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Why Did Crimes of Grindelwald Forget Minerva McGonagall Wasn’t Even Born Until 1936?

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set in 1927. 1927!

harry potter hogwarts

Look, who doesn’t love Minerva McGonagall? A beloved figure of the Harry Potter series, she began her teaching tenure at Hogwarts in 1956, at the age of 20. So how, in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is Minerva teaching a young Leta Lestrange? Because, you know, Leta Lestrange attended Hogwarts from 1908 to 1915.

If you did the math, that means that Minerva McGonagall was, at minimum, negative 30 years old when she was teaching Leta. So … what?

We knew that there were going to be some continuity errors in the series when Fantastic Beasts started, because that’s just how prequels work. As TMS writer Princess Weekes pointed out, most movie prequels are typically not any better.

Joanne Rowling, what are you doing? Minerva McGonagall was not born until 1936, but in Crimes of Grindelwald, Warner Bros. confirmed she’s teaching at Hogwarts in 1927? I would have said maybe it’s her mother, except we got that real-world confirmation, and Minerva’s mother, Isobel, was never a teacher at Hogwarts anyway.

So how? Explain.

Is this some ploy to say that time got all messed up because of Grindelwald? Is this just Harry Potter and the Cursed Child before Harry and his son mess with time? It just doesn’t make sense, and it feels like a cheap shot. It’s like J.K Rowling knew that this would get fans excited and talking, whether or not it would turn out to be narratively satisfying.

The problem is that the excitement is currently anger, because we feel like we’re being treated as if we don’t know the timeline doesn’t match up. We’re not stupid. We love the Harry Potter series enough to put up with whatever Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is, so we’re going to know that McGonagall wasn’t even alive when Leta was.

It’s just messy storytelling; that’s all it boils down to. Cheap shots to make an audience gasp? Not necessary. Seeing Hogwarts was enough to have the theater clapping. Paying attention to the existing wizarding world would have been enough to make us happy. Instead, Rowling forgot the fact that Dumbledore didn’t teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, and that McGonagall wasn’t even alive until 1936.

McGonagall does not deserve to be a cheap shot to make an audience gasp. She is a well respected woman who should be treated as such, and whatever absurd storyline she’s there to go through in the rest of the Fantastic Beasts series … please don’t.

If you’re not going to do justice to her, keep Minerva McGonagall’s name out ya mouth.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.