Yesterday, being left without much to do, I settled in for the better part of the day and watched a "Lord of the Rings" marathon. Then last night I read the chapter of the Mugglenet book (to be reviewed later this week if life cooperates) on Peter Pettigrew and his life-debt to Harry.
As I was drifting off to sleep, my theory on the subject came crashing together. I know there's an article somewhere comparing Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings, in which Peter is analogized to Gollum (which I can't find for the life of me), but I think it only compares the two. I'm going to go one step further--I predict that Peter will repay his debt to Harry, not in a hokey keeping score-ish kind of way, but similar to the way that Gollum helped Frodo in the end of "Return of the King".
Because Gollum, of course, didn't really mean to save the day. It just so happened that his selfishness and lust for the ring was just what was necessary when Frodo was finally overcome by the ring. Similarly, I think that, far from turning over a new leaf and deciding to become a better person, Pettigrew's selfishness will end up helping Harry inadvertently.
You want a little evidence? Consider the following passages:
Gandalf and Frodo in "The Fellowship of the Ring"--
Frodo: [Gollum] deserves death.
Gandalf: Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death and judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. . . . My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many--yours not least."
Dumbledore and Harry in "Prisoner of Azkaban"--
Harry: But--I stopped Sirius and Professor Lupin from killing Pettigrew! That makes it my fault if Voldemort comes back!
Dumbledore: It does not. Hasn't your experience with the Time-Turner taught you anything, Harry? The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is very difficult business indeed. . . . You did a very noble thing, in saving Pettigrew's life. . . . Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt. . . . When one wizard saves another wizard's life, it creates a certain bond between them . . . and I'm much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter.
Harry: I don't want a connection with Pettigrew! He betrayed my parents!
Dumbledore: This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry. But trust me . . . the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew's life.
See what I mean? The similarity is incredible. So much so that, if JKR hadn't already said it's not happening, I would almost be expecting Dumbledore to "do a Gandalf" and pop back up somewhere mid-Book 7.