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In the Epithalamium series of stories by Squibstress, Morna Aithne MacLaughlin (née Urquart) (b. 22 July 1858) was the maternal grandmother who helped raise young Minerva McGonagall after the death of Minerva's mother
Morna Aithne Urquart was born on 22 July 1858 in Tinworth, a mixed community of wizards and Muggles in Cornwall, England. She was the only child of Susan (née Ackerley) and Matthew Uquart, her loving but strict parents.
Matthew worked for the British Ministry of Magic in the Being Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Susan was an amateur potioneer who enjoyed concocting new healing draughts and elixirs using the plants she found in her rambles along the Cornish coast.
Morna often accompanied her mother on her walks, which gave her a lifelong interest in plants and magical Herbology.
Move to Mull
When Morna was nine, her family moved to the Inner Hebridean island of Mull so that her parents could help care for Matthew's widowed mother, Morrigan (née Abercrombie), who had been increasingly unwell after being hit by an Erkling 's dart during a trip to Germany with her husband (who was killed in the attack) in 1863.
On Mull, Morna learned to fly, and could often be found soaring over the coastline with her father on their brooms during summer evenings.
She was made prefect in her fifth, sixth, and seventh years; her Housemates were disgruntled when she missed out on becoming Head Girl, which went to Belvina Black, the daughter of Deputy Headmaster Phineas Nigellus Black.
Marriage and family
After leaving Hogwarts in 1876, Morna made the traditional tour of Europe with her good friend from Hogwarts, Lavinia Beamish.
When she returned from the Continent, Morna moved to Edinburgh to study Herbology with noted Scottish master Hadrian Whittle. After a year in the Scottish Muggle capital, she realised she missed Mull and the country and returned to the island to live with her parents.
Morna spent her days helping her mother with her potioneering and, later, tutoring local Wizarding children in maths, English composition, and basic magic.
During one of her frequent trips to the Isle of Skye to watch her favourite Quidditch team, the Pride of Portree, Morna met James MacLaughlin, a broom repairman and aspiring broom-maker who was hoping to sell the team on the merits of a prototype racing broom he had invented. While he didn't win the contract, he did capture Morna's fancy, and the two began "keeping company."
Two years later, in 1887, the pair married and settled in Mull, near the home of Morna's parents, where James (whom Morna called "Jamie") continued to work on his broom-making (with Morna as his frequent and fearless tester), earning a living by repairing brooms and adding custom charms to them. He was never especially successful at selling his own brooms and eventually went to work with Bill Ollerton and his brothers, helping them with the charms on their popular broomsticks, which would go on to become the foundation of the successful Cleansweep Broom Company.
In 1896, Morna gave birth to a baby girl, Morrigan Aithne MacLaughlin, and raising and tutoring Morrigan became the primary focus of Morna's life over the next few years.
Morna was pleased when Morrigan married Thorfinn McGonagall in 1922, although she was sad to see her daughter move away to the mainland.
After Jamie's death from influenza later that year, Morna became a frequent visitor to Castle Isleif, the McGonagall family home in Caithness. She continued her mother's tradition of making up healing and soothing potions for the ailing members of her family and brought them to Thorfinn's father, Marcus McGonagall, during his final illness in 1923.
In 1925, Morrigan and Thorfinn welcomed a baby daughter whom they named Minerva Sigrid Aithne, giving her Morna's middle name. Morna spent three months in Caithness helping her daughter, then returned to her home on Mull.
When Morrigan fell pregnant again in 1929, Morna again went to Castle Isleif to help her prepare for the November birth. However, three days after the birth of baby Einar Drusus Alpin McGonagll, Morrigan died of complications of the difficult birth.
Raising the McGonagall children
Morna set aside her own grief to help Thorfinn, who had fallen into a severe depression following his wife's death, care for his young daughter and infant son.
She sold her home on Mull and moved permanently to Castle Isleif. She developed a very close relationship with both her grandchildren and helped Thorfinn educate them at home before they went off to Hogwarts.
Morna was among the first to recognise young Minerva's magical power, and she spent considerable time and energy helping the young witch learn to control both her magic and her temper. Minerva took after her grandmother in both looks and temperament, and Morna was delighted to teach Minerva to fly on one of Jamie's old prototype brooms from the time the child was old enough to hang on without falling off.
By that time, Morna's Quidditch allegiance had changed from the Pride of Portree to the Holyhead Harpies, and she often took Minerva to see matches all over Britain.
Einar delighted Morna by taking an interest in plants, both magical and Muggle, and she carried on with him the tradition she and her mother had shared, with long walks looking at flora and fauna along the nearby Caithness coastline.
Morna remained in Caithness with Thorfinn McGonagall—with whom she had enjoyed a close and loving friendship—even after the McGonagall children had left Castle Isleif for Hogwarts and their own careers.
She also forged a good, if occasionally tense, relationship with Elisabeth Bones-McGonagall, whom Thorfinn married in 1946, and was saddened at her death from breast cancer the following year.
Morna became a great-grandmother in 1956, when Einar and his wife, Katherine, had a baby girl, whom they named Morrigan Gwyneth.
She was also pleased, but quite surprised, when Minerva told her of her plan to marry Hogwarts's Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. After the 1957 wedding, Dumbledore became a regular visitor to Castle Isleif, and enjoyed talking with Morna, from whom Minerva had apparently inherited her dry wit.
Illness and death
As she grew older, Morna was frequently troubled with arthritis and respiratory infections and, although she remained active to the end, it was a bout of pleurisy that ended her life on 16 February 1961.
She was buried in a small wizarding cemetery among some standing stones on the Isle of Mull, next to her husband and a short distance from her parents' final resting places.
At 5'8", Morna was tall for a woman of the era, and she had a slim build. Her black hair and green eyes would later be passed down to both her daughter, Morrigan, and her granddaughter, Minerva.
Near the end of her life, Morna used a cane to help get around, although her appearance otherwise remained relatively youthful.
Personality and traits
Morna was a serious, studious young woman, although she had a dry wit and occasional mischievous streak, and enjoyed occasionally shocking the people around her with her bold statements.
She enjoyed the outdoors and sport, especially hiking and Quidditch.
Like her own parents, she was strict with her children and grandchildren and insisted at all times on good manners. She instilled in them the importance of personal responsibility, although she also encouraged them to follow their own paths.
Magical abilities and skills
- Magical power: Although she rarely had occasion to fully exercise her power, Morna was a gifted witch and mastered most spells easily. She worked hard to ensure total control of her magic and taught her powerful daughter and granddaughter to do the same.
- Herbology: Morna was an avid gardener and amateur Herbologist, and made numerous experimental cross-breedings of the plans her grandson sent her from his travels.
- Charms: Charms was Morna's second-best subject (after Herbology) at school, and she became exceedingly adept at household and garden charms when she established her own household.
- Potions: Although the art of potion-making didn't come easily to Morna, she worked hard to develop her skills. She was not an inventive amateur potioneer, but she perfected her brewing of many of the healing potions her mother had developed at home and often supplied friends and neighbours with potions and poultices for minor ailments.
- Music: Morna played piano as a young woman, a skill she continued throughout her life, although in her later years, arthritis in her hands kept her away from the keys.
- Flying: An exceptionally good natural flyer, Morna was very much at home in the air and often helped her husband test the brooms he made.
Behind the scenes
- "Morna" is a Celtic name meaning "beloved.".
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings saga, it is also an Elvish word meaning "black" or "dark." .
- "Aithne" is an old Celtic name meaning "fire" .
Notes and references