Monstrous Appearance

The Buggane

Isle of Man map, 1583, from rootsweb.ancestry.comRemember a long while back in Resolving a Misunderstanding, Malcolm applied for the job as Defence Against the Dark Arts instructor? Dumbledore told him he needed a formal letter of application from him. And this is what he wrote:

17 August 1957

Dear Professor Dumbledore,

I write this in formal application for the position of instructor in the subject of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School.     

My experience includes the capture of thirty-two Dark Wizards during the period from 1941 through 1945. As a reference, I have attached a list of names of those captured wizards who remain in the custody of the British Ministry of Magic and who are now domiciled at Azkaban. If they are capable of coherent speech after their many years on that miserable isle, they will be able to confirm that it was I who captured them, using only the measures necessary to do so, and no more. I also offer yourself, Albus Dumbledore, as a reference who can verify my abilities in curse-breaking, also witnessed during the aforementioned period.

In addition, I have ridden dragons (though I have slain none), out-smarted a Nundu (living to tell the tale, obviously), and, more recently, banished troublesome ghouls, tamed a banshee (you may meet the banshee at the home of Mr and Mrs O’Leary, County Sligo, where she now baby-sits their grandchildren and prevents the clauricorns from turning the milk sour), and bagged a buggane. You may also contact Signore Pietro Giannelli of Venice, Italy, who can confirm that I eradicated an infestation of Nifflers from that city several years ago. Other references are available, if you wish. I am, of course, also quite capable of dealing with other minor irritants such as Boggarts, Doxies, and Cornish Pixies. Gropius and Columbine Gamp would be pleased to offer confirmation of my recent work for them in relocating some Pixies which had become troublesome in their area.

I am not all work and no play, however, and in addition to riding dragons, I enjoy singing, playing the penny whistle (very handy when dealing with Nifflers, believe it or not!), Apparition-by-Broom (not nearly as dangerous as folk make it out to be), skinny-dipping (which can be unexpectedly perilous in certain waters), and table tennis (a most enjoyable Muggle pastime).

As I mentioned in our discussion, I prefer to offer my services for no more than a year, as I am afraid that one of my vices (few though they may be!) is that I grow bored quickly. I am sure, though, that your students might find me both amusing and instructive during that year, and I will doubtless find them the same.

Most very sincerely yours, truly,

Malcolm Mercury McGonagall

One of the creatures that Malcolm mentions is the buggane, a monstrous mythological beast. The buggane is also briefly mentioned in A Long Vernal Season:

“Look at what I found,” Gareth said, pulling a long narrow tube from somewhere behind him. “It’s a present for my Uncle Morgan. He’s a nut about old wizarding maps showing former boundaries and such.”

Severus looked at the large map as Gareth unrolled it. The map depicted Scotland, England, Ireland, and many of the small islands between them. He twitched a slight smile at the quaint depictions of a sea serpent in the Sound of Jura, a Welsh Green spitting flames in the Cambrian Mountains, frolicking clauricorns dancing in the west of Ireland, an ugly buggane scratching its hairy chest and dominating the small island of Man, and a giant and giantess sitting beside a flickering campfire in the remote Scottish Highlands. Ornate gold lettering in the bottom right-hand corner boasted that the map was the result of the “Personal Explorations and Measurements of Hezekiah Ambrosius Drinkwater, Master of Magical Cartography, Anno Domini 1547.”

Interested in knowing what this buggane is? Regina Demonica has an entry for the buggane in her Monster of the Week post this week. Check it out!

BTW, the “clauricorn” mentioned in both snippets is a variant spelling of “clurichaun,” a leprechaun-like creature of Ireland. They normally spoil wine when they’re unhappy, not milk, but as the O’Learys aren’t much for alcoholic drinks, they spoiled the milk, instead! Of course, the lack of wine might have been what made them unhappy! 😉 (The “clauricorn” spelling is used by JKR in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.)

Interested in seeing Malcolm’s “practical interview”? Check out “A Spree with Albus.”

4 responses to “Monstrous Appearance

  1. Thanks for the link! 🙂

    Malcolm’s certainly experienced in dealing with magical creatures. And I love the image of a banshee looking after children (although, if I remember correctly, they were originally guardian spirits of a kind).

    • Hi, Regina Demonica! Happy to link to your post. 🙂

      Banshees are generally associated with death, and they will keen to announce one, either one imminent or one that just occurred. Perhaps they were once guardians of a sort. They were said to wash the blood from the clothes of those slain in battle.

      The O’Learys’ banshee just keened whenever she felt a mood coming on her, and it was quite disconcerting, not to say, alarming, for the family, and none of their neighbors wanted to come visit any longer, for fear of hearing the banshee, believing it an ill omen! LOL!

  2. Great entry and I loved Malcolm’s letter to Albus. Perfectly priceless and true to his character!!! He’s a hoot and one of my favorite OC’s. lol

    • Hi, Hogwarts Duo! 🙂
      I’m glad you liked that letter. I ran across it again recently, and I’m trying to find an excuse to insert it into LVS somewhere, just ’cause! LOL! (I generally dislike completely recycled content, but hey! Some things are worth repeating, and you can’t beat the original sometimes!)

      You can see why Malcolm appealed to Dumbledore — they’re both a bit quirky, a little bit into questioning authority (or, in Malcolm’s case, more than a little!), and they like to have fun, even with Muggle games.

      If you get a chance, drop by Regina Demonica’s blog entry on the buggane — she’s got a nice collection of legendary descriptions of the critter! (Hagrid would probably think the poor buggane is just misunderstood. haha!)

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