SparkNotes Blog

From the Diaries of Minerva McGonagall: November 2, 1981

Dear Diary,

I have had so many emotions in the past 48 hours that I don’t know how to write them in order—or how to feel them. They’ve all blended together into one giant lump around my heart: Hope. Grief. Fear. Sorrow. Anger. Trust.

I suppose I’ll start there, because we trusted Peter Pettigrew when we shouldn’t have, and because of that, James and Lily Potter are dead. But also: Lord Voldemort is dead. He aimed the Killing Curse at the infant child Harry and somehow Lord Voldemort was killed instead. I’m not sure how it happened. It’s never happened before.

Professor Dumbledore knew right away, the way he knows everything, and left Hogwarts in the middle of the night. The rest of us learned later. I got a letter from Alice Longbottom, flown in by owl, more eloquent than anything I can write tonight. Her joy. The war was over. She could raise her son in peace. She wrote, at the end of the letter, that she didn’t know who was taking care of Harry. That she could, since there weren’t any other Potters. That she would write Professor Dumbledore right away.

Except she didn’t. I don’t think the owl knew; his eyes looked calm, when he delivered my letter. But it must not have been long after he left when the Death Eaters arrived.

That’s the part I still don’t understand. They lost. Their leader was killed. But they took and tortured Frank and Alice just because they could. Because the war was only over when they said it was—or, as it turned out, when the Aurors arrived.

It seems as if our wars are like the Muggle ones after all; they’re settled not by a single spell but slowly, on paper and in the courts. The Death Eaters will go to trial. The Longbottoms are at St. Mungo’s, unlikely to recover. Their baby is with his grandmother. I do not know where Harry Potter is.

But Professor Dumbledore does, and we must trust him. He told me that someday I would know everything that happened at Godric’s Hollow—and, in time, meet Harry myself.

“You might have to do it as a cat, though,” he said, and then he smiled. As if there were enough space in his heart, amidst everything else he must have been feeling, to find room for a smile. I know there isn’t yet any space in mine.

Yours faithfully,

Minerva