Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of McGonagall
Start writing a post

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Professor McGonagall

Furiously pretending The Cursed Child does not exist.

165
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Professor McGonagall
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I'm one of the "Potterheads" who saw Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald over the weekend. A lot happened and I found it very confusing. Let's focus on one of the minor details.

It's the strict but fair Head of Gryffindor House, deputy and future headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, winner of the Transfiguration Today Most Promising Newcomer award, the silver tabby cat, Minerva McGonagall! Beloved by millions of muggles for, among other things, her excellence in ballroom dance.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Ron and McGonagall's dance (HD) www.youtube.com

Her inclusion in Rowling's new Fantastic Beasts movie could be considered a welcome sighting for a fan-favorite. It's also problematic, and not just because Fiona Glascott is following in the footsteps of Maggie Smith.

Minerva McGonagall's origin, as revealed by Rowling's writings on her Pottermore website, is fascinating. She was born in the Highlands of Scotland to Robert (a Presbyterian minister) and Isobel (a witch) McGonagall. Isobel hid the secret of her magical identity from Robert for years. She had become estranged from her family after eloping with a muggle against their wishes. It wasn't until the uncontrolled prowess of little Minerva became too much to hide that Isobel came clean to her husband. Robert, of whom Minerva was known to take after, was drawn into the binding conspiracy of the magical community. Minerva was quick and bright from a young age; enough so that she felt the irreconcilable differences and broken trust that darkened her family. Despite the difficult nature of their world and their union, Isobel and Robert together raised their daughter to become the greatest witch of her time.

That's the Spark Notes version, and it doesn't do enough justice to pass Professor McGonagall's standard. There's also a controversial Gryffindor Quidditch career, a broken-hearted ex-fiancé, and her own marriage, cut tragically short by the potent poison of the Venomous Tentacula.[1] Not to mention her close friendship with Albus Dumbledore. Read in J.K. Rowling's full detail on the subject, here.

This sounds great! So, where's the problem?

Minerva McGonagall has one scene! Two lines! We briefly get to see her face. Her inclusion is a cheap cameo that got a good chuckle out of the audience. To most people, this complaint reads like an overly attached fan criticizing a small detail in a movie that doesn't deserve this much attention. But, Professor McGonagall's appearance throws a wrench in her story.

The Crimes of Grindelwald's primary action takes place around the Wizarding World in 1927, during the rise of the titular villain. The moment we get a glimpse of McGonagall is in an interesting Hogwarts flashback into the childhoods of Newt Scamander and Leta Lestrange. Albus Dumbledore is teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and Minerva McGonagall is scolding third-years.

This seems harmless. But it's not!

Rowling is throwing out a fun scene in her fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. It's when all-time supervillain and Hogwarts High Inquisitor, Dolores Umbridge, is evaluating Professor McGonagall.

She later informs Umbridge she's been teaching at Hogwarts for "thirty-nine years, this December." Readers have pieced together the timeline of events in the Wizarding World using a handful of details across the series. The most important of which is the death of Harry's parents, James and Lily Potter, in 1981.[2] This logic, combined with Rowling's further writings, concludes that Minerva was born in 1935. In other words, it makes absolutely no sense that she's in this movie.

It's an annoying habit of all fandoms to nitpick and expose the contradictions in a universe's canon. It's all made up, anyway. Not everyone is J.R.R. Tolkien. But, it's a worrying trend for Rowling's creation. She's approaching the point where we can start saying she's Terminatored the shit out of this one. And no one wants to see that happen.

McGonagall's ill-advised cameo is at the bottom of the list in terms of weird decisions Rowling has made with the rules in her Wizarding World in The Crimes of Grindelwald. There's plenty of confusing ancestry. Nagini is in there for some reason.[3] At least we have "Hot Dumbledore." There's also plenty to hold onto for long-term fans of the series. Eddie Redmayne continues to give the best performances of any actor in the ten-movie series. He communicates Newt Scamander's anxieties with the same nuance that won him an Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking. It's the fact that this sequel doesn't lean on him enough that leaves it short of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.[4] I will, however, continue enjoying these movies even if they continue to be two-hour-and-fifteen-minute set-ups for a five-film franchise based on a fictional encyclopedia. Sometimes we really don't choose who or what we love.


[1] "Known to successive generations of students as 'Professor McGonagall', Minerva – always something of a feminist – announced that she would be keeping her own name upon marriage. Traditionalists sniffed – why was Minerva refusing to accept a pure-blood name, and keeping that of her Muggle father?" -J.K. Rowling (Pottermore)

[2] This comes from Deathly Hallows, where Harry and Hermione visit his family's grave.

[3] [furiously pretending The Cursed Child doesn't exist.]

[4] This is pretty disappointing. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is still my favorite of the Wizarding World's film entries, and it's mostly because of Newt.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
How to Use Your Passion for Writing to Complete Academic Essays

Academic paper writing is often considered one of the most dreaded parts of college for students. Most people hate it, even if they are into writing in general. Many students feel like it puts them into a box where no creative expression is possible. Like having to use a more formal tone of voice and thinking about referencing restricts one’s flow of thought.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How Long Would It Take To Mine A Bitcoin?

No one will give you the correct answer to this question because there are a lot of details that they need to know. But, you can roughly estimate it based on the equipment you have a few more factors. One thing that needs to be mentioned is that mining has changed a lot over the years.

53786
Mine A Bitcoin

they need to know. But, you can roughly estimate it based on the equipment you have a few more factors. One thing that needs to be mentioned is that mining has changed a lot over the years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

5 Cakes You Need to Try This Winter

Spending the winter trying different cakes can be a great way to combat seasonal depression. Lift the spirits of your entire family by trying these five cakes.

54372
Try This Winter

The winter can be a dull time spent indoors with very little change. But, it doesn't have to be that way. There are plenty of ways to spice up your daily routine, and dessert is one of them.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

5 Reasons to Consider a Career as a Defense Lawyer

Lawyers are supposed to be unbiased. Lawyers are trained to look at both sides of an issue and give equal weight to each side. It is meant to be their mantra, "My client is innocent until proven guilty."

118361
Career as a Defense Lawyer

Lawyers are supposed to be unbiased. Lawyers are trained to look at both sides of an issue and give equal weight to each side. It is meant to be their mantra, "My client is innocent until proven guilty." But if you're thinking about becoming a defense attorney, it's not this pretty simple. Defense lawyers argue that their clients are innocent because they don't want their actions to seem suspect in any way. They essentially say for the sake of the argument itself. If you're trying to decide whether or not becoming a defense attorney is something you would like to do, here are five reasons why it's worth considering:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

What Everyone Should Know About Online Degrees

Nowadays, many working adults, high school graduates, and retired lifelong learners are choosing to advance their careers, lives, and personal knowledge by completing school at home.

210338
Online Degrees

The rising popularity of online college and graduate school degrees has completely changed the face of education and student life. It's no longer necessary to pack up all your belongings and head off to a distant locale in order to earn a diploma. Nowadays, many working adults, high school graduates, and retired lifelong learners are choosing to advance their careers, lives, and personal knowledge by completing school at home.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments