37

I noticed that Dolores Umbridge was born during the first Wizarding War, so it's very likely she wasn't a Death Eater then (but she is pretty evil -- who knows?). After that Voldemort was not around in a way that could affect many people, and most wouldn't know he was planning to rise again.

During that time, and up through Voldemort's return (in Goblet of Fire), did Umbridge have any connection with the Death Eaters or with Voldemort? Was she doing what she did on her own, or was it because of an association with Voldemort or his allies?

  • 9
    never thought to look into the age of characters. The Harry Potter wiki says Umbridge was born in 1976 and that Harry was born in 1981. Are we supposed to believe the Umbridge character in the movies is only 5 years older than Harry?!?! – Justin C Feb 14 '12 at 20:42
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    @JustinC: I didn't compare them, but that's a good point. However, I think the wiki also states that the year of her birth is not settled. – Tango Feb 14 '12 at 20:47
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    No, that coward was never worthy of being a Death Eater! – Bellatrix Jul 1 '17 at 1:08
66

Dolores Umbridge was definitely not a good person. However, as Sirius points out, "the world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters". Remember that he also says that he doesn't believe Umbridge to be a Death Eater, but that she's evil enough (or something like that). I think there are two strong reasons to believe that:

  • Umbridge was proud to do everything according to the law, except when she tried to use an unforgivable curse on Harry, and she was quite mad at the moment and justified herself by saying that the Ministry wouldn't have to know. That said, I think she enjoyed punishing anybody and everybody who deserved it (according to her book), as long as it was within the law.
  • Also, she was all for the government: the official version of a story is always the true version, the Ministry is always right, the government does not make mistakes, kids always lie, etc.

Put these two facts together and you have what happened when Voldemort took over the Ministry: as soon as it was allowed to punish people for being muggle-born, she started doing it--and enjoyed it. The same happened with the educational decrees when she was at Hogwarts.

If the Death Eaters would have been established as an official, government-approved movement, she would probably have joined it the first day it was legal to do so.

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    "That said, I think she enjoyed punishing anybody and everybody who deserved it (according to her book), as long as it was within the law." - I think this is dead on, with one addendum; to some degree I think she had a little bit of Judge Dredd type 'I AM THE LAW' going on.. more as she was fought more, until it even justified her with an unforgivable curse. (The ministry wouldn't have to know.. be cause she knew, and judged it to be adhering to a higher plane of law.) – K-H-W Feb 14 '12 at 15:58
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    Lawful Evil to use a DnD term? – System Down Feb 14 '12 at 17:28
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    Her two main character traits are that she's a sadist - she really likes punishing people, regardless of whether they deserve it - and she's a coward. It's not that she respects the law or believes in it, it's just that by working for the group that has "the law" on its side allows her to punish all sorts of people with impunity. – Ward Feb 16 '12 at 2:30
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    I have to give this a down vote. Umbridge had no interest in obeying "the law" she only had an interest in promoting her own self delusions. And she definitely acted beyond the law. The most egregious example was sending the Dementors after Harry, but also ordering an auror attack on Hagrid (and McGonagall in the process) while "sacking" him. She was willing to let Filch torture students and actually did so herself, her "lines" causing clear bodily harm not just to Harry but to any student, including first years. – Nonsuch Ned Aug 15 '14 at 22:25
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    Umbridge wasn't proud of following the law, she was smug that the law was backing her up. – Hurkyl Nov 4 '16 at 11:20
10

As an addendum, since no-one has given the actual quote in which this is discussed.

"So you don’t think it had anything to do with Umbridge touching me when I was in detention with her?" Harry asked.

"I doubt it," said Sirius. "I know her by reputation and I’m sure she’s no Death Eater -"

"She’s foul enough to be one," said Harry darkly, and Ron and Hermione nodded vigorously in agreement.

"Yes, but the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters," said Sirius with a wry smile. "I know she’s a nasty piece of work, though - you should hear Remus talk about her."

"Does Lupin know her?" asked Harry quickly, remembering Umbridge’s comments about dangerous half-breeds during her first lesson.

"No," said Sirius, "but she drafted a bit of anti-werewolf legislation two years ago that makes it almost impossible for him to get a job."

Harry remembered how much shabbier Lupin looked these days and his dislike of Umbridge deepened even further.

"What’s she got against werewolves?" said Hermione angrily.

"Scared of them, I expect," said Sirius, smiling at her indignation. "Apparently she loathes part humans; she campaigned to have merpeople rounded up and tagged last year, too."

Umbridge is important to the characters growth in showing that the world isn't black and white. Through her they learn that there are plenty of horrible people who don't identify as Death Eaters, and who happily work within the law (when it suits them, Dolores) to harm and oppress other people.

Giving her a Death Eater past would completely invalidate the point of her character, so I think we can say pretty conclusively that she was never involved with the organisation.

  • Upvote for your quote! :) – Bellatrix Jul 1 '17 at 1:04
4

Official Umbridge biography on Pottermore does NOT indicate any association other than spiritual one, and explicitly denies allegiance:

She actively enjoys subjugating and humiliating others, and except in their declared allegiances, there is little to choose between her and Bellatrix Lestrange.

.

Dolores was soon enjoying life at the Ministry more than ever. When the Ministry was taken over by the puppet Minister Pius Thicknesse, and infiltrated by the Dark Lord’s followers, Dolores was in her true element at last. Correctly judged, by senior Death Eaters, to have much more in common with them than she ever had with Albus Dumbledore, she not only retained her post but was given extra authority, becoming Head of the Muggle-born Registration Commission, which was in effect a kangaroo court that imprisoned all Muggle-borns on the basis that they had ‘stolen’ their wands and their magic.

  • There's a huge difference between the Dark Lord's most loyal servant and that cowardly pink toad who hides behind the Ministry! – Bellatrix Jul 1 '17 at 1:02
1

i think yes:

  1. She ends up with Mad-Eye's eye on her door. Even though Lupin goes after the body shortly after his fall.

  2. In Phoenix she goes after the two teachers most closely aligned to Harry - Hagrid, his protector and Trelawney, the prophet who Voldemort wants to hear the prophecy of.

She has the locket yes but its confirmed she gets it independently from Mundungus.

It would have been great to see her at the end of Hallows to know for sure but if ever there was a spin-off wanting to be written its chasing her.

  • The point about Mad-Eye is an interesting one. But couldn’t she simply have gotten after the Death Eaters took over? Also, she got the locket from Mundungus: she confiscated it from him. – Adamant Nov 4 '16 at 6:17
  • She might be anti-Harry without being pro-(what's his name). – Peregrine Rook Nov 4 '16 at 7:35
  • true re Madeye and it was some time before it turns up on her door but it traveled to her from a death eater for sure only other people to know where it was, Scrimgeour knew madeye was killed by deatheater so I expect she had to know. Why give it up unless they were told to. You could make a scenario otherwise but this seems the most likely. – Marke Nov 4 '16 at 8:26
  • If she is a death eater and she is so much younger than the rest she had to get there from a less direct route. My money would be on Slughorne introducing her to someone as he may well have been a teacher in her time. Even though he didn't like her. - so the connection would most likely be a ministry death eater.... Mc Near or perhaps even Bagman? McNear like to kill animals. – Marke Nov 4 '16 at 9:26
0

There are a lot of reasons why you might think Umbridge was a Death Eater. In the books (and films mostly), she used unforgivable curses on Harry and threw out punishments like they were sweets. In "the Order of the Pheonix", when she was giving Harry detention, she touched Harry and his scar immediately started to sting. His scar stung when he touched or was near Voldemort or something to do with him. In the book he also stated himself that it might have just been because Voldemort was on the rise and it might have nothing to do with Umbridge.

Also my other query is that in the Deathly Hallows, Umbridge is wearing one of Voldemort's horcruxes whilst she is holding his trial. I thought this was odd as why would she be wearing something that protected Voldemort. For all we know, she could have just found the necklace, but it is stated that in the "Half Blood Prince", a man initialled R.A.B. took the necklace in attempt to destroy it. Quite how Dolores had it in her possession is unknown.

Another reason I believe that Dolores is in association with Voldemort is that in one of the books (either the "Goblet of Fire" or "The Prisoner of Azkaban") it says that the Dementors would be removed from their post as guards and in the ministry. But again in the trial, Dolores summons the Dementors on to Harry, Ron and Hermione. I'm not sure if this means anything but Dumbledore has always said that the Dementors have always followed Voldemort. These might just be coincidence but I think that Dolores has a small association with Voldemort.

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    This was a pretty messy answer. I've done my best to edit it. – Valorum Apr 6 '14 at 14:21
  • I wrote it pretty quickly, i just had to get the thoughts out of my head and in the answer – Beth Apr 6 '14 at 14:39
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    Quite how Delores had it in her possession is unknown. No, it's stated directly in the book: Mundungus Fletcher took the locket from Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, and was forced to give it to "some Ministry hag" who "looked like a toad" in order to avoid arrest for unlicenced trading in magical artifacts. – Stan Rogers Sep 21 '14 at 9:03
0

No - she was hiding behind the law, gaining power at the Ministry.

In J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore writing on Umbridge, where she also gives further details on Umbridge’s life, JKR describes Umbridge as someone who wanted to control, punish, and inflict pain in the name of law and order, which she contrasts with the Dark Lord’s being more openly evil. Since Umbridge wants to claim her actions are all in the name of the law, she wouldn’t have joined or openly supported the Dark Lord or the Death Eaters, who all clearly act outside of the law.

Her desire to control, to punish and to inflict pain, all in the name of law and order, are, I think, every bit as reprehensible as Lord Voldemort’s unvarnished espousal of evil.
- Dolores Umbridge (Pottermore)

Because of that, Umbridge wouldn’t want to openly associate with the Dark Lord or the Death Eaters, even when they were gaining power, since she wanted power that she could justify her wielding of her authority as being in the name of the law. Instead, Umbridge attempted to ascend through the ranks of the Ministry beginning as soon as she’d left Hogwarts.

An accomplished witch, Dolores joined the Ministry of Magic directly after she left Hogwarts, taking a job as a lowly intern in the Improper Use of Magic Office. 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. Before she was thirty, Dolores had been promoted to Head of the office, and it was but a short step from there to ever more senior positions in the management of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
- Dolores Umbridge (Pottermore)

When the Dark Lord was gaining power prior to his return, Umbridge was busy attempting to gain power in the Ministry, so she could then use it in ways that suited her own views, such as making laws against half-breeds. She was doing this for her own reasons, not to support the Dark Lord.

As she grew older and harder, and rose higher within the Ministry, Dolores’s taste in little girlish accessories grew more and more pronounced; her office became a place of frills and furbelows, and she liked anything decorated with kittens (though found the real thing inconveniently messy). As the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge became increasingly anxious and paranoid that Albus Dumbledore had ambitions to supersede him, Dolores managed to claw her way to the very heart of power, by stoking both Fudge’s vanity and his fears, and presenting herself as one of the few he could trust.
- Dolores Umbridge (Pottermore)

In all the details JKR gives in this writing detailing Umbridge’s life, she never mentions anything about Umbridge even considering openly supporting the Dark Lord or the Death Eaters, and what JKR does say about Umbridge wanting to use law and order to hide behind indicates she wouldn’t. Though she was known to express views against Muggles when she was drunk, she was never said to speak in favor of the Dark Lord or the Death Eaters as well.

After a glass of sweet sherry, Dolores was always prone to spout very uncharitable views, and even those who were anti-Muggle found themselves shocked by some of Dolores’s suggestions, behind closed doors, of the treatment that the non-magical community deserved.
- Dolores Umbridge (Pottermore)

Therefore, it seems though Umbridge surely would agree with some of the Dark Lord’s and the Death Eaters’ ideas, she never actually supported them specifically - likely because they were clearly working outside the law and she wanted to have the law to hide behind.

-2

No. Remember, it’s horrible but, besides death eaters there are still plenty of evil people. Being cruel is just part of some people’s nature.

  • 2
    This doesn't appear to add anything to the accepted answer. – Blackwood Jul 31 at 0:01

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