I Hate Dolores Umbridge

“The gently smiling Dolores Umbridge, with her girlish voice, toadlike face, and clutching, stubby fingers, is the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter.”
—Stephen King, review of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Though I’ve met plenty of nasty characters in fiction,
I find myself especially repulsed by Dolores Umbridge
—so much so, in fact, that I still haven’t been able
to sit through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

imageI hate Dolores Umbridge, really I do;
she gets to me, really gets to me—but why?

Perhaps it’s because, unlike Lord Voldemort,
Dolores Umbridge is someone you’re likely to meet
in the real world.

the intensity of my own vehemence
is a mystery to me.
I view it from a distance,
with goodnatured contempt,

the way a kindhearted soul might survey
the strange habits and quirky hobbies
of a dear old friend.

I find myself trying to make sense of it
the way a lovestruck Romeo
might seek to decipher
the dreamy delphic dialogue

from the mouth
of his sleeping lover.

When did I become such a stranger
to myself,
such a hateful,
charming stranger?

—John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2015)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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