and in that moment, the entire movie theater burst into tears
i think this was the moment that made most of us despise umbridge more than voldemort
most of us?! don’t you mean ALL of us?? I don’t think even Voldemort liked this bitch!
No one likes Umbridge.
I heard, one time, a dementor kissed her and IT died
Voldemort committed genocide, but Umbridge dared to be female while she abused her power.
The point isn’t that Umbridge was worse than Voldemort; it’s that everyone hates her more. And I think it has nothing to do with her being a woman and everything with being the sort of cruel most of us have actually experienced.
I mean, look at Voldemort. He’s basically Wizard Hitler, which is, obviously, an incredibly terrible thing to be. But most people—especially the younger people in Harry Potter’s target audience—have not had their parents murdered by a xenophobic cult leader. Nor have they fought for their lives against giant snakes, been kidnapped for dark rituals, or watched numerous friends die in front of them. Voldemort’s crimes are numerous, but they’re distant and fantastical, like hearing about a serial killer on the news.
But they have had that one teacher who inflicts extra punishments just because they don’t like you. They’ve complained to parents and authorities only to be ignored. They’ve sat through pointless classes and been silenced when they criticize. Umbridge is that teacher we all hated because she made our lives miserable and we were powerless to stop her. And as we grow out of school, there are still people in positions of power who act like her. The manager who denies your schedule requests and penalizes you for invented infractions. That customer who complains to corporate because their scam didn’t work, and the corporate decision to listen to their story. Cops performing illegal searches because they know you don’t have any proof.
Yes, torturing and killing numerous people is worse than terrorizing a handful of schoolchildren, but Voldemort is the bad guy in a fairy tale. Umbridge is personal.
Also, hey guys?
Umbridge is a torturer. She tortures people on-page. Her “punishment” for disagreeing with her is to carve words on the back of your hand, forcing you to use your own blood to write your lines. That? Is torture. That? Is abuse. That? Is violence..
She’s not just “mean”. She’s not just “unfair”. She is evil and she’s abusive, and she empowers the evil and abusive and then she tells the victims that it’s all their fault for disobeying her as she tries to gaslight them.
SHE TRIED TO MURDER A TEENAGE BOY, using Dementors as her weapons.
As demonstrated in the seventh book, the only thing stopping her from being Voldemort is she’s a coward who has to work within the rules. She will later happily oversee the abuse and torment of hundreds of witches and wizards and will be so happy to do so that her Patronus is a glowing little happy-cat so strong that she can’t even feel a room full of Dementors right next to her.
I don’t actually hate Umbridge worse than Voldemort, and her moment throwing out Trelawney was far from the moment I “started” hating her, because I hated her just fine long before that. But I have a contempt and a disgust for Umbridge that outweighs my contempt and disgust for Voldemort simply because of how she fits into society and how she uses it for her own ends, and how she justifies her actions. Voldemort at least comes right out and says that power-for-power’s-sake is the only real thing in the universe. When he kills you, it’s because he has the power to do so and wants to, and that’s all there is to it - he’ll even crow about that.
Umbridge? Umbridge tortures you and then tells you it’s your fault she’s doing it. She does this on. the damn. page.
So no, guys. Let’s not minimize Dolores Umbridge to the manager who denies your schedule requests. She’s of the same kind of evil, but a rather greater scale.
I will always reblog this because the commentary is so thoughtful and flawless.
The above commentary is great, but I just have to say—
Don’t even try to defend Umbridge on the “you just hate her because she’s female” card. Don’t even.
I would like to merge the two chunks of commentary together to say this: Voldemort is evil. Umbridge is a sadist. These two things can overlap, but they don’t always, and while I would wholeheartedly agree that Umbridge is vile (and yes, I hated her long before this point), I would say that what makes her so horrible is the fact that she is a sadist, while Voldemort is simply—almost generically—evil.
I mean, think about it. Voldemort uses the Cruciatus Curse, yes. But he does so mostly when he wants to prove a point. He did it to Harry to prove that he could, to make a point that Harry was nothing, that Harry could never defeat him. He tortured the Muggle Studies professor because his Death Eaters found it entertaining (and also to prove that Snape didn’t have any loyalties to his coworkers at Hogwarts, I think—it was something of a test). But most of the time, Voldemort just outright kills his opponents. He doesn’t care enough about them to torture them. Bellatrix does—look at what she did to the Longbottoms—but Bellatrix is not Voldemort. Voldemort is absolutely horrible (Wizard Hitler describes him perfectly), but he’s not explicitly sadistic.
Umbridge, on the other hand, is. She makes students carve their lines into the backs of their hands. She gives Filch permission to beat the students with a horse whip. She makes a spectacle out of Trelawney’s departure so that she can make her suffer more. She delights in restricting Harry from Quidditch and Hogsmeade. She taunts Snape about not getting his preferred job. And though she says that the Cruciatus Curse would be used simply to “loosen Harry’s tongue,” the way she’s described … well, here:
"Very well," [Umbridge] said, and she pulled out her wand. "Very well … I am left with no alternative… . This is more than a matter of school discipline… . This is an issue of ministry security… . Yes … yes …"
She seemed to be talking herself into something. She was shifting her weight nervously from foot to foot, staring at Harry, beating her wand against her empty palm and breathing heavily. Harry felt horribly powerless without his own wand as he watched her.
"You are forcing me, Potter… . I do not want to," said Umbridge, still moving restlessly on the spot, "but sometimes circumstances justify the use … I am sure the Minister will understand that I had no choice …"
Malfoy was watching her with a hungry expression on his face.
"The Cruciatus Curse ought to loosen your tongue," said Umbridge quietly.
"No!" shrieked Hermione. "Professor Umbridge—it’s illegal" — but Umbridge took no notice. There was a nasty, eager, excited look on her face that Harry had never seen before. She raised her wand.
"The Minister wouldn’t want you to break the law, Professor Umbridge!" cried Hermione.
"What Corenlius doesn’t know won’t hurt him," said Umbridge, who was now panting slightly as she pointed her wand at different parts of Harry’s body in turn, apparently trying to decide what would hurt the most. “He never knew I ordered dementors after Potter last summer, but he was delighted to be given the chance to expel him, all the same …” (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 746-47)
Umbridge likes causing pain. She likes seeing people suffer. And we, as the reader, get to see that in explicit detail. Bear in mind that Order of the Phoenix is the longest Harry Potter book (so why it wasn’t two movies I will never understand), and Umbridge is in most of it. We get to see her slowly and methodically ruin not only Harry’s life (though he was her primary target), but the lives of everyone around her. She’s so vile that Peeves actually listens to Fred and George when they tell him to give her hell. She’s so vile that the entire staff teams up against her, as well as most of the student body. We don’t see Voldemort very often, and when we do, it’s in quick bursts of generic evil and barely described murder; when we see Umbridge, it’s 800+ pages of her being malicious and cruel and giggling all the while.
Hatred for Umbridge does not come from the fact that she’s a woman with power. If that was the case, we would also hate Hermione, Professor McGonagall, Luna, Ginny, Mrs. Weasley, Angelina, Alicia, Katie, Cho (well, certain people do hate Cho, but they’re petty shippers who don’t bear mention), Madame Pomfrey, Professor Sprout, Tonks, and a host of other characters. The Harry Potter series is full of awesome female characters of all different types who wield magic that is just as powerful (if not more so—remember, Hermione Granger is the brightest witch of her age!) as their male compatriots. Hatred for Umbridge comes not from her sex, but from the fact that she delights in causing others misery, does so with astounding success, and we bear witness to this for over 800 pages.
The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters, but Umbridge shows that you don’t have to be a Death Eater—or a Nazi—to be a hateful, horrible person.