Awww. This absolutely warmed my heart! I like that Dumbledore didn’t give Minerva the answers but rather sort of led her to them; say whatever you want about his morals, he was always a fantastic teacher, and I always loved the mentor-mentee relationship between him and Minerva. I think the part where Minerva was finally figuring out exactly what her plan should be was super awesome, and so characteristic of her, to break down the problem into chewable chunks. I also really loved though that you showed her being overwhelmed at first—that is so realistic and really humanized Minerva. I also loved your descriptions of everything that she would need to do because I can imagine that her responsibilities would be much greater after the war. Not to mention she has to fill in the shoes of one of the greatest wizards alive. But if anyone can do it, it’s 100% Minerva—and I loved that this fic sort of hinted at her realization of that.
Also I really appreciated the humor in this too. Especially from Albus—it made me giggle. Though this entire piece has mostly left me grinning and feeling like I should channel my inner Minerva and tackle something impossible... like college apps haha!
I enjoyed reading this! I can honestly say I never really stopped to consider the monumental tasks that McGonagall would have taken on in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts. The challenge of re-opening the school must have been huge! I have very little talent for being succinct, so I love how, in so few words, you were able to paint us a picture of how Minerva must have been feeling. I especially enjoyed the characterization. When Dumbledore gives Minerva advice, you really retained that little eye-twinkling, mischievous way of giving advice that I always loved about him. I thought it was especially appropriate how they spoke so openly - Minerva clearly exasperated and Albus clearly amused - just like old friends would. It was also so in character for Dumbledore to guide McGonagall towards her living friends. It was very like Dumbledore in life, advising that while the dead do not truly leave us, we must keep our focus on the works of the living.
I also liked how McGonagall took notice that the other portraits were asleep for this conversation. I love how she's still so starch and proper, and she absolutely wouldn't show this kind of weakness to anyone but her closest friend, even if none of the portraits are real people.
The one bit of cc I'd give is that I think that in the sentence, "the past few years were delicate for the students..." "delicate" might not fit the sentence quite as well as "difficult", or a synonym of that, might.
I'm glad I stopped by and read this! I think my favorite thing about it, even more than how nice it was to see the friendship between Albus and Minerva again, was how in the story Minerva admits to being overwhelmed, and Dumbledore does help her, but it's really that he helps her help herself. It's classic McGonagall after that, launching into a plan and proving herself capable as ever. Characterization here was well done. Good job, and thanks for a story that made me smile!
Beth, this is just lovely. I adore how in just over 500 words, our favourite Headmistress of Hogwarts goes from being convinced something can't be done, to seeing how it can. I agree with her, incidentally, in that so many of those jobs to seem insurmountable, especially for one person. Yes, the school must go on, but what with traumatised students - and teachers as well, I dare say - hysterical parents and only half a castle, it would certainly be a task for anyone. I'm reminded of the Labours of Hercules for some reason, especially the Lernean Hydra where if you cut off one head three more would grow in its place. That's exactly what Minerva would be feeling like.
So, of course she turns to Dumbledore to help. But he sees what she refuses to, that it is the task of the living to move Hogwarts into the future. I dare say what with the rebuilding they could probably modernise it a bit too, but that's another story entirely I imagine. It's nice that they did get so many teachers surviving the Battle of Hogwarts, especially those who had been there a while. And can I say that I just love who you chose for the student counselling? Hagrid and Sprout? How perfect is that!
And then we go from a frantic, despairing Minerva to a more hopeful, even aspirational Minerva. All from just articulating her thoughts and having someone help put them in order, which essentially is what Dumbledore did. I find myself looking forward to this new Hogwarts. I'm sure the rest of the staff soon will be too.
There’s something about Minerva stressing about “I’m an educator now an administrator” that really touches me. For one thing, it is a very familiar conflict for teachers in the muggle world, so adding that familiarity to the prestige of the role of Headmistress makes this intimidating woman in her fantasy world more accessible. I am so used to seeing her powerful and confident, and while I believe she will do an excellent job, I want to make her believe it too!
I don’t think Minerva is giving herself enough credit. She did an outstanding job as the Head of Gryffindor House, which arguably would have involved more of the kind of direct contact with students that worries her here.
It is very understandable though - even if she wouldn’t normally be stressed about taking on the position, doing it now of all times is a huge load. It’s hard enough running a school of magic, try running a school of traumatized magicians!
Omg yes I love Pomona and Hagrid as a counseling team of support and rock cakes! I need to see more of that.
I love how quickly Minerva’s brain comes up with a game plan. She doubted herself, but look how prepared she is!
It feels a it out of character to see Minerva this way, but I don’t think it’s unrealistic. It only feels that way because we are not used to seeing her vulnerable, so I am glad you have given us this moment.
Hehe, Dumbledore is a great tease, I like it. I think Minerva will need that.