Silhouette of witch with tall hat and cape on broomstick. Banner underneath reads: "Squibstress"

Hag Tales

The life of Minerva McGonagall as seen through teachers, students, friends, and lovers. A collection of short tales of a legendary creature native to the Highlands of Scotland.

Alastor Moody, Albus Dumbledore, Amelia Bones, Andromeda (Black) Tonks, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Sorting Hat, Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank
Alastor/Minerva, Amelia/Minerva, Minerva/Wilhelmina
8,907 words

Read It On

It’s a grim little thing, the Sorting Hat thinks as she walks up to the dais.

The child’s eyes are set like dull green stones in her narrow face as she seats herself on the high stool. Her feet come to rest on the rail and her hands fold neatly in her lap. She waits, still as a mouse who’s sniffed a cat in the grass.

But when the Hat is placed atop her plaited head, it finds she is something else again. Not grim, but determined. Focused. And far too old for her eleven years.

A thought intrudes on the Hat’s musings, annoying in its volume.


“What’s that you say, girl?”

She is startled, as they always are when the Hat deigns to speak to them, and her next thought is thick with the accent she tried to suppress the first time.


“I didn’t hear the magic word.”

The Hat enjoys her surprise at having been engaged in conversation by what she’d mistakenly thought of as “a hat”, but she quickly regains her equilibrium.

I should like to be sorted into Ravenclaw House, if you please.

The force of her thought is almost painful, and the Hat has to take a moment to regroup.

“ ‘If you please’, is it now, Minerva McGonagall? Well, then …”

It feels her relax.

“There’s a keen mind in there … just the ticket for Ravenclaw,” the Hat says. She’s ready to spring from the stool as soon as the word is spoken.

The Hat stops her. “But Slytherin would be a fine fit too. Maybe better. You have ambition, and not a little cunning.”


It isn’t a shout this time; she’s learnt quickly to modulate her thoughts.

Not Slytherin.

The Hat takes note of the absence of “pleases” and “I pray yous”.

“Why not, my girl? Professor Slughorn would eat you right up. You’d meet the right people. People who could help you get what you want. Success. Respect. A way out of Caithness and your mother’s sort of life.”

As you know so much about me, the child thinks at the Hat, you know why I don’t want to be in Slytherin.

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