The world of Harry Potter is still as relevant as it was two decades ago.
Although it continues to expand with sequels and prequels, the original story remains the most memorable for fans and the dedicated Potterheads. The story is narrated from Harry's perspective, which makes the readers naturally side with the good and dislike the evil characters. Harry had many enemies, witches, wizards, muggles, you name it, but who is the evilest and the most hated by fans? The simple answer would be Voldemort, but there is one character who is more hated by fans than him. It is none other than Dolores Umbridge! Yes, you read that right.
"Umbridge scares me; she really scares me," says one Potterhead on Reddit. No one finds her dumpy, pink robes, frills, and kittens cute; on the contrary, they are the epitome of terror for fans. The Dark Lord is admittedly Harry's biggest foe, but it's Umbridge who invites the most hate.
Umbridge makes a unique villain. At first glance, she does not look like a traditional baddie. She loves everything twee and girlish, but something about her choice of decor and outfits with frill and bows is unnerving. Everything in her office is covered in pink, which is just as equally disturbing.
One of the most disturbing and shudder-inducing scenes of Order of Phoenix is when Harry has to spend time in detention, and for the first time we see the interior of her office: creepy plates with kittens on the walls, a framed photograph of the minister on her desk, a garish (and bright pink, of course) carpet. And it quickly turns out that her sweetness, homeliness, and charm are just a cover for the evil that lurks within her. Umbridge can't contain her excitement when the inkless quill begins to cause Harry pain. The corner of her mouth twitches with glee as she pretends to widen her eyes with innocence and stares him down to make him submit. The viewers could easily sense the tension between the two as they realise that Umbridge should not be underestimated.
Although readers understand why Tom Riddle behaves the way he does, we never really find out why Umbridge is the way she is. It is not explained why Umbridge is filled with so much hatred and dislike for others. Her hatred seems driven by fear; she dislikes Hagrid because she fears him; it's the same with werewolves, muggle-borns, and centaurs.
What makes her worse is that she's a human; aside from casting spells and mastering magic, she also knows how to manipulate and control people in power. She knows how to deal with Cornelius Fudge; she appeases his ego and manages to retain her position in the ministry even after he gets kicked out of the office. She thrives on her own while most Ministers do not and gets more authority to flaunt along with her stubby wand. So, while Voldemort's red, snakelike eyes, his desire for power and immortality, for which he is willing to commit genocide make him evidently evil, Umbridge feels much more insidious as she always manages to fly under the radar.