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 purepotter.tumblr.com

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 Pottermore.com has now informed us that McGonagall was in fact married.

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19 Comments

Filed under Books, movies

19 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

    understandable

  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

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