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Dolores Umbridge introduces a seemingly endless string
of problems to the students at Hogwarts. She serves as the Senior
Undersecretary to Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, and is
extremely loyal to him. Like Fudge, she refuses to acknowledge the
return of Lord Voldemort, and she believes that both Dumbledore
and Harry Potter are devious liars. Fudge forces Dumbledore to appoint Umbridge
as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and from her first
moment at the school, when she interrupts Dumbledore’s welcome speech
to give a long, tedious lecture about her role at Hogwarts, she
is massively disliked by both students and faculty. This dislike,
however, is rooted in more than just her unpleasant personality.
Defense Against the Dark Arts is a crucial class at Hogwarts, but
Umbridge refuses to teach her students any actual Defense spells,
instructing them instead to simply read their textbooks during class
time. Her students are forced to meet in secret. The only students
who seem to respond favorably to Umbridge’s presence are Draco Malfoy
and his gang of Slytherins, and even then only because Umbridge
expresses such a strong dislike for Harry Potter, whom Draco has
When Umbridge is appointed High Inquisitor of Hogwarts,
her negative effect on the school increases a hundredfold, especially
for Harry. She insists on posting new and progressively more ridiculous Educational
Decrees to the student bulletin boards. She bans Harry from the
Quidditch team and forces him to carve “I must not tell lies” into
the back of his hand until he bleeds. She reads Harry’s mail and
prevents him from corresponding with Sirius. Ultimately, she discovers
the secret meeting place of her Dark Arts students and forces Dumbledore
to resign, effectively destroying the central spirit of Hogwarts.
Umbridge’s name is very close to the word “umbrage,” which means
“to take offense,” and this characterization fits Umbridge perfectly.
Umbridge takes much offense at Harry and even more at the way Hogwarts
is being run: besides forcing Dumbledore’s resignation, she fires
Professor Trelawney and Hagrid and clashes frequently with Professors
McGonagall and Snape. Umbridge ultimately gets her comeuppance,
but the damage she causes will surely linger even after her very
welcomed departure from the school.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix!