SparkNotes Blog

From the Diaries of Minerva McGonagall: February 23, 1981

Dear Diary,

Some days I think I’ll avoid reading the news until the evening. I tell myself that I need to teach, I need to be present for my students, I need to be what they need right now.

But copies of the Daily Prophet are everywhere, updated constantly via Protean Charm, and even if I don’t know whether to believe what’s printed in the paper, I am compelled to look—because at breakfast, my hair still damp at the bottom of its braid, my thoughts still shaking themselves from my dreams, someone will ask: “Did you read what happened?”

Today the questions are about whether Barty Crouch, Head of Magical Law Enforcement, actually signed an edict allowing Aurors to use Unforgivable Curses. The news proposes that he did. The Daily Prophet claims that Minister Bagnold approves.

But there are so many sources of news right now; the papers, the conversations, the parents who send owls asking Professor Dumbledore if he’s heard some rumor. Enough of the rumors turn out to be true that everyone has started to assume they’re all true, even the worst ones. Sometimes I wonder if we make the rumors true, just by behaving as if they were.

Are Aurors really going to use Unforgivable Curses? I must admit that part of me felt an instant surge of hope, as if the capacity to wield this particular power would finally end the war. An Unforgivable Curse stops someone, completely; enough curses, and the Death Eaters could be overcome.

But this is also a terrible thing to ask someone to do. It changes a person’s life. It changes our society. To know that certain members of the Ministry have been granted the ability to kill and destroy, to obliterate absolutely, well—it makes me wonder whether I should support this Ministry, though I haven’t really thought about what else I could do. Write a letter to the Daily Prophet? Apply for a teaching position at Beauxbatons? (They’d never take me; I don’t speak French.)

But what I could do, or what I should do, matters less than what I need to do, which is teach my transfiguration classes and work with the Order and be ready to take on everything that is asked of me.

If they ask me to use an Unforgivable Curse, though—I don’t know how I will respond.

Yours faithfully,

Minerva