Sirius Black is one of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series, perhaps largely because of his flaws. He’s such an interesting person. How much of his erratic, often immature behavior was due to his mental problems post-Azkaban; how much was because he never grew up; how much was because he was raised in what was likely an abusive environment; and how much was just because he could simply be a jerk sometimes? In spite of all those flaws, he loved Harry so very much. His struggles with depression were obvious. But his genuine desire to share with Harry all that was good and fun in life meant that his death left me a basket case at the end of Order of the Phoenix.
With all of that in mind, it should come as no surprise that I love stories in which Sirius escapes Azkaban and rescues Harry from the Dursleys. Sadly, most of the stories I’ve encountered within that trope are either abandoned, or they have so many writing flaws that I can’t in good conscience recommend them here. Furthermore, it seems as if most of the stories in which Sirius is a featured character were written prior to Half-Blood Prince, and therefore are missing much of the canon storyline. The “Wise One” series stands apart as a well-written story centered around Sirius’ rescue of an 8-year-old Harry from the Dursleys, while including all of the HP canon.
FarenMaddox does a fantastic job of incorporating this major change into JKR’s canon and adjusting the storyline accordingly. The events in England may be mostly the same (some things are certainly different as a result of Harry’s departure with Sirius), but what most stands out is the author’s interpretation of how Harry’s personality and character development are affected by his altered upbringing. Even so, Harry is not the only one whose character is altered by his departure with Sirius. Perhaps the second most altered character in this trilogy would be Neville, who becomes known in England as “the other Boy Who Lived.” I was amazed at what a fantastic job the author does of taking everything we know about Neville’s character development over the course of the seven HP books and adjusting that accordingly in Neville’s completely altered, yet so-familiar, characterization. This is definitely a great example of how the story benefited by being written after Deathly Hallows was published.
There’s not a lot more that I can say without spoiling the plot, other than to just flail about wildly and insist that anyone who loves Sirius’ role in Harry’s life simply must read this story. For those of us who grieved deeply at the end of Order of the Phoenix, this story is a dream come true.
Fair warning: There is a mention of one female character having been raped. The rape itself is not detailed, as it happens before Harry is around. However, Harry gets to know this character in the years that follow and is aware of her struggle to recover from this terrible event.