The professors in the Harry Potter series are all very well-written and complex. Professor Minerva McGonagall, however, is the best of them.
Professor McGonagall’s Moral Code
Professor McGonagall is a character who has a very strong moral code. She sticks to this code in her dealings with students, regardless of their house. This contrasts even to Dumbledore, one of my favorite characters. McGonagall does not allow her students to get away with breaking the rules. For example, she took fifty points each from Harry, Ron, and Hermione for being out after curfew in Sorcerer’s Stone.
McGonagall’s strong moral compass even applies to her fellow professors. A perfect example of this is her refusal to pander to Umbridge. This also shows in the prologue to the main series where she tries to talk Dumbledore out of leaving Harry with the Dursleys. Although she doesn’t end up doing so, her attempt shows that she is willing to question even those she respects.
Professor McGonagall is Tough But Fair
Related to her moral code, Professor McGonagall is a very strict professor. She expects a lot from her students, but they are never unreasonable expectations. She is also a professor who does not have double standards: even though she cared for her own house, it still did not change how she handled punishments. She clearly believed that a key component of her job was to shape children into adults, a seemingly rare trait for many of the Hogwarts professors.
An excellent comparison would be to Snape, who had many double standards. He held grudges and was openly biased against any Gryffindor. McGonagall, on the other hand, was never this way, often being even harder on her own house than the others. She was also someone who believed in judging people based on their own merits. This was very rare as many Hogwarts professors had blatant house prejudice.
Loyal to What She Believes Is Right
Another way that shows Professor McGonagall’s moral convictions was through her strong loyalty, shown best by her steadfastness behind Dumbledore throughout the entire series. She was often willing to even bend a few rules if she felt it was necessary to defend Dumbledore or the Order of the Phoenix.
A great example of his was her defence of Dumbledore from Umbridge’s power trip in Order of the Phoenix. She knew that Umbridge was intruding into areas she did not belong and did not stand for it. This led to McGonagall ignoring the sabotage of Umbridge by the student body, something she normally would not allow. However, because it served a higher purpose, she was willing to look the other way, something many strict people are not willing to do in the name of loyalty.
There are many lessons to learn from Professor McGonagall, even for us Muggles. She has many traits that are good for everyday life such as her principles of neutrality and fairness. As a result, she represents the ideal teacher at Hogwarts.