Countdown to Allegiant: Is Peter Good or Bad?

Week four of Countdown to Allegiant is upon us and this time we’re doing something a little different than before: an analysis into the character of Peter and his possible role in Allegiant. This week’s Countdown to Allegiant is different from our last three. This time we’re looking into Peter. What’s up with that guy […]


Week four of Countdown to Allegiant is upon us and this time we’re doing something a little different than before: an analysis into the character of Peter and his possible role in Allegiant.


This week’s Countdown to Allegiant is different from our last three. This time we’re looking into Peter. What’s up with that guy anyway?


In the months leading to July 21, 2007, a great debate was taking place within a very well known and popular fandom. Some called it the “Snape Debate” and if that doesn’t explain what I’m talking about then let me put it in simple terms: Snape. Good or Bad?

They were referring to, of course, J.K. Rowling’s iconic character, Severus Snape. The reason a debate existed in the first place was due to very well-crafted layering that was applied to Snape. He isn’t a 2D character. There are many variables that go into him. Most of you wants to scream that he’s evil. He’s that teacher everybody has in High School–the-smart-mouthed-know-it-all-I’m-better-than-you-ten-points-from-the-football-team-I-hate-my-life-and-yours-too english potions chemistry teacher.

I mean, is there any question that this guy is bad news after this?

SnapeKillsDumbledore“Dude, you just AK-ed me!”

Well, there was. Because even though your natural mind screamed with all its might that Snape was a bad guy, deep down, you had hope for the character. He grew up in an abusive home. Dumbledore trusted him to the end, right? And he loved Harry’s mom so that meant that he had to be a good guy.

So here we are, years later, asking a similar questions about a very different character in a different book series.

Let’s talk about Peter. He’s no potions master, and he never had a thing for Tris’s mom (as far as we’re aware–but we can save that one for the fanfics). So what do we know about Peter? Born in Candor, transferred to Dauntless. Vicious. Evil. Hates Tris. Hobbies: eye stabbing, fighting, punching, kidnapping. That seems to sum him up really well.

So why the debate? Well, because of things like this:


Oh, and he seems to switch sides several times in Insurgent. So let’s look at both sides of the coin.

Peter is Bad

His personality
Do we need to go through the list of his hobbies again? The guy is just an outright jerk. He’s incredibly cynical and has shown on several occasions that he has no problem hurting others if it means securing his desires (Edward, anyone?)


Eye for an eye
Speaking of eyes… Peter does go out of his way to save Tris in Insurgent. It’s one of the major twists to the plot. When Tris is being held captive in Erudite headquarters, Peter is assigned as her guard. You go around thinking that he’s working for the Erudite until the end when he gets Tris out of there safely. His reasoning? He felt he owed it to her.

Peter seems to be one of those guys who can’t handle guilt very well. The idea that someone helped him plagues his conscious. So while he did something good for Tris, he did it in his own self-interest. He did it so he could sleep at night.

Changing sides
One minute he’s against the good guys, the next he’s with them and then he’s against them again. Peter changes sides several times in the books and it seems, again, to always be in his own personal interest. In Divergent when he joined Tris at the end, he did so presumably to save his own skin. In Insurgent, when the Erudites and Dauntless showed up, he easily went back to them–after all, siding with them would be far safer as the others aren’t doing so well at that point in the book. And then even after saving Tris he stays with the Erudite. And for what? All of this changing sides suggests that Peter doesn’t really care which side he’s on in the end, so long as it’s the winning side.

Peter is Good

He helped Tris in Insurgent
As already mentioned, he helped Tris and his supposed reasoning behind it was because he owed it to her. Do you have a hard time believing that? While it is plausible that he did so to get guilt off his mind–to make things balanced–it’s also plausible that there were other motives behind this. Maybe deep down he knows what’s right from wrong and it’s a sort of subtle attempt to do what’s right? It wouldn’t be out there. We know that Peter is a proud character. He’s not the sort of guy you’d expect to confess his mistakes. So maybe instead of out right proclaiming that he’s been fighting for the wrong side, he’s trying to quietly help the right side.


Peter has a crush on Tris
Now, before the Fourtris shippers go crazy, I want to make this clear: I am not suggesting that there will be a love triangle between Tris, Four and Peter. Quite frankly, even if he is a good guy, I think it is highly unlikely that Peter would be in the running for Tris’s heart after all he’s done. But this is something that a lot of fans are considering. Maybe the reason Peter helped Tris is because he actually has feelings for her? If that’s true, the question is: Is Peter more willing to listen to his feelings or his ego?

“I turn right, and Peter follows me.”
A big supporter is the recent Allegiant quote that was released: “‘I’m going to stop a revolution,’ I say. I turn tight, and Peter follows me.”

So let’s look at this quote. First is, “I’m going to stop a revolution.” What does this imply? There will be a revolution in Book III. What else does this say about the plot? The protagonists are against the idea of a revolution. So there’s division amongst the people. There are those who want a revolution and there was those who don’t want one. I think we can also speculate that the side crying for revolution is a large one–for all we know, it could be the majority. Why else would the protagonists make it one of their concerns? And I don’t think it’s just a concern, but it’s a primary concern in Book III’s plot. These teaser quotes are meant to tease us about the plot. Why tease us over something so insignificant?

So let’s assume that this revolution is supported by the majority of the people. That would give this side a lot of power. And we know Peter has historically stayed with the side that holds the most power–the winning side. So if it is true that they’re the stronger side: WHY IS PETER ON THE WEAKER SIDE? Why is Peter fighting a revolution that we speculate is inevitable? Why is he siding with the protagonists? Maybe in the end Peter will choose the right side over the easy one.

“Peter is very misunderstood.”
In a recent interview with MTV, Miles Teller, the actor portraying Peter, stated that he felt that Peter was “very misunderstood” and that his actions are “justified.” Is Miles Teller right? We know a lot about Peter from his actions in the book, but do we understand Peter? There’s still a lot we don’t know about him. Do we have enough context surrounding his character to call him out as the bad guy?


It’ll be interested to see what happens in the end. Me personally? I’m rooting for a good guy in Peter. Maybe even if his actions in books one and two were motivated by evil, perhaps Peter will have a sort of awakening in Book III that causes him to see things differently.

There’s a lot more that we can consider concerning Peter–but this post is already long enough! What do you think about Peter? Is he a good or a bad guy?

Book III is called Allegiant. I wouldn’t be surprised if the dominant theme is about personal allegiance–about where we stand. And I think Peter is a strong force in the series that not only represents but embodies this theme.

 Did you miss week one?
How people react when reading Divergent

Did you miss week two?
10 things to do to pass the time until Allegiant

Did you miss week three?
7 ways to get on Eric’s bad side





Saul Marquez founded Bookstacked in 2014 and serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief. He primarily covers news for Bookstacked. He also co-hosts Bookmarked: A YA Book Podcast.

Bookstacked Comment Policy

We welcome respectful comments. Our only rule is to be kind. Rude, hateful and generally mean-spirited comments will be removed.