Obvious spoilers for Deathly Hallows..

Excerpt from Slytherincess' answer to Why was Wormtail made a servant ?

Voldemort enchanted the silver hand to kill Wormtail if Wormtail showed the weakness of mercy.

Is there any source for this ? At one point, Dumbledore tells Harry that a life debt between two wizards is something very powerful (at the end of PoA I think). I always assumed that Wormtail wanted to kill Harry but that some kind of old magic prevented him from doing it.

So... Did Voldemort really enchanted it ? If so, why didn't the hand just kill Harry when it had the occasion ?

ETA : I just found this quote by JKR :

When Dumbledore said to Harry "Voldemort won't want a close associate who is in your debt", I wasn't implying by that there was any kind of magical bond there.

I throw my theory away :p see the accepted answer for more details

3 Answers 3


Just adding to the above answer:

When Wormtail was granted the silver hand by Voldemort in Goblet of Fire, the first thing Voldemort said to him was: "May your loyalty never waver again, Wormtail."

This is Rowling slipping in a foreshadowing Easter-egg. That hand was pre-programmed by Voldemort to kill its owner from the moment of its creation. Voldemort deliberately tied Wormtail's life to the strength of his loyalty.

It took me so many re-readings of the fourth book to notice that connection!

  • Good catch, I don't remember having given that excerpt the significance it actually has! Mar 27, 2015 at 6:28
  • I actually like this answer more than the accepted one. The accepted answer, while very plausible has no grounds in canon.
    – Zikato
    May 12, 2016 at 14:09

The silver tool that Voldemort had given his most cowardly servant had turned upon its Disarmed and useless owner; Pettigrew was reaping his reward for his hesitation, his moment of pity; he was being strangled before their eyes.

Deathly Hallows - Bloomsbury - Malfoy Manor

The hand wasn't enchanted to kill Harry. It was enchanted to kill Wormtail, should he show even a split second of mercy. So it wouldn't be going around trying to kill Harry specifically. It was Voldemort's punishment for Wormtail, not Harry, although Harry ultimately was the trigger that caused Wormtail to experience a moment of mercy, which subsequently cost Wormtail his life.

  • 2
    Interesting, yet bold assumption... That the hand turned on him just then does not mean it was designed to do so. It does make sense that V understood that Wormtail was not to be trusted and used the hand as a sort of insurance policy against any treachery from him. But it seems a stretch that it was specifically triggered by Harry.
    – TGnat
    Jun 25, 2013 at 13:35
  • 1
    @TGnat - if you re-read my answer, you'll note that I said the hand was punishment for Wormtail demonstrating mercy. I didn't say it had to be toward Harry, but, I'm sorry, as it happened, it was triggered by Harry: ‘You’re going to kill me?’ Harry choked, attempting to prise off the metal fingers. ‘After I saved your life? You owe me, Wormtail!’ The silver fingers slackened. There's your moment of Wormtail's mercy and it is between him and Harry. I don't find canon to be a stretch or an "assumption". The hand had to do with Wormtail demonstrating mercy, not treachery. Jun 25, 2013 at 22:46
  • @TGnat - Oh, I see what you're talking about re: Harry. Yes, that was poorly worded. I'll do an edit. Jun 25, 2013 at 22:48
  • I guess the important part of the quote is "Pettigrew was reaping his reward for his hesitation, his moment of pity;"... I would have prefered my interpretation though :P
    – Kalissar
    Jun 26, 2013 at 8:46
  • Oh..; I just found this quote by JKR : "When Dumbledore said to Harry, Voldemort won't want a close associate who is in your debt, I wasn't implying by that there was any kind of magical bond there." So much for my theory :p
    – Kalissar
    Jun 26, 2013 at 14:48

The quoted phrase was gotten from the wiki page for Pettigrew's hand.

A silver hand was presented to Peter Pettigrew by Lord Voldemort in the summer of 1995, to replace his lost right hand. It appeared to be composed of metal and exhibited strength superior to that of its owner's former hand, capable of crushing a twig to fine dust. It was impervious to the Revulsion Jinx, and possibly any other spells. At first, it seemed to yield to Pettigrew's command, but Voldemort designed it to strangle its owner if any sign of treason or weakness was demonstrated. It was a sadistic and fail-safe way to ensure Pettigrew's punishment for a second attempt at desertion.

The silver hand turned against Wormtail when he showed a hint of weakness in a form of releasing Harry after the latter said "You owe me your life, Wormtail". If you can still remember in the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black intended to kill Wormtail because of his act of betrayal in revealing the location of Harry's parents to the Dark Lord. But Harry doesn't like the idea of his father's two bestfriends becoming a murderer, so they just took Wormtail to Azkaban, guarded by dementors.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.