Social media is abuzz with those pointing out the error.
The release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the latest installment in the Harry Potter franchise, has been mired in controversy.
Harry Potter fans first took umbrage with the casting of the movie’s star Johnny Depp - a man accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife Amber Heard - and with the recent revelation that the film would serve as an origins-story of sorts for Nagini, Voldemort’s pet snake, shown in the movie as an Asian woman.
The optics of all this are bad, playing into stereotypes of subversive Asian women controlled and dominated by white men, not to mention some fans pointed out the erasure of the South Asian etymology of the name Nagini itself, which is derived from Sanskrit.
The film is only days away from releasing in cinemas and yet another controversy has broken out on Twitter, this time over the inclusion of one particular character who, according to author JK Rowling’s own timeline, has absolutely no business being in this movie.
We’re talking about the inclusion of Minerva McGonagall, who will appear in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald as a student in Professor Dumbledore’s Defence against the Dark Arts classes at Hogwarts.
Young McGonagall will be played by Fiona Glascott, whose previous roles include the television series Indian Summers and the movie Brooklyn.
So far, so lovely - a reunion of sorts for two of the most beloved characters in the history of the franchise! - but just take a look at the timeline of this movie. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set in 1927.
And although McGonagall’s birthdate is never explicitly given in the books, Harry Potter fans believe it to be around 1935. In Order of the Phoenix - the fifth Harry Potter book - McGonagall reveals that she spent two years after graduating from Hogwarts working for the Ministry of Magic before becoming a teacher in 1956. So if you reverse engineer it and follow the maths backwards, that means that she left school in 1954, commenced school in 1947, and was born in 1935.
All of which means that in 1927 everyone’s favourite Scottish Transfiguration master wouldn’t even have been born yet, let alone old enough to be attending Hogwarts.
So what is she doing in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald?
Despite being tagged by multiple fans pointing out the mistake on social media, Harry Potter author and the film’s producer JK Rowling is yet to respond.
Maybe there’s some kind of time-travelling reason for McGonagall to be in this movie. Maybe she used the same Time-Turner that Hermione used in Prisoner of Azkaban to travel back some 20 years for the noble purpose of… Attending more school classes.
Or maybe this is just all a pretty silly mistake. We’ll find out when the movie premieres in the UK on November 16.
Images: Warner Bros