MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) — J.K. Rowling has given her readers a Halloween treat, by publishing on website Pottermore.com new material including an essay on Potter character Dolores Umbridge, where she reveals that the Hogwarts professor is based on a real person.
Rowling writes on the website that the inspiration for the character was a teacher that the writer “disliked intensely on sight,” and who “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.”
The news will come as shock to Potter fans, since it had previously been believed that Gilderoy Lockhart was the only character based on someone from real life. In a question and answer session at the 2004 Edinburgh Book Festival, Rowling said that: “Other people have contributed the odd characteristic, such as a nose, to a character, but the only character who I sat down and thought that I would base on someone is Gilderoy Lockhart. It made up for having to endure him for two solid years.”
Rowling’s dislike of Lockhart is matched by the antipathy she expresses in today’s essay about Umbridge, where she wrote: “Her desire to control, to punish, and to inflict pain, all in the name of law and order, are, I think, every bit as reprehensible as Lord Voldemort’s unvarnished espousal of evil.”
Rowling also details that Umbridge left a scar on Harry when she forced him to cut the words “I must not tell lies” on the back of his hand, and also that she not a pure wizard, but a half-blood, the name for offspring of a wizard and a muggle. In the books, Umbridge was keen to portray herself as a pure wizard.
The essay on Umbridge is 1,700 of 5,500 words which Rowling has posted to the website, to mark the uploading to the site of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Other treats for fans include the dark history of Azkaban prison, information about the magical Thestrals and details of all those who have been Minister of Magic.
Seven years after the final novel was published, the Harry Potter series continues to command great interest. In July the Hollywood Reporter reported that Pottermore.com briefly crashed after Rowling posted a 1,500 word story to the website in which Harry was now 34, and reunited with his old friends from Hogwarts at the Quidditch World Cup 2014.