LOL, because she could?
Hmmm, well if I did have to make a guess I think that it was either for personal reasons or for protection. It was kind of shaky war wise when she was growing up and I don't know when the Order of the Phoenix started (probably later, right?) but she was still probably involved in some top secret spy stuff.
I'd imagine she's an overachiever. She's very strict with her students and expects them to do well on their exams and to behave well. I think it was probably something she heard was possible, certainly had a natural talent and interest in Transfiguration, and probably wanted to excel at that very difficult thing.
Originally Posted by bluexroses
Bear in mind, she was Albus Dumbledore's student, when Albus Dumbledore was teaching Transfiguration.
Okay, there's a timeline conflict here. In book one we hear Dumbledore saying "We've had precious little to celebrate for 11 years", so that seems like it was the height of the war, and there is some confusion with dates.
Originally Posted by dragonwings
Lupin says that it seemed he wouldn't be able to go to Hogwarts because he was a werewolf "but then Dumbledore became Headmaster", implying that *because* Dumbledore became Headmaster, Remus would be allowed at school, and also that Dumbledore becoming Headmaster happened AFTER Remus was bit (he was a child, but remembers it, so was certainly about four or five at least).
The whole problem with that is, in HBP, we see Dumbledore talking to a slightly physically and, er, otherwse "altered" Tom Riddle, and this is stated as being about ten years after Riddle left Hogwarts/graduated. If he was born in December 1926 then that makes Sep 1938 his first year, making him complete his schooling in June 1945-ish, so a decade later would be the mid-1950's. Dumbledore's ascension to Headmaster (from Deputy Head) would necessitate a new teacher at Hogwarts, and indeed, Minerva McGonagall herself says she has been teaching at the school "thirty-nine years this December" when questioned by Umbridge at the beginning of the 1995-1996 school year. So if she's been there 39 years in December 1995, that means she started teaching in 1956.
MWPP weren't even BORN until 1960, which, if Remus was 4 or 5 when he was bitten, would make the bite take place in the mid 1960s, which kind of implies that Dumbledore wasn't Headmaster yet, or you can disregard that statement from Lupin entirely.
It is noted at that meeting that Dumbledore has with Riddle, that Riddle has some followers awaiting him in Hogsmeade, who refer to themselves as "Death Eaters", and Riddle himself tries to get Dumbledore to call him "Lord Voldemort".
So it's quite probable the war was going on for some time prior before the "eleven years" that Dumbledore refers to, although not with that frequency, and it's also quite probable that the Ministry tried to blow it off.
I don't think it's likely that McGonagall became an Animagus so she could be a spy, because although she too was a student at the time Tom Riddle was, during the time they were students, the Grindelwald war was going on, and Tom went off to support that, but it was taking place elsewhere. Even if he started building follower (and starting some attacks) after his return (which is entirely possible), I think McGonagall would have had to have become an Animagus long before that to be considered to be an instructor. As such, I think it was likely she took her tutelage under Dumbledore, and became an Animagus while she was still a student.
/my $5 USD
Ah, to have your skills! lol
Now that you mention the time line glitch, I think that you are right! I also think that the war was going on way longer than 11 years. J.K. Rowling was just starting out when she wrote the first book and we can guess that plots changed, characters changed and dates changed several times during the writing process because of all the loopholes we see. I like to think that the war was going on longer than 11 years because of what CM mentioned and also, there had to be some sort of tension and build up before war broke out.
This is where I wish that Harry, Ron and Hermione did their Seventh Year at Hogwarts just so that we can see their schedule and the things that they learned! We know very little about the 7th year at Hogwarts. We know that only 7th years can be Head Boy or Girl, and we know that 7th year students take their NEWTs that year. But we nothing about the academics, the graduation ceremony, or any other traditions! It really drives me mad sometimes! It does allow for some creative thinking however. Like, what if each 7th year student had to do something akin to an Independent Study project? Like what if for her Independent Study Project Professor McGonagall decided to learn how to become an Animagus? But it is frustrating for me as a writer because I'm extremely tempted to write it as a Muggle graduation thing with all the parties and the diplomas and the gowns, etc. etc.
But an Independent Study Project can sound so cliched and I really don't feel that she became an Animagus while at school because of all the liability issues and such. Hogwarts may be a little more dangerous and a little less caring as to what its students get up to, but the Ministry of Magic is highly restrictive and very cautious about Animagi and so it leads me to think that they wouldn't let a 17 year old student become one while at school because of the dangers. Hermione looked it up and how many Anigmagi were there? Like nine in the last century? (Not including Skeeter and the Marauders.) I don't think that the Ministry would be willing enough to let her become one at 17 even if she was brilliant.
"Skills"? I have no such skills. I simply summarised things I have heard on podcasts and read on the lexicon and the like.
Having said that, I'm given to understand that there isn't a "graduation ceremony" such as we in the States are used to. You finish school and get on with your life.
I think you're better off staying away from an Independent Study project myself. Perhaps then-student Minerva McGonagall, much like her Marauder students after her, took a personal interest in human transfiguration and studied it and applied herself personally. I can imagine that she would have done so with significant tutelage from Dumbledore, and possibly encouragement of some classmates. There was a Charms club, after all, so there's nothing to say there wasn't, at some point, a club dedicated to the study of Transfiguration.
Really, once you get out of school there doesn't seem to be much academic opportunity; there are no wizarding universities. So I think she'd have done it in her last years at school.
Originally Posted by Ceredig
Personally, I just don't see her doing this. She may be a very contradictory character, but she is still solid in her beliefs. I think that she would have to be under some sort of amazingly powerful Imperius, or that maybe he would have to have something that she loves and would do anything for to threaten her with? But i don't believe that she would just decide to join the other side without some type of negative motivation.
I think she'd never be a Death Eater no matter what.
If she played Quidditch as a student, I could see her being the Keeper. She would want to take the other team's score into her own hands. She would also want to watch over the rest of the team.
Minerva McGonagall seems to me to be a selfless teacher, with an unlimited passion for Quidditch. I've read a little fanfiction delving into her past, but we know so little about her. We know she is very proud of her position as Professor of Transfiguration (if I put that wrong, I'm sorry, I'm having a day!)
But, what was her role in the Order? It just mystifies me that she held Snape in such low esteem if she was a proper member. I guess double agents (like Snape) must move alone? But she had to have seen him lurking during some meetings, so why did she act so coldly towards him? She was his teacher, at one point, right? What marks do you think Snape got in Transfiguration?
I don't think she holds him in low regard at all, until he kills Dumbledore and appears to be a completely loyal Death Eater. At that point, what would you expect?
Originally Posted by leahsm2
Prior to that, all I got was a well-fed and friendly but fierce professional rivalry.
Why and where do you think she treats him more coldly than anyone else? She kind of blindsides him a bit when she comes back to Hogwarts after she got hit by the Stunners, but she doesn't keep him from taking the points at all and Snape seems genuinely happy to see her (to me). I imagine she probably didn't put up with MWPP's crap, and defended him without humiliating him on numerous occasions while he was a student.
As for his marks, SnapesForte on LJ gave a truly wonderful and well-supported justification for Snape being a spider animagus. It came out prior to DH (I wanna say sometime late in the year. Privately, I'd always rather hoped that he was truly *dreadful* at Transfiguration for a couple of reasons:
- It would drive yet another division between Snape & MWPP, but particularly Black & Potter
- Honestly, Snape's good at a LOT of things. He's so brilliant at Charms that he is the only one we see *inventing* his own spells, and he does so as a student. Even Dumbledore only *adapts* the existing Patronus, and Hermione *adapts* the existing Protean charm. (Although it can be reasonably assumed that the Dark Lord or a minion thereof invented Morsmordre, it also may be an adaptation). He's also unparalelled at Occlumency. He's a brilliant Dark Arts and Defence expert, and prodigous at Potions (which as you well know, seems to require some proficiency at Astronomy, CoMC and Herbology at the very least). He needs to be bad at SOMETHING besides interpersonal relationships with children (he gets along with adults fine).
But there is no canon evidence for his marks in Transfiguration
Kill the Spare
Minerva McGonagall the Animagus Partly 'because she could' - as someone else said but also because it was the one thing Dumbledore wasn't! She was taught by him, after all, and I can imagine DD taking a close interest in her because she was seen as brilliant too. She wouldn't want to be a DD clone though so becoming an Animagus makes her different.
McGonagall the Quidditch Player. She's so passionate about it that she either played on the Gryffindor team or was perhaps one of those statistic obsessives that we have with every sport! One thing though, we never see her refereeing a match. Either she's too old to whizz around on a broomstick or perhaps she's not a good flyer so she wasn't a player.
McGonagall as a Death-Eater. Sorry I really can't see it happening. I can see her getting a bit carried away with Tom Riddle's charm and also being attracted to his brilliance but she has such a strong set of morals, there would be parts of him that would repel her (rather like Lily with Snape)
McGonagall and Snape I don't see any evidence that she was colder to him than any other. I don't think she fully trusts him but she trusts Dumbledore's judgement so I think she'd push her reservations to the back of her head. After all they were all proved wrong about Sirius Black. She clearly loathes him in DH though but before then I think it's simply a healthy Gryffindor/Slytherin rivalry.
I love McGonagall and think her early life could be a fascinating tale.
Banner by the opaleye
I don't know where I got that impression, but I had it for some reason.
Originally Posted by cmwinters
Thanks! I'm leaning towards "dreadful at it" myself, but I'll read the article and see which works better!
Originally Posted by cmwinters