Skip to Content

Dolores Umbridge Character Analysis: High Inquisitor

Dolores Umbridge Character Analysis: High Inquisitor

Our readers support us. This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More

Dolores Umbridge was a senior Ministry for Magic official in the 1990s. She became Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts in 1995 to exert Ministry influence in the school. She later also became High Inquisitor to give her greater power within the school. Her actions forced Professor Dumbledore out, and she temporarily assumed the position of Headmistress.

After a disastrous year at Hogwarts, Umbridge returned to the Ministry for Magic. She was still working there when it came under Death Eater control in August 1997. Under this new regime, she ran the Muggle Born Registration Commission and persecuted many Muggle-born witches and wizards. She was sent to Azkaban after the end of the war.

About Dolores Umbridge

Born26 August pre-1961
Blood StatusHalf-Blood
OccupationSenior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic
Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher
High Inquisitor of Hogwarts
PatronusPersian cat
Wand8-inch birch and dragon heartstring
Zodiac SignVirgo

Dolores Umbridge Early Life

Dolores Umbridge was the oldest child of the wizard Orford Umbridge and a muggle named Ellen Cracknell. She was born a witch, and her younger brother a Squib. Due to her father’s influence, she learned to despise her Muggle mother and Squib brother, and she stopped speaking to both of them while still a youth.

At the age of eleven, she began attending Hogwarts, obtaining an unusually short wand from Garrick Ollivander. According to the wandmaker, short wands tend to choose morally stunted people (not short people – which Dolores also was).

At school, she was a member of Slytherin House while Horace Slughorn was Head of House. He did not like Dolores and later called her an idiotic woman. She resented never having a position of power at school, such as Prefect.

Dolores Umbridge joins the Ministry for Magic

After school, Dolores sought out a career of power in the Ministry for Magic. She started in the Improper Use for Magic Office, eventually becoming the Head of the Office by cozying up to powerful witches and wizards and taking credit for the work of others. She used her position of authority to tyrannize her subordinates.

Meanwhile, her father had a lowly position in the Department of Magical Maintenance, which was deeply embarrassing for Dolores. She convinced him to quit in exchange for a small monthly allowance and keep a low profile. From that point forward, she started to lie about her family and claimed to be pure blood.

Since blood purity philosophy was quite strong within the Ministry, this move helped her rise to the position of Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic and gain a place in the Wizengamot.

Dolores used her power to make life difficult for anyone who remembered her father and thought to mention him. At the same time, she tried to curry favor with more senior officials. However, she failed to find the powerful husband that she was looking for.

On more than one occasion she became intoxicated by a glass of sweet sherry and touted anti-Muggle and anti “half-breed” views that shocked even the most avid pure-blood supremacists within the Ministry.

She would later draft a piece of anti-werewolf legislation that made it almost impossible for werewolves, such as Remus Lupin, to work. She also campaigned for the Merpeople to be rounded up and tagged, but the bill was never passed.

Dolores Umbridge and the Little Whinging Attack

When Harry returned from the cemetery at Little Hangleton with news that Lord Voldemort had returned, Ministry for Magic Cornelius Fudge could not bring himself to believe this horror.

Fudge denied the Dark Lord’s return and claimed that Harry was unhinged. He also suggested that Dumbledore was using Harry to plant fear and confusion in the wizarding world. The Ministry started working hard to discredit both Dumbledore and Harry Potter.

Wanting to push the Ministry’s cause, Dolores Umbridge secretly sent two Dementors to Little Whinging to attack Harry Potter. Harry was able to fend off the creatures. However, he was charged with underage magic and performing magic in front of a Muggle. This was his cousin Dudley Dursley who he was saving from the Dementors.

While this would have usually been a mild disciplinary action, the Wizengamot initially expelled Harry. However, due to Albus Dumbledore’s influence, they were forced to give him a trial.

During the trial, Umbridge made it clear that she thought that Harry should be punished for his actions. When he claimed that he only cast the charm because of the Dementors, she said that his story could not be true since the Dementors were under the control of the Ministry. When Dumbledore pointed out that this made the actions of the Dementors particularly worrying, Dolores Umbridge was very unimpressed.

However, despite Dolores’ best efforts, Harry was acquitted and allowed to return to Hogwarts.

Dolores Umbridge Arrives at Hogwarts

This incident with Harry convinced the Ministry that they needed to keep a closer eye on him, Dumbledore, and what was happening at Hogwarts. Cornelius Fudge feared that Dumbledore was using the school to train his followers. Consequently, in 1995, Umbridge was sent to Hogwarts as Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher.

Umbridge was introduced at the start of term feast as a new teacher. Unlike any other teacher before her, she interrupted Dumbledore during his normal speech to address the school. She gave a speech that Hermione Granger summarised as the Ministry interfering at Hogwarts.

The Ministry of Magic has always considered the education of young witches and wizards to be of vital importance…There again, progress for progress’s sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering… Let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness, and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited.

Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

She spoke in a condescending manner as if the students were five years old. The teachers were visibly uncomfortable during her speech, but of the students, only Hermione seems to have recognized the significance of her words.

Umbridge at the Hogwarts start of year feast

Umbridge as Defence Against the Dark Art Teacher

Umbridge made it clear in her first class that she was unimpressed with Defence Against the Dark Arts teaching at the school and that she would be introducing a new regime. This regime involved “wands away” as they focused purely on theory. There would be no practical magic practiced in the class.

Well now, your teaching in this subject has been rather disrupted and fragmented, hasn’t it? The constant changing of teachers, many of whom do not seem to have followed any Ministry-approved curriculum, has unfortunately resulted in your being far below the standard we would expect to see in your O.W.L. year. You will be pleased to know, however, that these problems are now to be rectified. We will be following a carefully structured, theory-centred, Ministry-approved course of defensive magic this year. Copy down the following, please.

Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Most of the time, she had students read the textbook during class. Unable to answer their questions, these were also forbidden. Anyone who spoke out in class was immediately disciplined.

Dolores Umbridge and Harry Potter

While Umbridge victimized all of her students, she took particular pleasure in disciplining Harry. When he spoke out in class one day with his story about Lord Voldemort returning, she accused him of being a liar in front of everyone. When he did not back down, he was given a week of detention.

In detention, Harry was to write lines with a special quill. As he wrote, the quill carved what he wrote into the back of Harry’s hand. Over time, this practice cut a deep scar into the back of his hand.

Later, when Harry gave an interview to The Quibbler about his encounter with Lord Voldemort in Little Hangleton, Umbridge banned the magazine from the school on penalty of expulsion. Of course, this just made the article even more popular. She also removed Harry’s Hogsmeade privileges, since this is where he did the interview.

Umbridge’s Office at Hogwarts

Dolores Umbridge the High Inquisitor

After a short period, Umbridge realized that she would need more power at Hogwarts. She convinced the Ministry to pass Educational Decree Number Twenty-Three, making her the High Inquisitor of the school. This would enable her to evaluate her fellow teachers and place them on probation or fire them.

As she went around assessing teachers, it was clear that she enjoyed the power that she had over them. She tried especially hard to make teachers close to Dumbledore uncomfortable but was firmly put in her place by Minerva McGonagall.

Hagrid had less luck in his role of Care of Magical Creatures teacher. Umbridge took a dislike to him because he was a “half-breed”, half-giant and half wizard. She claimed that the students could not understand him when he was speaking and that they were afraid of him.

Umbridge would place both Hagrid and Divination teacher Sybill Trelaweny on probation, and eventually have them both fired. She tried to have Trelawney physically removed from the castle. But Dumbledore intervened and stopped him from throwing her out of the castle.

Dumbledore was not around to help Hagrid, whom Umbridge confronted in the middle of the night with several Aurors from the Ministry. He was able to flee, but Minerva McGonagall was badly injured when she was hit by four stunning spells simultaneously by the Aurors as she tried to help Hagrid.

Dolores Umbridge and Dumbledore’s Army

In response to Umbridge basically prohibiting Defence Against the Dark Arts teaching at Hogwarts, Hermione organized a group that would meet to learn defensive magic from Harry Potter.

When news of this proposed group reached Umbridge’s ears, she passed a decree abolishing all student groups of three or more students. All student groups had to be authorized by her personally. This included the house Quidditch teams.

She only grudgingly allowed the Gryffindor team to reform. However, she did later permanently ban Harry Potter and Fred and George Weasley from playing Quidditch following an altercation with Draco Malfoy.

Umbridge was convinced that students were breaking her rules, so she created a group called the Inquisitorial Squad. This was a group of students, mostly selected from Slytherin, that Umbridge used to patrol other students. They could even take house points away from their peers.

This group, with Umbridge, was able to locate the DA meeting in the Room of Requirement as Marietta Edgecombe, who was a member of the group, betrayed their secret. Umbridge pressured her as her mother worked at the Ministry.

Umbridge called Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge to the school with the intention of having Harry thrown out for breaking the rules. But instead, Dumbledore claimed that he was the one who had organized the group, after all, the students had called themselves Dumbledore’s Army. Dumbledore left the school rather than let the Aurors take him, and Umbridge was installed as Headmistress in his place.

Dolores Umbridge the Headmistress

Umbridge’s ousting of Dumbledore turned the simmering resentment for her among the students and staff into rage and rebellion. Many students started conducting pranks to make life difficult for Umbridge, and the other teachers refused to help her keep them under control.

Fred and George Weasley were the worst culprits. After a particularly impressive prank, they flew away from the school on the broomsticks rather than face punishment. They were already thinking about leaving school to start their magical joke business anyway.

She led the school from her old office. The Headmaster’s office refused to open for her. This angered Umbridge greatly.

As well as not helping Umbridge, the other teachers would call her to help with any minor spell or charm cast by students. When The Quibbler article was released, she banned teachers from talking to students about topics beyond their subject. Consequently, the teachers could claim that they did not know whether they had the authority to deal with the issue themselves.

Umbridge also began intercepting and monitoring all communications in and out of Hogwarts, assuming that Harry would be in contact with Albus Dumbledore.

Dolores Umbridge and the Unforgivable Curse

Near the end of the year, Harry was desperate to speak to Sirius Black to confirm his well-being, following some visions placed in his mind by Lord Voldemort. Hermione suggested that the only fireplace connected to the Floo Network that was unmonitored was the one in Umbridge’s office, so they hatched a plan to access it.

Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Neville Longbottom hatched a plan to get Harry a few minutes in Umbridge’s office. Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad caught the group. Umbridge held them all in her office.

The Headmistress summoned Professor Snape and demanded that he provide her with Veritaserum so that she could question Harry. Snape claimed that he had none left since she had used it all and that it would take considerable time to make more.

Instead, Umbridge resolved to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry to get the information that she needed. But Hermione pretended to be horrified by this idea and claimed that she would tell Umbridge everything, much to the horror of the others. But rather than tell Umbridge about Sirius, Hermione claimed that they had been building a weapon for Dumbledore and that they were trying to contact him to tell him that it was ready.

This was exactly what Umbridge wanted to hear, and she demanded that Harry and Hermione escort her to the weapon. The pair convinced her to leave the members of the Inquisitorial Squad behind. They implied that they could not be trusted with the secret.

Dolores Umbridge in the Forbidden Forest

Hermione deliberately led Umbridge to the part of the forest where the centaurs live in the hope that they would deal with Umbridge for her and Harry. She was correct, they responded in anger when she shamelessly insulted them.

They chased Umbridge through the forest, breaking her wand under their hooves and almost killing her. But Dumbledore arrived at the school around this time and saved Umbridge.

Meanwhile, Harry and his friends had gone to the Department of Mysteries where they engaged in battle with a group of Death Eaters. They were later joined by members of the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore, and Lord Voldemort himself. Lord Voldemort’s return was finally publicly exposed, and Harry and Dumbledore were vindicated. Dumbledore was able to return to Hogwarts as Headmaster.

Umbridge was suspended from her role at the school following accusations of abuse. She also spent quite a bit of time recovering in the hospital wing. She later tried to sneak out of the castle without anyone seeing her, but Peeves the poltergeist made sure she got a proper send-off.

Umbridge and the Centaurs

Dolores Umbridge Returns to the Ministry

Despite her appalling behavior at Hogwarts, Umbridge returned to the Ministry of Magic as Senior Undersecretary to the new Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour. One of the reasons that Harry Potter never trusted Scrimgeour was his continued trust in Umbridge. She attended Albus Dumbledore’s funeral in an official capacity in 1997.

While Umbridge was never a Death Eater, she found opportunities for herself when Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters took over the Ministry in August 1997 through their puppet Minister for Magic Pius Thicknesse.

She was the head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, which required all Muggle-born witches and wizards to register themselves. They were then hauled in front of a court and questioned about how they stole their wands and magic from “real wizards”.

The court was patrolled by Dementors, in place to intimidate the victims of the commission. Umbridge used her cat Patronus to protect herself and the other judges from their influence.

During this time, she also managed to procure the magical eye of the deceased Auror and member of the Order of the Phoenix Alastor Moody. She used the eye to spy on her staff when she was not in the office, terrorizing them as she had her students at Hogwarts.

During this period she also made Mundungus Fletcher turn over a found gold locket to her in exchange for not sending him to Azkaban. This locket had belonged to Salazar Slytherin and was inscribed with an S. Unaware of this, Umbridge claimed that the S was for Selwyn, a pure-blood family to which she falsely claimed to be related.

Also unknown to her, this locket was also one of the Horcruxes that Harry, Hermione, and Ron were hunting.

Umbridge interrogates Muggle-born witches and wizards

Dolores Umbridge Loses Slytherin’s Locket

Harry Potter and Hermione Granger infiltrated the trial of a muggle-born witch that Dolores was overseeing. They had used Polyjuice Potion to assume the identities of Ministry officials.

Harry became intensely angry as he saw Umbridge questioning and abusing the witch. He stunned her from beneath his invisibility cloak. This let Hermione, who was sitting near Umbridge grab the locket. She also replaced it with a replica that she had magically created so that she would not be aware of the loss.

Dolores Umbridge’s Imprisonment

Dolores Umbridge was not a Death Eater and did not participate in the Battle of Hogwarts. But she clearly and willingly committed many crimes during her time at the Ministry.

When Kingsley Shacklebolt was made Minister for Magic after the death of Lord Voldemort, he saw that Umbridge was arrested and sent to Azkaban for her crimes.

Dolores Umbridge in the Alternate Timeline

In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy accidentally create an alternative timeline when they stop Cedric Diggory from dying in the Triwizard Tournament. Instead, he becomes a Death Eater, and his actions see Lord Voldemort win the Battle of Hogwarts.

In this alternative timeline, Umbridge was again Headmistress of Hogwarts. There were Dementors at Hogwarts, and the school celebrated Voldemort Day.

Scorpius was alone in this timeline, as Harry had died and therefore Albus Potter was never born. Scorpius worked with Hermione, Ron, and Severus Snape in the alternative timeline to try and restore the original timeline.

Umbridge saw Hermione and Ron given the Dementor’s kiss. She then confronted Scorpius and Snape and claimed to have known Snape’s true loyalty for years. She attacked the two, but Snape held her back with a Banishing Charm. Scorpius escaped through time to restore the timeline.

Dolores Umbridge Personality Type & Traits

Dolores Umbridge was not a Death Eater but was universally considered a “nasty piece of work”. She was bigoted in her ideas and ruthless in her actions. She set Dementors on an underage Harry Potter. Umbridge was willing to use the Cruciatus Curse on a student to get the information that she wanted. She persecuted Muggle-born wizards on what she knew were false pretenses.

Umbridge craved power and respect and would do anything she could to get it, without any consideration for others.

Umbridge also seems to have had an obsessive personality. This was clear from her office, which was meticulously neat. However, it was designed in a garish pink and scores of images of kittens.

Dolores Umbridge Zodiac Sign & Birthday

Dolores Umbridge was born on 26 August, sometime before 1961, which means her zodiac sign is Virgo. People born under this sign are relentless in the pursuit of their goals. They are also good at compartmentalizing their emotions, which means that they can do great things, but also terrible things.