Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Scabbers
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
|Hair color||Patchy grey|
|Loyalty||Self, Ron Weasley|
Scabbers is Ron's pet rat.
Role in the Books
Ron has accepted Scabbers as a pet because he needs something... but is not happy about having "Percy's old rat" – he had been hoping for an owl. Apart from once attacking Goyle in the Hogwarts Express, and having Ron attempt to magically turn him yellow, Scabbers spends most of the book sleeping.
Apparently Scabbers has ruined a few bedsheets, as it is mentioned that Dean makes a banner out of one of them.
When Harry returns to the dormitory after his third and final night in front of the Mirror of Erised, he mentions that he has to push Scabbers off his pillow before he can get to sleep.
Scabbers is referred to a few times in this book, but has no particular rôle.
Ron several times expresses concern about Scabbers' apparent deterioration. Early in the book, Hermione buys a cat, Crookshanks, who immediately takes a dislike to Scabbers. Ron, noting that Scabbers has been off colour and is beginning to lose his fur, says that Crookshanks' repeated attacks are what is making Scabbers look so bad; Harry recalls that Ron had been worried about Scabbers already when they went into the pet store where Hermione had bought Crookshanks. Crookshanks' repeated attacks on Scabbers apparently result in Scabbers being eaten; this results in a rift between Hermione and Ron that is only mended when Scabbers is found in Hagrid's milk jug.
Returning to the school, Scabbers seems frantic, trying to escape from Ron. When he does escape, Ron has to break away from the group, and eventually catches him. When he does so, however, he is under the branches of the Whomping Willow. A large black dog, who has been following Harry around, then dashes in under the branches and pulls Ron, and Scabbers, into a hole under the roots of the tree, in the process breaking his leg. Shortly after that, as the result of the events in the Shrieking Shack, and very much to Ron's surprise and dismay, Scabbers is revealed as being an Animagus named Peter Pettigrew. Peter escapes captivity and returns to serve his master, Lord Voldemort.
Scabbers is a rat, at least in this shape, and so retains many of the weaknesses of a rat, such as small size, general vulnerability to larger predators like cats, inability to wield a wand or do most magic, and perception by others that, being an animal, he is less valuable an individual than he would be as a human (or in his human shape). While his alter ego, Peter Pettigrew, does have many personality weaknesses, those are less germane here, as this is an article about Scabbers; for discussion of Pettigrew, please see this article.
Relationships with Other Characters
The Weasley family had Scabbers as a pet for 12 years, which is quite long for a rat's life. It is probably a safe assumption that Percy gave him up about the time he became a Prefect - it seems that family tradition is that the reward for being selected as a prefect is an owl, and it's unlikely Percy would have wanted to take care of both Scabbers and Hermes. We don't know when Percy started taking care of Scabbers, whether he received Scabbers directly at age seven, or whether he received him as a gift when some older Weasley child, possibly Bill, became a Prefect. Our direct experience with Scabbers only covers Ron's first three years at Hogwarts. In the first two books, Scabbers seems quite loyal to Ron; circumstances make it expedient for him to abandon the Weasley family in Ron's third year, and he quite complacently tries to do so. It is likely that in order to preserve his place in the Weasley family, Scabbers would have been equally loyal to any of the Weasley children who was then taking care of him; but his own interests are tantamount and he has no qualms about trying to escape as soon as that situation becomes uncomfortable.
- How did Percy Weasley get Scabbers as a pet?