Cormac McLaggen is a wizard who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1990 to 1997. He was sorted into Gryffindor house and was one year above Harry Potter. McLaggen lost the opportunity to try out for his house's Quidditch team in his sixth year after he ate poisonous Doxy eggs on a bet, but became the reserve Keeper in his seventh year. During the course of his last year at Hogwarts, he also became a member of the Slug Club, escorted Hermione Granger to the club's Christmas party, and was primarily responsible for the Gryffindor Quidditch team's embarrassing loss to Hufflepuff.
- Slughorn: "Now, you, Cormac, I happen to know you see a lot of your Uncle Tiberius, because he has a rather splendid picture of the two of you hunting nogtails in, I think, Norfolk?"
- McLaggen: "Oh, yeah, that was fun, that was. We went with Bertie Higgs and Rufus Scrimgeour; this was before he became Minister, obviously —"
- — Professor Slughorn interviewing McLaggen in 1996[src]
Little is known of McLaggen's early life, though it appears that he was born into a relatively influential wizarding family, as his uncle Tiberius is an important official in the Ministry of Magic and is friendly with head of the Auror Office and later Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour. Tiberius took his nephew hunting Nogtails on at least one occasion, with Scrimgeour and Bertie Higgs in Norfolk.
In his sixth year at Hogwarts, McLaggen ate a pound of poisonous Doxy eggs on a bet to prove his bravery. This foolhardy decision kept him from joining the Gryffindor Quidditch team, something he cared a great deal about. With Oliver Wood's graduation at the end of the 1993-1994 school year and the Triwizard Tournament cancelling all Quidditch matches the following year, the Gryffindor team was in need of a Keeper at the beginning of the 1995-1996 school year. Unfortunately for McLaggen, he was in the hospital wing being treated for doxy egg poisoning at the time of tryouts, and Ron Weasley was made Keeper instead.
Soon after his seventh year began, McLaggen tried out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, but he managed to make only four out of five saves. This may have been because Hermione Granger, who overheard McLaggen made rude remarks about Ron and Ginny Weasley, placed a Confundus Charm on him. McLaggen asked team captain Harry Potter for another try, but Harry refused, and Ron was given the position of Keeper again, as he beat McLaggen in saves.
In December, McLaggen attended Professor Slughorn's Christmas party with Hermione, who was also a member of the Slug Club. However, Hermione only asked him to go in an attempt to retaliate against Ron for his relationship with Lavender Brown. McLaggen ended up driving her crazy by talking about himself excessively, boasting about his Quidditch abilities, and being too forward romantically. She avoided him for most of the night to talk to Harry and Luna Lovegood. McLaggen asked Harry if he had seen her later, which Harry denied, and was irate to find that she had left. When Ron later asked Harry about the pair, he was "slightly more cheerful" to learn that the date did not go well.
When Ron was hospitalized in March, before Gryffindor's second game against Hufflepuff, Harry Potter was forced to play McLaggen as his reserve Keeper. In the week leading up to the match, Harry had his doubts about his new Keeper. Although he was skilled, McLaggen was also bossy and repeatedly tried to advise Harry on game strategy and insulted the other players' abilities. The match was a no-holds-barred disaster, as McLaggen spent more time trying to tell the rest of the team how to play rather than watching the rings, resulting in several goals for the opponent. This culminated in him wrestling a Beater's bat away from Jimmy Peakes and attempting to show him how to hit a Bludger, only to knock Harry off his broomstick and crack his skull.
The fiasco was possibly Gryffindor's worst and most embarrassing loss ever (a final score of 320-60), and Ron told Harry in the hospital wing that he thought "the rest of the team might've dealt with him before you get out of here, they're not happy..." When Ron recovered, he resumed the Keeper position.
McLaggen is described as being a tall, athletic youth, with wiry hair. His face went red whenever he became angry. At the Keeper tryouts in 1996, Harry Potter thought that McLaggen was large enough that "he would probably block all three goal hoops without even moving".
Personality and Traits
- "You should have heard the way he was talking about Ron and Ginny! He's got a nasty temper. You wouldn't want someone like that on the team."
- —Hermione discussing Cormac McLaggen's behavior with Harry after the tryouts.[src]
Aggressive and self-assured, McLaggen illustrates the most negative aspects of the stereotypic Gryffindor characteristics. He is regarded by most to be very boorish and full of himself. Though brave, he is more foolhardy than self-sacrificing, and he engaged in childish pranks, such as eating a pound of poisonous Doxy eggs on a bet. He is also arrogant and pushy, as illustrated by his trying to tell the other players on the Quidditch team how to play. According to Hermione, McLaggen was rude, insensitive and self-absorbed. All he did was talk about himself the whole time and and lacked manners and consideration. McLaggen also has a bad temper; for example, Harry Potter thought he might punch him for refusing his demand to give him another Quidditch try-out.
- "I’ve just escaped – I mean, I’ve just left Cormac. Under the mistletoe... Cormac hasn’t asked me one single question about myself, no, I’ve just been treated to ‘A Hundred Great Saves Made by Cormac McLaggen’ non-stop ever since. Oh no, here he comes!"
- —Hermione Granger to Harry Potter on attending the Christmas Party with McLaggen[src]
In his seventh year, McLaggen became familiar with Hermione Granger, a fellow Gryffindor a year below him, when they were both members of the Slug Club. Hermione seemed to think that McLaggen was arrogant and unpleasant, and when she overheard him insult Ron and Ginny Weasley during Quidditch tryouts, she hit him with a Confundus Charm. However, Hermione and Ron later had a terrible, prolonged row over Ron’s romance with Lavender Brown, prompting Hermione to ask McLaggen to attend Professor Slughorn’s Christmas party with her, as she knew that Ron despised McLaggen. He accepted, but spent most of the evening boasting about himself, to her irritation. He was very forward with her under the mistletoe, prompting Hermione to abandon him to seek out Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood and to avoid him for the rest of the party. He was very annoyed when he was unable to find her. This indicates that while McLaggen was romantically interested in Hermione, she found him to be a rude braggart.
- "He could be a world-class player and I wouldn't want keep him. He keeps trying to tell everyone what to do, he thinks he could play every position better than us. I can't wait to be shot of him."
- —Harry discussing Cormac McLaggen's behavior with Ron[src]
Harry strongly disliked McLaggen. The two first met in 1996 when they were both questioned by Professor Slughorn. They met again when McLaggen tried out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, of which Harry was the Captain. It seemed that McLaggen expected preferential treatment from Harry, because the two were both in Horace Slughorn's club. When Ron Weasley beat McLaggen in saves, he accused Ginny Weasley of purposely giving her brother an advantage. He angrily confronted Harry about it, who coldly refuted the accusations. Harry thought that McLaggen might punch him for a moment. Later in the year, when McLaggen temporarily replaced a poisoned Ron, he annoyed Harry immensely by repeatedly offering advice on game strategy, and spent more time ordering around his teammates than blocking goals during a match. Gryffindor's ultimate loss at the match caused Harry to be even more infuriated with him.
- McLaggen: "His sister didn’t really try. She gave him an easy save."
- Harry: "Rubbish. That was the one he nearly missed."
- McLaggen: "Give me another go."
- Harry: "No. You’ve had your go. You saved four. Ron saved five. Ron’s Keeper, he won it fair and square. Get out of my way."
- — McLaggen and Harry Potter after the 1996 Quidditch tryouts[src]
McLaggen and Ron Weasley took an instant dislike to one another in 1996, when they competed over the Keeper position on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. McLaggen believed that the team Captain, Harry Potter, showed favouritism toward his friend, whereas Harry thought Ron was simply the better player and that McLaggen was far too arrogant to make of a decent player. Ron’s dislike of McLaggen prompted Hermione Granger to ask him to escort her to Professor Slughorn’s Christmas party, which he did, much to Ron’s displeasure. He was further annoyed when McLaggen took over his position as Keeper after he was poisoned, and relieved when it did not go well.
The name Cormac is borne by a number of figures from Irish legend and history, including Cormac mac Airt, a warrior king of Ireland, and Cormac Cond Longas, an exiled prince of Ulster. The name can be translated into "raven"; these birds are strongly associated with warfare in Celtic mythology. This may allude to McLaggen's aggressive personality. The name can also be translated to mean "son of defilement", from the Gaelic corb, "defilement", and mac, "son".
Behind the scenes
- Cormac McLaggen was played by Freddie Stroma in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film); McLaggen is portrayed as a lighter and more sympathetic character than his book counterpart.
- In the film adaptation, McLaggen is ridiculously licking his fingers while looking at Hermione during the Slug Club dinner party.
- In the film adaptation, McLaggen eats Dragon Balls; given to him by Harry Potter during Slughorn's Christmas party. Disgusted, he then pukes on Severus Snape and gets detention.