Orion Black (1929 – 1979) was a British pure-blood wizard. He was the only son of Arcturus Black III and Melania Macmillan. He was the senior male-line descendant of the House of Black, a family which could trace its magical ancestors back to at least the Middle Ages and which was recognised as one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight.
Orion was born to Arcturus Black III and his wife, Melania Macmillan, in 1929. He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was sorted into Slytherin house, like most members of the House of Black.
At some point, he married his second cousin Walburga Black. The two lived in their family home at 12 Grimmauld Place in London, England. Orion erected a vast array of magical security measures on the house while he lived there.
- "It was my father's. Kreacher wasn't quite as devoted to him as to my mother, but I still caught him snogging a pair of my father's old trousers last week."
- —Sirius regarding Orion's ring[src]
Orion and his wife, like many members of the Black family, believed strongly in blood purity. Their older son Sirius disagreed with their bigotry, and when he was about sixteen, he ran away from home rather than remain with the family. Sirius moved in with the Potter family, and in retaliation, Walburga burned his name off the family tapestry.
Orion and Walburga favoured their younger son, Regulus, who echoed their belief system, and they approved when he joined the Death Eaters. They were not members of the organisation themselves, but they agreed with Lord Voldemort's values and goals. However, according to Sirius, they became dismayed when they realised how far Voldemort was willing to go to achieve his aims.
Orion died in the same year as his son Regulus. It is not known whether he died before or after Regulus did. Kreacher did not mention him in his recounting of Regulus's death, but considering the great influence that Walburga had over her house-elf and younger son, that could mean nothing.
Orion died two years before Sirius was falsely accused of mass murder and thrown in Azkaban.
Magical abilities and skills
- Defensive charms/Security: Orion Black must have had an extensive knowledge of defensive magic. While he resided at 12 Grimmauld Place, he cast on it every single security measure known to wizardkind, including a Muggle-Repelling charm. These charms were still effective long after Orion's death.
- Ring: Orion owned a big, golden ring with the House of Black family crest. During the efforts to clean 12 Grimmauld Place, Kreacher tried to smuggle the ring to his den, but Sirius caught him and wrestled it from his hands. Kreacher then cried furiously and cursed at Sirius under his breath. Sirius threw the ring out regardless.
- Trousers: Sirius once caught Kreacher snogging a pair of Orion Black's old trousers.
It is unknown what kind of relationship Orion had with his wife Walburga, but it is was probably at least civil since the couple shared similar opinions on blood purity and the rise of Voldemort. Walburga was the main parental figure in Sirius and Regulus's life, but Orion did not protest her decision to disown their son Sirius after he ran away or her brother Alphard when he left Sirius gold in his will.
He had a bad relationship with his elder son Sirius, who disagreed with Orion's bigotry. When Sirius ran away at the age of sixteen, Orion and his wife disowned him and seemingly had no further contact with him. His relationship with his younger son Regulus was better due to their shared beliefs in wizarding supremacy, and Sirius believes he was proud when Regulus joined the Death Eaters.
Orion, like many members of the House of Black, is named after a constellation. Orion is a very prominent constellation, known as the Hunter. Contemporary astronomical imagery has Orion next to the "river" Eridanus and two hunting dogs, one of which contains the star Sirius, the name of Orion Black's older son. In Greek mythology, Orion was a giant huntsman who angered the gods, and was subsequently killed by the great scorpion after which the constellation Scorpius is named.
In other versions of the tale, Orion is actually killed by Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, when she is tricked by her brother, Apollo, who is jealous of her love. Apollo bet Artemis that she couldn't hit a small mark down in a river, which was actually Orion's head, visible above the water as he was swimming. Artemis, not realising what her brother was making her do, shot Orion in the head. She then became distraught upon finding out about her mistake.
Behind the scenes
- According to Horace Slughorn, who taught at Hogwarts while Orion was a student, every member of the House of Black except Sirius was Sorted in Slytherin. This would include Orion.
- On the family tree in the film Orion has got a large blue turban, but on the 2nd DVD of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix his turban is red.
- Orion might have known his fellow Slytherin Tom Riddle during their Hogwarts years. Orion attended the school from either 1940-1947 or 1941-1948 while Riddle attended from 1938-1945.
- Orion and his son Regulus died in the same year: 1979. It is possible that Orion and Regulus's deaths, Regulus's defection from the Death Eaters, Orion and Walburga's disillusionment with Voldemort's methods, and Orion's preoccupation with the defences of 12 Grimmauld Place coincide.
- It is unknown why Orion put so much effort into magically protecting Grimmauld Place; he might have feared what Voldemort would do to the family once they began distancing himself from his methods, he might have feared the incursion of muggles and muggle-borns, or he might have simply been paranoid.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Appears on Black Family Tapestry)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Appears in portrait(s))
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Black family tree
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn), Horace Slughorn states: "The whole Black family had been in my house, but Sirius ended up in Gryffindor!" This implies that all Blacks except Sirius were sorted into Slytherin while Slughorn was teaching at Hogwarts. As revealed in Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Chapter 3 (Horace Slughorn), Slughorn had "completed half a century of service" at the time of his retirement in 1981, meaning he started teaching there circa 1931. Orion, born in 1929, attended Hogwarts from 1940/41 to 1947/48, and thus would have been a student of Slughorn and in his house.
- Sirius Black: My father put every security measure known to Wizard-kind on it when he lived here. (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix