I was reading The Deathly Hallows (again) recently and a question popped up in my mind: did Dolores Umbridge, who worked as the head of the Muggleborn Registration Commission, know that the Ministry had fallen to the hands of You-Know-Who? Or for that matter, did others working for the Ministry, apart from members of the Order, know that the Ministry was acting on behalf of orders from Voldemort and his Death Eaters??

I know Voldemort had not appeared until now...he was creating an air of mystery and fear. But with so many Death Eaters weaving in and out of the Ministry, mass breakouts from Azkaban, all of the policies oppressing the Muggleborns, and given all the shocking developments at Hogwarts, it should have been easy to guess that The Dark Lord was behind all this.

Was Umbridge aware that Voldemort was secretly controlling the Ministry of Magic?

  • 1
    By specifically soliciting options, you are going to get your question closed as "Primarily Opinion Based". I recommend you remove that and then clean up your question.
    – amflare
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 18:44
  • @amflare Should I remove the question completely or just the last statement "Any Opinions"? Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 18:47
  • @JaideepKhare - It's a fine question that just needed a little tweaking.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 18:50
  • @Valorum Though I mentioned Umbridge in the title, my question is not about her connections with Voldemort specifically but about whether she and others at the Ministry knew that Voldemort was controlling them.Should I change the question?? Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 18:59
  • @JaideepKhare - I felt that several of the answers in the dupe suggest that she didn't know that Voldemort was in control. She was merely selected as being the sort of person who'd advance their ideology without needing to be an actual death-eater.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


Umbridge didn’t necessarily know - but she wouldn’t have cared.

The Dark Lord didn’t declare himself Minister or in any way announce himself as ruler to the Ministry officials - he took over quietly, so many people didn’t know he’d taken over. He’d said the former Minister resigned, was in the process of convincing the wizarding world Harry was responsible for Dumbledore’s death, and wasn’t showing himself to the public.

“But surely people realise what’s going on?’

‘The coup has been smooth and virtually silent,’ said Lupin. ‘The official version of Scrimgeour’s murder is that he resigned; he has been replaced by Pius Thicknesse, who is under the Imperius Curse.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)

There were some people who suspected that the Dark Lord was behind the sudden and drastic change in Ministry policy, though.

“He doesn’t need to, Ron. Effectively he is the Minister, but why should he sit behind a desk at the Ministry? His puppet, Thicknesse, is taking care of everyday business, leaving Voldemort free to extend his power beyond the Ministry.

‘Naturally many people have deduced what has happened: there has been such a dramatic change in Ministry policy in the last few days, and many are whispering that Voldemort must be behind it. However, that is the point: they whisper.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)

The Dark Lord also didn’t staff his Ministry with known and infamous Death Eaters. He mostly used already existing Ministry officials, by using the Imperius Curse or using ones who were in favor of pure-blood rule without having actually joined the Death Eaters (like Runcorn perhaps). The only actual Death Eater that was in the Ministry under the Dark Lord was Yaxley, who wasn’t a particularly “known” one. He had escaped charges after the Dark Lord’s first downfall, since Snape listed him as one of the Death Eaters who could have attempted to find the Dark Lord but didn’t.

“You ask why I did not attempt to find him when he vanished. For the same reason that Avery, Yaxley, the Carrows, Greyback, Lucius,’ he inclined his head slightly to Narcissa, ‘and many others did not attempt to find him.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2 (Spinner’s End)

Yaxley was present at Dumbledore’s death, but that could have easily been kept quiet, and likely wouldn’t be something that people would really know. He was a Death Eater, but not one known to the public, so his presence in the Ministry wouldn’t make it obvious to Ministry wizards that the Dark Lord was in control.

We don’t really see much evidence either way indicating whether Umbridge herself specifically knew or suspected that the Dark Lord had taken control of the Ministry. We know she was enjoying the power and the ability to enforce the types of laws she’d always wanted to create - but we don’t know whether she suspected who was ultimately behind it. Either way, she wouldn’t have likely behaved any differently - she was as prejudiced as she was ruthlessly opportunistic.

  • Yes. She was an opportunist absolutely even going so far as to manipulating her father to retire for her own (because of his lowly job) gain. Rowling also says that Nasty things tended to happen to people who asked about Orford, or anything that Dolores did not like talking about, and people who wanted to remain on her good side pretended to believe her version of her ancestry. Not only that she was never able to marry because when people got to know her they ended up not liking her. (1/n)
    – Pryftan
    Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 23:19
  • Rowling wrote this too: 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. Her name was also carefully chosen: ‘Dolores’ means sorrow, something she undoubtedly inflicts on all around her. ‘Umbridge’ is a play on ‘umbrage’ from the British expression ‘to take umbrage’, meaning offence. In other words she wouldn't have cared at all. All she cared about was herself and the power she held.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 23:21

According to Pottermore's essay on Umbridge:

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.

And also:

With the fall of Lord Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge was put on trial for her enthusiastic co-operation with his regime, and convicted of the torture, imprisonment and deaths of several people (some of the innocent Muggle-borns she sentenced to Azkaban did not survive their ordeal).

(both from the Dolores Umbridge entry on Pottermore

  • 2
    Doesn't answer the question! Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 0:58
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    @HarryJohnston I'd say it does, the first quote implies Death Eaters didn't tell Umbridge what exactly was going on, they just used her as a proper tool for their purposes as she was easily manipulated into their way of doing things.
    – Shana Tar
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 15:08
  • @ShanaTar, I disagree. It could just as easily be read to mean that they felt no reason to hide the truth from her. Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 18:48

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