(Warner Bros. Pictures)
J.K. Rowling (Getty).
The author has posted a new 1700-word short story about the cat-loving, torture-inflicting Dolores Umbridge on Pottermore. In it, Rowling reveals that the onetime Hogwarts Inquisitor was the eldest child of a wizard father and a Muggle mother (which probably explains her obsession with purebred wizard blood), and that he had a younger brother who was a Squib.
Rowling goes on to say that Umbridge was particularly cruel during her time as Hogwarts Inquisitor because, "she had not enjoyed her time at school, where she had been overlooked for all positions of responsibility, and she relished the chance to return and wield power over those who had not (as she saw it) given her her due." She also invented the punishment quill she used on Harry and other students, which is kind of impressive if you like horrible torture devices.
More interesting than the new tidbits about Umbridge's background, perhaps, is the revelation that Rowling partially based the character on someone she knew in real life (previously the author had said that Gilderoy Lockhart was the only character based on a real person). The woman, a former teacher or instructor of Rowling's, had a "pronounced taste for twee accessories" that inspired Dolores Umbridge's overall look.
The character's obsession with kittens was also inspired by someone from Rowling's real-life: " I once shared an office with a woman who had covered the wall space behind her desk with pictures of fluffy kitties; she was the most bigoted, spiteful champion of the death penalty with whom it has ever been my misfortune to share a kettle."
You can read the full Dolores Umbridge story, along with “a look at the magical and mysterious creatures Thestrals, the Dark history of the wizarding prison Azkaban, thoughts on the character Sybil Trelawney, details of all who have held the position of Minister for Magic, and an introduction to the ancient wizarding practice of Naming Seers" over at Pottermore, or at Today.com. Enjoy!