So in a mistake that caused me to lose another hour of sleep due to my thoughts on it, I read read throughs of PoA and GoF that I actually want to collect my opinion here. Wow, that took a lot of me. This thing took 2 days to write up and it's pretty long, so I'll warn people of that before they click.
This touches on: drinking and coping mechanisms, lack of knowledge of the Dark Mark, the Crouches, Azkaban and the effect of, Blurred Lines and blurred lines, Sirius' personality, Ron, the effect of growing up a Black, the Secret Keeper debacle, fanon!Sirius, guilt, Sirius' relationship with his friends, Severus Snape and the similarities, wizarding values oin relation to Azkaban and the effect oftelling Harry/Dumbledore/Remus/etc.
- And instead picked up the flask of pumpkin juice and drained it. (459)
That last is surely significant. The Trio brought that pumpkin juice, so it's not spiked, but doesn't it seem that Sirius reaches for a drink out of habit, subconsciously wishing to dispell the horrible memories he's just relived? Very much the Sirius of OotP who smells of stale alcohol.
This has no particular reason for being the first thing other than it was the first thing I came across, but it's an excellent point. This, to me at least, speaks of a level of avoidance that seems (in BL at least and considering BL tends to feel very canon, I will be counting certain aspects on it) to be something of a family trait. This doesn't surprise me in an old purist family. They don't seem the type to want to talk out their feelings or to get things out in the open. There is something distinctly disturbing about it as well as, at least by my canon, this would have been the first vice to get into his system. I think probably drinking with James around that 14/15 mark probably lent itself to forgetting himself and losing control for someone who's life had been mapped out and controlled for most of the time. It may have been a way to rebel but I think, on a more basic level, he's more comfortable with internalising the things that are really bothering him, whereas when he's had a drop to drink, he tends to be a lot more angry and honest, which is why he views it as a coping mechanism for what little repression he has left.
One of the people points out "If he is drinking in GoF, I don't think he's yet become depressed. He's so much more vital (and sane) here than in the next book. It probably would've been better if he could've stayed on the run rather than been basically under house arrest." This is spot on, for me. He starts to lose it again in OotP because he's in a place he hates and where a majority of those bad memories probably came from, so while it kept him safe, it didn't do much for his sanity. There are definitely moments in OotP where Sirius seems more like a 16 year old than an adult and in GoF, he seems like more of an adult. I think for someone whois having trouble with his memories, a lot of that would be the fact he seems to be in more or less the same place here that he would have been at 16: trapped, fairly lonely, away from the people he cared about and stifled. It wouldn't be hard to see his emotions taking the same downturn.
- 'He showed Snape something on his arm?' said Sirius, looking frankly bewildered. [...] 'Well, I've no idea what that's about ...' (461)
The practice of marking Death Eaters wasn't and isn't widely known, even to someone who has every reason to know a lot about the DEs. It's sort of hard to imagine how the secret could be kept, unless you accept that the mark could be hidden at will.
And, of course, in BL canon it is. This is something I have struggled to believe consideirng the involvement the family has with all things DE related, but it does work if you think about it. With the Blacks, you have to read between the lines constantly and see what's not being said as opposed to what is. It's complicated but I'd think Sirius would understand it enough to be able to read into things enough to understand what was being discussed without it being obvious.
- The Dementors buried him outside he fortress, I watched them do it.
You have to wonder: how much did Sirius actually see? Clearly he doesn't know that what he actually saw was Mrs Crouch's burial. But if "plenty stop eating in the end", then he'll have seen a lot of burials at Azkaban. So how did he know which prisoner was getting buried here? If someone drinks Polyjuice Potion and dies within the hour, do they revert to their original form or not?
'My mother died a short while afterwards in Azkaban. She was careful to drink Polyjuice Potion until the end. She was buried under my name, and bearing my appearance. Everyone believed her to be me.' (594)
That seems to imply that there were people there (other than the Dementors, who, as Barty mentions, are blind) who might have noticed if Mrs Crouch reverted to her original body. I never imagined Azkaban having any human guards, because for one thing, how would you keep them from going mad just like the prisoners?
I, for one, do not subscribe to the idea that there are human guards. The BL crowd suggested house elves and this certainly seems to be the general consensus for who did the cooking, cleaning, etc. As for what Sirius would have seen, again, if we go by BL canon, Barty and Regulus have a close relationship. He'd have known the kid on sight. While I'm sure he was pretty messed up with both the trauma of October 31st still very fresh in his memory and the effect of Azkaban itself, I think he'd have noticed them bringing out the body of someone he was at least familiar with via his association with his brother. To be honest, I don't believe there were other people there. That's not what I got from the line. It's possible other 'lifers' like Sirius saw it go by and they may well have been other DE's but I doubt there was a funeral of any kind.
- I would say he became as ruthless and cruel as many on the Dark side.
I just wanted to note that JKR also is good at showing that good and evil may be blurred, which I think is one reason why some object to her books. While there are the clearly good (Dumbledore) and the truly evil (Voldemort), there are a lot of people with both good and evil in them.
I like this for a couple of reasons. One, it shows the blurred lines (ha!) between the two sides. While I'm sure Sirius feels contempt for the person who sentenced him, I imagine some of it is a detatched feeling simply from the "I would say" so I don't think it was just his opinion. Two, I think it shows that anyone can be corrupted by power, no matter whose side they're on. I think there is a slight third side to this in that Sirius obviously has huge problems with his own parents (as we see in the next book) so a lot of the disdain for someone who isn't treating their child right (I believe in BL he has refered to him as 'the ever highly strung Barty Crouch Jr') and pushing it beyond their limit sure as well would push a button for him.
- Fundamentally, I see Sirius as a born User, someone who almost instinctively misrepresents himself and manipulates Harry for his own ends.
Now, this is written from someone who admits they hate the character so I'm only quoting the first part, but for what it's worth, I think it's true to a degree and has a lot to do with his upbringing. He isn't used to things being unconditional and has learned that if he wants something, most of the time, he has to twist things to get it. I imagine he's aware of this on some level, putting it down to being in a house of full of Slytherins and being able to hiss as well as most of them. I won't deny he's manipulative in his own way, but I don't agree with it being entirely selfish reasons. Some of them are. Some of it is him wanting James' forgiveness through his son and wanting his child to like him because he can't imagine what he'd do if he didn't like him; he'd be losing his one big link to James.
But by that same point, I do believe he geniunely wants to do the right thing but hasn't got a decent logic base. This is something that comes up a lot in BL, where he thinks he's doing the right thing by being manipulative and thus, it's okay to be so. I honestly think he's trying to protect Harry because he does adore him, if perhaps not for all of the right reasons and does the best he can with a deeply flawed base of thought.
- 'I thought you'd come and help your friend,' [Black] said hoarsely. [...] 'Your father would have done the same for me. Brave of you, not to run for a teacher. I'm grateful ... it will make everything much easier...' (249)
Sirius could have told Crookshanks not to let them in, and he could have killed Peter as soon as he got into the Shack. He didn't do either of these things, so it looks like he didn't want to kill Peter without Harry there to see it. Then again, he only starts to explain when Harry has him at wandpoint (250). Throughout the scene, he wavers between homicidal rage and a need for Harry to understand what he's doing. As others have pointed out, a great deal of what Sirius feels has to do with James. I wonder if part of him feels that Harry's forgiveness=James's forgiveness. That's the only thing I can imagine could override his need to see Peter dead.
Something I've touched on many times in BL is that Sirius is deeply unforgiving, which is an interesting contrast to the fact that James forgives so easily. The guy really knows how to hold a grudge, to an almost obsessive anger that is being shown in PoA to the subtle jibes I tend to put in with BL. I think a part of it is that he tends to feel things so strongly himself that when he feels guilt over something, it's all encompassing so he assumes that other people should feel the same way. I think under the right circumstances, there would have been a lot less hatred there. Instead, he feels manipulated and drained because he's suffered through something he doesn't (totally) think he deserved to and he needs someone to blame. Peter is very handy to blame and it does get vicious. It's that coldness of 'I used to care about you' that tends to drive him to be angrier, be more judgemental and be more unforgiving so he doesn't have to admit a weakness in getting hurt by someone. Again, I think this is something instilled from him upbringing and certainly something that came up with the Bella duel.
This pendulum of emotions is something some people put down to Azkaban. Personally, while I think the ferocity of it here (as it is on the subject of murder) is probably to do with Azkaban but those mood swings are just who he is. There seems to be that slight instability in him (which I usually compare with his mothers) before hand and that Azkaban has just made it worse. He wants both the happiness of forgiveness but also to satisfy his hunger for revenge and to me, that is the real battle he's going through in this scene.
- 'If you want to kill Harry, you'll have to kill us, too!' [Ron] said fiercely[...]
Something flickered in Black's shadowed eyes.
'Lie down,' he said quietly to Ron. 'You will damage that leg even more.' (249)
At first Sirius couldn't care less about injuring Ron as he drags him off like "a rag-doll" (246), merely using him as bait to lure Harry into the Shack. But something changes when Ron declares his willingness to die for Harry... Sirius suddenly sees Ron as himself, willing to sacrifice himself for James.
I admit, I never thought of it like this but it makes a lot of sense. I always thought of it as he's coming to grips with being around a populace that isn't batshit insane and is having a moment of clarity through dealing with his own confusion. I think he is recognising that this is Harry's version of the Marauders and seeing that willingness to do anything for his best friend, yes, I can absolutely see that being why he suddenly takes a shine to him. Being in a place where there has been an atmosphere of dispair without repreive, suddenly seeing something good and noble, it's bound to remind him that no, not everyone is a total shit and that sometimes good friends, even ones who aren't James, do exist and it makes sense that Harry, being like his father (at least to his mind), would have one.
- 'Going to kill me, Harry?' he whispered. [...]
'You killed my parents,' said Harry[...]
'I don't deny it,' he said, very quietly. (250)
As chresimos and I discussed not too long ago, if Sirius was saying this sort of thing when he was arrested, there's no need to accuse the Ministry of railroading him, as fans frequently do. He may well have confessed.
This is something that I rarely touch upon simply because I've never played him in this timeline. What I believe is that he would have been bloody confusing to the Ministry because I imagine if he was answering questions (which if he he was in shock as I've always believed him to be would not have been every question), you would likely get different answers on different phrasings. "Did you kill them" and "Did you sell them out" are two different things in his mind but not to the Ministry. He believes himself to be responsible but isn't so out of it he'd confess to being Voldemorts. To be honest, I can see this being a mixed bag. He's not making a lot of sense, a lot of muggles saw something (though something being the operative term as they were muggles and I can see Sirius saying that and it being taken the wrong way) and a bit of old fashioned prejudice in that he's a Black and related to half the Death Eaters anyway. Anyone who didn't know him really well would have a hard time understanding his motivations to not be a Death Eater and he's admitting to killing them but not to being a Death Eater and not saying much else? I can see where the mess up happened. I don]'t really blame Crouch for this. What does irk me is the wand - why did no one check the last spell cast? To me, that was the sloppy part.
- Crookshanks leapt onto Black's chest, and settled himself there, right over Black's heart. Black blinked and looked down at the cat.
'Get off,' he murmured, trying to push Crookshanks off him. [Crookshanks] turned his ugly, squashed face to Harry, and looked up at him with those great yellow eyes. To his right, Hermione gave a dry sob.
[...]So what if he had to kill the cat, too? It was in league with Black ... if it was prepared to die, trying to protect Black, that wasn't Harry's business ... (251)
He also decides he can accept killing Crookshanks as collateral damage, though he is aware of Hermione's anguish at the prospect. The situation parallels Harry's decision here with Peter's -- Peter also had to decide to kill bystanders and devastate families. It's important to the flow of the sequence that while Harry can't commit to killing, he also can't decide not to -- that decision is left for later, when he actively saves Peter's life.
Sirius's reaction is fascinatingly understated. Is he thinking of Crookshanks's safety? Or is this the part of him talking that thinks he deserves to die, and doesn't want Harry to hesitate?
After discussing before about blurring the behaviours, I think this is a nice blurring of Harry's behaviour. He could kill here and he's young enough to think he might be able to do it from rage alone, something BL!Sirius would have identified with. It has been raised that this could have been the Voldie left over but personally, I think it's a thirteen year old boy and that's that. Harry is impulsive and it suits his Gryffindor sensibilities perfectly. As for Sirius' thoughts at this point, I think to a degree, he didn't want to be touched. There's something very human about touch, even an animal one and he was trying to kill, a very inhuman act. On a more conscious level, I think he didn't want anything else to die because of him. While he could accept Peters death as damage already done (after all, he'd paid for his murder so he may as well get his moneys worth), he doesn't think someone trying to protect him should get hurt.
This makes me wonder about the Secret Keeper debacle. If Sirius had done it, it would have been an almost sure fire way to get him killed unless he talked which, thanks to an oddly large fuckload of stamina, he would never do. Then James had to know that he was essentially signing his best friends death warrant to have him do this which says a lot about the time and the fear of it. As for Sirius, his own insecurities that are causing problems when he picks Peter. He's saying he's doing it because Peter is weak and pathetic, but a lot of that is anger and hurt talking. In reality, it's his own lack of self esteem undermining his faith in his abilities to stay strong. They could be very realistic expectations but they're still low ones.
We have been discussing the effect of their upbringing on both the Black boys lately and while you can see a lot of this insecuity bleed through into what Regulus does and writes, it's still there in Sirius but he's being so loud about his own ego that it's hard to see when that insecurity comes into play. For instance, if something goes wrong, even if he's not being accused, his automatic reaction is to have a go at the person and ask them why it's his fault, which usually causes the other person to have a "whoa, calm down, didn't say that" moment or it escalates into a worse fight. He's very quick to anger from mood swings and very unwilling to back down from a sense of pride, which in the end speaks of an lack of self worth, despite how big his ego is.
In a really amusing way, I think it's Holden that remarks that Buffy has an inferiority coplex about her superiority complex. This is oddly fitting. He does think he's better than everyone else (to a degree -- James is very much on that pedestal) but at the same time, feels like he's not going to be good enough so prefers to get angry first and stop caring first because by his logic, if he does it to them first, it hurts less. This, to me, tells a lot about his ability to mask things and a lot about two personalities at war with eachother which, if we go by OotP, could have straightened out into a more functional person but is never given the chance to. I think James calms him down a lot because he is more stable and Sirius is trying to cling to that in Harry, when Harry himself is in the confused teenage stage and it creates a dependence and Sirius loathes having to depend on anyone. As much as he tends to whinge and draw attention to himself, if something is truly upsetting, he prefers to be on his own.
- The fanon Sirius tends to run around screaming things and generally being the exact opposite of subtle. There is rage and a certain amount of poor impulse control, to be sure, but no one has thought about this situation more than Sirius. Even Remus got a break one night a month.
On the note of subtle things, this is something I can't stand. There is no way that Sirius is just a twat running around and causing pranks with no links to an old heritage. I think what's more likely is that he's developing his own personality on top of his parents beliefs like most children do but these two things are so at war with one another, that he has a tendency to swing from one to the other. I think people do mistake what is a false detours so he doesn't have to show his own weaknesses as pure egotism. There's definitely a lot of ego there and that doesn't mean that what he's saying isn't how he feels, but I don't believe it's the only thing he feels.
In a moment of indulgent self pity, there was a conversation with Snape in BL with him asking if he ever got tired of being the persona he tends to put out there the most; that he's a pretty stupid, a slut and a wastrel with no regard for anyone else. This allows him to say I Told You So when he messes up and puts him in a position for an ambush when he wants it. His response, that not all masks are physical, was particularly telling. I think, certainly at this point in BL, he's tired of splitting himself but feels a sense of loss when he tries to stick to one side of himself, which upsets him and drags him down. This means that he's doing what he's likely done his entire life and just avoided it. He answers questions with jokes or jibes designed to make people forget about their question, changes the subject or gets angry himself. Very rarely does he out and out lie because he values the vulnerability in honesty, but it does happen to help him get around subjects that make him uncomfortable. He doesn't want to risk showing his own vulnerabilities because he's not sure who he can trust at this point.
- Poster #1: Interesting that you bring up the fact that Sirius claims guilt for the Potters however- because isn't the knowledge of his innocence the touchstone that kept him sane in Azkaban? His level of guilt seems terribly mutable, considering. I wonder if that shows the difference between the Sirius who went in and the Sirius who came out. Young, spirited Sirius was locked away with only the knowledge that he didn't do it.
Poster #2:But we're talking about two different innocences here. Sirius sat in Azkaban for all those years knowing that he was innocent of the crime that the wizarding community sent him there for - killing Peter Pettigrew and a bunch of muggles. And that was enough to keep him sane. But he didn't resist being arrested for it and sentenced, because he thought he was guilty of something else: of having failed to adequately safeguard James and Lily, of having trusted the traitor and not trusted the one who was true, of being the one who by trying to be too clever and outguess Voldemort, finds himself ultimately responsible for the death of his friends.
Everybody else would lay that charge at Voldemort's door, since he was the one actively in Godric's Hollow waving a wand at them. But Sirius was in shock at their deaths when Peter framed him for murder, and that made him passive, self-condemnatory, and depressed. If Peter had framed him six months later, when he'd had time to get a grip on himself and adjust to the reality of his friends' deaths a little, it might have been a different story.
Poster #3:Since I'm not a Sirius writer, I've tended not to examine him as carefully as I have other characters, which is one thing I'm trying to rectify in the present re-read. One thing I'm noticing is that Sirius, at this point, is swinging wildly from anguished-yet-controlled to bloodthirsty-screaming-mad. From one paragraph to the next, you don't know which Sirius you're going to get. He feels things so completely -- no room for integration of conflicting impulses.
I wanted to add this in for someone who does write Sirius and go a major "YES" in agreement. This is spot on for how my mind works for him. When he gets upset, there's only two options: he gets mad or gets passive and he's done with in BL with different results. They've put a pinpoint on his major personality flaw: he has no intergration of his thoughts now to those he grew up on. Instead, they constantly war eachother which is causing him problems. I believe if he had the chance to grow up, he may well have integrated and become a more stable person.
- Lupin broke off. There had been a loud creak behind him. The bedroom door had opened of its own accord. (258)
Snape's entrance. He doesn't hear anything before this -- ie, the assertion that Peter is alive and Sirius is innocent. All he hears is information he already had (Remus's school days), and some of Sirius badmouthing him.
This, I am willing to admit, was lost on me. I honestly believed that Severus had just done it out of disbelief or pure spite. I'll admit to Snape not being by favourite character (I still have trouble calling him Severus rather than just Snape) but it's little things like this that help me understand him a little better. I'm well aware that Sirius is a malicious git to him as a teenager but I always thought that never warranted Azkaban; a good kick in the arse, maybe, but not that. This scene sits much better with me now.
- 'No need to tell us he's no good,' snorted Uncle Vernon, staring over the top of his newspaper at the prisoner. 'Look at the state of him, the filthy layabout! Look at his hair!' (18)
I cracked up here. Also, clever allusion to Harry's judgmental attitude towards Snape's appearance. One of a number of parallels in the descriptions of Sirius and Snape, which we'll see later on
Harry had never seen a vampire, but he had seen pictures of them in his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, and Black, with his waxy white skin, looked just like one. (34)
More description of Sirius in terms we normally associate with Snape. Also, an interesting reversal -- Sirius is pursued by creatures who suck out his essence as vampires would.
This made me agree in spades. First, I think it's nice that they're showing that Harry's upbringing has had an effect on him, his opinions and who he's becoming to the point that he's using that judgement in the wizarding world, even if he doesn't know it. As for Sirius and Snape, this is something I have spoken about with Sabrina, who plays BL!Severus. They have a remarkable lot in common, to the point I can't believe it's never been touched on. Though I suppose Harry isn't fond of Snape (understatement!) and he has a lot riding on the idea of family with his Godfather, so why would he want to compare them? It's just a thought.
- 'If he weren't [mad] when he went to Azkaban, he will be now,' said Ern in his slow voice. (35)
Wizards appear to have no concept of cruel and unusual punishment, or even that driving criminals insane and then releasing them (Hagrid was held for only two months) is a foolish idea.
This gets me and it's something I find interesting and bloody hard to reflect, given my own views. Sirius, at least the way I play him, feels a little skittish about it because having the family he has, he's likely seen the effects of Azkaban on people and knows he doesn't want to end up that way, but still feels as if it's an appropriate punishment for epople. Regulus, to use the purist point of view, is more or less, of the same idea: as long as he and his aren't in there, he's fine with it so this is maybe true of most wizards. You have to wonder then how muggle borns feel about it and on a more Sirius note, probably shows the sense of guilt and/or shock level that he was in after the explosion that he was so complacent with the idea of going there or simply not in a state of mind where he realised what was happening.
- [...]Finally, I managed to communicate to [Crookshanks] what I was after, and he's been helping me... [...] Peter got wind of what was going on and ran for it ... [Crookshanks] told me Peter had left blood on the sheets [...]' (267)
Sirius did indeed know that Peter had run away, presumably before he broke into the boys' bedroom. Looks even worse for his state of mind.
I have been thinking about the long term effects of Azkaban and as JKR has said in interviews that it is like being in a permenant state of depression (her summation of 'waking up in the morning and wondering why there was still good in the world' is very telling. Physical signs aside, I think the mental ones would cause confusion in both long and short term memory (Sirius having forgotten about James pushing his hair is both heartbreaking and makes me think of this) meaning he could easily not be remembering, be remembering "twistedly" (he will run instead of he is) or have complete lack of knowledge for the passage of time (which I've written before, in that I've had him startle after essentially sitting in the same position for three hours and not realising it, which is something that happens with depression). I think it shows before he makes things right with Harry, his mind is still a dark place and I have to wonder, if he does kill Peter, is he expecting to go back there because he "deserves" it and that once he does make things right there and has a sense of freedom, he starts functioning much better -- he's still bitter, angry and hotheaded but this is just who Sirius is.
- Sirius has wildly contrasting feelings of guilt at making Peter Secret-Keeper, and self-righteous... outrage?... piety?... that he was wrongly imprisoned for Peter's murder.
To me, this is more about Sirius' level of loyalty to his friends. His friends mean the world to him and having one dead and one betray him is about the worst thing you can do. He's wavering between his want to believe in his friend despite his shortcomings (imagined on his part, I think) and then there is the part of him that wants revenge. He is a very vengeful creature and he obviously wants his blood but there is a small part of him, I think, that just wants a friend back that he knows he'll never be able to forgive so he throws up this anger (which is anger he genuinely has but could get some control over) to make sure if someone is getting hurt, it's not going to be him or the people he still cares for. This is something I tend to put in purist interactions in BL. Of course, he has his guilt as well, but it's just another side to it.
- 'Sirius -- it's me ... it's Peter ... your friend ... you wouldn't ...' (273)
Peter appeals to Sirius's loyalty, which is perhaps not as nutty as it seems, given the high premium wizards place on it.
I don't think it's nutty at all. Despite leaving his family, I do believe the one major thing Sirius has going for him is his sense of loyalty. It does blind him from time to time and when that happens, that vengeful and angry side comes into play (which is what I believe happened with Regulus, he felt that he could have tried harder to stay alive and died a coward instead because it was the easy way out and instead of being upset about this, he's angry with him mixed with a sense of pity, which makes sense for his belief that his brother is still a child). Sirius before Azkaban may well have listened to the appeal but this emotional distortion that Azkaban has caused is bringing his already intense emotional state and poor impulse control to its height.
- 'HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO HARRY?' roared Black. 'HOW DARE YOU FACE HIM? HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT JAMES IN FRONT OF HIM?'
To me, this is both anger and a sense of possession. James was his best friend and Harry is his son and his godson. I do think he has a very overbearing and possessive nature and likely due to a privileged upbringing, reacts badly to sharing things. This is as much that to me as it is outrage that someone has the audicity to talk about James when his own pain is all encompassing to him and he's being blinded to anyone elses.
- 'He would have killed me, Sirius!'
'THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED!' roared Black. 'DIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS, AS WE WOULD HAVE DONE FOR YOU!' (275)
This is an interesting one because a) I don't think Sirius believes him because he's already betrayed him and lost his trust and b) a lot of people have put question on whether Sirius would have followed through and died for him. Simple answer is yes, at least for my interpretation. His friends are the most important thing to him and he'll do anything for them if it means saving their lives.
- 'Black had bewitched them, I saw it immediately. A Confundus Charm, to judge by their behaviour. [...] They weren't responsible for their actions. On the other hand, their interference might have permitted Black to escape [...] They've got away with a great deal before now ... I'm afraid it's given them a rather high opinion of themselves [...]' (283)
As neotoma has pointed out, if Snape really thinks they were Confunded, he's being very charitable. However, given that he goes right on to blame them after saying they aren't to blame, I doubt that what he says here is entirely sincere. He's making himself appear charitable to the Minister.
To be honest, I think he's just rubbing it in here. I don't think he thought they were confunded. He might think Sirius had charmed his way into their good graces as he is want to do and thinks that sounds absurd, but all in all, I think Snape is the confused one here and is struggling for control. In my opinion, control seems key to both Sirius and Severus in what they do - even when Sirius loses control in BL through inebriating substances or though battles, he initiates so he has control from the outset and Snape is a spy; control is key to his survival.
- 'Sirius told me all about how they became Animagi last night,' said Dumbledore, smiling. 'An extraordinary achievement -- not least, keeping it quiet from me. And then I remembered the most unusual form your Patronus took, when it charged Mr Malfoy down[...]' (312)
For me, this answers the question of whether Dumbledore knew they were Animagi in advance -- I don't think he did. He's capable of obscuring the truth, but it seems odd that he would go so far as to say that he only made the Patronus-Prongs connection after talking to Sirius, if he really knew about Prongs at the time.
I think this is pretty important. Sirius is willing to talk about things now Harry knows everything and now he's gotten himself in a mess. This seems like Sirius key behaviour to me: he only wants to talk about it when he's in a mess and either needs help out of it or wants to brag about getting out of it. If he was bound, surely he could unbind himself by changing into his dog form and I now have the image of him doing it for an amused Dumbledore. I do wonder if this contributes to Dumbledores lack of faith later on - if four students could deceive him and do something so advanced, what else could be going on?
- I thought your friend Ron might like to keep this owl, as it's my fault he no longer has a rat. (316)
A hint of the more put-together Sirius of GoF. He's gained enough perspective that he can make a slight joke about the Peter situation. Also, he doesn't make any attempt (that we know of) to go after Peter now that he's free. Though he eventually deteriorates again once he's stuck in his old house, he has gotten something of a grip on himself by this time.
As for his sense of humour, this is Sirius to me: making a joke out of something completely inappropriate and finds it funny.
At this point, Sirius isn't preparing himself to kill. This is something I've noticed in BL: he feels trepediation at the idea of killing someone so now some important people know the truth, he's happy to be free and has hope that they will recapture Peter and that everything will work out. The remaining Marauder, Remus, is his friend once again (I do think he'd have written but wouldn't have really known what to say) and he's building up that "family" that was oh so important to him before. I think being back at 12GP drains him of a lot of that hope and he falls into old, bitter habits as well as his age reversion I mentioned earlier and probably drove said family (likely Remus, knowing BL canon) up the wall with the mood swings and outbursts .
As a wierd random fact for people: in OotP (UK first edition), Sirius dies on page 711 and in PoA, he reveals this to be his vault number. I found this both amusing and strange.
Also this is freaking hysterical. High lights include Sirius having *sparkles*, being grossed out by Severus/Lily and going OMG WHAT about when DH puts the The Incident. Possibly not to be read at work.