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.
*drops the mic*
Voldemort is the villain we never hope to face.
Umbridge is the villain we face every day.
It’s the banality of Umbridge’s evil that does it for me. She’s the evil of absolute order, sadism that masks itself behind doilies and cute kitten pictures. She’s the purity of institutional power, absolutely pristine and spotless because her pink furniture and lace cover up the blood she’s spilled—the blood she sees as necessary to the preservation of order and her power.
And, y’know, I always knew Harry would defeat Voldemort. Probably at some kind of cost because Hero Narrative, but that’s how these stories work.
I was not entirely certain that Umbridge wouldn’t win.
*nodnod* It all comes down to the fact that at least with Volermort, you know where he stood. Death and horror came in his wake.
But Umbridge was in a place that was meant to be safe. She was meant to be a teacher. She was meant to work for the well-being of her children. Only two people every gave Harry Potter scars. One of them was Voldemort. One of them was Umbridge. And only one of those people gave him those scars deliberately. Yes, I know Voldemort meant to kill him. He’s the villain. This is what he does.
But a teacher is not meant to torture her pupils until they are bleeding, simply because they say something she doesn’t agree with. A teacher is meant to protect the kids in her care and not methodically take them aside and drug them and torture them to punish them for having their own opinions and for being kids.
And the fact she smiles while she did it, and got off on the fact she was making these kids bleed? That’s what makes her terrifying.
Volemort killed out of hate and anger and violence. Umbridge tortured and mutilated countless children and drugged them and manipulated them, all for her own pleasure and sense of control.