Continuing with our Pottermore Feature of the Week series, this week we are discussing Professor McGonagall, a prominent content entry in the first book on Pottermore.
J.K. Rowling wrote over 2,000 words of new content on Professor McGonagall. In this bulk of backstory, we learn about McGonagall’s heartbreaks, her short-lived Ministry career, and her childhood.
From “Professor McGonagall“:
Upon graduation from Hogwarts, Minerva returned to the manse to enjoy one last summer with her family before setting out for London, where she had been offered a position at the Ministry of Magic (Department of Magical Law Enforcement). These months were to prove some of the most difficult of Minerva’s life, for it was then, aged only eighteen, that she proved herself truly her mother’s daughter, by falling head-over-heels in love with a Muggle boy.
It was the first and only time in Minerva McGonagall’s life that she might have been said to lose her head. Dougal McGregor was the handsome, clever and funny son of a local farmer. Though less beautiful than Isobel, Minerva was clever and witty. Dougal and Minerva shared a sense of humour, argued fiercely, and suspected mysterious depths in each other. Before either of them knew it, Dougal was on one knee in a ploughed field, proposing, and Minerva was accepting him.
She went home, intending to tell her parents of her engagement, yet found herself unable to do so. All that night she lay awake, thinking about her future. Dougal did not know what she, Minerva, truly was, any more than her father had known the truth about Isobel before they had married. Minerva had witnessed at close quarters the kind of marriage she might have if she wed Dougal. It would be the end of all her ambitions; it would mean a wand locked away, and children taught to lie, perhaps even to their own father. She did not fool herself that Dougal McGregor would accompany her to London, while she went to work every day at the Ministry. He was looking forward to inheriting his father’s farm.
Early next morning, Minerva slipped from her parents’ house and went to tell Dougal that she had changed her mind, and could not marry him. Mindful of the fact that if she broke the International Statute of Secrecy she would lose the job at the Ministry for which she was giving him up, she could give him no good reason for her change of heart. She left him devastated, and set out for London three days later.
By reading this excerpt from the entry, I think you can really grasp the whole concept of Minerva McGonagall’s character. You now know what made her so strict and up-tight. From the time she was a young woman, she clearly showed her house’s traits of bravery and courage. In the situation that she was in with the engagement, she could have avoided her troubles, let them go until a different time, but no. She was a strong-willed woman and she wouldn’t let this stop her. Many will call this cowardliness, but I think its true courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to leave not only loved ones or safety, but to leave home at a very young age shows true signs of bravery. As in here and as you go on, you will learn that she fought many battles, but not one brought her down.
From what I have seen on Pottermore, Tumblr, Twitter, etc., others have earned respect of Professor McGonagall. She is one of many examples of J.K. Rowling’s niche for creating strong in-depth, human characters. She is a beautifully constructed character, with the fierceness of Jane Eyre and the bravery of Scout (of To Kill a Mockingbird). The whole entry added depth to a character that was viewed falsely as a stuck-up old woman for so long. Now, readers can see her for what she truly is; a strong, intelligent, and brave human being.