Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Peter Pettigrew

Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character
Peter Pettigrew
Gender Male
Hair color Colorless, balding
Eye color small
Related Family Unknown
Loyalty After spoiler warning

OverviewEdit

Peter Pettigrew, almost invariably referred to by his nickname "Wormtail", was a friend of James Potter at Hogwarts. Unpopular, meek, and magically mediocre, he ingratiated himself with James, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin as a means to enhance and protect himself. At Hogwarts, the foursome became known as "The Marauders." Immediately following Lord Voldemort's disappearance, Sirius Black was convicted (without a trial) and sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban prison for Pettigrew's murder.

Pettigrew's wand is chestnut and dragon heartstring.

Role in the BooksEdit

Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Philosopher's StoneEdit

While he appears in this book, his identity has not yet been revealed.

Chamber of SecretsEdit

While he appears in this book, his identity still remains unknown.

Prisoner of AzkabanEdit

At the conclusion, it is revealed that Ron's rat Scabbers is actually Pettigrew in his Animagus form. After Sirius Black and Remus Lupin force him back into his human form, they attempt to execute him for betraying James and Lily Potter to Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter intervenes and spares his life, believing his father would not want his two best friends to become murderers. Professor Dumbledore later tells Harry that his merciful act created a powerful magical pact; Pettigrew now owes Harry a Life Debt that may override his loyalty to Voldemort. As Pettigrew is escorted back to the castle to be turned over to the Dementors, the full moon rises. Lupin transforms into a werewolf; having forgotten to taken his potion, he becomes dangerous. Sirius changes into his dog form to protect the others. During the resulting commotion, Pettigrew escapes and sets out to be reunited with his master, Lord Voldemort.

Goblet of FireEdit

In the early parts of the book, Pettigrew cares for Lord Voldemort, who has partially regained his body. We see him in the first chapter, in the Riddle house, where he is heard in conversation with Voldemort, and with the muggle Frank Bryce. There, they are discussing the death of one Bertha Jorkins, and plans for the death of one Harry Potter, with the assistance of Voldemort's "one true servant" at Hogwarts. Pettigrew is somewhat upset that Voldemort does not seem to see him as a true servant, saying that he has cared for Voldemort in their travels, though Voldemort dismisses this, saying that Pettigrew was only there because he wanted to have some of Voldemort's power.

Shortly after Harry finds Mr. Crouch in the Forbidden Forest, Harry has a dream in which he sees Pettigrew being tortured by Voldemort for having messed something up.

At the conclusion, Harry and Cedric Diggory are transported from the Triwizard Third Task maze to a cemetery where the Riddle family is interred. Pettigrew instantly kills Cedric on Voldemort's command, and bonds Harry to a tombstone. During a ritual to restore Voldemort to full power, Pettigrew drops Riddle Sr.'s bone, some of Harry's blood, and his own severed hand into a large cauldron—Voldemort emerges fully restored. The Dark Lord uses Pettigrew's Dark Mark to summon the remaining Death Eaters and rewards his servant with a magical silvery hand. Harry barely escapes back to Hogwarts with Cedric's body.

Barty Crouch then reveals to Harry that Pettigrew had brought Bertha Jorkins to Voldemort and had assisted in her torture and murder; through Bertha, they had learned of Barty's still being alive and free, and had traveled to Mr. Crouch's home and placed Bartemius Crouch under the Imperius curse; and it had been Barty and Pettigrew who had captured Mad-Eye Moody. Pettigrew had been responsible for Mr. Crouch gaining his freedom and making his way to Hogwarts; he had been suitably punished for his lapse of attention, and Barty had eliminated the problem by killing Bartemius, his father.

Order of the PhoenixEdit

Pettigrew appears in this book, much younger, in the Pensieve, friends of Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and James Potter. In this episode, James and Sirius are tormenting a young Severus Snape; neither Remus nor Pettigrew takes part in this, though they are present.

Half-Blood PrinceEdit

Pettigrew is seen only in the first chapter of the book, where he is acting as Severus Snape's servant, and possibly spying on Snape for Voldemort. Snape orders him to bring drinks for his guests; Pettigrew complains that this is not why he was sent to Snape, but Snape overrules him. When Narcissa Malfoy starts outlining why she has come to see Snape, Snape stops her. He fires a spell through the bookcase and apparently catches Pettigrew listening in; Pettigrew is heard to yelp and retreat.

Deathly HallowsEdit

At the beginning of the book, Voldemort is interrupted by loud moaning from under the room in which they are meeting. Voldemort dispatches Pettigrew to quiet their "guest."

Harry is captured by Snatchers, and is brought to Malfoy Manor, along with Ron, Hermione, Dean Thomas, and Griphook. All except Hermione are taken to a downstairs room which is acting as a prison by Pettigrew. There, they find Voldemort's "guest", Mr. Ollivander, and Luna Lovegood. When Dobby appears, Harry has him take Dean, Luna, and Ollivander to safety. Pettigrew is sent to investigate the noise of their departure. Finding nobody in the prison except Harry and Ron, Pettigrew attempts to stop Harry overpowering him, but hesitates in killing him because of his life debt. In retaliation for this hesitation, his silver hand chokes him to death.

StrengthsEdit

Pettigrew was given a silver hand by Lord Voldemort, and this hand may have certain special abilities, apart from its apparent superhuman strength.

He is also an unregistered Animagus, taking the form of a rat.

WeaknessesEdit

Peter Pettigrew's loyalty is first and foremost to himself. He is loyal to others only when it serves his own interests and purpose. His friendship to James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black was mainly because he was weak, and they protected him. He betrayed them when he decided that his best course lay with Voldemort. In Book 3, he vainly attempts to renew his friendship with Sirius and Lupin when his life is on the line. His appeal to Harry only partially works. Although Harry prevents Black and Lupin from executing him, Harry intends to turn Pettigrew over to the Dementors, making death a more appealing option.

Relationships with Other CharactersEdit

AnalysisEdit

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Rubeus Hagrid says "There isn't a one of them (wizards) that turned out bad that wasn't from Slytherin." Although his statement is somewhat hyperbolic, it seems there is a counter-example. Peter Pettigrew was a friend of James Potter, who was in Gryffindor House; it can be assumed that Sirius Black and Remus Lupin were also Gryffindors, and thus so was Peter, as the books suggest that friendships rarely cross House boundaries. When Hagrid spoke, it was unknown that Peter had turned to the dark side — it appeared he had died at the hands – or wand – of Sirius Black while he was attempting to somehow capture Black. At the time, Sirius was believed to have been Voldemort's second-in-command and had betrayed the Potters. However, the revelation of this "fact," as it is made in the Three Broomsticks pub in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban comes as a surprise to Hagrid – his outburst when receiving the news suggests strongly that he had no idea Black was supposedly so high in Voldemort's council. So as far as he was aware at the time he made his blanket statement, Hagrid was correct; the counter-examples mentioned were not known to him at the time.

QuestionsEdit

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

  1. Will Pettigrew be an asset to Harry in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?
  2. Will Pettigrew be true to his debt?
  3. As Gryffindor house favours courage and bravery above all other attributes, why was Pettigrew chosen for this house? At no point in the series does he demonstrate these features, but rather the opposite, so why did the Sorting Hat place him in Gryffindor?

Greater PictureEdit

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Many questions have been raised about Peter Pettigrew's actions. Although Voldemort never trusted him, Pettigrew was the first to return to him, and Voldemort has since chosen him to execute some of his more sensitive missions. So, the question should be asked, during many pivotal events in the series, what was Pettigrew doing?

Let us look at the events on the day the Harry's parents were murdered. Voldemort's intent was to kill Harry, at which he failed. But the Killing curse he used is harmless to chattels, only killing people, as we can easily see in the Riddle mansion which remained totally undamaged despite the three people within it being murdered by the same curse. And yet, when Sirius Black recounts that day, he states that he saw "the destroyed house... and their bodies" – though possibly not Voldemort's body. And why would the house be destroyed? Would Voldemort have traveled to Godric's Hollow alone? Or would he have brought a lieutenant along? Who better than Pettigrew, who had delivered the secret to Voldemort? And what would Pettigrew have done if his master failed? After the third curse, there is a silence... a silence so long that finally, Pettigrew enters the house to see if something has gone wrong. There, he finds his master apparently dead... and, quite possibly, goes briefly mad, destroying everything that he can lay his wand on, but avoiding Harry, who somehow managed to kill Voldemort. He then departs, carrying Voldemort's body (possibly) and wand (probably), and hides them; he then confronts Sirius, and using his own wand, blows up the street and makes good his escape, leaving Sirius to take the blame. (Later information is inconclusive on this subject. The damage is not as extensive as we are led to believe, and we do not know whether there was a body to remove or not. As Voldemort's body remains after his Killing Curse rebounds in the last chapter of the final book, it is very likely that his body was also present in this instance. It is reasonably certain that Peter did recover the wand, at the least, as he had it when he was nursing the returned Voldemort. It is also entirely possible that, finding his master dead, Pettigrew blasted his way out through the house's side, that being the quickest way to get himself, and possibly Voldemort's body, out of there.)

Twelve years pass, during which Pettigrew hides himself within a Wizarding family, the Weasleys, so that he can remain in touch with the Wizarding World's news. This period ends in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As a rat cannot wield a wand, Voldemort's wand must have been concealed somewhere during this time.

Between Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the start of school in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Pettigrew locates and rejoins Voldemort, retrieving Voldemort's wand first, while also fetching Bertha Jorkins to take her to Voldemort, then assists in her murder; carries Voldemort to Riddle Manor, where Frank Bryce is murdered, then to Barty Crouch Jr.'s house, and assists in recruiting him and placing Bartemius Crouch Sr. under the Imperius curse; and tends to Voldemort's immediate physical needs. During Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we know that Barty Crouch Jr. is in Bartemius Crouch Sr.'s house, along with Voldemort and Bartemius. Voldemort will not let him leave, as he still needs too much care. (Of course, once Bartemius escapes, Voldemort has to return to Little Hangleton.) But we rarely see him during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In particular, at the Battle in the Ministry, he is conspicuous by his absence. Many escaped Death Eaters are there, as is Voldemort himself. Where is Pettigrew? Is he somewhere within the ministry that can be reached by a rat? And while he is at the house in Spinner's End at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where is he through the rest of that book? He cannot follow Snape to Hogwarts. What tasks might he be doing for Voldemort?

We also have one outstanding issue: wands. While tending to Voldemort, Pettigrew apparently uses Voldemort's wand. But once Voldemort has returned fully, he needs his own wand. What wand can Pettigrew use? He cannot just buy one. If it is suspected that he is actually alive, he is certainly a "person of interest" and would be arrested on sight. His original wand was returned to his family, presumably, along with his severed finger. As he must conceal that he is alive, that wand is unavailable. What use to Voldemort is a wizard without a wand, particularly a weak on like Pettigrew? Could this have something to do with Ollivander's disappearance?

As it turns out, we never learn what, if any, mission Pettigrew has during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. He seems to be performing menial duties for Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And though Ollivander is required to make him a new wand, that is more of a side issue; Voldemort actually captured Ollivander for information regarding why Harry's and Voldemort's wands behaved as they did during the graveyard duel.

Last modified on 28 May 2012, at 11:42