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Dolores Umbridge, the most evil character in the Harry Potter series.
on February 14, 2016
It's hard to write a review for a book in a series that you've read more times than you can remember, and seen the movie more times than you could count. From that statement alone it should be obvious that I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter series. Do I write my review based upon my first time reading it, or the everlasting impression this book has left me with? I think that fact that this book has made me think and ponder certain ideas over the years, I think the everlasting impression should be the topic of my review.
After encountering Dolores Umbridge, I was left pondering the question "What is evil?" Voldemort is obviously the Villian of the series, however I feel Umbridge is a much more sinister and evil Villian than even Voldemort. Voldemort's actions and evil deeds are really very simple to understand. What motivates him is power and greed and he is willing to go to any lengths to achieve those goals. While evil in itself, his motives and actions are very straight forward and easy to understand. It is easy to see Voldemort for the evil that he is, which therefore keeps him in hiding only surrounded by his Death Eaters. Dolores Umbridge is a very different type of evil. Dolores Umbridge is the type of evil that we, the muggles that we are, encounter on a daily basis. They are the people who enjoy the hurt, pain, chaos and distrust they cause through their manipulations and lies. The enjoy the devastation they cause in their wake. The fact that she can create the heartache she relishes so much with a false smile, sweet sanguine falsetto, and splashes of whimsy to give the impression of naïveté and an innocent childlike behavior which puts one off initially of comprehending the true evil she inflicts to hide the monster she is, and the fact that through these false tactics she has risen to a position of power to inflict heartache unto others, shows she is a master at hiding her true psychopathic personality. This sick personality trait is shown most clearly when she makes Harry write lines in detention. She knows Harry is telling the truth, yet she lies and manipulates him until she is in a position of power directly over him in detention at which point she not only continues her lies causing mental anguish to Harry, she continues her evil machinations by causing him physical pain by forcing him to use her quill which scratches and ultimately scars Harry for the rest of his life. Umbridge enjoys Harry's suffering. She even inspects his hand at the end of each detention to make sure he is being cut and that his hand is bleeding and then in a well satisfied way compliments Harry on completing his detention. Her only praise is when Harry does something to cause hurt and pain and twists what he knows is the truth into something false. This is standard textbook psychopathic behavior in domestic abusers.
The fact that Doloros Umbridge can navigate society in such a way as to gain a position if importance in the Minisrptry of Magic and flourish in normal wizarding society while hiding her insidious psychopathic tendencies leaves her in an excellent position of power to inflict hurt to others. Her brand if evil is subtle and is not so obvious at a first glance which gives her the ability to "blend in" with others and yet she victimizes many in her wake, as she navigates through life. In Voldemort's case, his brand of evil is so obvious to everyone that he is an outcast of the wizarding community, which ultimately lessens the number of his potential victims to those simply standing in his way of power, while in Umbridge's case her victim pool is limitless die to her access to the community and all those she comes across.
So here is the moral question I have pondered for many years since reading this book for the first time. "Which Behavior Is More Evil?" Personally, I feel Dolores Umbridge is the much more evil of the two characters based upon the reasons given in the prior paragraph. Whether you agree or disagree with me is not the point. The point is to make you think and ponder for yourself. The fact that this book makes you think long after you've turned the last page, is a mark of literacy success. Whiter you've read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix once, or a hundred times, it is always a great novel to read again and again, and question what constitutes as evil.