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The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
James and Sirius
I'm going back to "Little Bits of Junk" tonight--honest. I just have to get the segue from the plot device to get him there to the actual, you know, plot.

Okay, an actual subject, which is something of a rant:

Canonically, Sirius Black's best friend is James Potter. The person who most influenced Sirius's life is James. The person to whom he is so grateful that he is willing to die to keep his son alive is James.

Remember James?

I don't want to get into exactly what set me off, because I don't want to get into any specific story, but at the moment, my teeth are gritted pretty hard.

Look, I love Remus. Love him to itty-bitty little pieces. If I can find a way to make Remus more important to the plot, then I am absolutely shameless about using it. And I like Sirius. And I like playing them off one another. Granted, I like to do it in the friendship mode, but when it comes to this, there's no real difference between friendship-fic and slashfic--the question is about the relationship between them.

And you know what?

When you're doing Sirius, Remus is not the most influential person from his childhood. That's James. James, James, James, James.

James is not someone he turns to because he doesn't want to bring danger to Remus. James is not someone who he likes because he understands the deep relationship with Remus. James is not the person who facilitates chances for him to meet with Remus.

James is Sirius's best friend. Canon is not ambiguous about this. What Sirius does is driven by his love for James.

Not by his love for Remus, however you happen to interpret the word "love." Yes, they all did become animagi for Remus's sake--note all--but that seems to be a kind of group decision. Any time we hear about dyads within the group, it's James and Sirius.

So let Sirius love Remus as much as you feel like and in whatever way you feel like, but please, don't devalue the primary positive relationship in Sirius's life in the course of doing it. James is his best friend, and James is the one he's going to go to first and think of first.

And in closing, James.
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scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: March 8th, 2005 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Have I ever told you that you rock? It wasn't so much the blatantly obvious point your journal made (at least, I think it's blatantly obvious, but then, I'm not a screaming R/S fangirl), but the wonderful sarcastic tone of it. What a great little thing to show up on the top of my f-list!

And in closing, James. Preach it!
emmagrant01 From: emmagrant01 Date: March 8th, 2005 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree 100% -- and I don't read a lot of Sirius/Remus fic for exactly this reason.

I don't know if you're a slash fan at all, but have you read any of jedirita's Sirius/Remus fic? She has an unusual take on their relationship in that she assumes it would be massively disfunctional. Sirius, after all, has spent many years in Azkaban, and since has been living in hiding. There is little reason to think that Sirius and Remus would have any sort of normal relationship, ya know? Anyway, if you're interested, I could direct you to her stuff. It's the only S/R I read!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 8th, 2005 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't care for S/R anyway. And I don't like reading about dysfunctional relationships, even if it's realistic that they'd be dysfunctional, so it's probably not for me.
anna_fredricka From: anna_fredricka Date: March 8th, 2005 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Amen and Hallaluja!
Sirius/Remus slash - I've never understood. Then again there are quite a lot of ships, the entertainment value of which I don't understand in the slightest. One of the things I love about HP is the depth of the friendships JKR's characters form. Sirius and James' friendship is one of my favorites.
ladyaeryn From: ladyaeryn Date: March 8th, 2005 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus is not the most influential person from his childhood.

Agreed; I've never quite understood the impression that Remus was somehow more influential to Sirius than James in the height of their MWPP days, especially after the Pensieve scene in OotP (where Harry even specifically observes the seemingly particular influence James and Sirius have over one another). And Sirius talking about how it was at James' house where he was considered a second son. Of course Sirius and Remus are good friends, but moreso than Sirius was with James? I simply haven't seen it.
cornfields From: cornfields Date: March 8th, 2005 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Wordy McWord!
siegeofangels From: siegeofangels Date: March 8th, 2005 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
You do the best rants and I agree wholeheartedly. And I even AM a gibbering R/S fangirl.

Only the very best R/S manages to remember just how important James is to Sirius: that McGonagall mentions Sirius and James, that they were so inseparable, that they went together like peanut butter and jelly and Sirius and James.

And the James dynamic is so interesting to see--how it influences how Sirius and Remus interact, the Secret-Keeper fiasco, Sirius' disappointment in Harry for not being James--and it's a little disappointing to not see it at least alluded to in a lot of the R/S or R&S fic out there.

Geez. Now I feel like writing a rant about why TheyAlwaysLovedEachOther!R/S doesn't work for me. It shall be titled You Thought I Was Evil For Twelve Years.
straussmonster From: straussmonster Date: March 8th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
It shall be titled You Thought I Was Evil For Twelve Years.

Hehehe. Now there's an unanswered question (and no, none of the scenarios thrown out really work for me so far); who thought who was evil and why, and why/how did things get the way they did? That's the aspect that really puts the nail in the coffin of a deep, solid, S/R relationship at that time for me. He's the love of your life, but you think he's evil? I mean, you can make that work with enough reading into things, but I hope we'll get enough background that tells us why to make that either more or less plausible.
effervescent From: effervescent Date: March 8th, 2005 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
There are all sorts of ways to look at it, and that's why I tend to be open to the people who do place a certain amount of importance on Remus. I've seen the argument that its' James' death that makes him so important to Sirius - that and the fact that Sirius knew that Remus was alive, when he was in Azkaban, and so wasn't stressing about him as much as he was James. But on the other hand, we have the apparent fact that Remus and Sirius were suspicious of each other, hehe, so it really is just how you interpret canon.

I think it all depends on how you write it - Remus could have had a very large role in Sirius' life without devaluing James' position in it as his best friend - that happens all the time in real life, when couples get together and that sort of thing. Just because two people are close, doesn't mean one of the pair can't be in love with someone else. I think what you're getting at here is that James' friendship with Sirius shouldn't be devalued in favour of Sirius' friendship with Remus? In which case, I totally agree, I just don't think that it means that Remus/Sirius could have happened at all - and I'm not even really a major S/R shipper, hehe.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 8th, 2005 02:50 am (UTC) (Link)
But on the other hand, we have the apparent fact that Remus and Sirius were suspicious of each other, hehe, so it really is just how you interpret canon.

We also have what we see in the Pensieve--James and Sirius interacting with one another while Remus is off to one side, McGonagall's memories of the boys, and their mutual focus on James in the scene with Peter. There are all sorts of things indicating that James was the person on whom Sirius was focused, and nothing at all to suggest that Remus was.

I mean, I have an odd and out-of-my-own-character liking for Remus/Lily, but if I start having Lily be more important to Remus's childhood than James was, then it's the same problem: it's not what the evidence suggests.
mamadeb From: mamadeb Date: March 8th, 2005 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
You know I'm slasher, and I do see Sirius and Remus as lovers (and, yeah, post-Azkaban would have many problems.)

I've never thought about this, mostly because I haven't written any stories with James anyway.

There's a difference between best friends and lovers. James and Sirius were best friends. Sirius is his son's godfather. They were the princes of Gryffindor together - the pranking jock with the unshakeable crush and unalterable feelings about Dark Magic and the rebel - handsome, brilliant and romantic all at the same time. Both pureblood aristocrats with wealth and status but neither so proud that they couldn't admit Remus and Peter to their club. And if Sirius and Remus fell in love, that's something else that has no bearing on his friendship with James.
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: March 8th, 2005 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
And in closing, James.

Laughing out loud. Honestly, this problem is so prevalent in R/S fics, it's put me off the ship a bit. At least it gives me more time for genfic. :)
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: March 8th, 2005 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
And in closing, word.

Thanks for making sense and making me laugh.
penny_pixie From: penny_pixie Date: March 8th, 2005 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

You know I don't really know you all that well but it doesn't change the fact that I just love you.

I went to preview and hit post instead, lol, ok now we're cookin'
rj_anderson From: rj_anderson Date: March 8th, 2005 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)

*falls on your neck and weeps with gratitude*
malabud From: malabud Date: March 8th, 2005 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I seem to remember you making a point similar to this a ways back, RJ. Great minds think alike!

(At least, I think you did. And no, I'm not thinking of your infamous Evil!James essay. Hmm. *off to search memories*)
mafdet From: mafdet Date: March 8th, 2005 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
THANK YOU. You have beautifully articulated so much of what bothers me about R/S, specifically fics that focus on the Schmoopy-Woopy Puppy Wuv between Sirius and Remus and treat James as an afterthought, a plot device, or someone who is merely there to serve as a third wheel to the lovebirds. Bleah.

I like your examples of how important James - that is, JAMES, not Remus - was important to Sirius. We also have the word of the all-powerful canon creator JKR herself, on her website, where she specifically mentions Sirius' capacity for great love, and how the focus of this great love was James, that is, J-A-M-E-S P-O-T-T-E-R. And, after James died, Harry. Nowhere was Remus mentioned.

I do not see a S/R relationship - in fact, I really dislike this ship, because Tonks is bashed and James forgotten and it is ever-so-wanky in general. And for the record, I don't see James/Sirius, either. They're like brothers. I would say that each was the brother the other one never had, and, in a way, James was something of the "paterfamilias" of MWPP. Sirius, Remus and Peter were all needy in some way or another and James was the caregiver and wise one. Yes, he was an obnoxious bullying asshat at 16 but even then, I can see the kind of person James would grow into once he deflated his head a bit.

And oh yes - James James James James James James JAMES. ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 8th, 2005 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I would say that each was the brother the other one never had, and, in a way, James was something of the "paterfamilias" of MWPP. Sirius, Remus and Peter were all needy in some way or another and James was the caregiver and wise one. Yes, he was an obnoxious bullying asshat at 16 but even then, I can see the kind of person James would grow into once he deflated his head a bit.

That's exactly how I see it. And the responsibility of that may have contributed to the asshattery--fifteen is pretty young to be the primary caregiver for a psychologically troubled outcast, a boy with a nasty chronic illness, and an insecure child in need of reassurance. Fighting impending maturity can take some weird routes. The sense I get from the way the others talk about James was that each of them had a primary relationship to James first and James held the group together while whatever other relationships there would be formed. I think the fact that James assumed Sirius's actions in the Prank were his responsibility to stop really supports that idea--he's protecting both Remus and Sirius (Snape's probably right that protecting Snape isn't high on his list of priorities).
likeafox From: likeafox Date: March 8th, 2005 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes. Also, Ron is Harry's best friend, not Draco. *rolls eyes*

(not that this stops me from reading both R/S and H/D... I mean, what? ;))
sabrinanymph From: sabrinanymph Date: March 8th, 2005 05:33 am (UTC) (Link)
That is such a refreshing rant.

I've never bought the Remus/Sirius ship particularly - possibly because so many that seem to be all for it are militantly for it and often against other characters that I like equally well, if not better.

I'd agree with the comment a few comments above that James was the centerpiece and all the other pieces formed around him. I'd actually like that - it makes Pettigrew's betrayal that much more disturbing. Not to mention that it would make perfect sense how each of the others could suspect each other. James might not suspect any of them, but they'd all suspect each other because they're not nearly as close to each other as they are in James. I've been in enough high school friend groups to know how wonky dynamics can get from time to time...
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