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Harry Potter was born in 1980.

According to the Harry Potter Wiki, it stats that Dolores Umbridge was born, at the latest, in 1976, but was born sometime in the 1970s. At the outside of the range, born in 1970, she's 10 years older than Harry Potter. At the inside, she's 4 years older than he is.

Is she really under thirty? If so, is there any particular reason she looks older? (Imelda Staunton, who plays her, was born in 1956.) And how is she so far into her career if she's really that young at the time?

EDIT: At this point, there is no reference to an actual birth year for Umbridge. Knowing the nature of a wiki, at the time I asked this question, I should have included a screenshot to show the birth date information as it was at the time.

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    Is there any reference for the 1970s birthdate on the Wikia? I don't recall a single fact showing her age to be this young in the books (and nothing on JKR sourced info). It may very well have been someone's invention for the Wikia to show 1970 as lower bound. Feb 15, 2012 at 4:18
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    It seems the claim she was born in the 70s has been removed. May 29, 2013 at 0:17
  • Good. There's no way she was younger than forty. I'd guess at early fifties, even. Just judging by the description of her in the book. Jan 5, 2014 at 14:05

3 Answers 3

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It looks like JKR will never give us the exact age, but almost 100% certainly it wasn't "4 years older than Harry". From Umbridge's biography on Pottermore, we have a rough timeline (with no dates):

  • {{at seventeen}} 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.
  • ... 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.
  • As she grew older and harder, and rose higher within the Ministry...

This is the only thing close to chronology we have... so assuming it took a couple of years to get from Head of Office to Fudge's Undersecretary of Nastiness, she was at least 30 years old at the time of OOTP; and more likely closer to 40 or 50 (vs. Harry's 16). But we just don't know either way.

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  • Dolores Umbridge is identified in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery as being the Head of the Improper Use of Magic office. Since this game takes place in 1990 she must be at least 21 years of age when we encounter her again in 1995 :-)
    – Valorum
    Jul 23, 2022 at 11:56
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It seems that the 1976 isn't an actual guess but is more or less the latest she could have been born based on what is known. From the notes and references section in the wiki they say that Lupin mentioned to Harry that she had drafted some legislation of the anti-werewolf persuasion two years prior (and this was in 1995) which places her legislation in 1993. She would have had to have been out of school at this time which means that at an absolute minimum she could have been 17. If she was 17 in 1993 this gives us a birthyear of approximately 1976.

Most likely she is quite a bit older than this but I don't think there is any evidence that is conclusive.

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    Maybe the math is off slightly - I'm just trying to add some possible way the 1976 guess could arise. Note that just because somebody could have been in school at the same time as Harry when he first got there doesn't mean that they couldn't graduate and then write legislation in Harry's 3rd year (Percy eventually writes legislation while Harry is in school). I'm too tired to work out the actual time line at the moment but the basic idea seems to be that you need to be 17 to write legislation. The legislation was written in 1993 - this implies she had to have been born in 1976 or earlier.
    – Dason
    Feb 15, 2012 at 4:27
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    For anybody that is reading this answer after October 31, 2014: J.K Rowling's new backstory about Umbridge does make the year of 1976 not possible but I'm going to leave the answer as is.
    – Dason
    Oct 31, 2014 at 20:28
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I do think that JK Rowling imagined Umbridge as a much younger character than Staunton's portrayal in OOTP and DHP1. However, we instantly associate "short, squat woman" with someone quite a bit older, as did the crew on OOTP when they cast Imelda as Umbridge.

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    Could you elaborate on what makes you think JKR imagined her as a much younger character? Any particular passages from the book(s), an interview quote, something else? All of the key details I remember about Umbridge are ones I'd associate with a much older woman. May 29, 2013 at 12:35

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