Thorfinn McGonagall observes his daughter as she grows up, and realises he has a very unusual witch on his hands.
Thorfinn McGonagall encouraged his daughter to read anything that interested her, whether or not it was intended for children, and she took good advantage of it. More often than not, Minerva could be found curled up in any spot of warmth the Highlands weather afforded, nose buried in a thick book.
He liked to talk to his children about the things they read, and he found that Minerva understood far more than the average child her age. As she grew older, they would sit in the library discussing the fine points of this or that novel, or the faults of the latest history of the Goblin wars. A man of scholarly bent, Thorfinn took great pleasure in their talks. Minerva, he was proud to say, was a prodigious thinker, with an ability to dissect ideas with the critical eye of a scholar twice her age.
That’s why he was shocked when, one day in the library, he heard her use the term “mudblood” while talking to her brother about one of the Muggle boys from the nearby village of John o’ Groats he liked to play with.
She turned to look at Thorfinn questioningly. He rarely raised his voice to either of his children, so it was an event when it happened.
“Come here, please.”
She dutifully came over to stand by his chair, biting her lip in anxiety.
Thorfinn took care to keep his voice at its usual steady volume. “Einar, please go find Llyndie and ask her to give you your bath.”
“But we haven’t had dinner yet,” Einar said.
“It’s only a little early, and if you take it now, we’ll have time for a story or a game before bed.”
“All right.” Einar skipped out happily in search of the nursery elf.
When he was out of earshot, Thorfinn asked Minerva, “Where did you hear that word?”
Her forehead crinkled. “Which word?”
“From Great Uncle Thomas.”
Thorfinn bit back a groan. Thomas MacLaughlin was far from his favourite among his late wife’s family, but Thorfinn felt that Minerva and Einar should see their mother’s kin—even the objectionable ones—at least once in a while, and Thomas and his son, Maxwell, had been over from Mull to visit for a weekend during the summer. Thorfinn had gritted his teeth every moment in Thomas’s annoying company.
“And in what context did he use it?” Thorfinn asked.
“We were talking about duelling, and he said the mudbloods could never compete with purebloods in the world championship.”
“Do you know what the word means?”
“Of course,” she answered huffily, as if the idea that she would use a word without knowing its meaning was a terrible insult. “It means a witch or wizard with one or two Muggle parents.”
“Correct, although it is a very rude term. The proper term, Minerva, is ‘Muggle-born’, which is what I want you always to use.”
The sternness of his voice made the intended impression. Her eyes were wide as she said, “Yes, Da. I’m sorry.”
“I’m not angry, as long as you promise never to use that other word again.”
“No, Da, I won’t.”
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