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Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis



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  #41  
Old October 10th, 2007, 2:02 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

I think Peter had a fair amount of bravery - I just wouldn't classify it as "normal" bravery. He was friends with the marauders for almost 10 years, and while traipsing around at night and becoming an animagus, I'm sure he had to show bravery several times. Not to mention the transformation can go "horribly wrong", if I remember Hermione's words correctly. So it was brave for him to do that. And it was also brave (but not "right") of him to turn on his friends. I'm in no way excusing his behavior; I'm just pointing out that, in a way, it's brave to do what he did. I don't see it as cowardly. I just see it as a very different kind of bravery versus what we think of as "brave" normally.


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  #42  
Old October 10th, 2007, 2:13 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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I think Peter had a fair amount of bravery - I just wouldn't classify it as "normal" bravery. He was friends with the marauders for almost 10 years, and while traipsing around at night and becoming an animagus, I'm sure he had to show bravery several times. Not to mention the transformation can go "horribly wrong", if I remember Hermione's words correctly. So it was brave for him to do that. And it was also brave (but not "right") of him to turn on his friends. I'm in no way excusing his behavior; I'm just pointing out that, in a way, it's brave to do what he did. I don't see it as cowardly. I just see it as a very different kind of bravery versus what we think of as "brave" normally.
I agree. Peter joined Voldemort initially, not because he was afraid of Voldemort, but because, as he says in PoA, there was nothing he felt he could gain by not joining. Peter stayed with Voldemort even when he was treated poorly before Voldemort's return because he would have been treated more "poorly" by wizarding society and sent to Azkaban. Peter consistently does what's in his own best interests - some of which requires bravery, twisted though it may be.


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  #43  
Old October 12th, 2007, 4:06 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

^ Wormtail stuck with Voldemort through all of it because, 1. he'd be killed, if he could be. and 2. I think he was afraid of Azkaban, of facing the wizards he betrayed, and of re-living his worst memory (probably his betrayal of James and Lily). Some of this took bravery, in fact, most of it took bravery, but he was being brave because he was a coward. He was just protecting himself.


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  #44  
Old October 14th, 2007, 12:01 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

I was thinking, JKR made Peter's inner animal a "rat". Often a rat is associated with being cunning and betrayal: "sly as a rat" and "ratting one out"; or an untruthful individual: "ratfink", or a negative character in general: "he is a dirty rat!"

It is like poor Peter had no choice but to turn out to be those things. On the other hand, there are also good connotations about rats being small enough to carry out chores and duties that other animals are too big to do - for instance in the series, he was the one that could press the knot and stop the tree. But those things are outweighed by the bad connotations that are usually attributed to rats.

I found myself feeling a bit sorry for the rat character Peter was given. JKR said that Peter had a vulnerable and insecure character and that together with his rat-like character just made him a tremendously marked character imo.

Thinking back on certain things in the series; I am glad Harry found that he had 'regret' at the end of his life and that both he and James would not have killed Peter for what he'd done. I understand Sirius and Remus wanting to do so (I would have felt like them myself) - but in a way, the character was created with an inner animal that destined him to be, in everyway, 'a rat'. It allows me to feel some empathy for his character under those circumstances.


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Old October 14th, 2007, 6:57 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by wickedwickedboy View Post
but in a way, the character was created with an inner animal that destined him to be, in everyway, 'a rat'. It allows me to feel some empathy for his character under those circumstances.
I disagree that his "inner animal" destined him to do what he did - betray his friends, etc. It was his nature to make such choices and it was that same nature that caused his "inner animal" to be a rat. He always had a choice.


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  #46  
Old October 14th, 2007, 7:21 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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I disagree that his "inner animal" destined him to do what he did - betray his friends, etc. It was his nature to make such choices and it was that same nature that caused his "inner animal" to be a rat. He always had a choice.
I would agree, that makes sense. I still kinda feel sad for the dude tho.


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Old October 14th, 2007, 3:20 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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I still kinda feel sad for the dude tho.
What about him makes you feel sad, though? He never had anything really bad happen to him until he was killed by his silver hand.


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  #48  
Old October 14th, 2007, 3:44 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Chievrefueil View Post
What about him makes you feel sad, though? He never had anything really bad happen to him until he was killed by his silver hand.
I disagree. His life as Scabbers may have been his own choice, but it was one I believe Peter felt was forced on him by circumstances. Since he was the reasons Sirius was in Azkaban for the same time period, there is certainly an element of poetic justice there, but still that is no life for a human being.Likewise the cutting off of his hand for Voldemort was pretty horrific (if again, self-inflicted).

Finally, in Spinner's End he is described as 'hunchbacked', which he was not before. I am inclined to believe ill-treatment by Voldemort had soemthing to do with that.


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  #49  
Old October 14th, 2007, 7:06 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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I disagree. His life as Scabbers may have been his own choice, but it was one I believe Peter felt was forced on him by circumstances. Since he was the reasons Sirius was in Azkaban for the same time period, there is certainly an element of poetic justice there, but still that is no life for a human being.Likewise the cutting off of his hand for Voldemort was pretty horrific (if again, self-inflicted).
I won't feel sorry for Peter for these things. It would be different if he made a mistake (or several) and things spiralled out of control, which he regretted, but there is no suggestion that was the case. Every choice Peter made was motivated by selfishness and he showed no remorse. If Peter had owned up to what he did, presented himself to the Aurors on Sirius's behalf, and ended up with a life sentence in Azkaban, I would feel sorry for him. However, he didn't - he lived the life of a rat because he was avoiding doing the right thing. To me, that's not sympathetic at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zgirnius
Finally, in Spinner's End he is described as 'hunchbacked', which he was not before. I am inclined to believe ill-treatment by Voldemort had soemthing to do with that.
It's likely that Peter was treated poorly by Voldemort, but, again, he must have known what Voldemort was like and chose to bring him back anyway. He went to help Voldemort, knowing what Voldemort was, because he was avoiding doing the right thing.


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  #50  
Old October 15th, 2007, 3:32 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Chievrefueil View Post
It's likely that Peter was treated poorly by Voldemort, but, again, he must have known what Voldemort was like and chose to bring him back anyway. He went to help Voldemort, knowing what Voldemort was, because he was avoiding doing the right thing.
To clarify, I don't feel sorry for the little rat/human myself, and really loved the manner of his death.

I was just pointing out that, objectively, he did not profit from his evil, and had many bad experiences which might rouse the pity of some hypothetical person.


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  #51  
Old October 15th, 2007, 3:55 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
Finally, in Spinner's End he is described as 'hunchbacked', which he was not before. I am inclined to believe ill-treatment by Voldemort had soemthing to do with that.
All that bowing and scraping he had to do for Voldemort had something to do with that, I'm sure.

I don't feel sorry for him - he had choices right down the line just like everyone else. He was never forced into anything, and if he was afraid during the first war, he could have hidden with the Potters and let Voldemort go hang.

He never had to betray them, and he could have gone to Dumbledore for help, but he chose the opposite.

Even after that, he could have chosen not to take care of Babymort, or cut Harry to bring him back to life.

I was reading the Graveyard scene the other day and came across and interesting thing that Voldemort says about Peter:

"he was the able-bodied servant I needed"

That just reminded me of the phrase "ready, willing and able," which is what Peter was.


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  #52  
Old October 15th, 2007, 4:37 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

I see all the reasons not to feel sorry for Peter, but I do anyhow. I think that even with all of his bad choices and years of serving Voldemort, there was something within him crying for his decisions for several reasons. I don't think he was redeemed myself, but I do feel a bit sorry for him just because he merits pity in my opinion. At the same time, I, like Remus and Sirius, would have killed him also in the S. Shack - even feeling sorry for him, so I guess that says something about the character of my pity.


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Old October 24th, 2007, 1:59 pm
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

Would Peter have remembered that he had a life debt to Harry if Harry had not managed to remind him?
I think eventually that deep magic would have kicked in and taken over, MAKING him let go wheter he personally wanted to or not.

What prevented Peter from fleeing Voldemort's side? "Loyalty" or fear?
Fear. He had always been the follower, and since he could never own power himself, he sought out whoever at a certain time had the most. In other words, he always wanted to be on the winning side, to save his own skin. Peter realised after a while what it meant to be Voldemort's minion, and wasn't liking it very much, but was too afraid to flee because of the consequences he would get from either Voldemort or the "Good Side".

Voldemort "gifted" Wormtail with a silver hand. How much of an impact if any did this have on him?
Well, it ended up killing him in the end, didn't it? How ironic and like Voldemort is that. Also, the hand gave Peter confindence, something he'd had little of throughout his life.

Did Peter develop throughout the series? If Wormtail liked the choices he made, why did he bite Goyle on the Hogwarts Express?
Probably because he wanted to sleep and Malfoy and Co. was making too much noise? Hm. Or yeah, perhaps he had a beef with Goyle Sr. and took it out on his son. (I'm sure somebody else has said that already, but eh...)


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  #54  
Old October 25th, 2007, 2:06 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

In PoA, Dumbledore said that Harry would one day be very glad he had saved Wormtail's life. Well, DH came, and when Wormtail was choking Harry with his amazing silver hand, Harry reminded him of this, so he stopped, betrayed Voldemort, and got strangled by his own hand.
For one moment, let's say that Harry doesn't owe Pettigrew a debt, and he had allowed Remus and Sirius to kill the traitor. So there is no debt anywhere. Skip ahead to the Malfoy Manor scene, this rule still in place. When Bella and Narcissa hear Dobby's crack, they have to send someone down there. Seeing as they chose him before to fetch Griphook, this person would very likely be Draco. If Harry and Ron could tackle Peter, then they could certainly take care of Malfoy too; and he didn't have a silver hand to strangle Harry with. So Harry or Ron Imperios him, make him say everything's fine, and go back upstairs and act natural. Then the rest of the chapter could have continued very easily, exactly the same as before.

My question is: Why even include this life debt? Things would have been the same without it, and this includes Sirius getting recaptured. They leave the Shreaking Shack after killing Wormtail, Lupin transforms, things go on as usual. So why even include this pointless subplot that lasted about 3 seconds? Everybody thought it was going to be something huge and book-changing, but in the long run, it didn't change much.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 12:24 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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- Pettigrew. The traitor without a motive. What on earth does he get out of his appalling betrayal of Lily and James? Voldy just treats him like a piece of dirt! I mean, when you sell your soul to the devil, you're supposed to get something out of it, like a big reward, right? We never find out what Peter's motive was for his monstrous betrayal and so he is really nothing more than a Plot Device.
This is from a thread in The Cloak. Pearl, I hope you don't mind my transferring it over here. I find this to be a very interesting observation about Peter and I'd love to learn how others see it.

I personally agree that Jo could have thought up a believable motive for Peter to take this step. After all, he seems to be a person who would like to be in the least windy place, well sheltered. So it makes littl sense for him to go to Voldemort and throw himself in the lion's mouth (am I talking nonsene? please stop me if I am). What do others think?


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Old December 6th, 2007, 12:47 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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This is from a thread in The Cloak. Pearl, I hope you don't mind my transferring it over here. I find this to be a very interesting observation about Peter and I'd love to learn how others see it.
I don't mind at all!

Quote:
I personally agree that Jo could have thought up a believable motive for Peter to take this step. After all, he seems to be a person who would like to be in the least windy place, well sheltered. So it makes little sense for him to go to Voldemort and throw himself in the lion's mouth (am I talking nonsene? please stop me if I am). What do others think?
No, it doesn't make much sense. The believable motive for the sheer monstrosity of Peter's betrayal is simply missing. You might betray your friends if you were subjected to a hideous enough torture and it would be hard to judge someone in that situation. But Peter gets so little out of his servitude to the Dark Lord that one wonders what tempted him to sell his soul to the devil in the first place. It's put forward in the books that his motive was fear, and wanting to be on the winning side because of insecurity, but this is not really that convincing.

Peter is a plot device rather than a three-dimensional character.

But I, too, love the manner of his death.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 1:40 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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I always wondered about the Marauder's trust for Peter. I understand they thought him stupid, but that is just the type of weak character that all villans go after. According to Sirius and later Peter's kind of admission in the shreiking shack, he was with Voldy for a year before selling out the Potters. Whatever made him go? I think Voldy sought out a weak link in the resistence. I think James, Sirius and Remus should have thought of that. But I suppose they figured he was loyal if nothing else...he had always stood by and looked up to them before.
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.


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Old December 6th, 2007, 1:42 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Yoana View Post
I personally agree that Jo could have thought up a believable motive for Peter to take this step. After all, he seems to be a person who would like to be in the least windy place, well sheltered. So it makes littl sense for him to go to Voldemort and throw himself in the lion's mouth (am I talking nonsene? please stop me if I am). What do others think?
I always wondered whether Peter might not have been the Muggle-born Marauder. However, I found his motive as explained in the books credible even without that theory, thought it would fit right in, by giving him an extra reason to fear Voldemort. Here's the key passage from PoA, in my view:

PoA"You sold Lily and James to Voldemort," said Black, who was shaking too. "Do you deny it?"

Pettigrew burst into tears. It was horrible to watch, like an oversized, balding baby, cowering on the floor.

"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 --"

"DON'T LIE!" bellowed Black. "YOU'D BEEN PASSING INFORMATION TO HIM FOR A YEAR BEFORE LILY AND JAMES DIED! YOU WERE HIS SPY!"

"He -- he was taking over everywhere!" gasped Pettigrew. "Wh -- what was there to be gained by refusing him?"

"What was there to be gained by fighting the most evil wizard who has ever existed?" said Black, with a terrible fury in his face. "Only innocent lives, Peter!"

"You don't understand!" whined Pettigrew. "He would have killed me, Sirius!"


We are not told that Peter went to Voldemort and threw himself in the lion's mouth. I think that it happened the other way around - he was approached by Death Eaters and/or Voldemort, who threatened him, and he caved in to the pressure. This is certainly the implication of the line "what was to be gained by refusing him?", that he was ordered to do something, and did not refuse.

Peter was a member of the Order (I presume he followed his Marauder buddies into that because they expected it, rather than joining out of conviction and courage). We heard a lot (from Lupin, Molly, e. g. how terrible the times were, people in the Order getting killed left and right, etc.) When Peter was approached, I think he switched sides because he thought that would keep him safe.

Proof that while the Sorting Hat is never wrong (interview comment), a Gryffindor can be a coward.


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  #59  
Old December 6th, 2007, 3:53 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
Proof that while the Sorting Hat is never wrong (interview comment), a Gryffindor can be a coward.
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? At first I thought that he was forced to do that because of the life debt, but JKR explained that the life debt is not something that one is magically forced to repay. So now I have a slightly different take on Peter, at least at the end of his life. I think his bravery came through (but whether or not that is what the hat saw I have no idea. - 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.)


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Old December 6th, 2007, 3:57 am
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Re: Peter Pettigrew: Character Analysis

Thanks for posting that quote. Peter seems to suggest, in my opinion, that he was forced to join the Death Eaters.
PoA "He -- he was taking over everywhere!" gasped Pettigrew. "Wh -- what was there to be gained by refusing him?"
The fact that Peter was afraid to refuse him indicates to me that Voldemort came to recruit him, rather than Peter was looking for the next best bully to stand with. Peter was too weak to refuse. I don't think he wanted to be a Death Eater. It reminds me of Slughorn, who hides from the Death Eaters rather then risking death by refusing to join them.


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