You Won’t Believe This Stunning ‘Harry Potter’ Revelation About Professor McGonagall

Maggie Smith, Harry Potter, Warner Bros, 052516
Warner Bros.

From reading J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter saga, and watching the films, we know a lot about one of our favorite professors and Head of Gryffindor house, Professor Minerva McGonagall.  Stern but fair, McGonagall expected a lot from her students, but she also cared for them deeply, even if she didn’t always outwardly express it. However, what if there was something about Professor McGonagall  that we never thought about before? Reddit user Obversa made a stunning revelation about one of the most bad-ass witches in the entire HP saga.


Obversa suggests that “Professor McGonagall was originally hired by Dumbledore to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) in 1956. However, not long after, Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort) came back to Hogwarts, seeking the DADA position for himself. Dumbledore denied Voldemort’s application and as a result, Voldemort cast a jinx to prevent any DADA professor from ‘lasting more than a year’. Dumbledore then transferred McGonagall to the Transfiguration position before the term’s end, to prevent anything “bad” or “dangerous” from happening to her. After all, as long as she wasn’t teaching DADA , the jinx technically wouldn’t apply to her.” Obversa says, “Prior to being Headmaster, Dumbledore served as Transfiguration professor for several decades, teaching Tom Riddle himself as a child. He was also McGonagall’s predecessor, under Headmaster Armando Dippet. Thus, when Dumbledore succeeded Dippet, he would have left a vacancy for the spot of Transfiguration.” We know that Minerva McGonagall filled this vacancy, but what led her there?


As a result of Pottermore, we know a bit more about Professor McGonagall’s backstory (which is extremely similar to Lord Voldermort’s background). McGonagall was appointed as Dumbledore’s assistant in 1956, not as his replacement. But why would Dumbledore hire a brilliant McGonagall just as his assistant and not to a full teaching position when she first arrived back at Hogwarts? If you recall, one of the reasons why Headmaster Dippet rejected Tom Riddle’s application for the DADA teaching position, at age 17-18 for Tom, was because Tom was “too young”. However, Dippet encouraged Tom “to come back a few to several years later to apply again”. At the time, McGonagall was still perhaps too young, to be a Hogwarts professor in her own right.

Additionally, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix McGonagall told Dolores Umbridge that she had been teaching at Hogwarts for “Thirty-nine years this December”.  Order of the Phoenix takes place in 1995 and 1996, with this statement coming in approximately September 1995. Therefore, McGonagall’s official hiring would have been in the middle of the school year, very odd timing. But, why would McGonagall who is obviously gifted in Transfiguration initially apply to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor? 

Take note of Professor McGonagall’s wand. It’s made of Fir with a core of Dragon Heartstring. The Wandmaker Ollivander once called it the, ‘the survivor’s wand,’ because he had sold it to three wizards who subsequently passed through mortal peril unscathed. This means that if the wand chooses the wizard, McGonagall would have been destined for a lot more than Transfiguration.


It seems likely then that McGonagall started teaching as Dumbledore’s assistant in December of 1956, and, at some point, applied for (and received) the DADA job. However, Lord Voldemort arrived to Hogwarts shortly thereafter wanting to snag the position for himself. Once Dumbledore refused, Voldy put a hex on the position, so McGonagall had to be transferred to Transfiguration. After all, the Dark Lord  was probably, “angry, vindictive, and jealous of McGonagall, and wanted to take his revenge for what he saw as “what was rightfully his”. He was also obsessed with the similarities between the amazingly gifted witch. Just as he was continually obsessed with the similarities between Harry Potter and himself throughout the entire saga.