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What's with the name?

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There's An Apparate For That

J.K. Rowling Fought For McGonagall’s Fight

“I don’t like the marginalization of women when the fighting breaks out. We get to fight too. I really wanted that. In the book, Minerva McGonagall is the one who does it and for me it was very important that she did that.”J.K. Rowling, on fighting the decision to pit Harry Potter against Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 instead of McGonagall, who fought Snape in the book. Can you even picture it any other way? Of course it had to be McGonagall!

Much like seeing Yoda grab a lightsaber and fight in the Star Wars prequels, seeing Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) take a stand against the Hogwarts takeover by the Ministry and face off against Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) was a big, badass moment in the Harry Potter series. Sure, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) fought his share of battles and would have probably relished the chance to fight Snape (before finding out what his motivations really were). But by having McGonagall fight Snape showed that this had stopped being just Harry’s war. It also showed that Rowling write female characters who were equally effective warriors.

But an early draft of the screenplay (written by Steve Kloves) took McGonagall out of the equation, giving Harry the chance to battle his nemesis. This would have added yet another emotional layer to Harry finding out the truth about Snape, and while that would have made us cry even more than we did, Rowling wasn’t having that one bit. This was a chance for McGonagall to flex her decades of magical expertise and show that she would stop at nothing to protect the dignity and honor of Hogwarts, even if it meant fighting the new headmaster, even when the old headmaster trusted him completely, even though the new headmaster murdered the old one (even though we know why). It almost doesn’t matter that McGonagall was a woman, until suddenly she’s replaced by a male character.

While we’d never think that there was an intention to undermine female characters by replacing McGonagall with Harry in the movie (because, again, all those potential emotional layers), Rowling wrote a battle scene with a major female character proving her mettle. Because, much like the way she writes Quidditch scenes and created Hermione Granger, the author’s female characters are completely on par with their male counterparts, and their gender doesn’t even play into it. So why in the world would they ever back down during a fight?

Here is the whole interview on MTV Movies Blog:


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 11. And remember, if you buy it at Target, you will also get the documentary When Harry Left Hogwarts.

(via MTV Movies Blog)

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  • Bel

    McGonagol was my favourite part of the movie.  So happy they didn’t change anything.

  • Anonymous

    McGonagall was PERFECT. I would not have had the same reaction at all to Harry fighting Snape. The way she just throws herself into it, the way she tells Harry it’s good to see him – THAT was what humanized the other members of the Order of the Phoenix in the film. That was absolutely the way to give us a peek at the resistance underneath the surface at Hogwarts, and that Harry, in addition to having people on his side, still had people who loved and supported *him.*

    The female bit is just the icing on the cake.

  • Life Lessons

    I LOVE YOU J.K.!!!!!! And Amen!

  • Terence Ng

    I peed my pants when she swirled into dueling pose. It was a total mindgasm, Minerva is my absolute favorite character in HP.

  • Frodo Baggins

    It’s a shame the fight scene was such a pale shadow of that in the book, then. It was the HP equivalent of “Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!” Still, I heard she was fighting cancer at the time (here, right? Didn’t I hear it on this blog?), which is probably why they couldn’t get too complicated, and also, I imagine, why they wrote an alternate version with Harry. And Dame Smith was the badassest McGonagall anyone could ask for, so on balance, I’ll count my blessings.

  • Arakiba

    McGonagall is one of the best characters in the HP universe.

  • Lisa Jonte

    I’m glad they listened to Rowling in this instance.  This almost makes up for them stealing Ginny’s thunder in Order of the Phoenix and giving it to Ron.  Almost.

  • Anonymous
  • Francesca M

    I remember back when we were discussing the vague possibilities of movies for Harry Potter. My friends and I were like, “OH McGonagall has to be Maggie Smith.” (we were also Right about Alan Rickman.) It drives me crazy when characters are marginalized and removed from their parts. I’m like ‘right the hero is nice and all but I love all those other characters too’ When Ron’s lines are changed.. I am so glad that McGonagall got to have her moment because I don’t think I could have handled it. Correction I would have handled it only slightly better than had they cut, “Not My Daughter you Bitch.” If that had been cut I would have been planning to set fire to as many dvds as I possibly could get my hands on.

  • Anonymous

    Well it was better McGonagall fought Snape. Potter wouldn’t have lasted too long on his own against Snape anyways, given her (JKR) own depiction of Snape’s duelling abilities.  An embarrassing defeat for the ‘Hero’ wouldn’t have looked so pretty in the middle of the book.