Is McGonagall Filch’s Mother?

I’ve noticed several people asking this question online.

The answer is: NO.  There isn’t even a hint of confusion to anyone who has read the books, (who would know that Professor Minerva McGonagall never married and* has no children,  and that Filch’s full name is Argus Filch so they don’t have the same last name anyway, and also his magical family is ashamed of his being a squib and I don’t think McGonagall would ever be ashamed of her own child if she had one).  But for people whose knowledge of the Harry Potter universe is informed only by the film adaptations, I think I can pinpoint the moment of misunderstanding.

images from

About forty minutes into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2, after Harry has returned to Hogwarts and Professor McGonagall has dueled Snape right out the window, and Voldemort projects his voice and says they should hand over Potter, and Pansy Parkinson yells “someone grab him!”, then Filch comes running into the Great Hall where everyone else is assembled shouting about the students being “out of bed!”  An exasperated McGonagall says, “They are supposed to be out of bed, you blithering idiot!”  An abashed Filch responds, “Oh…sorry Ma’am.” Next McGonagall intones, “As it happens, Filch, your arrival is most opportune.  If you would I would like you please to lead Miss Parkinson and the rest of Slytherin House from the hall,” and Filch asks, “Exactly where is it I’ll be leading them to, Ma’am?”  (To which McGonagall zings “The dungeons would do,” an exchange I have outlined non-linguistic criticisms for elsewhere.)

The confusion for audience members who have only watched the movies lies in Filch’s dialect; although “ma’am” rhymes with “ham” in Standard American English, in some dialects of British English is rhymes with “farm.”  Furthermore in some dialects of British English “r”s are deleted, so that pronouncing “ma’am” to sound like “farm” but dropping the “r” ends up sounding like the Standard American English pronunciation for “mom.”

Okay?  Got it, confused googler?  Now why don’t you start actually reading the Harry Potter books instead of googling silly questions like this one?  They are great reads and I promise there are a plethora of rich and interesting character relationships and dynamics, even if Filch being McGonagall’s son isn’t one of them.

*information released on has now informed us that McGonagall was in fact married.


Filed under Books, movies

29 responses to “Is McGonagall Filch’s Mother?

  1. Pingback: Why John Carter Is Probably Still Stuck on Earth | pagelady

  2. brett

    Sorry to say but u are a little off there… Actually Minerva was married to and widowed by elphinstone Urquart… but u are right about her never having a child and filch obviously not being her son.

  3. groovycakes


  4. Hermione Granger

    That was very rude. Not everyone can be as smart as me.

  5. vanessa

    actually that is incorrect. we know from pottermore that mcgonnagal married twice.

  6. Burrito

    Nailed it! I’m one of the silly googlers who has only watched the movies and never read the books and I came here because of the exact quote you referenced in DH2. Thanks for clearing up the dialect confusion.

  7. Evari

    I don’t really appreciate you answer. For some reason you feel the need to be rude and put the readers of this answer down. Why?? Many have read the books, including myself, even though you state quite often that anyone reading this hasn’t. Get over yourself and get off your high horse. The end.

  8. I’ve read all the books too. But I’m not a dick like you. Its a good question for people who haven’t heard anyone who speaks with that dialect. I wondered the same thing after watching the movie (assuming I missed something or JKR added something). Don’t flatter yourself and stop being a dick.

  9. Potter Stinks

    People are way too sensitive my god. So pagelady speaks with a little sass, I say get a thicker skin or grow some cahones people

  10. Snivellus Snape

    Actually in pottermore, It says that Minerva McGonagall was afraid to have a child because she feared it might be a Squib, or because her husband died, she’d be afraid she’ll have to give it up.

  11. Fate

    Thanks. I had to watch it with subtitles. The last part was kind of mean but youre right. I didnt read the later ones. So i cant be offended by the truth. Thanks 🙂 and ill read the rest. Good info and the gifs were literally pinpoint ha ha ha

  12. miranda

    bro stop coming at my neck for googling a question, ive read the books at least four times each and im SORRY that i dont remember that mcgonagall doesnt have a son which is about one of the most irrelevant details related to the plot

  13. Justin

    I read the books I couldn’t find why he called her that so I had to go to this. I know she’s not his mom but he says mom clear as day not ma’am what your saying is a theory not a fact. It doesn’t matter if farm with no are rhymes with ma’am cuz he didn’t say ma’am he said mom or “mum” which is how some British people say mom, mum which rhymes with bum. Get it? A theory that makes sense for this is he’s saying ok mom, like “your the boss mom” Which u would say to someone in charge of you and or that she’s been in charge of him for so many years that he just calls her mom(mum) as in she acts like and might as well be his mother even though she’s not

  14. A sexy wizard who sleeps with professors

    You dont have to be rude about it. Its perfrctly understandable that this would confuse some one.

  15. Hannah R Mufson

    I have read these books over and over since I was about 6, was at all the midnight book openings as well. But this always confused me in the movies, knew it had to be ma’am or something else. Just because people read the book doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be confused, sometimes movies do strange things that are entirely different from the books.

  16. Filch McGonagall


  17. Demetria Willis

    Answer was helpful but you sound rude as shit.

  18. ShinyScar

    I think you where a little rude. I just came here to make sure. I read the books, listened them and wached the movies. You could have been nicer about the end there.

  19. Hermione granger

    Who stole my name!

  20. Pingback: Is McGonagall Filch’s mom? – Gaming Section : Magazine Gaming, E-sport, jeux vidéo, Reviews, Trucs & Astuces

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s