Denying The Book 5 Death

Obviously, this column contains spoilers for Order of the Phoenix, so read at your own risk.

From browsing on a few Harry Potter fansites, I gather that there are quite a few people that are denying Sirius' death in book 5, saying that it was all a hoax somehow. I personally think the possibility that he's still alive in the physical sense is rubbish, but a friend of mine likened Sirius' death to Elvis'- no matter how many times you prove it happened, there will still be people who deny it. This column will by my personal rebuke to the major arguments I've seen in favour of Sirius' death being a hoax.

Argument 1- Sirius was too popular to really die, and/or JKR wouldn't give Harry hopes for a bright future in having Sirius as a surrogate father then take them away and/or she wouldn't kill Sirius off before he could get his name cleared.
Rebuke- No, NO characters in the books are safe from possibly dying just because they're popular. That's one of the beauties of J.K.'s storytelling- she's not trying to sugarcoat a little thing called REALITY. The characters ARE in a war, and people we (and Harry) know and love WILL suffer. It's also a sign that J.K.'s not selling out and changing the agenda she had laid out just because fans have a hissyfit over their favourite character(s) being in danger. Giving Harry a taste of a happy life then taking it away is a perfect example of not sugarcoating reality- J.K. is demonstrating that NOBODY in Harry's life is safe just because he's close to them. In fact, this is precisely why Voldemort used the vision of Sirius to bring Harry to the Department of Mysteries, because he knew it would enrage/hurt Harry the most to see Sirius being harmed. Plus the fact that Sirius' name hasn't been cleared yet doesn't necessarily mean he can't die before it is- in my opinion, it adds an excellent plot twist for the wizarding world to realise too late that they blamed the wrong man for the Potters' death.

Argument 2- Lupin and the other adults were "too happy" at the end of book 5, and none of them talked about Sirius, but one would think they'd be in mourning.
Rebuke- Fair point. But one would do well to remember the hell Harry went through in the 5th book- he lost Quidditch, one of the few things that brought him happiness; he had a brief romance with Cho which quickly fizzled; he had to endure the feelings of frustration from most of the wizarding world thinking he was a madman; the weight of being the only one able to destroy Voldemort being thrust on his shoulders, etc. Then, on top of that, he has to deal with the fact that he lost his godfather and almost got his best friends murdered in part because he (Harry) acted too rashly. I would say it's a safe bet that the adults, Lupin in particular, don't want to think about Sirius any more than Harry does, and they're putting on a brave face for Harry so he can forget about his pain for a while. Remember, it explicitly states at the end (page 856 of the American edition) that Ron shushes Hermione whenever she mentions Sirius, so in essence they (and everyone else) are probably waiting for Harry to talk about it when he wants to and not rushing him and forcing him to relive his pain.

Argument 3- The veil may not mean instant death, so Sirius may still be alive behind it, just unable to come back through.
Rebuke- I'm not going to speculate on the veil until we know more about it, because we really know nothing beyond: 1. It's really old, and 2. Some people can hear whispers of voices beyond the veil (presumably those who have seen death, because Luna hears the whispers too). That's too little information to make an educated guess on what this veil really is, where it leads to, etc. But before I wrap this column up, here's a little food for thought: Earlier in the book, McGonagall got 4 Stunners straight to the chest and got severely injured from it, but was OK because they didn't strike her at the wrong time. Later, Sirius fell through the veil after Bellatrix hit him square in the chest with a Stunner- it's not entirely implausible to think that, by a one-in-a-million chance, Sirius got hit by the spell right in the heart at the exact moment to make it stop beating, and THAT is what killed him, not falling through the veil.

I, personally, would lose all the respect I have for JKR as a writer if she got all emotional over Sirius' death (she's mentioned in several interviews that she broke down in tears after she wrote it- her OWN NOVEL, and she cried over it!) then it all turned out to be a hoax. Is Sirius dead in the physical sense? Yes, most definitely. He's not coming back alive in any physical way, shape, or form. Is he dead in the spiritual sense? Definitely not- remember, James is dead physically, but he's still "alive" within Harry, so maybe Padfoot's spirit will show himself in Harry, or indeed within one of the other kids

by Mary McGowan

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