This profile/story complies with book canon but ignores information from Pottermore and other sources.

Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart is a novella by Squibstress. It is the ninth and final story from the author's Epithalamium series chronicling the life of Minerva McGonagall.

The title is taken from Stephen Crane's 1895 poem, "In the Desert":

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter—bitter," he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.

American author Joyce Carol Oates used the same line from Crane's poem as the title for her 1990 novel.

Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart was a featured story for October/November 2013 on The Petulant Poetess and for its tenth-anniversary celebration in 2015.


Set during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the story follows Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape as they forge an unlikely alliance when they are forced into an uncomfortable arrangement during his tenure as Headmaster of Hogwarts.


  1. The Gathering
  2. The Lesson
  3. Aftermath
  4. The Dam Breaks
  5. Once More Unto the Breach
  6. Accept and Serve
  7. Preparations
  8. The Rules of Engagement
  9. And Shall I Couple Hell
  10. Holiday Plans
  11. Honesty
  12. Christmases Past and Present
  13. Of Quaffles and Pawns
  14. Nasty Ironies
  15. To Rend and Sew
  16. Eating Death
  17. Roads High and Low
  18. Concerning Witches Who Copulate With Devils
  19. In the Gloaming

Canon characters

Original characters


Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart

External links

Epithalamium series

Novels Epithalamium · Come Autumn, Sae Pensive (1967)
Novellas Till A' the Seas Gang Dry · Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart
Stories "Bonnie Wee Thing" · "Winterreise (1976)" · "Familiar Rituals (1977)" · "Mammals of the Order Chiroptera (August 1995)" · "Ca' the Yowes (1996)" · "After the Fall (June 1997)"
Characters Minerva McGonagall · Albus Dumbledore · Severus Snape · Thorfinn McGonagall · Amelia Bones · Poppy Pomfrey · Alastor Moody