All about... Minerva McGonagall

Professor McGonagall, the strict but sentimental Transfiguration teacher, plays a major role in Harry’s life right from his first day at Hogwarts. We’ve mapped out absolutely everything you need to know about the Head of Gryffindor.

Fact file

4 October
Isobel Ross and Rev Robert McGonagall
Fir and dragon heartstring, nine and a half inches, stiff
Animagus (silver tabby cat)
Needlework, supporting the Montrose Magpies

First mention of Minerva McGonagall

‘It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar – a cat reading a map.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Number of mentions of Minerva McGonagall in all seven books


Minerva McGonagall’s biggest book moments

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Doesn’t like the idea of leaving Harry with the Dursleys, saying ‘You couldn’t find two people who are less like us’
- Chapter 1

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Calls Lockhart’s bluff about knowing where the entrance is to the Chamber of Secrets, and challenges him to tackle the monster to stop him from interfering with the other teachers.
- Chapter 16

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Takes Harry’s new Firebolt to check it for jinxes, believing that it may have been sent by Sirius Black.
- Chapter 11

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Defends Harry, saying that he couldn’t have crossed Dumbledore’s Age Line to put his name in the Goblet of Fire.
- Chapter 17

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Is Stunned by Umbridge’s cronies and has to be taken to St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
- Chapter 31

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Assists in the fight as Snape and the Death Eaters flee the castle after Dumbledore’s death.
- Chapter 28

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Duels Voldemort, along with Kingsley and Slughorn.
- Chapter 36

The two sides of McGonagall

We’ve tracked some of the sweetest and the strictest things Minerva does in each book.

The two sides of McGonagall
Book Sweetest things Strictest things
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneInstead of punishing Harry for flying to catch Neville’s Remembrall, she makes him Gryffindor’s new Seeker.Takes 50 points each from Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville when she catches them out of bed at night.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsTears up about Hermione being Petrified, and gives Harry and Ron permission to visit her in the hospital wing.Announces that all students must take their regular exams despite a series of Basilisk attacks on Hogwarts students.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanSecretly gives Hermione a Time-Turner so she can attend more classes in her third year than can fit into a regular day.Bans Neville Longbottom from Hogsmeade trips, gives him detention, and forbids anyone to give him the Gryffindor common room password.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireLoans her classroom to Harry so that he can practise spells in preparation for the Triwizard Tournament.Loses her temper with Neville, saying ‘do not reveal that you can’t even perform a simple Switching Spell in front of anyone from Durmstrang!’
Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixComforts Trelawney after Umbridge dismisses her from her job, despite being sceptical about her ability.Takes house points from Gryffindor after Umbridge gives Harry detention, ‘because detentions do not appear to have any effect on you’.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceTells Neville his grandmother should be ‘proud of the grandson she’s got, rather than the one she thinks she ought to have.’Tells Harry off for 15 minutes after he attacks Malfoy, and says that she whole-heartedly supports Snape’s punishment of detention every Saturday until the end of term.
Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsStands up to the Carrow brothers by telling them ‘Potter belongs in my house!’ with a strain of pride in her voice. Tells Slughorn that ‘if any of you attempt to sabotage our resistance, or take up arms against us within this castle, then, Horace, we duel to kill’.

Minerva and the Battle of Hogwarts

Mapping out McGonagall’s key moments in the final showdown with Voldemort and his followers.

  1. Alerts Heads of House that Voldemort is on his way, by sending out cat Patronuses
  2. Duels with Snape in the hallway before he escapes and abandons the castle
  3. Announces to Sprout, Flitwick and Slughorn that they must barricade the school, then gather the students in the Great Hall
  4. Tells the Slytherins that they can leave if they want, the time has come to choose a side
  5. Makes a speech to the students, explaining the situation and announcing the evacuation of Hogwarts
  6. Ushers under-age students out of the Great Hall
  7. Tells Harry to go and look for the Horcrux in the castle as battle plans are being made
  8. Herds galloping desks towards Death Eaters near the main staircase
  9. Screams when she thinks Harry is dead, when the fighters are gathered outside the castle
  10. Duels Voldemort along with Slughorn and Kingsley
  11. Is blasted backwards by Voldemort, with Slughorn and Kingsley, when Bellatrix is killed
  12. Replaces the house tables after the Battle of Howarts so that people can sit together in the Great Hall

Of mice and men

Five characters revealed as an Animagus in the books.

Minerva McGonagall

When we first meet McGonagall she is a cat, watching the Dursleys’ house. She’s in feline form again later in a demonstration in Transfiguration class

Peter Pettigrew

Pettigrew takes the form of a rat and becomes Ron’s pet, Scabbers. Sirius Black and Remus Lupin force him to change into a man but he changes back and makes his escape

Sirius Black

Black escapes from Azkaban in the form of a huge dog and makes multiple switches between human and dog form throughout the books, particularly when he needs to hide

James Potter

Harry’s father learned how to turn into a stag in a gesture of solidarity with Remus Lupin, a werewolf, when they were at school: his antlers earned him the nickname ‘Prongs’

Rita Skeeter

Skeeter transforms into a beetle in order to eavesdrop on conversations to help her write stories for the Daily Prophet during the Triwizard Tournament

Last mention of Minerva McGonagall

McGonagall had replaced the house tables, but nobody was sitting according to house any more: all were jumbled together, teachers and pupils, ghosts and parents, centaurs and house-elves.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows