|This profile/story complies with book canon but ignores information from Pottermore and other sources.|
- "It's a powerful witch ye have there, I think."
- —A midwife on baby Minerva[src]
Minerva was born near the shore of the Pentland Firth on 4 October 1925. Her father, Thorfinn McGonagall, hailed from an old Scandinavian-Scottish family of pure-blood witches and wizards, while Morrigan McGonagall, her mother, was descended from the wizarding branches of the Urquart and MacLaughlin clans.
Minutes after her birth, Minerva gave the first indication that she would grow up to become a tremendously powerful witch when she managed to forcefully put off a swaddling blanket that irritated her. A few years later, little Minerva managed to set fire to the nursery drapes and tapestries when her baby brother destroyed a picture she had drawn.
Thorfinn doted on his daughter and enjoyed sharing with her the fruits of his studies, teaching her to read and write, languages, history, music, philosophy, and science, beginning almost from the time she was born.
Minerva's mother was a powerful witch herself and worried that Minerva's power, combined with her temper, might get her into trouble, so Morrigan took charge of her daughter's earliest magical education, teaching Minerva simple spells from the time the child could talk and hold her mother's wand. More importantly, Morrigan taught her daughter how to begin to control her magic.
Tragedy struck when Minerva was just four years old. Three days after giving birth to a son, Einar, Morrigan McGonagall died from complications of the difficult birth.
After Morrigan's death, Minerva's maternal grandmother, Morna MacLaughlin, moved in with the McGonagall family to help care for the two small children, and she took up where Morrigan had left off, teaching her granddaughter many basic practical spells and gently but firmly insisting she learn to control herself.
Relationship with her father
Despite the early loss of her mother, Minerva's childhood was a happy one. She was very close to Thorfinn and took after him in her thirst for knowledge and broad variety of interests. Like her late mother, however, Minerva was a reserved and serious child, a fact which sometimes worried her father. As his parents had done with him, Thorfinn often took both his children into nearby villages to mix with Muggle children, and although she didn't make many friends, these early experiences, combined with Thorfinn's tutelage, taught Minerva to respect Muggles.
Young Minerva enjoyed travelling with her father, and the two made trips to Italy, Germany, and France, where Thorfinn would teach his daughter about the history, art, and music of the region they were visiting.
- Filius Flitwick: "Quidditch and duelling? In addition to Animagus training? Your Miss McGonagall must be a force to be reckoned with."
- Albus Dumbledore: "Indeed."
- Armando Dippet: "Yes, and you haven't even told him about the nine N.E.W.T.s she's undertaking."
- — Filius Flitwick, Albus Dumbledore, and Armando Dippet discuss student Minerva[src]
Minerva was very excited to begin at Hogwarts in September 1937. At her Sorting, the Sorting Hat spent more than five minutes debating between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, ultimately placing Minerva in the former, under Head of House Albus Dumbledore.src
She soon found, however, that some of her classes were not as interesting as she had hoped they would be. After years under the exacting tutelage of her father and grandmother, her Hogwarts coursework proved easy for Minerva, although she found both Arithmancy and Potions challenging. She soon discovered that she had a particular gift for Transfiguration, and Professor Albus Dumbledore, who recognised Minerva as a singularly talented and determined student, became her mentor, providing guidance and extra lessons to help Minerva fully develop her skills in the exacting art and science he taught.
Hogwarts life was busy for young Minerva. Always diligent about her studies, Minerva was also active in a number of extra-curricular activities. Like her father, Minerva joined the Wizard's Chess club in her first year. In her second year, she secured a Chaser's spot on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, thanks largely to her prowess at flying, which her grandmother had taught her almost as soon as she was old enough to hold on to a broom. To her everlasting frustration, Gryffindor lost the Quidditch Cup to Slytherin every year she was on the team except 1942. In her seventh year, Minerva was appointed team captain, although she ultimately resigned her position that December in favour of Animagus lessons with Professor Dumbledore. She served as a Gryffindor prefect in her fifth and sixth years and became Head Girl in her seventh.
Minerva also enjoyed the Hogwarts Duelling Club (coached by her second-favourite teacher, Galatea Merrythought), which she joined in her third year. Minerva won the school championship in her fourth, fifth, and sixth years. In her seventh year, a tie was declared between Minerva and Tom Riddle. Dueling was a skill Minerva kept honed all her life; it was her prowess that gave her the idea to apply to the Auror training programme after leaving Hogwarts, and she later had occasion to use her skills over the course of three wars.
Tom Riddle's baleful presence in Minerva's life had begun the previous year, when the popular Slytherin (who was two years behind Minerva at school) began paying court to her. Attracted by her talent and her power, the young man was determined to win her affection, hoping that the powerful witch would eventually ally herself with him and help him bring the plans he was already hatching to fruition. Minerva, however, didn't trust Tom and rejected his every advance.
Affair with Albus Dumbledore
- "Everyone who has ever loved has fallen in love for a first time, isn't that so? To say that it is not love because I have not experienced it before is a paradox, Albus."
- —Minerva arguing with Albus Dumbledore[src]
It was around the same time that Minerva realised she had begun to harbour romantic feelings for her Transfiguration professor. Determined at first to ignore them, she eventually began to sense that Albus Dumbledore was equally attracted to her, although he had never made any advances to her. When she began private lessons with Professor Dumbledore in preparation for Animagus training, however, her feelings began to overwhelm her. Although he initially resisted her attempt to seduce him, the two eventually began a clandestine affair that lasted through the end of her seventh year.
Increasingly worried about putting Minerva in harm's way through her association with him, Dumbledore called a halt to their relationship shortly before Minerva graduated from Hogwarts. Heartbroken but resolute, Minerva (armed with a record nine "Outstanding" N.E.W.T.s and several awards) began what was to be an abbreviated training programme with the Auror Office, who had recently begun accepting witches, thanks to the demands of the escalating global wizarding war.
Life as an Auror
Auror training & global wizarding war
After leaving Hogwarts (and Albus Dumbledore) behind, Minerva moved to London to begin her training with the Aurors and to continue her Animagus studies with the renowned master, Flavius Falco. Both were cut short, however, when even the Auror-trainees were called to the field to help fight the advance of Gellert Grindelwald's Blackrobe cabal on the Continent.
Minerva soon found herself in a magical encampment outside Metz, where she shared a tent with the only other female Auror-trainees, Elizabeth Barnes and Amelia Bones, who was to become a lifelong friend.
Amelia and Minerva were both seriously injured in a battle in the forest of Ardennes in January 1945. The two young witches eventually shared a flat in London, and it was through this connection that Minerva's father met Amelia's widowed mother, Elisabeth. The two older mages eventually married, making Minerva and Amelia stepsisters.
After the end of the war, Minerva successfully completed her Animagus training with Master Falco and, at age 19, became the youngest Animagus registered with the Ministry of Magic in more than 50 years, a record that would not be broken until 2026, when Albus Severus Potter achieved it eight months before his 20th birthday.
Heartbreak and healing
When word reached Britain that Albus Dumbledore had been killed in the duel that brought an end to Grindelwald's reign of terror, Minerva—who had never stopped loving him—was distraught. The subsequent discovery that he had survived the battle came as an enormous relief, but Minerva was to become frustrated by his apparent aloofness after his return from Germany. She resigned herself sadly to living without her love.
Determined to go on with her life, Minerva began to go out with other wizards, eventually forming relationships with a training colleague, Douglas McLaggen, and Alastor Moody, whom she had known as a school friend of her brother's, and who had also joined the Auror programme after leaving Hogwarts. She never forgot Albus, however, and ultimately all of her other romantic relationships would wane.
In 1947, Minerva and Amelia became the first fully-fledged female Aurors in the programme's history; however, Minerva became disillusioned with her job when it became apparent that, absent the demands of a foreign war, the Ministry was not about to let a witch fully participate in Auror activity. Fortunately, her supervisor, Greg McKinnon, had noticed her promise and invited her to participate in the research he was doing into Dark magic. Minerva's work revolved around illegal Transfigurations, and she soon found that she loved working in the lab. When the research programme began to turn to using Transfiguration to control illegal activity, however, Minerva became uneasy with her work.
Move to Mallory College, Oxford
In 1949, Minerva left the Aurors and London to pursue a mastery (and ultimately a doctorate) in Transfiguration with the legendary Transfiguration mistress Griselda Marchbanks, who had also mentored Albus Dumbledore. In Marchbanks's lab at Mallory College (the magical constituent of Oxford University), Minerva discovered two passions: molecular and cellular Transfiguration, and teaching.
During her time at Oxford, Minerva conducted original research on the changes wrought by Transfiguration on living beings. With Madam Marchbanks and others, she published several important papers and won several awards, including the prestigious Merlin Prize for Original Magical Research. In 1953, Minerva spent six months as a visiting scholar at the Salem (U.S.) Witches' Institute, teaching advanced Transfiguration concepts to witches from around the world.
Minerva contributed to several books during this period, including one edited by her father: A Common Destiny: The Future of Magical and Muggle Relations. Minerva's chapter, "At the Crossroads: The Interaction of Magical and Muggle Science in the 20th Century", was co-written with Muggle-born scientist Rosalind Franklin, whose work on the molecular structure of DNA would prove critical to modern scientific understanding of genetics. Franklin invited Minerva to work with her at the Muggle King's College London, but Minerva declined. Although she was relatively comfortable around Muggles, Minerva was not interested enough in Franklin's area of research to immerse herself so fully in Muggle society.
Nevertheless, Minerva felt herself growing restless at Oxford. With Marchbanks as dictator—however benign—of the lab at the college, Minerva had difficulty getting the projects she really wanted to do off the ground, and she saw no sign of the older witch retiring in the near future, so there was nowhere for Minerva to advance.
Return to Hogwarts
In November 1956, Minerva shocked her family and friends by announcing that she planned to give up her position at Oxford to become the new Transfiguration mistress at Hogwarts. Albus Dumbledore had succeeded Armando Dippet as Headmaster of Hogwarts the previous summer, and he was delighted—and somewhat surprised—to receive Minerva's application for his old post. At their interview, he hired her on the spot.
Although she had hardly spent the intervening years pining for Albus, Minerva had never forgotten him, and when the opportunity to work with him arose, her heart leapt a little. She did not seriously entertain the notion of renewing their romantic relationship; however, the chance to re-form some kind of friendship with him appealed to her, as did teaching less advanced students about the art and science she loved so much.
So in December 1956, Minerva rented a room in the Hogsmeade cottage of her former Muggle Studies professor, Charity Burbage, and took over teaching the first- through fourth-year Transfiguration classes from Albus. She was nervous at first, but she soon found her bearings as a classroom teacher, with help and advice from both Albus and Filius Flitwick. Over the next few years, she would develop into the stern but fair Professor McGonagall Harry Potter would encounter later.
- "Yes. I believe I will."
- —Minerva responds to Albus Dumbledore's marriage proposal[src]
As Minerva had hoped, her return to Hogwarts prompted a re-establishment of her friendship with Albus. When Albus asked her for a game of chess one Saturday evening, a tradition was quickly established that would carry throughout their lives. Slowly, over talks and games of chess, Albus and Minerva realised that they were still in love with one another.
Despite Albus's distraught confession of his former infatuation with the Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, he and Minerva became lovers once again. Worried about Tom Riddle's intentions toward Minerva—the young man had continued to pester her before apparently disappearing for several years—and concerned about a possible scandal should word of their affair get out, Dumbledore proposed marriage to Minerva.
She accepted, and they were wed in a small ceremony in Minerva's family home on Christmas Eve 1957. The couple told few people of their relationship, preferring to keep it quiet for the sake of safety and because Minerva was reluctant to become a public figure. Over the years, the small circle of those in the know expanded slightly, but the pair would always strive to preserve their privacy.
Over the next few years, Minerva continued to live in a cottage she had purchased in Hogsmeade, while Dumbledore stayed at the castle. The two spent days off together, however, and were able to travel a little during the summers.
At the close of the 1963 spring term, Filius Flitwick succeeded Herbology master Herbert Beery as Head of Ravenclaw House. He agreed only on the condition that Albus allow him to step down as Deputy Headmaster. Albus subsequently asked Minerva to take the position.
Minerva insisted that Albus disclose their marriage to the Hogwarts Board of Governors when he sought their approval of his choice of Deputy. The announcement caused some difficulty, but in the end, Albus's friends on the board prevailed over his opponents, and Minerva was appointed to the position and installed in a set of rooms in the castle.
She soon found she enjoyed many of her new duties, particularly sending off acceptance letters to prospective students and visiting the families of Muggle-born witches and wizards. When she later became Headmistress, Minerva would invite Muggle-born former students Hermione Granger-Weasley and Dennis Creevey to make these visits along with the Deputy Head.
In the summer of 1967, Minerva found herself unexpectedly pregnant. With Tom Riddle's apparent disappearance and the subsequent decrease in Death-Eater activity, the world seemed safer to Albus and Minerva, so the couple decided to have the baby.
However, on 19 October, Minerva suffered a placental abruption and delivered a stillborn son, whom the bereaved parents named Marcus Alpin Brian Dumbledore. Minerva subsequently became gravely ill with disseminated intravascular coagulation, a complication caused by excessive bleeding, and she hovered near death for two days before her life was saved by an emergency hysterectomy and blood transfusion, both of which were nearly unheard of in wizarding medicine at the time. The transfusion turned out to have an unanticipated side-effect: the combination of magical blood created a unique bond between the donor (Dumbledore) and the recipient, and forever afterward, Minerva and Albus would be able to feel one another's magic under certain conditions.
After her recovery, Minerva threw herself into her work, mentoring promising students, coaching the Dueling Club, and conducting original research. She published widely during this productive period, including a book, Unsimple Futures, on the effects of Transfiguration upon mammals, which was the first to speculate on potential evolutionary changes due to cross-species Transfiguration. Like her father's work, Minerva's book would provoke a certain amount of controversy. Unlike her father, Minerva was uncomfortable in the spotlight, and she decided to return to the less public world of academic research.
Head of House
In 1977, the retirement of Arithmancy professor Diophantus Lemmas left Hogwarts without a Head of Gryffindor House. Although Septima Vector, whom Albus selected to replace him in the teaching post, had also been a Gryffindor, Albus felt she did not yet have the maturity and experience to be an effective Head of House. As he did so often, he turned to Minerva, asking her to take on the role. Minerva reluctantly agreed, and in the fall of that year, moved into the rooms in Gryffindor Tower in which she and Albus had carried on their first affair so many years ago.
First Wizarding War
Order of the Phoenix
The return of Tom Riddle—now calling himself "Lord Voldemort"—and the rise of the long-dormant Death Eater organisation in the 1970s forced Minerva to shift her focus from her academic work. As the threat grew, Dumbledore established the Order of the Phoenix. He was at first reluctant to allow Minerva to participate, preferring her to keep the fires burning at Hogwarts during his many absences, but Minerva would not hear of it. As the conflict escalated, Dumbledore would come to rely on both her acumen in helping plan operations and her prowess with a wand in carrying them out.
Although she had been an Auror, Minerva killed for the first time in 1978. In December of that year, she had been assigned with her old friend Alastor Moody to protect Emma Branstone, who was leading the opposition in the Wizengamot to legislation that would have introduced hereditary succession for the pure-blood Wizengamot members. When the Branstone home was attacked, Minerva duelled two Death-Eaters; one would escape with serious injuries, while the other, Gordon Mulciber, she killed by deflecting and rebounding the Avada Kedavra he aimed at Branstone. Minerva found that, although she didn't like the fact that she had killed a man, neither did she feel especially sorry for having done it.
Loss of friends and family
The war claimed several of Minerva's friends and former students, including the Prewett brothers, the Potters, and Marlene and Greg McKinnon. These last losses were especially hard for her to bear; Marlene was the longtime partner of Minerva's dear friend Amelia Bones, and Marlene's brother, Greg, had been Minerva's mentor in the Aurors. Hardest of all, however, was the death of Minerva's father at the hands of a Death Eater who was never to be identified. Thorfinn McGonagall had been targeted by Lord Voldemort for his "blood-traitor" writings and for being Minerva's father. The aging and infirm wizard was attacked and killed as he waited at the cross-Channel Apparition point in Southampton in 1979. His death devastated Minerva, and it strengthened her resolve to fight Tom Riddle and his Death Eaters to her last breath.
After the abrupt end of the war, Minerva was nominated to the Wizengamot by Griselda Marchbanks at the behest of Amelia Bones, who wanted to ensure that accused Death Eaters received fair trials despite the overwhelming public sentiment that they should be dispatched to Azkaban as quickly as possible. Minerva wanted to demur, but Albus, then the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, prevailed upon her to serve, and with Amelia, he quietly drummed up support for her appointment, although he ultimately recused himself from the vote. Minerva was voted in, and she served from 1981, helping oversee the trials of suspected Death Eaters, and later on, the more usual work of the chamber, helping draft and advising on legislation. Minerva never enjoyed her time on the Wizengamot; although she was keenly interested in politics, she did not like doing the kind of "glad-handing and grandstanding" required to make law, and in 1990, she resigned her seat with a sigh of relief.
Second Wizarding War
Minerva shared Albus Dumbledore's concern that Lord Voldemort was not gone forever, and when Harry Potter emerged from the Triwizard maze to announce the Dark Lord's return, Minerva was among the first to suggest re-forming the Order of the Phoenix.
Although she was occasionally called upon to conduct field operations for the Order, her primary duty during the renewed conflict was to protect Harry Potter. Dumbledore had told her of Sybill Trelawney's first prophecy—and sworn her to secrecy—so she was well aware of the importance of keeping the Boy Who Lived safe.
As the animosity between Dumbledore and the Ministry grew, Minerva was often called upon to be a buffer between them, a task she hated, as she thought Minister Cornelius Fudge a great fool. Dumbledore looked to Minerva to oversee Hogwarts during his many absences, particularly during the Chamber of Secrets affair and when Fudge installed Dolores Umbridge as Headmistress. Minerva forced herself to keep her legendary temper in check during these occasions, although she could not contain her wrath when Umbridge led a group of Aurors to attack Rubeus Hagrid, resulting in Minerva being Stunned four times, an injury that nearly cost her her life and forced her to spend several frustrating months recouping her strength.
Death of Albus Dumbledore
Albus Dumbledore rarely told anyone—even Minerva—where he was going when he left Hogwarts on Order-related business. Although she had often argued with him over his secretiveness—particularly after he had returned from one such mission with a badly cursed wand hand—she ultimately understood his rationale for keeping information from her. Thus, she was worried but not surprised when he informed her of his imminent departure with Harry Potter on the evening of 30 June 1997. As usual, Dumbledore instructed her to have on-duty Order members patrol the castle and grounds in his absence.
Minerva was checking in with Filius Flitwick, whose protective charms guarded many of the secret entrances to Hogwarts, when Remus Lupin's Patronus reached her to say that Death Eaters had been spotted in the castle. After sending Flitwick to fetch Severus Snape, who had not responded to her earlier summons, Minerva went in search of the intruders. She quickly found them at the foot of the stairs to the Astronomy Tower and jumped into the battle that was already underway.
After having incapacitated several Death Eaters, and after the flight of the remaining ones, Minerva went to find the other Heads to try to secure the school. It was at this point that she came upon a tearful Hagrid, who informed her of the Headmaster's death. The further information that Severus Snape was his murderer stunned her.
Shaken and grief-stricken, but resolved to keep her promise to Dumbledore to protect the students at all costs, Minerva—now interim Headmistress—secured the school against further intrusion and called the Order of the Phoenix to an emergency meeting to determine what needed to be done to stanch their losses now that they had lost both their leader and the man they had thought was their spy.
Intrigue with Severus Snape
- Severus Snape: "You are … astonishing."
- Minerva McGonagall: "Ha! So I've heard. Forgive me if I can't quite agree with that trite assessment. The astonishing Minerva McGonagall, most powerful witch of the age …"
- Severus Snape: "You are, Minerva. You cannot run from who you are."
- — Severus Snape to Minerva McGonagall[src]
After the fall of the Ministry to Voldemort's forces and the appointment of Snape as Headmaster of Hogwarts, Minerva was determined to stay at the school to protect the children in her care. The rest of the staff, impressed by her dedication, followed her example.
While Minerva and the rest of the staff paid lip service to Snape and the newly-installed Carrows, they took every opportunity to subvert their commands, especially with regard to punishing the students. Minerva would pay dearly for this rebellion one evening when Voldemort, who had never forgotten Minerva's rejection, commanded Snape to assault her as punishment and as a frightening example to the students and staff.
Minerva was astounded when she subsequently discovered where Snape's true loyalties lay, and she was very hurt to discover that Albus had not confided his plans to her. Nevertheless, she agreed to enter into a liaison with Snape, who had been ordered by the Dark Lord to continue abusing her, in order to mislead Voldemort via the memories Snape would carry back.
After the defeat of Voldemort, Minerva was among the fighters awarded an Order of Merlin, First Class, and she was once again invited to sit on the Wizengamot; however, she turned down the post, suggesting Filius Flitwick and Arthur Weasley to fill two of the seats vacated by known supporters of Voldemort. The two men were duly elected and sat on the War Crimes Tribunal, to whom Minerva testified at Harry Potter's behest, helping to posthumously exonerate Severus Snape.
She weathered with equanimity the inevitable publicity and gossip that arose at her disclosures of both her relationship to Dumbledore and her intrigue with Snape, and in the autumn of 1999, she was permanently installed as Headmistress of Hogwarts.
The following years were busy for Minerva; the rebuilding of Hogwarts and finding qualified people to replace those staff lost in the war took up a great deal of time. As Headmistress, Minerva instituted several reforms, including the abolishment of single-house classes, the inclusion of Muggle Studies as a mandatory course from first through third years, and the establishment of internships for promising seventh-year students, allowing them to engage in intensive study of selected subjects either with Hogwarts's professors or outside masters.
In 2005, Minerva was annoyed when Rita Skeeter, in an attempt to revive her by-then flagging career, penned a "tell-all" biography entitled Minerva McGonagall: Heroine or Hussy? that was full of lurid (and often inaccurate) details and unsubtle innuendo about Minerva's family, her brief career in the Auror corps, and her relationships with Dumbledore, Tom Riddle, and Severus Snape. Everyone claimed not to believe a word of it; however, the book sold fairly well. Shortly after its publication, Skeeter was tried by the Wizengamot (led by Chief Interrogator Arthur Weasley) and sentenced to five years in Azkaban for being an unregistered Animagus.
Minerva retired in 2017, opting to move in with her brother and his wife—both also retired—to the McGonagall family home in Caithness, where she enjoyed the peace and quiet of the remote area, spending her time reading, playing chess with Einar and his wife, Katherine, and writing the occasional article. Although she enjoyed her semi-reclusive life after the hustle and bustle of Hogwarts and was only an occasional visitor to Arthur and Molly Weasley and her old Hogwarts friends, Poppy Pomfrey and Pomona Sprout, Minerva was delighted when her great-niece and namesake married Angus Wood, the son of her former student Oliver. Oliver Wood became a regular visitor to the McGonagall home in Caithness when Angus and Minerva Wood became the parents of a set of twin boys, followed two years later by a daughter. The elder Minerva and her old student delighted in rehashing the former glories of the Gryffindor Quidditch team—often joined by Minerva's niece, Morrigan, a former professional player herself—and Minerva was happy to lend a hand when Oliver and Morrigan organised a (Bludgerless) youth Quidditch league for Scotland.
Tall and slim, Minerva had a boyish figure and sharp facial features. As a young woman, her dark hair and pale skin, coupled with large green eyes, made her appearance striking.
As an older woman, Minerva was considered too thin and her features too pointed to be considered beautiful by the standards of the day, but most would have described her as a "handsome" woman.
Beginning in her late 30s, aging eyes required her to use spectacles for reading. She selected glasses with square wire frames, inspired by the markings around the eyes of her Animagus form, a silver tabby cat.
She kept her hair long all her life, but she began wearing it in a bun once she began teaching. As she entered her late 60s, strands of silver began to streak her hair, and by age 100, she sported a head of hair that was largely white.
Personality and traits
Minerva was often thought to be cold and aloof by those who did not know her well. She was not effusive or demonstrative with her feelings, nor did she suffer fools gladly, and as a student, her sharp tongue and quick temper meant she had difficulty making friends.
As she matured, Minerva learned to control her temper and her tongue most of the time and developed a few close friendships. Those friends found that, despite her cool exterior, Minerva was capable of intense love and great warmth.
Minerva's intellectual curiosity was boundless, and she enjoyed diving deeply into subjects that interested her. She loved intellectual argument and debate, but she did not enjoy being the centre of attention, except in the controlled environment of the classroom.
- Wand: Like most British magical children of the era, Minerva received her wand at age 11 from Gervaise Ollivander. After trying nine wands, Minerva was finally chosen by a wand made from Alder and the heartstring from a dragon who had died fighting the Dark wizards who threatened her hatchlings. The wand made its choice known when a full bouquet of red and white camellias sprouted from it the first time Minerva waved it. Minerva carried the wand all her life.
- Broomstick: Minerva's grandmother bought her her first broom, a Comet 140, for her tenth birthday. She used the serviceable broom throughout her time on her House Quidditch team, despite the fact that it had been superseded by faster brooms by the time Minerva got to Hogwarts. When she had saved enough from her first year of pay packets as an Auror, she purchased a faster Silver Arrow, which she kept for the next 50 years.
- Emerald and pearl earrings: On her wedding day, Minerva's father gave her a pair of earrings comprising small, round-cut emeralds with teardrop-shaped pearls. They had belonged to Minerva's paternal grandmother, Rona McGonagall (née Guthrie), who had received them from her bridegroom, Marcus McGonagall as a wedding present.
- Wedding ring: Shortly after proposing marriage, Albus gave Minerva his mother's wedding ring, a plain yellow gold band sporting a Runic inscription about the lasting nature of true love. On their wedding day, Albus changed the inscription from his parents' wedding day to that of Albus and Minerva, 24 December 1957.
- Hogsmeade cottage: In 1957, Minerva bought a small cottage at the southeastern edge of Hogsmeade. It sported two tiny bedrooms and a small garden. Filius Flitwick provided advanced protective charms for the cottage. It served as Minerva's official residence until she took the post of Hogwarts's deputy headmistress and moved into rooms in the castle in 1963. She sold the cottage in 1969.
- Welsh love spoon: The wooden spoon, carved of Rowan, had a handle shaped into a pair of back-to-back griffins, with hind claws meeting and wings joined at the top to form a heart shape. Runes carved on the back carried the incantation to the original charms, intended by the carver to detect common poisons. The spoon had been in Albus's family for several centuries, and as part of a family tradition, he gave it to Minerva on their wedding day.
- Charmed poetry diary: Albus gave the diary to Minerva shortly after they began their first affair. He periodically charmed the words of poems he particularly liked into the diary and disguised it as The Shapeshifter's Code of Ministry Regulations: 1735–1935. He stopped "writing" in it when he broke off the affair but occasionally added new poems to it once he and Minerva were married.
Magical abilities and skills
In addition to Transfiguration, duelling, and her Animagus ability (see Biography, above), Minerva was an excellent chess player and a fairly good flyer. As a child, she also learned to speak almost-fluent French and passable German. She learned to play piano as well but never attained more than basic proficiency at it.
- "Bonnie Wee Thing"
- Come Autumn, Sae Pensive (1967)
- "Winterreise (1976)"
- "Familiar Rituals (1977)"
- "Mammals of the Order Chiroptera (August 1995)"
- "Ca' the Yowes (1996)"
- "After the Fall (June 1997)"
- Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart
Behind the scenes
The Epithalamium series of stories was written prior to the advent of Pottermore, and, although the series is largely consistent with what is known about McGonagall in the original seven Harry Potter novels, it doesn't reflect information given in Pottermore or other later sources.
- "Minerva" was the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, and the sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy.
- "Sigrid" is a Scandanavian name from the Old Norse Sigríðr, meaning "victory", "wisdom", and "beautiful." In the Epithalamium series of stories, it is a name handed down from Minerva's father's family, reflecting their Norse heritage.
- "Aithne" is an old Celtic name meaning "fire". In the Epithalamium series, it is a name handed down from Minerva's mother's family.
Family Echo genealogy page for characters in the Epithalamium series universe.
Notes and references
|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|