Peter Pettigrew is arguably one of the most divisive characters in the Harry Potter universe.
The character – also known as Wormtail and, for a 13-year period, as Ron Weasley's rat Scabbers – was a founder of the Marauders Map, a Gryffindor student and also best mates with James Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin.
A pretty good start if ever there was one.
However, he suffered a spectacular fall from grace when he betrayed James and Lily Potter by revealing their whereabouts to Lord Voldemort, and later their son Harry, by aiding Voldy in restoring his human form in the Goblet of Fire and acting as his servant thereafter.
Redemption called for Pettigrew in The Deathly Hallows when he was killed by the silver hand Voldemort gave him after he hesitated in strangling Harry, which the hand saw as a weakness.
Alas, there remained one Peter Pettigrew mystery left to be solved.
As unveiled in the Prisoner of Azkaban (in what may just be the greatest scene in Potter – if not cinematic – history), Pettigrew is an Animagus, meaning he can transform into his common-garden rat alter ego.
So, why then is the Prisoner of Azkaban the last time we see Pettigrew in rat-form?
His Deathly Hallows moment of weakness all but confirmed the obvious fact he ultimately wasn't happy under Voldemort's reign, so why not escape as his rat self and live out the remainder of his days in a field somewhere?
Well, one Redditor has a theory as to why we never saw the return of Scabbers – and it looks like Voldemort didn't trust Peter Pettigrew all that much, either.
Chainmaillekid argues that Pettigrew didn't transform into a rat post-Azkaban because his silver hand prevented him from doing so.
Indeed, there are a number of instances post-Azkaban where transforming into his rat self would have come in handy (and the Reddit thread has a pretty detailed list of them, if you're interested) but Pettigrew never does, which certainly supports the theory.
And then there's the little matter of Voldemort gifting Pettigrew with the hand that ultimately killed him as a means of keeping him under control – a gift that ultimately kills him as soon as he stops following Voldemort's orders.
If the hand had that kind of power in it, then there's also every chance it would be able to prevent Pettigrew from escaping Voldemort's control in the first place by preventing him from transforming into his rat form.
The theory has certainly convinced us, so if you need us we'll be re-reading the books in a whole new light.
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