Remember when the last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released and J.K. Rowling announced that there would be no more stories about the “boy wizard”? The children (and adults) of the world all sobbed, silently asking themselves why, God, why?!?! But it seems like Rowling punked us all, because she’s been turning out more and more Potter-based stories and spinoffs on Pottermore each month.
The standout in her latest series revolves around the terrible, horrible, cat-loving Dolores Umbridge, who so neurotically sought order. According to Rowling, there are some reasons for the interim Headmistress’ cruel tactics and turn to evil, the main being her broken upbringing (her mother was a Muggle and when she was 15, her mother and Squib brother retreated to the Muggle world, never to be seen by Dolores again). Still, Rowling seems to make the case that Umbridge was inherently corrupt and wicked: “Even at seventeen, Dolores was judgemental, prejudiced and sadistic, although her conscientious attitude, her saccharine manner towards her superiors, and the ruthlessness and stealth with which she took credit for other people’s work soon gained her advancement.”
The story also goes into Umbridge’s time in Hogwartz hierarchy and her departure, which came because “she overreached the remit Fudge had given her, stepping outside the bounds of her own authority, carried away with a fanatical sense of self-purpose.” Sounds about right. After, she returned to the Ministry of Magic, which Voldemort’s return left in ruin. With the Death Eaters in control, “Dolores was in her true element at last,” writes Rowling. “Correctly judged, by senior Death Eaters, to have much more in common with them than she ever had with Albus Dumbledore, she not only retained her post but was given extra authority.” After Harry defeated Voldemort, Umbridge was put on trial, “convicted of the torture, imprisonment and deaths of several people,” and sent to Azkaban—a thinly-veiled reference to Guantanamo Bay.