"It is as easy to utter lies as truth."
"The only clue to what is in people's mind is in their behavior. If a man behaves strangely, oddly, is not himself--"
"Then you suspect him?" asked Renisenb.
"No," said Hori. "That is just what I mean. A man whose mind is evil and whose intentions are evil is conscious of that fact and he knows that he must conceal it at all costs. He dare not, therefore, afford any unusual behavior..."
~from Death Comes as the End (pg. 122) by Agatha Christie
“Professor McGonagall had a way of making [Harry] feel he must have done something wrong.” ~from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Disclaimer: This is completely and utterly my opinion. The following is a work of opinion based in a certain reading of canon. Page numbers are from USA version.
One of the best parts of the Harry Potter books has been JKR’s extraordinary attention to detail in order to create complex and twisted mysteries, rivaling those of even the great Agatha Christie. She’s made her readers utterly anal retentive when it comes to details. Everything—it seems—has a purpose. Throw-away lines, clues, and mentions have come back to haunt us later on.
Well, a couple of things have been bugging me, snowballing each time I reread these books. Little things that just bug me. But two major big things: First of all is the fact that the last two books have rolled by without a great villain reveal, such as was with Quirrel, Tom Riddle, Peter Pettigrew, and Crouch. One might argue that Snape’s true identity was revealed in HBP, but JKR left so much room for doubt on that one, I wouldn’t count it. It seems like JKR is leading up to a huge reveal, a big mother-of-them-all shocker for the final book.
The second biggest nagging thing is Minerva McGonagall herself.
OK, here’s the deal. She’s boring!
While reading and rereading the Harry Potter books, I have been trained by JKR to think that everything in her books has a purpose, from lemon drops to books on Gillyweed.
Well, what is McGonagall’s purpose?
Seriously, considering all of her screen time, when has she actually done anything?
All she does is stand behind Dumbledore and sob whenever something goes bad. She hinders the Trio because she’s a ball of raw emotions.
Tell me, when has she actually done something of use for the Order?
Or, here’s an easier one: When has she ever done anything for the Trio? What has she taught them of value?
I mean Snape might be a jerk, but he taught Harry Occulmens and Expelliarmus and all about bezoars.
What has McGonagall taught them besides how to turn matches into pins? Oh, yeah, that’s been really helpful in the battle against Voldemort.
And Snape is a genius, constantly accusing Quirrell and Karkaroff, and figuring out what the Trio is up to. Not only is McGonagall a hindering ball of emotions, she’s incredibly dim.
For crying out loud, even in the big battle at Hogwarts, she misses.
Well, many argue that she’s so damn nice. Getting misty eyed when Ron and Harry want to visit Hermione, getting Harry that broomstick, saying she’ll fight alongside Dumbledore when Umbridge kicks him out.
Since when in Potterverse has being nice constituted being good? Didn’t Crouch!Moody give Neville a book on Herbology? Didn’t he help Harry out with the tasks? Wasn’t Quirrell always the height of complimentary to Harry?
The HPLexicon says “what Snape does and what he says are two different things”. Well, the same is true of Minerva. She says lots of good things, but she doesn’t do very much. In fact, Snape and McGonagall (Dumbledore’s right-hand and left-hand men) are inverse mirrors. To really know Minerva, you have to compare her frequently to Snape. In the words of Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice, one has all the goodness, and the other has all the appearance of it.
JKR is a master of both mystery and psychology. Why would she write Snape so disappointingly, assuming that it is he who is the traitor? Why would Voldemort’s devoted servant aid the Order so often? Why would he save Harry? Why would he be so careless as to act so suspiciously?
Look at the above quote from Agatha Christie. That just makes sense. I mean, if I were Voldemort’s loyal and devoted servant through and through, I’d look like I cared about Harry, I’d shout devotions to Dumbledore. But I wouldn’t actually help them.
I’d look less like Snape and much more like McGonagall.
So, here’s my THEORY: Minerva McGonagall is an amazing actress, but she’s also deeply and passionately a Death Eater—probably even one of Voldemort’s most trusted and loyal followers. As such, she sometimes shows her true colors. After all, we have to have some clues.
Considering her age, McGonagall could have known Voldemort during their school days. As a spy for the Death Eaters, it is her job to suck up to Dumbledore and Harry Potter. But—unlike Snape—she is highly unwilling to do anything to actually help the Order. Sometimes, in very small ways, she’s actually hindering them.
So, let’s get down to it. Let’s painstakingly go through the books and watch McGonagall very carefully.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The very first chapter—and the very first wizard we meet—McGonagall is suspicious right from the very beginning.
Remember what’s going on when the book opens. We are still deep in the dark times of Vold War I. Until 24 hours ago, Voldemort was a super-powered baddie. Now, all hell is breaking loose as the Potters are dead, and so might be Voldemort.
At this moment of upheaval, look at how McGonagall is acting. First of all, she’s in her unregistered animagi form. Yes, she’s a registered animagi 13 years later because Hermione sees her in the registers. But at this point in time (November 1 or 2, 1981), we can assume that she’s unregistered, as she is surprised that Dumbledore knows her in disguise (“How did you know it was me?” pg. 9). Surely, during the war, Dumbledore would know everyone who was a registered animagi. It’s even more suspicious that Dumbledore doesn’t know that McGonagall (his buddy and a teacher at his school) is an animagi.
Who else in the series is unregistered animagi? Peter Pettigrew, James Potter, Sirius Black, and Rita Skeeter. Certainly not the best-behaved people in the series. In fact, Pettigrew is a DE and Skeeter is pretty foul. While the Marauders may have had honorable intentions when developing their powers, the ability of Transfiguration (shape shifting) is slightly suspicious.
But, I’ll come back to that. First, let’s look at how the cat is acting when it seems Dumbledore. “The cat’s tail twitched and its eyes narrowed.” (pg. 8) I’ve had cats since I was five-years-old. When a cat twitches its tail, it is not happy. When it narrows its eyes, it’s preparing to pounce and attack. This is how the cat is looking at Dumbledore.
She only reveals her identity after Dumbledore reveals it for her (“‘Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall.’… She looked distinctly ruffled.” pg. 9). If she was waiting for him, why not pop up and say hello? She looks “ruffled”, and she’s angry that the wizards are celebrating the fall of Voldemort (“sniffed angrily” pg 10). When Hagrid cries about the Potters, she says, she says, “Yes, yes it’s all very sad.” (15) And what is our early McGonagall’s view on Muggles? “They’re not completely stupid.” (pg 10) Ouch. Pureblood elitist ideals there.
So, yes, McGonagall is acting odd. But things get even more complicated when we look closer at McGonagall’s presence at this scene. Why is she there? She doesn’t know, as she asks Dumbledore why they are at Privet Drive. She doesn’t know? Apparently, she didn’t know the time Dumbledore would show up, either, because—unlike Hagrid—she sits around waiting at Privet Drive all day long. She says that Hagrid told her Dumbledore would be there. But Hagrid didn’t say when or why? That’s weird. She doesn’t know anything confirmed about Harry or the Potters, so Hagrid didn’t have Harry Potter at that time McGonagall talked to him? McGonagall’s story doesn’t make any sense!
Maybe that’s because she never tells that story. It is Dumbledore that says, “Hagrid told you”, and she merely agrees to this. If this weren’t the case, if there was a better explanation, she would have contradicted him. More likely, she was grasping at any excuse to cover her trail. Why is McGonagall so sloppy at this point? Because—in theory—she’s all flustered about the fall of her master.
Moving forward ten years… When Harry arrives at Hogwarts, we learn a few more things about Professor McGonagall. First of all, she doesn’t favor her house. In Harry’s first year, she goes so far as to take fifty points for being out of bed. Yikes. That’s crazy. Even Snape doesn’t go that far.
Second, she’s the professor of Transfiguration. Each of the Professors of Hogwarts embodies their subject areas. For instance, Prof. Snape and his cold, calculating and scientific Potions; Prof. Sprout and are earthly Herbology. The same is true of the shape shifting and manipulative McGonagall. JKR borrows so heavily from folk tales, that I can’t believe she isn’t aware of the fact that shape shifting is usually highly suspicious and ambiguous. After all, if McGonagall changes her shape and form for a living, one might wonder if she changes herself for other means.
Third, she’s a raging Quidditch fan. Isn’t that cute? But Quidditch is not only physically dangerous, it’s also emotionally dangerous in the school, as it divides the houses and the students. [Later, she’ll give a “look that scorches” when the Sorting Hat sings about the need for the Houses to unite and “problems within”] One of my sociology professors once said “sports are the opiate of the people.”
She also puts Harry on the Quidditch team. The youngest player in a century. Isn’t that dangerous? Isn’t that a little suspicious? McGonagall puts Harry on the Quidditch team, where Quirrell attacks him, on a jinxed broom that McGonagall gave him.
Halloween. Hermione, Harry, and Ron defeat a big, stinky troll. And who should discover them? Quirrell, Snape, and McGonagall. Well, we know why Quirrell and Snape weren’t with the other Professors (who went to the dungeons looking for a troll). Quirrell was after the Stone; Snape was after Quirrell. The fact that the troll is in Snape’s dungeons also points to the fact that Snape was targeted. But why wasn’t McGonagall chasing after trolls? In my opinion, she was off trying to help Voldemort-possessed Quirrell.
And look at their reactions to discovering the Trio. Snape has a piercing glance. Quirrell grabs his heart, knowing his plan failed and he’s in for it with the Master. But McGonagall is downright pissed (“Harry had never seen her look so angry.” pg 177). Maybe it’s just for the sake of the trio’s welfare.
How does McGonagall react when she learns that the Trio knows about the Stone? She discourages them from protecting it. One might argue that she’s dismissing them as children, or possibly trying to protect them. But Dumbledore actively encourages them to get involved (showing Harry the Mirror, giving encouraging glances, planning the whole thing out as a test for Harry, allowing Harry a chance to prove himself). Even Snape isn’t as pissed off as McGonagall about the Trio getting involved.
And then, when Harry tells her that the Stone is in danger, she doesn’t warn Dumbledore. Literally, a child sees that something is up, and yet she doesn’t? Either she’s in on Voldie’s plan, or she’s incredibly dumb. And I just can’t believe that JKR would create such a stupid and useless character.
Remember, it is McGonagall who sentences them all to detention in the Forbidden Forest, where Voldemort is sipping unicorn blood and waiting. Who does she send? Longbottom and Potter—those two prophesy sons of Order members—and Malfoy—son of a traitor.
Also, remember how the chess set looked when the Trio came to it. All the other obstacles showed signs of wear, but not the chess set. In fact, it was still intact for another round of chess, where the figures beat the crap out of each other. Apparently, the chess set let Quirrell right through.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Next, we learn something new about McGonagall. She doesn’t like Trelawney nor Divination. Why? Frankly, she acts very childish in her contempt of Divination, not very professional at all. Is it possibly because she doesn’t like prophecies and what consequences they’ve had for Voldemort? Whereas Dumbledore and Snape hold some truth to the prophecy, McGonagall dismisses prophecies as a whole.
Is it a coincidence that Lucius Malfoy slips Riddle’s Diary into a copy of Guide to Transfiguration?
I don’t think so. McGonagall is deeply connected to the action of COS.
Remember that she was Voldemort’s age, at Hogwarts during the first time that the Chamber was opened. Yet, she never says anything about it. Not even a “man, it sucked last time”. We have no clue as to what she was doing during those years. That’s a pretty big plot hole (of course, I don’t believe that JKR has plot holes).
In fact, when Dumbledore says that it’s the same person as last time, that it’s not a question of “who” but “how”, Harry describes her as looking as puzzled as himself. But surely Dumbledore would tell his right-hand woman who the Heir of Slytherin is, who opened the Chamber during her school days.
Remember also, it is McGonagall that discovers Petrified Colin. She’s also the first on the scene after Harry discovers Justin and Nearly Headless Nick are attacked. Just barely escaped being attacked, eh?
Maybe that’s all circumstantial evidence.
So, let’s look at the action of the book. Who profits from Malfoy’s convoluted plot?
He planted the Heir of Slytherin’s powerful diary (a horcrux) just for revenge on Mr. Weasley? Yeah, I can see Malfoy being petty and selfish like that. But that’s just downright stupid! Why waste something that powerful for such a small payoff?
After all, Voldemort years later doesn’t even mention the whole incident. He’s mad at Malfoy for never coming to looking for him, but he’s not mad at him for wasting one/seventh of his soul? That doesn’t make sense.
Not to mention, there’s a giant hole in his plans! After all his plotting and scheming and slipping a diary into a girl’s cauldron and blackmailing the school governors, he gets Minerva McGonagall appointed Headmistress.
Unless of course, that was his plan all along.
“Only hope your successor will manage to prevent any—ah—killins.” (pg. 264) Yeah, don’t think Malfoy didn’t plan on McGonagall. He doesn’t do anything to get her removed. And, it is under her watch that Ginny is taken into the Chamber, luring Harry Potter. McGonagall remains at the school, but does she do anything to protect the students? Does she try to find out where the Chamber is or who’s attacking? No.
Remember how Snape reacted when Draco said that he should be headmaster? (pg. 267) That little smile always struck an odd note with me. Snape—whether good or bad—has never desired to supplant Dumbledore. Methinks that Snape knows something, maybe about the connection between Malfoy and McGonagall.
And a connection between the Malfoys and McGonagall isn’t impossible to believe. Snape isn’t the only professor that favors Draco. Remember how quickly McGonagall runs to Draco’s aid when he’s being punished by Moody!Crouch? In HBP, she aids Draco as much as she’s aided each Servant of Voldemort. But I get ahead of myself.
How did Malfoy know—so soon—that Dumbledore had come back to Hogwarts? He shows up almost right after Dumbledore and Harry do. (pg. 334) Did McGonagall—pissed off—alert him?
Let me pause here for a moment. Every time I vocalize my McGonagall is Evil theory, I always face the same criticisms. (1) That my evidence is circumstantial. Which is entirely possible. (2) That it’s a wild theory with no evidence. Well, I’m giving some suspicious evidence here, canon facts filled in with a little theorizing. And (most often) (3) That I’m reading McGonagall wrong.
Everyone else sees her as a strict, rule-abiding woman who is overprotective and maternal, who tries to cover her emotions, but that they come out anyway. I say that this is an act, that everyone (including Harry) has got it backwards. She’s not holding back her emotions; she’s using emotions to cover her true intent. It’s quite a good act because it just tugs at our heartstrings when McGonagall starts blubbering while Snape is growling.
So, let’s look more closely at one of these “emotional” scenes and see if these emotions are genuine.
Ginny, Lockhart, Ron, and Harry emerge blood-covered from the Chamber, carrying a sword and a basilisk-pierced diary. (Chapter 18)
“[Dumbledore was] beaming, next to Professor McGonagall, who was taking great, steadying gasps, clutching her chest.” (pg 327)
While Dumbledore is beaming with joy, McGonagall is—at best—registering shock. Ok, I’ll admit that that could be a form of joy. But it also could be a form of anger for thwarting the plan.
“…so you found out where the entrance was—breaking a hundred school rules into pieces along the way, I might add…” (pg. 328)
“Right,” said Professor McGonagall crisply, also moving to the door. “I’ll leave you to deal with Potter and Weasley, shall I?” (pg. 330)
In the middle of Harry’s heroic account of saving Ginny’s life and preventing Riddle from coming back to life, she berates him for breaking school rules?! Huh? If it didn’t say it was McGonagall talking, I would have thought it was Snape referring to some small infraction of rules. Obviously, from his diction, McGonagall is mad.
Seriously, whenever something like this happens (a Voldie plot is thwarted and we’re dealing with the aftermath), she instantly turns on the waterworks. She turns into a blubbering ball of emotion. But notice when it happens; notice her diction and JKR’s carefully crafted timing. She doesn’t shed a single tear for the Potters (her voice falters only after Dumbledore says Voldemort is gone) or Cedric Diggory or even Dumbledore.
Turning into an emotional basket case doesn’t endear me to McGonagall. The other characters—part of JKR’s amazingly talented writing style—show their deep emotion in much more simple ways. Sirius covers his sparkling eyes with a shaking hand, Snape grips a chair when he learns a student is in the Chamber, Remus almost puts a hand out to grip Harry’s shoulder, Dumbledore sheds a single tear for Sirius, Ginny blushes and runs away when Harry arrives at the Burrow, Ron gasps Hermione’s name when she attacked, Snape grips the Dark Mark when he’s being harassed by Moody.
And McGonagall blubbers emotion.
Nice act, Minerva.
I mean, if she really felt maternal about the Trio, why doesn’t she fight tooth and nail to protect her school, find the Chamber, and rescue Ginny? If she really is so great a witch, why does she constantly allow her emotions to get in the way. At best, McGonagall is a loose cannon. She’s not very bright and she’s not very useful.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Ok, there’s not much here. There’s no Voldemort plot during this book. McGonagall doesn’t do much of anything, except help Fudge fill in his story about Sirius’ guilt. But even Dumbledore thought him guilty. This might become more suspicious if we later learn that Sirius’ death (caused from being a fugitive) was more of a victory for the Death Eaters than it currently seems. (I’m thinking of RAB, but this is pure speculation)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Back to a good old Voldemort plot.
Why is she so concerned with looking good in front of Durmstrang? Severus, meanwhile, is looking pretty cool and detached.
Ok, maybe I’m over-doing it.
But GOF is just chock-full of suspicious McGonagall.
Look at how she reacts to Harry participating in the Tournament. If she’s as caring and maternal about Harry as she pretends to be, why doesn’t she once voice concern for Harry’s well being at competing in a Tournament for students that are three years older than him? She doesn’t make one feeble protest against Harry competing. Hell, Severus is dead-set against it. It’s the Quidditch thing all over again.
This is just the beginning in McGonagall aiding little Barty Crouch, Jr.
Yeah, there’s a reason she’s beaming alongside Moody after Harry wins the First Task. (pg. 356)
Who gave Harry permission to use the Restricted Section in preparation for the Second Task?
Who was talking loudly with Moody about Potter and water and gillyweed in front of Dobby? Who loans Harry her classroom for practicing hexes?
And who’s patrolling with Moody outside the maze? Yeah, maybe she moved a couple bushes and blasted a few obstacles, too.
And then, he’s back! Voldemort starts spewing information like a James Bond villain. Surely, he’ll say something to contradict my theory.
Ah, ha! He never says “I have a faithful servant at Hogwarts”. He simply says “one, who remains my most faithful servant, and who has already reentered my service…He is at Hogwarts” (pg. 651-2)
Voldemort never says the identity of that faithful servant, but we assume he means little Barty. Does that contradict a theory that McGonagall is a missing Death Eater? I don’t think so. McGonagall never “reentered” Voldemort’s service because she never left it. Karkaroff says in his trial that the Death Eaters “never knew the names of every one of our fellows—He alone knew exactly who we all were” (pg. 588). My feeling is that McGonagall is a top Death Eater, and a deep secret.
In fact, Barty almost hints that there is someone else helping him. Obviously, Crouch wasn’t as trusted and honored as he’d like to believe. After all, he didn’t even know why Voldemort needed Harry Potter. He didn’t know the spell or any of the plans for the graveyard. Barty’s role was so dangerous and suspicious, it was basically a suicide mission. If Barty was such a great servant, why would Voldemort waste him? Unless of course Barty was just a pawn of the greater servant.
But in bragging about everything he’s done to help Voldemort, Barty nearly implicates McGonagall. He says “Who frightened off every person I thought might try to hurt you or prevent you from winning?” (pg. 676) He mentions using Hagrid, Dobby, and Cedric as “decent people [who are] easy to manipulate” (pg 676). But he says he “staged a loud conversation with Professor McGonagall about the hostages” (pg 677). He doesn’t berate her as a pawn, but almost implies she helped him. In fact, Barty’s frequent use of the word “I” in bragging about his accomplishments implies that he needs to take credit for everything he did, as if he has competition.
In fact, Dumbledore (when finding the real Moody) says “Of course, they would have needed to keep him alive.” (pg 681) What an odd pronoun to use, Dumbledore!
And then Barty (under Veritaserum) spends a lot of time on what he did to Snape (to frighten him away). Why was Snape (a former Death Eater) a threat and not McGonagall? Again, either McGonagall is completely useless and ineffectual (not a threat to Death Eaters), or she’s evil. And surely, a mother-hen teacher would be a problem in preventing Harry from participating in the Tournament. But, as I said, she doesn’t once try to get Harry out of it.
Remember, this isn’t just another “Let’s Fart Around and Maybe We’ll Kill Some Muggles” plan. This is serious. This is a plan to get Voldemort back into a body. And they succeed brilliantly.
Except for one little problem. Harry escapes. Opps.
So Barty Jr. sweeps in and tries to rectify the mistake, taking Harry away from Dumbledore. But he fails. Then McGonagall takes a stab at it (“Come on, Potter, hospital” pg 679). And she fails.
Heh heh heh.
I mean, seriously. If she were good, why didn’t McGonagall suspect Moody? Dumbledore was biased because of his friendship with Moody; Snape was biased because Moody kept personally attacking him. Why doesn’t McGonagall ever piece anything together? How comes it’s Snape that figures everything out? If she’s not evil, then she’s pretty stupid.
People suspect Snape?!? Come on! Harry just survived a battle with Voldemort because Snape taught him how to duel.
And right at this crucial moment, right when all hell is breaking loose, Dumbledore sends his two right-hand men on a mission. Is he testing them?
Because one of them fails utterly.
Actually, she fails twice.
Her first mission is to guard Barty Crouch, Jr. while Fudge interrogates him. Imagine for a second that she had succeeded in protecting Barty. Fudge would have been forced to accept the truth that Voldemort was back. The disastrous year of OOP would have been vastly different. Instead of fighting with themselves, the good guys could have been fighting the DEs before they got much ground.
Instead, Barty makes out with a Dementor and Fudge lives on in ignorant bliss. I mean, she can’t even produce a decent Patronus?!? Hell, a bunch of kids at the age of fifteen can do that.
Again, we’re supposed to believe that it’s her emotions getting the better of her. McGonagall is described as “about to cry” when she sees Harry alive, “stopping dead” when she sees Barty, “nauseous”, etc. That’s not exactly grief stricken over the death of a student. Easily, it could be upset that the gig is up.
An evil McGonagall certainly benefited from the loss of Barty Jr. Remember, this is the kid that sobbed and cried and pleaded at his DE trial, trying to escape a sentence in Azkaban. Surely, at the first sign of being caught, he would have told the Ministry who had been helping him out all year.
Her second mission is to get Hagrid and Maxime. Yeah, that whole mission of good will to the giants went off smashingly.
No it didn’t, because the DEs got there, too. And they knew about Hagrid and Maxime.
Also, someone is sent out of the hospital room before Sirius is unmasked and everyone is given assignments for the reformed Order.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
So McGonagall never refers to Voldemort by name? Man, she is a wuss.
And she’s been working at Hogwarts for thirty-nine years. That’s about the time that Tom Riddle became Voldemort.
Anyway. The war is in full swing now. What exactly is McGonagall doing to help the Order? Doesn’t really seem like she’s doing anything except showing up at Grimmauld Place.
But someone is obviously passing information from the Order to Voldemort. Someone must have told Voldemort about Harry’s visions—particularly the one about Mr. Weasley. That doesn’t happen anywhere near Kreacher. But McGonagall is called right to the scene and looks “as though horrified at what she was seeing” (pg. 465).
My biggest suspicion about McGonagall is that she never does anything. She never helps the Order. And she’s always conveniently absent or unable to aid Harry (when she isn’t downright hindering him).
The most glaring instance of this is the end of OOP, right after Harry’s had the vision of Sirius. If McGonagall had been at Hogwarts, she would have been able to contact the Order, verify that Sirius was there, and everything would have been hunky dory.
But just as Kreacher has to make sure Sirius is out of the way, McGonagall has to put herself out of the way.
“I don’t wonder you’re shocked, Potter,” said Madam Pomfrey… “As if one of them could have Stunned Minerva McGonagall face on by daylight…” (pg. 730)
Well, Pomfrey obviously gives McGonagall some credit. We’ve never seen her capable of defense. She’s never done anything on the stage worthy of such praise. In moments of great need, she’s never done anything worthy. But, according to Pomfrey (and one must assume with good reason), that McGonagall is capable of taking care of herself, that’s she’s strong and powerful.
Assuming that she’s good, why does McGonagall pick a fight with Umbridge?
This makes no sense to me, particularly given McGonagall’s past history (i.e. COS, where she didn’t run to Dumbledore’s or Hagrid’s or even Ginny’s defense). It doesn’t even make sense in the context of the scene. Why does she run to Hagrid’s defense? Why is it Hagrid so worthy of her actions?
Furthermore, why doesn’t she do as Dumbledore did? As Snape does? As Harry was instructed to do? As she was instructed to do by Dumbledore? Why doesn’t she lay low and not cause problems? She was instructed—by Dumbledore—to stay at Hogwarts for the sake of the school. She could have done so much good from her presence there. Surely, McGonagall—a lover of school rules and rational thought—would have restrained herself for the greater good.
Instead, she conveniently gets attacked and removed from Hogwarts just in time for Voldemort to plant a dream in Harry’s mind.
The icing on the cake is that—to Harry—she seems more loyal to Dumbledore for it.
Let’s not forget that the valuable information that Kreacher gave to the DEs was the information about Sirius and Harry’s relationship. Why would the Death Eaters need Kreacher with McGonagall on their side? Well, McGonagall was never around Grimmauld Place, so how would she know about how close they were? But Snape witnessed it first hand (Sirius and he nearly duel in the kitchen over it). Yet Snape never passed this on to the DEs? People think that Snape is the true blue traitor?
The book ends with her positively sucking up to Harry. It’s disgustingly obvious, because she only rewards Luna’s points reluctantly. (pg. 853)
Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince
Who gave Draco an alibi for the necklace incident? McGonagall gave him a detention.
Who denies the possibility that Draco is a DE and acting suspicious? McGonagall.
Who saves Dumbledore’s life after the cursed hand? Who saves Katie’s life? Snape. How many times has Snape saved Harry’s life?
What about McGonagall? When has she ever saved anyone?!?
For crying out loud, when her school is being attacked by Death Eaters, when she’s finally fighting in a battle, she misses! (pg. 599)
And so, we come to the end of this essay with her most suspicious scene since her first scene.
The aftermath of Dumbledore’s death.
Man, she doesn’t lose any time moving into that office.
With Dumbledore—brilliant head of the Order—gone, everyone can sort of relax and take it easy. That’s when we should all be paying close attention. Snape (and any other spy) no longer has to take care of Harry in order to keep Dumbledore’s trust. If Snape’s evil, he can show his true colors and fulfill his heart’s desires. But instead, Snape saves Harry from the other DEs and acts more emotionally upset than McGonagall does.
Meanwhile, look at McGonagall.
Even Lupin—the stoic unemotional werewolf—is obviously and visually upset. But McGonagall is all business, seemingly more upset by Snape’s betrayal than Dumbledore’s death (pg. 616, she’s crying while talking about Dumbledore’s inexplicable trust of Snape). She’s quick to point out that Snape joined the DEs in battle (pg. 617), but we didn’t see any evidence of that at all. Snape just killed Dumbledore and protected Draco. While he she so obsessed with Snape (it’s all she talks about through her tears). Is that because she quick to point fingers away from her?
Then, she does a Barty Crouch, Jr. impersonation. Now without tears or emotion (suspicious for the normally emotional woman), she takes Harry to her office alone.
“…Professor McGonagall made an odd movement as though steeling herself, then rounded the desk to look at Harry, her face taut and lined.” (pg 626)
Typical JKR! “Odd movement…as though”. She makes it absolutely clear that we are seeing this through Harry’s eyes. Most of the time, when Harry is interpreting an emotion and an “odd movement”, it means that we should be aware of this ambiguity. Things might not be what they seem to Harry. There is more than meets the eyes. For instance, when Lupin makes an “odd movement” at hearing Sirius’ name.
Then, McGonagall badgers and interrogates Harry—but not in front of anyone else.
“‘Potter’”—Harry registered the renewed use of his surname… (pg. 626)
Wow! It’s got to be suspicious if even Harry notices. Flip flopping the use of his name suggests that maybe her maternal, emotional, caring demeanor is an act. She’s using it to manipulate Harry and get her information.
And boy, does she want that information. She doesn’t stop grilling Harry for information about the very important and very secret mission until the other Professors interrupt her. That’s so suspicious. Good god, even the Minister of Magic waits until after the funeral.
And why does she need to interrogate Harry in the first place? If she was as trusted as Snape or Harry or Hermione and Ron, why wasn’t she clued in? Why doesn’t Dumbledore request McGonagall when he’s injured?
Ok, I can understand being all business in a time of great grief. Everybody deals with it differently. But she does two things that just don’t match up if McGonagall is truly the grief stricken Dumbledore loyalist she pretends to be.
First of all, she wants to close Hogwarts (“I’m not convinced the school should reopen next year” (pg. 627). Even when all the other Professors are saying it should stay open no matter what. She’s the only one who thinks it should close. Hogwarts was Dumbledore’s life’s work. It was his life.
And his right-hand-woman, his vice-Headmaster wants to close it?
She claims that Dumbledore envisioned a time when he would close down the school (pg. 628). But—on stage—he never said anything like that. In fact, he said quite the opposite during COS. He said that the school should always remain open, that he’d never leave it as long as someone there was still loyal to him.
Second, she argues against having a funeral and burying Dumbledore on Hogwarts grounds.
“‘Well…’ said Professor McGonagall, losing a little of her briskness as her voice shook. ‘I—I know that it was Dumbledore’s wish to be laid to rest here, at Hogwarts…If the Ministry thinks it appropriate… No other headmaster or headmistress has ever been—’ (pg. 629)
Huh? That’s not shock and being grief-stricken (and McGonagall is supposedly an overtly emotional chick). Where’s the woman who stood up against Umbridge and the Ministry? Flickwick, Hagrid, Slughorn, and Harry won’t even hear of not carrying out Dumbledore’s wishes. But McGonagall considers it and places up arguments.
I can understand not wanting to deal with funeral arrangements, but to actually actively argue against them? That’s downright suspicious.
So, there it is.
Place it next to that “Sirius—Black as He’s Painted” article in the Quibbler, if you will. Send me off to Saint Mungo’s.
There’s no definitive proof that McGonagall is evil, but it’s certainly in the realm of possibility. And I hope it’s true.
Not just so that I’m right, but also because she’d be so boring and useless and obnoxiously (not to mention problematically) emotional.
Sorry, I’ve read too many Agatha Christie mysteries (and I trust JKR’s read her share, too). But one thing I learned: It’s always the person you least suspect.