Minerva McGonagall’s Reading List
She may fight like a Gryffindor, but she reads like a Ravenclaw! Professor Minerva McGonagall is clever, patient, tough, serious, fierce, brave, and above all, a wonderful teacher. She respects and nurtures her students, making them into better people. Even though she’s a devoted professor, she deserves free time, and I assume that an intellectual like McGonagall would spend it reading. I imagine she admires all the great English and Scottish authors as well as acclaimed female novelists.
It’s called “The Scottish Play” for a reason. Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays due to its political and social themes. To read the play is to fall straight into Scottish history. It’s a dramatic and thrilling adventure, one that any refined reader would enjoy. Professor McGonagall would enjoy the historical aspect of Macbeth as well as the exciting plot.
There’s no doubt Professor McGonagall is a prime example of female power! She is an encyclopedia of knowledge on transfiguration spells, gifted in wandwork, fierce on the battlefield, and unfailingly kind when speaking to her students. She shows readers that women can do anything, so naturally, Professor McGonagall would enjoy reading about the complex women in The Handmaid’s Tale. In The Handmaid’s Tale, a religious patriarchy has taken over and women have become subservient handmaids. The events of the novel and its sequel, The Testaments, remind me of the Battle of Hogwarts. Like the handmaids, Professor McGonagall fights for her independence and for the well-being of others.
Professor McGonagall is studious enough to enjoy such prestigious poetry. Burns writes of the beautiful Scottish atmosphere and countryside with lovely language. By writing about such a landscape, Burns is describing the land where Hogwarts is supposedly based. Professor McGonagall would enjoy reading about her home and likely would be amused at a Muggle understanding of it. Also, Burns writes in Scottish dialect about patriotism, and I can picture Professor McGonagall sitting in a comfy chair and reading the poems out loud in her Scottish accent.
This classic novel is by another famous Scottish author. Ivanhoe is similar to King Arthur since it is a tale of knights, kings, and quests. The castles featured in the book may even have been the inspiration for Hogwarts. Even though Ivanhoe details a patriarchal, violent society in legend form, the two main female characters are wonderfully complex. The novel deals with themes of honor, pride, familial loyalty, adventure, courage, love, poverty, and religion; basically, it has something for everyone. Many people consider classic novels boring and dull, but Ivanhoe is one of the most exciting ones. It’s an ideal read for any Gryffindor.
Agatha Christie is one of the most celebrated English writers, and her best novel is Murder on the Orient Express. Despite its title, the book is not particularly gory, but instead compelling and diverting. The plot is intricate and full of twists and turns. The Orient Express is so similar to the Hogwarts Express, and surely Professor McGonagall would appreciate the connection. This is the perfect novel for her to read when she’s curled up with a warm cup of tea in her Hogwarts office.
This underrated classic is another mystery Professor McGonagall would choose as a favorite. The main character is a young woman who is thrown into an old familial mystery in her new husband’s house. The house itself, with its many secrets and servants, becomes a character. Seeing as how McGonagall teaches in a similar place filled with stories and secrets, she would be delighted by the adventures in this novel. Maybe Professor McGonagall would be able to predict the ending of the book that I never saw coming!
Besides Harry Potter, this is my favorite book about magic. With its eccentric cast of characters, rich storytelling, historical tie-ins, and expert worldbuilding, the events of the book feel real. I love how the magic in the plot is described so differently from Harry Potter, so it’s wonderful in a separate way. If Professor McGonagall is going to read any Muggle depiction of magic, she might as well read the best one!