In Deathly Hallows, at the beginning of Chapter 10, 'Kreacher's Tale', Harry enters Sirius' room and, after rummaging, finds the first page of his mother's letter to Sirius and the remnants of a photograph taken at or shortly after Harry's first birthday in 1981.

We know from canon that Sirius left Grimmauld Place around the age of 16.

'You ran away from home?' 'When I was about sixteen,' said Sirius. 'I'd had enough.' (OotP ch.6 p. 103)

From what he implies shortly thereafter, I've always assumed that he got his own flat after he came of age and inherited money from his uncle Alphard and hadn't returned to Grimmauld Place since. He only knew what happened to Regulus through what he heard from the other prisoners in Azkaban, not from what he heard from his parents.

'I never thought I'd be stuck in the house again.' (OotP ch. 6 p. 106)

When that letter was written to Sirius he was around 21-22 years old. He was living on his own around 5 years. At 22 he was arrested and incarcerated in Azkaban under a life sentence. How did that letter survive, let alone make it to Grimmauld Place? I know I'm probably not going to get a canon answer but it's always sort of bugged me a bit.

After two years on the run did Sirius arrive to Grimmauld Place to find in his childhood room a box of personal affects that aurors had confiscated from his flat and sent to his mother? Did Walburga see her son's conviction and feel deep regret for having disowned him after he had so brazenly murdered a presumed blood traitor and twelve muggles and decide not to incinerate his things but instead keep them locked away? I don't think so because I think a pretty significant portion of Voldy's sympathizers were more or less aware that Sirius hadn't sold out the Potters so possibly even his mother knew, but I can't be sure.

I'd appreciate answers that aren't too far-flung from canon, if anyone has any.

  • 4
    Great question. One idea that springs to mind is that most of Walburga’s immediate family were dead when Sirius was arrested (see Black family tree on the HP Lexicon). Grief does strange things to people, so perhaps she just kept it.
    – alexwlchan
    Sep 20, 2014 at 12:23
  • 19
    Surely it is entirely possible to say that Sirius kept it himself in some safe place, and brought it with him to Grimmauld Place when he moved back in with the Order?
    – ZenLogic
    Sep 20, 2014 at 13:01
  • 3
    Mail forwarding? Perhaps Sirius had not yet received the letter when he was arrested and it was forwarded to prison? Then he took it with him henceforth. I don't think it says anywhere that letters are forbidden in Azkaban. Also, we know he once got a newspaper from Cornelius Fudge.
    – MAW74656
    Oct 8, 2014 at 17:43
  • 1
    @MAW74656 I never thought of that. It could be possible. My heart is breaking thinking of Sirius receiving that letter and photo in Azkaban. Oct 9, 2014 at 17:47
  • @AlbertCashier -True, but receiving it could have fed into his whole "I know I'm innocent so the Dementors can't break me" thing.
    – MAW74656
    Oct 10, 2014 at 18:33

8 Answers 8


Could it be that Sirius brought his belongings, during, being on the run, from his supposed flat, to Grimmauld Place?

I would have originally thought that whilst being on the run he would have brought important belongings with him, as harry did with his rucksack. Obviously as Sirius was not portrayed with a rucksack, I would have thought a mokeskin pouch; small, and easily concealable. Cannon has it that when humans transform into Animagi, extra peripherals such as glasses would stay with the person, such as markings around Minerva's eyes. This could be the same as a pouch around a persons neck.

Harry Potter Wiki states,

"Minerva wore square spectacles that matched the markings around the eyes of her Animagus and Patronus: a silver tabby cat."

The page can be found here, under Physical Appearance, second paragraph, last line.

I cannot find anywhere that states that Sirius's dog form has any markings. Also, when Harry and his friends see Sirius whilst in hiding, it could be that Sirius "hides" his belongings.

This is all speculation of course, but i hope my input may lead to any other theories.

  • Or a beaded party purse. :) Nov 22, 2016 at 18:20

may be simply Sirius moved with his belongings after order of phoenix back in action, and he started staying at grimmauld palace. so it's not unnatural that few order of phonix member helped him to brought his belongings at grimmauld palace from wherever he was staying before being arrested.

  • 1
    This theory isn't implausible (as far as I can remember), but is there anything in the books or supplementary materials to back up the idea?
    – phantom42
    Jan 3, 2015 at 4:39
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    “Thanks to you, Dumbledore was able to recall the Order of the Phoenix about an hour after Voldemort returned,” said Sirius. “We’ve been trying to get stuff out of you for a month and you haven’t told us a single stinking thing!” said George.*as dumbledoor assembled OoP he rescued sirius from the cave and sent him back.“Because the Ministry of Magic’s still after me, and Voldemort will know all about me being an Animagus by now, Wormtail will have told him, so my big disguise is useless. There’s not much I can do for the Order of the Phoenix… or so Dumbledore feels.”
    – li'l boy
    Jan 3, 2015 at 9:19
  • well there are not any direct indication about Dumbledore owned sirius's belongings during his prison days but all we can assume that because there were very few people eager to help sirius, even Lupin turned his back on him. and it's certain that sirus got lily's letter because even he were in run, mailing owl can find specific person, and he kept this along with few things he carried during his life out of his family. and there are plant of comments like “Thanks to you, Dumbledore was able to recall the Order of the Phoenix about an hour after Voldemort returned,” said Sirius.
    – li'l boy
    Jan 3, 2015 at 9:51

Despite leaving his family, when he was arrested and his place raided what the Aurors didn't confiscate for 'evidence' would have been packed-up, and policy would have possessions sent to next of kin, which seems to be his parents (it's not much of a stretch, since the rules of the magic world seem to centre on family, sometimes despite personal choice; Harry's protection at Privet Drive, a major example).

If he received it while in prison, then after his escape his possessions would once again, be forwarded. I'd say this is more likely, since they only found a letter and a photo, not a whole stack of sundry boxes (it's doubtful they would have taken the time or care to unpack it, or destroy only part of his possessions, and miss/leave the flammable letter and photo).

They may very well have just tossed his letters in the door (which would account for them being found on the floor), without further thought, to forget, like everything else in the room.


Probably delivered by his landlord to his 'next of kin' with the rest of his belongings when he was sent to Azkhaban.


Something important to understand is that when Sirius ran away, he never actually went out on his own. Rather, he went to James Potter's house, his best friend, and lived with James during the summer of his sixth and seventh years. After he graduated from Hogwarts, he probably did get his own place then. My guess would be that he simply returned to his home, collected his things, and then never looked back. As for the second quote in which he refers to "being stuck" in Grimmauld Place again, that's probably just talking about his unhappy childhood.


I'm guessing that the authorities sent his stuff to next of kin. His parents dumped it all in his room. They couldn't use the room, anyway; they couldn't get the posters of muggle girls and motorcycles off the walls. Then Sirius unpacked it when he started staying there.


Snape found the photo that went with the letter in the potter's house. He found Lilly dead right after the murders and tore the picture in half to keep the half that was of her. That indicates she never sent that letter to sirius. So it would have been kept for Harry as part of his parent's possesions. So dumbledore more than likely would have been involved with ensuring it was given to sirius when it was found that he was innocent since it was addressed to him and with him being harry's godfather and therefore legal guardian in the Wizarding world... right?


Harry found the 1st page of the letter, that Snape discarded, in Sirius's room at Grimmauld place. Harry saw it in the penseive.

Page 688 of deathly hallows

"And next, Snape was kneeling at Sirius's old bedroom. Tears were dripping from the end of his hooked nose as he read the old letter from Lily. The second page carried only a few words: could ever have been friends with Grllert Grindelwald. I think her mind's going, personally! Lots of love, Lily

Snape took the page bearing Lily signature, and her love, and tucked inside his robes. Then he ripped in two the photograph he was also holding, so that he kept the part from which Lily laughed, throwing the portion showing James and Harry back on the floor, under the chest of drawers...."

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