One of the most venomous villains of all the Harry Potter stories had to be Dolores Umbridge. Whilst she wasn’t always as obviously evil as Lord Voldemort, she was responsible for a lot of (often entirely sanctioned by the Ministry) cruelty – like punishing Hogwarts students or wrecking the lives of Muggle-borns. Although there’s no excuse for her behaviour, we wanted to poke around in that brain of hers to see if anything interesting came to light…
It was clear to everyone that Umbridge had a penchant for one particular colour. Everything she owned seemed to conform to her favourite palette and that was the colour blue… just kidding, it was obviously pink. From her fluffy pink cardigan to the parchment she scribbled her nasty notes on, she was always on brand. We reckon that she spent hours carefully curating her saccharine persona – ruminating over every tiny detail that went far beyond her fashion choices. Everything about Umbridge was girlish and twee, including the doilies in her office and her tinkling voice. It was all a deliberate facade to mask who she truly was inside and that’s someone who adored punishing people…
Speaking of which, there was nothing that seemed to bring Dolores Umbridge more joy than thinking up cruel and unusual ways to ‘discipline’ others. Who else would have a pink (naturally) sticky note on their Ministry of Magic desk to reminding themselves of who was still ‘To be punished’ (in this case Harry)? She was at her happiest when inflicting pain upon others and it wasn’t just limited to one wizard. She probably had a mental list of all of those she would like to be cruel to – from Professor Trelawney to Muggle-borns. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Remember the way her ‘toadlike’ mouth would stretch into a smile as Hogwarts students were forced to write lines in their own blood using her awful black quill? Yeah, that still makes us queasy. We have no doubt that Dolores Umbridge dedicated a great deal of brainpower to these horrific punishments and enjoyed every minute of it – what a truly loathsome person.
One of Umbridge’s other greatest loves was power. She was cunning and manipulative and would stop at nothing to take as much of it as she could get. Her brain must have been full of plots and schemes – some more successful than others. And in fairness, she did seem to manage to move up through the ranks at the Ministry of Magic and (briefly) at Hogwarts. Let’s not forget, she managed to secure the role of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Hogwarts High Inquisitor and (technically) Headmistress all in the space of a year. And when her career at the wizarding school crashed and burned – she still managed to thrive at the Ministry where she became Head of the Muggle-born Registration Commission while Voldemort was in power. Although she was very happy to go along with Voldemort’s view of the world – she was very much a bigot – her predominant motivation seemed to be more about how much authority and influence she could secure because for Umbridge it was all about well… Umbridge.
There was one wizard that we imagine took up far too much space in Umbridge’s brain – Harry Potter. To Umbridge, he was a pesky fly in the ointment on her road to having total control over everything at Hogwarts. Not only did he cause unrest amongst the students, set up Dumbledore’s Army (a group that was clearly meant to undermine her) but he refused to break, no matter what she did to him. He would not stop telling everyone that Voldemort had returned and went so far as to say so in an article in The Quibbler. To top it all off, she ended up leaving Hogwarts after she followed him and Hermione Granger into the Forbidden Forest where she ran afoul of a giant and a herd of centaurs. We imagine plenty of time was dedicated to thinking about how to stop this pesky teenager – how dare he get in her way?
So, we might have found one thing that we have in common with Dolores Umbridge and before recoiling in horror please hear us out! Both we and the odious Umbridge share a love of cats. With their teeny tiny paws, adorable whiskers and haughty attitudes – what’s not to love? From the plates that hung in her office with pictures of frolicking kitties to her Patronus, we can understand why they were on Umbridge’s mind. Although, in some ways her love of cats made her even more sinister. Who wouldn’t look at her collection of wide-eyed bundles of fluff and think that their owner might be similar? We all know that Umbridge was about as warm and fuzzy as a Hungarian Horntail. Her collection of cute cats was yet another form of camouflage (alongside her favourite colour) for her wicked ways – she would rob you of your rights with a smile on her face before you could even say ‘meow’.
If you enjoyed diving into the mind of one the more villainous characters and fancied taking a peek at another, Vernon Dursley’s is right here.