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Thread: Minerva McGonagall

  1. #31
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    Here's a good question. (All right, maybe I think it's a good question.) Knowing me, this'll be a few questions. I'm writing a fic on McGonagall and I'm stuck. I'm trying to experiment on this idea, really.

    So, here are my questions:

    A: So, we think she was born 4 October 1925. In Phoenix, she says that she held a position at Hogwarts 'thirty-nine years this December' (321). That would be in 1995, so she was appointed in 1956, when she was thirty. What did she do before then? What skills would she have acquired?

    B: Most people she McGonagall as this 'stick in the mud' character, but do you suppose she was involved with other people? (I don't think she ever married, I'm just saying there were close relationships with people.) What happened?

    C: If Dumbledore was Transfiguration professor in 1943 (CoS), then did he leave before he became Headmaster. There must have been someone who acted as Transfiguration professor between him and McGonagall. Depending on when he took the Headmaster post, dd he interview McGonagall for the Transfiguration position? Who did?


    D: Going on this 'stick in the mud' thing, what are the chances McGonagall did interesting stuff when she was younger? Not crazy things, but let's say she wasn't always acting like the proper old lady? (I don't even want to phrase it that way...).

    E: Perhaps she made an errour when she was younger. Nothing too outlandish, but something that made her uptight. She acts a professor with a strict demeanour, but does she drop that a little when she's around close friends? She's still 'proper', yeah, but she opens up with a softer side.

  2. #32
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    A: So, we think she was born 4 October 1925. In Phoenix, she says that she held a position at Hogwarts 'thirty-nine years this December' (321). That would be in 1995, so she was appointed in 1956, when she was thirty. What did she do before then? What skills would she have acquired?
    She definitely would have gone through the proper (Ministry-approved) process of becoming an Animagus. I believe there would be some paperwork involved in that, and a lot of training. It probably took her a couple of years. Also, she might have written essays for "Transfiguration Today" and done research in the field.

    B: Most people she McGonagall as this 'stick in the mud' character, but do you suppose she was involved with other people? (I don't think she ever married, I'm just saying there were close relationships with people.) What happened?
    By close relationships, do you mean that in a romantic or in a friendship-sort of sense?
    Romantic - I can see her wanting to focus on her career in Transfiguration (maybe she had the set goal of becoming a teacher?), and a relationship failing because of that. Maybe she didn't even have that strong a romantic interest in anyone. Or maybe she did, and was in love, and they died during the war.

    Friendship - she'd still be friends with them. She's very close to Dumbledore. I don't see them involved romantically in any way (not even unrequited love), but they are close friends. She seems to get along very well with the rest of the staff too.

    C: If Dumbledore was Transfiguration professor in 1943 (CoS), then did he leave before he became Headmaster. There must have been someone who acted as Transfiguration professor between him and McGonagall. Depending on when he took the Headmaster post, dd he interview McGonagall for the Transfiguration position? Who did?
    I'm quite sure that he hired her. I don't know if Dippet died or retired... if he retired, he might have offered Dumbledore the job months before the actual event. Then Dumbledore would have owled McGonagall about this, as they possibly still had contact... I can see her as a sort of favourite student of his. She probably was very talented, especially in Transfiguration, and he might have known that she was studying in this field even after school. I can see him directly asking her to take his old post.

    D: Going on this 'stick in the mud' thing, what are the chances McGonagall did interesting stuff when she was younger? Not crazy things, but let's say she wasn't always acting like the proper old lady? (I don't even want to phrase it that way...).
    This might be a bit cliché, but I can see her as sort of a Hermione-ish character. She would have been studious (though probably mostly in Transfiguration, I think she would have had subjects she wasn't too interested in), but she was in Gryffindor, and I think that streak would have shown in her. I can definitely see her on night-time strolls during the castle. I'm not saying she was constantly up to mischief or anything like that, but I don't think she'd have stuck to the rules too much either (when she didn't see need for it).

    E: Perhaps she made an errour when she was younger. Nothing too outlandish, but something that made her uptight. She acts a professor with a strict demeanour, but does she drop that a little when she's around close friends? She's still 'proper', yeah, but she opens up with a softer side.
    I don't think it took an error to make her that way. I think it's just the way she is. She's strict and 'uptight' around students - but she's a teacher, and don't forget what era she grew up in. Maybe she came from a strict family... She doesn't like to open up towards students too much and believes in discipline, but she can be warm and open towards friends.
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  3. #33
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    Posted by Daragen



    She definitely would have gone through the proper (Ministry-approved) process of becoming an Animagus. I believe there would be some paperwork involved in that, and a lot of training. It probably took her a couple of years. Also, she might have written essays for "Transfiguration Today" and done research in the field.

    Good point. But would she have become an Animagus just to do it? She had to support herself somehow. Do you have any idea or any suggestuons to a field? McGonagall doesn't exactly strike me as a character who would do somerthing just to gain the ability.





    This might be a bit cliché, but I can see her as sort of a Hermione-ish character. She would have been studious (though probably mostly in Transfiguration, I think she would have had subjects she wasn't too interested in), but she was in Gryffindor, and I think that streak would have shown in her. I can definitely see her on night-time strolls during the castle. I'm not saying she was constantly up to mischief or anything like that, but I don't think she'd have stuck to the rules too much either (when she didn't see need for it).

    Yeah, I see her as Hermione too. I don't even know if I meant romantic, especially not in her school years. I tend to write in an older voice. I get that she is stricy, but I'm trying to make sure I'm noyt pulling at strings here. I see her following the rules unless there was a major (and I mean it fell out of her norms major) call to action to disagree.



    Friendship - she'd still be friends with them. She's very close to Dumbledore. I don't see them involved romantically in any way (not even unrequited love), but they are close friends. She seems to get along very well with the rest of the staff too.
    Yeah, definately not toucching Dumbledore or any of the staff. I was not thinking deeply romantic.


    I don't think it took an error to make her that way. I think it's just the way she is. She's strict and 'uptight' around students - but she's a teacher, and don't forget what era she grew up in. Maybe she came from a strict family... She doesn't like to open up towards students too much and believes in discipline, but she can be warm and open towards friends.
    Just like physicans, teachers need that distance. I totally agree. I'm thinking of the 20s - 30s war era. Then again, this focuses on an older relationship.

  4. #34
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    EDIT: This is after Sailing Girl's post.

    Where did you read that McGonagall was not deputy?

    If it wasn't her than I think it would probably be Horace Slughorn, because he'll have been teaching whilst McGonagall was a student (I think). Otherwise I think you can invent a teacher. All we know is that McGonagall was definitely deputy throughout Harry's time at Hogwarts therefore it's unlikely to be a teacher there in Harry's time. Therefore one of your own invention or Slughorn.
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  5. #35
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    Hmm. Well, I just discovered that McGonagall wasn't Deputy Headmistress in 1978, when the Marauders were at Hogwarts. Who would have been Deputy, if not her?

  6. #36
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    Sailing Girl,

    I can't find any evidence of her NOT being the Deputy Headmistress. If you're going by the Lexicon dates, (1991) then they don't appear to have a source for their dates and the next paragraph contradicts the earlier claim by saying

    Quote Originally Posted by HPL
    The Transfiguration professor and Deputy Headmistress at Hogwarts for over forty years,
    The only date in the books for Professor McG is from OOTP when she tells Umbridge that she's been teaching for thirty-nine years which makes her start date 1956. Harry Potter Wikia also mentions 1991 as being Head of Gryffindor but prefaces the date with the word 'before'.

    If she wasn't deputy, then you'd have to invent another teacher. To be honest, I cannot see Horace Slughorn being Deputy Head. He wouldn't want the responsibility (far too lazy) and Dumbledore wouldn't have wanted to appoint him.

    Personally, I think Minerva was Deputy Head when the Marauders were there. She seems far too in control to have only been appointed a Deputy in Harry's first year.

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  7. #37
    Sailing Girl
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    Okay, thank you, Carole!
    That's really helpful!
    Ellie x

  8. #38
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    I'm considering having a scene between McG and the Weasleys after they've gone into hiding (still over Easter break, because I doubt she'd want to leave the school during term with the Carrows and Snape in power, even just for the day). She would come as part of an organized Order meeting (I have the Order going to Aunt Muriel's because the Weasley family is in the most danger at the time, with Ron having just been spotted with Harry, and having the others come to them would be safer then them leaving their hiding spot) but I was thinking of having her stay.

    A few questions that I have:

    1. Would it be OC for McG to at least talk about evacuating students from the school and shutting it down for the rest of the year? I'd like to have her mention it as something she's been considering, though obviously it would be Snape's decision and she knows he supports the enforced enrollment for all non-muggleborn students. I guess what I'm wondering is whether it makes sense for McG to consider getting the students away from Hogwarts (as was briefly considered in CoS when students were being petrified) as more safe than having them stay. Or does that seem like something she wouldn't even consider because she'd think of Hogwarts as the safest place? The atmosphere of DH Hogwarts reminds me a bit of CoS Hogwarts when shutting the school down was considered, and I could see McGonagall considering the idea because it would be the opposite of what Snape and the Carrows (and Voldemort, through extension) seem to want to achieve by the forced enrollment. Keeping all students at school makes it easy to attack them together--does it make sense for McG to recognize this and wish to avoid playing into Voldemort's hands by asking the students not to come back from the holidays (though she would realize that this isn't in her power and would be Snape's decision, more of a wish than a realistic action to take)?

    2. I'd like to involve Ginny some how, and I was considering having McG address these concerns to Ginny, knowing that she was one of the student rebellion leaders and would be able to give the student's perspective. I get the sense that while McGonagall would be watching out for the students, she wouldn't be able to entirely keep track of what was going on, particularly the extent of what was happening in detentions and the ongoing plans of the D.A. Could you see her turning to Ginny for more information on the student side of things, or should I have Ginny overhear a conversation between McG and Arthur? As a side note, I don't remember if an exact time is given for when the D.A. starts using the Room of Requirement, though I seem to remember that Neville was the first to use it -- could he have already been hiding there before Easter (thus leaving McG very concerned about his being missing) or was it made clear that he goes into hiding in the RoR sometime after Ginny fails to return from the holidays?

  9. #39
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    Grrr just lost the post so let's try this again

    1) I think it is very possible for McG to WANT to close the school because she would want to keep the chilfren save and they are being tortured within the school however didn't Neville say that the Carrows were Snapes deputies so McG wouldn't have the power to say whether or not the school woul close.

    2) I also think Ginny would have listened into the conversation and McG might try to ask her to try and persuade the D.A to cm down before they ended up getting killed.

    Neville didn't go into the RoR until after easter (I think!) So if you wanted that to be mentioned you could push the converation back because it was actually in the easter holidays Ron was discovered to be with Harry because Neville said Ginny never came Back after easter.

    Oh and I think the order meetings were held at Aunt Muriels because didn't Arthur become one of the leaders once Moody had been killed and Kingsly was on the run as well as the fact that they were in the most danger!

    Hope I've been of some help

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  10. #40
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    Would it be OC for McG to at least talk about evacuating students from the school and shutting it down for the rest of the year?
    Why would it be the rest of the year? McGonagall has no evidence that the war is going to end any time soon. She’d be operating under the assumption that this is going to continue, so if she wanted the students evacuated, it would be for good, or at least until the war ended, and that could well be years, even decades.

    I think that perhaps she’d want to get all the students away to safety in the beginning, but she’d be in no position to do it. Snape and the Carrows control the school, and having gone two terms into the year, she’d have a good idea about how they operate and how far they’d go to keep things under their control. She’d know that there would be no way that she could get large number of students out without attracting the attention of at least Snape, who, she thinks, is Voldemort’s man. The Carrows might not notice several students disappearing every so often until the number is drastically down, but Snape, who has taught there for years and presumably knows every student in the school, would.

    I also think that McGonagall would think that the school was the safest place for them to be. Yes they’ve got the Carrows dishing out the Cruciatus Curse in detentions and beating the students up, but in the outside world there are much worse things going on. Neville says that the Carrows don’t want to kill the students or spill too much magical blood, and McGonagall would surely know this. She would feel that the best place for the students was inside the castle where people like her and Flitwick and Madame Pomfrey could keep an eye on them and prevent them from coming to too much harm. The students are in far more danger outside school than in it, and McGonagall would know this.

    If they did manage to get all the students out of Hogwarts and to some secure, secret location (which would be a mighty task in itself), there would still be Voldemort to contend with. As the Battle of Hogwarts proves, they wouldn’t be able to hold an incredibly angry Voldemort out for long. The enchantments around The Burrow do manage this, but that is only with the full power of the Ministry on their side, and at Easter 1998, the Ministry is under Voldemort’s control.

    So while I think it would be IC for McGonagall to to protect the students as much as she could, I think she’d know
    that it would be impossible to close the school and take the students somewhere safer.

    Could you see her turning to Ginny for more information on the student side of things, or should I have Ginny overhear a conversation between McG and Arthur?
    I think it would be better to have Ginny overhear the conversation. I can’t see McGonagall turning to her for information. Ginny is still underage, still a child, and I don’t think McGonagall would want to involve her, not because she doesn’t think she’s capable or could provide the information, but because she wouldn’t want Ginny to be dragged into the war. She’d want to keep her ‘safe’ if you like. Also, what would McGonagall do with this information? How would it help her to know what the DA were up to, or how the students felt (I imagine she’d have a very good idea of this, after all, she’s living through it too). What I can imagine her doing is giving Ginny a stern talking-to to try and get her to stop what she’s doing. McGonagall would think it was a dangerous and silly thing to do, and would probably advise Ginny to keep her head down and get on with things. She’d admire their spirit, but wouldn’t want them to get hurt, rather, leave that to the adults. Ginny has her whole life ahead of her.

    My last point is actually how McGonagall would be able to get to Auntie Muriel’s in the first place. It would be an incredibly silly move not to have her watched and tracked like a hawk. Voldemort would know she’s a member of the Order, I’m sure Snape would have told him, and therefore someone likely to know the whereabouts of the Weasley family and to make contact with them. She would not risk getting in contact with the family.

    Sarah x


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