When Harry Potter fans think of Professor Minerva McGonagall, the thing that comes to mind is a strong-willed and fearless leader at Hogwarts. McGonagall is a no-nonsense yet empathetic adult figure in the wizarding world whose accomplishments proceed her. She is one of the most highly regarded witches in their realm and works predominantly to see that Harry and his friends succeed.
Despite her good-natured sense, there are a few things that McGonagall has done that are questionable. While the steps that she takes is undeniably done in good faith, sometimes her moves cause obstacles, either in Harry’s life directly or towards Hogwarts as a whole. Here are the 10 worst things that McGonagall has ever done.
10 She Sends Students Into The Forbidden Forest
After Draco catches Harry, Ron, and Hermione sneaking off to visit Hagrid, he goes to Professor McGonagall to rat them out. She calls them into her office in order to reward their punishment. And, unlike normal schools, McGonagall saw it fit to send five 11-year-olds into what had been established as the Forbidden Forest to serve detention. This seems like a harsh sentence, especially by McGonagall’s standards. Then again, maybe she saw it as an opportunity for them. She is quite ferocious.
9 She Let Gilderoy Lockhart Make Decisions
Understandably, it would be hard to support Gilderoy Lockhart as a teacher and Dumbledore’s decision to hire him if McGonagall were to keep stepping on his toes. Both in the books and in the movies, it is clear that McGonagall has a certain distaste for the eccentric professor who audiences later learn to be a fraud. Despite knowing this from the beginning, McGonagall routinely allows Lockhart to make decisions. This seems like a huge oversight especially considering it always involves the students. From fixing Harry’s broken arm to egging him on about his delusions about the Chamber of Secrets, the best thing she could have done was to call him out on his lies.
8 Not Sending Students Home After The Chamber of Secrets
Although this was her initial instinct, McGonagall ended up not sending students home after the Chamber of Secrets is revealed to have been opened. Even after Dumbledore’s suspension, when she takes over as temporary Headmistress of Hogwarts, McGonagall still didn’t make the decision to send students home. Students were being Petrified left and right with no knowledge of how or why it is happening. Hogwarts is considered to be a safe place, so perhaps this is her reasoning, but, ultimately, considering the safety of the students, McGonagall should have seen it fit to send them home until the issue was resolved
7 She Didn’t Let Harry Go To Hogsmeade
One of the most innocent, yet heart0breaking moments from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is when McGonagall doesn’t allow Harry to go to Hogsmeade. Hogwarts students can only go to Hogsmeade after their third year and with a signed permission slip. Even though she is well aware of the Dursley’s and Harry’s living situation, she holds fast to the rules.
Harry sees McGonagall as a partial parental figure, so he brings the slip to her in hopes that she can sign it for him. It’s a telling and touching gesture, yet she tells him that can’t enjoy this little getaway with his friends, since it’s the Dursley’s that need to sign his slip. It’s a tough-love moment, but it’s really sad to see after all Harry has been through.
6 She Tells Students About The Chamber of Secrets
Readers know that it was Professor Binns, the History of Magic teacher, that actually tells students about the Chamber of Secrets, but for the mass majority of people who have only seen the movie, it’s McGonagall who reveals its history. This seems like something that should not have been explained in the midst of a dire situation.
Admittedly, McGonagall is hesitant at first, but she ultimately decides to tell a class full of 12 and 13-year-olds how their lives were in jeopardy. It doesn’t seem like a smart move on her end, but this knowledge does help Harry solve the dilemma in the end.
5 She Gives Hermione A Time Turner
The Time-Turner is a very sensitive piece of magical equipment that even the most experienced witches and wizards have not been entrusted with. It seems strange that McGonagall allows a 13-year-old to use it in order to get to two extra classes. It also seems like this move is condoning an unhealthy behavior. Hermione is a bit over-the-top when it comes to her education, and while it’s an amiable quality to have, McGonagall shouldn’t have allowed Hermione to overwork herself as she did, especially when the only way to do this is by handing over an extremely powerful piece of magic.
4 She Belittles Professor Trelawney’s Profession
Again, McGonagall is a no-nonsense kind of person, but she really should have known when to bite her tongue. She shows immense restraint when comes to the Dolores Umbridge and her overtaking of Hogwarts, but, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, McGonagall openly belittles the Divination teacher’s profession.
It’s very clear to Harry and the other students that McGonagall, who comes highly respected in the wizarding world, does not believe in or endorse her colleague’s profession. This isn’t something a teacher should admit to, especially to her students. But, as it turns out, it’s Trelawney’s prophecy that acts as the axis for the events of the wizarding world, so McGonagall may have learned to be more open-minded.
3 The Time She Challenged Aurors
During O.W.L exams, Umbridge sends a team of Aurors to evict Hagrid from Hogwarts. McGonagall, who has respect for him, goes to intervene and starts yelling at the Aurors to leave. However, the Aurors take her threat seriously, and they hit her with four stunning spells. The impact is so severe that she has to go to St. Mungo’s Hospital for treatment, leaving Umbridge to be the only professor in charge of Hogwarts.
Obviously, McGonagall couldn’t have known that the Aurors would react this way, but it seems strange that she becomes temperamental considering she’s pretty levelheaded. Had she not reacted to the situation so passionately, students would not have been left at Hogwarts defenseless against Umbridge’s terror.
2 Letting Snape Pass
This isn’t shown in the film, but in the book, McGonagall is part of the fight in the Astronomy Tower that is taking place just before Snape murders Dumbledore. McGonagall is fighting Death Eaters in the halls of Hogwarts, and while doing so, she brushes next to Snape. At the time, McGonagall presumes that Snape is on his way to help Dumbledore, not knowing what his true intentions are. Essentially, she lets Snape pass her, resulting in Dumbledore’s demise. This action haunts her for a time as it seems she puts a bit of blame on herself for Dumbledore’s fate.
1 She Encourages Students To Fight In The War
As things are coming to a head, and the catalyst for the Second Wizarding World War makes its mark, McGonagall serves on the front line. She is exactly the type of person Harry and the students of Hogwarts need to be leading the rebellion. In the book, Pansy Parkinson makes a remark telling McGonagall that perhaps they should give into Voldemort’s whims and surrender Harry.
At this point, McGonagall tells the students that anyone who doesn’t wish to fight can leave. The younger students have already made their way out through the underground tunnels into Hogsmeade, but the rest she encourages to stay and fight. This seems like a strange tactic, no matter how necessary it is at the time, to allow teenagers to put up a fight against a massive group of serial killers.
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