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Villain Overview

I will have... order!
~ Dolores Umbridge's famous quote.
Now, I want you to write, "I must not tell lies".
~ Professor Umbridge before torturing Harry.
That's right, because you know, deep down, you deserve to be punished. Don't you, Mr. Potter?
~ Professor Umbridge after torturing Harry.
You know... I really hate children!
~ Professor Umbridge to Harry and Hermione after being tricked.

Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge, simply known as Dolores Umbridge, is a major antagonist in the Harry Potter franchise, serving as the main antagonist of the 2003 book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and its 2007 film adaptation of the same name, and a minor antagonist in the 2007 book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and its separate 2010-2011 two-part film adaptations of the same name.

She was a Ministry of Magic official and served as Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic under three successive ministers: Cornelius Fudge, Rufus Scrimgeour and Pius Thicknesse. Umbridge was designated as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by order of the Ministry in 1995 and was later promoted to Hogwarts High Inquisitor and eventually Headmistress. This was part of a Ministry effort to keep the school and Harry under control. She was removed from these positions later on in 1996, when Voldemort was revealed to be alive, and returned to the ministry, working as a judge under Voldemort's supremacist reign.

In the films, she was portrayed by Imelda Staunton, who also played Mrs. Lovett at the Chichester Theatre Festival's adaptation of Sweeney Todd, and Alexandrina Victoria Hannover in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!.

Personality

Umbridge was very ambitious yet was an extremely vicious, immoral, manipulative sadist who possessed extremely high opinion of herself. She evidently believed herself above the law shown when she used the Black Quill (a torture device that causes the user to write in their own blood) on Harry and then the entire DA. She was even prepared to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry despite him being a teen and it being illegal to use. However, she justified this this by saying, "What Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him". When she was placed in charge of registering Muggle-borns, she was incredibly corrupt and malevolent; she had imprisoned Muggle-borns under outrageous accusations and under the prejudiced beliefs that these witches and wizards stole their magic from Pure-bloods.

Despite being a teacher at Hogwarts Academy, she openly hates kids and due to this took great pleasure in enforcing torturous punishments on students. When she realized she was tricked when Hermione and Harry lured her to the Forbidden Forest, Umbridge flatly said "I really hate children.". While under control of Hogwarts, she enforced strict and somewhat tyrannical rules that the students were forced to comply. For instance, one of the few was that boys and girl could not be in close vicinity of one another and broke up a wizard and witch kissing with her wand. Umbridge was a colossally prejudiced and inequitable woman as well, she believed that half-breeds, half-bloods and the Muggles were inherently inferior and registered them with extreme cruelty at the Ministry of Magic under Lord Voldemort's fascist reign.

Umbridge was xenophobic and intolerant towards half-breeds as well. Cause of this, she was extremely impertinent and argumentative towards Hagrid the Gamekeeper and antagonized him as he was half-giant. She additionally spoke in an insulting and scornful tone towards the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest.

Umbridge was condescending and even cruel towards her fellow teachers, she interrupted Dumbledore's start of year speech with her trademark fake cough. She later did the same to Professor McGonagall who also offered her a cough sweet. She also insulted Professor Flitwick when she measured his height or mocked Professor Snape for his unsuccessful attempts to become Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher. Umbridge was especially vituperative and disrespectful towards Divination teacher Professor Trelawney and asked her to predict something for her. Professor Trelawney said it is impossible to predict something on demand which made Umbridge dissatisfied with that answer. However when Umbridge was told she was in "terrible danger", she merely said, "good".

She was also dishonest and fraudulent. As noted earlier, she would have performed one of the Unforgivable Curses on a teen and would never have told the Minister. She claimed that a locket, which was also a Horcrux, was in her family for generations. As such, she was extremely hypocritical, as she repeatedly punished Harry Potter for lying to others from her perspective even though she herself would deceive others for personal gain.

Umbridge attempted to mask her wickedness by giving off a sweet and pleasant demeanor, she dressed and spoke as a person's grandmother; her creator (J.K. Rowling) describes her personality as "poisoned honey". She wore a decorative black bow on her head (in the novels only), dressed exclusively in pink, adorned her office with cat plates (though simply liked pictures of cats and considered the real animal to be too troublesome) and enjoyed drinking tea along with cakes and sweets. Also, when first meeting her in her office, Harry resembled Umbridge's appearance with that of a toad. Even after it being clearly obvious that Umbridge was evil, she still kept her sweet facade which only ascertained how monsterous she truly was.

Despite her evil nature, Umbridge appears to be good friends with Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic referring to him by a first name basis and Fudge placed Umbridge in control of Hogwarts. Then again, this didn't stop her from lying to him about using the Cruciatus Curse on Harry more than likely due to her arrogance, something that Cornelius would never approve. While she spoke highly about him, Dolores in reality just saw in Cornelius nothing more than a pawn, as demonstrated when Fudge was sacked and fired from his position. Instead of siding with him, Umbridge didn't give any support to her former employer and just sided with his replacement Rufus Scrimgeour.

Another similarity between Cornelius and Umbridge was that they were both quite paranoid and were worried that Dumbledore was amassing a secret army and weapon that would end the Ministry of Magic. However, Dolores was crueler in pursuit of her answers, when she became the Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher she forbade any students from using their wands or magic as she believed it would only further Dumbledore's Army.

A cold-blooded sadist who rarely ever raised her voice or lost her cool, Umbridge was able to maintain a calm, nearly worry-less persona. Her voice was incredibly relaxed and rarely displayed genuine emotion, aside from making a sinister smile while making Harry use her "special quill". While extremely rare, Umbridge occasionally lost her temper, like when she screeched at Harry Potter for insinuating that Lord Voldemort had returned and later slapped him when she caught him and the DA sneaking into her office. While being dragged deeper into the Forbidden Forest by centaurs, she was seen screaming in terror.

Though she was a noticeably powerless witch, Umbridge was a very intelligent woman which was shown when she was nineteen years old she enrolled in Improper Use of Magic Office and thirteen years later she became head of the office. She is quite conniving and manipulative, as shown when she was able to let loose two Dementors on Harry Potter and his cousin Dudley which only highlighted her ruthlessness. Despite her intelligence, Umbridge was extremely gullible and unsophisticated at times, and was easily deceived by Hermione's deception that led her into the Forbidden Forest and to be taken by the centaurs.

However, what makes Umbridge more despicable than other Death Eaters is that she was abnormally self-righteous. As stated above, she cruelly forced Harry to write in his own blood using the Blood Quill. After the boy finished writing the single sentence "I must not tell lies", she then coldly said, "You know deep down, you deserve to be punished." However, the only thing that Harry had done was speak out of line and he didn't remotely deserve something so monstrous as a punishment. Umbridge was always a glutton for power to the point of immorality in its pursuit, but in a position of respect she viciously abused it. Her corruption carried out by the way she gave people who grovelled or sucked up to her, such as Malfoy power in her ranks. She dished out a vast multitude of sadistic and vicious punishments on a myriad of pupils simply to instill people's fear for her. This shows that she didn't want to be respected but feared, as respect would imply that she was equal to others, when she thought herself to be above everyone else.

Even at a young age, Umbridge lacked any moral center whatsoever which carried out by the size of her wand and not her height.

Quotes

I am a tolerant woman, but the one thing I will not stand for is disloyalty. Things at Hogwarts are far worse than I feared! Cornelius will want to take immediate action.
~ Umbridge to McGonagall.
Study hard, and you will be rewarded. Fail to do so, and the consequences may be, severe. Our previous instructions of this subject has been disturbingly uneven. But you'll be pleased to know, now on, you will be following a carefully structured ministry approved course, of defensive magic.
(There's something in here about using defensive spells?)
USING spells? Heh heh, well I can't imagine why you would need to use spells in my classroom.(We're not gonna use magic?)
You'll be learning about defensive spells in a secure, riskfree way.
(Potter: What use is that, if we're gonna get attacked it won't be riskfree)
Students will raise their hands when they speak in my class! It is the view, of the ministry, that a theoretical knowledge would be sufficient to get you through your examinations, which, after all, is what school, is all about.
(Potter: And how is theory supposed to prepare us for what's out there?)
There is nothing out there dear, who do you image would want to attack children, like yourself?
(Potter: Oh, I don't know, pfffttt, maybe Lord Voldemort!)
(Students: Oh no, did he just say that.)
Now let me make this, quite plain, you have been told, that a certain, dark, wizard, is at large once again. This, is, a, lie!
(Potter: It's not a lie! I saw him I fought...)
DETENTION! MR. POTTER!
(Potter: So according to you Cedric Diggory dropped dead of his own accord)
Cedric Diggory's death, was a tragic accident!
(Potter:It was murder! Voldemort killed him you must know that!)
ENOUGH! Enough... See me later, Mr. Potter, my office.
~ Umbridge having an argument with Harry Potter.
Come in, good evening, Mr. Potter, sit.
You're going to be doing some lines for me today, Mr. Potter, no, not with your quill, you're going to use a rather special one of mine. Now, I want you to write... I must not tell lies.
(Potter: How many times?)
Well, let's say... for as long as it takes for the message to sink in.
(Potter: You haven't given me any ink)
Oh you wouldn't need any ink.
(Potter starts writing, as the message eventually starts getting on his hand)
Yes.
(Potter: Nothing.)
That's right, because you know, deep down, you deserve to be punished. Don't you Mr. Potter.
~ Umbridge to Potter while giving him an unfair detention.

Trivia

  • Dolores Umbridge is considered by fans to be one of the most hated Harry Potter characters (often even surpassing Lord Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange). Though not part of Voldemort's Death Eaters, she forms an alliance at least with two of them, Lucius Malfoy and Corban Yaxley. She also has no qualms about working in a Death Eater controlled Ministry of Magic, and agreed to send the Muggle-Borns to Azkaban, even letting the Dementors kiss some of them. As mentioned above, her harsh teaching methods, cruel nature, and the fact she targets children makes her stand out among the others. And while she was ultimately sentenced to life in prison for her crimes, some fans feel that such fate for Umbridge was less worse in comparison to the Dementor's Kiss, but she was spared from suffering it as Dementors were removed from Azkaban by that time.
  • Dolores Umbridge is also considered one of the crueler examples of evil fictional teachers considering the harsh punishments she doled out to students who dared to cross her (such as when she forced Harry Potter to slash "I must not tell lies" onto his hand with a magical quill), the obvious favoritism she showed towards those who sucked up to her, and her feverish desire to place Hogwarts firmly under Ministry control with her as a proxy.
  • She is revealed to be extremely racist, as Remus Lupin noted that Umbridge was one of the main supporters of proposed anti-werewolf legislation, advocated for merpeople to be rounded up and tagged, and considered centaurs to be inferior to wizards. In the seventh book, she then became a Ministry Judge who determines the "blood purity" of witches and wizards and was one of the main forces behind the anti-Muggle propaganda distributed by the Ministry.
    • However, given Lupin's heroic actions during the Second Wizard War and that he was posthumously awarded the Order of Merlin, aside the fact that Umbridge was incarcerated on Azkaban, it's likely that Kingsley Shacklebolt repealed the legislation upon being named Minister of Magic.
  • In the Order of the Phoenix book, it is revealed that Umbridge was the one who sent the Dementors after Harry in order to silence his claims of the Dark Lord returning. This isn't, however, mentioned in the film.
  • While Harry couldn't cast a Patronus charm while wearing the locket, Umbridge manages to conjure a Patronus which takes form of a cat. The reason she is able to cast the Patronus charm is because the horcrux helped her rather than hindered her due to the fact that she was already evil.
  • Novelist Stephen King noted that Dolores Umbridge is the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter.
  • Actress Imelda Staunton said that she nearly vomited when she had to film the scene where Umbridge makes Harry write in his own blood. She said it was one of the most "sickening parts she ever filmed". Therefore, she despised playing Umbridge in spite of enjoying being part of the Harry Potter film series.
  • She is the only character in the series, apart from Lord Voldemort, to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry Potter.
  • Although she did not appear in the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film, in the novel she briefly appeared at Dumbledore's funeral. She is also confirmed to still be working at the ministry by Rufus Scrimgeour who brings up her when Harry mentions his ambition to become an auror, and she is part of the reason why Harry refused to be his poster boy over Christmas Break.
    • In the film, none of these things are mentioned. However, a toy of Umbridge appears in the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes scene, repeating the lines "I really hate children" and "I WILL have order" from the previous film.

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