Before anything else I should probably disclose the fact that I am not, in general, much of subscriber to the belief that “Dulce et decorum set pro patria mori.” So it should probably not be surprising that I’m not entirely comfortable with the phrase “noble death.” The choice to die rather than submit can be noble, I think, as the choice to die rather than to turn traitor, in this case. But that is a choice, an act, clearly belonging to the living and not the dead. Death itself is not noble, at least to my mind.
I like the idea of the last two lines, in abstraction, but “in penance” somehow doesn’t seem fitting for Pettigrew, though I love the description “each wretched, stolen breath.” Not only are those last four words beautiful, they are very apt.
I don’t really understand why dying in sacrifice for another would constitute dying twice. For each and every person, magical or muggle (except Harry, but Peter dies long before that, so I’m not sure how that could be a reference), there is exactly one death. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any arithmetic by which manner of death was a multiplier, though perhaps statisticians have their own arcane ways. Still, it’s confusing, and I’m clearly confused.
My favorite part is the first four lines. It’s the particular shades of nuance in the third and fourth lines that particularly catch me, but they’re far less effective and meaningful without the rhyme scheme of the first two lines preceding them. “For logic deems his life…” is just brilliant. It implies that Peter is too cowardly even to admit to himself that he has made a judgment, because it is logic that deems the worth, not Peter himself. The added beauty, of course, is that such logic is inherently incomplete (and therefore incorrect), as you go on to show. The mathematician in me squees and basks in your proffered paradoxes.
All right, this review is getting ridiculously silly, even for me, especially considering the seriousness of the nature. And so I go to haunt my restless sleep. Or… something along those lines. I really did like this, and shame on you for poo-pooing your own work.