Anyone who’s met, or read about, Dolores Umbridge knows she’s the absolute worst. Handing out draconian punishments—like making Harry Potter scar himself with her magical, pointy quill and banning half the Gryffindor team from playing Quidditch—are small potatoes when compared to the horrific practices she enacted against Muggle-borns and non-wand-carrying magical folk under Lord Voldemort’s regime.
J.K. Rowling’s newest writing, published today on Pottermore.com, details Umbridge’s backstory, rise to power, and defeat in a 1,700-word Halloween treat for Harry Potter fans. There are also several more stories about the wizarding world, including information on Dementors, Thestrals, Sybill Trelawney, and backstories on the names of characters. “The Story Of Dolores Jane Umbridge,” in addition to expanding what we know of the character, also includes Rowling’s own feelings on Umbridge, including some real-life inspiration for the sickly saccharine character.
As it turns out, the witch who claimed to be of pure wizarding blood is not as pure as she pretends. Rowling also fills in readers on her fate, revealing that, although many assumed that Umbridge didn’t fare well in the post-Voldemort world Harry helped to create, she’s now in Azkaban (may she rot there) for “her enthusiastic co-operation with [Voldemort’s] regime.” Rowling also writes that the hated character is based on an amalgam of people Rowling has met and had the misfortune to work with. In a typically Rowlingsque observation of characteristics, she notes, “I have noticed more than once in life that a taste for the ineffably twee can go hand-in-hand with a distinctly uncharitable outlook on the world.”
If you don’t have a Pottermore account, Today is also hosting the Umbridge story. The other new, Pottermore-exclusive material includes a story about Professor Sybill Trelawney’s unsuccessful early marriage and her drinking habits; another delving into the history of the wizard prison Azkaban; and a closer look at the “carnivorous horses” known as Thestrals. Rowling previously released two other supplemental writings on her wizarding world, filling us in on popular singing sorceress Celestina Warbeck and giving us a Rita Skeeter-penned account of Harry Potter as an adult.