J.K. Rowling Publishes New Harry Potter Story About the Malevolent Dolores Umbridge


Although J.K. Rowl­ing wrote the final book in the Har­ry Pot­ter series in 2007, she con­tin­ues to give Pot­ter fans an occa­sion­al fix, pub­lish­ing short works that add a lit­tle more col­or and detail to the Har­ry Pot­ter sto­ry. Ardent fans know that Rowl­ing wrote a short Pre­quel in 2008. Also, ear­li­er this year, she began writ­ing new sto­ries about the 2014 Quid­ditch World Cup Finals for Pot­ter­more, the web­site for all things Har­ry Pot­ter. She lat­er fol­lowed with a sto­ry that takes the form of an arti­cle pub­lished in The Dai­ly Prophet  (“Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quid­ditch World Cup Final”), which gives us the first glimpse of the adult Har­ry Pot­ter.

Now, on Hal­loween, we get “The Sto­ry of Dolores Jane Umbridge” — a short fic­tion­al essay that gives us a more com­plete per­son­al por­trait of the char­ac­ter that read­ers found so easy to dis­like. In the essay [SPOILER ALERT], we learn that Umbridge was, gasp, a half blood, who had demon­strat­ed a cer­tain capac­i­ty for wicked­ness at a young age: “Even at sev­en­teen, Dolores was judge­men­tal, prej­u­diced and sadis­tic, although her con­sci­en­tious atti­tude, her sac­cha­rine man­ner towards her supe­ri­ors, and the ruth­less­ness and stealth with which she took cred­it for oth­er peo­ple’s work soon gained her advance­ment.”

Rowl­ing then appends some per­son­al com­ments to the sto­ry, explain­ing the ori­gins of the Umbridge char­ac­ter. She writes:

Once, long ago, I took instruc­tion in a cer­tain skill or sub­ject (I am being vague as vague can be, for rea­sons that are about to become obvi­ous), and in doing so, came into con­tact with a teacher or instruc­tor whom I dis­liked intense­ly on sight.

The woman in ques­tion returned my antipa­thy with inter­est. Why we took against each oth­er so instant­ly, hearti­ly and (on my side, at least) irra­tional­ly, I hon­est­ly can­not say. What sticks in my mind is her pro­nounced taste for twee acces­sories. I par­tic­u­lar­ly recall a tiny lit­tle plas­tic bow slide, pale lemon in colour that she wore in her short curly hair.… [H]er ten­den­cy to wear frills where (I felt) frills had no busi­ness to be, and to car­ry under­sized hand­bags, again as though they had been bor­rowed from a child’s dress­ing-up box, jarred, I felt, with a per­son­al­i­ty that I found the reverse of sweet, inno­cent and ingen­u­ous.

To learn more about the fic­tion­al and non-fic­tion­al sides of Dolores Umbridge, read Rowl­ing’s new piece here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How J.K. Rowl­ing Plot­ted Har­ry Pot­ter with a Hand-Drawn Spread­sheet

Take Free Online Cours­es at Hog­warts: Charms, Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts & More

The Quan­tum Physics of Har­ry Pot­ter, Bro­ken Down By a Physi­cist and a Magi­cian

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Comments (4)
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  • soa says:

    Mud­blood is gen­er­al­ly accept­ed to mean born to two mug­gle par­ents, not just one.

  • christina says:

    when is the book and movie com­ing out about doris umbridge

  • halley says:

    wow its sound nice

  • Deh! says:

    I won­der what Rowl­ing’s teacher thought when she found out she’d been turned into a car­i­ca­ture in one of the dullest fran­chise in the his­to­ry of movie fran­chis­es. Seri­ous­ly each episode fol­low­ing the boy wiz­ard and his pals from Hog­warts Acad­e­my as they fight assort­ed vil­lains has been indis­tin­guish­able from the oth­ers. Aside from the gloomy imagery, the series’ only con­sis­ten­cy has been its lack of excite­ment and inef­fec­tive use of spe­cial effects, all to make mag­ic unmag­i­cal, to make action seem inert.

    Per­haps the die was cast when Rowl­ing vetoed the idea of Spiel­berg direct­ing the series; she made sure the series would nev­er be mis­tak­en for a work of art that meant any­thing to anybody?just ridicu­lous­ly prof­itable cross-pro­mo­tion for her books. The Har­ry Pot­ter series might be anti-Chris­t­ian (or not), but it’s cer­tain­ly the anti-James Bond series in its refusal of won­der, beau­ty and excite­ment. No one wants to face that fact. Now, thank­ful­ly, they no longer have to.

    >a‑at least the books were good though


    The writ­ing is dread­ful; the book was ter­ri­ble. As I read, I noticed that every time a char­ac­ter went for a walk, the author wrote instead that the char­ac­ter “stretched his legs.”

    I began mark­ing on the back of an enve­lope every time that phrase was repeat­ed. I stopped only after I had marked the enve­lope sev­er­al dozen times. I was incred­u­lous. Rowling’s mind is so gov­erned by clich­es and dead metaphors that she has no oth­er style of writ­ing. Lat­er I read a lav­ish, lov­ing review of Har­ry Pot­ter by the same Stephen King. He wrote some­thing to the effect of, “If these kids are read­ing Har­ry Pot­ter at 11 or 12, then when they get old­er they will go on to read Stephen King.” And he was quite right. He was not being iron­ic. When you read “Har­ry Pot­ter” you are, in fact, trained to read Stephen King.

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