Reading this question, a thought visited me:

  • Sirius Black was disliked by his family (Blacks) because he didn't follow their blood purity ideology and was friends with Potter, Lupin, and co.

    'I used to be there,' said Sirius, pointing at a small, round, charred hole in the tapestry, rather like a cigarette burn. 'My sweet old mother blasted me off after I ran away from home ...


    'But . . . why did you . . . ?'

    'Leave?' Sirius smiled bitterly and ran his fingers through his long, unkempt hair. 'Because I hated the whole lot of them: my parents, with their pure-blood mania, convinced that to be a Black made you practically royal . . . my idiot brother, soft enough to believe them . . . that's him.'

    ... 'He {{Regulus}} was younger than me,' said Sirius, 'and a much better son, as I was constantly reminded.'

    ... " . . . he joined the Death Eaters.'... 'Come on, Harry, haven't you seen enough of this house to tell what kind of wizards my family were?' said Sirius testily.

    'Were were your parents Death Eaters as well?'

    'No, no, but believe me, they thought Voldemort had the right idea, they were all for the purification of the wizarding race, getting rid of Muggle-borns and having pure-bloods in charge. They weren't alone, either, there were quite a few people, before Voldemort showed his true colours, who thought he had the right idea about things . . . they got cold feet when they saw what he was prepared to do to get power, though. But I bet my parents thought Regulus was a right little hero for joining up at first.'

  • But, as far as the entire world (his family included) knew, on the night of Potters' deaths, Sirius showed that he was a Death Eater and betrayed Potters and murdered 13 Muggles.

Given that dramatic (seeming) 180 degree turn, is there any canon evidence that his family:

  1. Joined the rest of the Wizarding world in believing the latter

  2. If so, changed their opinion of him (even if his face didn't get re-attached to the family tree tapestry).

  • 5
    Given that Walburga’s portrait cries “Blood traitor, abomination, shame of my flesh!”, I would be inclined to think not on 2. (Although that depends on when the portrait was made.)
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 13:51
  • Hmmm. The quotes above seem to suggest that his parents were not in favor of extreme solutions involving violence. Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 13:54
  • 6
    I think among the Death Eaters, most of them knew it wasn't Sirius who sold out the Potters. Sirius told Pettigrew that he heard other prisoners crying out about Pettigrew and knew that they would be out to avenge Voldermort's death if he was to come out as alive and well. I have a feeling Bellatrix and maybe Narcissa knew Sirius hadn't miraculously changed and therefore weren't about to welcome him back into the family once more. His mom wasn't a Death Eater but, based on her portrait, she probably wasn't jumping to believe he had maybe finally decided to honor the Black family values either. Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 23:54
  • The other problem is that we have no idea when Sirius' parents died. Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 0:39
  • 2
    well we know that the deatheaters did not know that pettigrew was a deatheater/spy. because Snape is operating under the assumption that sirius was responcible for Lillies death, and we know that dumbledore also believe that it was sirius, but if pettigrew was a known death eater snape at least would have known and told Dumbledore. i would say that had his parents found out they would have been upset because he publicly shamed the family more, by killing a street full of muggles. (more because of bad publicity, not really because of the murders)
    – Himarm
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 13:05

3 Answers 3


According to JKR, at the time of the Sirius' arrest and incarceration, the Noble House of Black was severely diminished, almost extinct apart from a handful of female descendants - and not all of them were pro-Death Eaters to begin with. Only one person, other than Sirius and Walburga, with the surname "Black" had survived: old unmarried Cassiopeia Black.

  1. Lucretia Prewett nee Black (d. 1992): We don't know much about her politics, but as wife of Ignatius Prewett, Molly Weasley's uncle, for whom Percy was partially named, we can assume she probably wasn't pro-Death Eater.

  2. Cassiopeia Black (d. 1992): We know nothing of her except that she was unmarried and childless, so we cannot make any guesses on her politics. She was the maternal aunt of James Potter so her politics could easily go either way.

  3. Andromeda Tonks nee Black: Definitely anti-Death Eater and Blood purity statement.

That leaves us with Walburga (d. 1985), Narcissa and Bellatrix.

While the former two were never formally Death Eaters, they believed in the cause, and Narcissa seems to be especially involved in the organization, while Bellatrix was one of the Inner Circle and Voldemort's lieutenant - for the few days post-Sirius' incarceration that she remained out of Azkaban herself.

We also know that Peter Pettigrew went into hiding as Scabbers in order to hide from the Death Eaters still outside Azkaban - the Dark Lord's downfall meant that he was of afraid retribution from the survivors.

This means that the Inner Circle - which included the Lestranges and Malfoy were almost certainly aware that Wormtail was a Death Eater. Which implies they would also know that Sirius was not.

While they may not be sure of the events leading to the Potters' and Voldemorts' demise, there is very little evidence to suggest that the Inner Circle ever believed Sirius Black to be "One of Them".

Depending on how close Cissy was to her aunt Walburga, Walburga may also have been in the know - in any case, her post-death Portrait certainly didn't seem to think any better of Sirius.

So ironically, his actions only seem to have led him to be hated by ALL the surviving Blacks - the 'good' ones thought he was a Death Eater, while the 'bad' ones knew (or strongly suspected) he wasn't.

  • 1
    @DVK you may want to accept this answer.
    – SQB
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 10:54
  • Cassiopeia wasn't the maternal aunt of James, Cassiopeia `s sister, Dorea, was the wife of a man called Charlus Potter, but Charlus and Dorea weren't Harry grandparent but a couple called Fleamont and Euphemia.
    – wolfpirate
    Commented May 1, 2021 at 1:55

As @shisha points out, the House of Black was very diminished, so let's assume you are talking about Walburga in particular. Walburga was the paternal Aunt of Bellatrix and Narcissa. Bellatrix was a death eater and Narcissa was married to one, so it isn't too much of a stretch to say that she knew that he wasn't a death eater. However, bringing up the quote

"He alone knew who we were..."

This is an excerpt of a quote made by Igor Karkaroff in Goblet of Fire. Bellatrix and Narcissa probably knew Sirius's personality, of extreme loyalty, and also shouldn't be too much of an assumption to say that as they were family, however, maimed and broked that family was, they still probably knew that Sirius was no Death Eater because they had never seen him. For example, Narcissa knew Bellatrix was a Death Eater even though only Voldemort knew all of the Death Eaters.

Furthermore, HP Lexicon says that

"Sirius, who was burned off the tapestry for running away"


"and Alphard, who was burned off the tapestry for giving [Sirius] gold."

Sirius was burned off the tapestry, not from being a blood-traitor, but for running away. The quote about his Uncle Alphard shows that anyone who dared to help/like Sirius would also be disowned. So even if he had become a Death Eater, he still betrayed the House of Black by running away, and it is for this reason that he would not be forigven: He still betrayed and brought shame on the family.


I would say that his parents should they be alive would have believe Sirius to be a death eater, but would have not been proud of him, and he would have remained a disappointment, blood traitor. His death eater cousins on the other hand may have actually gained some respect for him, Bellatrix especially would have probably been very amenable to Sirius after finding out he slaughtered a street full of muggles and was a spy against the order. Sirius parents most likely would not have been happy to find out he was a death eater after their golden son was killed by the death eaters (while being one himself) and they were not for open mass murders. so Sirius sentence would have probably shamed the family more since it was a huge outcry against him and what he did (bad press). we also know that the death eaters themselves would have believed he was infact a secrete death eater, as they did not know that pettigrew was the leek/spy. Snape himself did not know, and Dumbledore believe that Sirius was a death eater as well.

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