Wormtail: "My Lord. Master... it is beautiful... thank you... thank you..."
Voldemort: "May your loyalty never waver again, Wormtail."
Voldemort conjures the hand for Pettigrew[src]

A silver hand was presented to Peter Pettigrew by Lord Voldemort in the summer of 1995, to replace his lost right hand.[1]

Description

The prosthetic hand 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.[1] Being robust and in the shape of a human hand, it gave the appearance that Pettigrew was wearing a silver glove.[3] The creation of this hand immediately ceased the pain Pettigrew suffered upon severing his original hand. It was impervious to the Revulsion Jinx, and possibly 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 at least once. It was a fail-safe way to ensure Pettigrew's punishment for a second attempt at betrayal.[2]

History

Creation

"Voldemort raised his wand again and whirled it through the air. A streak of what looked like molten silver hung shining in the wand’s wake. Momentarily shapeless, it writhed and then formed itself into a gleaming replica of a human hand, bright as moonlight, which soared downward and fixed itself upon Wormtail’s bleeding wrist."
—Voldemort conjuring the hand for Pettigrew[src]

Peter Pettigrew bearing his silvery hand

The potion which allowed Lord Voldemort to return needed three important ingredients: bone of a father, flesh of a servant and blood of an enemy. Pettigrew severed his right hand in order to supply the second ingredient.[4]

When Voldemort returned, Pettigrew begged for a new hand, as Voldemort had promised him beforehand. Although Voldemort allowed Pettigrew to suffer the pain at first for thirteen years of disloyalty, Pettigrew's request was honoured and he was eventually presented with a robust silver hand that he could apparently control as though it was his real hand. Pettigrew tested it out by crushing a twig to fine dust, and was enormously grateful.[1]

As Pettigrew lived the remainder of his life as a Death Eater, he adopted a habit of caressing his silver hand, such as when Severus Snape revealed him to be eavesdropping at Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange's arrival to Spinner's End.[3]

Betrayal and execution

"Without pausing to think, Harry tried to drag back the hand, but there was no stopping it. 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."
—Pettigrew being fatally punished for his disloyalty by his hand[src]

Pettigrew executed by his own silver hand

During their search for Lord Voldemort's horcruxes, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley were captured and imprisoned at Malfoy Manor, Death Eater headquarters at the time. Following a disturbance from Dobby the house-elf, Disapparating with other prisoners, Pettigrew was ordered to investigate. As he went down the stairs, Harry and Ron tackled him and took his wand. Pettigrew made an attempt to strangle Harry using the silver hand. However, Harry reminded Pettigrew of saving his life four years ago, and Pettigrew released Harry in an unintended and momentary show of mercy. After Pettigrew tried unsuccessfully to undo that moment of weakness, the hand recognised Pettigrew as unfaithful to the Dark Lord and suddenly began strangling him. Despite Harry and Ron's attempts to intervene, the hand proved to be much too powerful to succumb to their efforts and they were forced to watch helplessly as Pettigrew suffocated himself to death.[2]

Behind the scenes

  • In the novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the hand was created as a formless silver molten mass in midair before it took the shape and attached itself to Pettigrew's amputated part.[1] In the film adaption, Voldemort pointed his wand at the wrist, and the silver hand formed from a silvery liquid forming onto the wrist.[5]
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Pettigrew's final on-screen appearance consists of being rendered unconscious by Dobby, instead of being strangled by his silver hand.[6] This was probably done because the scene where Pettigrew being strangled was considered too violent and disturbing for a PG-13/12-A film.
  • The idea behind a fake hand leading to a character's doom was also seen in the 1962 film Dr No, where the titular character had fake metal hands, his real ones also having been cut off like Peter Pettigrew's. In both films the character displayed great strength with the metal hands, Pettigrew turning a twig to fine dust and Dr No ruining a firearm with his metal hands. Also, both characters had disloyalty into play, with Pettigrew being suspect of vacillating from the Death Eaters and Dr No in his younger years being a member of a Chinese street gang and embezzling money from them (the difference being that No's loss of his organic hands was done at the hands of the Tongs in retaliation for the stealing). Both Pettigrew and Dr No meet their doom in confrontation with the film's hero, and their false hands are the cause of their downfall. Pettigrew's hand was controlled by Voldemort, while Dr No was attempting to kill the hero James Bond while pursuing him over a scaffolding above superheated water. Dr No realised too late that while his metal hands may have granted him super strength, they were lacking in dexterity like natural hands and fingers; causing him to lose his grip on a ladder and fall into the pool of superheated water, meeting his doom by being boiled alive.

Appearances

Notes and references

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