Six things you need to know about JK Rowling’s brand new Halloween Harry Potter story

JK Rowling names Dolores Umbridge "One of the characters for whom I feel the purest dislike" in the new Harry Potter instalment on the Pottermore website

Author JK Rowling has written special new Harry Potter material for Halloween about the life of Dolores Umbridge.


Billed as a “special Halloween treat for Harry Potter fans”, the story has been released on the Pottermore fan website, and includes remarkable new details about the life of one of Harry Potter’s cruelest characters.

The 1,500-word entry, an essay written by Rowling herself, offers her thoughts on the Ministry of Magic Undersecretary and Hogwarts professor Dolores Umbridge, played by Imelda Staunton in the Harry Potter films.

The latest new material written by Rowling released on the site follows on from the Daily Prophet entry from Ginny Weasley released this summer featuring Harry, Ron and Hermione as adults attending the Quidditch World Cup.

Here is everything you need to know about the latest Harry Potter instalment. To find the new essay by JK Rolwing on Dolores Umbridge, head to the Pottermore website, find Book 5 on the slider below the map (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), and search through to chapter 13: Detention with Dolores.

1. JK Rowling considers Dolores Umbridge the great villain of the Harry Potter stories. Her tyrannical reign at Hogwarts has sent shivers up readers’ spines for years, and Rowling in her latest essay dubs her one of the true horrors of the wizarding world.

2. Rowling thinks Umbridge is as bad as Lord Voldemort. “Her desire to control, to punish, and to inflict pain, all in the name of order, are, I think, every bit as reprehensible as Lord Voldermort’s unvarnished espousal of evil.”

3. Professor Umbridge is revealed to be a half blood. The fact that she is the daughter of a wizard and a Muggle is never mentioned in the Harry Potter stories. Instead, in the books Umbridge goes as far as to lie about her heritage in order to boost her pure wizarding credentials.

4. Umbridge is based on a real person. JK Rowling is not specific about who she has based the cruel mistress on – for obvious reasons! – but she describes the real-life inspiration as a person “whom I disliked intensely on sight. The woman in question returned my antipathy with interest. Why we took against each other so instantly, heartily and (on my side, at least) irrationally, I honestly cannot say.”

5. Umbridge is the only person other than Lord Voldermort to scar Harry Potter. This has already been assumed by the books’ readers, but it is made explicit in JK Rowling’s new essay.


6. It’s not all about Umbridge. Around the site there is much more extra material related to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, including a look at the magical Thestrals, the history of the terrible wizard prison Azkaban, details of all the people who have held the post of Minister for Magic, thoughts on the character Sybil Trelawney, and an intro to the wizarding practice of Naming Seers. All in all, quite a lot to explore this Halloween!