Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
- "When they entered the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom they found Professor Umbridge already seated at the teacher’s desk, wearing the fluffy pink cardigan of the night before and the black velvet bow on top of her head. Harry was again reminded forcibly of a large fly perched unwisely on top of an even larger toad."
- —A negative impression of Dolores[src]
Madam Undersecretary Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge (b. 26 August, year unknown) was a half-blood witch and Ministry of Magic bureaucrat who served as Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic under Ministers Cornelius Fudge, Rufus Scrimgeour, and Pius Thicknesse.
In 1995 by order of the Ministry, she was installed as Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and then later Hogwarts High Inquisitor and Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, after Professor Albus Dumbledore had been fired. In all three of these positions at Hogwarts she had enormous power over the students, teachers, and the curriculum, which she wielded despotically. Her time at Hogwarts was characterised by cruelty and abusive punishments against students, and because of her interfering and condescending ways, she was generally hated by most students and teachers alike.
After her suspension from these additional posts and the fall of the Ministry of Magic, Umbridge ran the Muggle-Born Registration Commission and sadistically prosecuted many innocent people. After the Second Wizarding War, she was sentenced to Azkaban for her crimes against Muggle-borns.
Dolores Umbridge was the first child of a wizard named Orford Umbridge and a Muggle named Ellen Cracknell. Her younger brother was a Squib, but Dolores 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 Dolores and her father denounced them. Before Dolores reached 15 years old, Ellen and her son returned to the Muggle world, never to be heard of again.
At some point, she obtained her wand, made from birch and dragon heartstring with an unusually short length of only eight inches. 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 and her head of house was Horace Slughorn. She never got along well with Slughorn, who considered her to be an "idiotic woman" and "never liked her"; also, fellow student and later colleague Severus Snape greatly disliked her as well. She was also never given any position of power (i.e. Prefect, Head Girl) during her studies, which made her feel deprived, and she never truly enjoyed her time as a student at Hogwarts.
Career at the Ministry
After leaving Hogwarts, Umbridge quickly rose to influential positions in the British Ministry of Magic. At the age of 17 (just after leaving Hogwarts) she started her political career as an intern in the Improper Use of Magic Office. Before reaching age 30, she became the Head of the Office, due to her ruthless tactics and tyrannical leadership under her sweet attitude, which also involved taking credit for other people's work. This set up the beginning of her dubious career as a Ministry employee.
She, being very opportunistic and power-hungry, was ashamed of her father, who was a low-level worker in the Department of Magical Maintenance, while she was seeking a professional career. Under her pressure, he retired early and she promised him a small monthly allowance in exchange for quietly leaving the public sight. From that point on she lied about her family, claiming that she was a pure-blood rather than a half-blood. She became Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic and had a place in the Wizengamot.
Whenever she was asked (usually by workmates who did not like her) 'are you related to that Umbridge who used to mop the floors here?', she would smile her sweetest, laugh, and deny any connection, claiming that her deceased father had been a distinguished member of the Wizengamot. Nasty things tended to happen to people who asked about Orford, or anything about which Dolores did not like talking, and people who wanted to remain on her good side pretended to believe her version of her ancestry.
Throughout her career, Dolores tried to garner affections of one of her superiors in order to advance her status and security, with no particular desire on which superior it would be, as long as he would be a powerful husband. However, while they valued her hard work and ambition, those who got to know her best found it very difficult to like her very much. Indeed, when she got intoxicated from a glass of sweet sherry, Dolores was prone to spout very uncharitable views, which shocked even those of anti-Muggle ideologies with some of her suggestions, behind closed doors, of the treatment that the non-magical community deserved. As such, Dolores never succeeded in getting married.
Umbridge's hatred towards "half-breeds" led her to draft a piece of anti-werewolf legislation in 1993, which prevented people with lycanthrophy to have a full-time job, which made it nearly impossible for werewolves, such as Remus Lupin, to find work. This act also made it easier for Lord Voldemort to recruit werewolves to his cause, preying on their treatment by the Ministry. In 1994, she also campaigned that the merpeople be rounded up and tagged, though this idea was scrapped due to it being too ludicrous to be put into effect.
As Senior Under-Secretary to the Minister for Magic in 1995, Umbridge managed to claw her way up to power using Cornelius Fudge's increasing paranoia and insecurities to her advantage. She also used her authority to intimidate Harry Potter during an interrogation before the Wizengamot. She was very outspoken against him and tried to discredit his claim that the only reason he cast a Patronus Charm was because of the presence of Dementors.
She said that the Dementors were under the control of the Ministry, and that it was preposterous that they would just happen to wander into a Muggle suburb and chance upon a wizard. She believed Harry should be punished for inadvertently violating the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery. Owing to the fairness of Madam Bones and a majority ruling of the court, Harry was found innocent. Only Fudge, Umbridge, and roughly a half-dozen of the court voted for conviction. Harry was cleared of all charges, much to Umbridge's disappointment.
What Umbridge did not reveal at the time was that she herself had ordered the Dementor attack on Harry and his cousin Dudley Dursley, since both possible outcomes would work in the Ministry's favour. Harry would either be subjected to the Dementor's kiss or would be forced to conjure a Patronus to fend them off, which would give them an excuse to expel him. She claimed such an order was impossible. However, in June the next year, she revealed to a small group of Hogwarts students she had in fact made that order, believing that it was the most effective way to silence what she believed to be his false claims about Voldemort's return.
Hogwarts professor (1995-1996)
- "The Ministry of Magic has always considered the education of young witches and wizards to be of vital importance...There again, progress for progress's sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering... Let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness, and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practises that ought to be prohibited."
- —Umbridge interrupts Albus Dumbledore's start-of-term speech[src]
In 1995, Umbridge was placed at Hogwarts as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, by order of the Ministry of Magic, under the terms of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Two, without Albus Dumbledore's consent. Her placement was to limit the learning of martial magic and allow the Ministry to monitor the activities at Hogwarts. The Minister did this because of an unfounded fear that Dumbledore was trying to upturn his position as the Minister and was also afraid that Dumbledore was using the students as a means of overthrowing the Ministry.
Moreover, Umbridge admitted that she was not fond of children, even expressing hatred for them, as she once confessed to Harry Potter. Having been denied any position of power and responsibility during her time as a student, Umbridge saw this return to school as a golden opportunity to wield power over those who had not (as she saw it) given her her due. During the Start-of Term Feast she gave a despairingly dull speech that Hermione Granger summed up as "the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts". The start of her speech began when she rudely interrupted Dumbledore with a cough, and she insulted the students by speaking to them condescendingly as though they were five-year old children. She essentially stated that progress in Defence Against the Dark Arts was going to be limited, but none of the students (aside Hermione) were able to comprehend her dull speech and simply wandered off into their own discussions, while Umbridge ignorantly continued.
She taught according to a politically restricted Ministry-approved curriculum. This curriculum entailed learning strictly the theory of Defence Against the Dark Arts, with no practical applications. Umbridge taught exclusively from a simplistic book: Defensive Magical Theory, by Wilbert Slinkhard, which seemed, based on the chapter headings, to concern itself with negotiation and appeasement of, rather than actual defence against, the Dark Arts. By teaching basic defensive theory as opposed to real spells that would prepare her students for the outside world, she and the Ministry hoped to decrease the chance that Dumbledore could form a wizard army of students to overthrow the Ministry. Dolores proved to be ineffective as an educator. She had no teaching background and had trouble maintaining the class's attention. Because of these short comings she ordered her students to simply read from the book during class, denied them the rights to ask questions, and sat back behind her desk to simply observe.
Most students were concerned and felt they would be left defenceless against the Dark Arts, since the book was useless, and even if Voldemort was indeed dead and gone there were plenty of other dangerous things in the world to defend against. Some spoke out openly in class, such as: Hermione, Ron, Harry, Dean Thomas, and Parvati Patil, but were immediately silenced or punished by Umbridge. Harry was the most outspoken, which often landed him in trouble.
She steadfastly stuck to the Ministry line that Voldemort had not returned and that Harry Potter's claims were only to get attention for himself. When Harry dared to contradict the Ministry of Magic's stance, Umbridge punished him by giving him detention where he was forced to write the phrase "I must not tell lies" repeatedly with a Black Quill; whatever the user wrote with it used their own blood as ink and sliced the words into their flesh, eventually leaving his hand permanently scarred. Owing to her lack of teaching ability, obvious disrespect towards the school and its residents and her unwavering loyalty to Fudge, Umbridge quickly became a heavily disliked person by the overwhelming majority of students and teachers alike.
After working at Hogwarts for a short while and having a discussion with the Minister, Educational Decree Number Twenty-Three increased Umbridge's power and influence in Hogwarts. She was appointed the first-ever "Hogwarts High Inquisitor" and used this position to evaluate, harass, and fire any teachers at Hogwarts deemed unsatisfactory by her or the Ministry. Umbridge was rude to many of the teachers she evaluated, especially those with close ties to Professor Dumbledore and those she considered unfit to teach, such as Sybill Trelawney. She even measured Flitwick's height with measuring tape. Some teachers refused to allow themselves to be intimidated, however; when inspecting Professor Minerva McGonagall's Transfiguration class, Umbridge tried to harass Minerva with interruptions and false coughing, but Minerva either ignored them or retorted with scathing remarks.
To combat Umbridge's repressive stance of not teaching practical defensive magic, Harry formed a group to teach practical Defence Against the Dark Arts. However, Umbridge, learning that the group was created and afraid that the students would soon start to rebel against her, soon abolished all student groups of three or more members, meaning that students were not allowed to be seen together in a group whose members numbered three or more or they would be suspected of rule breaking. This also included Quidditch teams. She permitted them to be reformed if they asked for permission, and only if she deemed them to be allowable, which meant that Dumbledore's Army became an illegal organisation. The Slytherin Quidditch team was immediately given permission to reform, perhaps because Umbridge was from Slytherin House, but she refused to allow the other teams permission under the excuse that she needed time to consider it. Gryffindor at least had to wait an entire month before Professor McGonagall finally intervened and likely went to Professor Dumbledore's to force it through.
When Harry gave an interview about Voldemort to The Quibbler, Umbridge then banned possession of the magazine or risk expulsion from Hogwarts, and took away Harry's Hogsmeade privileges as a punishment for giving the interview, accusing him of giving false statements. However, by committing the former, Umbridge only caused the entire school to secretly read and discuss the Quibbler.
These actions were sanctioned by the Ministry of Magic in the form of Educational Decrees, but students merely found ways to circumvent or avoid them, often treating them as a joke. With her new authority, she attempted to dismiss Sybill Trelawney as Professor of Divination; however, she was foiled in her attempt to send Trelawney away from the school, since Albus Dumbledore still had the power to keep Trelawney on school grounds and chose to exercise those powers.
Umbridge was horrified when Dumbledore replaced Trelawney with a centaur named Firenze; however, she could not prevent Firenze from being given the job, as the Ministry's rules only allowed her to appoint a new teacher if Dumbledore could not find one himself, since the Ministry was counting on Dumbledore being unable to find a new teacher. Umbridge considered Firenze, like all centaurs, as a "filthy half-breed", an opinion that would later get her into trouble.
- "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! "
- —Umbridge becoming Headmistress of Hogwarts[src]
In 1996, Umbridge and many other Slytherins found the D.A.'s headquarters in the Room of Requirement, after they were betrayed by Marietta Edgecombe. Marietta betrayed the D.A. after Umbridge threatened to make sure her mother would lose her job at the Ministry. She tried to prosecute Harry and have him thrown out of Hogwarts for forming the Defence Against the Dark Arts club, but Dumbledore took advantage of lack of evidence and the organisation's name to take the blame — claiming that he had invited the group to attend this meeting and no other such gatherings had taken place in the intervening time, and also the fact that the group was formed before it was made illegal — and he disappeared from Hogwarts, after a minor scuffle with Aurors and the Minister for Magic himself. She soon after formed the Inquisitorial Squad, made up entirely of Slytherins, which rewarded certain students for reporting on others and sanctioned them to act as enforcement goons.
Thanks to the newly passed Educational Decree Number Twenty-Eight, Umbridge replaced Dumbledore as Headmistress, but found herself on the receiving end of numerous pranks performed by Hogwarts students in an attempt to make her tenure difficult. Many of these were orchestrated by Fred and George Weasley, who led the resistance before Umbridge caught them, though they flew away on their brooms before she could have them whipped. Indeed, Hogwarts Castle itself seemed to join its inhabitants in making her life difficult, with Peeves the poltergeist (at Fred and George's request) spearheading the rebellion.
This included doing things that made her work harder, like bursting out of blackboards, pushing over statues, toppling neatly stacked piles of parchment into fires, and following Umbridge around for hours, blowing raspberries every time she spoke. Umbridge had previously asked Cornelius Fudge to sign an order for the expulsion of Peeves, but if any such order was ever signed, it was clearly unsuccessful at his removal, since it was impossible to kick him out of Hogwarts. Umbridge was also forced to rule as Headmistress from the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor's office, as the Headmaster's Tower refused to recognise her as the legitimate head of the school and sealed itself against her, causing her to throw a "right little tantrum".
The teachers, who disliked Umbridge intensely, did as little as possible to help her in her duties, many going out of their way to make things more difficult for her by requesting her assistance in removing various charms and pranks by claiming that they weren't sure they had the 'authority' to do so. The teachers also lavished favours on Harry in the form of House Points and even sweets, specifically squeaking Sugar Mice from Professor Flitwick, for resisting against her.
Minerva McGonagall, who normally intensely disliked Peeves and his antics, refused to stop him and even gave him advice on how to perform his actions. The only staff member who supported Umbridge whole-heartedly was the caretaker, Argus Filch, who grew to like her methods, as well as being given permission to torture students himself. She later fired Gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid, as he was a half-giant. When attempting to subdue and force Hagrid off the school's grounds with five Ministry of Magic officials, they seriously injured Professor Minerva McGonagall, who was protesting the force used to wrangle Hagrid, which was so scandalous that, while the event was occurring, an O.W.L. Astronomy test was just near the action and even the instructor objected.
Umbridge worked hard to intercept and monitor all means of communication. She tried to prevent Harry Potter from contacting his godfather Sirius Black. She read all incoming and outgoing student mail, and even Hedwig, Harry Potter's owl, was injured. It was hypothetically suggested that Hedwig was attacked by a Thestral by Professor Grubbly-Plank, it is a likely possibility that she was injured in an attempt to obtain the letter she carried from Sirius Black.
Skirmish in the Forbidden Forest
- Umbridge: "Of course. Of course... very well, then... you two stay ahead of me."
- Harry Potter: "Can we have your wand, then, if we're going first?"
- Umbridge: "No, I don't think so, Mr Potter. The Ministry places a rather higher value on my life than yours, I’m afraid."
- — Harry and Hermione leading Umbridge into the forest[src]
Soon afterward, Umbridge caught Harry trying to use the Floo Network in her office, while trying to contact Sirius, and he and his friends and fellow D.A. members Hermione Granger, Ron and Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom, and Luna Lovegood were held in her office by Inquisitorial Squad members. When Harry refused to tell her what he had been doing, Umbridge first attempted to dose him with Veritaserum, but Professor Snape told her he had no more, as she had squandered it all when interrogating students. She did this not knowing the proper amount to give the students.
She then claimed that the illegal Cruciatus Curse might "loosen your [his] tongue". Hermione, much in shock, protested against it, but Umbridge simply brushed her off and noted that what "Cornelius doesn't know, cannot hurt him." Desperate, Hermione tricked Umbridge into following her and Harry into the Forbidden Forest in search of an alleged "secret weapon" of the Order of the Phoenix. There, Umbridge was confronted by a herd of centaurs, whom she shamelessly insulted with racial slurs and arrogance. Umbridge then attacked one of the centaurs near her. She was chased and nearly killed by them. Although she survived, her wand was snapped in half when one of the centaurs stepped on it.
Umbridge was ultimately rescued by Dumbledore, although she was apparently left with a significant fear of centaurs afterwards, reacting violently at even the sound of hoofbeats. How Dumbledore managed to rescue her from the human-hating centaurs without suffering any injury himself remained a mystery, though it is likely that the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest had respect for Albus, based on their salute at his funeral.
After Voldemort appeared in the Ministry of Magic and was seen by a number of people, including Cornelius Fudge, Dumbledore was restored as the Headmaster and Umbridge was suspended following allegations of abuse. Umbridge, who had been in the school's hospital wing, tried to leave the castle without anyone noticing. But fate had her run right into Peeves the poltergeist, who took advantage of his final opportunity to fulfil the request of Fred and George and chased her gleefully from the premises.
Peeves did this while beating her over the head alternately with a walking stick and a sock full of chalk, leading a crowd of delighted students whose teachers made only a few feeble attempts to restrain them. Professor Minerva McGonagall expressed regret at not being able to chase Umbridge herself, because Peeves had borrowed her walking stick and she was not fully recovered.
Return to the Ministry (1996-1998)
Despite all of her actions at Hogwarts, Umbridge later returned to the position of Senior Under-Secretary at the Ministry and told the new Minister, Rufus Scrimgeour, about Harry's wish to become an Auror, to Harry's anger. In fact, one of the reasons why Harry refused to trust the Ministry of Magic and Scrimgeour was that Umbridge was never sacked and arrested for her actions at Hogwarts. She was later seen at Albus Dumbledore's funeral at Hogwarts, though she did not speak and was startled by the sight of Firenze. She feigned grief and looked scandalised when Hagrid blew his nose with loud trumpeting noises.
Muggle-Born Registration Commission
- Alderton: "No, no, I'm half-blood, I tell you! My father was a wizard, he was, look him up, Arkie Alderton, he's a well known broomstick designer, look him up, I tell you — get your hands off me, get your hands off —"
- Umbridge: "This is your final warning. If you struggle, you will be subjected to the Dementor's Kiss. Take him away."
- — Umbridge overseeing a biassed trial[src]
Following Lord Voldemort's takeover of the Ministry of Magic in 1997, Umbridge resumed her post as Under-Secretary and oversaw the registration and persecution of Muggle-born witches and wizards. She conducted trials subjecting innocent Muggle-borns to the presence of Dementors and sending them to Azkaban for supposedly stealing magic from "real" witches and wizards. She also wrote the propaganda booklet Mudbloods and the Dangers They Pose to a Peaceful Pure-Blood Society, which featured a cover including a rose being strangled by green weeds.
Following Alastor Moody's murder at the hands of Death Eaters in the Battle of the Seven Potters, Umbridge took possession of his magical eye. Affixing it to her office door, she could terrorise all Ministry employees with the mere concept that she could observe their every move.
At some point, Umbridge received a locket as a bribe from petty thief Mundungus Fletcher. This locket was Salazar Slytherin's Locket, which had once been owned by Merope Gaunt and Hepzibah Smith. Umbridge was unaware that the locket was one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes (or belonged to him at all), but she chose to lie about the meaning of the cloisonné S, stating it was a Selwyn family heirloom, a name which she believed would bolster her pure-blood credentials (the family has dark connections; a Death Eater who responds to Xenophilius Lovegood was named thus, meaning that Dolores chose the name as it commanded a degree of respect among the supporters of Lord Voldemort's regime).
She boasted of this supposed connection to Hermione Granger, who was in the guise of Ministry employee Mafalda Hopkirk, during one of Umbridge's blood purity hearings. At that moment, full of rage, Harry Potter attacked Umbridge and Yaxley. Umbridge was Stunned, leaving Harry and Hermione free to snatch the locket from around Umbridge's neck and flee the scene. Hermione created a copy of the locket to leave with Umbridge, so that she did not become suspicious.
Most likely due to her mother being a Muggle and father being a source of embarrassment, Umbridge used the locket to emphasise her wizarding ancestry, to make herself seem more appeasing to the new regime by distracting attention from her non-wizarding ancestors. When the locket was in the possession of Harry Potter and companions, it exerted a malign influence on each of them when they wore it. Due to Umbridge's wicked nature she had developed an "affinity" for the object and so the Horcrux — rather than impart a negative effect on her — strengthened her.
After Voldemort's death at Harry's hands and the reformation of the Ministry of Magic by Kingsley Shacklebolt, Umbridge was arrested, tried and sent to Azkaban for her crimes against Muggle-borns. Her sentence was permanent, as not all of the Muggle-borns she wrongfully sent to prison survived their ordeal.
Twenty-three years after the Battle of Hogwarts, when Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy time-travelled to the Second Task in the Triwizard Tournament in order to save Cedric, they created an alternative world in which Voldemort won in the Battle of Hogwarts. In this world, Umbridge was the Headmistress of Hogwarts.
- "Dolores Umbridge is said to resemble a ‘large, pale toad’."
- —Physical description[src]
Dolores Umbridge was described to be a short squat woman resembling a large pale toad. She had a broad, flabby face, a wide, slack mouth, and little neck. Her eyes were bulging and pouchy, and in her mousy brown hair she often wore a black velvet bow, which reminded Harry of a fly perched dangerously above a toad, furthering Umbridge's toad-like characteristics. She spoke with a simpering high-pitched voice that was girlish and breathless, contrary to her appearance (Harry expected a croak) and decorated her office with kittens and other cute pink things. Her wide toad-like smile and tendency to speak in a sugary voice that has been described as poisoned honey is a physical exemplification of her cruelty that is barely hidden by her seemingly harmless dress-style. Umbridge's thick stubby fingers were adorned with several gaudy old rings. She also was said to have a big chest, as noted by Harry Potter when he saw Slytherin's locket lying there.
Umbridge was seen wearing various green tweed outfits, usually with a pink fuzzy cardigan on top, giving her greater toad-like qualities. The head-to-toe matching outfits, usually in shades of pink, were worn while she taught and during her duties as High Inquisitor. According to Harry, she looked like someone's maiden aunt, and that her style of dressing would fit someone half her age. During Harry's hearing regarding under-age magic, Umbridge wore the black robes of the Wizengamot with a silver "W" on it.
Also, while she interrogated Muggle-borns, she wore Salazar Slytherin's locket on top of her frilly girlish pink outfits in an attempt to prove her blood purity, claiming that the S stood for the pure-blood Selwyn family. However, since her imprisonment in Azkaban, it is unlikely that she still wears any of her old outfits, but instead wears the black and white striped uniform of all the prisoners.
Personality and traits
Dolores Umbridge was an evil woman, nothing short of a sociopath who characterised the worst aspects of political power. She was ruthless, cruel, brutal, corrupt, misanthropic, and devoid of a moral or ethical centre. She was depicted using any means to maintain her personal power and the political power of her bosses, often flaunting that power during her time in Hogwarts. She committed attempted soul-removal (via the Dementor attack on Harry), solicited bribes, and tortured children to achieve her goals. Her draconian ideals of discipline, such as having victims write lines in their own blood using a Black Quill, which carves the words into the back of the writers hand, were considered by Harry and Ron to be "sick".
Her cruelty was disguised by her quiet, childish, high-pitched voice (which both took Harry aback and made the hair on his neck stand up straight, as he had expected a croak), as well by decorating her office with paraphernalia related to kittens, chocolate cakes, biscuits, tea, and other cute things to the point of being sickening. Her personality has been described as "poisoned honey," and it was said on various occasions that the sweeter her voice was, the more dangerous or infuriated she became.
She also tended to give her signature fake cough, "Hem-Hem," when she wanted someone's attention, rudely interrupting them, as well as usually speaking to people she felt were beneath her in a very condescending tone, as if they were simpletons or very young children. (On one occasion, Professor McGonagall brushed off the fake cough by offering her a cough sweet.) Although she likes kittens (hence her decorations relating to them), she finds that real kittens are too much of a mess to take care of, and instead focuses on decorations.
Umbridge was fanatically prejudiced against part-humans (such as werewolves and half-giants), which she called "half-breeds." It was her prejudice that caused her to pass a series of anti-werewolf legislation, which made it almost illegal for those afflicted with lycanthropy to hold jobs. Her prejudice also led to her mistakenly believe that mermaids and centaurs were part-humans, when in fact they were separate species, and in her haste of prosecuting them she would forgo her usual feigned politeness, and be outright rude. However, after the incident with the Hogwarts centaurs, she developed a phobia of centaurs. An odd derivative from this prejudice was that, despite her hatred of half-breeds, Umbridge did not seem to hate part-goblin Filius Flitwick (most likely due to lack of knowledge of Flitwick's ancestry and his undeniably skilled teaching methods), as Fred Weasley stated that she marked him well on his inspection.
Umbridge is a pure-blood supremacist, stemming from her childhood when her brother was discovered to be a Squib. Hating her mother for being a Muggle, Dolores would blame her for being the cause of her brother's lack of magical powers. After bribing her father to quietly leave public sight, Dolores lied to everyone that she is a pure-blood, believing it would give her social respect and status, later bolstering her credentials by falsely claiming that she is related to the Selwyn family. She was known to spout very uncharitable views on the non-magical community when intoxicated, to the point that even fellow pro-pure-blood coworkers were shocked by her. While sober, Dolores would put up a facade of politeness for Muggle-born, repressing her prejudice for them to maintain her public image; only when Voldemort took over the Ministry did she unleash her cruelty over them, tormenting them with sham trials and sadistically sending them off to Azkaban.
Her lust for power and social status seems to cause her to have no feeling for genuine love. Despising her Muggle mother and Squib brother as second class citizens while ashamed of her lowly janitorial employee of a father, Dolores would never speak of any of them again while shunning her father with a bribe, and went onto inventing her ancestry to make herself seem more noble to the higher ups. Dolores also attempted to seduce her superiors into marriage, not out of love, but for the social elevation and security it would provide (hence she had no preference to any particular individual). Her lack of true love behind her attempts, however, were clear, as none of her superiors could truly like her due to knowing her nasty personality underneath her hard work and feigned politeness.
She placed a blind faith in authority, believing that it could not possibly be wrong, and even after it was proven wrong she did not change her opinion. This went hand-in-hand with her self-serving nature; she liked power a lot, naturally siding with those who would give her the most authority (as was clearly seen when she was loyal to Fudge over Dumbledore, rather than accepting the truth, and then abandoning Fudge when he was ousted from his office). Umbridge was as ruthless in maintaining her power as she was in seeking it. She desired to exercise complete control over everyone and everything around her. Even as a student, she was resentful that the school did not grant her any position of power and responsibility, and felt that she was deprived of a chance to exercise authority over her peers.
From her perspective, free speech, dissent, diversity and multiple points of view could not be tolerated. Therefore, Umbridge also represented the qualities of a totalitarian government. She led not by consensus and respect, but rather by fear and intimidation; she had no trouble using any methods available in order to make people obey her, even attempting to use the restricted Veritaserum and then the Cruciatus Curse on Harry Potter when he would not give her desired information.
Umbridge was known to rapidly resort to cruel and unusual punishments over perceived slights and take great pleasure in such punishments. Umbridge also liked to showcase her statuses, as she arrogantly told the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest of her many titles, and mounted plaques on her office doors to display these titles. Unaware that she was in possession of Salazar Slytherin's Locket, she falsely claimed it was a family heirloom and proof of her relation to the Selwyn family.
When Fudge was dismissed, Umbridge continued to support the Ministry (such was her devotion to authority) and seemed to try to get to the same position of power she had had with the new Minister Rufus Scrimgeour. Even when the Death Eaters took over, she stood by their side and persecuted Muggle-borns for them. Although she was not a Death Eater, she showed no qualms about indirectly supporting them with her work at the Ministry while it was under Lord Voldemort's control, and freely espoused many of their virtues (even before they gained control of the Ministry).
- Umbridge: "Not with your quill, you're going to be using a rather special one of mine. Now I want you to write, I must not tell lies."
- Harry Potter: "How many times?"
- Umbridge: "Well, let's just say, as long as it takes for the message to — sink in."
- — Dolores Umbridge making Harry use a Blood Quill[src]
She showed a particular dislike for Harry Potter, as she violently punished Harry during detentions, and deemed him "Undesirable No. 1" during the Death Eaters' reign, because she was never able to get her way with him and because he embodied everything she hated and couldn't tolerate. During her year as a professor at Hogwarts, she acted as disciplinarian, insisting the students to greet her loudly and clearly in a monotonous style at the beginning of every class, and answer her questions in the same manner.
Despite (or perhaps because of) her feigned politeness, the other teachers found her infuriating. Umbridge became more openly authoritative and cruel as she gained influence over the school, especially during her time as the High Inquisitor, as seen when she interrupted teachers with her leading questions, passive-aggressive comments, and disruptive note taking. She was especially insulting to Hagrid, whom she knew to be a "half-breed," and was blatantly condescending and rude to him during her inspection of his class. She interrupted Dumbledore during his speech at the Start-of-Term Feast, and delivered a very dull speech while being ignorant of the students' restlessness, to the point that Harry speculated that she would have continued with it even if a full-scale riot broke out under her nose.
- Umbridge: "Yes?"
- Harry Potter: "Nothing."
- Umbridge: "That's right, because you know deep down. You deserve to be punished, don't you Mr Potter?"
- — Dolores Umbridge after Harry used the Black Quill[src]
Umbridge rarely expressed the extent of her anger openly, casually making decrees and handing out torturous punishments with a smile (most notably, forcing Harry to carve "I must not tell lies" into the back of his hand with a Black Quill). She created several new rules and regulations in order to increase control and chances to punish students, despite many of them being ridiculous and unfair.
Umbridge occasionally lost her temper, when she did not have things her way, such as when Fred and George Weasley began a rebellion against her during her time as Headmistress. When Marietta Edgecombe's memories were secretly modified by Kingsley Shacklebolt and she did not tell the truth about Dumbledore's Army, Umbridge physically shook Marietta very hard, and only stopped when Dumbledore pointed his wand at her. She also had a tantrum when the gargoyle of the Headmaster's office refused to let her in when she became Headmistress, and an outburst against "half-breeds" led her to be carried away by centaurs in the Forbidden Forest.
- "You know... I really hate children."
- —Umbridge showing her true opinion of children[src]
Umbridge often made hypocritical statements, claiming during the Start-of-Term Feast that she assured the students that they would all be very good friends, she admitted later that she actually hated children. Despite claiming to be a "tolerant woman" who did not stand for disloyalty, she frequently attempted to silence those with whom she disagreed. Her hatred of both "half-breeds" and "Mudbloods" demonstrated her intolerance, while her constantly shifting attachment to the currently most powerful showed her opportunism. Despite her incessant claims that telling lies was wrong, she was perfectly willing to lie without shame when it suited her.
Umbridge was presumably capable and fairly intelligent, as she was high-ranking in the Ministry at a relatively young age, although her general magical knowledge seemed limited. She unreasonably demanded Snape to brew Veritaserum in less than the required month after she squandered an entire bottle on one previous interrogation, although Snape had told her that three drops would suffice. She also could not figure out how the students were suffering from the symptoms of "Umbridge-itis," nor how to remove the Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-bangs and the Portable Swamp left by Fred and George Weasley, which Flitwick cleaned up in a matter of seconds.
Her style of teaching students was also simply having them read from the textbook, while avoiding any practical lessons and answering students' questions, suggesting that she was inadequate in teaching, something Professor McGonagall made clear during Harry's Careers Advice; indeed, Umbridge believed that theories were enough for students to get by exams and mastering self-defence, which in many situations proved her wrong, though she refused to acknowledge that fact. Despite her wickedness and support of Death Eaters, she was at least known by reputation not to be a Death Eater herself. In what appears to be an ironic twist or inconsistency, she could produce a Patronus Charm.
Umbridge also understood the importance of Argus Filch's knowledge of the school's geography, and made efforts to befriend him in order to advantage herself, despite his status as a Squib, which many would consider a sign of a second-class citizen in the wizard community. However, she was not above blaming him for her own faults, to the point of irrationality, such as when she stunned one of the Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-bangs causing it to explode, she called him out not to stun them despite his genetical inability to do so in the first place.
Magical abilities and skills
Despite her high ranking position in the Ministry, at first glance Umbridge does not appear to be a particularly powerful witch. She had no knowledge of the brewing process for Veritaserum and because she needed it (and unwisely squandered a bottleful on one interrogation although she had been told that it was not necessary), it is unlikely that she is a Legilimens. She could not eliminate either the Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-bangs and their Portable Swamp, feats that other professors easily did (which they refused to at first, just to give Umbridge trouble). She was also unable to remove Marietta Edgecombe's "SNEAK" pimple formation, implying that she may not be very skilled with counter-jinxes (although it is possible that no counter-jinx existed for Hermione's spell). Her real magical power and knowledge were mainly focused in offensive and defensive magic, particularly of a darker variety.
- Charms: Umbridge was able to cast a Shield Charm strong enough to repel projectiles with ease in a fraction of a second. She could also conjure the highly advanced Patronus Charm (especially in a corporeal form) even under the influence of Dark Magic; in fact, due to her malice and the locket Horcrux being compatible with one other, her Patronus was strengthened by Voldemort's fragmented soul. it took the form of a Persian cat.
- Dark Arts: Umbridge was sure of her ability to cast the Cruciatus Curse, which would require the desire to inflict harm on the victim, her sadism being a perfect prerequisite. It is possible she contemplated using the Killing Curse on Harry and Hermione when she realised that they tricked her before the centaurs appeared.
- Transfiguration: The true extent of Umbridge's Transfiguration skills are unknown, though she was able to effectively conjure ropes at a moment's notice, which is an advanced form of Transfiguration.
- Spell creation: She invented the Black Quill, a torture device that cuts the words written with it into the writer's hand. Seeing as the cuts inflicted would quickly close, if she did not have some skill with Healing spells, then she was at least not completely incapable of using them.
- Nonverbal magic: She could write on a blackboard, turn out books and burn a paper, all by just raising or pointing her wand. She also offered Harry Potter drinks with Veritaserum in it by just flicking her wand and was capable of casting a non-verbal Stunning Spell.
- Wand: Umbridge owned a wand made of birch and dragon heartstring. It is noted for being unusually short in length, only eight inches. It was snapped in half when a centaur stomped on it. She got a replacement, as she was able to cast a Patronus Charm more than one year later, but this wand was confiscated when she was arrested. Mr Ollivander also noted that wands unusually short in length are often destined for those that have something lacking in character.
- Ornamental Plates: Dolores owned many ornamental kitten plates which she hung all along the walls of her office at Hogwarts School, as well as her office at the Ministry.
- Black Quill: Umbridge owned as least one Blood Quill which she used as a method of punishment, she had students who displeased her write lines using a blood quill, which Minerva McGonagall considered a "medieval method" of punishment. This quill was her own invention.
- Salazar Slytherin's Locket: Umbridge accepted the locket from Mundungus Fletcher as a bribe, but did not know that it was one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, nor that it was once Salazar Slytherin's heirloom. She instead used the ornate "S" to falsely claim that it was an heirloom of the Selwyn family, to bolster her pure-blood credentials. It was taken by Harry Potter and replaced with a fake by Hermione Granger. The locket's evil was what increased her magical strength to the point of being able to produce a Patronus, because she was already evil.
Under the influence of her father, Dolores blamed her mother for being the cause to her brother being born without magical powers, as well as looking down on said brother. Coupled with Ellen's flightiness and untidiness, Dolores came to hate both her mother and brother. She considered them to be inferior and upon reaching 15 years old, she and her father remained in the wizarding world, while Ellen took her son and returned to the Muggle world, never seeing each other again.
Although her father was the source of influence on her prejudiced views on blood purity, Dolores found him rather irksome for his unambitious nature as a janitorial worker at the bottom of the social ladder. While climbing the ranks in the Ministry herself, Dolores found her father to be a source of embarrassment, and pressured him into an early retirement, disappearing from public sight in exchange for the promise of a small monthly allowance. With her father silently removed from public, Dolores managed to give herself a better public image. Whenever her colleagues (mostly the ones who dislike her) asks if she is related to the Umbridge who used to mop floors, she would use her sweetest smile (which indicates her suppressed rage) to deny all connections, and falsely claimed that her deceased father was an esteemed member of the Wizengamot. Nasty things tended to happen to people who ask about Orford, or anything else Dolores did not want to talk about, so people who wished to be on her good side would pretend to believe her false heritage. Once Dolores was arrested and sentenced to Azkaban, Orford lost his pittance that his daughter gave him.
Ambitious and prejudiced, Dolores was utterly disgusted with all three of her family members, having no love for any of them, dismissing them and severing all ties with them due to their low birth and/or poor social statuses, and never again speaking about any of them. She then lied to others being a pure-blood, seeing herself as such, and even falsely connecting herself to the prestigious Selwyn family, to bolster her pure-blood credentials and cover her shameful heritage.
- "As I told you once before, Mr Potter, naughty children deserve to be punished."
- —Dolores Umbridge about her punishments which are given to Harry[src]
Dolores Umbridge did everything in her power to make Harry Potter's life as miserable as possible, and thus, the two of them had a mutual loathing for each other. In the summer of 1995, Umbridge sent two Dementors after Harry and his cousin Dudley. This was an attempt to silence him from contradicting the Ministry's official opinion that Voldemort had not returned. Umbridge was one of Harry's jurors when he was summoned to the Ministry for a trial of the underage magic he used to fend off the Dementors, and she wanted him to be convicted, but he was acquitted due to the efforts of Albus Dumbledore and Arabella Figg.With Dolores Umbridge as his new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Harry found himself hating Umbridge the moment he set his eyes on her, from her fluffy pink cardigan to her high-pitched girlish voice, despite not having an actual reason at the time. He often was outspoken in class and suffered for his inability to control his temper; he served detention several times with her during that year in which he would be forced to write lines with his own blood using a Blood Quill. This magically scarred Harry's hand. Minerva McGonagall was highly critical of Umbridge's methods, and warned Harry not to cross her because he would get into big trouble at school, and possibly even with the Ministry.
Using her newly acquired power under the Educational Decrees from the Ministry, she banned all extra-curricular activities and gatherings until they were approved by the High Inquisitor (herself); this meant that the House Quidditch teams were disbanded. Slytherin's team was immediately reinstated while Gryffindor was delayed from reforming for nearly a month after then-captain Angelina Johnson put in the request. As well as making Harry use a quill that would slice open his hand and cause him to write in his own blood, she banned Harry, Fred, and George from playing Quidditch later in the year after they attacked Draco Malfoy (though their bans were all lifted following Umbridge's eventual removal from Hogwarts) for his cruel insults.
Umbridge monitored all incoming and outgoing mail, and Harry's owl Hedwig was injured on Umbridge's orders. She made it difficult for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to visit Hagrid. When Rita Skeeter published an article in The Quibbler about Harry's past experiences with Voldemort during the Triwizard Tournament, Dolores banned Harry from trips to Hogsmeade. Umbridge nearly used the Cruciatus Curse to get Harry to talk before Hermione intervened and together with Harry, tricked Umbridge into going into the Forest to show her "Dumbledore's weapon". This resulted in Umbridge being carried off by the centaurs, whom she had attacked first, due to her hatred of half-breeds.
After the Ministry had finally acknowledged Voldemort's return to power, Umbridge was removed from Hogwarts. However, Harry was furious to learn later that year that Umbridge was still working for the Ministry of Magic. The next year Lord Voldemort took over the Ministry. Umbridge showed her respect for Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters by taking part in the hunt for Harry Potter. She branded Harry as "Undesirable No.1," and was given the job of Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. This was a job that involved sadistically sentencing innocent Muggle-borns to Azkaban on the false charge of stealing magic. Harry learned that Umbridge had one of Voldemort's Horcruxes and Mad Eye Moody's magical eye in her possession. During the Infiltration of the Ministry of Magic, Harry saw Umbridge ruthlessly interrogating a poor Muggle-born. Enraged, Harry Stunned Umbridge and retrieved the Horcrux. He also took the eye from her office and buried it.
In the Alternative Reality created by Harry's son, Albus and his friend Scorpius Malfoy, it found that Umbridge seems delighted in Harry's death in May 1998. The delight of it extended where she wished that he did not rest in peace but in endless despair in the Voldemort controlled world.
Umbridge was Cornelius Fudge's right-hand woman, being his Senior-Undersecretary, and he trusted her greatly to place her into Hogwarts to control it. He granted her many powers through Educational Decrees, and full-heartedly agreed with all of her comments and mockeries against Dumbledore and Harry.
Fudge seemed to be unaware of Umbridge's dark and sadistic nature. In return, Umbridge was loyal to Fudge only because of the power he was offering her, and felt no true attachments to the misguided man. She was also willing to break the law behind the Minister's back to achieve results, such as summoning Dementors in an attempt to expel Harry, as well as attempting to use the illegal Cruciatus Curse for interrogation, all the while stating that "what Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him." In short, Umbridge used Fudge to further her lust for power. When Fudge was dismissed, Umbridge stood beside the new Ministers instead, even when it became apparent that the new regime established in 1997 was morally corrupt.
Ministry of Magic
As the Senior Undersecretary of the Minister for Magic, Umbridge was incredibly supportive of the aims of her superiors, Ministers Fudge, Scrimgeour, and Thicknesse. During their respective downfalls, however, Umbridge did not try to stand up for them, meaning that she only served them loyally for the power that she was offered, and felt no true attachments towards any of them. Some of her equals also respected her enough. In fact, Percy Weasley sent a letter to his younger brother, stating that Umbridge was a "really delightful woman," and that Ron should side with her instead of continuing to associate with Harry. However, others, like Amelia Bones and Arthur Weasley, didn't appear to like her. Furthermore, some lower-ranking employees tended to talk ill of her behind her back, as seen when she was the Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, when some pamphlet makers complained about her usage of Alastor Moody's magical eye to monitor them. She mainly keeps up the facade of a respectable official amongst most of her equals and superiors, but has no trouble tyrannising her subordinates.
During her earlier years, she attempted to charm her superiors for a marriage, in order to raise her status and power, but while they valued her hard work and ambitions, they knew her enough that they found her very difficult to like, and refused to have any affectionate relationship with her. After the Ministry was reformed under Kingsley Shacklebolt's guidance, Umbridge was arrested, tried, and imprisoned for her crimes against Muggle-borns, as not all the Muggle-borns she sent to Azkaban survived their imprisonment during the Second Wizarding War.
- Minerva McGonagall: "He has achieved high marks in all of his Defence against the Dark Arts tests —"
- Umbridge: "I'm terribly sorry to have to contradict you, Minerva, but as you will see from my note, Harry has been achieving very poor results in his classes with me —"
- Minerva McGonagall: "I should have made my meaning plainer... He has achieved high marks in all Defence Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher."
- — McGonagall arguing with Umbridge in regards to Harry Potter[src]
Minerva McGonagall disliked Dolores Umbridge from the beginning, and their relationship only worsened over time. When the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher began to invade Hogwarts with her Hogwarts High Inquisitor position, she did everything she could in her power to circumvent Umbridge's authority without risking the loss of her job. During Umbridge's inspections of McGonagall's class, Minerva tried for the most part to ignore Dolores. This was difficult, due to Umbridge's constant interruptions of McGongall using her signature soft, girlish cough of "Hem hem". When forced to acknowledge Umbridge's presence, McGonagall treated her with a cold and harsh demeanour, much to the pleasure of many students.
Although Dolores had the authority to put Minerva on probation or even sack her, Minerva was not afraid to show her disgust and hatred of Dolores to her face. Despite this, she understood that Umbridge had a lot of power and that she was reporting directly to Cornelius Fudge, and so Minerva once warned Harry Potter to tread carefully around Umbridge. Even so, she vehemently vouched for Harry during their Career Advice session, claiming that she would coach him nightly if she had to in order to realise his dream of becoming an Auror, after Umbridge's furiously protested that Harry would never become one; during this session, Minerva indirectly claimed Dolores' evaluation as incompetent and would not be taken into consideration. After Umbridge fired Sybill Trelawney from her post as Divination teacher, Minerva even put aside her mild dislike of Sybill to focus even more on her hatred of Dolores.
Even when Dolores took over Hogwarts, replacing Albus Dumbledore as Head of the school, Minerva continued to help undermine Umbridge's reign, preferring to watch her struggle with the chaos that was being caused by the students and Peeves (sometimes she even helped with it). When Minerva attempted to prevent the attack on Hagrid, Umbridge and her cohorts shot her down with four simultaneous Stunners, requiring her to be sent to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Dolores was pleased at this, as it meant she had full control of Hogwarts. After Minerva's return to Hogwarts, Minerva did nothing to curb the students' enthusiasm when Peeves chased Dolores from Hogwarts, only lamenting that she could not run after Umbridge herself (because the poltergeist had taken her walking stick to hit Dolores with as he followed her from the school).
Fred and George Weasley
- Fred Weasley: "We won't be seeing you!"
- George Weasley: "Yeah, don't bother to keep in touch."
- Fred Weasley: "If anybody fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three Diagon Alley — Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Our new premises!"
- George Weasley: "Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear they're going to use our products to get rid of this old bat!"
- — Fred and George depart Hogwarts giving their last sentiments to Umbridge[src]
Fred and George Weasley hated Umbridge, who was appointed by the Ministry of Magic as the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor in 1995. Umbridge was a sadistic woman who enjoyed punishing and torturing students. Almost every resident of Hogwarts at the time hated Umbridge, but she particularly hated Harry Potter, Fred, and George. When George and Harry attacked Draco Malfoy after a Gryffindor — Slytherin Quidditch match, Umbridge kicked them off the team, along with Fred.
Fred and George were the only ones who opposed Umbridge. They developed special fireworks and set them off within the castle after Umbridge was appointed Head of Hogwarts. The fireworks took fantastical forms, such as a monstrous light dragon and Catherine wheels. They also created a Portable Swamp, which was commended by Charms Professor Filius Flitwick as a bit of "really good magic," in order to anger Umbridge just before leaving Hogwarts. When she attempted to punish them, Fred and George insulted her in front of the whole school and then fled with their broomsticks, much to her absolute fury, as she ordered her Inquisitorial Squad to apprehend the two, which failed. In response, the twins "strongly suggested" that Peeves "give her hell from us" before flying out of the castle grounds, a departure that would become somewhat of a legend at the school.
Some of the Slytherin students as well as the caretaker, Argus Filch, happily supported Umbridge during her reign as the High Inquisitor and later Headmistress of Hogwarts; relating her cruelty and sadism with their own ambitions. In fact, Filch claimed that Umbridge was the best thing to happen to Hogwarts, falling for her ploy to gain his trust by rewarding him with, for example, permission to use torture as a form of punishment.
However, Umbridge was fully aware that she could rely only on herself in the more crucial situations, evidenced in her reaction to Draco Malfoy's greedy facial expression upon hearing of Dumbledore's fabled "secret weapon" from an apparently distraught Hermione Granger. Umbridge, believing Hermione's bluff, then took it upon herself to discover this weapon first-hand rather than send one of her Slytherin cronies to do it for her. Other members of the Inquisitorial Squad were Pansy Parkinson, Millicent Bulstrode, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, Graham Montague, and C. Warrington.
The only Slytherin who did not support Dolores Umbridge during her tenure at Hogwarts was the Head of Slytherin House himself, Severus Snape. Like Harry, Snape hated Umbridge from the moment he set eyes on her for taking the post of Defence against the Dark Arts teacher. Like his colleagues, he did as little to help her as possible due to seeing her as the spoiled child she was. Because of this, Snape was the only one who could ignore Umbridge's insults and endure her tantrums. He was, however, not above subtle taunting as shown when he merely raised an eyebrow after she told him he was on probation or when he pointed out the foolishness in her use of the entire bottle of Veritaserum (which was fake) he gave her when she only needed three drops.
Umbridge in turn seemed to enjoy bullying Snape over the fact that Dumbledore always refused him the Defence Against the Dark Arts position. She was also annoyed with his lack of support for her and accused him of being "deliberately unhelpful". In general Umbridge seemed to expect more support from Snape, due to Lucius Malfoy speaking highly of him to her.
Another Slytherin who never liked Umbridge was her Head of House Horace Slughorn; he did not nominate her to be Prefect nor Head Girl. He did not hesitate to express how he always considered her an "idiotic woman" and admitted that he never liked her in front of Harry, especially after hearing she foolishly called a herd of centaur "filthy half-breeds". Harry, sharing this contemptuous dislike for Umbridge, chuckled at Horace's comment.
Other Hogwarts residents and teachers
- Sybill Trelawney: "No! NO! This cannot be happening... It cannot... I refuse to accept it!"
- Umbridge: "You didn't realise this was coming? Incapable though you are of predicting even tomorrow's weather, you must surely have realised that your pitiful performance during my inspections, and lack of any improvement, would make it inevitable you would be sacked?"
- — Dolores Umbrige, soundly callously amused, insulting Trelawney while she sacks her[src]
During her time as a student, Umbridge never truly enjoyed her time at Hogwarts, and being denied any position of power (i.e. Prefect, Head Girl) made her resent the establishment. Upon being installed by Fudge as a teacher, Umbridge saw it as a golden opportunity to get revenge against the school that did not (as she saw it) give her her due.
While at Hogwarts as a staff member, Dolores Umbridge was, overall, a highly unpleasant person to be around. As such, she was highly unpopular to most students and teachers in Hogwarts school. In fact, she was despised or feared by many of the other residents of the grounds, such as the Ghosts, Paintings, House Elves, and the Forbidden Forest Centaurs. She would constantly interrupt teachers, such as Dumbledore during his welcoming speech, with her high-pitched girlish cough of "Hem hem" and speak to students in a condescending tone, as if they were simpletons or her inferiors; her personal speech during the Start-of-Term Feast already left a very negative first impression on the school in general, as most students could not be bothered to listen to the "load of waffle", while the teachers and Hermione Granger deduced the meaning that "the Ministry is interfering at Hogwarts", which displeased them. However, Dumbledore could not do anything about her due to her being appointed by the Ministry, and school life was made infinitely more difficult — for students and staff alike — by her presence.
The students who despised her cruelty started a massive rebellion inspired by Fred and George Weasley after they set off a Portable Swamp and fled the school. The teachers and staff, most of whom despised Umbridge's methods and interfering in their classes, did little to support her, and instead allowed the students to run rampant. Some of them were Filius Flitwick, Pomona Sprout, Poppy Pomfrey, and even Severus Snape. Madam Pomfrey however looked after her as she would any other following her rescue from the Centaurs.
Umbridge was particularly offensive and prejudiced towards Hagrid, due to his half-giant blood, and to Professor Trelawney, who Umbridge believed was a fraud. Eventually, Umbridge sacked Trelawney and attempted to rudely evict her from the school, only to be foiled by Dumbledore. This also turned even more of the students and staff against her. In fact, the school itself appeared to deny her authority, sealing the Headmaster's office against her. In addition, Umbridge liked to intimidate Snape, despite both of them sharing a dislike of Harry Potter. Unlike Trelawney, who took these horrible comments to heart and was deeply insulted, Snape rarely took any of her tauntings seriously. Besides, the staff, the students, and Peeves, the residents of the castle paintings also regarded her and her helpers with general distaste, swearing and making rude hand gestures at her and Cornelius Fudge when they left the Headmaster's office in pursuit of Dumbledore. Dobby was also terrified of her, warning of her approach to Harry in hysterics, and barely able to say her name.
- Umbridge: "You're on Probation!"
- Severus Snape: "*looks back at her, his eyebrows slightly raised*"
- Umbridge: "You are being deliberately unhelpful! I expected better, Lucius Malfoy always speaks most highly of you! Now get out of my office!"
- — Umbridge's assessment of Snape after he tells her that he has no more Veritaserum[src]
After Umbridge's departure, the renewed Potions Master Horace Slughorn claimed that he thought of her as an "idiotic woman" and that he never liked her, especially after hearing that she foolishly angered the herd of already angry centaurs. It's possible that she was a former student of Slughorn's.
Dumbledore's Army was an organisation founded by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger and led by Harry, in order to teach the members Defence Against the Dark Arts, something that Umbridge didn't. Dumbledore's Army was also an organisation founded in order to directly oppose Umbridge and her supporters. When Umbridge found out about the organisation, she utilised the powers of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four to have them all expelled, but failed due to Dumbledore taking the blame.
Some of the members were: Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, Fred and George Weasley, Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott, Cho Chang, Alicia Spinnet, Katie Bell, Angelina Johnson, Colin and Dennis Creevey, Michael Corner, Terry Boot, Anthony Goldstein, Zacharias Smith, Padma and Parvati Patil, and Marietta Edgecombe. All of them, aside from Marietta, disliked Umbridge.
However, Marietta betrayed the Army to Umbridge, because of her parents' loyalty to the Ministry. Although Umbridge feigned kindness in encouraging Marietta to do "the right thing," when Kingsley Shacklebolt secretly modified Marietta's memory, Umbridge was furious with the young girl for being unable to answer her questions. This caused the High Inquisitor to violently shake Marietta until Dumbledore quickly stepped in.
"Half-breeds" and "Mudbloods"
- "Filthy half-breeds! Beasts! Uncontrolled animals!"
- —Umbridge insulting a herd of centaurs in fear[src]
Umbridge always had a prejudiced view on those who were part-humans. She used the derogatory term "half-breed," and treated them particularly horribly. This extended to creatures that looked like part-humans, but were in fact a separate breed, such as centaurs, merpeople, and werewolves, as she either mistook them to be human-animal hybrids or simply found their appearances of being partially human revolting. Regardless of her definition of "half-breeds," she was extremely cruel to them, writing an anti-werewolf legislation so they could barely find employment, and campaigning for merpeople to be rounded up and tagged.
In particular, Umbridge was horrible to half-giant Rubeus Hagrid, treating him like a dimwitted and violent troll, and ultimately tried to attack him under the cover of darkness. Umbridge was also horrified at the appointment of the new Divination teacher, the centaur Firenze. Her prejudice eventually led her to foolishly insult and anger a herd of centaurs who dragged her away, which led her to develop a phobia towards centaurs.
However, despite her hatred towards half-breeds, Umbridge did not seem to hate part-goblin Filius Flitwick, judging by Fred Weasley's statement that she passed him on his inspection. Although, this is most likely a result of Umbridge's lack of knowledge on Flitwick's ancestry. Alternatively, it is possible that Flitwick's all-around competence led to her being unable to find a pretext to mark him down.
She sadistically interrogated them alongside Yaxley, two prime victims being Alderton and Mary Cattermole. She also published a pamphlet stating the dangers of Muggles and referred to them as "Mudbloods." Her crimes against Muggle-borns led to her imprisonment in Azkaban following the defeat of Voldemort, especially since some of the Muggle-borns she convicted did not survive Azkaban.
Although Umbridge was not a Death Eater, and had no direct contact with Lord Voldemort, she showed that she was fairly in line with their goals. This was due to Umbridge's callous nature, prejudiced beliefs (both of which were similar to Death Eater behaviour) and her antagonism and disrespect to Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore, whom she tried to hinder or thwart on several occasions. Umbridge seemed to be on friendly terms with Lucius Malfoy, a known Death Eater who had close connections with the Ministry.
In addition, Umbridge was seen working alongside Yaxley, another Death Eater, who was part of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission which Umbridge was in charge of. Umbridge's duties as the head of this commission involved sadistically prosecuting innocent Muggle-borns who were the enemies of the Death Eaters. However, Umbridge was never actually part of Lord Voldemort's ring of Death Eaters, although it appears that with her Mudblood prejudice leaflet, she supported Muggle-born segregation. While Umbridge was never known to have joined Voldemort, or been aware of his infiltration of the Ministry in 1998, her displayed behaviour suggests that she had no problems with the changes that he introduced.
Dolores is a common Spanish name, although it also occurs as an English name. In Spanish and Latin, "dolores" is also the plural form of "dolor,", which means pain. In English, the similar sounding word "Dolorous" means causing or expressing grief and suffering. Dolor is the Danish name of the Cruciatus Curse.
- Jane is a sweet name for a girl, adding a cruel irony to her nomenclature. Because her middle name is "Jane," J.K. Rowling changed Hermione Granger's middle name (which was also Jane) to "Jean" in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- "Umbridge" is a pun on the English "umbrage" meaning "offence or insult," indicates that Dolores Umbridge is destined to do only harm and cause only unhappiness. It also symbolises how she is offended by any challenge to her limited world-view and her secretive nature. "Umbrage", which came from the Middle French "ombrage" and ultimately from the Latin "umbra" is a word whose meaning has evolved over time. Originally, Umbrage meant shadow or shade, then it evolved to refer to that which provides shadow or shade, then took on the meaning semblance or suspicion, and eventually to the suspicion that one has been slighted and its present meaning.
Behind the scenes
- Umbridge is portrayed by British actress Imelda Staunton in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the first part of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- The power granted to Umbridge by Fudge to consolidate his political strength and squash his perceived enemies is not unlike the abuse members of the Nixon administration committed during the Watergate Era. In addition, Umbridge's final crimes are the "ethnic cleansing" of Muggle born wizards, analogous to the Nazi persecutions leading to the Holocaust.
- Actress Staunton said that she nearly vomited when she had filmed the scene where Umbridge makes Harry write in his own blood during his fifth year. She also said that it was amongst the most "sickening parts she ever filmed."
- Professor Umbridge is one of the least popular Harry Potter characters in the opinions of the main characters. However, Neville Longbottom has stated that she was significantly less harsh than the Carrows as she did not directly use dark magic. J. K. Rowling herself has noted that Umbridge is "a nasty piece of work." David Yates also described her as a splice between Doris Day and Freddy Krueger.
- Despite Professor McGonagall's hatred for Umbridge, they share the same patronus: a cat. Both of their Patronuses are shown in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- Horror novelist Stephen King (great fan of J. K. Rowling), writing as a book reviewer for the 11 July, 2003 Entertainment Weekly, noted that the success of any fantasy novel depends on a great villain, and called Umbridge the "greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter."
- Umbridge may have been inspired by other villains, such as Hopper, the main antagonist in the Disney/Pixar film A Bug's Life, whom she has some similarities to.
- the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix omits the detail that Umbridge was the person who sent the Dementors to attack Harry, nor does it identify the one who was responsible.
- In the fifth film adaptation, Umbridge does not say Harry Potter's first name at all. She does use the name "Potter" when saying his surname or calling him "Mr Potter" when addressing Harry and she only 'says' it when her actor Imelda Staunton is in an interview of Disc 2 Special Features.
- Umbridge may be related to Death Eater Selwyn, as she claimed in Deathly Hallows that she was related to the Selwyn family, though this is a lie to "bolster her own pure-blood credentials" because she has a muggle mother and so is definitely a half-blood.
- Interestingly enough, when she finds Hermione (disguised as Mafalda Hopkirk) she says "Travers sent you, did he?" Travers is also a Death Eater. Perhaps by coincidence, Travers and Selwyn are the two Death Eaters that attack Harry, Ron, and Hermione when they go to see Xenophilius Lovegood.
- The only staff member to ever like Umbridge was Argus Filch, who thought she was the best thing to happen to Hogwarts. This was mostly since she gave him powers over students to whip them or hang them by their ankles in exchange for him spying for her.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, there is a figure of Umbridge balancing on a rope shouting "I really hate children." and "I will have order!" repeatedly in the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes Joke Shop.
- According to J. K. Rowling, in early drafts of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge's first name was Elvira.
- Despite her hatred towards half-breeds, Umbridge did not seem to hate part-goblin Filius Flitwick, as Fred Weasley stated that she marked him well on his inspection. (This may be due to the fact that the goblin blood comes from a distant ancestor.) In the the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix however, she does harass Flitwick by measuring him as if there is a height requirement. Most likely this was an exercise in making herself feel better about her own short stature.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Umbridge is shown with blue eyes, but in the book she is described to have "slitted brown" eyes.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the first part of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Umbridge's Kitten Brooch and Ring were custom-made by Israeli jewellery designer Michal Negrin, who then subsequently made a small collection of pieces with a similar pattern.
- In the Deathly Hallows Part 1 video game, the Expulso spellbook is in her office, squarely in the centre of her desktop. It is not elaborated on why she possessed this item, though it is quite possible that she'd confiscated it. It is also possible that it was actually hers, since her magical power was concentrated in offensive and defensive magic.
- The influence of the Locket on Umbridge is notably similar to the influence of the Ring of Power on Galadriel, in that both experienced amplified magical power and malice. Both were also being influenced by the rehoused soul of a Dark wizard, more or less (although, unlike Galadriel, Umbridge was already evil).
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Umbridge is seen to have great evasion as she is capable of performing flips while fighting against centaurs in the episode "A Giant Virtuoso." She also has the habit to change books about offensive use of spells into pink books about cats, much to students' irritation. Also, during Mary Cattermole's judgement in the Wizengamot room, instead of being knocked by Harry Potter at the first time, she and Corban Yaxley fought Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger in the room. The fight ended after Umbridge was knocked and fell into her judge seat.
- In the film adaptations, her hairstyle bears a resemblance to that of Margaret Thatcher, a controversial former British Prime Minister.
- In the "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries", an Emmy-winning YouTube vlog that is a modern version of Pride and Prejudice, Ashley Clemmets (Lizzie Bennet) used Umbridge as an inspiration to perform Lady Catherine De Bough in several of the episodes throughout the series.
- Much of her tyrannical rise to power was shown, as she wanted to cast a Cruciatus Curse on Harry, an Unforgivable Curse. It is unknown how much the spell would be painful to Harry, but considering her nature, the spell would be almost as powerful as Bellatrix Lestrange's Cruciatus Curse.
- Gillian Berrow, a story writer for the television series My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, has stated that Umbridge was a model for the villainous MLP character Starlight Glimmer.
- In the German audio books, Dolores Umbridge has an Austrian accent.
- Umbridge's wand being of Birch wood is a reference to the practise of birching, a corporal punishment where a victim is beaten with a birch rod.
Author's comments"Once, long ago, I took instruction in a certain skill or subject (I am being vague as vague can be, for reasons that are about to become obvious), and in doing so, came into contact with a teacher or instructor whom I disliked intensely on sight.
The woman in question returned my antipathy with interest. Why we took against each other so instantly, heartily and (on my side, at least) irrationally, I honestly cannot say. What sticks in my mind is her pronounced taste for twee accessories. I particularly recall a tiny little plastic bow slide, pale lemon in colour that she wore in her short curly hair. I used to stare at that little slide, which would have been appropriate to a girl of three, as though it was some kind of repellant physical growth. She was quite a stocky woman, and not in the first flush of youth, and her tendency to wear frills where (I felt) frills had no business to be, and to carry undersized handbags, again as though they had been borrowed from a child's dressing-up box, jarred, I felt, with a personality that I found the reverse of sweet, innocent, and ingenuous.
I am always a little wary when talking about these kinds of sources of inspiration, because it is infuriating to hear yourself misinterpreted in ways that can cause other people a great deal of hurt. This woman was NOT 'the real Dolores Umbridge'. She did not look like a toad, she was never sadistic or vicious to me or anyone else, and I never heard her express a single view in common with Umbridge (indeed, I never knew her well enough to know much about her views or preferences, which makes my dislike of her even less justifiable). However, it is true to say that I borrowed from her, then grossly exaggerated, a taste for the sickly sweet and girlish in dress, and it was that tiny little pale lemon plastic bow that I was remembering when I perched the fly-like ornament on Dolores Umbridge's head.
I have noticed more than once in life that a taste for the ineffably twee can go hand-in-hand with a distinctly uncharitable outlook on the world. I once shared an office with a woman who had covered the wall space behind her desk with pictures of fluffy kitties; she was the most bigoted, spiteful champion of the death penalty with whom it has ever been my misfortune to share a kettle. A love of all things saccharine often seems present where there is a lack of real warmth or charity.
So Dolores, who is one of the characters for whom I feel purest dislike, became an amalgam of traits taken from these, and a variety of sources. Her desire to control, to punish and to inflict pain, all in the name of law and order, are, I think, every bit as reprehensible as Lord Voldemort's unvarnished espousal of evil.
Umbridge's names were carefully chosen. 'Dolores' means sorrow, something she undoubtedly inflicts on all around her. 'Umbridge' is a play on 'umbrage' from the British expression 'to take umbrage', meaning offence. Dolores is offended by any challenge to her limited world-view; I felt her surname conveyed the pettiness and rigidity of her character. It is harder to explain 'Jane'; it simply felt rather smug and neat between her other two names."
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Voice only) (Appears as a toy)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- LEGO Harry Potter
- The Making of Harry Potter (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Dolores Umbridge" at Pottermore
- ↑ Her Pottermore profile states that she became Head of the Improper Use of Magic Office "before she was thirty"; and she was promoted to Senior Undersecretary sometime before the disciplinary hearing of Harry Potter (12 August, 1995), making 1965 her latest possible year of birth.
- ↑ 
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song) - "She looked, Harry thought, like somebody’s maiden aunt: squat, with short, curly, mouse-brown hair in which she had placed a horrible pink Alice band that matched the fluffy pink cardigan she wore over her robes."
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Casual Vacancy Signing Revelation
- ↑ Pottermore
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Wand Lengths and Flexibility" at Pottermore
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot) - "No,” said Sirius, “but she drafted a bit of anti-werewolf legislation two years ago that makes it almost impossible for him to get a job.”"
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot) - "“Apparently she loathes part-humans; she campaigned to have mer-people rounded up and tagged last year too."
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire) - "“He never knew I ordered dementors after Potter last summer, but he was delighted to be given the chance to expel him, all the same...”"
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot) - "“What does he think we’re doing here, forming some sort of wizard army?” “That’s exactly what he thinks you’re doing,” said Sirius, “or rather, that’s exactly what he’s afraid Dumbledore’s doing — forming his own private army, with which he will be able to take on the Ministry of Magic.”"
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 (Dumbledore's Army) - "“Yeah,” said Angelina, beaming. “I went to McGonagall and I think she might have appealed to Dumbledore — anyway, Umbridge had to give in."
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 "(Umbridge) is a very nasty piece of work. She has an affinity for this horrible object" - JK, Online Chat script, accessed 30/7/2011
- ↑ J.K. Rowling Web Chat
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Two, Scene
- ↑ Edinburgh "cub reporter" press conference, ITV, 16 July 2005
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- ↑ A deleted scene from the film version of Order of the Phoenix, and included on the DVD, shows Umbridge talking herself into taking extreme action against Harry and Hermione after they take her into the forest. She raises her wand, but is interrupted by the arrival of the centaurs. Although no spell is uttered by her, the context of her actions — that she felt she was acting for the greater good — could suggest she was preparing to cast the Killing Curse, or some equally nasty piece of Dark magic.
- ↑ Heyman: Imelda Staunton to Return as Umbridge for Deathly Hallows
- ↑ As part of a special unlockable extra on J.K. Rowling's official website, there is an early draft of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where Rowling describes a character very much like Dolores Umbridge, but who is named Elvira. Rowling has admitted that Elvira was her original name.