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26 June 2007 @ 11:57 pm
Minerva McGonagall is Ever so Evil  
I know, I know. As crack theories go, this one is pretty high on the ludicrous scale. There is next to no textual evidence. It's more about a nebulous feeling of wrongness. Basically, the idea is that for symmetry's sake, there should be another Gryffindor traitor, one so secret that even Snape isn't privileged to know about. Snape was a Slytherin working for the Order during the first war, and Pettigrew was his counterpart, a Gryffindor working for Voldemort. Snape (I think) is still working for the Order, so it stands to reason that there might be another Gryffindor working for Voldemort. There really aren't that many people to choose from: Lupin, but I don't see that happening- what are the odds that both traitors are from the same group of people? Hagrid, please. A Weasley, well, perhaps Percy. I think that making Minerva McGonagall the traitor would have the maximum impact. And, I think there are enough small hints in the text to make that reveal believable. Here, in more or less chronological order, is the best evidence I've got and it's all circumstantial.

A) McG and Voldemort are contemporaries. She went to Hogwarts with him, as according to the Lexicon, McG was born circa 1926 and Voldemort was born circa 1927. Given how close those two years are, it's possible that they were even in the same year. She definitely would have known him as a teen, at least by sight. He was too high-profile a student for it to be likely that she didn't know him. Tom was an attractive, popular boy who was well-liked by the staff (excluding DD), and she could have definitely fallen under his spell. This is not proof by any means, but she most assuredly had opportunity.

B) Her behavior at the beginning of SS/PS was rather odd. Why did McG spend all day waiting at the Dursley's? The entire non-DE wizarding world was celebrating the demise of Voldemort except for those who were directly involved with the events in Godric's Hollow (aside from Hagrid, who was involved at DD's request). So why wasn't she off celebrating? DD asks her that very question, and she "sniffs angrily." Her response to DD is to state that there is no reason for people to lose their heads and that it would be ironic if the Wizarding world was exposed to the Muggles due to all the celebratory hullabaloo.

DD and McG have an exposition-filled conversation about Harry and DD states that he is leaving Harry with the Dursley's. McG is appalled. Now, a straight reading of the text would lead you to believe that McG is worried for Harry, and that she doesn't want him to suffer life at the Dursley's. Crane your neck a little, and you may wonder why McG would want Harry brought up somewhere else- at the Weasley's, perhaps? Because we all know how safe the Weasley's house was in those days. Peter Pettigrew sneaked right in under their noses. She also seems very sad in this scene. Straight reading: she's upset for Harry and is grieving for Lily and James. Crane your neck: she just lost the Dark Lord. Truthfully, something about this whole scene seems off. Try reading the whole thing pretending you know that McG is a traitorous Death Eater. It's almost spooky how well it works. Again, there's no proof, but it is rather suggestive.

C)The Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone. Harry and Ron, on the fateful night Quirrel!Mort makes his bid for the stone, try to find DD to warn him. DD is gone, of course, as McG tells them. She drops the books she is carrying because she is so surprised that Harry and Ron know about the stone. She tells them that she is sure that the stone is in no danger. Straight: well, I would be surprised too, and I don't think that I would put a lot of faith in two eleven-year old boys. Craning: She is shocked and worried because they might throw a potential monkey wrench in the Dark Lord's plans. DE McG wouldn't want Harry anywhere near the stone that night. DE McG would want the showdown between Harry and Voldemort to occur on terms of the DE's own choosing. But, nope, no proof here either.

The other thing I find a little odd about the stone scenario is the fact that the protection she set up, the chess set, required Ron to be knocked out, which reminded me eerily of the cave in HBP, which required blood as a payment to pass. Now, theoretically, if Ron had been a better chess player he could have avoided that whole situation, but that's not how it actually played out. Just struck me as odd. But again, no proof here.

D) COS didn't have much scope in it for Death Eaters, as Voldemort was absent from the scene (Tom Riddle notwithstanding). Neither did POA. GOF, on the other hand, has a great big one. Barty Crouch, Jr. Snape and McGonagall are assigned to guard him after he is interrogated by Dumbledore. Fudge shows up, brings a dementor, and it kisses Crouch. McG, when she tells DD what happened, absolutely loses it, like she has never once lost it before. She is screaming at the top of her lungs, turning as red as Uncle Vernon. Straight: she just watched a dementor suck the soul out of a living body, and it contradicted DD's express orders. She is justifiably upset. Crane a little: Voldemort has just lost a very valuable Death Eater (his "most loyal"), possibly one McGonagall knew and cared about. This makes more sense if she had taken a hand in Barty's turn to the dark side (albeit a subtle one, as presumably Barty wouldn't be allowed to know about her status as a DE). This isn't anything remotely like proof.

E) OotP. McG is the life and soul of OotP. You can't help but love her in that book. "Have a biscuit, Potter." and "It unscrews the other way!" She's wonderful! She opposes Umbridge with such wit and style that it's a joy to watch. But- there is one thing. She defends Hagrid, and in so doing, takes four Stunners in the chest, and she ends up spending most of the rest of the book in St. Mungo's.

Here's the thing. The prophecy Voldemort wants is in the Dept. of Mysteries. Voldemort knows that Dumbledore knows that he wants it. They both know that it will come down to a showdown at the Dept. of Mysteries, with Harry or without him. Everyone in the Order, and all the Death Eaters privileged enough to be in Voldemort's confidence know that there's going to be a confrontation. The only ones in the dark are Harry and company. Minerva should have known, and if you look at the situation from a certain point of view - you have to wonder - isn't that rather convenient? She, as a member of the Order, could easily have ended up fighting the DE's at the DoM. It's conceivable that she figured that Hagrid wouldn't go down without a fight, and surely she knew that the Aurors involved all had twitchy trigger fingers. If she is a Death Eater, being in the hospital during the battle would be a win-win situation. Still not proof, though.

F) This is the crown jewel in my collection. HBP. The Phoenix Lament. Harry has just announced that Snape killed DD. Minerva's reaction?

"Snape," repeated McGonagall faintly, falling into the chair. "We all wondered...but he trusted...always...Snape...I can't believe it...."

Now replace the pronoun. Straight: Dumbledore, of course. Craning: Voldemort, of course. Of course, like Bellatrix, I think McG would always have been wary of Snape. She, being in such close proximity, could see just how well he played his role, and I know I wouldn't trust him. So, no wonder she's surprised.

And a little later, in the headmaster's office:

"Harry," she said, "I would like to know what you and Professor Dumbledore were doing this evening when you left the school."
"I can't tell you that, Professor," said Harry. He had expected the question and had his answer ready. It had been here, in this very room, that Dumbledore had told him that he was to confide the contents of their lessons to nobody but Ron and Hermione.
"Harry, it might be important," said Professor McGonagall.
"It is," said Harry, "very, but he didn't want me to tell anyone."
Professor McGonagall glared at him. "Potter" -- Harry registered the renewed use of his surname __ "in the light of Professor Dumbledore's death, I think you must see that the situation has changed somewhat --"
"I don't think so," said Harry, shrugging. "Professor Dumbledore never told me to stop following his orders if he died."
"But --"


And then Harry changes the subject. McG didn't push too hard, but she did press him to tell her what was up, and she disregarded his first statement that telling her would be against DD's orders. Straight: She's headmistress, this could concern the school and the Order. It's natural to be curious. Craning: Minerva McGonagall is ever so evil. She wants to know what Albus's plans were and what Harry was up to so she can tell her master. But she doesn't want to raise his suspicions, so when he resists, she lets it go. I think that it's rather telling that the only two people that asked Harry that question were McGonagall and Scrimgeour.

I have a feeling that there are more moments like these in the books that I am forgetting about, but it's interesting how ambiguous McGonagall can be. Symbolically, too, there are troubling things. The head of Gryffindor almost always wears emerald green robes. Her animagus form is a cat, not the most loyal or constant of creatures. I know that this theory has more holes in it than the average wheel of Swiss cheese, and I am by no means convinced that it's true myself, but I hope that I have shown that it is possible. Plausible, even. But there is still not a single shred of concrete proof. But I guess we will find out for sure on July 21.
 
 
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naiad8naiad8 on June 27th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
Very cool. And very well thought out. I've actually wondered about Minerva myself at time. She certainly knows more about Tom, and about Albus, than we do. It will be very interesting to see if Jo is that sneaky, but it could be plausible. The only argument against it...she's had lot of opportunities to capture Harry and hand him over, and she hasn't.

Also, the chess set was likely meant as a defense against one person at a time, who would likely take the position of king. I think the fact that three people were trying to get across at once was what made it quite so bloody.
Katie: Pop McGkate885 on June 27th, 2007 08:42 am (UTC)
The only argument against it...she's had lot of opportunities to capture Harry and hand him over, and she hasn't.

It's a big argument (well, it's a plot-hole big enough to drive a Mack truck through). One I don't have the answer to. That's why I was so glad to see that there was a comm for those of us with unsupportable crack theories ;)

Also, the chess set was likely meant as a defense against one person at a time, who would likely take the position of king. I think the fact that three people were trying to get across at once was what made it quite so bloody.

D'you know, that hadn't even occurred to me? Makes you wonder why Ron didn't make Harry king. Interesting.
shimotsukishimotsuki on June 27th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
This is really well argued, and...very chilling.

Another argument against McGonagall-as-traitor might be that she seemed genuinely teary-eyed when Harry and Ron said they were on their way to visit petrified!Hermione in the hospital wing in CoS (even though the boys were actually lying at the time).

But...the pieces fit together very well. I hope this theory is wrong, but I can see that it really might be onto something.

(I actually read something similar in a MuggleNet editorial a few months ago -- that author raised a couple of similar points, but you've got a few that they didn't think of. They were arguing that from the standpoint of literary structure, there has to be a (another) traitor in the Order, and it has to be McG. I've been feeling slightly uneasy ever since, LOL.)
Katie: Pop McGkate885 on June 27th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
Awesome, thank you! And thanks for the link to the Mugglenet editorial- I hadn't read it, I promise! But the literary structure idea I had heard about, somewhere.

The teary-eyed thing bothers me, too. It doesn't contradict anything specifically, but it just doesn't feel consistent with DE!McG.

I kinda hope this theory is wrong, too. I love McG.
Katiekate885 on June 27th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC)
OK- I just read that Mugglenet editorial- wow. I have a litle more "evidence," but their's is much better written. Either "great" minds think alike, or "great" minds are suffering from the same delusion ;)

Thank you so much for linking to that. It makes me feel slightly less crazy.
shimotsuki: rtshimotsuki on June 27th, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for linking to that. It makes me feel slightly less crazy.

Heh, glad you liked it. Just to be clear, I posted that link only because I thought you might enjoy seeing someone else thinking along the same lines -- not at all to imply that I thought you were getting your ideas from them!

I think those MN pieces go through a beta-ing or editing process, so it stands to reason they'd sound polished, but I thought you made your case very clearly and convincingly as well!

Now that I've seen at least two different people come up with this theory, I'm nervous enough to go back to my daily ritual of intoning, "McGonagall is NOT evil. Please." ;)
Alice the Camel: Herminone - wickedalicamel on July 10th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
I really, really, really like this theory. :)