In Prisoner of Azkaban we learn that Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban. At some point we learn that

Scabbers is actually Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail). "Scabbers" fakes his own death and escapes from Ron. He did this because he realized that Sirius Black was coming after him. He was one of the Marauders so he knew of the secret passages out of Hogwarts so probably could have left without needing to go past a Dementor. There was quite a bit of time between him faking his own death and the moment he does leave Hogwarts after escaping from Sirius. During that time he knew Sirius was nearby and yet stayed at Hogwarts.

With that said why did Scabbers stay within Hogwarts' grounds instead of leaving to find a new home elsewhere?

  • 1
    Are you asking why he stayed during PoA events durig year 3? He did leave after Sirius and Lupin confronted him. Oct 26 '14 at 19:29
  • 1
    Yes. After he faked his own death but before he managed to escape after Sirius got a hold of him. There was quite a long period of time where he must have still been on Hogwarts grounds but not in Ron's possession. I'll add that to the question to clarify.
    – Dason
    Oct 26 '14 at 19:31
  • 8
    This is a really great question! I think, ultimately, it's a matter of needing Scabbers with Ron and at Hogwarts through the end of PoA for plot purposes; I don't believe canon addresses your exact question, but I err on the side of Peter being "perfectly positioned to act" as the main reason Peter remained at Hogwarts. Oct 26 '14 at 20:26
  • @Mooz - I might be mistaken but I don't think the apostrophe after Hogwarts is necessary?
    – Dason
    Oct 26 '14 at 22:23
  • @Dason You're right. Traditionally, the apostrophe hasn't been used for Hogwarts, I just went by what makes grammatically. You're welcome to rollback / edit :)
    – Möoz
    Oct 27 '14 at 0:27

There are three separate periods of time where Wormtail would've had different reasons to stay:

  • Between Wormtail's faked death and Sirius' escape from Azkaban
  • Between Sirius' escape from Azkaban and Sirius' break-in to Hogwarts
  • Between Sirius' break-in to Hogwarts and Pettigrew's reveal in the Shrieking Shack

1. Between Wormtail's faked death and Sirius' escape from Azkaban

The reason that Wormtail didn't leave during this period is clear. As @alexwlchan stated, Wormtail's reason for finding a Wizarding family is given by Sirius:

Why else did you find a wizard family to take you in? Keeping an ear out for news, weren’t you, Peter? Just in case your old protector regained strength, and it was safe to rejoin him...

As Sirius explains, Wormtail went to stay with the Weasleys because he wanted to stay close to a source of information. Maybe his plan was initially to stay at the Burrow and hear news from Arthur and Molly, but if one of the Weasley children decided to take him to Hogwarts, he would be able to do nothing about it. Even if his initial plan was to stay at the Burrow, Hogwarts was still a great option, since it would not only be a great source of information but would also provide protection, in case anyone did come after him. During this time, he had no reason to leave Hogwarts, as he had exactly what he wanted: information and protection (not to mention food and shelter).

2. Between Sirius' escape from Azkaban and Sirius' break-in to Hogwarts

During this period, there was no reason for Wormtail to leave Hogwarts. He knew that Sirius had broken out of prison, but not that Sirius knew where he was. Wormtail still thought he was well-hidden, so there was no reason to leave the castle to go find some other hiding place (which would most likely be less protected than Hogwarts anyway).

3. Between Sirius' break-in to Hogwarts and Pettigrew's reveal in the Shrieking Shack

This seems to be the time that would make the most sense for Wormtail to have run away. However, it's important to note that Wormtail didn't know how Sirius had managed to find him. The one day in the past twelve years that Sirius had gotten the newspaper happened to be the one day that it pictured the Weasleys on the cover and Wormtail happened to be pictured in it with a clear view of the paw with a missing finger. It's an extremely low probability situation that Wormtail would never have even considered. From Wormtail's perspective, Sirius, who was out of Wormtail's league in terms of intelligence and magical ability, had pulled off something really impressive by managing to find him. So he probably thought that if Sirius was able to find him at Hogwarts, he could find him wherever else he decided to hide. At least at Hogwarts he would be protected by the castle's physical defenses, the heightened security (including dementors), and the professors.

  • For the third point, maybe he was also afraid to be caught and killed by the cat of Hermione (in the dormitory or on the grounds) ? Oct 31 '14 at 15:57
  • 1
    @StephaneMathis Crookshanks is all "I can't be convicted of the same crime twice - might as well kill the rat"
    – Dason
    Nov 1 '14 at 0:49

Two reasons spring to mind, although neither really backed up by canon:

  • Keeping close to a source of news.

    We know that the reason he stayed with Ron at all was to look for signs of Voldemort’s return:

    “I’ll tell you why,” said Black. “Because you never did anything for anyone unless you could see what was in it for you. Voldemort’s been in hiding for fifteen years, they say he’s half dead. You weren’t about to commit murder right under Albus Dumbledore’s nose, for a wreck of a wizard who’d lost all of his power, were you? You’d want to be quite sure he was the biggest bully in the playground before you went back to him, wouldn’t you? Why else did you find a wizard family to take you in? Keeping an ear out for news, weren’t you, Peter? Just in case your old protector regained strength, and it was safe to rejoin him…

    Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 19 (The Servant of Lord Voldemort)

    He could continue to get that at Hogwarts, but also pick up news about Sirius’s movements. After Sirius entered Hogwarts, and Pettigrew realised Sirius was onto his disguise, any news about sightings of Sirius would be much talked about by students in Hogwarts. Sirius was probably discussed more inside Hogwarts than anywhere, except perhaps the Ministry.

    He’s probably better off knowing about Sirius’s alleged movements than being alone and on-the-run.

  • Staying safe from Sirius.

    After Sirius breaks into the castle for the first time, the already considerable defences were heightened further. Everybody, including Dumbledore, thinks that Sirius is the threat, not a rat. He may have been trying to sit it out: wait for Sirius to be captured or killed while trying to enter Hogwarts, and then the only person who knows his secret is gone.

    As Ron’s rat one of the Marauders, he probably knows Hogwarts fairly well, and how to get by inside the castle. There’s a safety in staying somewhere familiar as opposed to the wilderness and unknown. Consider also that he has little experience living as a rat in the “outside” world, and is supposedly dead. He can live a cushy and safe existence inside Hogwarts; outside he’s at more risk of being eaten by another animal, or identified and blowing his cover.

  • As for staying safe from Sirius, please see the comments I wrote to DVK.
    – b_jonas
    Oct 26 '14 at 20:03
  • Gotta agree with @b_jonas on the issue of Sirius Black. His comment to DVK sums it up very well. :) Oct 26 '14 at 20:06
  • @b_jonas Fair point. But whether it’s Sirius or Voldemort’s supporters, I maintain that the heightened security of Hogwarts would be appealing to Pettigrew.
    – alexwlchan
    Oct 26 '14 at 20:08
  • 2
    @Slytherincess - sorry, b_jonas' comment only applies to BEFORE year 3. This question is for AFTER Year 3, specifically after he fakes his death (again): "Scabbers" fakes his own death and escapes from Ron Oct 26 '14 at 20:15
  • @DVK -- I think you're wrong. I think Dason's question is asking about the times particularly between years 1-3. Oct 27 '14 at 1:13

Part of the reason why Scrabbers has stayed in Hogwarts is protection. Death Eaters can't easily come into Hogwarts hunting him down there.

But mostly, it was to place himself in a good position for whatever future events might come. Let's hear it from Sirius Black himself (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban chapter 19).

‘[…] Why else did you find a wizard family to take you in? Keeping an ear out for news, weren't you, Peter? Just in case your old protector regained strength, and it was safe to rejoin him …’


‘But then I saw Peter in that picture … I realised he was at Hogwarts with Harry … Perfectly positioned to act, if one hint reached his ears that the Dark Side was gathering strength again …’


‘… ready to strike the moment he could be sure of allies … to deliver the last Potter to them. If he gave them Harry, who'd dare say he'd betrayed Lord Voldemort? He'd be welcomed back with honours … [’]

  • Good point! While that's merely a guess by Lupin (as opposed to Peter himself admitting it), it's the closest we have to an answer in the book. +1 Oct 26 '14 at 19:41

I am not aware of direct canon answer (may be someone else can find) but logically, it makes perfect sense.

The person he is afraid of most is Sirius Black.

And the one place in Britain where he is the safest from Sirius Black is Hogwarts (being how Sirius is assumed to be coming for Harry and Hogwarts is guarded from Sirius with extra security such as their own wards, Dementors, etc,...).

  • But Sirius had already shown that he could get into the Gryffindor bedrooms at that point. He could escape from Azkaban. It would seem to me that the safest place for him would be some place where Sirius isn't nearby and a place Sirius doesn't know that he is at. Hogwarts is clearly neither of those.
    – Dason
    Oct 26 '14 at 19:41
  • 1
    No, Sirius isn't the person he was most afraid of, at least not before Harry's third year when Sirius has escaped from prison. As Sirius explains in Prisoner ch. 19: “‘You haven't been hiding from me for twelve years, […] You've been hiding from Voldemort's old supporters. I heard things in Azkaban, Peter … they all think you're dead, or you'd have to answer to them … I've heard them screaming all sorts of things in their sleep. Sounds like they think the double-crosser double-crossed them. Voldemort went to the Potters' on your information … and Voldemort met his downfall there.
    – b_jonas
    Oct 26 '14 at 19:50
  • And not all Voldemort's supporters ended up in Azkaban, did they? There are still plenty out here, biding their time, pretending they've seen the error of their ways … If they ever got wind that you were still alive, Peter –’”
    – b_jonas
    Oct 26 '14 at 19:51
  • 4
    @b_jonas - while you are correct, I think OP very specifically asked about AFTER Harry's third year when Sirius has escaped from prison. Oct 26 '14 at 20:13
  • @DVK: You're right. So he had a reason to fear Sirius as well at that time.
    – b_jonas
    Oct 26 '14 at 20:25

Pettigrew is a coward, and escaping would have meant risking being discovered.

The secret passage we learn about in PoA is magically protected:

His little ink self appeared to be tapping the witch with his minute wand. Harry quickly took out his real wand and tapped the statue. Nothing happened. He looked back at the map. The tiniest speech bubble had appeared next to his figure. The word inside said 'Dissendium'.

It is reasonable to suppose that the other secret passages also had to be opened magically. That means that, in order to escape without passing the Dementors, he would have had to steal a wand and return to his human form, at least briefly, which means potentially exposing himself to discovery.

From a rational perspective that probably isn't as dangerous as remaining at Hogwarts (the missing wand might well be blamed on Sirius) but I'm not convinced that Peter could have worked up the necessary courage, at least so long as he could remain hidden instead. (It seems that the alternate form of an animagus represents their inner character in some way, and AFAIK a rat's instinctive response to danger is to run and hide; only when that is no longer possible are they liable to be aggressive.)

  • Firstly, he was not a coward, see scifi.stackexchange.com/q/7514/4918 ; secondly, he's a rat, he doesn't need secret passages, he could probably just walk out the front door unnoticed by even the Dementors.
    – b_jonas
    Oct 27 '14 at 7:29
  • @b_jonas: it's true that Sirius escaped the Dementors by taking his animal form, but did Peter know that? Oct 27 '14 at 18:40

two possible reasons- 1) He didn't want to, as he thought Sirius had the best chance of being caught while at Hogwarts 2) He tried to, but without a wand, he couldn't break the protective enchantments of the castle


Because he was safer there and he knew that Harry would come eventually and then he would he would be able to keep tabs on him. The last part is a my thoughts. But he was always trying to get Voldemorts favour.

Also, there was no where else for him to go that he would have been able to be doing something useful, i.e Voldemort's work. Also, he was scared and weak, he would have rather been in a protected environment than off protecting himself from whatever came by.

  • 2
    Valid points, but they are not new to this discussion.
    – Möoz
    Oct 27 '14 at 3:37

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