Umbridge: The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened to Hogwarts?

by Antariksh Bothale

We all hate Professor Umbridge. We love to hate her; we would kick her anytime. She is cruel, she is evil, and she is hate worthy; she is short, plump, and has stubby fingers with rings on them, she looks like an overgrown toad, and she has an artificial cough that would take your temper to the skies. She tries to keep a sick, sweet, benign smile on her face but fails miserably. She is not loathed by students alone. Teachers look at her with disgust. She is Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic and is at Hogwarts as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and High Inquisitor. She has the power of the Ministry behind her and thus makes sure whatever she wants is done by issuing Ministry Decrees. She has a black quill, which writes things with the author’s blood. She is, in short, just repulsive.

After this brief (hem, hem) description of Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge, let me move to the main topic of my editorial. I know you are all furious at me for calling Umbridge the best thing that has ever happened to Hogwarts. I would not have supported Filch, even if it were a choice between him and the Giant Squid. I am saying that the coming of Umbridge, though cruel and torturous, was a big benefit. Ask Why? Read on.

Till OotP, we have lived in a very close atmosphere. We had no knowledge or concern whatsoever of what was going on out of Hogwarts. PS/SS and CoS were completely Hogwarts centered. PoA had the slight tinge of fear outside Hogwarts. GoF, though including the Triwizard Tournament, is also centered on Hogwarts. No longer in OotP. In OotP, we have entered a new dimension. The POLITICAL one. As Dawson Smith in his editorial Things to Expect from the Second War has stated, the fight is no more with wands but on the political stage, when people reveal their true royalties. That is perhaps the theme of the next two books. Similarly the students of Hogwarts were unaware of what is going on outside and thus didn’t care about it. Only Harry, Ron and Hermione were the ones who had an inkling of it. It was due to that reason that nobody believed Harry and Dumbledore. They didn’t have any reason to believe them. The Ministry, in their opinion, was speaking the truth. And it was better to assume that Harry and Dumbledore are lying and give self-consolation that Voldemort has not returned. This method was easier than taking the word of two people, a teenager who seems to have unusual fits and who probably desires just publicity, and an old man, who seems to have gone wild after the Potter Boy ignoring what the world had to say, and then facing the great fear that Lord Voldemort has indeed return. They didn’t want to believe it.

The reason why I went so off-route was that I wanted to impress upon the fact that the whole scenario has now changed. Now let me switch back to my topic of discussion: Umbridge. With the coming of Umbridge to Hogwarts, Harry and the group weren’t the only ones who knew how bad the Ministry could go. Umbridge presented an image of the Ministry to the entire school. The students got fed up of her and her never-ending decrees and in turn of the ministry. This turned them towards Harry and Dumbledore and made them think that they had a point. That led to the students joining the DA. They wanted to just oppose Umbridge. Thus, Umbridge gave them the picture of malevolence, of evil. Up till now, they didn’t know what evil was. The students, who till now, were just interested in the plain life and studies, now came to know of what is waiting for them “out there.” The sixth book will be dark, it is clear, but this time it won’t be just Harry and group who will hold out the torches, it will be the entire school (except perhaps the Slytherins. I have hated them since PS/SS, and OotP has reinforced my hatred) who will join in the fight. At the least, I hope it will be like this.

The aim of my editorial was not to make you pro-Umbridge, but to make you understand that the introduction of Umbridge was for the benefit of the series. Her story commenced and ended in OotP. But, she has done her job. She opened the students’ eyes. Goodbye, Dolores Umbridge. Criticisms, Comments or Questions? You can send me an owl here (Subject: HP)