy or more importantly that Sirius wasn’t one? Anyway, you might wonder why this is important and how it ties back to Dumbledore. This is his organization; these people are putting their lives on the line for him. Would Pettigrew have been so blatant if Dumbledore had said in a meeting: “There is a traitor among us we need to be vigilant and I will find out who it is”? Probably not he was 21 at this point, just out of school and this was his old headmaster. Once again, Dumbledore does nothing of importance until he has to, and in this scenario, he doesn’t have to. Why is this man the leader of a vigilante group against another vigilante group? The latter group are of course the bad guys with an odd sense of right and wrong. But still, why isn’t he fighting? Why is it only others that have to make sacrifices?

To Fidelius or to not Fidelius?
Dumbledore recommends the use of the Fidelius charm to James and Lily. He even or so McGonagall tells it offered to be the secret keeper. James and Lily declined this offer, they chose Peter Pettigrew. There are two scenarios at play here.

  • A. Dumbledore casts the Fidelius
  • B. Someone else casts the Fidelius.

The charm is complex but James and Lily are smart. It is canon that James was exceptionally bright (POA: 10, 215) and Lily has loads of Magic (DH: 33, 544). I think that between them they could have figured it out. This leads to the following

  • A. Dumbledore knows Peter Pettigrew is the secret keeper
  • B. Dumbledore does not know who the secret keeper is at all

We don’t have evidence of him being at their house after the charm but before they die same goes for Bathilda so he either knows or doesn’t. In either scenario the people that know the secret are James, Lily, Harry, Sirius, and Pettigrew. It has been said that Sirius was planning to go into hiding. Which is smart as he is the known best friend of James Potter. I too would go into hiding, secret keeper or not. We know that James said to Albus that James thought Sirius would rather die than give up their secrets. However, at this point no house is charmed. We don’t know when this was said and most importantly in what context. It could have been about Sirius being a traitor. Sirius’ brother died around this time, there might have been a funeral of sorts that Sirius wanted to attend. We do not know the context and thus we cannot paint this as James saying he will choose Sirius (POA: 10, 215). The choice of a secret keeper must have been difficult but James and Lily loved their friends, there was no reason for them to suspect any of them. Why would they? They have known each other since they were eleven. Sirius Black would in some ways be a logical choice, he was James’ best friend, and they trusted him. But he was also Harry’s Godfather. Sirius himself says that he persuaded them to change secret keepers at the last moment but I feel they must have had a short list of others (POA: 19, 387). It might simply have been, that we aren’t choosing him not because everyone will think it is him and putting them off the scent but because he is our safety net. James and Lily know if something happens to them their baby is going to grow up with Sirius. It might have been a calculated risk. We trust him with our lives but he needs to be alive to raise our Harry. So, they choose the next best person, Pettigrew. Thus, the Potter family is safe and sound under the charm putting all their trust in Pettigrew. So, once again the people who know the secret are Sirius, Lily, James, Harry, Pettigrew, maybe Dumbledore probably not, and Tom of course. Keep these people in the back of your mind…

The day the Potters died and the 24 hours after
This part of the story is what it is all about. This singular event is what let us learn about Harry Potter. I have tried to make this timeline again and again and it never makes the most sense. There are so many moving parts all from different parts of the story but here we go.

 October 31st
Peter Pettigrew leaves his safehouse to never return there. Voldemort steps out after learning the secret and makes his way over to the house of the Potters.

 October 31st
approx. between 7-8 p.m.
When Voldemort arrives two children are walking outside dressed in their Halloween costumes probably trick and treating. One of these children talks to Voldemort and compliments him. The environment is described as night, so it is dark outside. It’s probably after dinner which most people do somewhere between 5 and 7. Especially when you have children that have to go to bed at a reasonable time. Harry is in his pajamas and the relatively new parent James Potter yawns and stretches while Lily is probably on her way to put the baby to sleep.

October 31st
Sirius Black has arranged to check up on Pettigrew but when he arrives he is gone. There was no sign of a struggle so Sirius sets out for Godric’s Hollow.

October 31st
approx. between 7-8 p.m.

  • James Potter faces Voldemort without a wand in his hand to physically hold him off for his family to escape. He drops dead in the hall.
  • Lily Potter pleaded for the Child’s safety but to no avail and she too died.
  • Voldemort raises his wand against Harry Potter and becomes a bodiless spirit.

October 31st

  • Dumbledore somehow knows Lily and James have died but that Harry is still alive.
    Dumbledore tells Hagrid that he has to go to Godrics Hollow and retrieve Harry so that he can go to his aunt and uncle’s house.
  • Hagrid turns up at Godric Hollow and gets Harry out of the wreckage.
  • Sirius turns up at Godric’s Hollow, white and shaking. Hagrid comforts Sirius.
  • Sirius pleads with Hagrid to give him Harry as he is his rightful guardian. Hagrid tells him no because Dumbledore says Harry has to go to his aunt and uncle’s house. Eventually, Sirius gives in. Let’s make this clear this was the absolute best decision at this moment. Hagrid is as wide as he is tall and he is holding a 15-month-old toddler. The last of Sirius’ chosen family and he is severely injured. Hagrid is half-giant and has ticker skin a simple spell thus wouldn’t work and even then, he could severely injure or kill Harry’s process (mind you on accident). Thus, letting him ‘leave’ with Hagrid and alimenting another treat to the child was actually a good idea.
  • Hagrid leaves to get Harry to the Dursleys

November 1st
It has to be November first because Minerva as well as the people on the streets know that the Potters are dead. In addition, it is not Halloween or Vernon would have thought something about adults dressing up on Halloween. 

  • Minerva McGonagall set out to Privet Drive and remained there for a full day
  • Vernon Dursley wakes up in his normal house with his normal family. He puts on his normal clothes and has the absolute weirdest day ever

November 1st
Approx. 11 o’clock, I chose this time as it is after the news and around the bedtime of Vernon and Petunia. Between 10 and 1 a.m. is when most people go to bed. In most streets, most lights are out at eleven so it’s a safe bet that this is the time.

  • Dumbledore shows up at Privet Drive and has a conversation with Minerva
  • Hagrid arrives with Harry
  • Harry is left on a cold November night on the doorstep of number 4, Privet Drive. With a single letter.

I looked up the weather actually and between 1981 and 2010 it was roughly between 4 and 10 degrees Celsius in November around the area of Surrey. Leaving a small child on the doorstep will cause the child to die if left for too long. We can sit here and say it was probably magic. Other things, the timeline cannot be explained so easily. Godric’s Hollow is supposed to be somewhere in southwestern England if you google it says that Devon is somewhere in this area which is chosen as a location on Google Maps. Surrey does exist and is located in southeast England. To go between these two locations, would take you 3 hours by car and 3.5 hours by public transport. I want to be fair and Hagrid said he flew over Bristol which from Devon would be a bit of a bend in the route but for the sake of argument, I added it in. This would take you 3.5 hours by car. Mind you, they are flying. There is no traffic, no traffic lights and they going quite fast. Going from another place such as Scotland (where Hogwarts is located) to Surrey would take roughly 8 hours or 14 hours on public transport. Why then does it take Hagrid more than 24 hours to go between Godric’s Hollow and Surrey? Everyone knows Lily and James are dead and it would make no sense for that not to be true but for them to die a day later in the same way everyone already thought. So, Harry has been missing for 24 hours. They have been flying this whole time or so Hagrid alludes. The child in question hasn’t eaten or has his nappy changed in all this time. It’s child neglect that is what it is. Why didn’t they go to a healer with the headwound? Or take a portkey to Surrey? The thing is this form of transportation also meant they could have been followed. It makes no sense though, for Harry to be missing for that long.

November 2st
Between 6 and 9 a.m.
Harry Potter was found by Petunia Dursley. Petunia learns that her sister has died and that she has to take care of her nephew.

Questions without answers
How did Hagrid know the secret? How did Dumbledore know that Harry was still alive? Why did the charm break for everyone? The secret keeper hasn’t died it makes no sense. I can see it eroding over time or something but it’s new and fresh at this point. It might have been ‘Oh I remember now where they live, there is a problem. But why did Dumbledore already have a plan about what to do with Harry? These are questions that are never answered, not even a little bit. The secret breaking at that point makes no sense, as Harry who was also a Potter still lived in that house at that time.

Sirius the dead eater
Sirius has left Harry and pursues Peter. I know that a lot of people find this strange but Peter was their best friend. Peter knows everything, every safe house, every ward, or spell they put on properties or their person. Not only that but he is a rat animagus to keep a rat out of a property is so difficult. The thought, that as long as this person is out there Harry will not be safe is not some weird or outrageous idea, it is simply the truth. Sirius has an altercation with Peter and is carted off to Azkaban with everyone ‘knowing’ he was the secret keeper. But how is this possible? No one asked Harry or Sirius, James and Lily have passed and Peter is on his way to the Weasleys. It is all on the word of Dumbledore, he says “I myself gave evidence to the Ministry that Sirius had been the Potters’ Secret Keeper’ (POA: 21, 416). Trouble with this is as we have established in this post he is lying either way. In scenario A he is lying because he knows that Peter Pettigrew was in fact the secret keeper. Or in scenario B he is lying because he does not know who the secret keeper is. He has an idea yes but does not know for sure. So, to then lie saying you do know, and condemning a young man to life in prison. It raises questions, what did Sirius Black ever do to Albus Dumbledore for him to have such a vendetta against him?

As I have said before, why didn’t they ask other dead eaters such as Snape when Sirius joined the ranks? Not only that but Regulus Black joined the dead eaters when he was sixteen and he died somewhere before Sirius went to prison. He died and the thought was that he wanted out and Voldemort killed him. Why then would Sirius join up? They could have easily asked Bellatrix Lestrange ‘What do you think of your cousin?’. They would have known then and there that Sirius wasn’t a death eater. The absolute and utter trauma that Sirius’ life has been. He didn’t have the best home life, as he left his home at 16. Somewhere within the war James’ parents died (from an illness of violence that is never mentioned in the books), we know they aren’t there or they would have found Harry. He thus lost his parental figures, he lost his brother. He lost his best friends and for a heart-stopping minute, he thought he had lost Harry. He has been part of this organization of Dumbledore’s for years. He grew up pureblood so he knows how things are supposed to go and he has friends throughout school and throughout the war. He probably sat there in Azkaban waiting for justice to be served. A justice that never came. It isn’t simply that Dumbledore didn’t speak up for Sirius, he spoke against him (POA: 21, 416). It makes no sense that Snape deserved to not be in prison for the crimes he committed while being a real death eater. Morfin Gaunt, the racist who attacked muggles for fun deserved to be freed per Dumbledore’s ideas. Barty Crouch Jr. deserves to have his story told. But not Sirius. The only question we can ask is why?

Where Harry should have ended up
Harry might have lost direct blood family when his parents died but that doesn’t mean he does not have a family. He has a Godfather. Lily and James both lost their parents, they are having a child during a war. They are a wizard and a witch. They have little contact with Lily’s muggle family (Petunia sent her a vase Christmas ’80). They chose Godparents, they wish for their child to end up with them. Now we are assuming that Harry either does not have a Godmother which is a bit odd (in the sense that in wartime, it would be a protection you would want for your child), or that she is dead. In any case, it does not matter. His Godfather is shall we say indisposed to care for him. But for a society hell-bent on blood relations. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to choose someone on their blood and hear me out because this might be odd. Harry is the heir to the Potter family’s wealth and estate meaning there are no living Potters from the main branch. Now let’s for the sake of argument say that all the Potters and everyone related to them are dead. With James being a pureblood that is probably half the population but I digress. He cannot go to a Potter but Harry’s Godfather is a Black and when Harry’s parents died the custody of him would have been transferred to Sirius as his Godfather (this is what James and Lily wanted). Yet, Harry is stolen under Sirius’ nose by Dumbledore who has zero claim to the child, at this point in our story Sirius is not on the run, or in jail. Later when people reflect they think he is the secret keeper so Harry wouldn’t be safe. But at this point, no one knows about any of this. We have established that Dumbledore either does not know who the secret keeper is or he knows it isn’t Sirius. My point is that even when we count out Sirius completely. James and Lily effectively said ‘We want our child to go to the Black family’ Now that might not be what they meant as Sirius hates his family. But for the Wizarding society? A society where the Black name is something powerful? For people who look at people’s blood, that could look at which family the child Magically belongs to. Wouldn’t it make sense to have the baby be brought up by the Black family? Shouldn’t he have gone to a family member of Sirius as magically Harry was a Black now? Bellatrix was on the loose and later (thankfully in jail) and in no way capable of caring for a child, especially that baby being Harry. Lord Black himself might have been old and Walburga Black obviously wouldn’t be a good choice either. But Andromeda and Narcissa weren’t in jail or doing bad things at this point and they were both mothers and thus able to take care of a child. We know that at least Narcissa also had the means to take on another child. Wizarding world wise they should have been asked, they were both Blacks and Sirius’ cousins. The whole story would have been so different if Harry had been brought up by either of them. I am not saying it should have happened but it makes much more sense than Petunia Dursley on a magical world level. And here is my issue why was it ever Dumbledore’s decision? I am not saying he made the wrong decision (which he did) but I wonder why he was allowed to make the choice. I think it was Dumbledore having the status of someone powerful and someone kind, which made no one question him. But they should have because effectively kidnapping a baby from his rightful guardian (Sirius) and keeping him away from the people who knew his parents (the wizarding world) to live with people he probably would never have met if his parents hadn’t died. That is at the very least strange and there are quite a few things strange about Halloween of 1981 as we have discussed.

This post was a bit longer than the other ones and it was more an overview than anything but I must think for us to recognize what choices were made and what had been done. In the next post, we will be looking at Harry’s upbringing. While we keep asking the question: why was it Dumbledore’s choice to make?

Read the rest of the series:
Part 1 // Part 2

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