“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.
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
such a hateful,
—John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2015)