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I’m not going with a character I love, I’m going with a character that I love to hate. Actually no, I think I just plain old hate Dolores Umbridge, the ghastly creation of J.K Rowling, first introduced in The Order of the Phoenix.
She encompasses all the kind of traits that I loathe – the passive aggressive, simpering evil – but ever so nice. Can’t fault her behaviour as she hides behind a polite little mask and blends in with the rest of society – only showing her ugly side while everyone else’s backs are turned. Unfortunately such nasty people exist in this world – but hopefully they are few and far between.
Umbridge, unlike Imelda Staunton (who is a brilliant actress, played her to a tea but doesn’t look anything like her) resembles a stout, flabby toad, wearing a criminal amount of pink and likes all things cutesy and adorable. Sickening.
Umbridge works for good old Fudge in the Ministry – showing yet again how remarkably corrupt the MoM has become. It’s a rather cynical and exaggerated view of government, although when looking back over the donations and expenses scandal in the British government, perhaps not so cynical after all. Umbridge is the personification of hypocrisy, corruption and red tape. Fudge – although not a supporter of Voldemort as Umbridge, is happy to overlook certain things – like laws – and close his eyes to what’s going on around him.
On one side, she is a one sided villain, easy to hate – in fact loathe – more then anyone else in the whole Harry Potter series – even more then Voldemort. He is after all a complete and utter nutter. Lucius Malfoy’s position is more clear and he is a Death Eater, he is attracted more to the power. Umbridge though, she is not a visible supporter – she is the kind of person you could live next door to and consider a good neighbour. She would not become a Death Eater – she is just happy to reap the benefits of such a regime.
She represents all those kinds of people – the ones that come out of the cupboard, the ones you thought you knew until they shrug their respectable shells off to reveal their truer selves beneath. So Umbridge is not quite the caricature of evil that she might be mistaken for in the Order of the Phoenix.
Yet, she isn’t taken laying down by the Hogwarts students. Harry forms Dumbledore’s Army, paralleling the Order of the Phoenix by gathering Hogwarts students together in union, which later becomes important in book seven at the battle of Hogwarts. Umbridge isn’t abided by, or put up with – she is fought against and it is immensely satisfactory.