Dolores Umbridge

Dolores Jane Umbridge
Imelda Staunton portrays Dolores Umbridge in the film adaption of the series.
HouseUnknown, most probably Slytherin
ActorImelda Staunton
AffiliationMinistry of Magic, Death Eaters

Dolores Umbridge is a fictional character from the Harry Potter Universe. She was a central figure in the Ministry of Magic and was made teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts in 1995. She became extremely unpopular during her term and was replaced by Severus Snape the following year.


[edit] Background

Dolores Jane Umbridge was presumably born into a pure-blood family and attended Hogwarts like most other wizards and witches. When she was eleven, she bought her wand, an unusually short one. While it is unknown which house she was sorted into, her evil nature but also ambition makes it likely to think she was sorted into Slytherin. She would later start a career within the Ministry of Magic. Prior to her appearance in the books, she signed the anti-werewolf legislation, based on her hatred towards other species, which made life hard for werewolves.

[edit] History

[edit] Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Umbridge is first seen at Harry Potter's hearing following a Dementor attack on himself and cousin Dudley Dursley, which had forced Potter to produce a Patronus. Not only did he perform magic in front of a Muggle, he was also underage at the time. Umbridge was in favour of Potter being convicted, however, the majority of the Wizengamot wanted him to be cleared of all charges.

When school starts up, Umbridge is revealed as Hogwarts's new teacher in Defense Against the Dark Arts. She is also named High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. She quickly becomes hated by students for her disciplined way of teaching, but also because she does not let students use their wands during lessons. This prompts Harry Potter and his friends to found an organization called Dumbledore's Army, which lets everyone get practical experience.

Artist's interpretation of Umbridge, note the resemblance to a toad as described in the book.

After the first lesson of the year, Umbridge gives Potter a detention. When he arrives, he finds a quill and a sheet of paper but no ink. Umbridge comments that he will not need ink. When Potter starts to write the lines "I must not tell lies", the words carve into the back of his hand.

Umbridge starts inspecting other teachers' lessons, interrupting them often while taking notes. She is especially fierce towards Sybill Trelawney and seems to have very little faith in Sybill's subject, Divination. She asks Sybill to predict something for her, which she is unable to. When Umbridge turns around and proceeds to leave, Sybill bursts out saying that she is in great danger. Umbridge smiles, before writing some notes and leaving.

Sybill Trelawney is thrown out of Hogwarts by Umbridge.

A little while later, students flock around as Umbridge throws Sybill out of the castle. She is unsatisfied with not only Sybill's ways of teaching but also with Sybill herself. However, as she is to chase her away, Albus Dumbledore arrives and tells Umbridge that she, as High Inquistor, can choose the school's staff, but not its residents. Minerva McGonagall takes Sybill back into the castle while Dumbledore shouts the crowd off.

Dumbledore replaced Sybill with a centaur named Firenze. Umbridge was disgusted with the fact of having to teach alongside a "filthy half-breed" and insisted on finding a more fitting candidate. However, Dumbledore reminds her that she would only be able to select a new teacher if he himself could not find one.

Later, Dumbledore's Army's headquarter was located and infiltrated by Inquisitorial Squad. Umbridge herself was involved and fired a spell which exploded the whole entrance, slightly wounding Harry Potter and Nigel Wespurt. Umbridge, joined by Cornelius Fudge and a few Ministry representatives (including Percy Weasley), go to Dumbledore's office to confront Dumbledore. He falsely admits founding Dumbledore's Army to oppose the Ministry. Dumbledore then disappears after Stunning everyone else.

After this, Umbridge reveals herself as the new Headmistress. However, this gave her more work than she had imagined such as having to put up with an immense amount of Fred and George Weasley's pranks. During an exam which Umbridge was supervising, fireworks explode everywhere with the Weasley twins flying around on their brooms. They leave the school after forming a giant "W" on the sky, leaving Peeves with the mission to make Umbridge's life as miserable as possible.

All the teachers disliked Umbridge greatly and did as much as they could to oppose her. Argus Filch, the caretaker, was the only staff member who approved of her because she let him torture students like before. Umbridge then fired Rubeus Hagrid since he was half-giant. Minerva McGonagall tried to protest against this action but was hit with four Stunning spells in the chest. This kind of force would have killed an average witch, especially one of McGonagall's age, but she was fortunately sent to St. Mungo's Hospital to recover.

When Harry Potter tried to contact Sirius Black through the Floo Network at Umbridge's office, he was caught in the act by the Headmistress, who had her Inquisitorial Squad on the ready to apprehend him and his fellow mischievers (including Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger). In a desperate attempt to escape and to avoid Harry getting tortured, Hermione mentions that Dumbledore has hidden a secret weapon in the Forbidden Forest. Umbridge is unsure what to believe and tells her and Harry to show her the weapon. When they reach the forest, Umbridge starts doubting the credibility of the secret weapon claim. She is about to curse the two students when a pack of centaurs arrive. Calling them "filthy half-breeds" among other things, the centaurs take her away, and she is not seen again for the the remainder of the year until Dumbledore comes to rescue her. This was probably made possible as the centaurs have great respect for the Headmaster.

[edit] Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Umbridge appears near the end of the book at Dumbledore's funeral. Her appearance is met with great disgust from Harry Potter. When Centaurs appear to show their respect towards the late Dumbledore, however, she becomes terribly scared, after the Centaurs attacked her the previous year, and ran off with her into the Forbidden Forest.

[edit] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

In 1997, Lord Voldemort took control of the Ministry of Magic. Umbridge was put in charge of registration and persecution of Muggle-born wizards and witches. At some point, she bought Salazar Slytherin's locket, which was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, from Mundungus Fletcher. When Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley infiltrated into the Ministry to find the locket, they realized that she had installed the magical eye of the late Alastor Moody in her door. Harry, not wanting someone like Umbridge to keep hold of Moody's eye, stole it. The fact that he stole the eye was one of the reasons why the Trio were almost caught. They attacked her in the courtrooms, when she was interrogating Mary Jane Cattermole, and they had to make a quick getaway from the Ministry of Magic after they took Salazar Slytherin's locket, because Harry was Undesirable Number One, due to Voldemort's infiltration of the Ministry.

[edit] After the Battle of Hogwarts

Dolores Umbridge did not participate in the Battle of Hogwarts, and it is unknown where she was when the battle took place. After the battle had been lost by the Death Eaters and Kingsley Shacklebolt was elected the new Minister of Magic, Umbridge was sent to Azkaban for her various crimes.

[edit] Trivia

  • Despite her successful career within the Ministry, Umbridge was not a particularly gifted witch.
  • "Dolores" is Spanish, the plural form of "dolor", meaning pain.
  • Fred and George Weasley sold a few Umbridge-themed toys in their store in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
  • While she seems to treat half-breed Filius Flitwick with respect in the Order of the Phoenix, the film adaption shows her harassing him, for example, by measuring him. Flitwick is seen cheering when she is ridiculed by Fred and George in the firework incident.
  • She is described in the book to visually resemble a toad.
  • It is said that Hermione's middle name was originally supposed to be Jane, not Jean. J.K. Rowling said, however, that she did not want to have a resemblance between the characters and their middle names, thus the change.

[edit] Appearances

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Last edited by Morrigan on 17 August 2011 at 09:09
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