Supporting characters are very important to a story and no one offers better support than Professor Minerva McGonagall. Whether she's boss, friend, confidant, mentor or matchmaker Minerva always gets the job done!
Want to give Hermione a run for her money in the know-it-all field? Simply play the quiz by commenting on this post with your answers at any time over the weekend. All comments with answers will be screened until the answer sheet is posted on Monday morning EDT. On Monday, all quizzlings with the correct answers will receive a pretty banner to prove their quiz prowess. Ready? Set? Play!
Just to get you in the mood, here's a comic by usagistu from a drabble by pearle9240.
Match the quotes to the story titles without choosing the red herring titles:
Single Magical Male by mmyrtle
Finding Forgiveness by karelia
Always Faithful by brandy_girl01
Recovery by debjunk
... It Tolls for Thee by melusin_79
Scenes From a Remarkable Marriage by Minerva McGonagall by sassy_cissa
The Arithmantic Dating Agency by shiv5468
Funeral for a Friend by lillithj
Improbable Felicity by subversa
At Any Moment by ozratbag2
The Witches of Gilford by pyjamapants
Storm in a Teapot by Ramora
1. Hermione explained her predicament.
‘How old are you, now?’ Minerva asked.
‘I’ll be thirty-one in September.’
‘Ah. Then I think I know what’s the matter.’
‘What?’ Hermione had to shout over the noise of the ticking.
‘It’s your biological clock, dear. It’s time to breed.’
Hermione choked on her coffee. ‘I beg your pardon? Did you just say what I thought you said?’
‘But-but that’s ridiculous. There’s no such thing.’
Minerva sighed. ‘I’m afraid it happens to all of us, Hermione.’
2. McGonagall straightened her shoulders and took a deep breath. Snape recognized the signs – she was preparing to bring up a subject that she knew he did not wish to discuss. ‘Leave it, Minerva,’ he said shortly.
‘You will listen to me!’ she snapped, her brows contracting. ‘You cannot continue to be so bull-headed!’
‘Adopt me,’ he said promptly, dropping his bombshell with a feigned look of innocence. ‘Make me your son, and you can take me away from this bad old place as my loving mum – it worked for Draco, after all.’
‘Oh, really, Severus!’ she said repressively. ‘Do you honestly imagine that I have not already thoroughly investigated that avenue?’
At this revelation, his next acid comment was stilled on his lips. ‘You have?’ he said instead, somewhat incredulous.
‘Do you think me incompetent? Of course I have. Adoption of an adult person for the purpose of obtaining probation is prohibited.’ She retrieved her handbag from the floor by her chair and snapped it open, withdrawing an envelope, inscribed in a feminine hand. ‘I knew it would be much easier to induce you to become my son than it would be to induce you to take a wife.’
He scowled. ‘Oh, for the love of Merlin, Minerva,’ he said peevishly. ‘Must you speak in this Victorian fashion? Take a wife? You might as well be saying, “Take a bath” – that’s how easy you make it seem!’
3. "Minerva, I'm a busy man who doesn't have an hour a week to spare to read a silly inconsequential book much less two hours to discuss it with even sillier, more inconsequential old witches! I have infirmary potions to brew, seven forms of classes to teach and grade, inevitable office hours with my NEWT and OWL level classes, not to mention Head of House obligations, detentions, and the seven grant applications I want to complete for my summer research. I insist that you find a way to get this gift of yours terminated," Severus demanded, certain that his appeal based upon such critical academic tasks would bring mercy from the Headmistress.
"Severus, you certainly could have time for social obligations if only you made it a priority."
"And how shall I accomplish this, Minerva? Do you have an extra Time-Turner lying around?" Severus spat.
"You have rarely been an idiot in the past, Severus Snape, and I won't stand for you acting like one now. Have your Slytherin prefects supervise your detentions. Offer extra house points for competent students willing to tutor or brew infirmary potions. And as for grading and grant applications, you and I both know that you have three NEWT level students wishing to apply for apprenticeships or university study in Potions. They'd each give an arm and a leg to aid in either task."
Severus’s brow furrowed as he considered that Minerva's ideas had just freed up at least twenty-six hours a week of his time. She'd resolved his list of obligations rather quickly and neatly. "You came up with that argument before you even thought of purchasing the bloody gift, didn't you?" Severus demanded, wagging his finger at the Headmistress. "I believe Albus's painting is beginning to rub off on you, Minerva. If I weren't so utterly disgusted by your gift, I'd be impressed."
"Come now, Severus: is it really that bad?"
4. ‘Severus, what is bothering you?’ she asked kindly.
He shook his head. ‘It’s nothing,’ he said curtly. ‘Do not bother with me today, for I am in no mood for chatter,’ he added as she opened her mouth to speak again.
Minerva gazed at him sadly. He had been very maudlin lately – even more so than usual the last few days. Despite the fact that the Dark Lord had fallen over five years earlier, Severus had seemed to become even more withdrawn and irritable than ever. Minerva, and Albus – rest his soul, had both thought that his mood would improve and he would somehow manage to work out his life.
But it appeared that they had been very wrong indeed. Severus, before the final battle, had confided at least a little in Minerva, and now that he did not, she was becoming worried. It couldn’t be helped, as she cared for him and loved him as if she were her own son. His real mother probably hadn’t loved him as she did – which was a very sad thing to think about. She thought perhaps, now that he served no master but himself, he was lost and did not know how to proceed. But she then came to agree with Albus that he was perfectly capable of that, with his personality.
‘Severus…’ Minerva tried once more, but he stood abruptly from the table, dropping his dinner napkin onto his unfinished meal.
‘No, Minerva,’ he hissed quietly, careful to ensure that neither the students nor other staff would hear him speaking like that to the Headmistress.
Without another word, he turned and made a direct beeline to the staff door.
5. “I would have bet my last Knut that once Voldemort was gone, he’d have emerged as Hogwarts’ playboy,” grumbled Professor Sprout, “but he’s even crankier than he was before.”
“Oh, and I would’ve been happy to celebrate with that one,” cackled Poppy. “I’ve told you before – I can confirm the rumours about men with large, er, features.” Sprout giggled and sighed, “What a waste, keeping all that to himself!”
“Any possibility that he might, you know, swing the other way?” Poppy wondered aloud. A second passed, then in unison the three shouted, “NO!” Hoots of laughter spilled from their table. The ladies spent the next several minutes sharing well-worn stories of how they came to find out that certain among their friends and co-workers preferred to live alternate lifestyles.
After another round of drinks, the conversation drifted back to Severus Snape. Minerva was thoughtful for a moment, and then said, “You know, I’ve often wondered if Severus isolates himself because he doesn’t know how to go about meeting people.” Sprout and Pomfrey nearly choked on their cocktails. “No, I mean it,” Minerva chided. “The only ‘socializing’ he’s done in the past 20 years has been restricted to either Hogwarts or Death Eater functions. Hogwarts is hardly the place to find a date for a 40-year old man, and, well, the other….” she ended with a shiver of distaste.
“Oh, come off it Minerva.” Sprout said impatiently. “It’s not like there aren’t opportunities out there. He goes to Hogsmeade. He goes to London. He’s even gone to a few potions conventions on the continent. He’s a smart man and he’s not that bad to look at when he cleans himself up. If he wanted to make a ‘luv connection’, he could do that any time.”
“You know, Pomona, I think Minerva’s on to something,” countered Poppy. “I don’t think he knows how to go about meeting a woman. Or a man, for that matter.” she whispered.
“So what do we do, deliver some fair maiden to his room, wrapped in nothing but a bow, along with instructions?” suggested the Herbology professor. The witches lapsed into another fit of giggles.
6. "Damn tabby witch," Severus growled as a hand dashed tears from his eyes.
She was right. He knew she was right. Even in death, Minerva was always right. Drove him barmy to know the Gryffindor witch would get the last word. The topic of his return to England had been a recurring one in their long 25-year correspondence. Minerva had been instrumental in the survival of his physical body and the rehabilitation of his fearsome image, but no one, outside Minerva's solicitor, knew the person existed in real time and space. Severus wondered how the Board of Governors was going to react, to say nothing of Harry Potter.
"You really need to discard your obsession with things Potter, Severus," Minerva's voice sounded in his brain. "The child was as ill-used as you were."
"Witch is already haunting me."
He flipped through the solicitor's pages again, including the locale of Minerva's cottage written on its own piece of parchment, but Severus already knew its locale, Secret-Kept though it was. He'd spent a long two-years recuperation there on the Isle of Islay, overlooking the narrow between Islay and Jura.
7. Dinner was less of a nightmare partly because he knew he would be able to unburden himself – and where had this urge come from to talk to people about things - and partly because Minerva kept up a stream of catty comments at the expense of the staff and the children, that raised a smile from him from time to time, but largely allowed him to pretend that he was having a private conversation and so not have to talk to anyone.
And then the relief of reaching Minerva’s room, the glass of brandy, and the chance to unburden himself, only he couldn’t think what to say or how to begin. He stood by the fire, on the verge of making a run for it, and trying to find the words to explain how he felt.
He needn’t worry. Minerva went straight to the heart of the matter with typical Gryffindor subtlety. “So, why are you going round like a dying duck in a thunderstorm, instead of a lucky dog who’s probably had more sex this weekend that I’ve had in the last ten years.”
He sat down abruptly in a chair. “I don’t know,” he said. “I ought to be happy……”
“Frankly, my boy you should be ecstatic,” Minerva said.
“……but I feel, I don’t know, hollow. I feel miserable, Minerva, why do I feel miserable?”
Minerva looked at him in concern. It wasn’t like Severus to be so open about his feelings; it certainly wasn’t like him to notice that he was miserable. And that was probably part of the problem; he’d been happy for the weekend, and now he was back to normality and whilst he had never noticed before how empty his life was, now it was thrown into sharp relief. She suspected that this was only part of the problem.
The awful truth was that Severus wasn’t used to being happy; he didn’t know how to cope with it, and it was sending him into a panic. Not something she could say to him either; it was hardly encouraging. The trick was to prevent him from doing something disastrous, and keep him shagging Hermione until even he got used to the idea of being happy for more than ten minutes at a time.
“You are a daft sod,” she said affectionately. “Of course you feel a bit miserable; you’re missing Hermione.”
8. They sat in companionable peace for a while. Minerva broke the silence.
“Severus, I was talking to Albus – I mean his portrait – earlier. He has some requests for you. He’d like you to be one of the Trustees of the Dumbledore Fund. Along with me, Remus Lupin and Olympe Maxime.”
“Me? I’m flattered, Minerva, but I don’t think I should. You know I don’t care what people say about me, but I would not have the Fund tainted by association with me.”
Minerva snorted. “Let me assure you, Severus, that Albus is quite capable of defending his choice to any critics. He planned for this eventuality a long time ago. He trusted you with his life, Severus, and you didn’t let him down” She reached over and placed her hand on his arm. “Albus would very much like you to visit him, Severus, when you feel you are able.”
Snape said nothing, but kept his eyes fixed on his hands in his lap. From the tenseness of his shoulders, the older witch could see he was struggling to hide his emotions. She suddenly saw her opening to deliver the final part of her message.
“And he also thinks that it’s about time you settled down, got married and started producing little Snapes - ”
It worked. Snape shot out of his chair as if stung by hornets.
“What?! That interfering old busybody! It’s none of his business, he can keep his ridiculous notions to himself, I’m most certainly not going to do anything of the sort! You can tell him from me that I’m not prepared to have some witch – ”
“- or find yourself a wizard if you prefer – ” continued Minerva imperturbably.
“No I don’t!”
Well, that settles that, thought Minerva.
9. He’d gone so very pale as he’d read that last letter that I confess my heart was in my throat. It remained firmly lodged there when he handed me the letter to read. I had never told Severus what to do where his young wife was concerned; I certainly had no intention of doing so now. But I watched him close his eyes, and furrow his brow, and held my breath. When he pushed himself up from his chair near the fire and strode firmly towards a desk in the corner, I watched him with growing trepidation. He did not sit. He pulled out a piece of parchment and, taking a quill from my desk, quickly jotted his response. As he walked back to me, his face told me nothing.
"Minerva," he asked, his deep voice soft but calm. "Could you send this to her for me? Please?"
I nodded, and waited until he left the room to look down at the parchment in my hands. He’d written just two words.
I am not, by rights, an emotional woman. But I cried.
10. She frowned. “Are you all right, Severus?”
His head whipped around, eyes frantically searching for any presence left in the staff room. He marginally relaxed and didn’t even sneer when Minerva said, “Do you think I’m so stupid as to speak to you in this manner in anyone’s presence? Grant me some thoughtfulness.” The expression on her face matched the tart nuance of her voice.
“I’m… fine, Minerva. As all right as one can possibly be in a situation like this…” His sigh was heavy, but his voice distinctly lacked the hopelessness she’d become used to hearing since Voldemort’s return.
Her heart went out to him. She wasn’t sure she could forgive him for his worst deed, but she’d paid sufficient attention to know that he tried everything imaginable to shield the students from the wrath of the Death Eater couple and allowed for the possibility that she hadn’t been privy to all of Dumbledore’s schemings.
She nodded curtly. “If you need anything, you know where to find me.”
Back in her office, Minerva pondered the encounter and decided that she was curious enough to place a tracking spell on him. Something about Severus had changed, and she was curious.