In the universe of the Harry Potter book and film series, there are few characters that are more cowardly and more reviled than Peter Pettigrew. As one of the original four Marauders, Peter was the group's tag along who miraculously managed to become best friends with the cool kids in class, and although he was sorted into Gryffindor it appears that his experience in the house of the lion did not imbue him with a lion's courage.
Peter's personal weakness and cowardice is the reason why everything in the Harry Potter story actually happens, because had he not defected to Voldemort's side then James and Lily may still be alive, Voldemort may still be alive, and Harry Potter himself likely wouldn't have become "the boy who lived". But despite the fact that Peter was undeniably a massive coward, there are still characters within the Harry Potter franchise who are more cowardly than he is. Here are 10 characters who are more cowardly than Peter Pettigrew.
10 Xenophilius Lovegood
In all fairness to Xeno Lovegood, there are very few parents in this world who wouldn't do what they could to save their own children from mortal danger. But the elder Lovegood not only betrayed Luna's bravery by trying to turn in the golden trio in exchange for her, he also proved that he lacked the courage to put his money where his mouth is.
He was one of the most ardent critics of the magical establishment but at the first sign of pressure he caved. He could have potentially lost the entire wizarding war by turning Harry over to Voldemort.
9 Percy Weasley
The entire Weasley family is one of the bravest and most honorable families in the entire Harry Potter universe, but Percy Weasley seems to be the one glaring exception to that.
Percy worked for his entire life in the hopes that he would become an essential member of the Ministry of Magic, and when that dream came true he was extremely reluctant to let go of it even when that meant doing the plainly wrong thing and betraying his entire family in the process. He did eventually come around, but his pride and embarrassment kept him away from everyone who truly loved him for far longer than it should have.
8 Draco Malfoy
Not to excuse Draco Malfoy's obvious weakness and cowardice, but he really didn't have a chance in hell at any other outcome anyways, and he at least did show some courage on occasion. However, Draco is still more cowardly than Peter Pettigrew for a few reasons.
Draco went through his life being despised by nearly everyone he met outside of Slytherin house, and he comfortably spouted very racist and bigoted rhetoric towards any student he thought was below him (and spoiler alert, he thought everyone was below him). Draco did a lot of terrible things too, but when you get down to the nitty gritty of things he did so many awful things because he was too cowardly to question his own behavior.
7 Horace Slughorn
Professor Horace Slughorn was a somewhat genial man who seemed kind enough, but he valued his own image and reputation over nearly everything else. He made an enormous mistake when he told Tom Riddle about Horcruxes, but it would have been forgivable since Tom was bound to find out about Horcruxes one way or another.
But what makes Slughorn a true coward is his unwillingness to fess up to what he had done in order to protect his own image. The survival of goodness in the entire wizarding world could have rested in his hands, and he was too afraid to make himself look bad to do the right thing.
6 Cornelius Fudge
At the start of the Harry Potter series, Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge seemed like a mediocre but generally okay leader for the magical world, but as time went on it became clear that he was woefully unfit for the job.
No wizard in the world wanted to believe that Voldemort could come back from the dead but as the leader of the United Kingdom's wizarding community, it was Fudge's duty to ensure the safety and security of the people who followed him. But the idea of going up against Voldemort scared him so much that he pretended it wasn't happening, declaring anyone who said otherwise a liar or a dissident. He could have saved many more lives if he had been brave enough to face reality in the first place.
5 Lucius Malfoy
Draco Malfoy may be one of the most cowardly characters in all of Harry Potter, but he looks downright heroic in comparison to his father, Lucius Malfoy.
Lucius is everything that is wrong with the wizarding community: he's an arrogant elitist who believes he's entitled to lord over others and treat them however he wishes, and when Voldemort rose to power Lucius saw an opportunity to make his entitled dreams a reality. But he let the Dark Lord treat him and his entire family like dirt because he was too afraid to stand up to him or defect from his obviously lost cause.
4 Gilderoy Lockhart
Gilderoy Lockhart miraculously managed to paint himself as a brilliant mind and hero in the wizarding world, but once his tenure began at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry it became painfully apparent that he was a useless, craven fool.
Lockhart wasn't even brave or skilled enough to match the talents and abilities of a bunch of tweens, and he seemed to flee in terror from the kinds of beings and situations that wouldn't even scare a first year student. Gilderoy Lockhart was not just a coward; he was even too cowardly to let other people know he was a coward, which put a lot of people in danger for the sake of his overblown ego.
3 Mundungus Fletcher
Many of the members of the Order of the Phoenix were dubious about letting Mundungus Fletcher into their ranks, and it would appear that their concerns were very well founded. Mundungus was a petty criminal who owed a lot to Albus Dumbledore, but his loyalties ultimately seemed to lie with Dumbledore and not the Order.
He was typically concerned with trying to work some kind of angle rather than doing something for anyone else, and including him on the mission to transport Harry away from Privet Drive was a fatal mistake. When the Death Eaters attacked, Mundungus fled and Mad-Eye Moody wound up being killed because of it.
2 Dolores Umbridge
Dolores Umbridge is a prime example of what kind of awful things can happen when people who are cowardly and fear almost everything get too much power in the world.
Umbridge was so terrified of things that she couldn't control that she tried to control literally everything, and she paid no mind to the suffering that she caused others so long as she got her way. She tried to put on a tough face, but the moment she found herself in any situation where she didn't have complete power over someone else she totally fell apart and her pathetic inner self shone through.
It's incredibly ironic that arguably the most powerful wizard that ever lived was also the most afraid. Voldemort dreamed of world domination and believed that he could become the emperor of the wizarding world if he only got the chance, but one of this fatal flaws was that he was just too cowardly and weak to get anyone to follow him that was worth having as a follower.
And of course, the entire thrust of his character arc is purely driven by his fear of death. Everyone fears death on some level, but most people don't tear the world apart because they're so afraid of it.