The Harry Potter Compendium

"And you understood Wormtail... you knew he had felt some regret..."
Harry Potter on Peter Pettigrew about regretting betraying his friends to Lord Voldemort.[src]

Peter Pettigrew, Order of Merlin - First Class (possibly retracted), (c. 1960 - March 1998[4]), also known as Wormtail because his animagus is a rat and a rat's tail looks like a worm.[5], was a wizard and son of Mr. and Mrs. Pettigrew. He began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1971 and was sorted into Gryffindor house. During his years at Hogwarts, he became one of the Marauders; he was best friends with James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin, and together they created the Marauder's Map. During the First Wizarding War, Peter was a member of the Order of the Phoenix but became a double agent when he defected to Lord Voldemort. He was made Secret-Keeper for the Potters when they went into hiding with the use of the Fidelius Charm, and betrayed James, his wife Lily, and their son, Harry to Lord Voldemort. After Voldemort's fall, he faked his own death and framed Sirius for betraying James and Lily, as well as for his own murder and those of the twelve muggles he killed during his escape. Peter spent twelve years living in his Animagus form as the Weasley family's pet rat, Scabbers.[5] However, his identity was exposed by Sirius and Remus in 1994, and Pettigrew, with nowhere else to go, sought protection in returning to the service of Lord Voldemort, whom he found in the forests of Albania.

Pettigrew is the most handsome in harry potter series who played a key role in Voldemort's rebirth and continued to serve him during the Second Wizarding War. In the spring of 1998, during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor, in a moment of rare mercy, he hesitated to strangle Harry Potter when Harry reminded him of his life debt.[4] The silver hand Lord Voldemort had given Pettigrew interpreted his hesitation as weakness or disloyalty, and strangled him to death.


Early life[]

Peter was born around 1960. Little is known of his childhood. He was the son of Mrs. Pettigrew. It is most likely that his parents were magical, as his mother was part of the wizarding world.

Hogwarts years[]

"Hero-worshipped Black and Potter. Never quite in their league, talent-wise. I was often rather sharp with him... Stupid boy... Foolish boy..."
Minerva McGonagall on Pettigrew[src]

Pettigrew began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1971 and was sorted into Gryffindor house. He soon became friends with James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black, fellow Gryffindors he idolized for their popularity and talent. Pettigrew took part in James and Sirius' bullying of Severus Snape, a Slytherin boy in the same year as the Marauders, though it's unlikely he would have dared to bully Snape without his friends protecting him.

He, James, and Sirius soon discovered Remus to be a werewolf, but they did not abandon him as many other wizards would have. Instead, they spent years learning how to become Animagi so that they could accompany Remus during his transformations. Pettigrew's Animagus form was a rat, from which his nickname "Wormtail" was derived. The four friends called themselves the Marauders and designed a map to navigate Hogwarts.[5] Pettigrew's rat form helped him slip through the Whomping Willow's branches and immobilise the tree, in order to let himself and the Marauders enter the Shrieking Shack.

Professor Minerva McGonagall described Pettigrew as a "stupid and foolish boy" who hero-worshipped Sirius and James. She also stated that Pettigrew was a less than average student and was not capable of fighting with Sirius.

First Wizarding War[]

Order of the Phoenix membership and betrayal[]

"You sold James and Lily to Voldemort! Didn't you?!"
Remus Lupin to Pettigrew, in the Shrieking Shack[src]

After graduating from Hogwarts, Pettigrew and his friends joined the Order of the Phoenix and fought against Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War. However, at some point, Pettigrew began working as a double agent for Voldemort, having come to the belief that nothing could be gained from opposing him. Despite being considered a low-ranking soldier for his cowardice and general lack of usefulness, Pettigrew was given the Dark Mark and accepted into the ranks of the Death Eaters. After a prophecy was made regarding Harry Potter and the Dark Lord, James and Lily Potter took their son and went into hiding. In an attempt at misdirection, they were convinced to select Pettigrew as their Secret-Keeper by Sirius Black. On Halloween night 1981, Pettigrew betrayed his friends, and Voldemort killed James and Lily, but was unable to do the same to their son when his Killing Curse rebounded, destroying his physical form.[5] Upon arriving at the wreckage of the Potters' house, Pettigrew deduced what had happened, took Voldemort's wand[6], which was left among the rubble, fearing the Ministry would discover his treason through inspecting it, and hid it in an undisclosed location.

"Black was vicious, he didn't kill Pettigrew...he destroyed him! A finger; that all that was left - a finger! Nothing else."
Cornelius Fudge recounting the supposed brutality of Pettigrew's "death"[src]

Apart from James and Lily, Sirius Black was the only person who knew that Pettigrew had been their Secret-Keeper. When he realized what Pettigrew had done, he tracked him down hoping to avenge his friends. When he closed in on him, Pettigrew screamed that Sirius had betrayed the Potters for everyone to hear, and then killed twelve Muggles by blowing up the street with a Blasting Curse, which created a crater large enough that the sewer pipes were showing. He then faked his own death by cutting off a finger and leaving it behind as he transformed into a rat and fled. Sirius was arrested for being a Death Eater, killing Pettigrew and the Muggles, and betraying the Potters, and was imprisoned in Azkaban without a trial. The surviving Muggles who witnessed the event had their memories erased and were given an excuse by the Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee that a gas-leak occurred.

Pettigrew was unjustly awarded the Order of Merlin for his confrontation with Sirius, which, along with the finger that they recovered, were posthumously given to his mother.[5]

Between the wars[]


Fred: "Come on, Ron, you were always saying how boring Scabbers was. And he's been off-colour for ages, he was wasting away. It was probably better for him to snuff it quickly. One swallow – he probably didn't feel a thing."
Ron: "He bit Goyle for us once! Remember, Harry?"
Fred: "His finest hour. Let the scar on Goyle's finger stand as a lasting tribute to his memory ..."
Fred comforts Ron on the perceived death of Scabbers.[src]

Pettigrew went into hiding as Scabbers the rat, hoping to avoid Lord Voldemort's other supporters. As Voldemort had met his downfall on Peter's instructions, the Death Eaters suspected him of being a traitor. Looking for a wizarding family to take him in, he came into the possession of Percy Weasley and, later, Percy's brother Ron. It was clear Scabbers was an extraordinary rat; he was unusually old for a rat of his species, which had a life expectancy of three years, yet the Weasley family owned him for twelve. The reason he chose to be adopted by a wizard family was that he could keep track of the news in the wizarding world and could rejoin his master should he return to power. Positioned as he was, he could also bring Harry Potter as a welcome-back gift, so no Death Eater would dare claim him a traitor, but he never took action during his time as Ron's pet, because Voldemort was not strong enough to protect him. Despite once biting Gregory Goyle on the knuckle when he attempted to steal Harry and Ron's food, Ron generally thought that Scabbers was useless, but showed his love for Scabbers as he became quite upset when he thought Scabbers had been eaten by Hermione Granger's cat, Crookshanks.


Ron Weasley: "What d'you mean? — of course he's a rat —"
Remus Lupin: "No, he's not. He's a wizard."
Sirius Black: "An Animagus. By the name of Peter Pettigrew."
— Sirius and Lupin expose Pettigrew[src]

In 1993, Sirius escaped from Azkaban after seeing a picture of Pettigrew's rat form in a Daily Prophet article about the Weasley family's trip to Egypt[5]. Soon, Scabbers began to thin and go bald. Ron thought this was because he was just frightened of Hermione Granger's cat Crookshanks. In fact, he had been ill ever since Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban and was afraid that he would find him and finally avenge the Potters. Eventually, Pettigrew faked his death yet again. Ron thought that Crookshanks had eaten the rat, which almost ruined Ron and Hermione's friendship until he was discovered hiding in Rubeus Hagrid's hut.

That same year, Remus Lupin, who had been unaware of Pettigrew's duplicity and believed him to be dead, began teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. He began to suspect the truth when he saw Peter's name appear on the Marauder's Map, a charmed parchment created by him and his friends that came into Harry's possession. On 6 June, 1994, Scabbers was found hiding in Hagrid's hut. When Ron attempted to bring him back to the castle, Scabbers tried to escape, but was caught by Ron in the shadow of the Whomping Willow. There, Ron and Pettigrew were dragged to the Shrieking Shack by Sirius, followed immediately by Ron's friends Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. After heated discussion and the arrival of Professors Lupin and Snape, Pettigrew was unmasked by Sirius and Remus. He initially attempted to redirect the blame to Sirius, but when the truth came out and all the evidence was against him, he appealed for mercy to each person in the Shack (other than Snape, who had been unconscious since before Pettigrew's exposure). Each of them was disgusted by his cowardice, and the fact that he would dare ask them for mercy after deceiving them in so many ways infuriated them even more.

"Sirius, Sirius, what could I have done? The Dark Lord… you have no idea… he has weapons you can’t imagine…. I was scared, Sirius, I was never brave like you and Remus and James. I never meant it to happen…. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named forced me — He — he was taking over everywhere! Wh — what was there to be gained by refusing him?"
—Pettigrew after he is exposed

Remus and Sirius planned to kill their old friend, but Harry intervened after Pettigrew claimed that Harry's father never would have killed him. This, along with Harry's own belief that his father would not want his best friends to become killers, led him to be merciful. Although Harry had intended to hand Pettigrew over to the Dementors and use him to clear Sirius's name at last, this created a life debt between Harry and Pettigrew.

The plan was upset, though, when the full moon rose, and, as Lupin had forgotten to take his Wolfsbane Potion after discovering Pettigrew's name on the Marauder's Map, he transformed into an uncontrollable werewolf. Sirius was forced to take on his Animagus form, that of a dog, to protect Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and Pettigrew took advantage of the chaos, cursing Ron with Lupin's wand, transforming into his rat form, and fleeing.

Second Wizarding War[]

The Servant rejoins his master[]

"Your devotion is nothing more than cowardice. You would not be here if you had anywhere else to go."
—Lord Voldemort to Peter Pettigrew before the Quidditch World Cup[src]

After his escape from capture at Hogwarts, Pettigrew had no choice but to rejoin his master, or Sirius and Remus would surely kill him. He went to retrieve Voldemort's wand, then travelled to Albania where he learned from the rats there of a place in the forest where the creatures feared to travel. They said a dark shadow (Voldemort) took over the animals and killed them.

On his way to his master, Peter ran into Bertha Jorkins, a Ministry witch who was on holiday in Albania, while she had stopped at an inn for food. Although she recognized him, Pettigrew was able to lure her into the forest and overpower her, before handing her over to the Dark Lord. Under torture, Jorkins gave them information that helped Voldemort make plans for an attack on Harry Potter, including information on the Triwizard Tournament and the location of a faithful Death Eater.

Pettigrew milked venom from Voldemort's snake, Nagini, to strengthen him and provide him with a rudimentary body.[7] He carried Voldemort's weak, small body on the long journey back to Britain, where they took up temporary residence in the Riddle House outside of Little Hangleton. Voldemort called Peter by his Marauder name, "Wormtail."[7] Over time, Pettigrew tried unsuccessfully to convince Voldemort to use a wizard other than Harry Potter to rebuild his body, but Voldemort saw this as an attempt at desertion and claimed that Pettigrew was regretting ever returning to him in the first place.

Voldemort noted how Pettigrew always flinched when he set eyes upon him and shuddered when touching him, which further enforced his belief that Pettigrew would have escaped if given the opportunity.For his next assignment, Pettigrew was sent with Barty Crouch Jr., the faithful Death Eater Jorkins had mentioned, to capture former Auror, Alastor Moody, who was set to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. While Crouch became Moody's double and set off in his place to Hogwarts, Pettigrew was assigned to watch over the imperiused Barty Crouch Sr. Pettigrew neglected his duty, with the result that Crouch escaped and nearly sabotaged the plan. However, he was intercepted by Crouch Jr., and Pettigrew was subjected to punishment through the Cruciatus Curse.[7]

"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son. Flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed, you will revive your master. Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe."
—Pettigrew performing the ritual for Lord Voldemort's rebirth[src]

Pettigrew played an important role in the rebirth of Lord Voldemort; when Harry Potter was delivered to the Little Hangleton graveyard per Voldemort's plot, Pettigrew killed Cedric Diggory on his orders and performed the ritual to restore Voldemort to a physical body, reluctantly sacrificing his hand. As a reward for his assistance, Voldemort replaced the hand with a silver one.[7] It can be assumed that this event, along with Sirius Black's later death, made it apparent to the public that Pettigrew was alive and an active Death Eater.

Pettigrew was later assigned to "assist" Severus Snape, but Snape treated Pettigrew as a servant. Pettigrew was at Snape's home when Narcissa Malfoy made the Unbreakable Vow with Snape, Narcissa's sister, Bellatrix Lestrange, serving as Bonder.

He did not, however, hear its contents as he had been ordered out of the room.[8]

Skirmish at Malfoy Manor and death[]

"You're going to kill me? After I saved your life? You owe me, Wormtail!"
—Harry Potter, as Pettigrew attempts to strangle him[src]

In the summer of 1997, Pettigrew was staying at Malfoy Manor, the headquarters of the Death Eaters, and acted as jailer for those imprisoned there. During the Meeting at Malfoy Manor, he was ordered by Voldemort to check on their prisoner, Ollivander, and make him stay quiet. Around Easter of 1998, at the height of the Second Wizarding War, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were brought to the Manor by a group of Snatchers led by Fenrir Greyback. Bellatrix Lestrange isolated Hermione for interrogation and torture as to how the trio obtained Godric Gryffindor's Sword, which she thought secure in her Gringotts vault. When they heard a noise from the dungeon below, Pettigrew was sent to investigate.

"Harry… saw the ratlike man’s small watery eyes widen with fear and surprise: He seemed just as shocked as Harry at what his hand had done, at the tiny, merciful impulse it had betrayed, and he continued to struggle more powerfully, as though to undo that moment of weakness…."
—Pettigrew shortly before strangling himself.[src]

The noise they had heard was the house-elf Dobby apparating away with some of the prisoners in the cellar. When he opened the door, he was tackled by Ron and Harry, who had freed themselves of their restraints. He began to strangle Harry, but Harry reminded him that he owed him a life debt. When Pettigrew hesitated, his brief moment of mercy caused his silver hand to turn on him, strangling and killing him, despite Harry and Ron's best efforts to restrain it.[4]

Physical appearance[]

Pettigrew was an extremely short man (no taller than Hermione when she was only about fourteen years old.) with small, watery eyes, and a pointed nose. In his youth, his hair was mousy brown, but by his mid-thirties, it had thinned out, lost its color, and acquired a large bald patch. He was also described as "fat" in his youth, but when forced to return to his human form in the Shrieking Shack, he looked as though he lost plenty of weight in a short time, mostly due to his stress of fearing Sirius' wrath. Pettigrew spoke with a squeaky voice. In 1981, he cut off the index finger of his right hand as part of a ploy to fake his own death, and, fourteen years later, he severed his entire right hand at the request of Lord Voldemort. Voldemort used magic to give Pettigrew a shining silver, glove-like replacement.

Personality and traits[]

Peter: "You don’t understand! He would have killed me, Sirius!"
— Pettigrew and Sirius in 1994[src]

Peter Pettigrew was characterised by weakness. Despite having been Sorted into Gryffindor, he didn't possess true bravery (so how he got sorted into it is anyone's guess). In his youth, he latched onto James Potter and Sirius Black, more talented and popular students, idolizing them and living vicariously through their accomplishments, as well joining them in bullying other students, such as Severus Snape, who he would not have been likely to cross without James and Sirius to back him up.

Pettigrew defected from the Order of the Phoenix and betrayed his closest friends to Lord Voldemort when his life was threatened, showing an incredible level of disloyalty, selfishness and cowardice.[5] Even Voldemort viewed him with disdain; the only reason why he kept him alive was because he occasionally proved to be useful.[7] When Voldemort fell, Peter neither attempted to find him, nor tried to kill Harry under Albus Dumbledore's watchful eye, until he was sure Voldemort would be revived to protect him. When cornered by Sirius and Lupin, Peter shamelessly begged for mercy, despite having used and betrayed them.

"If you made a better rat than a human, it's not much to boast about, Peter."
—Sirius Black to Pettigrew[src]

Pettigrew was an opportunist, who allied with the side that seemed strongest and appeared to be winning — thus leading him to become a Death Eater when the opportunity arose. He was loyal only to himself and acted in whatever his best interest was at the moment. He expected that he would be rewarded for leading Voldemort to Harry Potter, and later had the same expectations with Bertha Jorkins, assuming Voldemort would reward him for capturing a Ministry of Magic employee, despite not knowing the extent of her usefulness. He only returned to a broken down Voldemort simply because he had no other choice, as the other side is aiming to kill him, and would have gone to anywhere else if he had more options, seeing Voldemort at the time was too weakened to be the victorious side.

In spite of others claiming that Pettigrew was a "weak, talentless thing," he was at least cunning enough to escape Sirius after Voldemort's first defeat, frame his former friend for his crimes, and fake his own death while killing twelve people with a single curse, living for years in his Animagus form. He also managed to manipulate Bertha Jorkins to accompany him with ease, when he brought her to Lord Voldemort. Pettigrew was also willing to sever parts of his own body to serve his purposes, such as his finger to fake his death, and his hand to revive Voldemort. Pettigrew's cunning, ambitious nature, disregard for rules, and the fact that he eventually become a Dark Wizard, would have made him better suited to Slytherin. Why he was placed in Gryffindor is a mystery. It is likely that the Sorting Hat mistook his adoration of James and Sirius for loyalty, or sensed in him a desire to surround himself with respected individuals and believed that he would make a compatible friend to a Gryffindor.

However, despite his treacherous and cowardly nature, Pettigrew did feel some regret for betraying his friends, and he hesitated to kill Harry Potter when reminded of his life debt, in 1998. Though he quickly tried to undo the moment of weakness, his "tiny merciful impulse" resulted in his being strangled to death by his own silver hand.[4] Pettigrew also suggested that Voldemort should find another enemy to use for his rebirth, though when Voldemort began to suspect that he cared about Harry, Pettigrew hastily claimed that Harry meant nothing to him. This suggested that he may have consciously felt some gratitude towards Harry for sparing his life.[7] Pettigrew also realised and admitted that he was a coward saying that he'd never been brave like Sirius, Remus and James. Though he valued his own life more than the lives of his friends, Pettigrew felt guilt for betraying Lily and James, but didn't have the courage to admit his treachery or to turn against Voldemort.

He also struggled with lifelong internalized homophobia.

Magical abilities and skills[]

"Poor wizard though he is, Wormtail was able to follow the instructions I gave him, which would return me to a rudimentary, weak body of my own..."
Lord Voldemort describes Pettigrew's usefulness[src]

Despite Professor McGonagall claiming that Pettigrew was a barely competent student, he showed a surprising amount of capability in certain situations.

  • Animagus: With "all the help he could get" from his friends, Peter became an Animagus at the early age of fifteen, assuming the shape of a rat.
  • Blasting Curse: In 1981, he used an extremely powerful Blasting Curse which blew up a street and put a 40 foot crater in the ground, killing twelve Muggles simultaneously.
  • Dueling: Peter defeated Bertha Jorkins, a witch from the Ministry, and forced her to give up information to help Lord Voldemort be reborn. Along with Barty Crouch Jr., he was able to capture Mad Eye Moody and trap him in a magic box so that Barty could impersonate him.
  • Charms: Along with the other 3 Marauders, Peter help desingned the very complex Marauder's Map. The map was extremely "smart" and could see through anything.
  • Wand versatility: He was able to use the Killing Curse, as well as non-verbally conjure ropes, levitate objects, and light a fire, each spell cast to their full effects with his master's wand, despite not having won the wand's allegiance.[7]
  • Non-verbal magic: As an adult, Peter was able to perform magic, such as conjuration, non-verbally. During his escape, he non-verbally Stunned both Ron and Crookshanks before fleeing. 1998, Peter locked and unlocked the cell door at Malfoy Manor without saying anything. As non-verbal magic is very difficult, it was a testament that, contrary to universal belief, Peter was actually a considerably powerful wizard in his own right.[9]
  • Silver Hand: After Peter severed his right hand to restore Voldemort to his physical body, he was given a new silver, glove-like hand that possessed strength far superior to that of his former hand, being strong enough to crush a twig into powder. This hand was later shown to be impervious to the Revulsion Jinx[4], and possibly other spells. However, it was also designed to strangle its owner at any signs of treason or weakness, which is what led to Peter's demise.



Peter Pettigrew's relationship with his parents is unknown, but after Pettigrew faked his own death, the Order of Merlin gave Mrs. Pettigrew her son's finger-- the biggest part of Peter that was found. It is also unknown if his parents knew about his faked death.

The Marauders[]

During his seven years at Hogwarts, Peter came to greatly admire James 'The LGBTQ+ Ally' Potter and Sirius Black for their popularity and impressive magical ability, as well as James's renowned skills as Chaser for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Though they accepted him as a friend and included him in their various mischief-making endeavours, it was clear he was seen as more of a hanger-on than an equal. Nevertheless, they were close throughout their time at school. When they discovered that a member of their group, Remus Lupin, was a werewolf, they illegally became Animagi so as to be able to accompany Remus while he was in his transformed state, rather than shun him as many would have. The four of them eventually came to be known as the "Marauders".

While James, Sirius, and Remus considered Peter a true friend and would have willingly died for him, Peter proved that he lacked any similar conviction or sense of loyalty. When Lord Voldemort first started gaining power, Peter immediately defected from the Order of the Phoenix and joined the Death Eaters out of fear for his own life. Peter betrayed James and Lily Potter, who entrusted him to be their Secret-Keeper when they cast the Fidelius Charm. Peter later framed Sirius for the crime by pretending to confront him, then cutting off his own finger before taking his rat Animagus form; he killed twelve Muggles in the process, and landed Sirius in Azkaban for twelve years.

Sirius had convinced James to use Pettigrew as Secret-Keeper in what he believed to be a brilliant gambit. This was proven to be a fatal mistake that Sirius would regret for the rest of his life. When Sirius learned the truth, he became obsessed with avenging the deaths of his friends. When Peter's treachery was revealed to James' son, Harry Potter, both Sirius and Remus were absolutely intent on killing Peter, and were only stopped by Harry's insistence that Pettigrew was not worth their becoming murderers.

As Remus had forgotten to take his Wolfsbane Potion in the wake of discovering Pettigrew's continued existence, he transformed under the full moon and was completely uncontrollable. Peter was able to escape, but for his freedom he owed Harry a life debt that would later cost him his own life.

Severus Snape[]

Narcissa Malfoy: "We... we are alone, aren't we?"
Severus Snape: "Well, Wormtail's here, but we aren't counting vermin, are we?"
— Narcissa Malfoy visits Snape at his house[src]
SeverusSnape (1)

Severus Snape, whom he used to bully and who bullied him in return

While they were students at Hogwarts, Pettigrew, along with James Potter and Sirius Black, enjoyed tormenting Severus Snape. Pettigrew, who probably wouldn't have fared well duelling with a wizard as skilled and powerful as Snape, only got away with doing so because he had more-talented friends backing him up. For this reason, Snape possibly viewed Pettigrew with even more scorn than the other three because of his pitiful ineptitude. It is possible that Snape regarded Pettigrew as being too negligible of a person to be worthy of hating. When the Dark Lord later assigned Pettigrew to work as his assistant, Snape took to treating him like a maid, forcing him to clean his house and serve food to his guests.

Lily Evans[]

Peter first met Lily Evans during the Sorting ceremony at Hogwarts, during which they were both Sorted into Gryffindor house. Peter regularly took part in bullying her then-best friend Severus Snape, and as such, he did not make any better an impression on her than James or Sirius did. After Lily ended her friendship with Snape, she eventually married James Potter. She seemed to be much closer to James's circle of friends by that time, especially when they all joined the Order of the Phoenix. She even affectionately referred to Peter as "Wormy," from his nickname "Wormtail," and noted that he "seemed down" the last time she saw him. She would not have known that it was because he knew he would be responsible for the deaths of her and James.

Harry Potter[]

"James wouldn't have wanted me killed. Your dad - he would have spared me, he would have shown me mercy!"
—Peter trying to convince Harry to stop Sirius and Remus from killing him[src]

Harry Potter initially believed Peter Pettigrew had been courageous for challenging the alleged traitor, Sirius Black, despite appearing so comparatively timid and weak; Harry even compared him to his own friend Neville Longbottom. Though he was disgusted by Pettigrew's disloyalty and cowardice when he learned the truth, he could not stand to see his father's two best friends become murderers, and requested that they leave Pettigrew to face the Dementors instead. Pettigrew managed to escape, leaving Harry unable to prove his godfather, Sirius Black's innocence, however, because of Harry's intervention to save Pettigrew, the latter owed Harry a life debt.

A year later, Pettigrew met Harry again in the Little Hangleton graveyard, where Pettigrew bound Harry to Tom Riddle Sr.'s grave and then cut Harry's arm to use his blood in a potion that would restore Voldemort to his former glory.

Pettigrew's life debt was finally repaid during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor, when his momentary hesitation to strangle Harry was interpreted as a sign of weakness by the silver hand he received from Voldemort, and it turned on him. Though both Harry and Ron Weasley attempted to stop it, Peter Pettigrew was strangled to death by his own hand.

Ron Weasley[]

"I let you sleep in my bed!"
—Ron shows his disgust for learning of the true identity of his rat.[src]

After framing Sirius Black for the crimes of betraying James and Lily Potter and murdering twelve muggles, Pettigrew went into hiding in his Animagus form, and disguised himself as a rat named Scabbers. He came into the possession of Percy Weasley, who eventually handed him down to his younger brother Ron.

Despite Ron's frequent complaints of Scabbers having been a rather boring, useless pet, he felt a strong sense of ownership and was at times very fond of him - especially when Scabbers bit Gregory Goyle's knuckle. However, Hermione's cat immediately recognized the rat for who he was and constantly attempted to catch him. When Scabbers faked his own death by leaving bloodstains on the sheets, Ron assumed that he was eaten by the cat. Ron and Hermione got into such a row over the incident that they almost ended their friendship.

Ron later discovered him in Rubeus Hagrid's hut and was overjoyed, though Scabbers continued to attempt to flee. When Sirius finally managed to corner the rat, Ron absolutely refused to believe what Sirius and Remus Lupin were telling him until he saw with his own eyes that Scabbers was the traitorous Peter Pettigrew. Ron took this as a personal insult and was too disgusted to respond to Pettigrew's pleas.

Four years later, when Pettigrew was being strangled by his own silver hand, Ron tried to save him with a Revulsion Jinx, and failed. When Pettigrew died, Ron was somewhat shocked, but was more preoccupied by the fact that Hermione was being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange.

Hermione Granger[]

"Sweet girl . . . clever girl . . .you, you won't let them . . . help me . . ."
—Pettigrew begs Hermione to stop Lupin and Sirius from killing him

Hermione Granger first met Pettigrew in disguise as Ron's pet rat named "Scabbers" in 1991. In 1993, she and Ron nearly ended their relationship, as Ron was convinced that Crookshanks, her cat, had eaten Scabbers. However, they all learned the truth in 1994, when Pettigrew was exposed by Sirius Black and Remus Lupin; "Scabbers" was, in fact, Peter Pettigrew, the wizard who betrayed James and Lily Potter to Lord Voldemort. Pettigrew was afraid of Sirius and Lupin, and knew that they wanted to kill him in order to avenge James and Lily. Pettigrew appealed in turn to Ron, Harry and Hermione, who were horrified and shocked by the entire discovery.

The last time Pettigrew saw Hermione was in 1998, during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor. Hermione was being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange, while Pettigrew was sent to check on the prisoners downstairs. Pettigrew attempted to strangle Harry, but momentarily slackened his grip when Harry reminded him of his life debt, and was killed for it by the silver hand made for him by Voldemort. Hermione learned about his death after the battle.

Lord Voldemort[]

Lord Voldemort: "And so you volunteer to go and fetch me a substitute? I wonder ... perhaps the task of nursing me has become wearisome for you, Wormtail? Could this suggestion of abandoning the plan be noticing more than an attempt to desert me?"
Peter Pettigrew: "My Lord! I — I have no wish to leave you, none at all —"
Lord Voldemort: "Do not lie to me! I can always tell, Wormtail! You are regretting that you ever returned to me. I revolt you. I see you flinch when you look at me, feel you shudder when you touch me...."
Peter Pettigrew: "No! My devotion to Your Lordship —"
— Pettigrew's weak and cowardly loyalty to Voldemort[src]

Lord Voldemort, his master

When Lord Voldemort first began gaining power during the First Wizarding War, Pettigrew switched sides and began secretly serving the Death Eaters. Though he gave valuable information, such as the whereabouts of Lily and James Potter, Voldemort still treated him with disdain for his extreme cowardice.

When Voldemort met his first downfall, Pettigrew did not try to find his master, but instead hid in his Animagus form as Ronald Weasley's pet rat, "Scabbers." When Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban and Pettigrew's duplicity was uncovered, he had no choice but to flee and seek Voldemort's protection from Black. Though he regretted this decision, and attempted several times to escape, he ultimately engineered Voldemort's return to physical form, and Voldemort rewarded Pettigrew with a new silver hand for having sacrificed his own. Voldemort also forced Garrick Ollivander to create a new wand for Pettigrew, a favour which the once highly revered Lucius Malfoy did not even receive after his wand was destroyed.

However, Voldemort neither trusted nor respected Pettigrew. He knew that Pettigrew felt no true allegiance to him and kept him only because he was sometimes capable at providing useful information (often times without Pettigrew being the wiser). He also made it clear just how little he trusted Pettigrew, when he designed the silver hand he made to turn on the man for any attempts at treachery; it did just that when it strangled Pettigrew for hesitating to kill Harry Potter in 1998.

Death Eaters[]

The Death Eaters resented Pettigrew, because it was based on his information that Voldemort met his first downfall at Godric's Hollow. The ones who were imprisoned at Azkaban screamed in their sleep that Pettigrew was a traitor, and according to Sirius Black, if any of the Death Eaters who had evaded imprisonment had gotten wind that Pettigrew was still alive, they would have tried to kill him. It was for this reason, as much as his fear of retribution from the Order of the Phoenix when Black revealed that Pettigrew had been the Potter's Secret Keeper, that he disguised himself as "Scabbers" for twelve years after framing Black for his crimes. To prevent them from killing him when he returns to Voldemort, Pettigrew had originally planned to bring in Harry Potter to them as a welcome back present to his lord, in order to prevent anyone from saying that he betrayed Lord Voldemort.

When Pettigrew returned to the service of the Dark Lord, he was assigned to serve his colleagues, such as Severus Snape and the Malfoy family, as a lowly household servant. Both of them treated him with disdain, much as Voldemort himself did, and insultingly referred to him as "Wormtail." It can also be noted that while he was present at the Death Eaters' meeting at Malfoy Manor, he did not sit at the table amongst them.

Pettigrew appeared to respect the Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange and her sister Narcissa Malfoy, as he seemed very happy to see them at Snape's house in 1996, although he might simply have been attempting to flatter them or win their sympathy.

Albus Dumbledore[]

Albus Dumbledore's relationship with Peter when the latter attended Hogwarts is unknown. They might have shared some degree of friendship, as Pettigrew joined Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix during the First Wizarding War. After Pettigrew's betrayal, Dumbledore believed, along with the rest of the Wizarding community, that Sirius Black had been the guilty party, and that Sirius had killed Peter, along with twelve Muggles, after being confronted about his crime. However, he learned the truth in 1994, as well as the fact that Harry Potter had saved Pettigrew's life before he escaped capture; though Harry was distressed about being unable to prove Sirius' innocence, Dumbledore had the foresight to appreciate the significance of the Life debt Pettigrew now owed. Indeed, it was in remembering his life debt that Pettigrew hesitated to kill Harry during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor, in 1998, which resulted in Pettigrew being strangled to death by his own silver hand.

Minerva McGonagall[]

"He was a little lump of a boy, always trailing after Sirius Black."
—McGonagall remembers Pettigrew from his days at Hogwarts.[src]

Minerva McGonagall was Pettigrew's Transfiguration professor, as well as his Head of House. McGonagall thought that Pettigrew "hero-worshipped" James Potter and Sirius Black, that he was a "stupid" and "foolish" boy, and that she was somewhat harsh with him during their time together as student and teacher. However, McGonagall spoke sadly of Pettigrew's death, and for his "bravery" in standing up to Sirius Black, who was comparatively far stronger than him and believed to be a Dark Wizard, she seemed to regret how she had treated him decades ago. They were comrades in the Order of the Phoenix during the First Wizarding War, which further fuelled her sympathy towards him, as she was unaware that he had been a double agent.

It is unknown how she reacted when she learned that Pettigrew was alive, and that it had been he, not Sirius Black, who betrayed James and Lily Potter, though there's little doubt she would have been as outraged and disgusted by his cowardice and disloyalty as the rest of the Order.


  • In the Bible, Peter is a name of one of Christ's apostles who, on the morning of the crucifixion, denied Christ, although he later repented. Also, the name "Pettigrew" could be derived from the French word "petit" ("small") and and the English word "grew", hence "grew small". Also "grew" looks like the French word "gros" which means "fat" ("Pettigrew" pronounced in French sounds like "petit gros", in English : "small fat"). The name "Pettigrew" could also be a reference to his time as Ron's rat, being the pet that Ron grew.
  • Scabbers may derive from the word "scab". A scab is the crusty covering blood forms over a wound as it clots. A scab is also a worker hired to replace others who are on strike. Scab is also slang for a horrible person, which could reflect Peter Pettigrew's true nature.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Peter Pettigrew is portrayed by British actor Timothy Spall in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. He is portrayed by Charles Hughes as a teenager in the fifth film. He appears also in the first two films, as Scabbers the rat, portrayed by Dex. Since he appears also in the eighth film (in a flashback from the third film), he is one of the fourteen to appear in every film adaptation.
  • Pettigrew has no lines in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and appears for less than ten seconds
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Pettigrew is the only Death Eater present at Malfoy Manor when Harry, Ron and Hermione are captured, to not witness Griphook's torture or Dobby's rescue.
  • In the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pettigrew is not killed by his hand. He is stunned (or possibly killed) by Dobby in the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and not is mentioned in Part 2 aside from the flashbacks from the earlier films. His absence implies that Dobby's attack killed him.
  • In the films, Peter is shown to be left-handed.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin said that Wormtail "needed all the help that he could get" while describing how he, Sirius, and James became Animagi. However, he was able to perform the Avada Kedavra curse in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which the fake Moody said takes a powerful bit of magic. In addition, the curse he used to kill the Muggles (which Sirius was framed for) caused an explosion that "made a crater so deep that it cracked the sewer below."
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry notices that Peter is missing an index finger, while in the film adaptation he is missing a ring finger. Despite this, he still cuts off his right hand in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • His film portrayal makes him appear much older than his canonical age of thirty-three or thirty-four years. It is possible that living as a rat took a toll on his health and made him appear older than he really was (which is arguably the case in the book as well since he is described as balding in the novels, unusual for thirty-three/thirty four). However he looks the same in the picture of the original order.
  • Wormtail is comparable to Gríma Wormtongue from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings; Wormtail's nickname is similar to Wormtongue's surname, and both are referred to most often by these names by others. Both are also notable as groveling, cowardly servants to harsh, cruel and unforgiving masters who treat them with disdain and abhorrence. Indeed, Wormtail served Lord Voldemort in much the same way Wormtongue served Saruman the White.
  • Wormtail also shows a strange connection with the Redwall character of the same name. Though Wormtail is a very minor character, he is a rat and is reported in the book to have lost a finger.
  • It was predicted by many fans that Wormtail would kill Remus Lupin with his silver hand, as Remus is a werewolf. However, J. K. Rowling subsequently mentioned in an interview that, contrary to what is seen in films, in her view werewolves are not affected by silver. However the Marauder that does die by the silver hand is not Lupin, but Wormtail himself.
  • Many fans (and a prediction book) predicted that Wormtail would have some part to play in the destruction of Voldemort (because of his life debt), such as telling Harry how to destroy the Horcrux inside him without dying himself. This turned out to be false.
  • In Prisoner of Azkaban, Dumbledore tells Harry that "there may well come a time when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew's life." However, it is not clear that this time ever comes. Pettigrew does display a merciful instinct toward Harry at Malfoy Manor, but if Harry had allowed Lupin and Sirius to kill him, then Pettigrew would not have been able to strangle Harry in the first place, and Voldemort might not even have returned to power at all.
  • Wormtail appears in all seven Harry Potter books, although his appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is in the Pensieve rather than in person, and he only appears in his Animagus form in the first two books.
  • Wormtail is the only known Death Eater from Hogwarts that was not in Slytherin (Igor Karkaroff is believed to have attended Durmstrang Institute). Ironically he was in Gryffindor, something odd considering his cowardice. However, it may have been Pettigrew's decision to be put into Gryffindor, when it was the Sorting Hat's intention to put him in Slytherin, just as Harry did.
  • Wormtail's ambition, cunning, and extreme self-preservation are all traits that would have made him an excellent Slytherin. Wormtail, in fact, almost perfectly embodies the latter half of the quote by Phineas Nigellus Black; "We Slytherins are brave, yes, but not stupid. For instance, when given the choice, we will always choose to save our own necks." Assuming Black's quote is taken at face value (and not just as one of his frequent snide attempts to assert Slytherins' superiority to Gryffindors), however, it seems that even Slytherins would have looked down on Wormtail for his abject cowardice; the fact that other Death Eaters (all Slytherins) tend to treat Wormtail like a barely-tolerated servant rather than a peer seems to confirm this. (Of course, Snape's barely-disguised contempt for him can also be attributed to the fact that it was Wormtail who betrayed Lily Evans to her death and/or Wormtail's childhood past as an eager sycophant to the boys who bullied the young Snape.)
  • In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, despite his being a Death Eater, he bites Gregory Goyle, the son of another Death Eater, on the knuckle during Harry, Ron, and Hermione's first formal meeting with Draco Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle. It is unlikely, however, that he would have recognized Goyle as that.
  • As a contemporary of Lily Evans, Peter was also taught Potions by Horace Slughorn.
  • J. K. Rowling has said that no Death Eater except Severus Snape could conjure a Patronus. However, she also said that members of the Order of the Phoenix used their Patronus to communicate. It is unknown if Peter could cast the spell.
  • In an earlier draft of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Peter taught Defense Against the Dark Arts and possibly impersonated Alastor Moody instead of Barty Crouch Jr. This could mean Wormtail would be the one to suffer the Dementor's Kiss, although this would be less likely since it seems that the Dementor's Kiss is reserved for escaped Azkaban prisoners - which Peter was not.[10]
  • Timothy Spall has also been in two other films with Severus Snape actor Alan Rickman that are not from the Harry Potter series. They both were in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and also Alice in Wonderland. Both films also featured Bellatrix Lestrange actress Helena Bonham Carter (who also acted alongside Spall in The King's Speech), while the former featured Younger Gellert Grindelwald actor Jamie Campbell Bowerand the latter featured Dolores Umbridge and Olympe Maxime actress's Imelda Staunton and Frances de la Tour.
  • In the third novel, Pettigrew has been referred to by his name, "Peter" and "Pettigrew" by characters and the narration. However, subsequent novels refer him almost exclusively as "Wormtail", the only marauder to have been called in such fashion. J.K. Rowling has yet to explain her reasons behind this.
  • A plush version of Scabbers is available at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Sirius Black was revealed to be eating rats for nourishment during the 1994-1995 school year while in hiding. Sirius was also feeding Buckbeak rats during his stay at 12 Grimmauld Place. Whether this had anything to do with Sirius' contempt for Pettigrew or just a coincidence is unknown.
  • In a bonus level on LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Peter is shown to willingly give directions to the Potters' residence, whereas in the books and the film he is told as to give directions out of cowardice.
  • Peter is the only Marauder who does not have any family connection to Ted Lupin. Teddy is the son of Remus Lupin. Teddy's godfather is Harry Potter, the son of James Potter. Teddy's mother was a daughter of a first cousin of Sirius Black.

Author's comments[]

J. K. Rowling has explained Pettigrew's switch of allegiance by saying that he "out of cowardice will stand in the shadow of the strongest person."[11] She also said that James Potter and Sirius Black allowed Pettigrew to be their friend "in a slightly patronising way" and that he ended up being a better wizard and better at hiding secrets than they ever knew.[12]


Notes and references[]

Order of the Phoenix
Albus Dumbledore
Original Order of of the Phoenix:
Aberforth Dumbledore | Alastor Moody | Alice Longbottom | Arabella Figg | Benjy Fenwick | Caradoc Dearborn | Dedalus Diggle | Dorcas Meadowes | Edgar Bones | Elphias Doge | Emmeline Vance | Fabian Prewett | Frank Longbottom | Gideon Prewett | Hestia Jones (possibly) | James Potter | Lily Potter | Marlene McKinnon | Minerva McGonagall | Mundungus Fletcher | Peter Pettigrew (defected) | Remus Lupin | Rubeus Hagrid | Severus Snape | Sirius Black | Sturgis Podmore
Reconstituted Order of the Phoenix:
Aberforth Dumbledore | Alastor Moody | Arabella Figg | Arthur Weasley | Bill Weasley | Charlie Weasley | Dedalus Diggle | Elphias Doge | Emmeline Vance | Fleur Delacour | Fred Weasley | George Weasley | Harry Potter | Hermione Granger | Hestia Jones | Kingsley Shacklebolt | Minerva McGonagall | Molly Weasley | Mundungus Fletcher | Nymphadora Tonks | Remus Lupin | Ron Weasley | Rubeus Hagrid | Severus Snape | Sirius Black | Sturgis Podmore
Order of the Phoenix allies:
Andromeda Tonks | Augusta Longbottom | Dobby | Filius Flitwick | Ginny Weasley | Grawp | Horace Slughorn | Kreacher | Lee Jordan | Luna Lovegood | Muriel |
Neville Longbottom | Oliver Wood | Olympe Maxime | Percy Weasley | Pomona Sprout | Ted Tonks | Westinburgh family | Winky | Karkus | Karkus's wife
Other affiliations:
Dumbledore's Army | Forbidden Forest Centaur colony | Headless Hunt | Hogwarts Hippogriff herd | Hogwarts house-elves | Hogwarts Ghosts | Hogwarts Staff |
Hogwarts students | Hogwarts Thestral herd | Ministry of Magic | Giant colony (Karkus's control)
Death Eaters
Lord Voldemort
Death Eaters:
Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Antonin Dolohov | Augustus Rookwood | Avery (I) | Avery (II) |
Barty Crouch Jr. | Bellatrix Lestrange | Crabbe | Evan Rosier | Gibbon | Goyle |
Jugson | Lestrange | Mulciber (I) | Mulciber (II) | Nott | Rabastan Lestrange | Rodolphus Lestrange | Rosier | Selwyn | Thorfinn Rowle | Travers | Walden Macnair | Wilkes | Yaxley
Death Eaters who Defected:

Draco Malfoy | Igor Karkaroff | Lucius Malfoy | Peter Pettigrew | Regulus Black | Severus Snape

Category:Death Eater allies:
Vincent Crabbe | Golgomath | Gregory Goyle | Fenrir Greyback | Narcissa Malfoy (defected) |
Quirinus Quirrell | Scabior | Dolores Umbridge
Other affiliations:
Dementors | Giants (Golgomath's control) | Muggle-Born Registration Commission | Snatchers | Werewolves