SparkNotes Blog

From the Diaries of Minerva McGonagall: July 21, 1948

Dear Diary,

I wish we were allowed to practice magic over the summer. It seems unfair that I could do as much magic as I wanted as a child, as long as I kept it secret from the other Muggles, and now I have to put away my wand and mind my younger brothers. Malcolm insists on levitating the cat, although he knows she doesn’t like it.

But there is no restriction on WRITING about magic, which means I can spend as many pages as I want thinking about how it works. If Malcolm doesn’t have a wand, and doesn’t know the words wingardium leviosa, how is it that Tabitha rises into the air anyway? It makes me think there must be another way to do magic, without wands. After all, I did magic without wands for years.

When I sit alone like this, Tabby always comes to sit next to me, nudging her nose under my arm. I feel like she knows what I’m thinking sometimes, the same way I know that when Malcolm or Robert tease her, she understands that they’re just children. When I was very young I thought I was a cat, because the only other people I knew were Mum and Dad and Tabitha. Even now I wrote “people” instead of “two people and one cat,” because Tabby’s as complicated and interesting as any person I know.

If you can transfigure a mouse into a snuff-box, or a match into a needle, can you transfigure a person into a cat? Maybe the two items have to be the same size to transfigure properly. Perhaps my mother transfigured me into a cat when I was a baby, and that’s why I understand Tabitha so well.

I heard some of the second-year students discussing Polyjuice Potion, which they use to take on the appearance of another person. Could that be used to take on the appearance of a cat? If it worked, would you be a cat, or would you simply look like one?

I feel like I ought to ask Tabitha. “Tabby, if it were possible for me to become a proper cat, not just a human shaped like a cat, please tap this diary with your paw three times.” It feels ridiculous—

… and she just tapped this page three times.

I want to write Professor Dumbledore and tell him what just happened. It would be rude to bother him on his summer holidays, though, especially because he must already know about how humans can transform into cats. He knows everything. Someday I’d love to know as much as he does.

I’ll tell him as soon as I get back to Hogwarts. I’ll ask Mum to send me a Howler so I remember. I wish we were all going back tomorrow. I miss my friends and I miss Transfiguration Club and most of all I miss being able to do magic.

Tabitha just nuzzled at me, as if to say “be patient.” It’s funny that I understand exactly what she means.

Yours faithfully,


Previously in The Diaries of Minerva McGonagall

Tell us we aren’t the only people who accredit our pets with greater intellect than our teachers? Are you privvy to what’s up?