Harry Potter Books Wikia

Minerva McGonagall was a character in the Harry Potter books.

She was a witch and Transfiguration Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She proved to be an exceptional teacher and a formidable force in the First and Second Wizarding Wars. She was Acting Head of Hogwarts twice, and she later became the Headteacher when the Second Wizarding War was over.


Early life

Young Minerva

Minerva attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was Sorted into Gryffindor House. She graduated Hogwarts and began teaching at the school in December 1956. She proved to be an excellent teacher, strict but fair.

Philosopher's Stone

Minerva found out from Rubeus Hagrid that Albus Dumbledore was planning to go to Privet Drive the day after Voldemort's defeat. She wanted to know why and waited the whole day by 4 Privet Drive in Animagus form. Minerva arrived in the morning and was reading a map, when Vernon saw her and thought it was odd. Minerva would later watch Petunia Dursley take Dudley to the shop and was shocked by Dudley kicking her and demanding sweets.[4]

Minerva reading in Animagus form

Dumbledore arrived near midnight and found Minerva waiting. Dumbledore wondered why she waited when she could be celebrating the downfall of Voldemort, but Minerva told him how unhappy she was with how the wizarding world have celebrated, because the Muggle world noticed and she blamed the shooting stars in Kent on Dedalus Diggle.[4]

Minerva then wondered whether Voldemort's downfall was true and that he actually died. Dumbledore eventually told her that it certainly looked that way while berating her for continuing to call Voldemort "You-Know-Who", telling her he thinks she's sensible enough not to fear the name. Minerva continued, now saying the proper name, telling Dumbledore that he only says the name because Voldemort feared Dumbledore and he could have defeated Voldemort if he tried the Dark Arts. Dumbledore then blushed and thanked Minerva.[4]

Minerva then brought up part of why she wanted to speak to him, because she was hoping that Dumbledore could tell her whether James and Lily actually died. She would not accept it to be true until Dumbledore told her for certain. Minerva was very upset when she found out they had indeed died, and worried about Harry and how he survived. Dumbledore comforted her and Minerva then asked again why he was at Privet Drive.[4]

Dumbledore told her that Harry was being brought there by Rubeus Hagrid to stay with the Muggle family at 4 Privet Drive. Minerva thought Hagrid may not be the best one to entrust Harry with, and she was shocked that he would leave Harry with them because of the way they acted, but accepted it when Dumbledore pointed out Harry would be better growing up without the attention of newfound fame.[4]

They were then joined by Hagrid and Harry and Minerva noted the lightning-shaped scar on Harry's forehead (the place that Voldemort tried to kill him). They then said goodbye, and Minerva told Hagrid to calm down when he started wailing, worried he would wake the Muggle neighbours. Dumbledore then said goodbye to Minerva, telling her to join a party, and she departed in Animagus form, unhappy that Dumbledore thought he could explain everything in a letter to the Dursley family.[4]

Minerva saw Harry Potter for the second time when he began Hogwarts School in September 1991. He and the other first-years were taken to the oak door at the entrance of the school by Rubeus Hagrid, and when Hagrid knocked on the door, Minerva opened it and Harry had the immediate opinion that she was not a teacher to cross. Minerva took the children to the empty chamber, where she told them how they would be placed in one of the four houses, and told them about each house.[5]

Minerva later led them to the Great Hall and placed the Hat on each head when she called their name. Minerva later joined the teachers at the High Table for the Start-of-Term Feast.[5] Harry knew from the beginning that Minerva was a strict and fair teacher who could sense trouble immediately. But when she saw Harry chase and catch a ball in Flying, rather than get angry he had no permission to fly on a broomstick, she gave him the role of Seeker for the House Quidditch team, making him the youngest Seeker in a century.[6]

Minerva was determined to win and hoped Harry would help them win the tournament that year.[6] In the first Quidditch game of the year, Minerva had to keep shouting at Lee Jordan because he had a problem being impartial.[7] Minerva and Flitwick decorated the Hall for the festive holidays in December.[8]

In the spring of 1992, Draco told her that Harry and Hermione were taking a dragon to the Astronomy Tower. McGonagall had found him at the foot of the Astronomy Tower stairs and told him he should not be outside the common room at midnight. But from their perspective, no-one showed up because Harry and Hermione were under the Cloak of Invisibility and snuck past them. McGonagall thought that Draco had invented the story and gave him detention.[9]

But later that night, Filch caught Harry and Hermione sneaking back to the common room and McGonagall caught Neville Longbottom sneaking about trying to warn Harry about Draco. McGonagall thought that Harry and Hermione had invented a story about a dragon to get Draco into trouble, got Neville involved in their scheming and gave them detention too for sneaking out past curfew.[10]

McGonagall sent Harry, Hermione, Neville and Draco a note each using owls to tell them to time and location of their detention: the Forbidden Forest at 11pm.[10] In early June, McGonagall was told by Hermione that she, Harry and Ron wanted to speak to Dumbledore. McGonagall told them that Dumbledore was at the Ministry of Magic and Harry told her that he thought that someone was going to steal the Philosopher's Stone.[11]

McGonagall was shocked that they even knew about the Stone but told they should not worry about the Stone because it was well protected.[11] However, she was wrong. Later that evening, Professor Quirrell and Voldemort attempted to take the Stone and Harry managed to save it.[12]

Chamber of Secrets

In September 1992, McGonagall was very angry to learn that Harry and Ron had taken a Ford Anglia and flew to school, having broken the International Statute of Secrecy in the process. The choice of punishment was given to McGonagall because she was their Head of House, and she chose detention. Harry pointed out that points should not be taken from their House because they broke the rules prior to the school year beginning. McGonagall slightly smiled at that and then left them to eat their dinner in the office instead of the Great Hall.[13]

McGonagall later found Harry and Ron to tell them about their detentions: Ron was to help Filch and Harry was to help Professor Lockhart. Harry begged her to let him help Filch instead and she found that curious, but told him that Lockhart had specifically asked for Harry and he had to go.[14] Later, saw Harry, Ron and Hermione near Mrs Norris who was Petrified. McGonagall defended Harry when Filch thought that he was to blame, and when Snape thought Harry was hiding things and should be punished, she told him the cat was not struck by a broomstick.[15]

Later, McGonagall found a Petrified Colin Creevey at the foot of stairs leading up to the Hospital Wing. She was very shaken and glad when Professor Dumbledore passed by to get a hot chocolate. They took Colin to Madam Pomfrey and Dumbledore told her it was proof that the Chamber of Secrets was open. McGonagall deduced Colin was taking grapes to Harry and asked Dumbledore who would open it, but she was confused when Dumbledore asked not who, but how.[16]

Ron and Hermione heard Professor McGonagall telling Professor Flitwick about Colin.[17] Later, she found Harry at the scene of a newly Petrified Nearly Headless Nick and Justin Finch-Fletchley. She took Harry to Professor Dumbledore and when he told her he was not responsible, she told him it was not in her hands judge.[17]

In April, McGonagall suspended every club and imposed new rules including a curfew because she had found two students Petrified again including Hermione. She took Harry and Ron to the Hospital Wing to tell them and announced the school would probably have to close if it wasn't solved soon.[18] Professor Dumbledore was later suspended by the Board of Governors and Professor McGonagall became temporary Head. He gave her instructions to say she should let the school and education continue to run how it normally would.[19]

In May during Transfiguration, she announced her students would be taking an exam for every subject. Seamus Finnigan asked why having expected it would be cancelled because of what was happening in the school, but she told him the whole point of keeping the school open was for everyone to get an education and things had to continue how it usually would.[19]

A few days later, Professor McGonagall announced that the Mandrake Restorative Draught could be completed that evening, causing the school to cheer. She hoped at least one person would be able to tell her who was responsible for what happened. She later saw Harry and Ron wandering round unsupervised and she looked very angry. But when they told her a lie about how they miss Hermione and wanted to tell her she would be okay, she had a tear in her eye and she gave them permission to go into the Hospital Wing.[19]

That evening, she found a new warning about the Chamber of Secrets saying Ginny was taken into the Chamber itself. She called for the school to go back to their House common room and told the teachers that the school was going to have to close. Professor Lockhart was late and Professor McGonagall joined teachers in telling him he was being sent to the Chamber of Secrets because he had told everyone he knew where it was. It was a ruse to get him out their way and she told Head of Houses to tell their students.[19]

She later was joined by Professor Dumbledore again and she spoke to Mr and Mrs Weasley in her office. She was shocked when Harry and Ron showed up having saved Ginny. She was gasping and clutching her chest in amazement that Ginny was fine. Harry told everybody everything that happened that led him to the Chamber of Secrets and what happened when he found it. Professor McGonagall was astonished at how many school rules he had broken.[20]

Professor Dumbledore explained who Tom Riddle was and how he managed to enchant Ginny. He then sent Ginny to the Hospital Wing and told Professor McGonagall they should celebrate the end of the Chamber of Secrets by holding a great feast, so she headed to the kitchens to let them know. During the feast, she announced examinations were cancelled but Hermione was disappointed by such a school treat.[20]


Professor McGonagall wore her hair in a tight-bun. She had sharp eyes and wore spectacles.[21]

Notes and sources

  1. Minerva began working at Hogwarts in December 1956 according to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15. She had to be at least 17.
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (taking place in 1995) - How long have you been teaching at Hogwarts?" Professor Umbridge asked. "Thirty-nine years this December".
  3. Minerva gave permission for notes to be put in the 2008 edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which says she was the Headteacher then. In an [interview], J.K. Rowling says she wasn't the Headteacher by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Epilogue which took place in 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9
  7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11
  8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12
  9. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 14
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15
  11. 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16
  12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17
  13. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 5
  14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 7
  15. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9
  16. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10
  17. 17.0 17.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11
  18. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16
  20. 20.0 20.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18
  21. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5