Harry Potter Books Wikia

Peter Pettigrew, or Scabbers and Wormtail, was a character in the Harry Potter books.

Peter was a wizard and Death Eater who abandoned and betrayed the Order of the Phoenix. He was a Secret Keeper for James, Lily and Harry Potter. He betrayed their trust to Voldemort. He faked being killed by Sirius Black and killed twelve Muggles in the process, framing Sirius for everything. He lived in hiding in Animagus form for nearly thirteen years by being the pet rat of the Weasley family.

He was eventually caught, however he escaped and found Voldemort again, helping him gain power again in the Second Wizarding War. He had the chance to kill Harry and hesitated, being strangled and killed by a silver hand gifted to him by Voldemort.


Early life

Peter began attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in September 1971 and was put into Gryffindor. He befriended James Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. However, he was never in their league, so he looked up James and Sirius. He was thought to be hopeless at duelling by Professor McGonagall.[3]

In their second-year, they found out Lupin was a werewolf. They wanted to keep Lupin company in the Shrieking Shack, but he would attack if they were human. They trained for three years to be Animagus, and Peter was soon able to turn into a rat. They began going to the Shrieking Shack whenever Lupin had to, and their company helped lessen Lupin's pain. Being so tiny, Peter could slip pass the Whomping Willow's branches to tap the knot that paralysed it.[4]

They were soon wandering round the grounds and village when they gained confidence in controlling Lupin. They nearly lost Lupin a few times but were foolishly young and found it funny.[4] Peter adopted the nickname Wormtail, and the group adopted the name the "Marauders". They spent their education pranking and bullying people, they broke school rules and found secret passageways.[4] They invented the Marauder's Map[4], which was taken before they graduated by Argus Filch.[3]

Peter's group were very unkind to a student they bullied, Severus Snape. Peter and Lupin stood by and encouraged Potter and Black whenever they taunted Snape, who was very bitter towards their group. Peter and Lupin didn't get into lots of trouble like Potter and Black, but were caught a few times too and had to go to detention.

First Wizarding War

Having graduated Hogwarts, Peter joined the Order of the Phoenix like Potter, Black and Lupin. But Peter thought that nothing could be gained by opposing Voldemort and joined the Death Eaters in secret. He was a very low-ranking Death Eater for cowardice and lack of proving useful, but he was able to be a spy and he began telling the Death Eaters their secrets.[5]

Peter's cowardly nature ensured that he was never suspected of being a spy, even when the Order gained awareness that they had a spy in their ranks. Black suspected Lupin, but never Peter.[5]

For at least a year, Peter passed the Order's secrets. But soon, he faced a new issue when a prophecy caused Voldemort to target the Potters because he was fated to be defeated by Harry. They first thought of choosing Black to be their Secret Keeper, but Black persuaded the Potters to switch to Peter, because he thought Peter would be less suspected and safer. Peter agreed to be a Secret Keeper for James, Lily and Harry instead. He told Voldemort where they were less than seven days later. James and Lily were killed, but Harry survived and Voldemort disappeared.[5]

Sirius knew what Peter had done and wanted to bring him to justice. He tracked Peter down to a street, but Peter fought back. He was heard taunting Sirius in front of witnesses and trying to cover-up what he had done, even asking Sirius how HE could have betrayed James and Lily. Using a single curse, Peter killed twelve Muggles by destroying the street, and faked his own murder. He chopped off a finger, went into Animagus form and went into hiding for years. Sirius was found laughing insanely by Peter's blood-stained robes. He was framed for Peter's crimes, and sentenced to life in Azkaban for supposedly even killing Peter too.[3]

Because Peter was thought to be a hero who had bravely confronted a deranged and dangerous Dark wizard, he was awarded an Order of Merlin, First Class by the Ministry of Magic which was given to Mrs Pettigrew.[3]

Peter stayed a rat for thirteen years. Not long after the war ended, he found a wizarding family to take him in, and he was given the name "Scabbers". He was adopted by the Weasley family. Peter wanted to stay connected to the wizarding world so he could hear any news. He was afraid to break cover because he knew he was wanted by the Death Eaters, who thought he had set Voldenort up to fail.[5] He was the pet of Percy Weasley.[6]

Philosopher's Stone

Ron and "Scabbers" in 1991

In the summer of 1991, Percy became a Prefect and Arthur and Molly Weasley gave him a new pet. He gave Scabbers to Ron Weasley, who thought Scabbers was useless and spent lots of time sleeping.[6]

By chance, Ron was not only in the same year with Harry Potter but they became immediate friends on the way to Hogwarts that year. Ron introduced Scabbers to Harry when he was sleeping. The rat slept for nearly the whole day. Ron pointed out he could be dead and you wouldn't know. Ron then tried a spell on Scabbers which Fred Weasley taught him, which failed.[6]

When Ron stood up to fight Gregory Goyle, he woke Scabbers up and he bit Goyle so he ran out of the compartment. When Ron picked him up, Scabbers already went back to sleep.[6] He was in the Gryffindor common room by Ron's bed when the Start-of-Term Feast was over.[7]

Prisoner of Azkaban

Ron and "Scabbers" in 1993

In July 1993, Scabbers was taken on holiday when Arthur won seven-hundred galleons. The whole family appeared a newspaper, which was given to Sirius Black in Azkaban. He saw Scabbers was missing a toe and deduced it was Peter, persuading Black to finally escape Azkaban in Animagus form and go searching for Peter to kill him and protect Harry.[8]

By the end of August, news of Black's escape had reached Peter and he began to worry Ron because he looked thinner than usual. He thought Scabbers had fallen ill during their holiday. He took him to the Magical Menagerie and asked a worker to check Scabbers. She found it strange Ron had him for years when a rat's lifespan was three years, and asked what powers he had but he couldn't think of any.[8]

Because Ron wanted to keep Scabbers instead of getting a new rat, he was given Rat Tonic to feed Peter. Crookshanks then lunged at Scabbers, who jumped down and scarpered. He hid under a wastebin until Ron and Harry found him ten minutes later.[8]

In September, Scabbers travelled to Hogwarts School in Ron's top pocket. They took a train compartment which had a sleeping Remus Lupin in, because he was going to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts. Harry told Ron and Hermione about Black wanting to supposedly kill him, and Peter could have been the cause of a sneakoscope springing to life.[9]

Hermione soon let Crookshanks out of a basket, and he headed straight for Ron's pocket to get Scabbers. Ron knocked him back and he gave up, but he sat in a seat and watched Ron's top pocket.[9]


Peter when Scabbers

Peter was fat when he attended Hogwarts[3], and had brown hair.[10]

At age 33 to 34, he was short and thin but looked like he used to be plump and had lost considerable weight in a very short space of time. He had grubby skin, thin hair and a bald patch. He looked like he had lingering rat-like features even when he was human, including a pointed nose and tiny eyes.[5]

Peter's animagus form was a fat, grey rat[6], who had a tattered left ear.[8] Because he had cut off a finger[11], he had a toe missing in a front claw.[8] He looked thin and lost patches of fur due to stress when Sirius escaped Azkaban.[12] He later chopped off his right hand and was granted a silver, glove-like hand instead.

Notes and sources

  1. In order to be in the same year of James Potter, he needed to be born in the same time period to have started Hogwarts at age eleven in September 1971.
  2. It's known that Peter's mother was a witch, but not if Peter's father was a wizard.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6
  7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28
  11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 17
  12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 11