Since Pettigrew could hide his two-faced nature from everyone, including Dumbledore, a known Legilimens, for example when:

  • being an unregistered Animagus along with James, Sirius, and Remus

  • passing off information from the Order of the Phoenix to Voldemort

  • selling out James and Lily after breaking the Fidelius Charm

However, Lord Voldemort accused him of lying constantly while they stayed together at the Riddle House, could sense his lies, and here's the proof:

“My Lord! I — I have no wish to leave you, none at all —” “Do not lie to me!” hissed the second voice. “I can always tell, Wormtail! You are regretting that you ever returned to me. I revolt you. I see you flinch when you look at me, feel you shudder when you touch me. . . .” “No! My devotion to Your Lordship —” “Your devotion is nothing more than cowardice. You would not be here if you had anywhere else to go. How am I to survive without you, when I need feeding every few hours? Who is to milk Nagini?” “But you seem so much stronger, My Lord —” “Liar,” breathed the second voice. “I am no stronger, and a few days alone would be enough to rob me of the little health I have regained under your clumsy care. Silence!” Wormtail, who had been sputtering incoherently, fell silent at once. For a few seconds, Frank could hear nothing but the fire crackling. Then the second man spoke once more, in a whisper that was almost a hiss.

“I — I thought she might be useful, My Lord —” “Liar,” said the second voice again, the cruel amusement more pronounced than ever. “However, I do not deny that her information was invaluable. Without it, I could never have formed our plan, and for that, you will have your reward, Wormtail. I will allow you to perform an essential task for me, one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform. . . .” “R-really, My Lord? What — ?” Wormtail sounded terrified

Does that make Voldemort better than Dumbledore at Legilimency?

  • 5
    Can you find a better example? You really don't need to be a talented Legilimens to know that Peter is lying in that situation. Somebody who was utterly incapable of Legilimency would still have known just from observing him. Dec 28, 2017 at 23:48
  • 1
    What he said, and Voldemort probably would use similar language with anyone he's trying to intimidate
    – user13267
    Dec 30, 2017 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


No, this fact does not tell us anything about the strength of their Legilimency. It rather shows us very much of one of the big differences between the two mindsets of Dumbledore and Voldemort.

Reading minds is a willing process. You need to concentrate on reading the mind of the other person.

Dumbledore was always very trustful and wanted people to tell him the truth, not to read it from their minds. I don‘t even recall one instance where we see him actively reading the mind of somebody else, just hints that he sometimes simply „knows“ something....

Voldemort does not trust anybody. For him it is normal practice to read the mind of everybody he talks to just to prevent the other person from betraying him - he always expects everybody to do so, as he would betray anyone if it was for his advantage.

I think that Dumbledore would have seen all the things in Peter, if he just looked for it. But he didn't... and that is something he really regrets. Need to find the passage in DH, where he tells this to Harry...

  • 3
    I don’t think Dumbledore ever tells Harry that he regrets not looking for those things in Pettigrew.
    – HN17
    Dec 30, 2017 at 14:35

Yes, Voldemort was the better Legilimens.

According to Snape, that is.

She hesitated.
"I know he believes you, but -"
"You think he is mistaken? Or that I have somehow hoodwinked him? Fooled the Dark Lord, the greatest wizard, the most accomplished Legilimens the world has ever seen?"
(Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2, Spinner's End).

Snape was in the presence of Death Eaters so this may not be an objective opinion. However, it's not a ridiculous conclusion to reach - and, frankly, Snape was probably the best-placed character to make such an assessment.

Voldemort's track record wasn't perfect. Neither was Dumbledore's. The fact that Pettigrew hoodwinked Dumbledore doesn't count for much. Snape hoodwinked Voldemort at much the same time, and indeed for considerably longer.

Dumbledore was probably less adept at Legilimency (whilst still being pretty proficient). He probably didn't use it as much as Voldemort did since Voldemort is the more mistrustful and paranoid of the pair. Dumbledore reckons he's good enough to detect deception.

[Kreacher] did not wish to tell me," said Dumbledore. "But I am a sufficiently accomplished Legilimens myself to know when I am being lied to and I - persuaded him - to tell me the full story, before I left for the Department of Mysteries."
(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy).

  • Your evidence is very weak; clearly your legilimency is not good enough for you to find out what Snape knows. For instance, he told Harry, "The Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when somebody is lying to him. Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and so can utter falsehoods in his presence without detection." This clearly shows that he is totally lying in the quote you cited from Half-Blood Prince.
    – user21820
    Sep 17, 2019 at 18:05

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