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From the Diaries of Minerva McGonagall: February 21, 1978

Dear Diary,

Professor Dumbledore is worried again.

I suppose, if I were honest, he’s been worried since that day he called us all into a secret meeting to discuss Tom Marvolo Riddle. It’s aged him, in a way that’s hard to notice unless you look carefully at his eyes. (The students only ever see him as old, because of the beard, but I’ve known him for over thirty years now. He looks tired, and anxious. Maybe even fearful.)

Mr. Riddle is calling himself the Dark Lord Voldemort, and he has assembled a group of supporters who plan to work with him to take down the Ministry of Magic and replace it with his own government—if “government” is even the right word for what he has in mind—that will give power to so-called “pureblood” wizards and remove power from those of us with Muggle parents or backgrounds.

Including me, I suppose. It is bizarre to think that someone who calls himself the Dark Lord Voldemort would care at all about a transfiguration professor who teaches students about mice and snuffboxes, and yet he would have me removed from my position. He has stated as much; under his rule, Hogwarts would be staffed and attended by pureblood wizards only.

I never thought it was anything to worry about, but now, looking at Professor Dumbledore’s face, I fear that it might be. Can one man actually take down an entire Ministry? Are there so many people who in fact believe in his ideas? I wonder if I’ve been sheltered, living in Hogwarts for all of these years.

I wrote Elphinstone about it, asking him what he thought of this self-styled Dark Lord, and when his owl arrived I learned that he was approaching it pragmatically as usual. The Ministry is strong. It is based on a centuries-old system of governance. It’s withstood threats before. His letter makes it sound like he’s going to fight the Dark Lord by reading him a charter—and knowing the Ministry, they probably will.

But Professor Dumbledore thinks we will actually have to fight. He’s asking a group of us—including some of our seventh-year students—to train in defensive spellcasting. “We must use our skills to protect others,” he told us. His voice was calm and steady, as if he weren’t worried at all.

Yours faithfully,


Previously in The Diaries of Minerva McGonagall