[identity profile] dahemo.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: Padfoot and Prongs
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: James Potter/Sirius Black
Spoilers: entire series
Notes: I'll forego a summary of the Harry Potter series here, since I'm assuming most people interested in reading this manifesto already know enough about it. ;)

Obviously there is not a heck of a lot of canon to draw on for this pairing, considering that one of the characters is canonically dead from the start and only makes four appearances in the entire series (once in a mirror, once in a memory, and twice in ghostly form). Even Sirius, as important as he is as a character, does not have the greatest amount of page-time. He's introduced in the third book (although we don’t meet him till the end) and dies in the fifth. There's one chapter directly about him in the fourth.

But for whatever reason, there is still enough for the dedicated few of us to believe that James and Sirius loved each other on a truly profound scale, and that is what this manifesto will attempt to prove.

James Potter.

James is Harry's father and has been dead for ten years when the series first begins. Since he is never alive during the time the series takes place, what we know of and what we learn about him come from the descriptions of characters who did know him: Hagrid, Dumbledore, Sirius, Lupin, even Snape. And what we know is this: He went to Hogwarts and was placed in Gryffindor. He played Quidditch for Gryffindor as a chaser. During his time at Hogwarts, he was a member of the "Marauders" consisting of himself, Sirius, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew (aka Prongs, Padfoot, Moony, and Wormtail). They were notorious troublemakers, they created the Marauder's map, and excluding Lupin, they were able to change themselves into animagi. James took the form of a stag.

One of the great epiphanies Harry has as he grows older is learning that his father was not a perfect hero. James was an enemy of Snape's while at school and often bullied him. Even so, he did display heroism in rescuing Snape from a prank gone bad pulled by Sirius. Sirius had sent Snape to unknowingly meet Lupin in werewolf form at the Shrieking Shack, and James prevented that disastrous meeting.

After Hogwarts, James joined the Order of the Phoenix and married Lily Evans. He and Lily had Harry and were both killed by Voldemort when Harry was about a year old.

Sirius Black.

Sirius is Harry's godfather and becomes quite an important figure in Harry's life. He is likewise an animagus and transforms into a large black dog. He is first introduced as an escaped convict, sent to Azkaban for the murder of his former friend Peter Pettigrew and several muggles. He was also believed to be in league with Voldemort and the person who divulged James and Lily's location to him. But when we meet Sirius properly, we learn he is none of those things.

His past is a troubled and tragic one. He grew up in an aristocratic, pureblood household to parents who would disown anyone who associated with mudbloods or muggles. He never had much love for his family (except his cousin Andromeda) and ran away from them his sixth year at Hogwarts. His brother Regulus became a Death Eater, although he later died as a result of trying to destroy one of Voldemort's Horcruxes.

After James and Lily's death, Sirius was captured, wrongfully accused, and thrown in Azkaban for 12 years. He then escaped to seek revenge on Pettigrew. During Harry's fourth year he is on the run as a wanted criminal, and during Harry's fifth he takes up residence in his family's old home, which is also the headquarters of the new Order of the Phoenix. He dies battling his cousin Bellatrix in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic.


Quotes from Canon

The entire basis for the James/Sirius ship is their shared past and the flew glimpses of that past that we get throughout the series. Here is every relevant canon quote that references the relationship between the two (page numbers are all from the UK editions).

[Prisoner of Azkaban]

"Naturally," said Madam Rosmerta, with a small laugh. "Never saw one without the other, did you? The number times I had them in here — ooh, they used to make me laugh. Quite the double act, Sirius Black and James Potter!"
"Precisely," said Professor McGonagall. "Black and Potter. Ringleaders of their little gang. Both very bright, of course — exceptionally bright, in fact — but I don't think we've ever had such a pair of troublemakers —"
"You'd have thought Black and Potter were brothers!" chimed in Professor Flitwick. "Inseparable!"
"Of course they were," said Fudge. "Potter trusted Black beyond all his other friends. Nothing changed when they left school. Black was best man when James married Lily. Then they named him godfather to Harry." 152

Note how the adults refer to them as a "pair" and a "double act". Sure, there were four Marauders, but these comments make it clear that it was James and Sirius who were truly the "ringleaders" while Remus and Peter tagged along.

"I thought you'd come help your friend[...] Your father would have done the same for me." 249 (Sirius)

"... you fly as well as your father did, Harry..."
He looked at Harry, who did not look away.
"Believe me," croaked Black. "Believe me. I never betrayed James and Lily. I would have died before I betrayed them." 273


"You are — truly your father's son, Harry..." 303 (Sirius)

[Order of the Phoenix]

"He's not a child!" said Sirius impatiently.
"He's not an adult either!" said Mrs. Weasley, the colour rising in her cheeks. "He's not James, Sirius!"
"I'm perfectly clear who he is, thanks, Molly," said Sirius coldly.
"I'm not sure you are!" said Mrs. Weasley. "Sometimes, the way you talk about him, it's as though you think you've got your best friend back!" 84

They are discussing Harry, of course.

"You ran away from home?"
"When I was about sixteen," said Sirius. "I'd had enough."
"Where did you go?" asked Harry, staring at him.
"Your dad's place," said Sirius. "Your grandparents were really good about it; they sort of adopted me as a second son. Yeah, I camped out at your dad's in the school holidays, and when I was seventeen I got a place of my own." 103-104

"Suit yourselves. But I sometimes think Ron's mum's right and Sirius gets confused about whether you're you or your father, Harry."
"So you think he's touched in the head?" said Harry heatedly.
"No, I just think he's been very lonely for a long time," said Hermione simply. 145

"No one would have made me a prefect, I spent too much time in detention with James. Lupin was the good boy, he got the badge." 155 (Sirius)

"You're less like your father than I thought," he said finally, a definite coolness in his voice. "The risk would've been what made it fun for James." 273 (Sirius)

I find this an interesting quote, considering what Molly says earlier in the book. Did Sirius really expect (hope?) Harry to be just like James?

He was very good-looking; his dark hair fell into his eyes with a sort of casual elegance neither James’s nor Harry’s could ever have achieved, and a girl sitting behind him was eyeing him hopefully, though he didn’t seem to have noticed. 565

This proves:
1. Sirius is HOT
2. Sirius is GAY
(ok, I'm kidding....mostly)

"If it bothers you," he said, stuffing the Snitch back in his pocket. Harry had the distinct impression that Sirius was the only one for whom James would have stopped showing off. 568

This is possibly my favorite canon J/S quote. It describes so neatly and simply the closeness and deepness of their relationship. Really, what else do you need to know?

"He kept messing up his hair," said Harry in a pained voice.
Sirius and Lupin laughed.
"I’d forgotten he used to do that," said Sirius affectionately. 591

See, "affectionately." As in "lovingly."

"Look," he said, "your father was the best friend I ever had and he was a good person." 592 (Sirius)

This is a two-way mirror, I've got the other one of the pair. If you need to speak to me, just say my name into it; you'll appear in my mirror and I'll be able to talk in yours. James and I used to use them when we were in separate detentions. 756 (note from Sirius)

[Half-Blood Prince]

"Well, anyway, he was a big pal of your father's at school. The whole Black family had been in my house, but Sirius ended up in Gryffindor!" 71 (Slughorn)

It was, as Harry had anticipated, useless, boring work, punctuated (as Snape had clearly planned) with the regular jolt in the stomach that meant he had just read his father or Sirius's names, usually coupled together in various petty misdeeds, occasionally accompanied by those of Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. 498

Again, note the phrase "usually coupled together." JKR consistently shows that James and Sirius were the true trouble duo.

[untitled prequel]

The prequel ficlet JKR wrote for charity is another great glimpse into the James/Sirius dynamic, this time after they got out of school. Whether you consider it strictly canon or not, it sure made my shipper heart very happy. Read it here.


A lot of these quotes give us little glimpses of what it was like when the two of them were at school. We know they were smart, popular, and subsequently full of themselves. We know they're both risk-takers and adventurers and this quality tended to land them in detention. We also know it was only James and Sirius that got into most of the trouble, not all four Marauders. They had two mirrors for communicating with each other so they must have had need of them often enough. Were Remus and Peter just not involved in their schemes most of the time? It's possible.

We also hear a lot through outside sources and through Sirius himself about how close they were. They were "inseparable", like "brothers." Sirius stayed at James's house for a year after he ran away from home and James's parents "sort of adopted" him. There is clearly a strong bond there.

And then we get the present-day Sirius, whom I've always seen as being stuck in the past. He just can't move forward with his life after all he's been through; his life is marred by such tragedy and quite possibly psychological trauma (being close to dementors for 12 years can't be healthy either physically or emotionally). Harry clearly reminds him of James and he talks about James in incredibly affectionate terms.

I find all this to be a pretty solid basis for a romantic relationship between the two. It certainly is not a ship that will ever be or could have ever been canon, but it does lend itself to a very interesting interpretation of canon that is not without legitimacy. I think, given the above canon, one can extrapolate that Sirius loved James more than anyone else in his life.

James seems to have been equally close to Sirius and his canon relationship with Lily doesn't necessarily preclude a relationship with Sirius as well. Given how little we know about him anyway, who's to say he wasn't hot for his best friend?

The ship, as it is written in fandom, tends unsurprisingly to be rife with angst, but it also shares characteristics of British boarding school gay romances. Many authors find creative ways to deal with both the limited time frame and the Lily factor.


Sirius is one of my favorite characters and this is far and away my favorite ship for him. The fandom at large unfortunately vastly prefers him with Lupin, but let me state for the record that I have nothing against Remus/Sirius. It's definitely not my cup of tea, I find it somewhat blasphemous and I avoid it at all costs, but I don't actively dislike the pairing. I also quite like the canon James/Lily but I of course prefer James/Sirius.

Even before I started shipping the two, I never warmed to Remus/Sirius the way everyone else in fandom did. I always felt that any romantic relationship between Remus and Sirius would have been somehow a betrayal of Sirius's feelings for James because it was so clear to me that Sirius loved James above anyone else (even if it was as best friends). I also happen to be incredibly fond of Lupin/Tonks so that's another factor. Lupin was never on my gaydar. Sirius, on the other hand, who to my best recollection was never shown to be remotely interested in any women...but Lupin not so much.

I also, interestingly, came through Harry/Sirius to get to James/Sirius (especially interesting because I dislike cross-generational ships). Harry/Sirius was the first ship that I ever felt worked for Sirius and I always enjoyed the idea that Sirius would be attracted to Harry because of his resemblance to James and because of his latent feelings for James. Obviously, it was only a short leap from there to realize that James/Sirius was the perfect ship I'd been looking for all along.

It has since become not just my favorite slash ship in Harry Potter, but one of my favorite slash ships of all time. I adore both characters. I adore their relationship, romantic or otherwise. I love both the angst and the mischievous young boys. My only sorrow is that there isn't more. Either of the canon or the fanon. It really is a tragedy, but I love what there is, and with that I'll conclude this manifesto with a few recs.

Resources and Recs.

[livejournal.com profile] padfootnprongs
[livejournal.com profile] jamesandsirius

Check the tag at [livejournal.com profile] crack_broom

Six Long Years on Your Trail by [livejournal.com profile] musesfool (R, also Harry/Ron)

The Five Most Important Things about James Potter That No One But Sirius Black Ever Knew by [livejournal.com profile] her_rebeccaness (PG-13)

Nothing Happens by [livejournal.com profile] kabeyk (R)

Something Unspeakable by [livejournal.com profile] moshesque (NC-17)

art by [livejournal.com profile] midnight_ljc

art by [livejournal.com profile] cathybites (character death!)

After Dark by [livejournal.com profile] celestialsoda

(These are pretty random because I don't keep track of what I read/look at very well! Hope they give you a good taste, though. Do a little link-clicking of your own and you're bound to turn up much more.)

Date: 2009-09-17 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ranuel.livejournal.com
If a relationship between Sirius and Remus feels like a betrayal, what of James actually marrying Lily and having a child with her? I agree that a good writer could work around that, and certainly if Snape suspected that James not only stole the girl he was in love with but that she was James' second choice it would add vast layers of angst to his hatred of James, but I would have liked to have seen the issue of that relationship and how it would fit with James/Sirius addressed in your manifesto.

Date: 2009-09-17 10:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ranuel.livejournal.com
Yes, you mentioned that others have addressed it elsewhere but didn't address it yourself or provide a link to where it was addressed. A short bullet point summary of commonly used devices wouldn't have taken much space and this wasn't a long manifesto as these things go. I've never read any James/Sirius at all and so I am unfamiliar with what is to you to obvious to need addressing. Like many people who read these I was intrigued by the idea of a pairing I don't know much about and looking for reasons why I should click on those stories that feature it when I come across it. When dealing with an alternative pairing to a canon pair the issue of how to get around cannon in a believable way while preserving characterization is at least as important as why the new pair would work.

Date: 2009-09-17 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lunasariel.livejournal.com
...I think I love you now. I honestly never expected anyone else to do a manifesto on my absolute favorite HP pairing, but here it is!

I've shipped these two ever since the fifth movie, when during the battle at the Ministry, Sirius turns to Harry and says, "Nice one, James!" It made me realize to what extent Sirius' life had fallen apart after James died, and therefore how much he must have loved him.

I agree with you about Sirius/Remus, by the way. It's just never clicked for me.

Date: 2009-09-18 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duck-or-rabbit.livejournal.com
I do like Sirius and James, and would like to add that [livejournal.com profile] allie_potter has written two beautiful oneshots, one dealing specifically with Lily/James, which is an obstacle a canon!reader must overcome, as you state, to think James/Sirius plausible. They can be found at her lj masterlist.

All fandom (and canon) ships have such obstacles to overcome to make motives/intent/characters written convincingly in fanfic - it's the writer, not the pairing, imo, that's the difference that makes the difference in what to buy or reject. Allie does a nice job with her James/Sirius, so I'm recommending her here in the comments of your post.
Edited Date: 2009-09-18 01:24 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-09-18 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duck-or-rabbit.livejournal.com
You're welcome! And Allie is a amazing writer, generally. [livejournal.com profile] snegurochka_lee is brilliant with J/S as well. Gorgeous character development and stunning writing. Not sure of the vastness her J/S catalog, though.

Overall, I try to think the better of writers choosing the pairings, so I keep myself fairly neutral as meta goes. Being a Remus/Sirius writer!fandom, working out the connection points is a helluva lot of work, but, I can see it. Yet I also see Sirius/other pairings, too. I wouldn't attempt James/Sirius myself; others do it nicely and better than I ever could.

I support Lily/James, on the basis, of, well, Harry, ;).
Edited Date: 2009-09-18 03:49 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-09-18 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aqueousserenade.livejournal.com
It's about time someone made this! :D

I know it's probably blasphamy, but I never understood why Sirius/Remus was so popular. I can certainly see the appeal, but James/Sirius is much more implied in the books and by JKR. (Not that I think canon should be the driving force for shipping, but I would think their closeness would be sniffed out right away by slashers and milked for all its worth.)

I agree with you in that Sirius is completely stuck on James (and clearly in love with him), but I always pictured it as unrequitted. :( I don't want to, but the whole Lily-thing...

I never saw much reason to like James, only because half of the things we learned about him were about him being an asshole to everyone but his friends (I know he was a kid, but damn).
I wish we could've seen him (and Sirius) as adults. :/
And yet I still like the pairing...

Anywho, great job on working with so little. I think I'll have a go at some of those fic. If I'm going to read about James it might as well be with Sirius (because, honestly, I like Lily even less than him and see about as much James/Lily in the books as I do Sirius/Remus: Yeah, it's there, but where's the love? lol).

Date: 2009-09-19 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kubrick-potter.livejournal.com
You are now one of my favourite people ever! I don't particularly like Remus/Sirius. I don't have anything against people shipping it but I refuse to read fic about them, or any hint of them. James and Sirius are my boys, they are so meant to be together and this manifesto has brought so many smiles to my face!

Well done!

Date: 2010-01-08 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moshesque.livejournal.com
I'm so glad you did this manifesto - thank you for the time and effort you put into it! Also, thank you very much for linking one of my stories! That was a pleasant surprise. :)

Also, would you be interested in posting a link to this at [livejournal.com profile] stagnight? It's the perfect kind of fanwork for the community (no pressure, though!).

Date: 2010-01-10 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moshesque.livejournal.com
You can post a link if it's easier - it's up to you! Thanks for posting to the comm. As I said, this would be perfect for Stagnight, and it's nice to have some different things going up there. :)

Date: 2010-01-25 12:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moshesque.livejournal.com
Oh, damn, I thought you already had access! Sorry, I'll go give you posting access right away. :) You should be able to post now.


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