The Underground Lake #23: Suspect Hogwarts Faculty and Staff

by Brandon

Guess who’s back? Back again? Brandon’s back! Tell a friend! I have returned with number two of five. Some of you have been very impatient with me. I always keep my word. If I say I’ll have five before Book Six, then I’ll have five before Six. Sorry I couldn’t come up with a better title for this one but it’s really to the point. Sure I’ve talked ad nauseum about Dumbledore and Snape and our favorite DADA’s, but I thought it would be nice to visit some of our other faculty and staff and see if perhaps they will have any moments in our new book which is coming in LESS THAN 15 DAYS!!!

Now you might wonder why I say “suspect” because as you will read on, I’m not accusing these people of anything. But in my house, when we say something is “suspect” we mean that there is something fishy going on and it needs to be investigated. I submit for your entertainment and consideration: SUSPECT HOGWARTS FACULTY AND STAFF!

Minerva McGonagall: Transfiguration and Deputy Headmistress

My good friend Jenna was online with me late one night and I asked her what she would like to read about in my column. She said unicorns. I said, “never gonna happen.” She next chose McGonagall. I said… hmmm. McGonagall, for a major character, is rather mysterious. Let’s face it. We don’t know a lot about many of the teachers, but next to Dumbledore and Snape, she is one of the most prominently featured teachers (nice rhyme), and we know very little about her or her backstory.

Here’s what we do know. She is an Animagus in the form of a cat. We have been told by JKR that she is approximately 70 years old. She teaches Transfiguration and in the immortal words of Harry, “she [has] a very stern face and… [is] not someone to cross.” In the event that Dumbledore is gone, she is next in line as deputy headmistress. She is head of Gryffindor house. She started teaching at Hogwarts approximately 39 years before the events of Book Five, meaning she was about 30-32 years old at the time. What always intrigued me was the fact that she started in December. To my recollection, Dumbledore was the previous Transfiguration teacher. Now assuming he went straight from Transfiguration teacher to Headmaster at that time, that would mean that something happened unexpectedly to the Headmaster in December of 1956 that caused him to leave so that, presumably, Dumbledore would take over as head and, subsequently, the need to hire a replacement for him. A Google search revealed that in December of 1956, Castro returned to Cuba and Japan was admitted into the United Nations. The world was deep into the Cold War. What is the significance of McGonagall starting in December? There has to be a reason for it.

Here’s some fun McGonagall math. If we assume that McGonagall was 31 in 1956 which I think is about right, then that means that her seventh year at Hogwarts would have been 1942. Here’s one… if all math is correct, then the same school year that McGonagall was graduating (1942-1943) would have been the same school year that a certain Rubeus Hagrid was expelled for opening the Chamber of Secrets! Assuming the pattern follows that since McGonagall is Trasfiguration teacher and head of Gryffindor house, if follows that when Dumbledore was Transfiguration teacher that he was also head of Gryffindor house. And if he was head of Gryffindor house, you KNOW that McGonagall had to have been a prefect as well as probably Head Girl in her tenure. She would have been in with Dumbledore so when it came time to pick a replacement for the Transfiguration job, Dumbledore would just happen to know a stellar student who was an Animagus.

My question is this: what was McGonagall doing during those missing 14 years? From the time she left to the time she came back is 14 years, where was she and what was she doing? Was she pursuing some higher education? Was she an Auror? Did she work for the Ministry? We may never know. But goodness, I hope we find out.

Troublesome Trelawney

Poor Professor Trelawney. It must be hard for her to live under the shadow of such a famous relative. She has convinced herself that she has the same power. She does, actually – she just doesn’t know it. Or, she does know it, but pretends she can control it, which she obviously can’t.

We know of two Trelawney predictions, both of which carry serious weight. I would like to bring your attention to the first one we witnessed in Prisoner of Azkaban. Let us recall her words:

“THE DARK LORD LIES ALONE AND FRIENDLESS, ABANDONED BY HIS FOLLOWERS. HIS SERVANT HAS BEEN CHAINED THESE TWELVE YEARS. TONIGHT, BEFORE MIDNIGHT… THE SERVANT WILL BREAK FREE AND SET OUT TO REJOIN HIS MASTER. THE DARK LORD WILL RISE AGAIN WITH HIS SERVANT’S AID, GREATER AND MORE TERRIBLE THAN EVER HE WAS. TONIGHT…BEFORE MIDNIGHT… THE SERVANT… WILL SET OUT… TO REJOIN…HIS MASTER…”
(324, PoA)

Now, of course we naturally assume that she is talking about Peter Pettigrew. In fact, the film version completely changes the prophecy so that there is no doubt that it is Peter Pettigrew:

“HE WILL RETURN TONIGHT. TONIGHT HE WHO BETRAYED HIS FRIENDS, WHOSE HEART ROTS WITH MURDER SHALL BREAK FREE. INNOCENT BLOOD SHALL BE SPILT AND SERVANT AND MASTER SHALL BE REUNITED ONCE MORE…”
(PoA movie)

That leaves no doubt, right? WRONG! By my interpretation, while both are referencing Peter Pettigrew, the book (which is CANON) is mentioning another servant of the Dark Lord: BARTY CROUCH, JR. Remember that a movie has to work on it’s own. For the non-HP fan, they don’t have time to worry about the events of Book Four while watching Movie Three. Let us look at the conditions of the REAL prophecy:

  • Been chained 12 years: Not only has BC,Jr. been in Azkaban for part of that time, but his father also held him prisoner until he started fighting off the Imperius Curse.
  • The servant will break free: it is my contention going off of BC,Jr.’s words that as his strength regained, the first time he was able to truly fight off the Imperius was the same night all our fun Time-Turner stuff was happening.
  • Set out to join his master: he did this mentally. In his own words, his first thought when regaining his strength was returning to Voldemort.
  • The Dark Lord will rise again with his servant’s aid: Pettigrew did a lot of leg work, but Harry would NOT have been at that graveyard without Barty Crouch, Jr. Voldemort made it clear that he would not do the spell without Harry. He needed Harry and BC,Jr. delivered.

Now I am not saying that the prophecy is not referencing Pettigrew. I am simply proving JKR’s point about prophecies: they have conditions that can be met by different people depending on the interpretation. The fact that she repeats “before midnight” most likely means that it is Pettigrew, but until we take our Time-Turner back to Book Three and go to the Crouch house, it is still logistically possible for the prophecy to refer to BC,Jr., thus proving that even then, THE WHEELS ARE IN MOTION!

The Curious Courtship of Mr. Filch and Mrs. Norris

I have been working on a theory for a while now about Filch and Mrs. Norris. It is true that people love their pets, but Filch LOVES that cat. Filch loves that cat to the point where he was seriously about to MURDER Harry for petrifying her. But what if she is not some ordinary cat? The easy answer is that, like Crookshanks, Mrs. Norris is part kneazle… but I don’t like that. Part kneazle doesn’t explain the almost psychic connection the two share. Of course, if that IS the case, Hermione needs to step her game up so that she can send old Crooky out on recon.

But I digress. I have been thinking that Mrs. Norris may be the victim of a spell. I do not think she is an Animagus if for no other reason than the fact that JKR is too clever to repeat that switch-a-roo. I think Mrs. Norris may have a) been Filch’s predecessor or b) been a student at Hogwarts.

What would be the point of hexing “Mrs. Norris”? What if she knows something? That’s an old cat. Someone with Fantastic Beasts: do kneazles live THAT long? I mean she could have been bred by old Mrs. Figg and given to Filch to keep him company, but I think it would so much cooler if – like Filch and Snape and Trelawney – she is at Hogwarts for her own protection. Think about it: let’s say she is a person and someone turned her into a cat to keep her quiet because she knew something. It’s not like it’s not a character trait already. I mean what is Mrs. Norris if not A TATTLETALE? She goes off exploring, catches people breaking Filch’s rules and tattles on them. So what if the petrification of Mrs. Norris wasn’t an accident, but someone finishing what they started. I’m not naming any names. I’m just saying I wouldn’t put it past someone (*cough*tomriddle*cough*) to have someone discover his or her secret and turn them into an animal to keep them quiet. But you didn’t hear that from me…

Dobby and the House Elf Liberation Front

The rest will be short bits. I think the final confrontation is gonna see some house elves kicking butt. I found a loophole in the house elf magic. You see, they are required to serve their master and only their master. In the case of the Hogwarts house elves, they serve the staff and current students of the school. If either the staff or students are in danger, they may use their magic to help those whom they serve. I think Hermione has the wrong idea. I feel that if you free the house elves, they are not bound to serve you. With no ties, they have no loyalties and don’t have to help you if they don’t want to (unless you are Dobby). But if they are happy and treated well, they will want to help and thus when the DEs make their attack run, they will be blocked by powerful magic. I can just see Harry in a battle-ready pose, flanked by a legion of little two-feet-tall house elves! “General Dobby, ATTACK!”

The New DADA

The DADA pattern comes in threes.

  • Step 1 – The guy you think is good who turns out to be evil (Book 1 – Quirrell and in Book 4 – Imposter Moody).
  • Step 2 – The annoying one who holds a deadly and evil secret (Book 2 – Lockhart and in Book 5 – Umbridge)
  • Step 3 – The good one with the tiny flaw (Book 3 – Lupin and in Book 6 – ??)

That’s my thinking. It may or may not be this McClaggan character Personally, I hope it’s Dumbledore’s brother, but you can’t always get what you want. Either way, he (or she) is only lasting one book and if they are good, that can only mean that they will become totally incapable of teaching (i.e. dead or the Lupin route). Hey, maybe this time they’ll get a vampire!

Now looking at my little pattern, you may ask yourself where Book Seven fits. The answer is elementary: SNAPE! It has been my contention that Dumbledore will die in Six (I know, sad). Since Dumbledore was the only thing blocking Snape from taking the job, with him out of the way, the new headmaster (or I should say headmistress because it can only be McGonagall) will have no choice but to give the job to Snape and find a new Potions master.

That’s my two cents. Stay tuned for Three.

Remember, the wheels are in motion.