Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Cormac McLaggen
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character
|Gryffindor House; largely concerned with himself
Overview[edit | edit source]
Cormac McLaggen is a member of Gryffindor house, and one of Ron's 'competitors' for a few things, including Hermione and Quidditch.
Role in the Books[edit | edit source]
On the Hogwarts Express, Professor Slughorn invites a number of students to his compartment for lunch, including Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, Marcus Belby, Blaise Zabini, and Cormac McLaggen. It seems that most of them are invited because of their famous relatives, or because they are famous in their own right as Harry is, or because of their own apparent magical ability: Ginny is invited because Slughorn saw her performing a flawless Bat-Bogey hex. Harry recognizes this as Slughorn re-establishing his Slug Club.
McLaggen tries out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, hoping to replace Ron Weasley as Keeper. Each Keeper candidate has five chances to stop shots on goal; Ron stops all five, but McLaggen fumbles the final one, and Ron is selected as Keeper. Ron comments that McLaggen had looked Confunded on his last shot; Hermione blushes, but Ron doesn't notice. Later, Harry sees McLaggen apparently having trouble negotiating the front steps into Hogwarts, and asks Hermione about it. Hermione, aware of his bad temper and denigrating comments about Ron and the other Keepers being tried, quietly admits having Confunded him during his trials so that Harry would have a valid reason to select Ron instead of him.
With Ron thoroughly entangled in Lavender Brown, Hermione does not have anyone she can take to Professor Slughorn's "Slug Club" Christmas party. She invites McLaggen to make Ron jealous. Once there, finding McLaggen's unrelenting efforts to maneuver her under the mistletoe tiresome, she manages to lose him, instead talking to Harry and his date, Luna Lovegood.
When Ron is put out of action by a glass of poisoned mead, Harry reluctantly puts McLaggen in the team as Keeper. McLaggen immediately starts acting like team captain, trying to set tactics for the games, and telling the other players what is wrong with what they are doing. During the game against Hufflepuff, he borrows a Beater's bat to demonstrate the proper way to hit a Bludger, mis-hits it, and fractures Harry's skull. With Harry out of the game, Gryffindor loses very heavily to Hufflepuff. McLaggen is, of course, cut from the team immediately after Harry regains consciousness.
Strengths[edit | edit source]
McLaggen is well-connected due to his famous family. He has a huge amount of self-confidence and self-assurance.
He also has some knowledge of Quidditch and is a relatively talented player.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
McLaggen is not as good at Quidditch as he thinks he is - the one time we see him play, he is solely responsible for Gryffindor's crushing defeat.
He is overconfident and brash, which makes him completely unaware of the feelings of the people around him. At points McLaggen appears to be completely without empathy, almost as if he is not hearing anything other than his own voice.
Relationships with Other Characters[edit | edit source]
McLaggen is very self-important and self-centred, and must be the centre of any group he is part of. He seems to be one of those irritating people who think they know everything. He tries to reinforce this view by demeaning and insulting those who might know more than he does. When he is passed over for what he considers an honour, he can have a very bad temper.
Analysis[edit | edit source]
Cormac McLaggen is an example of a negative Gryffindor character - whereas, as early as the first book, we are conditioned to believe that Gryffindor is the 'good' house and Slytherin the 'evil' one, as the series progresses, we begin to see all of Hogwarts in shades of grey. McLaggen is a good example; he is in Gryffindor, but throughout every single appearance, there is nothing to like about him. He is a thoroughly dislikeable character and displays none of the chivalrous virtue that Gryffindor is famous for.
We will note that he is in Gryffindor for the right reason, however - he is confident, which is also a Gryffindor trait.
Questions[edit | edit source]
- What are McLaggen's weaknesses?
- What do you think the Gryffindor Quidditch team did to McLaggen after their loss?
- How old might McLaggen be?
- Did McLaggen actually have any interest in Hermione, or did he just want to go to the party with someone?
Greater Picture[edit | edit source]
Harry's tenure as Quidditch captain is being explored throughout the book. He was shown to be fair when selecting Ron over McLaggen (as Ron saved more goals) and wise in his placement of the rest of the team. It is of some note that McLaggen automatically assumed that he would be playing Keeper with Ron incapacitated. Despite Harry's dislike of McLaggen, he agrees, to keep the team in play; this, however, shows more about Harry's character than McLaggen's.