Minerva McGonagall

Minerva McGonagall

    Harry Potter Series
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up... in the Scottish Highlands, the first child of a Muggle Presbyterian minister and a witch mother, who had never revealed to her husband that she had magical powers for fear that it would ruin their newfound marital happiness. From the infant Minerva’s very first days, her mother noticed signs of her magical ability and was eventually forced to reveal the truth to her husband. Though he was shocked, Minerva’s parents stayed together and eventually had two more children, both of whom were also magical.  

Living… at Hogwarts castle, in the Transfiguration teacher’s study. She is Head of Gryffindor House, and oversees the disciplining of all the students in her House.

Profession… Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She works under the employ of headmaster Albus Dumbledore, who had been her teacher when she was a student there.

Interests... needlework, cats, and Quidditch. Minerva is an Animagus who can turn into a cat at will; she likes to impress her first-year students with this trick. Though one would never suspect it, Minerva is also a huge Quidditch fan. She loves to see Gryffindor succeed in the Inter-House Tournament, and especially enjoys beating Slytherin, their rival House.

Relationship Status… widowed. Minerva’s love life has been marred by tragedy. As a young witch, Minerva fell in love with a Muggle, the son of a farmer, but did not marry him because she knew she would live an unhappy life without being able to use magic and pursue her career aspirations. She continued to pine for her first love, but was pursued by her former boss, Elphinstone Urquart, who proposed many times. Finally, after learning of her first lover’s death, McGonagall accepted Elphinstone’s proposal. However, their marriage only lasted three years; he was killed by a Venomous Tentacula bite.

Challenge… protecting the students of Hogwarts. When the school is threatened – whether by the likes of a basilisk or the tyranny of Dolores Umbridge – Minerva makes it her personal mission to ensure that no one is harmed. Despite how strict she can be, Minerva is also a very fair-minded and kind person, and would never do anything to harm the students.

Personality... stern, loyal, and protective. Though she is an extremely strict teacher and has a no-nonsense policy in the classroom, Minerva isn’t totally without personality, and exhibits a dry sense of humor (though rarely). She is fiercely loyal to Dumbledore and later to the Order of the Phoenix, and vehemently opposes the Dark Arts. Though she likes to portray herself as unemotional, it’s clear that the safety and well-being of her students – Gryffindors and the famous Harry Potter, in particular – is her top priority.


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