Top Five Acting Successes of Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall
Today is Dame Maggie Smith’s birthday! We here at MuggleNet would like to wish her a very happy birthday. To celebrate, we wanted to go Harry Potter style and showcase her best moments portraying Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films.
- “Why don’t you confer with Mr. Finnigan? As I recall, he has a particular proclivity for pyrotechnics.”
Smith enunciates her words hard, and the use of alliteration helps highlight her characterization of Professor McGonagall. In this moment, we see McGonagall praising what used to be Seamus’s downfall now as an asset to protecting Hogwarts from Voldemort and his army in his seventh year.
2. “The House of Godric Gryffindor has commanded the respect of the wizarding world for nearly ten centuries. I will not have you, in one night, besmirching that name by behaving like a babbling, bumbling band of baboons!”
McGonagall had a particular proclivity for alliteration even back in Harry’s fourth year, and Smith delivers this line confidently and with vigor, complete with her upturned nose and facial expression. The last thing McGonagall wants is for her House to make fools of themselves at the Yule Ball.
3. “Why is it when something happens it is always you three?”
This is almost more of a statement than it is a question: By now, McGonagall is used to the golden trio being involved in the events around school and probably wonders why it must always be them instead of anyone else. In their sixth year, I’m sure McGonagall is reminded of the three of them running around her office in years past, and Smith’s portrayal of this reminiscence is not only funny but also hilariously truthful.
4. “Potter, take Weasley with you. He looks far too happy over there.”
Still in their sixth year, this line is, of course, meant for comic relief, but Smith makes it more than just that. The key to making a line sound organic is making sure the character you embody says it in their own way, and so Smith as McGonagall does that: She makes McGonagall quirky in addition to strict, and that makes her all the more lovable.
5. “And his name is Voldemort, Filius. You might as well use it. He is going to try and kill you either way.”
McGonagall’s courage really shines through here! She is ready for a fight, and Smith’s delivery on this line really makes us believe that is so. Of all her wonderful comic relief moments in Deathly Hallows – Part 2, McGonagall’s strongest moment is this one, where she is ready to defend the school she loves.
There are so many more successful moments! Maggie Smith is a fantastic actor who truly embodied the spirit of Minerva McGonagall. What are some of your favorite moments with Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall?