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Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis



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  #61  
Old December 6th, 2007, 4:00 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

On the other hand, Peter did know Dumbledore and he was certainly another 'big man on the block' that could have offered him protection (if he felt his friends could not). I wonder why Peter didn't think to go to Dumbledore after he was confronted by Voldemort? He could have hid out as a rat in the castle...it seems that would have kept him safe.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 4:09 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
On the other hand, Peter did know Dumbledore and he was certainly another 'big man on the block' that could have offered him protection (if he felt his friends could not).
The deaths of Order members such as the Prewetts probably convinced Peter that Dumbledore was not able to protect him from Voldemort.

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Do you think perhaps though, that his bravery came through in the end when he resisted killing Harry (open defiance of Voldemort) and the hand began choking him?
No, I did not think this was Peter's courage very belatedly coming through. I think it was a moment of hesitation caused by the fact that Peter is not entirely without conscience - he is just too weak to act on the promptings of his conscience.

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I am not a big believer in the hat theory because it seemed to sort a few people into the radically wrong house, imo. Although to be honest, I haven't considered the issue in depth.)
It is not a theory, it is a comment by the author of the series in an interview.

[fidelset="The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling" The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005]ES: Has the sorting hat ever been wrong?

JKR: No.[/fieldset]

Of course, you may have a different interpretation based on your reading of the actual books.

Personally, I find this comment a big clue to her intentions with the Hat. The comment makes sense if its purpose is not to divide students by their true innate characteristics and destinies, but to simply place them in a House which is acceptable to them and to which they are at least somewhat suited, if possible (IMO, Peter is a poor match for any of the houses).

It explains the many seeming discrepancies. Is Hermione braver than she is intelligent? I do not think so (not because she lacks courage, because she is easily the brightest student in her year). Were Tom and Severus Purebloods? Nope! Is courage Peter's most conspicuous characteristic? Umm, no, I don't think so. But Tom's ancestry, ambition, and cunning suited him for Slytherin, Sev wanted it, Hermione wanted Gryffindor, and I suppose Peter probably did too. Maybe he figured his brave roommates would intimidate the rest of the school for him.


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  #63  
Old December 6th, 2007, 11:44 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
The deaths of Order members such as the Prewetts probably convinced Peter that Dumbledore was not able to protect him from Voldemort.
Good point.


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No, I did not think this was Peter's courage very belatedly coming through. I think it was a moment of hesitation caused by the fact that Peter is not entirely without conscience - he is just too weak to act on the promptings of his conscience.
I could agree with that, but on the other hand, he did respond to the prompting of his conscience at that last moment, which under the circumstances, would require some bravery on his part I would think. Dumbledore said (as Harry mentioned in DH) that Peter felt regret. It is one thing to feel it and another to act on it. But yeah, without knowing exactly what Peter was thinking, interpretation is somewhat difficult.

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It is not a theory, it is a comment by the author of the series in an interview.

[fidelset="The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling" The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005]ES: Has the sorting hat ever been wrong?

JKR: No.[/fieldset]

Of course, you may have a different interpretation based on your reading of the actual books.
Ah, thanks for that. Nah, I usually just go with what she says because I figure it was what she meant to come across from the various alternatives I could come up with. In that case, then I would say that predominant characteristics (even only one) might make a house suitable for a person. For example, Peter was not terribly brave, but he did seem to have a lot of "nerve", another characteristic of Gryffindors. Perhaps that is what I am confusing with bravery in his case. He simply had the nerve to plead for his life in POA with Sirius and Remus; to withstand killing Harry in DH, and to betray his friends and frame Sirius prior to the series. Maybe that is a better explanation for Peter's Gryffindor connection?

I agree that most people could have belonged to more than one house. Peter himself could have fit in Hufflepuff for his 'toiling' abilities. He seemed willing to toil for anyone who could protect him. Peter also showed cunning however which would have made him a Slytherin candidate. Perhaps Gryffindor was the best choice for reasons related to his ultimate salvation.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 12:34 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
Do you think perhaps though, that his bravery came through in the end when he resisted killing Harry (open defiance of Voldemort) and the hand began choking him?
I don't think it was open defiance of Voldemort. It was more of a moment of hesitation, and, frankly, it seemed to me that Peter was just taken aback from a split moment when Harry shouted, "You owe me, Wormtail!" - and I'm not entiresly convinced that he wouldn't have gone on with his actions if he had had time to take an individual decision. But the silver hand was obviously programmed to kick off immedieately after even the slightest hesitation. That's the impression I got, anyway.

Zara, you make a very good point about Peter having been forced. I can see now that he might have been, from the word "refusing" which he used. And the point about the Oreder member deaths is an excellent one, I can understand how Peter would be scared for his own life.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 12:51 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Thinking about this, I come back to Sirius' line in POA: "Then you should have died! Died rather than betray your friends, as we would have done for you!"

I don't think Peter ever believed that, if faced with the same situtation, James or Sirius would ever go to such lengths for him. (Which is not to say that they wouldn't just what Peter believed.) From the glimpses we see of the Marauders, it's almost like there's this amazing duo of James and Sirius and these two satellite friends - Remus and Peter. It's a friendship with a hierarchy built into it, especially in Peter's case as he's described as following the other two around and being a hanger-on.

Though he's compared to Neville (which was most likely a red herring) I've always thought of Peter as being similar to a Crabbe or Goyle sort. His friendship with James and Sirius being like Goyle and Crabbe's friendship with Draco. (Aside: I love that JKR once again reinforced the James - Draco parallel in DH.) Sure, Draco is genuinely distraught over Crabbe's death, he attempts to save Goyle in the RoR and he cared about both of them. It doesn't change the fact that their friendship wasn't one of equals. Draco also bossed them around, insulted them and made them follow along with his schemes which would end them being polyjuiced into little girls or hexed into slug-like creatures.

It's not surprising, especially after getting a taste of power from the Carrows' teachings (and possibly joining the DE) that Crabbe got sick of it. It's not unbelievable that Peter would go the same route. That Voldemort would play on his doubts and weaknesses just like he tried to play on Ron's with the lockets and Peter, not being nearly has strong as Ron, would give in and then revel in having abilities and powers that James and Sirius couldn't imagine. From what McGonagall says, he was never as talented as the others in school but, when it came time to frame Sirius and fake his own death, Peter proves himself a formidable opponent.

As for being sorted in Gryffindor, I think sorting just goes with what you most want to be or admire or have chosen. Peter was in Gryffindor because he wanted to be a brave and bold Gryffindor, he admired Gryffindor values and that's what he chose. It doesn't mean he could live up to those values.
Great post.

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
I agree that most people could have belonged to more than one house. Peter himself could have fit in Hufflepuff for his 'toiling' abilities. He seemed willing to toil for anyone who could protect him. Peter also showed cunning however which would have made him a Slytherin candidate. Perhaps Gryffindor was the best choice for reasons related to his ultimate salvation.
Peter was ultimately saved?

I must confess that I don't read him as such. (Heartless, punitive, judgment-wielding wench that I be. )

I don't think it was bravery on his part that kept him from killing Harry in the cellar at Malfoy Manor. I agree with Yoana and zgirnius that it was a brief second of hesitation and that he is too weak to act on the promptings of his conscience.

One of the things that chills me most in the entire series is when Peter ties Harry up in the graveyard at the end of GoF, to be tortured and killed by the newly born again Voldemort. This is the teenage son of his former best friend he is offering up as the sacrifice. It's chilling to the bone.

This is a great discussion, it's helping me to see Peter as a more believable character.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 1:04 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

Well I think each reader would have to decide if Peter was redeemed in the end. I was merely putting forth the argument that Dumbledore and Harry indicated that Peter had felt repentance and had acted on it. I myself don't really have an opinion on it at this point. He certainly behaved horribly during the series at various points, but then again, who didn't?


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Old December 6th, 2007, 1:07 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Well I think each reader would have to decide if Peter was redeemed in the end.
Oh, of course.

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He certainly behaved horribly during the series at various points, but then again, who didn't?
Quite.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 6:33 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

I'm not sure if Peter was redeemed. I'd like to think that everyone is, because I hate to judge. But I do think the part with his hesitancy wasn't written as a moment of remorse, or regret, or even consideration of what he had done. I was a little disappointed even, because after Dumbledore had said in PoA "You'll be glad you saved his life" to Harry, I expected more. The scene feels to me as if Peter is just surprised by what Harry says. Why didn't he think about owing him when he was tying him to the gravestone? That was a great moment for remorse and defying Voldemort.

I don't think he would have defied Voldemort and helped Harry if he had been given free choice. I tend to believe he would have done whatever Voldemort asked him to do - based on my impressions from his actions up to that point. He never showed any sign of nobility or fairness. But then, redemption is not up to me to decide. So maybe he was redeemed. Oh, I don't know, I got confused


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Old December 6th, 2007, 6:40 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

I don't know if Peter was redeemed by hesitation. However, I do think he was brave in an odd way. He stood up to his friends, and that was brave. But it's a kind of bravery quite distinct from the bravery shown by those who chose what is right over what is easy. I'm not condoning his behavior - few of his choices from the age of 18 or 19 until his death were good choices - but I am noting he had a kind of bravery.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 7:25 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

I am totally unconvinced by Dumbledore's definition of bravery: doing what is right over what is easy. For some people, being brave IS easy - the easiest thing to do for them simply because taking the easy way out is unthinkable to them (i.e., James dashing to confront Voldy). Other times, what seems to be the easy way out is actually not because it means making a sacrifice - that is, giving up something you really want, but feel you must let go of, which in and of itself is a very difficult and brave decision to make and act upon (Lupin leaving his family to fight along side Harry - the latter by no means "easy" to do considering Harry was under constant fire as was Lupin).

In the case of Peter, was it really the easy choice to live as a rat for 12 years rather than confront the truth (the brave thing to do)? 12 years as a rat is not exactly living the 'easy' life. That in itself is a rather brave choice, although people with the character of Harry or Dumbledore might not think so. But I am not so sure. I certainly don't think he took the easy way out when he returned to Voldemort. By then, Peter knew exactly what Voldemort was all about. While he knew he'd have some protection, the protection was nearly as "hard" a choice to accept as life in Azkaban.

In any case, I don't believe that definition of doing the right thing over the easy thing is always the correct way to decide whether or not one is acting bravely. It fits certain characters, like Snape, who did make difficult, brave choices (because in his case, staying with Voldemort would be easier as he actually believed in Voldy's ways and means), but not those like Regulus who had a choice between two difficult alternatives. That comes down to a choice between doing what is right and doing what is wrong but equally difficult, imo.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 9:14 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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In the case of Peter, was it really the easy choice to live as a rat for 12 years rather than confront the truth (the brave thing to do)? 12 years as a rat is not exactly living the 'easy' life. That in itself is a rather brave choice, although people with the character of Harry or Dumbledore might not think so.

I think the choice to live as a rat was a very coward-like move on his part. I dont think that it was easy, but I think it was easier than facing those who trusted him, which I think is what Dumbledore meant by his definition of brave. When you have a choice to make, there is an easier one, and one that might cause you some hardship, but it would be braver than the first. I think Dumbledore summed it up as well as he could, but I think he knew bravery can be more complex.

Peter was scared, and I cant say that he was brave at all. I think if he was brave, he would have done like Bellatrix did and admitted he was in Voldemorts league and owned up to what he did. Instead he put the blame on his best friend and turned into a rat, well the animal form of one, since he already was a human rat.

Quote:
I certainly don't think he took the easy way out when he returned to Voldemort.
To Peter I think it was easier, because he needed to be protected, which Voldemorts name alone would give him. If he had even an ounce of bravery in him I think he would have said he was Voldemorts man through and through a long time ago. The choice for Peter at that point was to go back to the man that you cower in front of, who you only run with because you are to scared to stand up for what is right, or face your old friends. I think he made the easy choice once again.


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  #72  
Old January 4th, 2008, 6:42 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

So, I was looking through the Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters? and I noticed almost everyone found problems with Peter's sorting. According to JKR, the Sorting Hat's choices were impeccable, so I guess Peter was somewhat brave. It is in my personal opinion that Peter, from what we know of him when he was an adult, was best suited to be a Slytherin.

I don't think Peter was a Slytherin as an adult because he ended up as a Death Eater. I am basing my opinion based on Slytherin's qualities. Slytherin's are considered cunning and ambitious and, according to JKR in her interview with Pottercast, they tend to have a sense of self-preservation. All of these qualities, IMO, describe Peter.

Cunning

Peter was cunning enough to do many things for Voldemort. He successfully managed to fool everyone in the Order. Some speculate that Peter played a role in the mistrust Sirius and Remus had against each other. If that is true, then this strengthens my belief that he's cunning. He must have been subtle in convincing either of them to go against the other. Another example that supports my belief is that Peter managed to make Sirius look guilty for all the things he did. He was cunning enough to make it seem like Sirius betrayed the Potters and killed him along with twelve other people. Not to mention, Peter figured out how to hide from the Death Eaters and still be in touch with the Wizarding World.

Secretive (?)
Peter was pretty good at keeping secrets. There isn't any canon that suggests Peter gave huge hints that Remus was a werewolf, so he must have been good at keeping that secret from others. Peter's greatest achievement in keeping secrets is when he fooled everyone into thinking he was on the Order's side. There isn't anything that says being secretive is a Slytherin trait, but I would associate it with Slytherin the most most out of all the houses. JKR said she based the houses loosely off the four basic elements, with Slytherin's element as water. One of the qualities of the water element
is being secretive. Therefore I do think it is a trait that describes Peter and Slytherin, but I understand if others disagree.

Ambition
Peter's ambition is very similar to the next trait, self-preservation. Peter's main ambition is for selfish reasons. His main ambition throughout his life was , in my opinion, to keep himself safe.

Self-Preservation
This is a very dominant trait in Peter's personality, I think. Peter chose to become friends with the Marauders since they were popular and could remain "safe." Peter chose to betray his friends and the Order by joining Voldemort because he thought that was the safest thing for him to do. He chose to return to Voldemort because he was scared of his former best friends. One of the only times Peter didn't do something for his own selfish reasons was when he let go of his grip on Harry's neck. That wasn't selfish, that was remorse. If Peter didn't die and Voldemort got wind about Peter's betrayal to him, I think Peter would have suffered considerably.

I'm not trying to say that Peter wasn't brave, but I think Slytherin described him better, based on his behavior that is shown in canon.

JMO.


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  #73  
Old January 4th, 2008, 7:34 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

Total fan speculation alert. I think Peter might have been Muggleborn. It would be a big reason not to put him in Slytherin, and also a big reason for him to get scared as the war went on.

There is also, of course, the element of choice. Maybe Peter wanted Gryffindor.


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  #74  
Old January 4th, 2008, 8:17 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Total fan speculation alert. I think Peter might have been Muggleborn. It would be a big reason not to put him in Slytherin, and also a big reason for him to get scared as the war went on.
It would make sense, since choies are so important and the Sorting Hat takes that into account.

If he was Muggleborn, it'd just add to how hypocritical Voldemort is.


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Old January 4th, 2008, 11:59 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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It would make sense, since choies are so important and the Sorting Hat takes that into account.

If he was Muggleborn, it'd just add to how hypocritical Voldemort is.
He was, Voldemort I mean; he asked for Lily to join him and she was muggleborn. Peter I think asked the Hat to sort him into Gryffrindor.

He always tried to surround himself with people stronger than him; (maybe had some sort of complex or something) and he leaned heavily on them; he may have thought that Gryffindor will have a lot of brave guys with whom he could become friends with and be thought of, by the others as strong as them.


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Old January 4th, 2008, 10:06 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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He was, Voldemort I mean; he asked for Lily to join him and she was muggleborn.
That's exactly what I was thinking. Voldemort claims to be against "Mudbloods," yet he asks the talented ones to join him.

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Peter I think asked the Hat to sort him into Gryffrindor

He always tried to surround himself with people stronger than him; (maybe had some sort of complex or something) and he leaned heavily on them; he may have thought that Gryffindor will have a lot of brave guys with whom he could become friends with and be thought of, by the others as strong as them.
That's what I was thinking as well. Even though he probably had some form of courage, I do think he has a lot of Slytherin traits. (See above post.) It makes sense to me. Every person is a mixture of house traits, and I think this is the case with Peter as well.


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Old January 5th, 2008, 5:21 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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That's what I was thinking as well. Even though he probably had some form of courage, I do think he has a lot of Slytherin traits. (See above post.) It makes sense to me. Every person is a mixture of house traits, and I think this is the case with Peter as well.
I hate the rat to be in Slytherin, I think. I also think, he would have fitted well there (not because he has Slytherin traits or Gryffindor ones; he doesn't have any good traits as far as I am concerned), because he seems to ingratiate himself where ever he is with athe stronger persons. He is a true sycophant, I think. The _____ RAT!!!!!!!


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Old January 5th, 2008, 8:33 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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I hate the rat to be in Slytherin, I think. I also think, he would have fitted well there (not because he has Slytherin traits or Gryffindor ones; he doesn't have any good traits as far as I am concerned)
A person could have what people would generally see as "good" traits and abuse them. Voldemort was intelligent, a trait many find admirable, yet he used it for evil purposes. Peter was cunning and ambitious, but those traits showed when he decided to betray his friends.


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Old January 5th, 2008, 8:52 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Peter was cunning and ambitious, but those traits showed when he decided to betray his friends.
Cunning and ambitious for what? You know, Peter's role in the books is baffling. He has devoted friends. He betrays them. He joins Voldemort. He is treated like scum there. Where is the ambition and the achievement?

Why did he turn and what would he receive for that?

There is really no apparent reason. That was why I fely he was a true sycophant, who is one of those truly weak people; weak mentally and morally, because they don't know where they stand and what they do and why they do it.

Peter never got any glory for betraying the Potters. He never rose up in the ranks like Luicus or even Snape. He never commanded respect and he never commanded fear. He was a snivelling rat and a very shallow one I am afraid.

He joined the Marauders because they were in his opinion the strongest people in School. He joined Voldemort because he was the strongest person in Peter's opinion at that time. There is really no sense IMO about Peter and his acts.


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Old January 5th, 2008, 12:58 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
Cunning and ambitious for what? You know, Peter's role in the books is baffling. He has devoted friends. He betrays them. He joins Voldemort. He is treated like scum there. Where is the ambition and the achievement?
I agree. He doesn't show an ambition to do anything. For example he could try and aim to do better in Voldemort's eyes and try to get himself higher amoung the ranks of the Death Eaters, yet he chooses not to. He lacks ambition or drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
Why did he turn and what would he receive for that?
I think he turned on his friends because he was never brave enough to stand up for himself or what he believed in (in fact we don't have any true indication of his thoughts on the war). His only goal, IMO, was to stay alive even if it meant pretending to believe something you don't and being treated like a doormat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
There is really no apparent reason. That was why I fely he was a true sycophant, who is one of those truly weak people; weak mentally and morally, because they don't know where they stand and what they do and why they do it.

Peter never got any glory for betraying the Potters. He never rose up in the ranks like Luicus or even Snape. He never commanded respect and he never commanded fear. He was a snivelling rat and a very shallow one I am afraid.
I completely agree. He is weak mentally and morally. He doesn't have his own, strong views or ideas, instead he relies on others to order him about and effectively tell him what to think.

I think Peter expected to be rewarded by Voldemort for telling him about the Potter's whereabouts. If things had gone well and Voldy had killed Harry then I think Peter would have been rewarded. But I don't think that he just wanted to be accepted by Voldemort. I think he was just truly scared for himself and didn't have enough will power to go against Voldemort. He really was pitiful and a poor excuse for a friend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Green_Woods View Post
He joined the Marauders because they were in his opinion the strongest people in School. He joined Voldemort because he was the strongest person in Peter's opinion at that time. There is really no sense IMO about Peter and his acts.
I agree, he leeches himself to power. He does it to keep himself safe. As long as he's with Voldemort, he believed that he'd be untouchable, IMO, as everyone is terrified of Voldemort. Of course, Peter didn't consider how ruthless Voldemort is and how little he would care for Peter. I think Peter expected to be welcomed with open arms, but of course it doesn't work that way.

Okay, I don't think that will make much sense to anyone else, but it does to me


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