Why didn’t Dumbledore bail Sirius Black out of Azkaban for 12 years? Was their decaf that good?

Dumbledore must have known or suspected that Sirius was innocent! He was a Gryffindor, best friends with James and an extinguished member of the Order of the Phoenix! Why wouldn’t anyone, or at least the most powerful wizard in the world, try legilimency?

After reading Harry Potter books and watching the movies, we learn that Dumbledore is a mysterious wizard and a bit strict when fighting evil. He sacrifices himself and others for the greater good if he can see no other way. But, if he knew Sirius was innocent, what purpose did it serve?

Potential reasons:

  • Dumbledore wanted Harry to go to his aunt and uncle’s
  • Dumbledore wanted Harry to have a harsh upbringing
  • Sirius’ laughter threw everyone off
  • Sirius didn’t care if he was dead or incarcerated from then on
  • Black Turned Dumbledore Down
  • Dumbledore believed Sirius was guilty

The Dursleys

When Lily Potter sacrificed herself to protect her baby, her blood became his haven. This ancient protection magic extended onto her whole family, her blood. Therefore, it extends to his aunt Petunia, her sister.

As long as Harry was under their roof, neither Voldemort nor his minions could harm him. Dumbledore knew this and explained to Petunia in a message he left with baby Harry in a crib on their doorstep.

Now, if things went differently and Sirius was not incarcerated, he would most certainly take legal guardianship of Harry. Meaning he would live with Black, which would make him safe, but not as safe as this ancient spell made him.

This is only a fan theory, and it does hold some merit, although it is not likely because Dumbledore could have helped free Sirius of guilt and explain this to him.

Harsh upbringing

Dumbledore knew about the prophecy connecting Harry and Lord Voldemort forever. He also knew that Voldemort would be back, and that Harry would have to live a life of extreme danger. This theory does hold some merit, as it is befitting of Dumbledore to do this.

It explains why Dumbledore let Harry sleep under the stairs and suffer all those years of abuse. It was to make him tough and self-reliant, to make him used to living in harsh conditions, and to know the ugly side of life. All to better prepare him for what was inevitable.

So, if this is true, then Sirius Black would pose a problem for this because no matter how tough he would be on Harry and try to prepare him himself, Dumbledore could have foreseen that it would never be harsh enough.

The Laughter

When Peter Pettigrew betrayed Lily and James to Voldemort, causing their demise, Sirius found him. Pettigrew then killed twelve muggles with a dark spell, cut his finger, transformed into a rat, and escaped into the sewers.

The first auror came moments later. Since Sirius couldn’t follow Pettigrew into the sewers, he stayed there, probably in shock. The gravity of what happened just gained on him then and there, for it was the first moment he stopped since he saw his friends dead.

The auror accused him of doing all that himself and, in his traumatic state, Black did not deny it nor tried to explain. He just laughed maniacally. He laughed and screamed, which others interpreted as a sign that he was not regretting what he had allegedly done. 

It is possible he didn’t even tell Dumbledore what truly transpired, sealing his own fate.

Sirius stopped caring what would happen to him anymore

Sirius was the first secret keeper for the the Potters, but he suggested they switch to Peter Pettigrew. He thought Voldemort would go after him for being an obvious choice and that he would never suspect Pettigrew.

Little did he know that Pettigrew was already serving the Dark Lord. So, his friends died by his initiative and he, shocked by this revelation, gave up.

It is probable he wanted to die or go to prison and suffer at the hands of the dementors. So, when others came, he never even attempted to plead his innocence because he did not consider himself innocent.

Black Turned Dumbledore down

While it is likely that Dumbledore could have seen through Pettigrew’s tricks, for the reasons listed above, Black could have turned down his help to prove his innocence. He did give up until years later when he saw Peter’s photo in the newspapers.

Pettigrew Fooled Dumbledore

The final theory is, in our opinion, the most likely one. Even though he was the most powerful wizard of his generation, even Dumbledore was fooled. And, why not be fooled?! Lily, James, and twelve other people were brutally killed, along with a finger from Peter Pettigrew.

Fudge was the first auror on the scene, who found Black laughing maniacally over 12 corpses and presumably all that was left of Peter. Black didn’t plead his innocence, so why would anyone doubt it? It stands to reason that Dumbledore was simply fooled by everyone else. He is a powerful wizard, but he is not omnipotent. Any of these theories could be true as JK. Rowling never did explain what happened there. But whatever the real reason is, Harry Potter did avenge his parents in the end.