New Pottermore story reveals Dolores Umbridge was inspired by a real person


It was announced last week that J.K. Rowling would be publishing a new story on Pottermore this Halloween, but Harry Potter fans were delighted to log on to the site this morning and see not one new story, but six. And they don't disappoint. The longest piece, profiling Potter villain Dolores Umbridge, reveals many fascinating details about the character, including how she was inspired by someone Rowling knew in real life.

It's surprising to learn that Umbridge, who is extremely prejudiced against Muggles, is half-Muggle herself, although she kept this fact a secret. The former Hogwarts professor was responsible for unfairly imprisoning Muggle-borns during her time working for the Ministry of Magic. Although she wasn't a follower of Voldemort per se, Rowling stated that "she actively enjoys subjugating and humiliating others, and except in their declared allegiances, there is little to choose between her and Bellatrix Lestrange." After Voldemort was defeated, she was put on trial and sent to Azkaban.

Umbridge's affinity for pink and girly accessories was inspired by a teacher that Rowling said she "disliked intensely on sight." While making it clear that this woman was not cruel or heartless like Umbridge, "it is true to say that I borrowed from her, then grossly exaggerated, a taste for the sickly sweet and girlish in dress," Rowling said.

"I have noticed more than once in life that a taste for the ineffably twee can go hand-in-hand with a distinctly uncharitable outlook on the world," Rowling observed, something that is definitely true of Umbridge. "A love of all things saccharine often seems present where there is a lack of real warmth or charity."

The other new pieces cover a variety of topics, including the history of Azkaban, the life of Divination professor Sybil Trelawney and facts about all the past Ministers of Magic. They are all available now for those with a Pottermore account, and the full text of the Umbridge story is available on

Photo caption: Getty Images

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