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|“||I will have order!||„|
|~ Dolores Umbridge's famous quote.|
|“||Now, I want you to write, "I must not tell lies".||„|
|~ Umbridge before torturing Harry.|
|“||You know... I really hate children!||„|
|~ Umbridge to Harry and Hermione after being tricked.|
Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge is one of the two main antagonists (alongside Lord Voldemort) of the 2003 book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and its 2007 film adaptation of the same name and a minor but pivotal antagonist in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and its separate 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, reappearing as a minor antagonist in the final book/films Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, working as a judge under Voldemort's supremacist reign.
She was portrayed by Imelda Staunton in the films, 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!.
Umbridge was very ambitious yet extremely vicious, immoral, manipulative and sadistic woman who possessed an extremely high opinion of herself. She evidently believed herself above the law, as 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 teenager 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 children and because of this took a 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. Because 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. When Umbridge was told she was in "terrible danger", she merely said, "good".
Umbridge was also a dishonest and fraudulent liar. As noted earlier, she would have preformed one of the Unforgivable Curses on a teenager and would never have told the Minister. She claimed that a locket, which was also a Horcrux, was in her family for generations.
Umbridge attempted to mask her wickedness by giving off a sweet and pleasant demeanour, 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 an evil person, she still kept her sweet facade which only ascertained how much of a monster 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.
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 crueller 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 sadistic and cold-blooded woman 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 would occasionally lose 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.
Although 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 the head of the office. She is quite conniving and manipulative, as shown when she was able to let loose a Dementor 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.
But 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 instil 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 wanted to be above everybody 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.
Umbridge was a half-blood witch and the first child of a wizard named Orford Umbridge and a Muggle Ellen Cracknell. Her younger brother was a Squib but she herself was born a witch. Under her father's influence, she despised her Muggle mother and her Squib brother, considering them inferior to her and her father, and they both denounced them. Ellen and her son returned to the Muggle world, never to be heard of again. At the age of eleven, she purchased her wand, an unusually short one, at Diagon Alley, most likely at Ollivanders. According to Garrick Ollivander, abnormally short wands usually selected those whose moral character was stunted, rather than because they were physically short. Umbridge attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where she was sorted into Slytherin.
After leaving Hogwarts, Umbridge quickly rose to influential positions in the British Ministry of Magic. At the age of 17, she started an internship at the Improper Use of Magic Office, and by the age of 30, she became the Head of the Office, due to her ruthless tactics and tyrannical leadership under her sweet attitude. She also, while gaining power, overthrew her own father and had him fired from his job, severing all of ties to him and also denying she was related to him, from that point on considering herself only a pure-blood rather than a half-blood. She became Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic and had a place amongst the Wizengamot.
Taking over Hogwarts
|“||You filthy little beasts would never have dropped Stink Pellets if you'd known I had it in my power to whip you raw, would you, now? Nobody would have thought of throwing Fanged Frisbees down the corridors if I could've strung you up by the ankles in my office, would they? But when Educational Decree Number Twenty-Nine comes in...I'll be allowed to do them things...oh, things are going to be very different around here with her in charge!||„|
|~ Filch about Umbridge becoming Headmistress of Hogwarts.|
When Harry Potter began his fifth year at Hogwarts, he discovered that Umbridge had been appointed as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher by the Ministry (due to a lack of interest in the position). Throughout the story, it became more clear that the Ministry was interfering at Hogwarts through Umbridge, which was first demonstrated when Umbridge refused to let Dumbledore finish his traditional headmaster's speech.
Later in the year, she was made the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts by Fudge, in order to combat what he claimed to be the seriously falling standards at Hogwarts. In truth, this was just the Ministry's latest attempt to override Dumbledore and take full control at Hogwarts, since they believed that Dumbledore was trying to stir up trouble by claiming that Lord Voldemort was back, and was using the school as a recruitment/training ground.
This new position gave Umbridge power to override the Headmaster in many aspects, issue out punishments to the students, create/enforce new rules and dismiss the teachers. Far from being for the benefit of the student's education, the later order was to allow Umbridge to establish and remove those teachers that were ultimately more loyal to Dumbledore than the Ministry. To this end, she inspected every professor at Hogwarts though she was unable to find fault with most of them. She did, however, attempt to banish Professor Trelawney from Hogwarts permanently but was stopped at Dumbledore's intervention (since she did not have the authority to remove them from the castle). In the novel, Dumbledore made sure that Trelawney stayed at the castle (for her own safety) and that the centaur Firenze was brought in to replace her, which further insulted Umbridge because she hated half-breeds and those who outmanoeuvred her. In the movie, when Dumbledore explained that the power to remove people from the premises was still within his power, Umbridge simply replied, "For now!"
Dumbledore's Army and Fighting Against Umbridge
From the moment Umbridge arrived at Hogwarts, Harry Potter was a marked man. Following the allegations made by Rita Skeeter the previous year (about his questionable sanity), and Harry's claim that Voldemort had returned, Fudge convinced himself and the Ministry that Harry was an insane troublemaker, who liked to tell tall stories because he enjoyed being famous. Supporting Fudges claims, Umbridge was placed at Hogwarts to stop these "wicked, nasty attention-seeking stories" from spreading any further, to punish anyone that reinforced or questioned them, and if necessary find a way to remove Harry from the school permanently.
Throughout the year Umbridge took sadistic pleasure in depriving Harry and many of the other students of the things that made Hogwarts life enjoyable. When Harry spoke out against her during his first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson, she put him detention and forced him to carve the words "I must not tell lies" into the back of his hand with a Blood Quill, leaving a scar that never truly healed. She deliberately delayed the re-establishment of the Hogwarts Quidditch teams (with the exception of the Slytherins to whom Umbridge showed favour) and when Harry, Fred and George got into a fight with Malfoy and Crabbe, she banned them from the team and confiscated their brooms. Finally, when Harry gave an interview at Hogsmeade about what he saw on the night Voldemort returned, Umbridge banned him from visiting the village again and put Harry in detention. Whilst these acts specifically targeted Harry, it is implied in the novel that she inflicted similar punishments on other students (as Lee Jordan's hand was bleeding badly at one point), and is outright confirmed in the film where she made the whole of Dumbledore’s Army write lines with a blood quill, and a first-year student was shown crying after undergoing a similar experience. Her excuse was simply, "Naughty children deserve to be punished!"
These actions inevitably turned both the staff and the students against her, with the apparent exception of the Slytherins (or at the very least Malfoy and his gang) who benefited from them. In a desperate bid escape Professor Umbridge's restriction from using magic in her class, and learn practical defensive skills, Harry and his friends created a secret organization of students, called "Dumbledore's Army" to improve their duelling skills. Umbridge was aware of the group's existence but thanks to effective measures taken was originally unable to catch them. In the end, Marietta Edgecombe, Cho Chang's friend and a member of the group, betrayed them to Umbridge exposing their location. Catching them in the act, Umbridge brought Harry, along with the list of other members to Dumbledores office, where the Headmaster, several Aurors, Fudge, Percy Weasley and Professor McGonagall were waiting. After Dumbledore falsely admitted that he was responsible, Fudge ordered Dumbledore's immediate sentence to Azkaban, awaiting trial. When Dumbledore escaped, Umbridge became the new headmaster, and she enacted severe punishments on students suspected of participating in secret organizations, as well as establishing a band of loyal students to carry out her orders, the Inquisitorial Squad.
Fall from Power
|“||What are you doing!? I am Senior Undersecretary Dolores Jane Umbridge! Let me GOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!||„|
|~ Dolores Umbridge being carried off by the centaurs thinking they will put her down. (some chance).|
When Harry Potter had a prophetic nightmare, showing Voldemort torturing Sirius, he broke into Umbridge's office in an attempt to contact his Godfather. He was quickly discovered due to a series of unfortunate circumstances and with his friends restrained interrogated by Umbridge. When Harry refused to co-operate, Umbridge declared she would force him to tell her. She initially summoned Professor Snape, asking for more vertiaserum, but when he likewise proved unhelpful, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Umbridge then decided she would perform the Cruciatus Curse on Harry, despite being in front of several Hogwarts students (his friends and the Inquisitorial Squad). It is here that her true colours are revealed because when Hermione reminds her that performing the Cruciatus curse is illegal; she responds by saying "What Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him!". In the book Umbridge subsequently revealed that she was the one who sent the Dementors after Harry the previous summer, pointing out that she was the only one who acted, whilst other Ministry officials were "all bleating about silencing you somehow - discrediting you".
However, before she was able to follow through with the curse, Hermione Granger stopped Umbridge. She told her about Dumbledore's "secret weapon", (which didn't actually exist), and successfully fooled Umbridge into following her to the "weapon's" location. Hermione, along with Harry, led her into the Forbidden Forest, a location which, forbidden to students, contained monstrous creatures and dark alleys. It was during this venture that they attracted the attention of centaurs, in the books this was intentional on Hermione's part, whereas in the film it happened by pure coincidence after Umbridge realised she was being manipulated. In both cases, Umbridge proceeded to insult the Centaurs, resulting in them capturing and dragging her away out of rage. In the film, Harry managed to get a belated revenge on Umbridge at this point, when she ordered him to tell the Centaurs she meant no harm, Harry spitefully replied, "Sorry Professor, but I must not tell lies!"
It is not known what the Centaurs did to Umbridge whilst she was confined within the Forbidden Forest, but the experience left her traumatised. During her captivity, the Ministry discovered that Harry and Dumbledore had been telling the truth for an entire year when several high ranking officials (including Fudge) walked into the Ministry atrium and saw Voldemort with their own eyes. Owing to this revelation, the Ministry withdrew from Hogwarts affairs. Umbridge herself was rescued the following day by a reinstated Dumbledore but was removed from her position. As a result; her decrees became null and void. Umbridge left the castle, the day before the end of the term. She tried to sneak out discreetly during the end of year feast but ran into Peeves, who along with several students chased her from the castle. This was her last appearance in the fifth book.
The Half-Blood Prince
Umbridge made a brief appearance in the final chapter of the Half-Blood Prince, where she alongside several other Ministry officials attended the funeral of Albus Dumbledore. Harry noted that she was terrified of Firenze, but did not seem particularly upset. This was her only physical appearance.
She was, however, referenced on a number of occasions throughout the novel and in these instances, it was made very clear that Harry was still very bitter towards her. During Harry's meeting with Rufus Scrimgeour, (who replaced Cornelius Fudge as Minister when the public voted him out of office), during Christmas 1996 the Minister revealed that despite everything she had done, Umbridge had returned to her position as senior undersecretary and had mentioned about Harry's ambitions to become an Auror. Scrimgeour wanted to use Harry as a poster boy to ensure the public that the Ministry was doing a good job at fighting Voldemort, which was not true. Harry, however, called him out on this hypocrisy, pointing out that the Ministry had originally been far from helpful when he originally tried to tell them about Voldemort and showed him the scars Umbridge had forced him to carve into his skin. Harry like many of his friends felt that the Ministry had a real cheek to ask for his help after everything they had put him through.
It has not been revealed exactly how Umbridge was able to retain her position, given the nature of her dark deeds throughout her tenure at Hogwarts School. It is likely though that the Ministry were not aware of them, and given the outbreak of war, did not have the time or resources to investigate them properly. Alternatively, given her manipulative nature, Umbridge may have simply lied; claiming she was acting under Fudge's authority, thus shifting the blame away from herself.
Deathly Hallows and Later Life
Her role in the novel and movie is much shorter and she is only important when Harry, Ron and Hermione disguise themselves as Ministry officials to get into the Ministry and steal a locket that Umbridge was wearing, which turned out to be one of Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Umbridge acquired the locket from Mundungus Fletcher, taking it as a bribe after she caught him selling stolen goods. During Harry, Ron and Hermione's brief visit to the Ministry, it is made perfectly clear that Umbridge has sided with the Death Eaters, and is working alongside them to torture/imprison innocent Muggle-Borns. She is head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission and has a large wanted poster of Harry in her office, to which she has added the words "To be punished" indicating her hatred of him.
Umbridge inadvertently sabotaged Harry, Ron and Hermione's plan, by taking a disguised Hermione down to the courtroom, to act as her assistant. When Harry later arrived in that courtroom, to rescue Hermione, he found Umbridge about to sentence another innocent Muggle-born, and discovered that she was wearing the locket they were after. To make the scene even more unpleasant for her victims, Umbridge had Dementors present, though she, Yaxley and Hermione were kept safe by her cat patronus. As Harry approached the desk, Umbridge began callously interrogating Mrs Cattermole demanding to know whom she stole her wand from. The events that follow differ slightly in both the book and the film:
- In the novel: when prompted by Hermione, Umbridge claimed that the locket is a family heirloom, using it to bolster her own pure-blood credentials. Harry is outraged to hear this, given that he knew the truth about the locket's origin, and that she had hypocritically punished him for 'lying' two years earlier. Hidden slightly beneath the invisibility cloak, Harry stunned Umbridge who remained none the wiser, then Yaxley. Hermione subsequently duplicated the horcrux locket and then stole the real one.
- In the film: Harry under the disguise of Albert Runcorn entered the courtroom with Ron, who was impersonating Mrs Cattermole's husband Reginald. Pretending to have brought him along to the hearing, Harry spotted the locket on Umbridge's person. He glared at her as she started the kangaroo court, his eyes fixed on the locket. When Umbridge called Mrs. Cattermole a liar, Harry drew his wand, an act which caught Umbridge's attention. Harry openly called Umbridge the liar, much to her anger, before repeating her infamous phrase "one mustn't tell lies!" He then stunned Umbridge, while Ron took care of Yaxley allowing Hermione to steal the locket.
In both cases, a short battle with the Dementors followed. Harry, Ron and Hermione subsequently escaped with the Horcrux, rescuing Mrs Cattermole and several other innocent Muggle-Borns from Umbridge along the way. Umbridge herself presumably woke up shortly afterwards, none the wiser as to the fate of her precious locket. This was her final appearance in both the film and the book.
It is not known what Umbridge did following this raid at the Ministry but she likely continued to play an active role in establishing the new regime and discrimination against Muggle-borns. After Voldemort's final defeat at the Battle of Hogwarts, however, Umbridge's actions finally caught up with her.
Following Voldemort's death, the newly appointed Minister, Kingsley Shacklebolt initiated a thorough purge of the Ministry removing many pro-pureblood laws/motives, whilst bringing the Death Eaters, and several others witches/wizards who supported the new regime to account. The Muggle-Born Registration Committee was promptly shut down, any surviving victims were immediately released and Umbridge herself was quickly arrested. Charged with crimes against humanity during the Second Wizarding War, she was presumably tried before the Wizengamot. The evidence against her was overwhelming, and unfortunately, not all of the Muggle-borns sentenced to Azkaban during her rule survived the ordeal. As such, Umbridge was quickly found guilty of all charges and given a life sentence in the very place she had condemned so many innocent people too; Azkaban.
In 2018 Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter would unintentionally alter the timeline, affecting history so that Voldemort won the Second Wizarding War. In this alternate reality, Umbridge was reinstated as the Headmistress of Hogwarts, was a devout follower of Voldemort and was glad that Harry Potter was dead. Scorpius later managed to fix this mistake and Umbridge's original fate was restored. Branded as a pathological liar and disgraced by the wizarding community, Dolores Jane Umbridge remained locked away in Azkaban for the rest of her life.
- Dolores Umbridge is considered by fans to be one of the most hated Harry Potter characters (often even surpassing Voldemort and Bellatrix.) Though not part of Voldemort's Death Eaters, she forms an alliance at least with two of them, Lucius Malfoy and 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. As mentioned above, her harsh teaching methods, cruel nature, and the fact she targets children makes her stand out among the others.
- Additionally, she's 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.
- 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.
- She is portrayed by Imelda Staunton, who also voices Aardman characters like Queen Victoria in Pirates! Band of Misfits, Bunty in Chicken Run and Mrs. Claus in Arthur Christmas.
- Novelist Stephen King noted that 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.
- She is the only character in the series, apart from Lord Voldemort, to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry Potter.
- Umbridge, Bellatrix Lestrange, Fenrir Greyback and Lord Voldemort are the only four Harry Potter villains who are Pure Evil. However, Umbridge is the only Pure Evil villain in the series who never died (unless we count the film version of Greyback, who could have survived his fall and escape from the Battle of Hogwarts).
- She is one of very few villains in history to be listed as Pure Evil without having ever killed anyone directly, further demonstrating her absolutely monstrous nature.
- WatchMojo.com listed Dolores Umbridge as #3 on their Top 10 "Most Evil Harry Potter Characters" list.