The Crown is now on its fifth season, and the cast has once again aged-up to reflect the passage of time. Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth II during the first two seasons which covered the 1950s and 1960s. Olivia Colman played Her Majesty in seasons three and four, which covered the 1970s and 1980s. Seasons five and six will cover the tumultuous 1990s and 2000s, and now Imelda Staunton is playing queenie. But some audience members are struggling to see Staunton as anything other than Harry Potter villain Dolores Umbridge.
Umbridge made a big impression when she arrived at Hogwarts in the fifth movie – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She is first appointed Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, but refuses to acknowledge Voldemort’s return or teach the students anything practical or useful. Harry obviously objects to this, leading to him getting detention, in which Umbridge makes him do a cursed form of lines.
She eventually ousts Dumbledore and becomes ‘High Inquisitor’ and then Headmistress, and enforces a whole host of draconian rules, aided by Filch. Fred and George Weasley rebel and then leave Hogwarts, leaving an enormous dragon firework behind them. Umbridge is eventually led into the Forbidden Forest, where she’s attacked by a giant and a herd of centaurs.
Staunton plays Umbridge to irritating perfection – with her annoying pink outfits, love of kittens and habit of ‘politely’ coughing to interrupt others. These sickly-sweet and passive aggressive veneer hides her true evil underneath, of course.
Since the fifth season of The Crown began on Netflix on November 9, there have been multiple tweets along the lines of; “instead of seeing Queen Elizabeth, I see Dolores Umbridge,” and “I wanna watch the new season of the Crown but Dolores Umbridge plays the Queen,” and “Dolores Umbridge playing Queen Elizabeth in The Crown … I am still traumatized by what she did to Harry,” and “How are we meant to watch and enjoy this season of The Crown now that Umbridge is the Queen?” and “Watched The Crown, and every time I see the Queen, I can’t see her as the Queen, other than Dolores Umbridge.”
It seems as though Harry Potter fans struggle with the concept of acting (we jest!). Dolores Umbridge is a great villain, because she’s much more insidious that the outwardly monstrous Voldemort. Umbridge and Cornelius Fudge represent the middle management jobsworths who enforce a lot of the repression in societies, as we’ve seen in Star Wars series Andor, which shows the inner workings of the evil Galactic Empire.