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- "Having already revolutionised the teaching of Defence Against the Dark Arts, Dolores Umbridge will, as High Inquisitor, have powers to address the seriously falling standards at Hogwarts School"
- —Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, in the Daily Prophet announcing Umbridge's appointed to the position[src]
The Hogwarts High Inquisitor was a position at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was a teacher appointed by the Ministry of Magic to make sure that unsatisfactory teachers were removed from Hogwarts and to ensure that any Educational Decrees set by the Ministry were followed. The High Inquisitor's position was formed under Educational Decree Number Twenty-Three.
Creation of the post
Dolores Umbridge was the first and only known High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. She was appointed, after the Ministry of Magic believed that headmaster Albus Dumbledore was slipping in keeping order and preventing "lies" being spread about Lord Voldemort returning. In truth, the position only came to be due to Minister Fudge being paranoid of Dumbledore attempting to take over the Ministry, and assigned Umbridge to keep an eye on the situation.
Certain people, such as parents of students, were supportive of this post, as they feared that Dumbledore's eccentric decisions may have had a negative impact on the students and were glad that the Ministry was keeping an eye on the situation; however, Lucius Malfoy, who gave an interview of his support of the post's creation under pretence of caring for the school's future, was in truth desiring for this action to discredit Dumbledore. Other people, such as Griselda Marchbanks and Tiberius Ogden, were outraged by this post's formation, as they supported Dumbledore and knew full well that the High Inquisitor was nothing more than an excuse for Fudge to usurp control over Hogwarts from the headmaster. As a result, they themselves were discredited by Fudge and the Daily Prophet.
As High Inquisitor, Umbridge lurked in the corners of many classes taking notes on her clipboard and asking teachers and students questions. She was disliked by most of the teachers at Hogwarts, especially Minerva McGonagall, who was especially curt and rude to her at times. Severus Snape also answered her prying questions rather haughtily during his inspection. Despite McGonagall and Snape's apathetic and cold treatment of her, Umbridge could not deny that they were good teachers and knew their subjects, and thus they were not sacked.
Sybill Trelawney, on the other hand, was not as lucky, and after a series of poor performances in Umbridge's inspections she was put on probation and then fired from the post of Divination teacher. Rubeus Hagrid's inspections went no better, as after he barely excused himself for his long-term absence, Umbridge's prejudice for half-breeds led her to be biassed against Hagrid's first inspection, acting as though she could not understand his language while asking extremely offensive questions to students, and then placed him under probation as well; this led Hagrid's subsequent performances to falter, as he was distracted by her continued presence, and eventually he was ousted from his position as Care of Magical Creatures teacher.
While Trelawney's dismissal became something of a spectacle, with her crying in anguish in the Great Hall and her luggage thrown unceremoniously, Hagrid's was more discreet but violent, with Umbridge bringing in Aurors to deal with him, only for him to escape. The former was witnessed by pretty much the entire school, while the latter was by the Astronomy O.W.L. examinees. As Dumbledore was still headmaster when Trelawney was removed, he allowed her to remain in Hogwarts as a resident, as the High Inquisitor had no authority to remove fired teachers from the grounds; Hagrid, on the other hand, was forced to flee after a brief but violent struggle.
Appointment to Headmistress
After Dumbledore's Army, a secret Defence Against the Dark Arts group started by Harry Potter and his friends, was discovered and Albus Dumbledore forced to leave the school by taking blame for the group's activities, Umbridge was appointed to the position of Headmistress and had even further control over the events at Hogwarts. However, the castle's inhabitants were not very helpful to her during her regime; she spent her first afternoon as Headmistress running around the castle trying to stop the mayhem caused by Fred and George Weasley's fireworks, with little assistance from the rest of the Hogwarts staff, such as the teachers preferring to see her struggle with trying to remove a Portable Swamp left by the Weasley twins when any of them could have removed it in a heartbeat and Minerva McGonagall even going so far as to give Peeves help with unscrewing a chandelier.
End of the High Inquisitor's reign
After catching Harry trying to contact 12 Grimmauld Place by the Floo Network, Umbridge would have used the Cruciatus Curse on Harry had it not been for Hermione Granger coming up with a plan to lure Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest by making her think that there was a weapon built by Dumbledore's Army in there; she had earlier placed Severus Snape on probation for being unhelpful in interrogating Harry, to which he showed little care. They were soon surrounded by centaurs, but with the help of Grawp, Harry and Hermione escaped. Umbridge, however, was not so lucky and was carried away by the Centaurs after calling them "filthy half-breeds" and "animals". She was later rescued by Albus Dumbledore but was left severely traumatised by the event.
After the skirmish in the forest and the Ministry being forced to accept that Voldemort had returned, Educational Decree Number 23 was abolished, along with the position of High Inquisitor. Umbridge was subsequently removed from Hogwarts and the position was never used again. The two teachers she dismissed, Trelawney and Hagrid, were able to return to their posts as well, rendering all of Umbridge's evaluations and dismissals null and void, while her "Inquisitorial Squad" was disbanded. Umbridge's departure from the school became a spectacle, as while she tried to leave undetected, Peeves caught sight of her and assaulted her with a combination of a chalk-filled sock and Minerva McGonagall's walking stick, with the students cheering this on and the teachers barely trying to calm them down.
The Inquisitorial Squad
The Inquisitorial Squad was a select group of students who served under the High Inquisitor and were given the power to take away and grant house points. They were chosen by the High Inquisitor due to their support of the Ministry. They wore small silver badges with an "I" on it to show membership. All known members belonged to the house of Slytherin and were known enemies of Harry Potter and his friends, and they appear to be abusive towards their power, as Draco docked many points from people he disliked simply for that very reason.
- Millicent Bulstrode
- Vincent Crabbe
- Gregory Goyle
- Draco Malfoy
- Graham Montague
- Pansy Parkinson
- Cassius Warrington
- A sixth year girl