Dolores Umbridge From Harry Potter Was Based on a Real Person

Murray Close - © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.
Murray Close - © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.

Out of all the villains in JK Rowling’s Wizarding World, Dolores Umbridge is undoubtedly one of the worst of them. Apart from being completely evil, she’s also incredibly annoying—to both her fellow characters and viewers alike. Worst of all? She is apparently based on real person.

On the Pottermore website, Rowling—being as vague as possible—once wrote about how Umbridge was inspired by "a teacher or instructor whom I disliked intensely on sight." And the instant animosity seemed to be mutual. According to Rowling:

"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. What sticks in my mind is her pronounced taste for twee accessories. I particularly recall a tiny little plastic bow slide, pale lemon in color that she wore in her short curly hair. I used to stare at that little slide, which would have been appropriate to a girl of three, as though it was some kind of repellant physical growth. She was quite a stocky woman, and not in the first flush of youth, and her tendency to wear frills where (I felt) frills had no business to be, and to carry undersized handbags, again as though they had been borrowed from a child’s dressing-up box, jarred, I felt, with a personality that I found the reverse of sweet, innocent and ingenuous."

The author went on to clarify that while the teacher in question definitely informed the character, Umbridge was a "grossly exaggerated" version of her. So just who was the real-life Dolores Umbridge?

Rowling was very careful not to let any details slip, admitting that she’s “wary when talking about these kinds of sources of inspiration, because it is infuriating to hear yourself misinterpreted in ways that can cause other people a great deal of hurt.” But given the impact that Umbridge's character had on the Harry Potter universe, some fans might think it would be kind of an honor to be the unlikeable teacher who inspired the unlikeable professor.

Jabba the Hutt Leaves Tatooine for Your Front Lawn

Amazon
Amazon

From life-sized Yoda LEGO sets to a pair of comfy Chewbacca slippers, Star Wars fans are always showing their love of the blockbuster franchise in unique ways. But now, you can outdo them all by decorating your lawn with a giant inflatable Jabba the Hutt, which you can find on Amazon for $110.

Measuring 6 feet in height by 8 feet in length, this plasticized Jabba isn’t nearly as intimidating without Bib Fortuna by his side—nor as disgusting without a bowl full of Klatooine paddy frogs to snack on—but he lights up! He’s also got a built-in fan for easy inflation and comes with a set of stakes so that, just like in Return of the Jedi, he stays firmly planted. Unfortunately, digging your own Rancor pit for Jabba to lord over probably goes against most municipal building codes, but this intergalactic gangster works great as a solo act.

Think you know everything about Star Wars? Check out this list of 50 facts you might be surprised to learn.

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The Most Successful Entertainment Production in History Might Just Surprise You

Goran Jakus Photography/iStock via Getty Images
Goran Jakus Photography/iStock via Getty Images

Last year, Marvel Studios capped off an unprecedented run of success with Avengers: Endgame, a movie promoted as the culmination of over 10 years of storytelling. The film made $2.8 billion, unseating 2009’s Avatar and knocking 1997’s Titanic down to third place. With nearly $3 billion in ticket sales, you would think Endgame would count as the most successful entertainment production of all time—be it a single movie, book, album, or video game.

It isn’t.

While it earned a staggering amount of money, Endgame is hobbled by the fact that theatrical runs last just a few weeks or months. To really roll in the dough, it helps to have a combination of high ticket prices and a show that runs almost in perpetuity. That’s why it’s another Disney production, the Broadway adaption of The Lion King, that can make a credible claim to being the most financially rewarding entertainment effort of all time. Since debuting in 1997, the stage show has grossed $9.1 billion. (The 1994 film, 2019 live action remake, and merchandising aren’t included in that total. If they were, the number rises to $11.6 billion.)

A theater sign for 'The Lion King' is pictured in New York City in March 2003
Mario Tama, Getty Images

The musical, adapted by Julie Taymor, follows the story of the animated original, with lion cub Simba learning to accept his role as king of the Serengeti Plains. It’s estimated the show has been mounted 25 times globally in nine different languages, with more than 100 million people purchasing a ticket to see it.

Does that make Endgame a distant second? Not quite. Another long-running musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, has grossed more than $6 billion since its 1988 debut. The 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto 5 cleared $6 billion in 2018. And if one were to account for inflation, 1939’s Gone with the Wind made $3.44 billion.

The Lion King does have one asterisk, however. If inflation is taken into consideration, then 1978’s arcade classic Space Invaders comes out the winner. The popular coin-op game—which was later ported over to the Atari 2600—was a smash hit. By 1983, it had made $3.8 billion. Accounting for inflation, it earned $13.9 billion. What’s even more impressive is that unlike big-ticket movies and stage shows, Space Invaders did it one quarter at a time.

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