It's not news to any Harry Potter fan that Professor Minerva McGonagall is an empowering and all-around incredible character, whose attributes have remained a constant throughout the course of the series. Her character has lived in many shadows (Dumbledore's, Black's and Snape's come to mind), including Hermione Granger's for being the strong and independent female lead. Luckily, this isn't a Spaghetti Western and there is room for the both of them.
Not to take away from Hermione Granger's well-deserved greatness (#HermioneForPresident2020), but some of her success can be attributed to the mentorship she received from the phenomenal McGonagall. Hermione wouldn't have thrived as much without the Professor, similarly to how Harry would not have realized his potential without the guidance of Albus Dumbledore, although to a lesser extent.
[Technically, this last statement is false, because it's all fiction and J.K. Rowling can do whatever the fu*k she wants to, even if that means forcing us to lead a dreadful McGonagalless Harry Potter life. Thankfully, that is not the case, so for argument's sake, please just go along with it.]
McGonagall is often praised for the godmother-like role she plays in Harry Potter's life, but rarely is she given credit for her positive influence on Hermione Granger. The two share many similarities and really, where would we be without either of these Gryffindoresses? (If you're thinking, "In a better place," then you probably belong in Slytherin, FYI.) Here are five reasons Professor McGonagall was the necessary role model to enable Ms. Granger's growth and success.
1. They Are Two Peas Of The Same Pod
Try and picture Minerva as a student. Do you not envision a Hermione Granger look-alike? Now try to picture an older Hermione working as a professor at Hogwarts. Does she not eerily remind you of a McGonagall doppelgänger?
These two share more than just a few similarities. They are both intelligent, strong, collected, brave, bold, honest, assertive, kind — the list goes on. I wouldn't even be surprised if J.K Rowling suddenly announced that McGonagall is in fact Hermione's estranged grandmother. I sense a fan theory coming on...
2. Being The Same Person Was Bound To Land Them In The Same House
The Sorting Hat seriously considered putting Hermione in Ravenclaw before choosing Gryffindor. Professor McGonagall also has many Ravenclaw-like characteristics, but ultimately, her Gryffindor side prevails just like Hermione's. Having both of these women belong to the Gryffindor House provided Hermione with a layer of comfort that the two were on the same side. In times of crisis, Hermione often suggests to talk things over with McGonagall as her first instinct. This demonstrates feelings of trust and protection that one usually tends to feel with professors who have particularly influential roles in their lives.
And although Minerva has always been a fair and diplomatic character, even she had her moments when her Gryffindor loyalty shone through beneath her stern look:
[During a Gryffindor vs. Slytherin Quidditch Final in "Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban"]
"'YOU CHEATING SCUM!' Lee Jordan was howling into the megaphone, dancing out of Professor McGonagall's reach. 'YOU FILTHY, CHEATING B—'
Professor McGonagall didn't even bother to tell him off. She was actually shaking her finger in Malfoy's direction, her hat had fallen off, and she too was shouting furiously."
3. They Both Follow The Rule Book, But Can Also Break It Like Tom Riddle's Diary
Hermione tends to defer to rules and does her very best to abide by them. She has a clear respect for authority figures and constantly warns her peers of the consequences of breaking the rules. She always tries to stay out of trouble (obviously, this is an epic fail, but not for lack of trying).
The same can be said for Minerva, particularly when the greater good calls for crossing some boundaries. At first glance, she seems strict and unforgiving. However, she's often a softy at heart who is willing to let certain actions slide or even encourage disregard for school policy. One of these examples is when Professor McGonagall catches Harry flying without permission, and instead of inflicting punishment, she rewards him by making him Seeker of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team.
4. Ideal Role Model Material: McGonagall Stands Up For What's Right And Does It Like A Boss
Professor McGonagall is the ideal role model for a young, impressionable Hermione. She is someone who this girl can relate to, trust and feel is looking out for her best interests. Minerva has a successful and meaningful career, while also showing incredible acts of kindness and bravery in terms of protecting her colleagues and students (let's not forget about her act of heroism toward Professor Trelawney). Also, she has the most unexpected sass.
On top of that, McGonagall is an exceptional witch with skills only few witches and wizards can obtain — that of being an animagus. This is a fascination Hermione admits to researching in The Prisoner of Azkaban, which could easily be interpreted as a milestone Hermione hopes to achieve one day. After all, when has Hermione not wanted to be all she could be? Who better to assist her than the Head of the Transfiguration Department?
5. McGonagall Gives Hermione Much-Needed Validation
Hermione's parents were never able to grasp the specifics of witchcraft, and were never presented with the tools to be a support system in her academic life at Hogwarts. It is in now way their fault for being Muggles, and they were still always depicted as good parents, but Hermione had no guidance whatsoever when she was thrown into the Wizarding World. This attention tends to be awarded to Harry since he was orphaned and clueless, but Hermione was in a similar situation.
Hermione is brilliant and everyone knows it. Because of her occasional moments of arrogance, she is rarely praised for her intelligence and is mostly teased and bullied for it. Both her professors and peers have showed annoyance at her know-it-all attitude, but aside from perfect scores, the occasional points to Gryffindor and the scarce nod of approval, no one truly appreciates her hard work.
Professor McGonagall gives Hermione the ultimate demonstration of encouragement and confidence when she provides her with the Time-Turner. Minerva went above and beyond to enable Hermione to reach her greatest potential. This is unprecedented in Hogwarts history and goes against several time travel rules. She not only trusted in Hermione to succeed academically, but she also trusted her with the great fragility of time. A parental-like figure believing in Hermione may have just been the boost she needed to stand her ground throughout the series.
Professor McGonagall has been many things to Hermione Granger: an inspiration, a confidante, a role model, a parental figure and a mentor. Though their relationship is often undermined and brushed away, there is no doubt that McGonagall played a significant role in Hermione's perseverance and success. Everyone needs someone to believe in them, and that's what Minerva did for Hermione.