J.K. Rowling has written a new Harry Potter story, but it concerns the woman we love to hate, Dolores Umbridge. We get to find out things about Dolores Umbridge that we never knew in all of her frilly pink, kitten-loving fury.
The story isn’t really as story per-se, well, it’s still a story, it’s just not action-packed as we would have hoped. It’s the story of Dolores’ life. It turns out Dolores has a muggle mother and a squib brother. She has been deeply ashamed of this her entire life.
She was determined though and worked her way up through the ministry of magic. She banished her janitor father to early retirement and got things done around the ministry. When the dark side takes over Hogwarts, Dolores is the natural pick for straightening the place up. After the takeover ceases, Dolores continues on in a court that tries muggle-born witches and wizards. She is ultimately sentenced herself for her crimes.
Dolores never marries. While people do think she is effective in what she does, she is also a not very nice person. No one can really get close enough to her to see anything beyond the terrible things she does.
What I liked
I hate Dolores Umbridge. She’s a terrible person and I wish all those stupid cats on the stupid plates would jump out and eat her alive. She’s just awful, but this little snippet was a neat insight into her thoughts and actions. I’ve mentioned it before–villains were not always villains. They’re not all bad. There is still some goodness and some cause for sympathy in any villain you’re going to meet. I’ve used the example of Hitler wanting to be an artist on numerous occasions. Dolores had family issues. Dolores wasn’t comfortable with her heritage. Instead of embracing the heritage that made her unique she chose to try to ignore it.
J.K. Rowling has made some statements about race in her books; I don’t know if she did this on purpose or not. The pure-born wizards were worshiped by the death-eaters, while the wizards boasting one muggle parent or the other were condemned. The wizards with one parent this and one parent that didn’t really have a place in the world, or at least, they didn’t feel they had a place in the world. Dolores represents this small group of people who still hold onto backwards ideas and beliefs. She thinks it’s still the age of the pure-born wizards, even when she herself doesn’t necessarily fit into that mold.
I can’t say much about walking between two races or two ethnic groups. It’s true that I’m not all the way white, but I pass for white and I have my entire life. Nobody has ever been prejudiced against me because of my ancestry. There are plenty of others who have been prejudiced against. I read an interesting article some time back written by a woman who was half-white and half-Tongan. She basically described her situation as too dark to be white and too light to be Tongan. She wrote about how neither society never really fully accepted her. The struggle of Dolores reminds me very much of the struggle written by this woman. It may be a sad imitation of the real struggle, but it’s something understandable, even if it’s just pretend. It’s a way to say that stuff like this happens in the real world and it’s really quite silly that people would even care what your ancestry was. You’re you and that’s important; it doesn’t matter who your parents are.
It’s just too bad Dolores was never able to accept her ancestry and it’s sad that she took her nonacceptance out on other people.
I liked how J.K. gave some personal background into the creation of Dolores. She mentions a teacher that wasn’t necessarily nice and seemed to dress like a little girl. This woman was her inspiration for Umbridge.
What I didn’t like
This story was short. I really wish that J.K. would get a move on writing some more books from the world of Harry Potter. They don’t have to be about Harry, but the books could be about other people in the storyline.
I don’t like Dolores. I would think there are more worthy characters to write a story about, but like I said, it was a nice insight.
So we learn that Dolores is so power-hungry and so ashamed of her heritage that she cuts all her ties with her family. Don’t you think that’s awful? She doesn’t have anyone. Nobody likes Dolores. She doesn’t have nephews and nieces to spoil. She doesn’t have a boyfriend. She doesn’t talk to her mom. She’s just kind of out there being alone with all her stupid cat plates. It’s kind of sad really.
Poor Dolores–no, wait, what am I thinking?! Let’s chase her off into the woods.
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