Pettigrew’s Debt, Part II

by Scottie R. 

Thank you for being a friend, traveled down the road and back again.

Before I launch into the meat of this debate I’’d just like to express how blown away I’’ve been by the response to my last editorial, Pettigrew’’s Debt. When I haven’’t been in lectures I’’ve spent the last week almost consumed with trying to answer every email and digest all the theories and corrections so many keen Muggles have made. On that note I should warn you that this editorial will not take the same “expose” style as my last. Instead, I would like to look at some of the best points raised in the many emails I’ve received and throw them out there for discussion. As Nadine Gordimer argues, ““The author should be the voice of the people”.” I’’m not sure I agree with her entirely, but that quote will stand for this editorial at least. Oh, and if you’re wondering why I’’ve continued the song lyric paragraph starters you can all blame an email from a girl named Kim:

Your editorial was great! That is a good theory, and I think it may happen. I loved the song sub-headings as well.

If Kim should be found strung up by her toes in the town square tomorrow morning her family will know who to file proceedings against.

Let’s get this party started!

If you’’ve forgotten what I was on about last week, we began at Page 311 of POA, in the Australasian print which I assume is the same as most people’s anyway:

“Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt. When one wizard saves another wizard’’s life, it creates a certain bond between them … and I’m much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter.” 

“I don’’t want a bond with Pettigrew!” said Harry. “He betrayed my parents!” 

“This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry. But trust me –… the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’’s life.”

I argued that in the magical community love, mercy and sacrifice in the name of another wizard act as some sort of seal and went on to discuss that Harry’’s mercy for Pettigrew in the Shrieking Shack forged a seal between them which will come into play later in the series (long sentence, aye!). I argued three theories and as one keen muggle wrote, “”Let’’s face it! The first two were rubbish!” I’’m inclined to agree so let’s go straight to the most prolific and controversial theory. *Drumroll please!* NUMERO THREE!!!

These are my confessions.

Only an hour or two after my last editorial was published I received emails from four clever souls, namely Jenna N., Laura J., Joanna F., and Rebekah E. They all sent me immediately over to The Leaky Cauldron, where a full transcript of Jo Rowling’’s World Book Day Chat can be found. Halfway through the chat this issue arose:

MauraEllen: Did the debt Wormtail has to Harry carry over to Voldemort when he sacrifices his arm to restore his body?

JK Rowling: No, can’’t say any more than that!

Immediately this dismisses the third theory that Wormtail’’s debt is now within Voldemort. That being said, Laura J. went on to point out that “even though she says no, her ‘Can’’t say any more than that!’ implies there’’s more to it than that.” I’’m inclined to agree with this. Jo is synonymous for twisting the truth or answering things only as well as she wants to. Even though the debt is not yet transferred it is not to say it won’t eventually through another occurrence later in the books. In the ever-changing world of Jo Rowling, who really knows?!

I wanna know what blood is. I want you to show me!

Following this discovery at TLC, several other emails also followed to remind me that it is Pettigrew’’s flesh that is used in the cauldron and not his blood. Steve T. was even nice enough to send me the quotes so I wouldn’’t have to search for them again. For those of you with your books handy you can flip open to pg. 556-557 of GOF (Australasian Print).

“Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!”
“Flesh – of the servant –– w-willingly given –– you will –– revive –– your master.”
“B-blood of the enemy…–forcibly taken–…you will–…resurrect your foe.”

With this in mind, I do not feel it is enough to dismiss Pettigrew’’s “donation” from having a part to play in the next two books. Whether blood (from Harry) or flesh (from Pettigrew), it needs to be remembered that these are both now a part of Voldemort.

Touching you, touching me

Steve T. was, yet again, extremely helpful when pointing out that the more significant linkage following the events of GOF is that of Lily Potter and Voldemort. Speculation of this concept is fueled further when Harry returns to Hogwarts at the end of GOF (pg. 604):

When Harry told of Wormtail piercing his arm with the dagger, however, Sirius let out a vehement exclamation, and Dumbledore stood up so quickly that Harry started. Dumbledore walked around the desk and told Harry to stretch out his arm. Harry showed them both the place where his robes were torn, and the cut beneath them. 

“He said my blood would make him stronger than if he used someone else’s” Harry told Dumbledore. “He said the protection my – my mother left in me – he’d have it, too. And he was right – he could touch me without hurting himself, he touched my face.” 

For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumledore’’s eyes. But the next second, Harry was sure he had imagined it.

It is at this point that we get into the realms of speculation. Rather than try to manufacture an elaborate conclusion to the series based on this one quote I’d instead prefer to let you come to your own conclusions on it with the knowledge we already have. From this editorial there are three main things we need to take with us for a better understanding of where the books are, and more importantly, where they’re going:

1) J.K. Rowling said herself in the World Book Day Chat that no linkage exists between Pettigrew and Voldemort following the events of GOF. Therefore, the third theory mentioned in my article, Pettigrew’’s Debt, is unlikely.

2) While we can rest easy knowing the third theory is impossible, we must not discount the manner in which Rowling answered the question. Rowling said, “No, I can’’t say anymore than that.” The flesh of the servant, bone of the father and blood of the enemy, in my opinion, will be the deciding factors of the series.

3) When Dumbledore is told about the blood removed from Harry’’s arm there is a “gleam of something like triumph in his eyes.” If there’’s one thing we know, it’s that Dumbledore knows more. With his habit of bringing great revelations at the end of each book we can only wait and speculate about what his next will be.

Get Out! Right now, it’s the end of you and me.

It’’s time to close this up, I think. I apologise if this article was found somewhat less enticing than the last but, as mentioned earlier, an editorial’’s job is to speak for the people. This article is simply a collection of evidence. What you will make of it will depend on your own personal hopes and desires for the conclusions of the books. That being said: I really enjoy receiving your emails and with regular overviews like this one I’’m sure we’ll become at least a little more educated in our guesses.

From the land down under, and to the right a bit…

Scottie