Peter Pettigrew Character Bio

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 Peter Pettigrew (1960 – March 1998) is a turbulent character motivated by fear. He is a key player in both the rise and fall of Lord Voldemort and has an interesting relationship with Harry Potter.

Not much is known about Peter’s early years. At Hogwarts, he has a close friendship with James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin. However, after he leaves, he begins to serve Lord Voldemort, double-crossing his friends by disclosing the location of the Potters. This leads to Voldemort’s downfall, and Peter goes into hiding.

Peter is an Animagus, able to turn into a rat, and lives through many uneventful years as the Weasley’s pet. Later in the series, the truth is unveiled, and Harry’s choice to spare his life allows him to escape.

Pettigrew plays a key part in the return of Lord Voldemort by sacrificing his own hand to revive him once again.

Pettigrew’s life comes to a brutal end at the end of the books. Harry’s decision to spare Peter’s life creates a magical bond between them, and when Peter attempts to kill Harry, he ends up killing himself instead.

Peter Pettigrew Quick Facts

Full Name Peter Pettigrew (O.M, First Class)
Birth Date Around 1960 (actual date unknown)
Birth Place Unknown
Nick Name Wormtail
Death Date [if applicable] March 1998
Age When Series Starts Around 30/31 years old
Zodiac Sign Unknown
Siblings None
Children None
Partner / Spouse None
Most Memorable Moment Handing the Potters over to Voldemort, thus accidentally triggering Voldemort’s downfall
Magical Heritage Probably pure-blood, but possibly half-blood
Species Human
Special Abilities Unregistered animagus (rat)
Hogwarts House Gryffindor
Wand First wand: Unknown


Second wand: Yew and phoenix feather, 13 ½ inches

Third wand: Chestnut and dragon heartstring, 9 ¼ inches

Patronus Unknown
Actors Who Played Timothy Spall
Last Updated 21/4/2022

Peter Pettigrew Birthplace

Little is known about Pettigrew’s early years, and that includes both his date and place of birth. We can presume he is British and that he was born somewhere around 1960. This means he was around 30 years old when the books begin and nearing his late 30’s when he reaches the end of his life in Deathly Hallows.

Peter Pettigrew Parents

Similarly, there’s not much to know about Pettigrew’s parents. One of the only times we hear about Pettigrew’s mother is in Prisoner of Azkaban. She is first mentioned in the conversation Harry overhears in the Three Broomsticks:

‘… and Pettigrew received the Order of Merlin, First Class, which I think was some comfort to his poor mother.’ (1)

Pettigrew’s mother believes that her son died fighting for the good side. She isn’t mentioned again, and we don’t see Pettigrew attempting to contact her at any point. It’s possible that she passed away before Voldemort’s return in the later books and never knew the truth of her son’s loyalties.

Pettigrew’s father isn’t mentioned in any of the books. He could be a Muggle, but knowing Voldemort’s emphasis on choosing Pureblood Death Eaters, it’s more likely that he was a wizard.

Peter Pettigrew’s Physical Traits

Peter Pettigrew Character Bio
Image from Fandom

Peter is described as a ‘very short man, hardly taller than Harry and Hermione.’ He has thin, ‘colorless hair’ and is balding by the time Harry meets him in Prisoner of Azkaban. He has a pointed nose and small, watery eyes, strangely resembling his rat form.

He is described as plump by several people in the book, although by the time we meet him in Prisoner of Azkaban, he has lost a lot of weight, presumably from stress. (2)

In the movies, Pettigrew’s rat-like appearance is exaggerated, and actor Timothy Spall plays him with a slight twitch. He has taken on some of the characteristics of his Animagus form.

Peter Pettigrew Early Life

There is no mention of Peter’s early life, so we can only guess what his upbringing is like. Harry observes him as an adolescent in Snape’s memories during the events in Order of the Phoenix, which is the earliest glimpse we get.

Peter Pettigrew Hogwarts Years

Peter Pettigrew Hogwarts Years
Image from Fandom

There’s a lot more to know about Pettigrew’s time at Hogwarts. Sorted into Gryffindor, he bonded quickly with Sirius Black, James Potter, and Remus Lupin. They became firm friends with a reputation for mischief, giving themselves the nickname ‘The Marauders’.

Peter hero-worshipped his friends and is portrayed in the book as being awkward and needy. He’s also fearful, with a nervous disposition. He admires his friends greatly, particularly James’s Quidditch skills: ‘He started playing with the Snitch … his reflexes were excellent. Wormtail watched him in awe.’ (3)

Peter saw himself as the ‘weak link’ of the group, comparing himself unfavorably to his brilliant and clever friends. However, Pettigrew does seem to have some outstanding magical abilities, even if he has to work harder at them than the others. For example, he co-creates the Marauder’s Map, a powerful magical object that allows the user to see a complete map of Hogwarts containing every person’s current location.

However, one of the most impressive feats is Peter’s dedication to becoming an Animagus. Peter is one of the few people to know that Lupin is a werewolf and learns to transform himself into a rat to keep Lupin company during his transformations. We later find out that this is an incredibly complex process, usually tightly regulated, so the fact that he managed to do this as a teenager shows he was probably smarter than anyone gave him credit for. (4)

We don’t know how Peter performed in his examinations or what qualifications he received upon graduating from Hogwarts.

Peter Pettigrew After Hogwarts

Peter Pettigrew After Hogwarts
Image from Fandom

Pettigrew had a tumultuous few years immediately after leaving Hogwarts. Voldemort was in full power at this time, and Peter joined the Order of the Phoenix with his friends in an attempt to fight back.

However, he quickly turned traitor as Voldemort lured him over to his side with the promise of protection. Peter gave in to his nerves. ‘I was scared, Sirius, I was never brave like you and Remus and James.’ (5) He acted as a double agent for a short while, serving both sides at once.

When it became apparent that Voldemort was after the Potters, Dumbledore devised a plan to keep them safe. He wanted to allow Sirius Black to become the Potter’s Secret Keeper, which means only Black would know of their whereabouts. Pettigrew, working with Voldemort, persuaded the Potters to use himself instead.

Unknowingly, Peter gave Voldemort the information that would be his downfall. When Voldemort attacked Harry, the curse rebounded on him, almost ending his life.

After the fall of Voldemort, Peter was forced to go into hiding. At the last moment, he was confronted by Sirius Black, who alone knew the truth of Peter’s betrayal.

Pettigrew cut off his finger and made it appear that Sirius had killed him in an explosion (also killing several nearby Muggles). He then transformed into a rat and went into hiding, framing Sirius for a crime he did not commit. He is directly responsible for Sirius going to Azkaban.


Peter Pettigrew After Hogwarts_Scabbers
Image from Fandom

Forced into hiding, Pettigrew spent the next several years masquerading as first Percy and then Ron Weasley’s pet rat, Scabbers. Upon Black’s escape in Prisoner of Azkaban, Scabbers began acting in an erratic way, constantly attempting to escape and rapidly losing weight.

Ron believes this strange behavior is due to Hermione’s cat, Crookshanks, and this drives a wedge between the two friends for most of the school year.

At the end of the book, he is confronted by Lupin and Black, and the truth is unveiled. Black wants to kill him, but Harry persuades them to turn him into the authorities instead. This would allow Sirius to be exonerated of his alleged crimes.

However, Pettigrew manages to escape, ruining Sirius’s chance for freedom and Harry’s chance to live with him. Harry laments his decision to Dumbledore, who says, ‘When one wizard saves another wizard’s life, it creates a certain bond between them …’ (6), thus predicting later events in Deathly Hallows.

Pettigrew plays a key role in the return of Lord Voldemort. In Goblet of Fire, he assists Voldemort’s return to a human body by cutting off his own hand as part of a ritual. Voldemort replaces this hand with a silver one, which possesses strength far exceeding Peter’s own.

The Second War

The Second War
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From Order of the Phoenix onwards, Pettigrew is forced to act as Voldemort’s servant and is looked upon with contempt by the other Death Eaters, who see him as cowardly. They also see him as responsible for Voldemort’s original downfall. The Malfoys, in particular, seem to dislike him.

Pettigrew does not leap into conflict like some of the other Death Eaters. He is preoccupied with his own survival, keeping his head down and making sure Voldemort has everything he needs. We don’t see him in any of the key battles, presumably for this reason. He spends time serving both the Malfoy family and Severus Snape.

Peter meets an untimely end in Deathly Hallows during the fight at Malfoy Manor. He attempts to kill Harry by choking him.

However, when Harry reminds him that Peter owes Harry his life, things take a strange turn. Peter’s silver hand seems to turn against him, and he ends up choking himself to death. ‘His own silver fingers were moving inexorably towards his own throat.’ (7) This seems to fulfill Dumbledore’s earlier prediction that something magical happens when one wizard saves another wizard’s life.

Peter Pettigrew Family

Peter Pettigrew does not appear to have a spouse, nor does he have any children.

Peter Pettigrew Magical Abilities and Special Skills

Peter is an Animagus; this allows him to turn into a rat at will, without using a wand.

Later in the books, he receives a silver hand from Lord Voldemort as repayment for the hand he sacrificed. This hand possesses superior strength. However, it is this hand that ultimately kills Pettigrew in Deathly Hallows.

Peter Pettigrew’s Wand

Peter Pettigrew's Wand
Image from Fandom

Peter uses 3 wands in his lifetime, as far as we can tell. There is no information about his first wand.

The second wand he uses is, in fact, Voldemort’s wand. He uses this to kill Cedric Diggory and complete the ritual of returning Voldemort to his full power.

Unusually, Voldemort orders the wandmaker Ollivander to create a new wand for Peter. He does not appear to offer this to anyone else. Peter’s final wand is chestnut with a dragon heartstring, 9 ¼ inches. (8)

Peter Pettigrew Trivia and Fun Facts

Peter Pettigrew Trivia and Fun Facts

Here are a few things you may not know about Pettigrew:

  • Peter is awarded the Order of Merlin, 1st Class, after his fake ‘death.’ This is a prestigious award and does not appear to be rescinded even after the truth comes out about his allegiance to Voldemort.
  • Peter travels to Albania after the events of Prisoner of Azkaban, as this is the last place Voldemort is rumored to be. This suggests that he was keen to rejoin him and to help Voldemort rise again.
  • Peter killed Bertha Jorkins after torturing her for information about Harry Potter.
  • Peter was almost in Slytherin. The Sorting Hat deliberated about this for so long that he was technically a Hatstall (this is the term used for when the Sorting Hat is having difficulty placing someone). (9)
  • Peter deliberately chose to stay with the Weasleys in his rat form. This is because he felt he would be better protected here, keeping him safe from Death Eaters looking to avenge Voldemort’s death.
  • Peter, like every other Marauder, ended up giving up his own life to protect Harry in some way (even if unwillingly)
  • Some fans feel disappointed by the portrayal of Pettigrew’s death in the movies, which was changed to be more family-friendly (10)
  • Peter’s name bears a striking similarity to Grima Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings and has a similar personality.

Peter Pettigrew Appearances in Books

  • Book 1: Sorceror’s Stone (as Scabbers)
  • Book 2: Chamber of Secrets (as Scabbers)
  • Book 3: Prisoner of Azkaban (first as Scabbers, then as himself)
  • Book 4: Goblet of Fire
  • Book 5: Order of the Phoenix
  • Book 6: Half-Blood Prince
  • Book 7: Deathly Hallows

Peter appears in all 7 of the main books, although only as Scabbers in the first 2. His more prominent appearances are in Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Deathly Hallows.

Peter Pettigrew Appearances in Films

  • Movie 1: Sorceror’s Stone (as Scabbers)
  • Movie 2: Chamber of Secrets (Scabbers)
  • Movie 3: Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Movie 4: Goblet of Fire
  • Movie 5: Order of the Phoenix
  • Movie 6: Half-Blood Prince
  • Movie 7: Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Movie 8: Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Pettigrew appears in all 8 movies, although only as Scabbers in the first 2. He appears only in flashback form in Deathly Hallows: Part 2. He has the most screentime in Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire.

Peter Pettigrew Quotes

‘Flesh – of the servant – w-willingly given – you will – revive – your master.’ – Peter Pettigrew, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(11)

‘If you made a better rat than human, it’s not much to boast about, Peter.’ – Sirius Black (12), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

‘How thick are you, Wormtail? You run round with a werewolf once a month’ – James Potter (13), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

‘I am not your servant!’ – Peter Pettigrew (14), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Frequently Asked Questions

Just in case you still want to know more about Peter, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about him:

Question: Is Peter Pettigrew a Good Guy or a Bad Guy?

Answer: On the whole, Peter Pettigrew is on the bad side. He is mostly motivated by fear rather than outright malice. However, he does some pretty despicable things, including murdering Cedric Diggory and Bertha Jorkins, killing a street full of innocent Muggles, framing Sirius Black for a crime he didn’t commit, and turning the Potters over to Voldemort.
Without Pettigrew, there is a chance that Voldemort would not have risen again, and the Second War may not have happened. This makes him responsible for a lot of other deaths and injuries, too.

Question: What do Other Characters Think About Pettigrew?

Answer: Pettigrew is treated with contempt on both the good and bad sides.
During his Hogwarts years, Peter is seen as the ‘tagalong’ of the group, and he feels insecure in the shadow of his talented friends. However, they are fond of him, and they trust him enough to make him the Potter’s Secret Keeper, so they obviously held him in high regard.
After Voldemort’s downfall, things are very different for Peter. Voldemort, and the Death Eaters, treat him with disgust. On the other side, the members of the Order of the Phoenix have a very low view of him, too, for obvious reasons.

Question: Was Peter Pettigrew a Mudblood?

Answer: No. We know that Pettigrew’s mother is a witch, so we can presume he is either a Pureblood or a Half-Blood. It is more likely that he is a Pureblood, as these were the people Voldemort preferred to choose for his servants.

Question: Why did Peter Pettigrew Become a Death Eater?

Answer: Pettigrew justifies becoming a Death Eater because he was afraid. He thinks Voldemort’s reign is inevitable, and it’s better to switch to the side with the most power in order to protect himself.
We do know that the Sorting Hat took a long time to decide whether to place him in Gryffindor or Slytherin. Perhaps Pettigrew had the potential to choose the ‘dark side’ all along.

Question: Does Peter Pettigrew Have a Patronus?

Answer: Peter’s Patronus is never mentioned, and it’s possible that he never learned to cast one.
We can presume based on other people’s Patronuses that Pettigrew’s own Patronus would probably have been in the form of a rat. For example, James’s Patronus is a stag, and Professor McGonagall’s Patronus is a cat, so it stands to reason that Pettigrew’s would be a rat.


  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch 10: The Marauder’s Map
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch 19: The Servant of Lord Voldemort
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ch 28: Snape’s Worst Memory
  4. How do you become an Animagus? Wizarding World
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch 19: The Servant of Lord Voldemort
  6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch 22: Owl Post Again
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ch 23: Malfoy Manor
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ch 24: The Wandmaker
  9. Hatstall – Wizarding World
  10. ‘Harry Potter: Why the Films Changed Pettigrew’s Death’ – Screenrant
  11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ch 32: Flesh, Blood, and Bone
  12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch 19: The Servant of Lord Voldemort
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ch 28: Snape’s Worst Memory
  14. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ch 2: Spinner’s End

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