Hate is a strong word, a strong emotion, and something I try not to feel in regards to real people. (There has to be something nice to say about everyone, right? Maybe not but I try).
But when it comes to book characters I let the emotions run wild.
And boy do my emotions run wild during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Not only does a beloved character die but readers are introduced to a character that I can honestly say I hate even more than I hate Voldemort.
That character is Delores Umbridge.
Umbridge arrives in book five where she’s introduced as an immaturely dressed, squat woman with a resemblance to a toad. The students soon find out that she is a pawn of the ever more shady Ministry of Magic and she’s more than willing to abuse students who speak out against her or the Ministry stance claiming Voldemort has not returned.
The pivotal scene is when Umbridge forces Harry to write lines during detention. Not too bad a punishment until Harry and the readers learn that the quill he is forced to use etches the lines into the writer’s skin and that the ink on the parchment is their own blood.
Voldemort is blatantly evil and doesn’t pretend to be otherwise. Hell, he’s barely even human. And later on we find out that his family background, having been conceived under a love potion, etc. brings about some pity in regards to his character.
Umbridge, on the other hand, pretends to be good. She’s more of a “real life” villain. She doesn’t primarily use magic to torture others, she’s cruel, abusive yet smiles and laughs while she does the things that hurt. She’s human and should be better but is not. And that’s why she’s the character I hate the most.