Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge is a villain from the Harry Potter franchise and serves as the central antagonist in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She was a Ministry of Magic official and served as Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic under three successive ministers: Cornelius Fudge, Rufus Scrimgeour and Pius Thicknesse. She was designated as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by order of the Ministry and was later promoted to Hogwarts High Inquisitor and eventually Headmistress. This was part of a Ministry effort to keep the school and Harry Potter under control. She later reappears as a judge under Voldemort's supremacist reign in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
In the film series, she was portrayed by Imelda Staunton.
Umbridge was a half-blood witch and the first child of a wizard named Orford Umbridge and a Muggle Ellen Cracknell. Her younger brother was a Squib but she herself 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 they both denounced them. Ellen and her son returned to the Muggle world, never to be heard of again. At the age of eleven, she purchased her wand, an unusually short one, at Diagon Alley, most likely at Ollivanders. 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.
After leaving Hogwarts, Umbridge quickly rose to influential positions in the British Ministry of Magic. At the age of 17, she started an internship at the Improper Use of Magic Office, and by the age of 30, she became the Head of the Office, due to her ruthless tactics and tyrannical leadership under her sweet attitude. She also, while gaining power, overthrew her own father and had him fired from his job, severing all of ties to him and also denying she was related to him, from that point on considering herself only a pure-blood rather than a half-blood. She became Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic and had a place amongst the Wizengamot.
Taking over Hogwarts
Umbridge's first appearance in the film took place at Harry Potter's hearing, to address his underage use of magic in the presence of Muggles (non-magic people). He had performed a Patronus charm to defend himself and his Muggle cousin Dudley Dursley against two Dementors. Various members of the Ministry, including Fudge and Umbridge, believed that the presence of Dementors in Privet Drive was impossible since they were under the Ministry's control. Harry claims that the reason for this occurrence was the return of the Dark Lord, but Fudge insisted on pressing charges against Harry. It is later revealed that Umbridge was the one who sent the Dementors as an attempt to silence Harry in order to prevent him from contradicting the Ministry's claim that Voldemort is vanquished. However, under Albus Dumbledore's persuasion, the vast majority of the crowd – Umbridge excluded – were in favor of clearing Harry of all charges.
When Harry Potter began his first day of his fifth year at Hogwarts, he discovered that Umbridge was appointed as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Throughout the story it became more clear that the Ministry was interfering at Hogwarts. Later she was made the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, giving her the power to enforce new rules and dismiss teachers. At a time, she inspected every professor, and attempted to banish Professor Trelawney from Hogwarts permanently.
To escape Professor Umbridge's restriction from using magic in her class, Harry and his friends created a secret organization of students, called "Dumbledore's Army" to improve skills of using magic for defense. Umbridge was the one to catch them in the act, and brought several of them them to Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. After Dumbledore admitted that he was responsible, Fudge requested Dumbledore's immediate sentence to Azkaban, awaiting trial. When Dumbledore escaped, Umbridge became the new headmaster, and she enacted severe punishments on students suspected of participating in secret organizations.
Dumbledore's Secret Weapon
"What are you doing!? I am Senior Undersecretary Dolores Jane Umbridge! Let me GOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"
- Dolores Umbridge being carried off by the centaurs thinking they will put her down. (some chance).
Umbridge knew that Harry Potter was the main offender of her rules, and that he "deserved to be punished". Umbridge then attempted to perform the Cruciatus Curse on Harry in front of several Hogwarts students. She appears to be close to the Ministry as she obeys all the rules of the Ministry but her true colors are revealed when she is about to perform the Cruciatus curse on Harry which is actually illegal; she responds by saying "What Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him". However, before she was able to follow through with the curse, Hermione Granger stopped Umbridge. She told her about Dumbledore's "secret weapon", which didn't actually exist, and successfully fooled Umbridge into following her to the "weapon's" location. Hermione, along with Harry, led her into the Forbidden Forest, a location which, forbidden to students, contains monstrous creatures and dark alleys. After Umbridge realized she was being manipulated, she inadvertently attracted the attention of centaurs and proceeded to insult them. This resulted in the centaurs capturing and dragging her away out of rage. She was later removed from Hogwarts following Cornelius having been overthrown by the wizarding community due to his failure to announce the return of Voldemort. This was her last appearance in the fifth book.
Deathly Hallows Part 1
Imelda Staunton reprised the role for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Her role in this movie is much shorter and she is only important when Harry, Ron and Hermione disguise themselves to get into the ministry to steal a locket that Umbridge was wearing. Harry uses a spell to knock her out instead of killing her, to retrieve the locket intact and rescuing an innocent person as well. After Voldemort's defeat, she was charged for crimes against humanity and she was sentenced to Azkaban for her actions.
Umbridge was extremely immoral, cruel, sadistic, arrogant, vain, ambitious and possessed an extremely high opinion of herself. Umbridge obviously believes herself above the law which was shown when she used the Black Quill (which was a torture device that causes the user to write in their own blood) on Harry and then the entire DA. She was prepared to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry again despite him being a boy and it being illegal to use on anyone but she justifies this but she justifies this by saying "what Cornelious doesn't know won't hurt him." When she was placed in charge of registrating Muggle-borns she was incredibly corrupt and had imprisoned muggle-borns sunder outrageous accusations and under the prejudiced beliefs that these witches and wizards stole their magic from Pure-bloods.
Despite being a teacher at Hogwarts Academy, she openly hates children and because of this took a great pleasure in enforcing torturous punishments on students. When Hermione and Harry lure Umbridge to the Forbidden Forest and realises that she was tricked, Umbridge flatly said "I really hate children." While under control of Hogwarts she enforced strict, somewhat tyrannical rules that the children were forced to comply one of the few was that boys and girl could not be in close vicinity of one another and broke up two wizards kissing with her wand. Umbridge was a colossally prejudiced woman as well, she believed that half-bloods (or Mudbloods) were inherently inferior and registered them with extreme cruelty at the Ministry of Magic under Lord Voldemort's fascist reign.
Her hatred of half-bloods was so strong that she believed herself above him and actually overthrew him when she was rising to power in the Ministry of Magic. Umbridge was xenophobic towards half-breeds as well and because of this she was extremely disrespectful towards Hagrid the Gamekeeper as he was half-giant and spoke in an insulting tone towards the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest.
Umbridge was condescending and even cruel towards her fellow teachers, she interrupted Dumbledore's start of year speech by pretending to cough and the same with McGonagel which prompted her to offer a cough sweet. Umbridge was especially disrespectful towards Professor Trelawney who was a fortune teller and asked her to predict something for Umbridg for her to reply "you are in terrible danger" which Umbridge replies as "good." She antagonized Reubeus Hagrid as well and considered him below her as he was half-giant.
Umbridge was a liar, she would have preformed one of the Unforgivable Curses on a teenager and would never have told the Minister. When being confronted by Harry, Hermione and Ron under disguise and asked how she came into the possession of a locket which was also a Horcrux for her to replt that was in her family for generations, eraged at her hypocrisy Harry reminds Dolores of what she brutally taught him at school before throwing a spell at her.
Depsite her wickedness, Umbridge gave off a sweet and pleasant demenour, she dressed and spoke as a persons grandmother, the creator of Umbridge (J.K. Rowling) describes her personality as "poisoned honey." She dressed only in pink and wore a decorative bow on her head, she decorated her office with cats and enjoyed to drink tea along with cakes and sweets. When first meeting her in her office Harry resembled Umbridge's appearance with that of a toad. She appears to be good friends with Cornelius Fudge, the Minsiter of Magic referring to him by a first name basis and Fudge placed Umbridge in control of Hogwarts but this didn't stop her from lying to him about using the Cruciatus Curse on Harry.
Another similarity between Cornelious and Umbridge was that they were both quite paranoid and were worried that Dumbledore was amassing a secret army and weapon that would end the Ministry of Magic however Dolores was more heartless in pursuit of her answers, when she became the Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher she forbade any students from using their wands or magic as she believed it would only further Dumbledore's Army.
A sadistic woman who rarely ever raised her voice or lost her cool, Umbridge was able to maintain a calm, nearly worry-less persona. Her voice was incredibly relaxed and rarely displayed genuine emotion ,aside from sinisterly smiling while making Harry use her "special quill." It is extremely rare but Umbridge would occasionally lose her temper, this was shown when she screeched at Harry Potter for insinuating that Lord Voldemort had returned and actually slapped him when Umbridge caught Harry and Dumbledore's army sneaking into her office. While being dragged deeper into the Forbidden Forest by centaurs she was seen screaming in terror.
Umbridge was always a glutton for power to the point of immorality in its pursuit, but in a position of respect she viciously abused it. Her corruption carried out by the way she gave people who grovelled or sucked up to her, such as Malfoy power in her ranks. She wasn't one for violence and wouldn't normally use her magic but if Umbridge's hand was forced she would get her hands dirty, as was shown when she slapped Harry square across the face and when being charged at by a centaur Umbridge used a spell to control him.
Although she was not a noticeably powerful witch, Umbridge was a very intelligent woman which was shown when she was nineteen years old she enrolled in Improper Use of Magic Office and thirteen years later she became the head of the office. She is quite manipulative as shown when she was able to let loose a Dementor on Harry Potter and his cousin Dudley which only highlighted her ruthlessness. Despite her intelligence, Umbridge was extremely gullible at times, and easily fell for Hermione's deception that led her into the Forbidden Forest simply because it claimed a certain power and a glowing view from the Minister for Magic.
But what makes Umbridge more despicable than other Death Eaters is that she was abnormally self-righteous, she cruelly forced Harry to write in his own blood using the Blood Quill and after the boy finished wrighting the single sentence "I must not tell lies" and then coldly says "you know deep down, you deserve to be punished" despite the fact that the only thing that Harry had done was speak out of line and didn't remotely deserve something so monstrous as a punishment. Even after it being clearly obvious that Umbridge was an evil person she still kept her sweet personality which only ascertained how much of a monster she truly was. Umbridge dished out a vast multitude of sadistic and vicious punishments on a myriad of pupils simply to instill people's fear for her, showing that she did not want to be respected but feared, as respect would imply that she was equal to others, when she wanted to be above everybody else.
Even at a young age Umbridge lacked any moral centre whatsoever which carried out by the size of her wand and not her height.
- Had two Dementors from Azkaban to attack Harry Potter and his cousin at Privet Drive (Revealed In-book only).
- Under the orders of Cornelius Fudge, she lied to the students that Lord Voldemort had not returned and taught them non-defensive spells out of the paranoia that Dumbledore was building his own army against the Ministry, unconcerned she was living them unprepared to any attack, which was stupid.
- During detention she inflicted the Black Quill, a torture device upon Harry Potter, causing him to carve "I must not tell lies" on his own hand. She later did the same to the rest of the DA and any other student who broke her rules, including first-years.
- She fired Sybil Trewlaney, a teacher who worked at Hogwarts for 16 years and came close to kicking her out on the street if Dumbledore hadn't intervened.
- She inflicted very immoral actions upon students, including a truth-telling potion and nearly the Cruciatus Curse upon Harry Potter which was completely illegal.
- She gave extremely prejudiced trials to Muggle-borns claiming that they stole their magical abilities and wands from "pure" wizards. Also she accused Reg's wife Mary for stealing a wand from of a pure-blood or half-blood witch or wizard, (for which she didn't do).
- Dolores Umbridge is considered by fans to be one of the most hated Harry Potter characters (sometimes even surpassing Voldemort and Bellatrix.) Though not part of Voldemort's Death Eaters, she forms an alliance at least with two of them, Lucius Malfoy and Yaxley. She also has no qualms about working in a Death Eater controlled Ministry of Magic, and agreed to send the Muggle-Borns to Azkaban.
- Additionally, she's considered one of the crueler examples of evil fictional teachers considering the harsh punishments she doled out to students who dared to cross her (such as when she forced Harry Potter to slash "I must not tell lies" onto his hand with a magical quill), the obvious favoritism she showed towards those who sucked up to her, and her feverish desire to place Hogwarts firmly under Ministry control with her as a proxy.
- She is revealed to be extremely racist, as Remus Lupin noted she was one of the main supporters of proposed anti-werewolf, legislation, advocated for merpeople to be rounded up and tagged, and considered centaurs to be inferior to wizards. In the seventh book she's become a Ministry judge who determines the "blood purity" of witches and wizards and was one of the main forces behind anti-Muggle propaganda distributed by the Ministry.
- In the Order of the Phoenix book, it is revealed that Umbridge was the one who sent the Dementors after Harry in order to silence his claims of the Dark Lord returning. This isn't mentioned in the film.
- While Harry couldn't cast a Patronus charm while wearing the locket, Umbridge manages to conjure a patronus which takes form of a cat. The reason she is able to cast the Patronus charm is because the horcrux helped her rather than hindered her due to the fact that she was already evil.
- She is portrayed by Imelda Staunton, who also voices Queen Victoria, Bunty in Chicken Run and Mrs. Claus in Arthur Christmas.
- Novelist Stephen King noted that Umbridge is the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter.
- Actress Imelda Staunton said that she nearly vomited when she had to film the scene where Umbridge makes Harry write in his own blood. She said it was one of the most "sickening parts she ever filmed".
- Umbridge is similar to Lord Farquaad from Shrek: They are diminutive perfectionists who are dangerously obsessed with order. Her quote above is the same as his final words.
- She is also similar to Lots-O' Huggin' Bear from Toy Story 3 as they are both sadistic tyrants who rule over Hogwarts and Sunnyside Daycare respectively with an iron fist. They are also both complete monsters, people in pink and the main antagonists of their first movie appearance (excluding Lotso's cameo in Up ). (Although Lotso only appears in one movie in his franchise).
- 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 character Starlight Glimmer, though Starlight got a change of heart and quit her villainy.
- She is the only character in the series, apart from Lord Voldemort, to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry Potter.
- WatchMojo.com listed Dolores Umbridge as #3 on their Top 10 "Most Evil Harry Potter Characters" list.