Headscratchers: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Sirius And Grimmauld Place
Please check JK's FAQs
before asking a question that may have already been answered.
- Sirius inherited his family's house, even though his mother Walburga disowned him. Why would she leave everything to her disowned son instead of relatives in good standing like Bellatrix or Narcissa?
- Probably for similar reasons that Sirius - a convicted, escaped criminal - could freely access his Gringotts account: the folks in charge of such things don't particularly care.
- Did he ever access Gringotts as a criminal? During his escape, he more or less lived as a dog... and did the same in Goblet of Fire... In OotP, he was in his house the whole time, but he never really left to get things, what with Order members coming and going, bringing things in. If he did have an inherited account, he never had the opportunity to use it.
- Yes, he accessed his Gringotts account to get Harry his Firebolt. Sirius also told Harry that he gave Harry's name on the order form but put down his [Sirius'] own vault number as the payment info, and got Crookshanks to take the order form to the post office for him.
- Goblins don't particularly care about human matters, and were probably happy to overlook Sirius's active account because of their love for money.
- Well, when did she die? Assuming it was after his incarceration, they probably put him back into their will because he "redeemed" himself enough in their eyes. What with "being a Death Eater, killing a loyal friend of James Potter, as well as 12 Muggles." If it was before, I stand just as baffled.
- Where I come from, children always have the right to inherit from their parents, regardless of what the parents think of it. Why shouldn't there be a similar law in the wizarding world?
- Did it go through her? I thought it went Walburga > Regulus > Sirius > Harry.
- Except Regulus died before his mother. Kreacher says so in Book 7, how she was heartbroken but Kreacher couldn't explain what happened coz Regulus forbade him to.
- One, Kreacher's insane, and two, he's a known liar.
- Harry commanded him to tell the truth.
- Could Kreacher have been referring to Mrs. Black's portrait?
- Another possible theory is that the Black family traditions are archaic enough that the head of the family must always be male, at which point the job lands on Sirius the instant Regulus dies.
- Sirius inherited the house and everything else because he was the eldest living male Black, which family tradition decrees is all that's necessary to get everything.
- Possibly inheritance law doesn't work for Wizards as it does for Muggles. Dumbledore was concerned that, despite the fact that Sirius had left all his worldly possessions to Harry, it was possible that he wasn't able to inherit as a half-blood. Magic seems to be woven throughout every aspect of Wizarding life; it's very possible that Sirius's inheritance was simply unavoidable because of some centuries-old forgotten spell. Remember that this is the same series that features a binding magical contract in book four.
- That very fear is a separate can of worms. Under common law, going back centuries, is a concept called the Slayer Rule in the US and the Forfeiture Rule in Great Britain. Basically, you are prohibited under law from inheriting from someone if you murder them. If this concept doesn't exist under Wizarding Law, why the hell not? Why wouldn't every person with a rich wizard uncle off them in order to get their money?
- Hilariously, Sirius might have inherited the family fortune because he was sent to Azkaban. In other words, his family un-disowned him after it was publicly believed that Sirius had switched his allegiance to Voldemort and betrayed the Potters to him. (Remember, the only people at this point in time who know for certain who the traitor was are Sirius himself, the disembodied evil spirit, and the guy hiding in the rat cage.)
- Except that's not what happened, as Kreacher himself makes it clear that Sirius never went back in his parents' good books. He mentions repeatedly how Sirius "broke his mother's heart with his lawless ways" but never mentions Sirius having re-gained his parents' good standing.
- Well, this is Kreacher we're talking about. You really think he'd so much as mention anything good that Sirius might have done?
- If he was back in the family's good graces? I think Kreacher would have treated Sirius as a member of the family instead of a dishonored rogue.
- This sounds like Sirius-fan-talk to me. Harry and his friends have the same 'lawless ways' as Sirius, and have no respect for anyone in the family other than Sirius (and then Regulus). They're fighting against Voldemort and Hermione is a Muggle-born. If Kreacher cared so much about the 'honor' of the family, he would not help them any more than their direct orders required, like with Sirius, and may have even openly betrayed them. The difference is that they treat Kreacher with kindness where Sirius's terrible memories of his life in that house caused him to treat Kreacher with abuse, in spite of usually being kind to House Elves (according to Dumbledore, who also said "I do not think that Sirius took me very seriously, or that he ever saw Kreacher as a being with feelings as acute as a human's."). Yes, Sirius did not hate House Elves on principle, but he was terrible to Kreacher, which is why Kreacher hated him. I'd hate someone who treated me that way, too, regardless of how they treated others. Harry can easily forgive Sirius these things because Kreacher is indoctrinated with purist propaganda and because he loves Sirius and knows Sirius's redeeming qualities, but that stuff will never matter to the victim of the abuse, who will not forgive the wrongs done to them just because Sirius is nice to others.
- Just because Bellatrix shared Mrs. Black's political views about Muggle-borns doesn't have to mean they liked each other. Walburga seems to have been a shrewish, judgmental bitch, so she might well have hated all her relatives for one reason or another.
- Plus, it was implied that while the Blacks were pureblood supremacists who initially supported Voldemort, they backed out when they found out how crazy his plans really were. It's possible that Sirius's mother thought Bellatrix and the Malfoys were ''too'' crazy. Or, she could have ended up just as demented as her portrait suggested and thus wasn't fit to change her will at all.
- Do we know for sure that Mrs. Black had a will? If not, then presumably Sirius would have inherited as her next of kin, no matter how she felt about it.
- This is probably what actually happened. Some time after Regulus's death, Walpurga died unexpectedly. Either her husband had died by that point (knowing the Black family, it's not too far of a stretch!) or Wizarding law does not recognize spouses as next-of-kin. So, basically, with Regulus dead and Orion out of the picture, the house automatically went to Sirius. Because Sirius was in prison, nobody else would get the house until Sirius died and THEN it would go to either Bellatrix (also in prison for life), Andromeda (also disowned, though this doesn't matter), or Narcissa. However, Sirius knew there was a good chance he was going to die early, so he wrote a will after he got out of prison, and obviously the headquarters for the Order needed to go to someone who wasn't a Death Eater.
Was he disowned? We know he was blasted off the Tapestry but if that was done after his father was dead, it's possible as a woman she wasn't able to change who inherits. I'm not saying it's definitely the case, I could be wrong, afterall, everyone else here seems to have brought up valid points. Does it say he was disowned? Just wondering cause I don't remember that.
- There isn't any information on the legal process that could have followed, but there was a pretty obvious "Sirius is no son of mine vibe." That said, it looks like wizards in England use the same rules of inheritance as muggles: Your possessions go to whoever you name in the will, or to your legal heirs otherwise. An ancient pureblood family like the Blacks would probably have never used a will, since their always evil enough to please the family and thus state in their parents' good graces. Sirius was a wildcard who so surprised the family that they probably didn't think to disinherit him. Of course, the disownership notion might be overblown - they might have always hoped that Sirius would come back to the family, and it's only the portrait (which doesn't contain the actual soul and thoughts of the person, just the artist's impression) and Kreacher that think Sirius was well and truly no longer a Black.
- The reason Sirius gained Grimmauld Place can be explained easily: The inheritance of the property by Sirius Black is almost certainly governed by the magical equivalent of the English Common Law concept of the Entailed Estate. Under this type of arrangement, the inheritance of the covered property by the designated heir ("down the direct line, to the next male with the name of 'Black'") cannot be prevented by disinheritance or any other legal means. The only way the entail breaks is if there is no living descendant who matches the conditions of the entail. When the entail breaks, the property in question can be disposed of by any legal means, including being willed to any person the current holder so chooses. This legal mechanism matches the known circumstances of the inheritance, where the property was inherited by Sirius despite the fact that he was "disowned", and then could be successfully left to Harry Potter once there was no "direct line, male descendant."
- Basically, the house goes from Male Black to Male Black and so on; Lycoris, Cygnus, Phineas, Sirius, Pollux, Walburga, Sirius. It only passed to Walburga because Alphard was disowned and died before his father anyway and Cygnus III only had 3 daughters, so it wouldn't be able to pass to them anyway until Sirius and Regulus were dead, so Pollux gave it to Walburga and Orion. Then Sirius inherited it. At his death there was "No male heir with the name Black" left, so Sirius was able to dispose of the house as he chose - in this case, giving it to his godson, Harry.
- Like most Greek names that end in -is, Lycoris is a girl's name.
Back to the main Headscratchers page