At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.
Professor Minerva McGonagall, O.M. (First Class), was a Scottish half-blood witch, the only daughter of Muggle Robert McGonagall and witch Isobel Ross. She had two younger brothers, Malcolm and Robert Jr. Minerva was a registered Animagus who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was Sorted into Gryffindor House (but it took the sorting hat five and a half minutes to decide if she was Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, which made her a Hatstall).
After her education, Minerva worked for two years at the Ministry of Magic and later returned to Hogwarts, where she became Head of Gryffindor House, Transfiguration professor and concurrently, at differing times, Deputy Headmistress and Headmistress of Hogwarts.
McGonagall was also a member of the Order of the Phoenix. In 1995, she opposed Dolores Umbridge, the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. She also protected the students from Alecto and Amycus Carrow from 1997 until 1998, and as part of this resistance movement, fought in several battles of both wars, including the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and the Battle of Hogwarts (where she led the resistance against Lord Voldemort). She was also the one who confronted Severus Snape right before the Battle of Hogwarts, resulting in him fleeing away from the school.
Minerva McGonagall was born on the outskirts of Caithness in the Scottish Highlands, on 4 October, to Robert McGonagall, a Muggle Presbyterian minister, and his wife, Isobel Ross, a witch. She was the couple's first child, and was named after her mother's grandmother, a very talented witch.
Her birth proved both a joy and a crisis: Isobel had given up the use of her magic for her love of Robert, and never told him about her magical abilities as she was afraid to mar the bliss of their wedding. Minerva, however, displayed small but noticeable signs of magic from her earliest hours. As an infant, Minerva had no control of her magic, and thus she inadvertently summoned toys that had been left on upper shelves to her cot, made the family cat do her bidding, and made her father's bagpipes play themselves which would cause baby Minerva to chuckle happily. Isobel knew she must confess to her husband about their daughter's wizarding abilities and so she did, explaining everything to Robert and telling him that they were bound by the International Statute of Secrecy, and that they must conceal the truth about their magical abilities.
The two parents remained together despite the shocking revelation and had two other sons, Malcolm and Robert Jr. Both revealed magical ability in due course. Minerva then, as a child, helped her mother conceal from her father the accidents and embarrassments the young witch's magic sometimes caused.
On Minerva's eleventh birthday, she received her admittance letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, at the time headed by Professor Armando Dippet. Now free to be with her kind, and to exercise her considerable talents, Minerva saw how her mother sobbed that day, not only out of pride, but also out of envy.
Minerva attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at the age of eleven. Before coming to the school, she visited Diagon Alley and, like generations of witches and wizards before her, purchased her wand from Ollivander's Wand Shop; the wand she selected was an unusual specimen, 9 and a half inches, fir and dragon heartstring, but one which would serve her very well throughout her life. During her Sorting, she proved to be a hatstall: the Sorting Hat spent five-and-a-half minutes wavering between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw before deciding to place her in the former.
Minerva was quickly recognised as the most outstanding student of her year with a particular talent for Transfiguration. Minerva's school career overlapped by two years with that of Pomona Sprout, and the two students enjoyed an excellent relationship, both then and in later years.
By the end of her education at Hogwarts, Minerva had achieved an impressive record: top grades in O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s, Prefect, Head Girl, and winner of the Transfiguration Today Most Promising Newcomer award. Under the guidance of her inspirational Transfiguration teacher, Albus Dumbledore, she had managed to become an Animagus; her animal form, with its distinctive markings (tabby cat, square spectacles markings around eyes) were duly logged in the Ministry of Magic's Animagus Registry.
Minerva also played for Gryffindor Quidditch team in her student years; a nasty fall in her final year (a foul during the Gryffindor versus Slytherin match which would decide the Quidditch Cup winner) left her with a concussion, several broken ribs, and a lifelong desire to see Slytherin crushed on the Quidditch pitch.
After graduating from Hogwarts, Minerva was offered a position at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement of the British Ministry of Magic. She returned to her family's manse to spend one last summer with her family before moving to London.
During these months Minerva, aged eighteen, met Dougal McGregor, a local Muggle, who was the handsome, clever, and funny son of a local farmer. Minerva fell head-over-heels in love with McGregor. The two got to know each other and eventually McGregor proposed to Minerva on a ploughed field and she accepted his offer. That night, she was unable to tell her parents of her engagement. Thinking about her future, Minerva realised that wedding a Muggle who did not know that she was a witch would mean Minerva would follow her mother's footsteps and live unhappily with her wand locked away, shredding all of her ambitions.
Early next morning, Minerva went to tell McGregor she had changed her mind, and could not marry him, aware that if she broke the International Statute of Secrecy and told him why, as she would lose the job at the Ministry for which she was giving him up. She could give him no good reason for her change of heart. She left McGregor devastated and left for London three days later.
Minerva worked in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic for two years after graduation. Dissatisfied with her job at the Ministry, Minerva returned to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this time not to learn but to teach Transfiguration, under the head of department Albus Dumbledore. She later replaced Dumbledore as Head of Department after he ascended to the position of Headmaster of the school.
As a teacher, Minerva was a strict disciplinarian, maintaining control of her students with a stern hand that made her someone not to be crossed. Amongst her first students were Newt Scamander and Leta Lestrange, the latter of whom was frequently in trouble with Minerva for retaliating to vicious gossip about her half-brother's death.
A notable example of this is when Leta hexed a fellow student with the dark charm Oscausi during her third year, after the other girl had been speaking ill of Leta behind her back. Minerva was called upon to fix the situation, but Leta ran from her and Minerva was forced to chase her around the school, all the while docking points. When she couldn't find Leta, Minerva removed the spell from the girl but was irritated when she began to speak ill of Leta again, so Minerva used the charm again.
During Gellert Grindelwald's rise, Minerva still taught at Hogwarts and was a close confidant to Dumbledore. She was quite critical of the Ministry of Magic's involvement at Hogwarts and was furious when Torquil Travers and a team of Aurors interrupted Dumbledore's Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson, protesting that this was "a school." Her protests, however, fell on deaf ears and she was forced to escort the students from the classroom.
Later on in her career, Minerva was also be appointed the position of Head of Gryffindor House, the house in which she used to reside whilst studying at Hogwarts. Albus Dumbledore would later on in his career also trust her enough to allow her to become Deputy Headmistress of the school and fill in for him on the occasions of his absence. Her lessons consisted of but were not limited to match to needle, animal to water goblet, beetle to button, and mouse to snuffbox transformations, as well as Vanishing, Conjuring, and Switching Spells.
First Wizarding War (1970-1981)
- McGonagall: "Are the rumours true, Albus?"
- Albus Dumbledore: "I'm afraid so, Professor. The good and the bad."
- — Discussion of the Potter's death and Harry Potter's survival[src]
After the first rise of dark wizard Lord Voldemort, Minerva took part in fighting back against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. McGonagall still taught at Hogwarts during the First Wizarding War: though she had not taught Tom Riddle herself, she was both privy to and shared Albus Dumbledore's fears and suspicions about him. Even so, McGonagall chose to not join the Order of the Phoenix during the First Wizarding War, which was seen as a renegade outfit by the Ministry at the time and instead, unbeknownst to her students, spent many nights spying for them in the guise of a tabby cat, bringing the Aurors crucial information on the activities of Voldemort's followers.
Despite her involvement in the Ministry's efforts to contain the threat of the Dark Lord's rise to power, she got through the war unscathed, though she suffered personal bereavements: the loss of her brother Robert; of two of her favourite students, Lily Evans and James Potter; and of Dougal McGregor, who was murdered in a random anti-Muggle attack by the Death Eaters, along with his wife and children — this last news was a terrible blow to Minerva, who wondered if she would have been able to save him if she had married him.
Concurrently, as the war raged outside the castle walls, the school was plagued by a series of curses inadvertently unleashed by one of the students, Jacob, who began to meddle with the five fabled Cursed Vaults. Like the rest of the faculty, Professor McGonagall did everything she could to protect the students, although they were ultimately unable to prevent the injury of several students and the death of a Slytherin student by the name of Duncan Ashe; this all led to Jacob's expulsion.
Protection of Harry Potter
- "They're the worst sort of Muggles imaginable."
- —McGonagall discussing Harry's Muggle relatives[src]
In 1981, baby Harry Potter defeated Lord Voldemort in his family home at Godric's Hollow, his parents James Potter and Lily Evans (both members of the Order of the Phoenix) were murdered whilst protecting their son from harm. The defeat of Voldemort ultimately ended the war and his followers were arrested and those that escaped went into hiding.
Minerva travelled to Surrey and there spent an entire day observing the Dursley family seeing whether or not they met the standards of looking after Harry as they were his only living relatives with his parents now dead. What she saw horrified her; the Dursleys couldn't have been any less like Lily and James if they had tried. She was thus present, along with Rubeus Hagrid, when Dumbledore placed Harry on the Dursleys' doorstep, despite her objections to leaving him with these Muggles, whom she considered to be the "worst kind" of them. She kept a close eye on Harry from time to time during his early childhood, as did other members of the Order of the Phoenix.
Between the wars (1981-1995)
After the First Wizarding War had ended Minerva continued on with her career at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, carrying on teaching the art of Transfiguration. She remained loyal to the Order of the Phoenix and kept watching over Harry Potter as he grew up to keep him from harm.
Through her early years at Hogwarts, Minerva remained close friends with her former boss, Elphinstone Urquart. During one visit, he proposed marriage to Minerva at Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop. Surprised, embarrassed, and still in love with Dougal, she declined. Elphinstone, however, had never ceased to love her, nor to propose every now and then, until she finally accepted after Dougal's death. They bought a cottage in Hogsmeade, which allowed Minerva to continue teaching. Although they had no children, Minerva's nieces and nephews visited often.
In 1985, three years into their marriage, Elphinstone died from a Venomous Tentacula bite. Minerva, who could not bear to remain alone in their cottage, packed her things after her husband's funeral and returned to her first-floor study in Hogwarts Castle. It is unknown whether Minerva still owns the cottage.
During the second year of the sibling of Jacob, when Ben Copper when missing, the individual asked Minerva about it as she was the Head of the Gryffindor House. Minerva first asked if Jacob's sibling had seen him in the Hogwarts Express and if he had been acting strange and after learning that they did not but Penny Haywood did and Ben seemed fine even though he was always a bit odd, she mentioned that the Cursed Ice may have changed Ben and slightly chastised Jacob's sibling for their attempt to enter the Cursed Vault and asked them if they had learnt anything that said of a threat beyond the door, appealing to them that this involved all of Hogwarts and not just Jacob. Learning that they had found and read a message about an Ice knight and vanished stairs, Minerva said she will discuss this with Dumbledore and accidentally revealed that she and the other teachers had once dealt with the Cursed Ice, which she quickly covered by telling Jacob's sibling that he is free to help in searching for Ben and asking for him to tell her personally should he succeed, promising to reward him.
Sometime later, Minerva asked for Jacob sibling's help to find Gryffindor Broom Wax which had been misplaced by the keeper should they be a Gryffindor. Accompanying Jacob's sibling to the Common Room, she congratulated them for their success and gave them twenty House Points for their effort. Later, impressed by their transfiguration talents, McGonagall offered to give them advanced transfiguration classes.
If they were of another house and tried to infiltrate the Gryffindor Common Room, Minerva would catch them with Angelica but as they searched for Ben, she allowed them to get away unpunished. McGonagall and Snape eventually found the missing Ben Copper encased in Cursed ice and Jacob's Sibling and Rowan realised she knew more about the Cursed Ice than she revealed. Minerva was perplexed that the Knockback Jinx had no effect on the ice, noting on how they once could use it to shatter the ice, and even more so when Snape callously suggested they use Incendio to melt the ice while also burning him to death, as she realises from how the Cursed Ice had began to expand throughout the school that someone had been tampering with the Vaults. Ignoring Snape's frustrated questioning of Dumbledore's whereabouts, Minerva and Snape used Incendio to successfully free Ben from the Cursed Ice, taking care to target as further as possible from his body.
Knowing Minerva was the only one left in the school with Dumbledore gone that could possibly teach them the Revelio Charm, Jacob's Sibling turned to her to learn the spell. At first Minerva was baffled due to how advanced the charm was but ultimately agreed to teach them if they proved themselves sufficiently adept, impressed by their desire to help Hogwarts and study Transfiguration. Finding their abilities to have reached the level required in the class, Minerva called them to have their private lesson and after Jacob's sibling successfully learned Revelio, Minerva congratulated them and noted the usefulness of the spell.
After learning that Bill Weasley had taught Jacob's sibling Incendio, Minerva was furious and scolded him heavily.
Protecting the Philosopher's Stone
In 1991 friend of Albus Dumbledore, Nicolas Flamel, had the Philosopher's Stone that was keeping him alive moved from his safe in Gringotts to Hogwarts for safe keeping. Minerva contributed to the defences set up around the magical artefact by transfiguring an enormous chess set and animating it to behave as a normal Wizard's chess set would. As part of its protection duty, it required that the person or persons seeking to get past would have to take the place of a piece on the board and play an actual game of wizard's chess, at great physical risk to themselves. This larger than life version of Wizard's chess is known to be brutally violent and sacrificial for wizards to have to take part in themselves.
Also in this year, Harry Potter, who Minerva had been watching over for many years, would start his first year of education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, not knowing this, as he did not know that he was a wizard. Once Harry eventually arrived at Hogwarts, after the delivery of many acceptance letters, Harry was Sorted into the house of Gryffindor which Minerva was head of. Harry was therefore again placed under the watchful eye and care of McGonagall.
Though Minerva often maintained her strict persona in regards to the boy, she was not above bending the rules for him on occasion, such as when she caught him flying on a broomstick without proper supervision. Instead of expelling him, which was Madam Hooch's stated punishment for anyone caught doing so, Minerva instead took him to see Oliver Wood, captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, to comment on his prodigious skill with the broom. Harry made the team, remarkable for a first year, and became the youngest Seeker in a century. McGonagall made arrangements for Harry to have a Nimbus 2000, the fastest broomstick of the time, for use during games and practises. However, several incidents marred the year.
At Hallowe'en, the festive feast was interrupted by the arrival of Professor Quirrell, who came charging in screaming about a troll loose in the dungeons before fainting dead away. After restoring calm, Dumbledore ordered all students to return to their dormitories while he and the teachers made their way to the dungeons. The troll was not there upon their entry, but a terrible racket from an upper floor provided a clue. Upon reaching the site, Minerva was shocked to discover a wrecked bathroom, an unconscious troll and three bedraggled first years, one of whom was her best student Hermione Granger. To her further shock, Hermione claimed that she had gone looking for the troll thinking she could handle it but would most assuredly have been killed had Harry and Ron not found her. Torn between anger and pride, Minerva took five points from Hermione but awarded five each to Harry and Ron for, as she put it, "sheer dumb luck." Over the Christmas period, she attended the Christmas feast and received a kiss on the cheek from a very drunk Hagrid; rather than admonish him, she instead giggled while blushing red in the face.
However, her serious side appeared one night when she caught Draco Malfoy roaming the school at night. Dragging him by the ear, she sentenced him to detention and deducted twenty points from Slytherin when he claimed that Harry Potter was also out of bed with an illegal baby dragon. Though the dragon in question was successfully released, Harry, Hermione and Neville Longbottom were all caught and brought before McGonagall by Filch. Mad and disappointed with them, she told them all off before punishing them severely; a loss of fifty points each, 150 in total, and detention with Malfoy. This caused Gryffindor to drop to last in the House Cup.
Towards the end of the year McGonagall and the other teachers' protective enchantments down in the Philosopher's Stone chambers would come to test when Quirrell attempted to steal the Philosopher's Stone. Also testing and facing the enchantments were Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. The trio was successful in stopping the stone being stolen and at the end of the school year, Gryffindor had won the house cup after receiving the most house points that year after getting bonus points for the trio's and Neville Longbottom's bravery. Thus, for the first time in years, McGonagall's house was the current house cup champions. Minerva's reaction was not documented, but it's assumed that she was pleased with their efforts as Professor Snape shook her hand with a very forced look of congratulations.
The second opening of the Chamber of Secrets
- McGonagall: "What does this mean, Albus?"
- Albus Dumbledore: "It means that the Chamber of Secrets is indeed open again."
- — The opening of the Chamber is confirmed after finding Colin Creevey petrified[src]
In the beginning of the 1992 school term, Minerva had to deal with Harry and Ron, who crashed Mr Weasley's Flying Ford Anglia into the Whomping Willow, due to the barrier of the King's Cross Station that was sealed by Dobby so the two couldn't board the train. This nearly exposed the wizarding world to Muggles, but Minerva was fairer than Snape, the one who brought the matter up in the first place. Minerva ultimately let them off with a mere detention and a letter to their parents and guardians. Also she did not take any house points as Harry pointed out that term had not started yet when they took the car, which she confirmed and almost smiled at this remark.
Later, Minerva was present for the re-opening of the Chamber of Secrets. She, along with the rest of the teaching staff, scoured the castle for the Chamber, but to no avail. Minerva was worried over the messages left on the walls and was at a loss about what should be done. She also had to deal with the less than helpful Gilderoy Lockhart, who had been hired for the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor. McGonagall had little liking or use for the man and by the end of the year was only one of the many staff members who utterly despised him. For example when he decorated the Great Hall in nauseatingly lurid pink hearts for Valentine's Day, she was observed to have a muscle twitching noticeably in her face. Throughout the year, two of Minerva's students were Petrified along with the House ghost; Hermione Granger, Colin Creevey, and Nearly Headless Nick.
In the final weeks of that school year, Minerva served as temporary Headmistress of Hogwarts after the Board of Governors, under Lucius Malfoy's influence, suspended Dumbledore for failing to stop the attacks against students. She was also quite shaken and softened up, as when Harry and Ron tried to sneak off to investigate on the matters but was caught by Professor McGonagall. She let them off under the belief that they were trying to visit a petrified Hermione; normally, she would punish them with detention.
When Ginny Weasley was later taken into the Chamber of Secrets, where "her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever," Minerva despairingly believed that they were facing the end of Hogwarts. Her temperament was not improved by the arrival of the hated Gilderoy Lockhart, who was completely oblivious to the worry of his fellow staff members, and immediately joined Professors Snape, Flitwick and Sprout in forcing him into a corner by recalling all of his boasts that he could deal with the monster easily. With him dealt with, as they couldn't care less if he succeeded or failed, the staff turned their attention to the thing they never thought would happen; the permanent closure of Hogwarts.
Thankfully, this terrible reality never came to pass. While McGonagall received Ginny's distraught parents in her office, along with a returned Albus Dumbledore, she was astonished to see Ginny herself walk in, accompanied by a slime-covered Harry, Ron and Lockhart, the ragged old Sorting Hat, Dumbledore's pet phoenix and the silver Sword of Godric Gryffindor. Harry then explained that he and Ron had gone into the Chamber to find Ginny, having realised the mystery, and had slain the monster within. Dumbledore then declared the crisis over and sent Minerva down to the kitchens to organise a celebratory feast, which she subsequently attended with great joy as the monster was dead and Lockhart banished.
Escape of Sirius Black
- "Well, Sirius Black is gone tonight, but I think you can all safely assume he will attempt to return at some time."
- —McGonagall regarding Sirius Black's attempts to get inside the school[src]
The summer of 1993 also saw the escape of Sirius Black from Azkaban. When the school year began in September, Minerva had to deal with the effects that the Dementors had on her students, such as Harry Potter. She also authorised Hermione Granger to use a Time-Turner in order to take extra classes, a decision that would prove more useful in future events that year. This year at Hogwarts would prove to be another difficult year with Dementors guarding the castle.
At the start of the year, when McGonagall demonstrated her Animagus form to her first class, she notes how quiet they were, as every class she demonstrated it to prior clapped. When Hermione explained about their first Divination, McGonagall understood and asked her class which of them would be dying this year. Harry Potter raised his hand. McGonagall assured him that Sybill Trelawney's predictions were a way of greeting her class and that no deaths of any students have occurred yet. To further put him at ease, she demonstrated one of her rare glimmerings of humour by stating that she still expected him to do his homework, but if he did die then she would excuse his not handing it in.
Throughout the year, Minerva assisted in guarding the school, yet nonetheless Black was able to infiltrate the castle. After Black had attacked the Fat Lady, McGonagall tried to tell Harry that Black was after him, but was cut off by Harry, who told her that Mr Weasley had told him, before she could explain. Later in the year, Minerva was summoned to Gryffindor Tower when Ron Weasley claimed to have been attacked by Black. She initially dismissed him as Black could not have possibly got in without the password (unaware that Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, befriended by Sirius, gave him a discarded list of passwords) but was rendered speechless when the new guardian, Sir Cadogan, confirmed that he had indeed let him in because he had the passwords written down. When Neville Longbottom admitted to having written the passwords down, McGonagall gave him a detention and wrote to his grandmother. As a result, Neville received a Howler.
When Harry received a Firebolt following the destruction of his Nimbus 2000, McGonagall had it confiscated to be "examined" because she believed it to have been sent by Black (and correctly so), and therefore lethally cursed (which was incorrect). This incident caused Harry and Hermione to have a row, because Hermione had alerted Minerva about the Firebolt. It was returned to him later after having been declared safe. During the Quidditch match against Ravenclaw, Draco Malfoy, Gregory Goyle, Vincent Crabbe, and Marcus Flint posed as Dementors to sabotage Harry's performance, only to get struck down when Harry reflexively cast a Patronus Charm at them. Utterly furious at this downright trickery, she deducted fifty points from Slytherin and put the quartet in detention.
In the spring of 1994, though disgusted by the Slytherin Quidditch team's dirty tactics during the final Quidditch match after witnessing Draco Malfoy grab onto the end of Harry's Firebolt to stop him from catching the Golden Snitch (which infuriated her to the point where she stopped telling Lee Jordan off and actually joined him in firing furious comments at Malfoy), she also witnessed the Gryffindor Quidditch team win the Quidditch Cup for the first time since Charlie Weasley had played for the team during his Hogwarts education. McGonagall was delighted by Gryffindor's victory, openly sobbing — even louder than the already sobbing Oliver Wood — into a Gryffindor Flag, but was upset to see Oliver Wood leaving. Later on in the year, three students from her house — Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger — would run into trouble when Sirius Black returned to Hogwarts.
- "The Yule Ball is of course a chance for us all to — er — let our hair down. But that does NOT mean that we will be relaxing the standards of behaviour we expect from Hogwarts students. I will be most seriously displeased if a Gryffindor student embarrasses the school in any way."
- —McGonagall introducing the Yule Ball[src]
In the autumn of 1994, Hogwarts hosted the magical schools, the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and the Durmstrang Institute for the Triwizard Tournament. Harry Potter was selected as a Triwizard Champion, despite being under age and McGonagall worried for his safety after having looked after him for so many years. Minerva pleaded with Dumbledore and Crouch to withdraw Harry from the tournament, as the tournament was highly dangerous. But withdrawing would go against the rules of the tournament and Potter had to continue on, as there was a binding magical contract in place.
During the year Minerva more than once exhorted her students to provide a good appearance to their guests at the castle. She attended the Yule Ball with Albus Dumbledore and notably wore her hair down for the first time since Harry started his education at Hogwarts. While at the Ball Minerva danced with Dumbledore and possibly others as well. She also loaned her classroom to Harry, Ron and Hermione so they could practise spells for Harry's preparation for the Third Task. She did this after having walked in on them practising so many times around the school. At the end of the Tournament Minerva accompanied Dumbledore and Severus Snape in the rescue of Harry Potter from the Death Eater that had spent the entire school year impersonating the Auror Alastor Moody, that year's DADA professor.
She was instructed to guard Crouch Jr after he revealed his part in the rebirth of Voldemort but was unable to prevent the Dementor brought by Minister Cornelius Fudge from giving the Death Eater the Dementor's Kiss. She was intensely furious at Fudge for this blunder, as well as severely shaken from having witnessed the unspeakably horrible act, and screamed more than Harry had ever seen before. Thus, when the Minister refused to believe Dumbledore and Harry Potter about the return of Voldemort, Minerva nonetheless stood in support of her superior and her student. In the return of the Dark Lord, Hufflepuff student Cedric Diggory was carelessly murdered and a memorial feast was held at the end of the school year. The Second Wizarding War had now begun, despite the Ministry trying to hush up any claims of this.
Second Wizarding War (1995-1998)
Once the Second Wizarding War had begun, Minerva joined the Order of the Phoenix and spent much of the summer of 1995 doing work for the Order. She would come and go from 12 Grimmauld Place wearing a Muggle dress rather than her robes, which Harry thought made her look odd. Though these duties took up much of her time, Minerva would face even greater challenges at Hogwarts. Because Dumbledore was unable to find a new professor for Defence Against the Dark Arts, the Ministry of Magic appointed Dolores Umbridge, a senior Ministry official and stout supporter of Fudge, to the Hogwarts staff. Minerva saw this appointment as an affront to the school itself and did little to hide her disgust.
High Inquisitor at Hogwarts
When Harry Potter crossed Umbridge, earning a detention in his first class with her, Minerva was sympathetic but warned him that Umbridge was not to be trifled with and that he should keep his head down. McGonagall did all she could to circumvent Umbridge's authority without risking her own security as Deputy Headmistress. Indeed, she treated Umbridge with as little credence and respect as possible while Hogwarts was under investigation by the Ministry of Magic, and even gave Peeves tips on how to unscrew a chandelier when he was trying to cause havoc for Umbridge. McGonagall also managed to put aside her dislike of Professor Trelawney for a time in the face of Umbridge's persecution of Hogwarts' inhabitants. It is shown she brings Trelawney back to Hogwarts after Umbridge dismissed her.
After Umbridge's appointment as High Inquisitor, Minerva was forced to endure the other woman's presence during her evaluation of Minerva's teaching. Minerva kept her temper under control, maintaining an icy exterior and yet still unleashed a dry and pointed wit on Umbridge. The encounter did serve to cheer students like Ron Weasley who heartily disliked Umbridge. Still, darker times lay ahead.
Despite Minerva's best efforts to thwart the Ministry's influence at Hogwarts, things continued to grow worse. After Harry's resistance group was discovered by Umbridge, Minerva was present in Dumbledore's office when Harry was brought in. When Umbridge revealed that anti-Muggle prankster Willy Widdershins had provided her with testimony that Harry was forming this rebel group, Minerva loudly voiced that she had wondered why he had managed to avoid prosecution for all his regurgitating toilet charges, joined in her vocal outrage by the portrait of Headmaster Dexter Fortescue.
Dumbledore managed to save Harry by taking credit for the student organisation, which led to Fudge announcing his intention to arrest him and actually attempted to have him taken by force. Loyal to her mentor and friend, Minerva declared that he wouldn't be single-handed and made to draw her wand. She was fully prepared to duel the Minister himself, but was ordered by Dumbledore not to intervene, as Hogwarts would need her. After Dumbledore escaped arrest, Umbridge was appointed Headmistress over Minerva, but had virtually no support. When Umbridge invaded the career advising of the 5th-year students, Minerva finally lost her temper. During Harry Potter's session, when Umbridge kept interrupting the conversation and declaring that Harry would never be an Auror at the Ministry, Minerva declared to Harry that she would help him in any way necessary to achieve his goal, even if it was the last thing she ever did. The atmosphere at Hogwarts continued to devolve under Umbridge's leadership.
St Mungo's Hospital
- McGonagall: "How dare you! How dare you!"
- Hermione Granger : "It's McGonagall!"
- McGonagall: "Leave him alone! Alone, I say! On what grounds are you attacking him? He has done nothing, nothing to warrant such —"
- — McGonagall defending Hagrid moments before she's attacked[src]
During the O.W.L. examinations, events came to a head. When Dolores Umbridge and several Aurors attempted to evict Hagrid from the grounds of Hogwarts, Minerva sought to intervene on behalf of her colleague. Charging out of the castle, she shouted at the Aurors to leave Hagrid alone. However, before she could even draw her wand, Minerva was promptly hit with four Stunning Spells in the chest, which required that she be moved from Hogwarts Hospital Wing to St Mungo's for treatment.
Hagrid was so disgusted by this attack that he attacked two of her attackers in an uncontrollable rage before fleeing, furiously denouncing them as cowards, while Madam Pomfrey said that it would be very difficult for Minerva to be hit in broad daylight, and would have resigned in protest because of this cowardly attack if the students' well-being was not placed as her priority. Many students were also outraged with this attack, to the point of ignoring their Astronomy exam, and even the proctor Professor Tofty expressed aloud his fury.
Return to Hogwarts
- "Well, I think Potter and his friends ought to have fifty points apiece for alerting the world to the return of You-Know-Who — that's fifty each for Potter, the two Weasleys, Longbottom and Miss Granger. Oh — and fifty for Miss Lovegood, I suppose."
- —McGonagall rewards the participants of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries[src]
Minerva did not return to Hogwarts until after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. After being released from the hospital, she required the aid of a walking stick for several days. Upon her return to the school, she promptly gave the six students involved in the Battle at the Ministry 50 house points each for "alerting the world to the return of You-Know-Who", in response to Snape needling Harry about Gryffindor having 0 house points. She also watched with some happiness when Peeves chased Umbridge from the school, commenting that she would've joined Peeves in chasing Dolores away, but Peeves had appropriated her walking stick. Minerva was happy about getting rid of Umbridge in the school grounds. After her recovery at St Mungo's, Minerva resumed her duties within the Order of the Phoenix as well as her teaching duties when the school year would begin again after summer. Early in the year, she was responsible for the distribution of schedules among the the sixth year N.E.W.T. students.
Minerva was present after Katie Bell was cursed by the Opal Necklace. After Harry Potter ran off to find someone to aid Katie, Harry bumped into Hagrid and led him back to the group. After learning the nature of the event Hagrid carried Katie to the castle, accompanied by Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Leanne. While in the castle Minerva appeared and asked Harry what he was holding in his hand, it was the necklace wrapped in his scarf. She then proceeded to hand over the necklace to Professor Snape, through the Caretaker Argus Filch and questioned the the trio and Leanne on what they witnessed. Harry told her his theory that it was Draco Malfoy that gave Katie the necklace, but she scorned the theory and dismissed them. Snape was able to stop the curse from spreading any further, but Katie was taken to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, where she spent much of that year recovering from the effects of the curse.
- "Professor McGonagall had risen to her feet, the mournful hum in the Great Hall died away at once."
- —McGonagall at Albus Dumbledore's funeral[src]
Later in the school year, she participated in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower in 1997 after Draco Malfoy sneaked Death Eaters into the school through the Room of Requirement. She was stuck on the level below Harry and Dumbledore and couldn't pass on the stairs to reach them, however, Snape could (as he had the Dark Mark) and pushed past her. During the battle, she duelled and personally dispatched Death Eater Alecto Carrow, sending her foe running for cover.
After the battle, she was devastated to learn of Snape's murder of Dumbledore, the man whom she had known nearly her entire life as a teacher, mentor, and friend, and whose murderer she had let pass. After the murder was committed the Dark Mark, which was already cast into the sky, shadowed over the school grounds. In the movie, McGonagall led the respectful wand raising to rid the sky of the dark mark from the late Dumbledore's body. After the death of Dumbledore, McGonagall held the Funeral of Albus Dumbledore at Hogwarts and in the final days of the school year she took over Dumbledore's former position and became Headmistress of Hogwarts, though she was stripped of this position in favour of Snape once Voldemort took over. McGonagall tried to comfort Harry about the death of Dumbledore but her efforts fell short, as she herself was devastated at the death of her beloved teacher.
Voldemort's control of Hogwarts
As the war continued, Minerva remained at Hogwarts, even when it was taken over by Voldemort, most likely to make sure as little harm came to students since she could act as an insider so that that the Order of the Phoenix was informed on what was going on at Hogwarts. Even when Severus Snape was appointed Headmaster and Alecto and Amycus Carrow were given free rein in the school, Minerva did as much as she could to protect the students. The rebel alliance Dumbledore's Army founded by the students reformed, and McGonagall helped to keep their meetings a secret.
- "You're acting on Dumbledore's orders? ...We shall secure the school against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named while you search for this — this object."
- —McGonagall prepares for the Battle of Hogwarts[src]
On 1 May 1998, Minerva was present when Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley returned to Hogwarts in the middle of the night in search of Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem. That night, she found Amycus Carrow at the door to Ravenclaw Tower, furiously assaulting it and demanding to be let in. Dryly pointing out that perhaps his sister, whom Professor Flitwick had admitted earlier at their urgent request, could open the door and prevent him from waking half the castle, Minerva then intervened on his behalf after he told her that Alecto wasn't responding.
When the door opened, they found Alecto unconscious on the floor, which Minerva surmised as the work of a Stunning Spell. Amycus then revealed that they had been warned that Harry might try to get into Ravenclaw Tower, to which Minerva responded with confusion as Harry was in her house, speaking of this with pride in her voice, before scanning the room. Amycus then horrified her by stating his plan to push the blame for Alecto summoning Voldemort on the children in the dormitories, without remorse or concern that they would likely be killed or horribly tortured. Minerva refused to allow it, prompting the Death Eater to spit in her face, only to be flung across the room with the Cruciatus Curse when Harry (who had witnessed the whole thing from under his Invisibility Cloak) revealed himself in sheer anger.
With help from Harry and Luna Lovegood, she incapacitated the Carrow siblings in the Ravenclaw Common Room. Realising that a battle was upon them, Minerva gathered Filius Flitwick and Pomona Sprout and together the three Heads of House banished Severus from Hogwarts, Minerva even calling him a coward as he fled the school. Harry informed McGonagall of a quest that Dumbledore had left him, and she, in respect for Dumbledore's wishes, offered to hold Voldemort and his army back for whilst Harry fulfilled this quest. She then proceeded to animate the castle's suits of armour and statues to help her defend the school. Shortly before the battle, Minerva ordered Neville Longbottom with the aid of Seamus Finnigan and other students to destroy the Wooden Bridge so that the Snatchers could not sneak into school grounds. To ensure the advantage of chaos on their side, she also ordered Argus Filch to find Peeves and bring him to her. Which he did in response to her agitation.
After ordering the evacuation of younger students through the Hog's Head, Minerva began to help fortify the castle against the coming attack, with the assistance of her fellow teachers, Order members, and even the older students who had stayed behind to fight. When Pansy Parkinson suggested they take the deal offered to them by Voldemort — that of their lives in exchange for Harry Potter — Minerva ordered the girl and all those not willing to fight to leave.
Minerva fought skilfully in the first part of the battle, at one point leading a herd of charmed desks into the fray against the Death Eaters, and stood defiant in the lull. She stood among many students in a crowd when Voldemort himself walked into the Hogwarts grounds. It was only when Minerva saw Harry Potter's body being carried by Rubeus Hagrid that she began to despair, letting out a scream terrible to anyone who heard it, equal to that of Ron, Hermione, and Ginny's together.
Nonetheless, Minerva continued to fight when the battle resumed after the attack by the Centaurs on Voldemort and the Death Eaters. In the final moments of the battle, she duelled Voldemort alongside Horace Slughorn and Kingsley Shacklebolt, though they were blasted aside by his fury when Bellatrix Lestrange was killed in a duel with Molly Weasley.
McGonagall was present when Voldemort's Killing Curse connected with Harry's Disarming Charm and was rebounded, signalling his final defeat at Harry's hands. She, along with everyone else in the Great Hall, hugged Harry in an uncharacteristic display of great emotion. She was one of the first to reach Harry, right behind Hermione, Ron, and Ginny. This event signalled the end of the Second Wizarding War.
Later life (1998-)
With the conclusion of the war, Professor McGonagall was awarded the Order of Merlin, First Class, by Minister for Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt for her unwavering allegiance to the Order of the Phoenix. Shortly afterwards she was featured on a card in the Chocolate Frog Famous Witches and Wizards series, an accolade she admitted she had never imagined receiving.
In 2008, she gave permission for Dumbledore's notes on The Tales of Beedle the Bard to be published as part of Hermione Granger's new translation of the book. She was also most likely responsible for the employment of former Gryffindor student Neville Longbottom as the new professor for Herbology.In the 2010s, she helped members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force who pursued a Professorship profession by sharing the letters between Albus Dumbledore and Adalbert Waffling to help improve their skills in addressing the Calamity. Minerva was also a staple in the Wizarding community and often attended Extraordinary General Meetings, most notably the meeting in 2020 where they discussed the concerning movement of Voldemort's allies. Furthermore, Minerva also revealed that someone had taken Boomslang skin and lacewing flies from the Potions stores during the summer break.
In 2020, when Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy did not arrive at Hogwarts, Minerva sent owls to their parents and later met with Harry Potter, Ginny Potter and Draco Malfoy, along with Minister for Magic Hermione Granger and her husband Ron Weasley, to find them. Minerva even suggested having Professor Longbottom aid them, due to his expertise in Herbology being useful in the Forbidden Forest.
After Albus and Scorpius meddled in time and made it so Ron and Hermione never married, Albus was Sorted into Gryffindor and Ron married Padma Patil, Minerva was still Headmistress of Hogwarts. She tried to advise Harry on interfering in Albus and Scorpius's friendship, but he insisted on keeping them separated and blackmailed Minerva into using the Marauder's Map to keep them apart.
But, after using the map a few times, Minerva is again visited by Harry, Ginny and Draco and tells him that she wants no part in ruining friendships, to which he apologises and begs that she use the map to find Albus and Scorpius so that he can apologise to him too. Minerva uses the map to discover that they are in the girls' bathroom on the first floor. Minerva and the parents try to find them, but Moaning Myrtle reveals that they used a Time-Turner to save Cedric Diggory, much to Minerva's shock.
When Albus and Scorpius returned to the original timeline, Minerva found them and they confessed what they had done. Minerva invited Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley and Draco Malfoy to meet with her and she reminded them that although Albus and Scorpius were being noble, their meddling had returned them to the darkest times of the wizarding war and to never forget that their current peaceful world had been created because of the sacrifices of those who lost their lives. She then ordered them to find the missing Time-Turner.
- "The door swung open at once. A tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green robes stood there. She had a very stern face and Harry's first thought was that she was not someone to cross."
- —Harry Potter's first impression of McGonagall[src]
Minerva McGonagall was first described as a tall, rather severe-looking woman, and later as a "sprightly" seventy-year-old. She often wore emerald green robes or her favourite tartan pattern. She also wore a pointed hat cocked to one side, and always had a very prim expression. She rarely let her black hair down and the majority of the time had it combed back into a tight bun. As Minerva was a fan of tartan print and would often wear it to Quidditch games along with a woolly hat covering her ears. Minerva wore square spectacles that matched the markings around the eyes of her Animagus and Patronus: a silver tabby cat.
Minerva was also known for her mouth to become very thin whenever she was angry. Harry made analogies to McGonagall looking like she was going to explode, breathe fire and shoot sparks from her nose based on how transparent her anger could appear.
When McGonagall was happy or relaxed she seemed like a different person entirely. She was capable of blending into Muggle crowds though Harry noted that the appearance did not suit her.
Personality and traits
Minerva almost constantly exuded magnanimity and sternness and was held in great respect (and some fear) by nearly all students and staff. Used to having her way, she tolerated neither audacity nor silliness from her pupils and was known to turn cold towards people who said or did things in front of her that were stupid, or if she thought they were trying to be funny. Despite her stern demeanour, however, Minerva did exhibit a dry sense of humour which usually came out when times were tough. She was also a woman who rarely smiled or gave compliments freely.
True to Gryffindor, she valued bravery and courage highly, believing cowardice be a heavy flaw. Despite her loyalty to her house, though, and a fair-minded person, McGonagall was known for docking points from students in her own House when she saw it must be done so.
Minerva was not afraid to speak her mind and showed quite a sharp tongue, especially during arguments. For the most part, though, she usually maintained great emotional composure, without being indifferent. Although she was not always particularly personable, she was a huge supporter of Harry Potter and trusted the likes of Dumbledore, Sprout, Flitwick, Pomfrey, and Hagrid, and unsurprisingly, had a distaste for Snape. She could be very warm and supportive during times of trouble or loss and cared a great deal about her students, both personally and academically.
Minerva enjoyed needlework, correcting articles in Transfiguration Today, watching Quidditch, and supporting the Montrose Magpies. She has shown a great fondness for tartan patterns and love for cats.
As the devoted instructor of Transfiguration classes, Professor McGonagall highly respected the specific branch of magic, and considered it to be more complex and sophisticated than all others, though she respected most others just as much; she became an Animagus to further her study in the magic. As a law-abiding citizen, Minerva respects the particular law that all animagi of Britain must register, as she insisted that Talbott Winger do so despite understanding his reason of secrecy. On the other hand, she has very little patience with Divination, due to its impreciseness and rarity of true Seers.
As well as this, she has a temper that can reveal itself on occasions when she is angrily flustered All and all, McGonagall earned a great deal of admiration, and not a slight amount of fear, from her peers and students. During the Second Wizarding War, McGonagall fought the Death Eaters and protected her students, proving her bravery.
Minerva, though strict, was known to be extremely caring in times of tragedy, and in her own reserved manner was known for her kindness. Her obvious concern over Harry's future with the Dursley family was evident when she spied on them following Lily and James's deaths. She also promised to Harry in an act of direct defiance against Umbridge that she would make his ambition of becoming an Auror a reality. Although she permitted of-age students to choose whether they want to stay or evacuate for the Battle of Hogwarts as a respect for their valour and rights, she gave the strict orders for anyone underage to evacuate, prioritising their safety over their courage (when she rejected Colin Creevey's request to stay), refusing to let under-qualified children to die in battle despite their desires.
Minerva is also known to have a very severe dislike and hatred of those who abuse power, such as her making an enemy of Dolores Umbridge. Minerva disliked her for many reasons, but most prominently her bigoted and sociopathic behaviour, which displayed Minerva's distaste for racial prejudice and sadism. Similarly, she stood up to Amycus Carrow, despite the Death Eater's higher authority at the time, refusing to let him blame the students for Alecto's blunder, and looked down at him with pure disgust.
Magical abilities and skills
- Magical Mastery: Minerva was an incredibly powerful and talented witch, having achieved top grades in her O.W.Ls and N.E.W.Ts when she was at Hogwarts. Minerva mastered magic at such a young age, becoming the recipient of several awards such as Transfiguration Today's Most Promising Newcomer Award at the time of her graduation and even trained under Albus Dumbledore personally whilst at school, being virtually the best student of her time. As an adult, Minerva still continued to prove she was a very powerful witch and an inspirational teacher, therefore successfully becoming the Head of Transfiguration. During the Battle of Hogwarts, her mastery of magic proved sufficient to aid Kingsley and Horace, both being highly skilful users of magic, in battling Voldemort himself to a standstill.
- Transfiguration: Minerva was taught Transfiguration by Albus Dumbledore, and showed a particular talent in the subject even at a young age. Her talent was such that with guidance from her Transfiguration teacher, Albus Dumbledore, she eventually was able to achieve Animagus transformation at the young age of seventeen in order to enhance her research on the different branches of Transfiguration. Her Transfiguration record as a Hogwarts student was so impressive that she earned the aforementioned Transfiguration Today Most Promising Newcomer Award. Eventually, her knowledge and mastery would grow to the point that she managed to do a good enough of a job as a member of the Transfiguration Department that after Dumbledore, who seemed to be her only superior around the time she was a Transfiguration Professor, became Headmaster, she effectively assumed the position of Head of Transfiguration. She came to consider her subject to be among the most complex and dangerous magic taught at Hogwarts. Due to her mastery of Transfiguration, she was one of the teachers trusted to protect the Philosopher's Stone, which she did magnificently by enlarging an entire set of chess to giant size and making them real. Her mastery of transfiguration magic made her fully capable of using most transfiguration spells, such as the one she used to reverse the transfiguration spell Moody used to turn Draco Malfoy into a ferret, transform her desk into a pig and back and conjuring a fan, chair leg and the restraints she used to hold the Carrows, without needing to mutter a word and she even could cast the Avifors Spell without needing her wand. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Minerva demonstrated her astonishing mastery of this branch of magic by easily repelling Severus Snape's own use of the magic (a notably powerful wizard with considerable skills in the field in his own right) by easily turning the fiery serpent Snape sent at her into a flurry of daggers, and transfiguring dozens of desks and suits of armour to help defend the school against Lord Voldemort.
- Duelling: Minerva was an immensely skilful duellist. Though she was hit by four stunning spells without warning by a group of Aurors, Poppy Pomfrey insisted that they wouldn't have stood a chance in a strait fight. During the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, she defeated Alecto Carrow and survived the battle unscathed. In 1998, shortly before the Battle of Hogwarts, she fiercely duelled Severus Snape and was able to force him to hide behind a shield of armour when he couldn't counter her spell. Filius Flitwick and Pomona Sprout then arrived and together, they were quickly able to overwhelm and force Snape to flee from the school. McGonagall later emerged as one of the survivors of the Battle of Hogwarts and she most likely defeated, or at least, held her own against many Death Eaters. Alongside Horace Slughorn and Kingsley Shacklebolt, McGonagall was even able to stalemate Voldemort himself and it must be noted she and her allies were only overpowered when Voldemort's rage of Bellatrix's death caused his magic to explode. Minerva was also described as moving "faster than Harry would have believed", displaying an incredible amount of speed and precision with her spell work.
- Animagus: Minerva learned how to become an Animagus under Dumbledore's tutelage during her time as a student at Hogwarts, transforming into a tabby cat at will. She often used this ability when she did not wish to be recognised. An example of this usage was when she spied on the Dursley family before Dumbledore brought Harry Potter to them. She also demonstrated her transformation to the students in their third year, which usually got applause. When Hermione Granger searched for Animagus references in her third year, she saw that McGonagall was one of the few registered Animagi in the 20th century. On his notes regarding The Tales of Beedle the Bard , Dumbledore states that Minerva asked him to explain that, while Animagi are usually people who seek to avoid punishment when they have broken the law, she merely became one to further her research on all branches of Transfiguration, and that she had never abused the ability for any surreptitious purposes, setting aside legitimate business for the Order of the Phoenix where secrecy and concealment were imperative.
- Charms: Minerva seemed to be very proficient in Charms. In 1992, when Harry and Ron had to eat in Snape's office, she conjured a bewitched plate of sandwiches that would automatically refill itself (a charm which she — presumably — placed on the plate herself). She had also mastered the Patronus Charm, being able to create a powerful corporeal Patronus in the form of a cat — identical to her Animagus. In fact, she was the only person seen to cast three Patronuses at once (albeit not in the presence of a Dementor). She was also proficient in the use of the Piertotum Locomotor charm, using it to such a great effect that with a single use, she animated virtually all of the thousands of desks and suits of armour in order to prepare Hogwarts for the final battle with Voldemort. Additionally, Minerva was able to use her Patronus as of means of communication, as taught to her by Albus Dumbledore.
- Dark Arts: Whilst Minerva did not practise the Dark Arts, she at least possessed adequate proficiency in the field, as she was able to successfully cast an effective Imperius Curse on Amycus Carrow, a remarkable feat as the Unforgivable Curses require both heartfelt intent and powerful magic in order to be effectively cast.
- Defence Against the Dark Arts: Minerva was also highly proficient in Defence Against the Dark Arts, as she fought in the two wizarding wars and survived, having defeated many powerful dark wizards and witches in process. As a testament to her proficiency in defending herself from the Dark Arts, Minerva was able to aid Kingsley and Slughorn, fellow highly skilful masters of the field, to contend with Voldemort himself, notably only losing when Voldemort's rage caused him to become more fierce, and survive the encounter. During her time as Headmaster, it was obvious that Minerva, like all her predecessors, was charged with handling the protective enchantments of Hogwarts and although she was not nearly as capable as Dumbledore in the field, considering her own considerable abilities, she likely still did so magnificently.
- Study of Ancient Runes: Minerva was highly proficient and well versed in the study of Ancient Runes or Runology, being able to understand and translate complex runic scriptures, alphabets and symbols correctly, often using the help of a highly useful and practical rune dictionary.
- Non-verbal and Wandless magic: Minerva was shown to be skilful at both non-verbal and wandless magic. When Barty Crouch Jr (disguised as Alastor Moody) transfigured Draco Malfoy into a ferret, Minerva transfigured him back without saying a word. In 1998, she tied up the Carrows by conjuring a silver rope and a net from her wand and later produced three Patronuses — all of which she did wordlessly. Another instance would be when Neville accidentally vanished one of the legs on his desk, and she conjured it back with just a wave of her wand. She was so skilled with transformation magic that she could perform the Avifors spell intentionally without her wand. This is a testament to her formidable magical skills, as both non-verbal and wandless magic are both incredibly difficult to perform.
- Flying: During her school years at Hogwarts, McGonagall was a skilful player of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. However, while playing, she suffered a number of serious injuries — such as a concussion — that forced her to give up playing. It is highly possible that the Slytherin Quidditch team had cheated in the process. This is the reason for her passionate desire for Gryffindor to win the Quidditch Cup over Slytherin.
- Potions: Minerva also had very advanced abilities in brewing potions, as she was capable of brewing the Animagus potion, which was known to be immensely difficult, complex and time-consuming with great consequences if brewed incorrectly, showing her superior talent in potion-making.
- Physical condition: It should be noted that Minerva was in excellent physical condition, despite her age. She had great physical endurance as she notably fully recovered from four Stunning Spells aimed at her by Dolores Umbridge and some Aurors. Although she was hospitalised due to the severity of her injuries, many noted that the four spells straight to the chest could have been fatal, another testament to her overall strength. Further evidence of Minerva's excellent physical condition was that she could move with the speed of a much younger woman.
- Leadership skills: McGonagall was an exceptionally effective leader, being able to take charge in any situation within minutes. When Dumbledore was gone, she stepped in to fill his shoes. In the upstart of the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall ousted the current headmaster, Severus Snape, and took charge of the school, securing it against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. She led the defenders of Hogwarts during the battle, and in the end they came out victorious when Harry defeated Voldemort once and for all. After everything returned to normal, Minerva became the permanent Headmistress of Hogwarts.
- Logical thinking and intelligence: McGonagall was an incredibly wise and intelligent witch. She was once given the option to become a Ravenclaw by the Sorting Hat, though she turned it down in preference for Gryffindor, with her officially becoming a known Hat Stall. In 1998, she effortlessly solved a riddle to allow Amycus Carrow into the Ravenclaw Tower.
- Wand: Minerva's wand was 9½ ", fir, and had a dragon heartstring core. The wand is well suited to Transfiguration, proven by its owner, who was a teacher of the subject and an Animagus.
- Office: Minerva's office is a small study located off of the first-floor corridor, to the right of a staircase to the Serpentine Corridor. It has a large fire, windows overlooking the Training Grounds and the Quidditch pitch and a sparse stone-floored bedroom behind a concealed door"
- Headmistress's Office: Upon assuming the headship of Hogwarts following the legendary Battle of Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall presided henceforth over the school from the office of her predecessors. It is unknown what, if any changes she did to the decor, or what the passwords were.
- Hornbill: This hornbill was owned by McGonagall from 1992 or earlier. In that year, Professor McGonagall used the bird to demonstrate the spell, Vera Verto, in front of her second-years' class.
- Dress robes: Minerva wore a set of dress robes to the Yule Ball, which was held on Christmas Day, 1994, together with a hat on which she arranged a rather ugly wreath of thistles. The robes were made of a red tartan fabric.
- Walking stick: Minerva used this walking stick after leaving St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, after being hit with four Stunners. It was once borrowed, with her permission, by Peeves to chase and whack Dolores Umbridge with.
- Cottage: During their marriage in the 1980s, Minerva and Elphinstone Urquart lived in a small cottage, which the latter purchased after he proposed to her in the summer of 1982. The cottage was located in Hogsmeade, from where Minerva could go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry every day to teach.
Minerva knew Albus Dumbledore for the majority of her life. She attended Hogwarts as a student during Dumbledore's time as Transfiguration Professor and even replaced him when he took the position of Headmaster of the school. She served for many years as his Deputy Headmistress, standing in for him and even replacing him as Headmistress on several occasions.
Albus Dumbledore discovered Minerva in tears in her classroom late one evening after she found out about the marriage of Dougal McGregor to another woman. She confessed the whole story to him, and Albus Dumbledore offered both comfort and wisdom; telling Minerva some of his own family history, previously unknown to her. The confidences exchanged that night between two intensely private and reserved characters were to form the basis of a lasting mutual esteem and friendship.
Minerva McGonagall was one of only a handful of people who knew how dreadful a moment it was for Dumbledore when he made the decision to confront and defeat the Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in 1945.
Minerva had great faith in Dumbledore, placing great stock in the differences between him and Voldemort. However, she did not hesitate to disagree with him when she felt the need to do so. She greatly opposed his decision to place Harry Potter with Petunia Dursley and her family, calling them the "worst sort of Muggles imaginable." She also served more than once to bring Dumbledore back on track when he became distracted from the matter currently at hand.
Minerva never hesitated in displaying her loyalty to Dumbledore. When Cornelius Fudge brought Aurors to arrest Dumbledore in 1996, she boldly stepped forward and announced her intention to fight the Aurors on his behalf. She only stepped back at Dumbledore's insistence when he reminded her that Hogwarts and her students would need her in his absence.
Minerva was devastated when Dumbledore was killed in 1997 during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, and attended his funeral. A year later, when Harry was on a mission given to him by Dumbledore, she did not question the decision of the late headmaster, but immediately sought to provide whatever assistance she could.
- "You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son — I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here?"
- —McGonagall discussing the Dursley family as Harry's guardians[src]
Minerva showed her care for Harry ever since she, Dumbledore and Hagrid left him in the care of the Dursleys, in part because she had been quite fond of Harry's late parents. She was sort of a loving grandmother to him and expressed concern with both Dumbledore's choice trusting Hagrid to safely transport Harry to Little Whinging, and of the choice of family with whom Harry would stay. She spent hours on end spying on the Dursleys to get an insight to what life for Harry growing up would be like. It is unlikely, however, that she kept watch over Harry, as she would never go against Dumbledore's actions, no matter how much she disagreed with them.
When Harry arrived at Hogwarts, Minerva was pleased that he was sorted into Gryffindor, her house. When she saw Harry on a broomstick and the natural flying abilities he displayed, rather than punishing or expelling him, she brought him to see Oliver Wood, captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, announcing that she had found their new Seeker. In her gratitude for Harry accepting the position, McGonagall bought him a Nimbus 2000 for his first Quidditch game. She also (along with the other professors) reported that he was likeable and talented.
However, Minerva's concern for Harry did not blind her to his misdemeanours around the school. Though she often let Harry off for breaking school rules, she did so only under life-threatening circumstances. Minerva went out of her way to treat all students justly, and took no issue with giving even those of her own House severe punishment, if she thought they deserved it. It served to better them, and most times her severity made the troublemakers stop. When Harry and his friends were caught sneaking around the tower in the dead of night during their first year at Hogwarts, Minerva did not hesitate to take 150 points away from Gryffindor despite her House's first-place standing at the time, and additionally to sending him off to serve detention in the Forbidden Forest. It's possible she would have levied an even harsher punishment had she caught them in the act of smuggling Norbert itself.
Throughout Harry's studies at Hogwarts, Minerva kept a watchful eye on him and his friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and intervened in their affairs whenever necessary to keep them safe. In Harry's fifth year, she also promised Harry that she would do whatever she possibly could to see that he achieved his dream of becoming an Auror. When Minerva later found out about the sort of punishment Harry and various other students had been receiving from Dolores Umbridge, she openly expressed her disgust and disapproval, despite the power Umbridge wielded.
When Harry secretly infiltrated Hogwarts shortly prior to the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry defended Minerva's honour against Alecto and Amycus Carrow who had been posted at the school by Voldemort. Amycus demanded to know where Harry was in the Tower and McGonagall asked why he would be there as he belonged in her house, with clear pride in her voice. When Amycus Carrow spat at McGonagall, Harry was outraged to the point of attacking him with the Cruciatus Curse. He also agreed with Bellatrix Lestrange's assertion that one had to "really mean it" to perform the curse correctly. Although shocked by Harry's sudden appearance and his use of an Unforgivable Curse, Minerva was clearly touched by the gesture.
Though Minerva initially tried to convince Harry to flee out of concern for his safety, she immediately joined Harry in retaking the castle and preparing for battle. She did this when he informed her that he was acting on Dumbledore's orders. Nearing the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, Minerva's devastation was great when she saw Rubeus Hagrid carrying Harry's seemingly dead body. This grief was enough to make her duel Voldemort head on in the final battle. She duelled him alongside Horace Slughorn and Kingsley Shacklebolt, in order to protect her students.
When the battle ended with Voldemort's death at Harry's hands, Minerva was among the first to embrace him. The two continued to have a very positive relationship over the following years. Harry acted as a frequent guest lecturer on Defence Against The Dark Arts, under Minerva's jurisdiction. Minerva would serve as Headmistress over Harry's three children, and in turn she learned to expect them to get into the same kinds of trouble as their father. This was to be expected, after having now taught and served over three generations of Potters.
- "And Potter — do try and win, won't you? Or we'll be out of the running for the eighth year in a row, as Professor Snape was kind enough to remind me only last night..."
- —McGonagall after enduring taunting from Snape[src]
Minerva McGonagall was Severus Snape's professor of Transfiguration during his time as a student at Hogwarts. After he had graduated and then returned as the Potions master, he and McGonagall became colleagues. As Head of Gryffindor House, McGonagall and Snape teased one another about House points and Quidditch standings, acting like friendly rivals to one another. Like Snape, McGonagall was a strict disciplinarian, but appeared faireir to Harry Potter, who was a member of her House. McGonagall and Snape were both demanding and effective teachers, both were unusually talented at magic, and both were loyal to Albus Dumbledore, so over time, Minerva grew to respect Severus despite his dark past. McGonagall knew that Snape was a Death Eater in his youth, but she followed Albus Dumbledore in believing that he truly regretted his former allegiance. She did, however, admit to being suspicious of Snape's true allegiance though she trusted him simply because Albus did. Unusually for Snape, he was on first name terms with McGonagall, showing a certain level of personal friendship.
After Snape killed Dumbledore, McGonagall was shocked and perhaps personally hurt to find her formerly-respected colleague a murderer and apparent traitor. When Snape became Headmaster of Hogwarts, McGonagall opposed him and his supposed minions the Carrows, without knowing Snape was secretly helping her protect the students from his fellow Death Eaters. At the onset of the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall and Snape duelled inconclusively; Professor Flitwick interrupted them and Snape fled the school rather than continue the fight. McGonagall, believing his retreat was motivated by fear, called out "Coward!", an insult he particularly detested. Snape was killed by Voldemort during the battle. Only after it was too late did McGonagall learn that Snape had killed Dumbledore in a painful act of loyalty to the Headmaster's own orders. There is no report that she objected to Snape's portrait being added to the collection in the headmaster's office by Harry Potter's arrangement, which shows that she has forgiven him and likely came to admire and deeply respect his marvellous bravery.
- "Ah, of course. There is no need to tell me any more, Miss Granger. Which one of you will be dying this year?"
- —McGonagall discussing a previous Divination lesson[src]
Minerva took a shine to Hermione Granger. During Hermione's Transfiguration first t the lesson, Minerva gave her one of her "rare smiles". She did this when Hermione successfully transfigured a match into a needle early on in the lesson, before any other student. Minerva was also extremely shocked and disappointed in Hermione when she said she had gone looking for the Troll that invaded Hogwarts, under the impression that she could stop it. The claim was not true, but Minerva was none the wiser.
In Hermione's third year, Minerva also went to the effort to arrange for Hermione to be given permission to use a Time-Turner to take additional classes. Teachers did not often seek permission for a student to use one of the devices, but Minerva saw something special in Hermione and went out of her way to make sure she wasn't under-achieving. She further showed her high regard of Hermione, by appointing her a Gryffindor prefect in her fifth year at Hogwarts.
When Minerva was attacked by several Ministry employees outside of Hagrid's Hut, Hermione showed deep emotion towards the event, like Minerva did a few years before when Hermione was attacked. Minerva was a role model for Hermione and both had much in common. They both believed that Divination was a very "woolly" subject and that Professor Trelawney was a fraud. Furthermore, both were considered for Ravenclaw, but in the end were both Sorted into Gryffindor House.
- Ron Weasley : "That was bloody brilliant!"
- McGonagall: "Well, thank you for that assessment, Mr Weasley. Perhaps it would be more useful if I were to transfigure Mr Potter or yourself into a pocket watch? That way, one of you might be on time."
- — McGonagall's first interaction with Ron[src]
Ron Weasley was a student at the time McGonagall was a professor at Hogwarts. Ron was sorted into Gryffindor, McGonagall's house. Ron thought she was very strict, however, he did see her good side on a number of occasions. The two clashed when Harry and he flew Arthur Weasley's flying car to Hogwarts. However, she did not wish to see them expelled. During the Yule Ball, Minerva showed the other students how to dance by dancing with Ron in front of the whole class, a move which prompted laughter from the class and Fred and George agreeing to always tease him about it. Ron is appointed prefect by McGonagall in his fifth year after most likely being persuaded by Dumbledore, as he felt that Harry had enough responsibilities to deal with. Ron and McGonagall fought together during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and the Battle of Hogwarts, surviving the Second Wizarding War.
Minerva had a long history with the Longbottom family, having served in the Order of the Phoenix with Neville's parents (who were eventually tortured into insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange). She also had a personal relationship with Neville's grandmother, who raised him. McGonagall frequently seemed to expect more from Neville than he produced, starting with Neville's first day at Hogwarts when he ran out of a crowd after his toad. When Neville "lost" his scrap of parchment (which was actually stolen by Crookshanks) with Gryffindor's passwords on them, allowing Sirius Black to enter the common room, Minerva was furious with him.
Minerva couldn't help but feel pity for Neville after the loss of both his parents, whom she knew from the First Wizarding War and fought alongside earlier on in her career. She voiced pride in Neville's courage in participating in the fight with the Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries. She also sought to encourage Neville to take Charms, in his sixth year, despite his grandmother's dismissal of the subject as "soft;" Minerva wanted to see Neville pursue his own talents rather than the skills his grandmother appeared to value. She told him, "It's high time your grandmother learned to be proud of the grandson she's got, rather than the one she thinks she ought to have: Particularly after what happened at the Ministry." She also advised Neville that his grandmother had failed to earn her Charms OWL.
After the Second Wizarding War, Minerva may have been the one to employ Neville as the school's new Herbology professor.
- "What utter rubbish! How dare you tell such lies! Come on — I shall see Professor Snape about you, Malfoy!"
- —McGonagall after catching an 11-year-old Draco out of bed[src]
While Professor Snape favoured students of his own house, and often overlooked any misbehaviour from students like Draco Malfoy, McGonagall had little tolerance for nonsense from any student, regardless of their house, and took no notice of the Malfoy family's status within the wizarding community. As she was not a Slytherin, Malfoy did not respect her at all but was never foolish enough to make this clear in front of her.
Despite her clear disapproval of Malfoy's pure-blood supremacist leanings, McGonagall sought to protect him as much as every other student, and was completely appalled when Alastor Moody (Barty Crouch Jr in disguise) transformed Malfoy into a ferret in 1994. She transformed Malfoy back into his human form and reminded Moody that they never use transfiguration as a punishment. In addition, she would not accept Harry's accusations of Malfoy mailing a cursed necklace without sufficient evidence, nor condone any attacks Harry made on Malfoy such as when the former used the Sectumsempra curse (not knowing exactly what it did) on Malfoy, in 1997. However, when Draco was proven to have led a group of Death Eaters into the castle, she came to see him as much an enemy as any Death Eater, until after the war, where Draco was pardoned. When she was to hand down the punishment to Draco's son for time-travel and infiltrating the Ministry, Draco states he thinks the decision would be fair.
- "I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place, but you can't pretend he's not careless."
- —McGonagall's opinion of Hagrid in delicate situations[src]
Rubeus Hagrid respected McGonagall. Hagrid was the gamekeeper, and later Care of Magical Creatures professor of Hogwarts. McGonagall was one of the most serious professors at Hogwarts, and sometimes disapproved of Hagrid's behaviour, especially during the Sorting ceremony. However, they were still close friends, were both members of the Order of the Phoenix in both wars, and they both admired Albus Dumbledore.
Hagrid once kissed McGonagall on her cheek when he had drunk very much and she was noted giving a flushed giggle in the event's festivities. When Dolores Umbridge and several Aurors from the Ministry sought to sack and exile Hagrid from the school grounds by force, Minerva quickly flew to his aid, in turn taking four stunners simultaneously to the chest. Hagrid was disgusted when the Aurors stunned and injured her to the point that he attacked them in an uncontrollable rage before fleeing, furiously denouncing them as cowards.
In 1997, after Albus Dumbledore's death, Minerva stated that she appreciated Hagrid's opinion very much, as did Dumbledore. McGonagall and Hagrid fought against Death Eaters during the Battle of the Astronomy Tower and the Battle of Hogwarts. They were among the first ones to run to congratulate Harry after he defeated Voldemort. They both survived the war and still taught at Hogwarts.
- Sybill Trelawney: "Certainly I knew, Minerva. But one does not parade the fact that one is All-Knowing. I frequently act as though I am not possessed of the Inner Eye, so as not to make others nervous."
- McGonagall: "That explains a great deal."
- — Professor McGonagall's obvious disdain for Divination[src]
Minerva and Sybill Trelawney were not the best of friends, and barely maintained civility between them. Minerva had no use for Sybill's subject, Divination, and she believed that Trelawney was a fraud. The only reason Minerva has never spoken ill of Sybill directly was due to her refusal to insult her colleagues.
Despite her dislike for Trelawney and her teachings, however, Minerva was still disgusted when Umbridge unceremoniously and cruelly sacked Sybill and they would grow to understand one another through their shared hatred of Dolores Umbridge during the woman's tenure as Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor. Minerva was there as a literal shoulder for Sybill to cry on, and she spoke out against Dolores and told her what she thought after the events.
The relationship between Professor McGonagall and Professor Sprout dates back to when both attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The two students maintained an excellent relationship, which was kept well into their adulthood. When Dolores Umbridge stood to speak during the 1995 Welcoming Feast after her introduction by Headmaster Dumbledore, the two professors were both taken aback at this, and even exchange glances of disapproval. Furthermore, during the Battle of Hogwarts on 2 May, 1998, Minerva and Pomona had the same views on protecting the Castle against Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters.
McGonagall seemed to have a good relationship with most of her co-workers at Hogwarts. Among them was Filius Flitwick. Flitwick fought alongside McGonagall in the Battle of Hogwarts and survived the Second Wizarding War.
Minerva was on amicable terms with Horace Slughorn, her former Potions professor; both of them having battled against Voldemort alongside Kingsley Shacklebolt in the Battle of Hogwarts. Prior to this, Minerva commented on his seemingly cowardly behaviour when he realised the castle was under attack. She noted that if he wished to leave, he should take his students and do so and if he attempted to hinder their efforts against Voldemort from inside the castle, they would duel to kill. She stated that it was time for Slytherin to finally choose their alliances. He was taken aback at this and he fled, but later returned with reinforcements of students' parents and residents of Hogsmeade to help with the battle efforts.
McGonagall was also friendly with Poppy Pomfrey, the nurse. Pomfrey seemed to admire McGonagall's magical abilities and strength, such as when McGonagall was hit by four Stunners on the chest. Madam Pomfrey said that it would have killed most witches her age.
She was also friendly with Argus Filch, the caretaker, although they argued many times. During the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall shouted at Filch, and called him a blithering idiot. Then she sternly ordered him to call Peeves. It is possible that, after the war, McGonagall and Filch were still co-workers.
McGonagall seemed to have a quite close relationship with Remus Lupin, the D.A.D.A. professor in 1993. She didn't care about the fact Remus was a werewolf, because Dumbledore trusted him, too, and respected his efficient teaching skills, as she referenced him during Harry's Careers Advice. During the Second Wizarding War, they appear to be friendly; after Dumbledore's death, McGonagall, Lupin and several other individuals were devastated; they all discussed about the way Snape killed Dumbledore.
On the other hand, Minerva had no liking for Gilderoy Lockhart whatsoever, the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor before Lupin. This was due to Lockhart being obnoxious, incompetent and insensitive, annoying Minerva with nonsensical advices while being ignorant and unhelpful around the second opening of the Chamber of Secrets. Even as a student, Lockhart was already a vain, annoying attention-seeking troublemaker, to which Minerva held in contempt. She was positively hateful towards Lockhart when he walked in late and oblivious when everyone else was greatly saddened at Ginny Weasley's impending doom, and full-heartedly supported Snape sending Lockhart to deal with the monster within, in the hopes of scaring her incompetent colleague away. When Lockhart resigned due to his self-induced amnesia, McGonagall was cheerful along with the rest of the staff and students at the news.
After Voldemort infiltrated Hogwarts, two new professors took the post of Muggle Studies and Defence Against the Dark Arts: Alecto and Amycus Carrow respectively. They were loyal Death Eaters, and befitting their status, they taught Dark Arts rather than Defence Against the Dark Arts, devoted Muggle Studies to explaining how Muggles were filthy animals, and often took delight in punishing students with the Cruciatus Curse. When Amycus spat on McGonagall's face, Harry Potter got very angry and hit him with the Cruciatus Curse. After the war, McGonagall sent the Carrows to Azkaban.
During the First Wizarding War, Minerva joined the fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters, using her skill as an Animagi to spy on the Dark Lord's followers and report her findings to the Auror Office. During his second rise to power, Minerva joined the Order of the Phoenix and stayed in Hogwarts during the tenure of Severus Snape as Headmaster and the Carrows to protect her students. She is one of the few people that isn't afraid of standing against the Carrows, as she did defy them many times during the 1997-1998 school year.
Like most in the Wizarding world, Minerva was initially wary of speaking Voldemort's name. Noticeably, however, Minerva McGonagall became unafraid of saying Voldemort's name sometime during the second wizarding war, as she told Filius Flitwick before the Battle of Hogwarts to not to be afraid of it because Voldemort would try to kill him anyway (though in the book she still referred to him as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named). Minerva, along with Kingsley Shacklebolt and Horace Slughorn, bravely duelled Voldemort himself during the second part of the Battle, then she watched as Voldemort is defeated by Harry Potter once and for all finally ending the War.
- Dolores Umbridge: "It sounds as if you're questioning my authority in my own classroom, Minerva."
- McGonagall: "Not at all, Dolores. Merely your medieval methods!"
- Dolores Umbridge: "I am sorry, dear, but to question my practises is to question the Ministry, and by extension, the Minister himself! I am a tolerant woman, but the one thing I will not stand for is disloyalty!"
- — McGonagall's disapproval of Umbridge's horrendous teaching practises[src]
Minerva disliked Dolores Umbridge right from the beginning when the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher began to invade Hogwarts with her Hogwarts High Inquisitor position and did everything she could in her power to circumvent Umbridge's authority without risking the loss of her job. During Umbridge's inspections of McGonagall's class, Minerva tried for the most part to ignore Umbridge. This was difficult due to Umbridge's constant interruptions by means Umbridge's soft, girlish cough of "Hem hem". When forced to acknowledge Umbridge's presence, McGonagall treated her with a cold and harsh demeanour.
Despite Umbridge having the power to put Minerva on probation or even sack her, Minerva was not afraid to show her disgust and hatred of Umbridge to the woman's face. Despite this, she understood that Umbridge had a lot of power and that she was reporting directly to Cornelius Fudge, and so Minerva once warned Harry Potter to tread carefully around Umbridge.
Even so, she vehemently vouched for Harry during their Career Advice session, claiming that she would coach him nightly if she had to in order to realise his dream of becoming an Auror, after Umbridge's furious protests that Harry would never become one. After Umbridge fired Sybill Trelawney from her post as Divination teacher, Minerva even put aside her mild dislike of Sybill to focus even more on her hatred of Umbridge. Minerva indirectly stated that Umbridge's evaluation is incompetent and will not be taken into consideration.
Even when Dolores took over Hogwarts, replacing Albus Dumbledore as Head of the school, Minerva continued to help undermine Umbridge's reign, preferring to watch her struggle with the chaos that was being caused by the students and Peeves (and sometimes even helping with it). When Minerva was attacked and sent to St Mungo's, Dolores was pleased that she at last had complete control of Hogwarts. After Minerva's return to Hogwarts, Minerva did nothing to curb the students' enthusiasm when Peeves chased Dolores from Hogwarts, only lamenting that she could not watch with them because the poltergeist had taken her walking stick to hit Dolores with as he followed her from the school.
Umbridge returned to the Ministry in a high-ranking position and interrogated Muggle-borns, capturing them and imprisoning them to Azkaban. After the Second Wizarding War, Umbridge was captured by Aurors and sent to Azkaban herself, for the rest of her life.
Despite hating her they share the same patronus: a cat, although McGonagall's resembled her Animagus form.
McGonagall and the Weasleys get along well, considering they were all in Gryffindor House and fellow members of the Order of the Phoenix. However, she disapproved of Fred and George Weasley's behaviour at school, although she still seemed impressed by their magical skills. When Dolores Umbridge was appointed as High Inquisitor for Hogwarts, Minerva allied with the twins and attempted to oppose Umbridge.
Minerva was fond of all the Weasley children, including Ginny and Ron. She was glad that Ginny was sorted into Gryffindor, and, although Ginny thought McGonagall was a little strict, she believed that the Transfiguration professor was also fair. Furthermore, both Ginny and McGonagall tried to oppose Umbridge (in 1995) and the Carrows (in 1998). She also had high regard and expectations of Percy Weasley, who was a Gryffindor prefect, as well as Head Boy in his last year at Hogwarts.
The Marauders and Lily Evans
- "Is it true, Albus? Lily and James... are dead?"
- —McGonagall's devastation regarding the Potter's murders[src]
McGonagall had long been the Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts by the time Lily Evans and the Marauders attended as students. The Marauders were four great friends: Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter. They were all sorted into the Gryffindor house, and despite their boisterous ways, at odds with Minerva's no-nonsense reputation, they seemed to have a good relationship with her.
A little over a decade after he left Hogwarts, Remus Lupin returned to the school in order to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, becoming Minerva's professional colleague for one year. He and McGonagall were members of the Order of the Phoenix in both halves of the Wizarding Wars. Remus was eventually killed during the Battle of Hogwarts.
- "Hero-worshipped Black and Potter. Never quite in their league, talent-wise. I was often rather sharp with him... Stupid boy... Foolish boy..."
- —McGonagall's low opinion of Peter Pettigrew[src]
Minerva had a good relationship with Sirius Black. After his graduation, Sirius, like the other Marauders, was Minerva's comrade in the Order of the Phoenix. But after James' death, she, the rest of the wizarding community, assumed it was Sirius who betrayed the Potters since he was expected to be their Secret-Keeper; only in 1995 did she learn that the Secret-Keeper at the time of the Potters' deaths was actually Peter Pettigrew, who took the title after Sirius turned it down. Sirius was murdered by his own cousin Bellatrix Lestrange during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in 1996. Minerva's reaction to Sirius's death is unreported.
Minerva liked James Potter (an intelligent and talented wizard), despite the fact that he could sometimes be a bit of a bully and was not above bending the rules. Also, considering James's wand and his accomplishment of becoming an Animagus (this information most likely not privy to Professor McGonagall), it can be safely assumed that James was an exceptional student of hers and perhaps even a favourite. James became Minerva's fellow-member of the Order of the Phoenix after leaving Hogwarts. She later became friendly with James's son, Harry, who was also her student and a member of her House, though she did not show favouritism and was more than willing to take many points even from her own House for misbehaviour.
McGonagall also seems to have had a good relationship with Lily Evans, who was a Gryffindor at the time McGonagall taught Transfiguration. Lily was made a Prefect and later Head Girl; neither appointment would have happened if Lily's Head of House had not approved. McGonagall was devastated at the murder in 1981 of Lily and her husband James, both former members of her House and thus under her special care.
Order of the Phoenix members
McGonagall had a good relationship with most members of the Order of the Phoenix. Some of them included Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Alastor Moody. McGonagall and Tonks, like most people, were both devastated after Dumbledore's death. Tonks fought in several battles for the Order, but was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Moody was appointed as DADA professor in 1994. However, he was captured by Barty Crouch Jr and Peter Pettigrew; Barty Crouch was disguised as Moody and became the professor, as he wanted to send Harry Potter to Voldemort. McGonagall was very angry by Crouch's teaching methods and shouted at him. It is possible that she had the same opinion of the real Moody, but Moody might have been friendly with McGonagall afterwards. He was killed by Voldemort during the Battle of the Seven Potters.
She appeared to be friendly with Kingsley; she and Kingsley fought Voldemort, along with Horace Slughorn, and all of them survived the war.
- Minerva is the Roman name of Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, strategy, and justice, (among other things), and a name suitable for Minerva's personality. Minerva was also the goddess of commerce and schools, which could connect to her being one of the heads of Hogwarts. The name Minerva also means "wise."
- McGonagall comes from the Scotsman William Topaz McGonagall, who is considered to be one of the worst poets in the English language, although Rowling stated that this has nothing to do with Minerva, she only liked the surname. The Scottish name McGonagall (or McGonigle, McGonegal) is from the Celtic name Conegal, meaning "the bravest," plus Mc, or "son of."
Behind the scenes
- Minerva McGonagall is portrayed by British actress Dame Maggie Smith in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and in Deathly Hallows: Part 2. She also provided McGonagall's voice in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- McGonagall's tabby cat Animagus appearance is portrayed in the first instalment by Mrs P. Head.
- A younger Minerva McGonagall is portrayed by Fiona Glascott in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
- Previously, on Harry Potter Wiki and Harry Potter Lexicon, McGonagall's year of birth was calculated to be 1935 from her Pottermore biography and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor), which reveals she began Hogwarts in December 1956 after working for the Ministry for two years immediately after graduation. This places her graduation in 1954, her first year in 1947, and her birth in 1935, because of her October birthday, she was almost 12 when starting at Hogwarts.
- Furthermore, her Pottermore piece states that she was a student of Dumbledore when he taught Transfiguration ("under the guidance of her inspirational Transfiguration teacher, Albus Dumbledore [...]") but in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, they were presented as basically being a contemporary and Dumbledore taught Defence Against the Dark Arts first meaning he could not have taught her Transfiguration.
- And the same Pottermore piece states that Dumbledore employed her when he was still Head of the Transfiguration department and that she worked under him when he was Head of the department ("offering her a job in the Transfiguration department, under Head of Department, Albus Dumbledore").
- Hence, McGonagall's appearance in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald greatly upset certain fans and generated debates on the matter. In order to force it to work, she (and Dumbledore) have to switch back and forth implausibly in too short of a timeframe in their career, and it extensively ages Pomona Sprout too who had two overlapping school years with McGonagall. Theories have included:
- McGonagall's comments to Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where she says she had been working at the school for "thirty-nine years" never specified that she taught those thirty-nine years consecutively, which was the assumption for the calculation to work.
- This could mean Minerva had been teaching as Head of the Transfiguration Department for 39 years and not Hogwarts in general, in which case it only contradicts Minerva's second statement that she had started as transfiguration professor "after working for the Ministry for two years immediately after graduation."
- There is also the possibility that there was another, older Scottish witch of the same name who also taught at Hogwarts before the birth of the Minerva who appears in the Harry Potter books and films, although it would be unlikely that the two are related as the latter inherited her surname from her Muggle father.
- Another possible theory is the idea of time travel as this concept has been explored in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, where Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy get stranded in the 1981 timeline but were successfully able to summon their parents back from the present to save them. Similarly, there is a possibility that McGonagall travelled back to the early 1910s to fill in Albus Dumbledore's previous (or intended) position in Transfiguration, so Dumbledore could instead teach Defence against the Dark Arts thus better preparing his students for the war to come. If so, it is likely that Dumbledore was able to summon a professor back from the future (which happened to be McGonagall) to fill in the post by sending a out message to her future self in a similar manner like what was used by Albus Severus to summon Harry. Finally, in the Cursed Child, she later expresses her disgust about time turners and their consequences towards Albus Severus and Scorpius due to their reckless use of one and towards Hermione Granger due to not destroying that. This may also be attributed to a bad experience she had back in those days when using it.
- It is also possible that she took a break in her career at some point in her life like Horace Slughorn or she was in fact outright lying to Dolores Umbridge about her real length of employment at Hogwarts.
- Hence, McGonagall's appearance in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald greatly upset certain fans and generated debates on the matter. In order to force it to work, she (and Dumbledore) have to switch back and forth implausibly in too short of a timeframe in their career, and it extensively ages Pomona Sprout too who had two overlapping school years with McGonagall. Theories have included:
- In the films, Professor McGonagall appears to be older than she is described in the books. The timeline suggests that the character was forty-six when she and Dumbledore left Harry with the Dursleys, was fifty-five when Harry started Hogwarts, and sixty-two by the Battle of Hogwarts. By contrast, Maggie Smith was already in her late sixties at the time that she first played McGonagall.
- In 2007, Dame Maggie Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer and struggled through the filming of Half Blood Prince (2008) while undergoing the chemo treatments. In 2009, during the filming of Deathly Hallows: Part 2 she developed shingles (a painful skin rash), but still continued the film despite the pain.
- Professor McGonagall has the distinction of being the first magical character introduced in the series, when Vernon Dursley sees her reading a map in her Animagus form on the morning after the Potters' deaths. Only the three Dursleys are introduced before her. However in the films, McGonagall is the second magical character introduced as Albus Dumbledore appears before her. She is the second overall character introduced in the film series, as well as the first female character introduced.
- In an interview after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling had stated that Hogwarts had a different Head by the time Harry Potter's children arrived in 2017, saying that Minerva was "getting on a bit", but eventually changed her stance, as, with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Minerva is shown to still be active as of Albus Potter's time at Hogwarts.
- J. K. Rowling stated that she always pictured Maggie Smith, who portrays her in the films, as Professor McGonagall.
- In an early draft of the first book, she was called "Madam McGonagle".
- McGonagall is a playable character in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game).
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, after casting Piertotum Locomotor, Minerva excitedly says to Molly Weasley, "I've always wanted to use that spell!"
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, before the Battle of Hogwarts, she tells Filius Flitwick not be afraid to say Voldemort's name, because he will try to kill him either way. Also before the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall duels Snape with what appears to be the Blasting Curse, defeating Amycus and Alecto Carrow before Snape Disapparates.
- In the film adaptations, it seems to be a recurring gag to have Minerva McGonagall delivering alliterative lines; for instance, in Goblet of Fire, she says "behaving like a babbling, bumbling band of baboons", and in Deathly Hallows: Part 2, she says "particular proclivity for pyrotechnics".
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire there is a painting of a young McGonagall on the Gryffindor common room wall.
- Minerva McGonagall and Dolores Umbridge share the same Patronus, a cat.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Professor McGonagall can't enter the Gryffindor Common Room despite the fact she is the head of the house and she was in Gryffindor House while student at Hogwarts.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, McGonagall did not bring the suits of armour to life to help in the Battle of Hogwarts.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, before casting the protective enchantments around the castle, McGonagall asked Harry for flowers.
- Minerva was the first female character confirmed to have kept her maiden when she married. Later, it was revealed that Hermione Granger also did.
- In Roman mythology, Minerva is the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce.
- Professor McGonagall was the first Animagus introduced in canon.
- Minerva is partly inspired by J. K. Rowling's inspirational English teacher Lucy Shepherd, who taught her what a good book looks like.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game) (Appears on the collectible card)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- The Making of Harry Potter
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- LEGO Dimensions
- Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Professor McGonagall" at Pottermore
- ↑ HP lexicon transcript of JKR's notes.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ MSNBC Interview with J.K. Rowling
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene One
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Pottermore Presents - Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Chapter 1 (Minerva McGonagall)
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ The Tales of Beedle the Bard, page xi, xiv.
- ↑ Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (see video)
- ↑ In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Professor McGonagall is described as having "balled fists" and being "red faced" when yelling at Fudge and Dumbledore.
- ↑ LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor) - "Ron stared as Professor McGonagall ushered Harry and Hermione away from the chattering crowd; they accompanied her across the entrance hall, up the marble staircase, and along a corridor. Once they were in her office, a small room with a large, welcoming fire, Professor McGonagall motioned Harry and Hermione to sit down"
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest) - "Filch took them down to Professor McGonagall's study on the first floor, where they sat and waited without saying a word to each other"
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament)
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 9 (Grim Defeat) - "Professor McGonagall stood up and stared out of the window at the Quidditch field, just visible through the rain"
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23 (The Yule Ball)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
- ↑ Maggie Smith on IMBD
- ↑ https://twitter.com/HogwartsMystery/status/981864182957166597
- ↑ JK Rowling One-On-One: Part One. Today Show (NBC), 26 July 2007
- ↑ https://www.pottermore.com/news/watch-the-new-trailer-for-new-mobile-game-harry-potter-hogwarts-mystery
- ↑ She was head of Gryffindor House when Harry's parents were at Hogwarts and they started in 1971, so she must have become head of Gryffindor House sometime before that date.