Protecting Peter

by Kelli Ward-Sturgill

I was reading through JKRowling.com a few minutes ago, and something dawned on me concerning Jo’’s answer to the last FAQ Poll concerning “What happens to a secret when the Secret-Keeper dies?”

There are two well-known Secret Keepers in the Potterverse: Albus Dumbledore, who protected the location of Grimmauld Place, and Peter Pettigrew a.k.a Wormtail who was supposed to protect the Potters’ location at Godric’s Hollow. One of our known Secret-Keepers didn’t keep his end of the bargain, and we know it wasn’t Dumbledore who betrayed his end of the deal.

However, using the fabulous words of our beloved author, here’’s what she had to say about Secret-Keepers:

When a Secret-Keeper dies, their secret dies with them, or, to put it another way, the status of their secret will remain as it was at the moment of their death. Everybody in whom they confided will continue to know the hidden information, but nobody else.

She continues with:

…In other words, a secret (eg, the location of a family in hiding, like the Potters) is enchanted so that it is protected by a single Keeper (in our example, Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail). Thenceforth nobody else –– not even the subjects of the secret themselves –– can divulge the secret. Even if one of the Potters had been captured, force fed Veritaserum or placed under the Imperius Curse, they would not have been able to give away the whereabouts of the other two. The only people who ever knew their precise location were those whom Wormtail had told directly, but none of them would have been able to pass on the information.
(jkrowling.com, Result of FAQ Poll)

Oho! An editorial in the making!

Jo just told us, in not so many words, that Harry needs Pettigrew if he ever wants to know the location of the Potter House. At the end of Half Blood Prince, Harry tells us his first order of business after fulfilling his obligation to visit the Dursley household one last time:

“I might go back to Godric’’s Hollow,” Harry muttered. He had had the idea in his head ever since the night of Dumbledore’s death. “For me, it started there, all of it. I’’ve just got a feeling that I need to go there. And I can visit my parents’ graves, I’’d like that.”
(HBP, US Hardcover edition, pgs. 650-651)

Jo…, you brilliant, magnificent woman!

I bet some of you are wondering, “Well, if Harry was at Godric’’s Hollow, wouldn’’t he remember the location?” My answer to that is – no. Anyone who has been within 100 feet of a child knows that nine times out of ten, any kid under the age of four cannot tell you exactly where they live. It would be fruitless. Harry would show up in the village and have absolutely no idea where the house once stood, just like a four year old who wandered out the front door while Mommy was napping and can’’t tell the nice policeman where they live.

Another point I would like to bring up is that one can assume Jo’’s statement “not even the subjects of the secret themselves—can divulge the secret,” would apply to Harry as well. So that leaves Ron and Hermione out of the equation, even if Harry could remember the location of the house. I think Harry’’s a lone owl where Godric’’s Hollow is concerned. That is, unless someone can fill the trio in on the exact location of the Potters’’ cottage.

Therefore, enter Pettigrew, the Potters’’ really rotten choice of Secret-Keeper. As of Half Blood Prince, he was last seen at Spinner’’s End, and currently out of Harry’’s reach. Harry needs Peter, and Peter is under Voldemort’’s thumb. What to do, what to do?

Some things to ponder, fellow Potterfans:

Will we see a spectacular rat-napping and subsequent game of “Voldie Keep-Away” in the early chapters of Deathly Hallows? I would love to think so.

Will Pettigrew be able to attempt to wash the blood of the Potters off his hands by aiding Harry in his quest? After all, our favorite little eavesdropper simply loves to be in the loop, I am sure he has volumes of overheard information, even if it is incomplete.

We must also not forget that life-debt to Harry that Pettigrew still hasn’’t paid up. Helping Harry out would definitely be a start.

Regardless of the ideas this editorial might spark, I know one thing—everything will be revealed in a few days, and I’’m excitedly counting the hours to the conclusion of our beloved Harry’’s story with each of you. See you in the book line!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this editorial. Feel free to email me: artbykell at earthlink dot net.

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