Because J.K. Rowling is a master at filling all the gaps in the wizarding world, virtually every single character's history can be found on the internet. Readers can find details as mundane as what happened at the Quidditch World Cup in 1473 to what classes Albus Dumbledore took when he was at Hogwarts. The attention to detail is astounding, to say the least, with plenty of Easter eggs scattered throughout this world's history for good measure.
Minerva McGonagall is only one of the many characters that have details shrouded in mystery. In the films, Maggie Smith flawlessly portrayed the Transfiguration professor to the point that McGonagall easily became a fan favorite. In the books, she is visualized more up close and personal. And, for that reason, we decided to give you these 10 facts about Minerva McGonagall which the films leave out.
10 She Taught Lily and James
Through the various online forums that speak to the history of Harry Potter characters, it has been said that Lily Evans and James Potter had been amongst Professor McGonagall ‘s favorite students. McGonagall started teaching at Hogwarts supposedly around 1956. She was born in 1935, graduated in 1954, and worked at the Ministry two years after graduation before asking Dumbledore to work as a professor at the school. If this timeline is canon, then McGonagall definitely would have taught James and Lily as they were at Hogwarts during the 70s.
9 She Confiscated Harry's Firebolt
There is a moment in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry becomes frustrated with this strict professor. Not only did she not help him get permission to go to Hogsmeade, but, after the Firebolt is mysteriously sent to him, McGonagall had it confiscated. She did this at Hermione's urging, as the Firebolt arrives before Harry knew Sirius Black's true intentions. In the film, the Firebolt appears at the end, but, in the book, this gift is received much earlier. Harry becomes infuriated with Hermione as well for encouraging McGonagall to inspect his new toy.
8 She Yells At The Minister of Magic
The scene when the Minister and the Hogwarts professors discover that Barty Crouch Junior had been acting as Mad-Eye Moody is severely cut in the film. The book demonstrates that after learning that Mad-Eye has been locked in the trunk for the better half of the year, Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, has dementors give Barty Crouch Jr. the Dementor‘s kiss.
This is an extreme mistake as Crouch Jr. would have been key in determining if Voldemort had really returned. But, considering Fudge didn’t want to know the truth, it makes sense that he let this happen. McGonagall is so furious with Fudge for this careless move that she yells at him in a way that makes Harry a bit terrified of this typically docile professor.
7 She Transfigured The Giant Chess Set
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Golden Trio sneak under Fluffy's trap door in order to prevent the stone from being stolen. Easier said than done, considering there is a bevy of tasks they must overcome in order to reach the final resting place.
Among these obstacles is the giant chess set which, as it turns out, is Ron's specialty. Dumbledore had his most trusted professors, including Snape and Qurril, set up these seemingly impossible courses in order to prevent anyone from getting the Sorcerer’s Stone. McGonagall is actually the one who set up and transfigured the giant chess set to its frightening potential.
6 She's A Part Of The Order Of The Phoenix
If you really paid attention during the films, you might know that Professor McGonagall is a member of the Order of the Phoenix. She does appear in a scene alongside Snape and the rest of the Order inside Grimmauld Place. However, her responsibilities as part of the group aren’t discussed in the film at length. McGonagall has been part of the Order since the First Wizarding War which took place in the 70s and 80s.
5 She Doesn't Like Trewlaney
Despite the fact that McGonagall comes to Trelawney’s aid when Umbridge fires her, Professor McGonagall had previously been unimpressed with the Divination professor. In fact, she let slip that she thought that this magic subject was, in a word, unreliable. She pokes fun at the subject by sarcastically assuring Harry that, despite the fact that Trelawney said he would be dying in his third year, that she still expected him to turn in his homework.
4 She Was Attacked By Aurors
During Harry’s fourth year when Umbridge is appointed as High Inquisitor, there is a scene that was left out of the films. During Umbridge's tirade of firing Hogwarts professors, she brings several Aurors down to Hagrid‘s hut to try to evict him from the grounds. McGonagall left during the O.W.L exams in order to, once again, come to her colleague's aid. Unfortunately, as McGonagall starts yelling at the Aurors, they simultaneously turn around and Stun her. It was such a severe attach that she was taken to St. Mungo's Hospital for treatment.
3 She Played Devil's Advocate
However, during the same year, she had to play devil's advocate and work alongside Umbridge, despite her disdain. While McGonagall makes it abundantly clear that she doesn't approve of Umbridge or her Decrees, she essentially had to play along. This seems very unlike the strong-willed professor, but given the circumstances, she did what she thought was best in order to stick by her student side.
2 She Dueled Voldemort
One of the best things that the film producers did in the film was to highlight McGonagall‘s leadership during the Battle of Hogwarts. The moment she sends the knights marching forward to protect is castles is still one of the most impactful scenes ion the entire series.
What they don’t show you is a scene that is described in the final moments of the Hogwarts battle. McGonagall actually duels with Voldemort himself. She, Horace Slughorn, and Kingsley Shacklebolt team up together to fire spells at He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. They were eventually overtaken during Voldemort’s rage after he learns that Bellatrix had been killed.
1 She Becomes Headmistress
McGonagall is automatically next in line any time that Dumbledore has to step down as Headmaster of Hogwarts. This actually happens a couple of times throughout the series, as Dumbledore is prone to getting himself into trouble (especially when the Ministry is concerned).
That being said, the film doesn't make it clear that it is, in fact, McGonagall that takes over as Headmistress of Hogwarts after Dumbledore's death. In fact, she remains the Headmistress of Hogwarts to this day. And according to the Cursed Child, when Albus Potter goes to Hogwarts in 2020, McGonagall is still there. She's is the one who tells Harry that his son never makes it to Hogwarts.