McGonagall's reaction in Sorcerer's Stone is a bit overblown, I think

Oct 25, 2017
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#1
In the story, Hagrid gets a dragon.

Dragons are illegal to keep as pets, and Malfoy ends up spotting it when he looks through the window in Hagrids hut, which meant that they had to get rid of the dragon as fast as possible. During the week, the dragon grows and bites Ron, which also poisons him, and Hargrid is eventually conviced to part with the dragon. Ron contacts his brother Charlie, who works with dragons, but the only way they can sneak the dragon out is getting to the highest point in Hogwarts and exchanging the package. So, they use the invisibility cloak to get there, but Malfoy is looking to catch them since he also intercepted Charlie's letter, so he sees it as a way to get Harry and friends in trouble. The actual exchange goes well, but they leave the invisibility cloak upstairs and are found out by Finch, who brings them to McGonagall. And this is tangential, but it should be pointed out the book never really explains why Malfoy doesn't alert the Hogwarts staff of Hagrid's dragon immediately, instead waiting to intercept Charlie's letter and waiting for the night of the exchange to happen, nor does is it said how Ron said to Madam Pomfrey to explain how he managed to get dragon poison in his system. Oh, and Neville also gets wrapped up in this, but that's less important.

Anyway, McGonagall flips the fuck out. First, she doesn't actually question what the kids were actually doing, since she didn't believe Malfoy's story about the dragon, so she just makes her own assumptions.



So, McGonagall, hilariously, just gave Harry and the kids an alibi that they were, in that very moment, struggling to come up with because they couldn't think of a way to explain what they're doing. Because if she had known about the dragon, not only would that have led Hagrid into some shit, the punishment for smuggling a live dragon is probably higher than wandering past curfew.

Then again, maybe not. Look at her reaction here.



Really? Really? This is the most shameful thing you have ever caught a Gryffindor doing? Walking around the school past 1 am?

I dunno, it just seems kinda funny. Like, it's implied that Fred and George just get up to some shit on a weekly basis that puts this to shame. Like, in year 5, the weasley's nearly kill a slytherin by pushing him into a vanishing closet and kinda left him braindead, from descriptions. And if we take the entire history of Hogwarts into question....Like, I can't imagine that they don't catch at least 5 students yearly under an invisibility spell in the hallway fooling around or something.

But okay, fine. So kids wandering around past curfew is bad. Because the castle is dangerous, which is probably true (I say probably because as far as I can recall, Hogwarts never had any dangers that weren't the result of an external agent, like the Basalisk or Umbridge).

Other than the points, what their punishment?



They're going creature hunting with Hagrid. Now, skipping ahead a bit, we find out later that Hagrid has a giant spider friend in the forest and he's a big influence on the creatures of the forest, which is why Hagrid later says that nothing in the forest will hurt them as long as they're with him (or his dog Fang). The thing is, that doesn't account for the 1. a predator attacking anyway because it's either too stupid or greedy to not do so, 2. the potential that they might get separated from Hagrid, (which ends up happening, twice) 3. that they are hunting something new in the forest that doesn't give a shit about the giant spider's rules. And, naturally, when Harry is seperated the second time, the mysterious unicorn killing creature attacks Harry, only to be saved by the centaur Firenze.

But if we move back to McGonagall for a moment, lets think about her logic here. Curfews are set because the Hogwart's Castle is (apparently) dangerous to students wandering around at night. So, as punishment for recklessly endangering themselves, she has them go into the Forbidden Forest. The Forbidden Forest that's forbidden specifically because of all the shady and dangerous creatures in it, so they can hunt an unknown creature that is fast and strong enough to catch unicorns (themselves creatures fast enough that Hagrid has never heard of any creature killing them).

So basically "For endangering yourself in the hogwarts castle, I'm endangering you in a magical death forest. Think on that, little shits". Like, holy shit McGonagall. She takes curfew rules seriously, doesn't she? What would she have done if she discovered Norbert, feed them to an grown dragon? Moral of the story is, don't fuck with McGonagall






Also, on another note, Fantastical Beasts 2 has a scene where characters briefly go back to Hogwarts to talk to Dumbledore.



Checking the HP wikipedia, Finch got a job at hogwarts around 1976, which is way before when the Fantastic Beasts take place(1940's). So if these punishments were in vogue back in Finch's day, then they definitely would have been at the time of Fantastic beasts. I can't help but think how different a tone that scene where we go back to hogwarts in FB would have been if like in the background, we had a student being tortured because they were late to class or something.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
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#3
Its best not to worry too much about the timeline stuff, the author doesn't seem to.

Also it does seem like a big overreaction, but it also moves the plot forward.
 
Oct 26, 2017
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California
#4
Uh.... is that from a different version or something? I just read this book like two weeks ago and the dragon poisoning Ron and Malfoy intercepting the letter don’t happen.
 

Playco Armboy

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Oct 28, 2017
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#5
Also weren't they fucking first-year students

They're eleven years old and McGonagall was flipping her shit because bReAkInG cUrFeW and whatever. Eleven years old. Who isn't doing dumb shit at that age
 
Feb 28, 2018
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#6
The part where she's like "as punishment for endangering yourself by wandering around past bedtime, I'm going to send you to the most dangerous place in the entire school grounds at night with centaurs and blood sucking monsters out there, that will teach you!" left me flabbergasted that's for sure.
 

BDS

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Oct 25, 2017
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#7
The first couple books were intended to be light fantasy reads for children, it was only later that Rowling started creating a more elaborate mythology for older readers that result in the first three books introducing elements (most infamously the time turners) that make no sense in the world established later.

Also Filch was obviously just making shit up about the old punishments.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#8
They're eleven years old and McGonagall was flipping her shit because bReAkInG cUrFeW and whatever. Eleven years old. Who isn't doing dumb shit at that age
Yeah she was a massive hypocrite as she asked Dumbledore to bend the rule of first years not being allowed to join the Quidditch team just so Harry could join the team, an idea that she got from seeing Harry break the rule by flying on a broomstick when he wasn't suppose to.
 
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Veelk
Oct 25, 2017
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#9
Uh.... is that from a different version or something? I just read this book like two weeks ago and the dragon poisoning Ron and Malfoy intercepting the letter don’t happen.
As far as I know, there's no version that excludes those details. They were rather minor points, so maybe you just don't remember them. And I'm reading off the official kindle version.

But here are the quotes. It happens close to the end of Chapter 14.





 
Oct 25, 2017
5,232
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Boise, Idaho
#10
Uh.... is that from a different version or something? I just read this book like two weeks ago and the dragon poisoning Ron and Malfoy intercepting the letter don’t happen.
Ron does get bit and has to spend time in the infirmary. Malfoy intercepts the letter from Charlie saying that he and his friends will come and take the dragon away when Malfoy visits Ron in the hospital wing and "borrows" a book from him, which Ron incidentally left Charlie's letter in.
 
Oct 26, 2017
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California
#11
Ron does get bit and has to spend time in the infirmary. Malfoy intercepts the letter from Charlie saying that he and his friends will come and take the dragon away when Malfoy visits Ron in the hospital wing and "borrows" a book from him, which Ron incidentally left Charlie's letter in.
Ah there we go. I thought he like stole the owl or something
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#12
And this is tangential, but it should be pointed out the book never really explains why Malfoy doesn't alert the Hogwarts staff of Hagrid's dragon immediately, instead waiting to intercept Charlie's letter and waiting for the night of the exchange to happen,
I was under the impression that Malfoy didn't have any specific malice towards Hagrid (more like second-hand malice), his real target was Harry. He knew that Harry was going to try to make a move, so he waited to catch Harry and as many of his friends as possible red-handed, for maximum damage, rather than take the easy win and report Hagrid alone.

So, McGonagall, hilariously, just gave Harry and the kids an alibi that they were, in that very moment, struggling to come up with because they couldn't think of a way to explain what they're doing. Because if she had known about the dragon, not only would that have led Hagrid into some shit, the punishment for smuggling a live dragon is probably higher than wandering past curfew.
McGonagall clearly bends the rules when it suits her. Like how she wanted Gryffindor to win at Quiddich, so she recruited Harry and bought him a top-of-the-line performance broom. Nobody else at school had that sort of equipment advantage, not until Draco's dad bought similar new brooms for everyone on the Slytherin team as a way to bribe his son onto the team.

Then again, maybe not. Look at her reaction here.
McGonagall was laying the law down. Setting the ground rules for the new kids who don't know her. She gives preferential treatment, but she doesn't want to be seen as giving preferential treatment. She won't be seen as soft. She won't have anyone say that she's going easy on the Gryffindor kids, especially not the Gryffindor kids themselves. Harry and company need to learn their place. She took fifty points away from Gryffindor, but when Harry showed the slightest questioning of her judgement, she multiplied the punishment. Because Harry needs to learn that McGonagall may be cool and she's on your side, but you do not fucking cross her because she owns you.

Regarding the forest, she's trying to scare them straight. And they're with a Hogwarts Teacher (okay, groundskeeper), who goes into the forest on a regular basis. They're safe enough.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#14
I mean, it kind of makes sense since she beleived that they engineered the whole thing to get Malfoy, and they never corrected her because they didn't want Hagrid to get in trouble. They weren't just being punished for being out of bed. She's introduced as a strict person.


The bigger issue is, fast-forward to the end of Order of the Phoenix, and she only gives everyone 50 points each for alerting the Wizarding World to the return of Voldemort. On a points scale, she equates being out of bed, with fighting off the most powerful dark wizard of all time. Dumbledore gave Harry and Ron 200 points each, and special awards for services to the school at the end of Book 2 for their work in the Chamber of Secrets.


Yeah she was a massive hypocrite as she asked Dumbledore to bend the rule of first years not being allowed to join the Quidditch team just so Harry could join the team, an idea that she got from seeing Harry break the rule by flying on a broomstick when he wasn't suppose to.
She asked to bend the rule on Harry owning his own broom. First years are more than welcome to try out for the Quiddich Team (many did when Harry was Captain in book 6)
 
Oct 27, 2017
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#15
Either:

A) They are children's books with gaping logic problems because the HP universe, especially in the first three books, makes no goddamn sense whatsoever and constantly contradicts itself.

OR

B) McGonnagal knew that Harry and Co. were into some shit, but also knew they were good kids and wouldn't be sneaking around at night for good cause. As such, she likely believes Malfoy's story about the dragon and implcitly understood that if a dragon were involved with the kids then Hagrid had to be involved, as who else would harbor a fucking dragon. Thus, McGonnagal concocts a more believable alibi for them but one that still gets them in trouble so as to not tip off Malfoy or anyone else, but also to make sure the kids know that no matter what punishments will be handed out. And, she adds on the Gryffindor point losses to further seal how "upset" she is and to further displace suspicion that the dragon story is real.

The punishment in the forest might have been her attempt to allow them to get back to Hagrid so he could know the dragon plot succeeded and/or to give them the opportunity to clean up whatever remaining mess they had.
 
Oct 28, 2017
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#18
I think you're over-logicing this a little bit. Hogwarts has always had a level of disregard for it's students safety. They get hurt routinely in class, and just send them off to the magic hospital wing to get magically fixed up. They forbid them from going down a certain hallway or reading certain books but then they fight/take care of dangerous creatures and make potions that could go disastrously wrong with a pinch too much newt's eye or whatever. That low level danger is played off as off-kilter whimsy throughout the whole series.

And McGonagall is a strict teacher with a soft side, so I don't see much of an issue with her laying down the law for a couple of first years. They're not just being punished for sneaking out, but for tricking another student. McGonagall has a strong sense of justice and cares deeply about the reputation and integrity of Gryffindor house, so that probably upset her. She wants to teach them a lesson. The curfew isn't just there for their safety, either. They don't want students wandering around all night, causing problems.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#19
I'm more amused by when Snape takes a literal point away at a time from Harry in his first lesson. And Harry's actually saddened by losing two entire points. Usually five is the absolute bare minimum of taking/giving later, and it's usually 10-20. Just one of those "it's the first book" oddities.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#22
It's a book written for a fifth-grader's perspective and it makes sense to a lot of the readers that they'd get in big trouble for sneaking around at night. Helping Hagrid in the forest is akin to doing chores or being grounded.
 
Dec 10, 2017
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#23
This is a world where minor infractions get you kicked out of the only magic school that really exists, all the while you're not allowed to do magic at all...But if you don't do magic, a dark force rises within you that can burst out and kill anyone while exposing the entire Wizarding world.

This is also a world where the only major sport is designed so that only one person matters on the team, which conveniently is the main character of the books.

I love Harry Potter, but the world absolutely falls apart if you think about it for more than a moment.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#24
There was a giant three-headed dog, and other deadly traps, that they could have stumbled upon (oh wait) so really discouraging kids from wandering around in the middle of the night was probably her goal.

I doubt kids wandering around at night was actually the most shameful thing she's ever seen.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#25
Remember when it was introduced that they have some sort of intrusive system to monitor kids using magic out of school, but somehow don't use that same thing on Wizard Nazi's that their society incompetently can't implicate?
 
Oct 25, 2017
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North Jackson High
#26
The first two books invoked a lot of Roald Dahl and CS Lewis and part of that was Hogwarts being an overly strict parody of a British boarding school.

Afterwards it started to breathe and the teachers became less caricature and more character, but it was in full swing in particular in The Sorcerer's Stone (everything tones down a bit in Chamber but it still works in Stone's path).
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#27
There was a giant three-headed dog, and other deadly traps, that they could have stumbled upon (oh wait) so really discouraging kids from wandering around in the middle of the night was probably her goal.

I doubt kids wandering around at night was actually the most shameful thing she's ever seen.
How many kids secretly died at that school over the years? Graduating is a big accomplish, not because you passed all your classes but because you survived.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#28
Either:

A) They are children's books with gaping logic problems because the HP universe, especially in the first three books, makes no goddamn sense whatsoever and constantly contradicts itself.

OR

B) McGonnagal knew that Harry and Co. were into some shit, but also knew they were good kids and wouldn't be sneaking around at night for good cause. As such, she likely believes Malfoy's story about the dragon and implcitly understood that if a dragon were involved with the kids then Hagrid had to be involved, as who else would harbor a fucking dragon. Thus, McGonnagal concocts a more believable alibi for them but one that still gets them in trouble so as to not tip off Malfoy or anyone else, but also to make sure the kids know that no matter what punishments will be handed out. And, she adds on the Gryffindor point losses to further seal how "upset" she is and to further displace suspicion that the dragon story is real.

The punishment in the forest might have been her attempt to allow them to get back to Hagrid so he could know the dragon plot succeeded and/or to give them the opportunity to clean up whatever remaining mess they had.
I haven't read the books. Can I go with option 2?
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#29
There was a giant three-headed dog, and other deadly traps, that they could have stumbled upon (oh wait) so really discouraging kids from wandering around in the middle of the night was probably her goal.

I doubt kids wandering around at night was actually the most shameful thing she's ever seen.
Probably would have been something to do with kids fucking with the fabric of time itself.

Because you know, kids will be kids.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#31
This is a world where minor infractions get you kicked out of the only magic school that really exists, all the while you're not allowed to do magic at all...But if you don't do magic, a dark force rises within you that can burst out and kill anyone while exposing the entire Wizarding world.
To be fair, Harry got kicked out only one time for using magic in the fifth book, and the expulsion was entirely political from the side of the Ministry.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#32
Remember when it was introduced that they have some sort of intrusive system to monitor kids using magic out of school, but somehow don't use that same thing on Wizard Nazi's that their society incompetently can't implicate?
The way I see it, they don't do it because they are considered "respectable" members of society. British magical society never got around to purging their society from these war criminals, and their hate ideology is still considered to be an acceptable point of view. Another problem with the magical detection thing is that it does not discriminate. Harry got in trouble instead of Dobby in the second book because of that.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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#33
Harry Potter has some straight up awful world building. Like most popular mainstream worlds fall apart if you ask "Why" enough times, but Harry Potter falls the MOMENT you think about anything for two goddamn seconds.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#34
To be fair, Harry got kicked out only one time for using magic in the fifth book, and the expulsion was entirely political from the side of the Ministry.
Yeah, even Dumbledore calls that out during the hearing. Using magic outside of school was supposed to just get you a one-on-one hearing with someone in Magical Law Enforcement.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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#35
Harry Potter has some straight up awful world building. Like most popular mainstream worlds fall apart if you ask "Why" enough times, but Harry Potter falls the MOMENT you think about anything for two goddamn seconds.
Yes.

It's also why I can't bear Fantastic Beasts or any attempt to take Harry Potter out of the school house setting. The minute you try and make it about adults in the "real world" you fail because nothing makes sense.
 
#37
I got about as far as "you fed Draco Malfoy some cock" (hur hur!) but yeah, the writing in Philosopher's Stone is one reason I didn't touch anything by Rowling for years. The whole thing is just wretched. She improved, though, and I liked the third film so much I went back and quite enjoyed reading the third novel.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#38
I only read the series as an adult a few years ago and one of the major areas that could simultaneously be viewed as a flaw or a strength (thematically) is that every adult in that world is an absolutely, repugnantly stupid asshole.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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#39
This is also a world where the only major sport is designed so that only one person matters on the team, which conveniently is the main character of the books.
Yeah, Quidditch is just badly designed. The better strategy would be to plant 3 people in front of each goal (or even just 1 or 2) to guarantee that no points get scored that way, then have literally everyone else quit the dumb shit and be Seekers.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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#42
Maybe it’s one of those old-school punishments like “I caught you smoking a cigarette, so now you have to smoke 20 cigarettes all at once and see how you like it“.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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Purgatory
#43
...

OR

B) McGonnagal knew that Harry and Co. were into some shit, but also knew they were good kids and wouldn't be sneaking around at night for good cause. As such, she likely believes Malfoy's story about the dragon and implcitly understood that if a dragon were involved with the kids then Hagrid had to be involved, as who else would harbor a fucking dragon. Thus, McGonnagal concocts a more believable alibi for them but one that still gets them in trouble so as to not tip off Malfoy or anyone else, but also to make sure the kids know that no matter what punishments will be handed out. And, she adds on the Gryffindor point losses to further seal how "upset" she is and to further displace suspicion that the dragon story is real.

The punishment in the forest might have been her attempt to allow them to get back to Hagrid so he could know the dragon plot succeeded and/or to give them the opportunity to clean up whatever remaining mess they had.

I have not read the books -yet- but that's exactly what I had in mind, having seen the movies.

I also love how absurd and surrealistic it is to put the children in such dangers in a school by their teachers. It's seems like a humorous satire of its own fictional world. My sister and brother were cracking up at my disbelief and my comments about the child abuse going on at Hogwarts when we marathoned all the movies when I saw them for the first time before Half Blood Prince came out. That was fun.
Me gustó el desmadre.
 
Oct 27, 2017
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#46
Yeah she was a massive hypocrite as she asked Dumbledore to bend the rule of first years not being allowed to join the Quidditch team just so Harry could join the team, an idea that she got from seeing Harry break the rule by flying on a broomstick when he wasn't suppose to.
In my head she's a huge quidditch nut who has had Chudley Cannons season tickets for decades.