Minerva McGonagall, the beloved Transfiguration professor from the Harry Potter wizarding series, made a confusing appearance in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, that has many fans questioning whether author J.K. Rowling made a massive mistake (which seems unlikely) or has some secret reason behind McGonagall’s appearance that she just isn’t revealing to the public.
Fans aren’t necessarily upset at seeing McGonagall, as she continues to be a fan favorite from the wizarding world, but many were left scratching their heads at why she was in the film at all, when she reportedly hasn’t been born yet.
Although Rowling never explicitly stated that McGonagall was born in 1935, her birth year has been calculated over the years. Harry Potter Wikia, McGonagall’s biography on Pottermore, and Chapter 15 from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, involves fairly simple math to find out her birth date.
In Order of the Phoenix, McGonagall states that she has been working at Hogwarts for 39 years, and as the fifth year of Hogwarts for Harry Potter takes place in 1995, that would mean McGonagall began teaching at Hogwarts in 1956.
Now, McGonagall’s random cameo appearance in the Fantastic Beasts sequel has fans confused and questioning whether or not Rowling intended the plot hole or not. She isn’t even depicted as a child in the film either – she is a fully grown, adult professor teaching at Hogwarts when she made her appearance.
So, although McGonagall’s birth year is reportedly in 1935, and she is depicted as a fully grown adult in the movie (and is actually shown in a memory/flashback in Crimes, making her even older in 1927 than what many outlets are reporting as -8 years old) and Rowling still has yet to address the issue, fans are left scrambling to guess what could possibly be the answer to this seemingly major plot hole.
“Can someone explain how McGonagall existed in the new fantastic beasts movie? She was born in 1935. Grindelwald was defeated in 1945. This movie is set way before that. I am so confused,” another user wrote.
Some users tried to guess that it could possibly be McGonagall’s mother, although this has been disputed, since it’s been noted that McGonagall’s mother Isobel was never a teacher at Hogwarts.
However, others have wondered if it was actually McGonagall’s great grandmother who was teaching at Hogwarts when Newt was still in school, because, according to the Harry Potter Wiki page, McGonagall was named after her mother’s grandmother, who was a “very talented witch.”
However, a few users dug up the screenplay, and posted a picture confirmed that the McGonagall in the movie was definitely a “Young Minerva McGonagall.” Whether it is our Minerva or not remains be seen.
Fans tried to come up with other explanations for the time jump. Some suggested a time turner was responsible for the cameo:
Others merely wondered if McGonagall was immortal. To be fair, they did have Nicolas Flamel cameo in the film as well, and gave us a little sneak peak of the Sorcerer’s Stone. Coincidence?
Others criticized Rowling and asked for explanations for the cameo and adverse portrayal of the beloved Transfiguration professor that we all grew to know and love during the Harry Potter series.
Gabriel Fontoura wrote: “PLEASE correct the goofy madness that is Professor McGonagall in that movie. I’ll be DEAD before Minerva McGonagall EVER jinx a student like that for the sake of being funny!”
Although there were some that tried to convince the angry fans to calm down and enjoy the movie …
That didn’t stop lots of hardcore Harry Potter fans from being angry and confused and accusing Rowling of making a huge mistake.
Others just found a few epic gifs and memes to show how Rowling must feel if it was a genuine mistake that she didn’t catch while writing/filming.