Lilys: I'm half dreading reading the Umbridge information because I'm scared it will make me sympathise with her!
Runi: I don't think it will make her a sympathetic character per-say. I mean do you sympathise with Lockhart when you read his story?
Lilys: No, but I don't hate Lockhart as I do Umbridge
Runi: I could see the story as a 'very ambitious woman' story and as a result she gets onto the 'wrong path' or the path that she believes is correct.
Lilys: Definitely. I really want to see Tom Riddle style flashbacks to see what really made her like that.... What would be your ideal Umbridge backstory?
Runi: Well my ideal one would be that she was a bit of a young Hermione without Ron or Harry's influence.
Lilys: Oooh yes! I was going to say someone with really pushy parents who live through their child so to speak and this results in Umbridge's determination for notice, success and a high status. I love the Hermione parallel though.
Runi: I actually don't think her parents would be pushy. Personally, I think her parents were failures, or something like the Weasleys; successful in some ways but rather poor and 'undignified' in others.
Lilys: Thus the obsession with bloodlines?
Runi: Because oddly enough, there are two characters that I've seen who have parallels with Umbridge on some level and they would be Hermion from Book 1 and Percy.
Lilys: It would also be awesome if Umbridge turns out to be distantly related to the Selwyns! And like Harry, Snape and Voldermort we have Hermione, Percy and Umbridge in the same kind of reflections so to speak.
Runi: Well Percy was the one reason I had (before Rowling stated otherwise) that Umbridge could/would be a Gryffindor.
Lilys: Or if we're continuing with the Snape/ Harry/ Voldermort parallels could Percy be the 'missorted' one?
Runi: No I'd say Percy was the right sort. There's believing in the system which is something of a shared trait. The difference I'd say is that a Gryffindor may want to improve or change the system for the great good. A Slytherin may have the same motivation but with more of a focus on being at the top of the proverbial food-chain.
Lilys: Well Umbridge believe in her greater good as well. Like Harry used unforgivables in Book 7 just as she was about to in Book 5 and probably did behind the scenes to others in Book 7?
Runi: When I go through it again, I'd say it's a really subtle point, as we see Umbridge very close to the Minister of Magic, I wouldn't be surprised that she would try to become Minister if Harry had failed. Thank goodness that probably wouldn't have worked out well for her though...
Lilys: Was Voldermort a misogynist though which could have prevented that?
Runi: I don't think he was...
Lilys: Or what about Umbridge as a slightly saner version of Bellatrix (or Bellatrix pre-Azkaban)?
Runi: Now that would be terrifying. A cold, calculating and utterly devoted lieutenant? Keep in mind she sent the dementors after Harry and if she aligned with Voldermort from the start we could have possibly seen a return of the dementors to Hogwarts in Book 5.
Lilys: And it shows that she could have had more power as time went on given Voldermort's treatment of Bellatrix.
Runi: Though it is interesting to note that she can still cast a patronus...
Lilys: Do we know the stipulations for being able to cast a patronus? Is it just happiness or some kind of purity as well (as in no Avada Kedavra).
Runi: Well it's debatable as Voldermort and the Death Eaters (save Snape) couldn't cast patronuses due to a high affinity towards the dark arts.
Lilys: Well at least we know that just having a dark mark doesn't negate the possibility of being able to cast a patronus. This raises the question of whether we think that she was a branded Death Eater.
Runi: I doubt she was...
Lilys: Too pink for Voldermort?!?
Runi: It could be that Umbridge is truly a 'good' person though very, very misguided.
Lilys: Yes, well, it;s all greater good isn't it? She truly believed in the sincerity of her cause regardless of how misguided. What about her as an image of what Dumberldore could have been in his search for great good?
Runi: I think she didn't have his people skills for the comparison.
Lilys: Good point! I just remembered her Welcoming Speech! I would love to read that in full someday...
Runi: Yep. The problem is, from her behaviour, she does believe her position entitles her to whatever she may need. 'It is for the greater good and therefore people should help me...'
Lilys: Well not that I'm defending her or anything but Harry, Ron and Hermione broke into a neutral building run by a semi-neutral race and kind of tore apart said building with a dragon....So not the same but still doing what needs to be done in order to achieve the end goal.
Runi: True, true. Though the means to the end seems to be integral to her character, but not quite as much to Harry's I believe.
So what did you think about our take on Umbridge? How do you see her and what do you hope this short story will cover about her? Would you like us to analyse another character in this way?