Minerva McGonagall

Professor Minerva McGonagall
Maggie Smith has played Minerva McGonagall in every film.
PositionProfessor, Headmistress
AffiliationsHogwarts, Order of the Phoenix

Professor Minerva McGonagall is a fictional character from the Harry Potter Universe. She was the Transfiguration teacher and Deputy Head of Hogwarts until 1998, when she became Headmistress after the Battle of Hogwarts. She is a highly skilled witch whose methods of teaching are disciplined and effective. Despite this, she is kind and understanding and is one of Harry Potter's most true supporters. She is also an Animagus, taking the shape of a tabby cat.


[edit] Background

Minerva McGonagall came to Hogwarts in 1947 and was sorted into Gryffindor house. She was a passionate Gryffindor and received Outstanding in all her subjects in both her OWLs and her NEWTs, excelling most in Transfiguration. She became a Prefect, and later Head Girl. McGonagall was also a member of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, and, during her final match against Slytherin, suffered a concussion and several broken ribs after being fouled and falling off her broom. Since then, she has been an avid supporter of her house team, wanting Slytherin to always be beaten.

A few months after leaving school, she left Scotland to work at the Ministry of Magic, in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She did not like this position very much, however, and left her job, despite being offered a promotion, to teach Transfiguration at Hogwarts. She worked under the then head of Transfiguration, Albus Dumbledore, and when he became Headmaster, she became the head of the department. She was later given the responsibility of being Deputy Headmistress by Dumbledore, with whom she shared a very deep friendship.

[edit] History

[edit] Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Minerva McGonagall is the first magical person appearing in the book in the form of a cat, seen by Vernon Dursley. When the Dursleys go to bed, Minerva meets up with Albus Dumbledore outside their house. Rubeus Hagrid then appears from the sky on Sirius Black's flying motorcycle. He is carrying the baby Harry Potter, whom he had just rescued from the ruins of the Potter house. The baby is to be left with his only remaining family: the Dursleys. Minerva, who has been watching them all day long, refuses to leave Harry with them, saying that they are "the worst kind of Muggles." Eventually, she agrees to leave the baby in their care. She would often spy on his progress from time to time until he started studying at Hogwarts.

Minerva McGonagall speaking with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

Ten years later, the Philosopher's Stone was brought to Hogwarts for safety. Like many of the other wise teachers, she contributed to the safekeeping with a defense line; hers consisted of a giant Wizard's Chess game any intruder would have to complete to carry on.

A little while later, she would welcome the new students to the school, among them Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy. She gives them a briefing on the Sorting Ceremony before the procedure begins. Harry was among the students sorted into her house. She would often put away her strictness when it came to Harry, sometimes bending the rules to help him. After seeing him catch Neville Longbottom's Rememberall airborne, she took him to see Oliver Wood, the captain of Gryffindor's Quidditch team. She made arrangements for Harry to become the team's Seeker, and also bought him a Nimbus 2000, the best broom available at the time.

Later in the school year, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley went to retrieve the Philosopher's Stone, and so had to go through Minerva's chess game challenge. Ron Weasley, an exceptional chess player, almost beat the whole game by himself, until deciding to sacrifice himself for the others' progress. At the end of the year, he was awarded fifty House points for this feat.

[edit] Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

When school started up again, Minerva had to deal with the case of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley arriving at school in a stolen Ford Anglia. A car flying over numerous Muggle settlements had not gone unnoticed, but Minerva settled on giving them nothing more than one detention.

Professor McGonagall with Pomona Sprout, Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.

At one point that year, the Chamber of Secrets was reopened. Minerva and the other teachers searched the castle from end to end for the entrance, but were unable to find it. Near the end of the year, Albus Dumbledore was suspended from the school, which meant that Minerva had to step in as Headmistress until he came back. She was worried about the school's future, but when the Chamber's monster was killed by Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore returned, and Minerva went back to her normal teaching role.

[edit] Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

At the start of the new year, Minerva gave Hermione Granger permission to use a Time-Turner, so she could study more than the normally allowed number of elective subjects. However, Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban during the summer, which caused panic at Hogwarts. Minerva was given plenty of responsibility with guarding the castle, but Sirius Black nevertheless managed to enter the school.

In a Quidditch game that year, Harry Potter's Nimbus 2000 was smashed by the Whomping Willow. Harry received a Firebolt by an anonymous person, believing the person to be Sirius Black. Minerva confiscated the broom, saying it would have to be examined for dark magic. No dark magic was found however, and the broom was simply a friendly gift from Black, who was in fact Harry Potter's godfather.

[edit] Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

In the following school year, Hogwarts hosted the Triwizard Tournament, which resulted in a few changes in the school plan. Professor McGonagall constantly told the Hogwarts students to behave nicely in front of the visiting schools. She gave the students dance lessons, and in one of them she danced with Ron Weasley, to much laughter from the audience. She attended the Yule Ball with Albus Dumbledore, wearing her hair down.

Professor McGonagall was well-liked by her students despite her strict ways of teaching.

Near the end of the tournament, Cedric Diggory was murdered by Peter Pettigrew after touching the Triwizard Cup, which was in fact a Port Key. This took Cedric and Harry Potter to a graveyard, where the scene was set for Lord Voldemort to make his long-awaited return to human form. Harry made his way back to Hogwarts with Cedric Diggory's body, screaming about Voldemort's return. Minerva was one of the few who believed Harry's claims from the very beginning.

[edit] Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The next school year saw the re-establishment of the Order of the Phoenix, which Minerva was invited to join. She did a lot of work for the Order that summer and remained one of its biggest resources for the rest of its existence.

When school started up, the Ministry of Magic appointed Dolores Umbridge as teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts, without Albus Dumbledore's consent. This type of behavior infuriated Minerva, who became one of Umbridge's biggest enemies throughout the year. At one point, the two had a loud fight in front of many students.

Minerva McGonagall escorts Sybill Trelawney back into the castle after she is suspended by Dolores Umbridge.

When Sybill Trelawney was thrown out of Hogwarts by Dolores Umbridge, Minerva demonstrated the bond between the teachers at the school by defending Professor Trelawney, a teacher she did not show much respect for otherwise. After Albus Dumbledore had made it clear that Dolores Umbridge did not have the authority to throw Sybill off the grounds, Minerva escorted her back into the castle.

However, the Ministry of Magic instead tried to take away Rubeus Hagrid, a dear friend of Minerva's. She protested, and was promptly hit by four Stunning Spells in the chest. Enough to kill a normal witch, Minerva survived and was instead sent to St. Mungo's Hospital to recover.

[edit] Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Minerva returned after a short while and would soon be back in her normal flow of teaching. She handed out schedules to the sixth year students and delivered Harry Potter and Ron Weasley the news that they could continue with Potions since Horace Slughorn, who had replaced Severus Snape as the Potions teacher, accepted lower requirements for NEWT students to continue with the subject.

Near the end of the term, Hogwarts was infiltrated by Death Eaters. Minerva did her best to protect the school and its students, but was devastated to hear that Albus Dumbledore had been killed by Severus Snape during the battle. She found it hard to believe that Severus Snape was behind the murder, since Albus Dumbledore had trusted him very much. In reality, however, Dumbledore had asked Snape to kill him to save Dumbledore from a painful death, and also to strengthen his place with the Death Eaters.

Minerva McGonagall would then succeed Albus Dumbledore as Headmistress, but was replaced by Severus Snape after Lord Voldemort took control of the wizarding world.

[edit] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Though she was stripped of her Headmistress duties, she continued to stay at Hogwarts, mostly so that she could protect the students. She rightly believed that the students would be physically tortured if she was not present.

When Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger returned to Hogwarts in search of one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, Minerva decided to accompany and help Potter straight away. She helped Harry and Luna Lovegood incapacitate the Carrows in search of the Horcrux. Together with Pomona Sprout and Filius Flitwick, she managed to drive Severus Snape away from the school.

Minerva was an Animagus, and could turn into a tabby cat whenever she wanted to.

She promised to help Harry keep Lord Voldemort away while he kept looking for the Horcrux, and started evacuating younger students and setting up defenses. When Lord Voldemort offered a deal for Harry's life, Pansy Parkinson exclaimed that they should give him Harry Potter to spare their own lives. She was strictly told to leave by Minerva, together with anyone who shared her views.

Minerva was one of the most talented participants in the Battle of Hogwarts that ensued, but was reduced to tears when Lord Voldemort entered the castle with Rubeus Hagrid carrying the supposedly dead body of Harry Potter. However, Potter managed to get out of the tight spot.

She then proceeded to duel Lord Voldemort alongside Horace Slughorn and Kingsley Shacklebolt. They were, however, blasted away by his fury when Bellatrix Lestrange was killed by Molly Weasley. Harry then resumed the duel himself, finally killing Lord Voldemort.

[edit] After the Battle of Hogwarts

Minerva was one of the first to congratulate Harry on the victory. She would then resume her role as Headmistress for at least one decade. She made arrangements for her former student Neville Longbottom to become Herbology teacher. By 2017, she had retired.

[edit] Trivia

  • In the books, McGonagall is the fourth character and first magical person introduced. She is the second person introduced in the films.
  • J.K. Rowling said she had based McGonagall's looks on Maggie Smith, who portrays her in the film adaptions.
  • She appears in every book and film, and is one of few characters to do so.

[edit] Appearances

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Last edited by CJames on 31 August 2012 at 14:14
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