Published on Apr 13th 2022
Dolores Umbridge was cruel, calculating and definitely a villain. From humiliating Professor Trelawney to her barbaric punishment methods, we look at some of the times she proved to be truly heartless.

When she sacked and humiliated Professor Trelawney

Ok, so Professor Trelawney was hardly the most popular teacher. And yes, her talents as a Seer were questionable. However, when Umbridge sacked and publicly humiliated her in front of the entire school, it was truly heart-breaking. What made it worse was that Umbridge seemed to relish in Trelawney’s pain.

‘You didn’t realise this was coming?’ said a high girlish voice, sounding callously amused, and Harry, moving slightly to his right, saw that Trelawney’s terrifying vision was nothing other than Professor Umbridge. ‘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 that you would be sacked?’

‘You c – can’t!’ howled Professor Trelawney, tears streaming down her face from behind her enormous lenses, ‘you c – can’t sack me! I’ve b – been here sixteen years! H – Hogwarts is m – my h – home!’

‘It was your home,’ said Professor Umbridge, and Harry was revolted to see the enjoyment stretching her toadlike face as she watched Professor Trelawney sink, sobbing uncontrollably, on to one of her trunks, ‘until an hour ago, when the Minister for Magic countersigned your Order of Dismissal. Now kindly remove yourself from this Hall. You are embarrassing us.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When she revealed how she liked to punish her students

Umbridge’s idea of what was an acceptable punishment was truly barbaric. Her ‘special quill’ was nothing more than torture. It was sickening to see how gleeful she was at the prospect of inflicting physical pain on those who were in her care. As a teacher, she was in a position of authority – which only added to the cruelty of this situation.

She moved over to her desk, sat down and bent over a stack of parchment that looked like essays for marking. Harry raised the sharp black quill, then realised what was missing.

‘You haven’t given me any ink,’ he said.

‘Oh, you won’t need ink,’ said Professor Umbridge, with the merest suggestion of a laugh in her voice.

Harry placed the point of the quill on the paper and wrote: I must not tell lies. He let out a gasp of pain. The words had appeared on the parchment in what appeared to be shining red ink. At the same time, the words had appeared on the back of Harry’s right hand, cut into his skin as though traced there by a scalpel – yet even as he stared at the shining cut, the skin healed over again, leaving the place where it had been slightly redder than before but quite smooth.

Harry looked round at Umbridge. She was watching him, her wide, toadlike mouth stretched in a smile.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When she was willing to use an Unforgivable Curse on a student

For Umbridge to even consider using the Cruciatus Curse on Harry was, well, unforgivable. This moment not only showed us that she was truly devoid of a moral compass but also revealed that she had been the one to set the Dementors on Harry during the summer holidays. For someone who was all about making and enforcing rules, she was more than happy to break them if it meant she could get what she wanted.

Malfoy was watching her with a hungry expression on his face.

‘The Cruciatus Curse ought to loosen your tongue,’ said Umbridge quietly.

‘No!’ shrieked Hermione. ‘Professor Umbridge – it’s illegal.’

But Umbridge took no notice. There was a nasty, eager, excited look on her face that Harry had never seen before. She raised her wand.

‘The Minister wouldn’t want you to break the law, Professor Umbridge!’ cried Hermione.

‘What Cornelius doesn’t know won’t hurt him,’ said Umbridge, who was now panting slightly as she pointed her wand at different parts of Harry’s body in turn, apparently trying to decide where it would hurt most. ‘He never knew I ordered Dementors to go 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

The way she spoke about Hagrid

Umbridge’s contempt for those who weren’t pure-blood witches or wizards was despicable. She was especially cruel to Hagrid, and her vindictive personality would shine through every time she spoke to or about him. We can just hear the venom in her voice when she referred to him as a ‘great half-breed oaf’.

‘It’s hidden in Hagrid’s hut, is it?’ said Umbridge eagerly in Harry’s ear.

‘Of course not,’ said Hermione scathingly. ‘Hagrid might have set it off accidentally.’

‘Yes,’ said Umbridge, whose excitement seemed to be mounting. ‘Yes, he would have done, of course, the great half-breed oaf.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When it was revealed what she kept on her office door at the Ministry of Magic

This particular instance turned our stomach. Mad-Eye Moody had been killed and somehow Umbridge had come into possession of his magical eye and placed it on her office door for all to see. We have complete sympathy with Harry for being filled with rage at this moment – the lack of respect she had for a fellow human being, and colleague, was disgusting.

The witch glanced towards the shining mahogany door facing the space full of pamphlet-makers; Harry looked too, and rage reared in him like a snake. Where there might have been a peephole on a Muggle front door, a large, round eye with a bright blue iris had been set into the wood; an eye that was shockingly familiar to anybody who had known Alastor Moody.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Becoming head of the Muggle-born Registration Commission

This particular role was made for Umbridge. It was Dolores in all her horrible glory – where she could thrive on using and abusing her powers. She got to freely act on her bigoted beliefs without any fear of repercussions. The way she smugly taunted the Muggle-borns made our skin crawl.

‘A wand was taken from you upon your arrival at the Ministry today, Mrs Cattermole,’ Umbridge was saying. ‘Eight and three- quarter inches, cherry, unicorn hair core. Do you recognise that description?’

Mrs Cattermole nodded, mopping her eyes on her sleeve.

‘Could you please tell us from which witch or wizard you took that wand?’

‘T – took?’ sobbed Mrs Cattermole. ‘I didn’t t – take it from anybody. I b – bought it when I was eleven years old. It – it – it – chose me.’

She cried harder than ever.

Umbridge laughed a soft, girlish laugh that made Harry want to attack her. She leaned forwards over the barrier, the better to observe her victim, and something gold swung forwards too, and dangled over the void: the locket.

Hermione had seen it, she let out a little squeak, but Umbridge and Yaxley, still intent upon their prey, were deaf to everything else. ‘No,’ said Umbridge, ‘no, I don’t think so, Mrs Cattermole. Wands only choose witches or wizards. You are not a witch. I have your responses to the questionnaire that was sent to you here – Mafalda, pass them to me.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Do you agree with our choices for Umbridge’s most heartless moments? Or do you think we’ve missed any? Let us know!


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