Much can be learned from fiction. What writers are afraid to say about real life can be said with impunity in a novel. Sometimes, what writers don’t even understand about real life can be said through fiction. So it is important for us to pay attention to the nuances, heroics, and depravities of the characters we encounter in fictional literature.
Dolores Umbridge of the Harry Potter series is a prime example. J.K. Rowling created the arch tyrannical bureaucrat in Professor Umbridge. A controlling, sadistic, hating person who aligned with the most evil House of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where she was sorted in Slytherin. She went on to become Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic. She later became Hogwarts’ Dark Arts Professor, Headmistress, High Inquisitor, and overall bad guy in service to the bureaucratic, totalitarian and generally ignorant Ministry of Magic.
According to Harry Potter Wiki, Umbridge purchased her unusually short wand at “the age of eleven at Olivander’s at Diagon Alley. According to Garrick Ollivander, abnormally short wands usually selected those whose moral character was stunted.”
In all three of these positions at Hogwarts, Delores Umbridge “had enormous power over the students, teachers, and the curriculum, which she wielded despotically. Her time at Hogwarts was characterised by cruelty and abusive punishments against students, and because of her interfering and condescending ways, she was generally hated by most students and teachers alike.”
So what does J.K. Rowlings teach us, either consciously or unconsciously, through Delores Umbridge, about power and government?
1. Some people are inherently evil. The fact that Umbridge was sorted into the House of Slytherin demonstrates this fact.
2. Evil people have evil intent and must control other people to accomplish that intent. Therefore, evil people love to create and control bureaucracy, since it legitimizes their evil actions and their power over others.
3. Innocents are naïve. They allow evil people to attain, amass and maintain power. Then the innocents die, both figuratively and literally. Only after Delores Umbridge destroyed many, many people did she face consequences. Those consequences were too little and too late.
This brings us to current day, very real life America. Innocent and naïve Americans elected a bureaucrat whose entire work history as a community organizer was designed to control others through fear mongering and race baiting. He told us all that his intent was to “totally transform” America to meet his vision of “the right way” for America to behave in the world. In doing so he has created policies that are dividing and hurting Americans economically, socially, and spiritually. He has denied the internal and external evils facing us. In fact, he has aided those committing those evils.
Our president would have fit in well with the House of Slytherin.
Finally, it is time to give our president a proper welcome. Here’s to you, President Delores Umbridge Obama!