Umbridge had one power that no other Harry Potter villains could use

Dolores Umbridge is among the most dastardly Harry Potter villains, and it turns out she could even wield magic the Death Eaters couldn't.

Dolores Umbridge has a power other Harry Potter villains can't use

Dolores Umbridge is powerful, for sure. But she’s not powerful in the same way as some of the Harry Potter universe’s other vile bad guys. She’s a gifted enough witch, but not somebody who can match up to Voldemort of Bellatrix Lestrange. However, she does have the ability to use one spell that even the Dark Lord can’t perform: the Patronus Charm.

Umbridge uses a Patronus in the form of a cat during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, protecting her and other Harry Potter characters from the Dementors present in the room used to interrogate suspected Muggle-borns. Not only is this one of the most difficult Harry Potter spells, but it’s one that most dark wizards can’t perform.

Now, there are a number of reasons for this. Of course, somebody as powerful and magically gifted as Voldemort has the technical ability to conjure a Patronus. However, he would have no need of warding off his Dementor buddies and it’s questionable whether he or any of the other Death Eaters would have enough goodness and happiness in them to even make the spell work.

The Harry Potter author herself spoke about this in a 2007 webchat, saying: “A Patronus is used against things that the Death Eaters generally generate, or fight alongside. They would not need Patronuses.”

But wait, I hear you cry, why is Umbridge the exception to this rule? She’s just as detestable and full of darkness as any of Voldemort’s allies, with nothing but evil in her heart. Why is she able to produce a silvery cat to shield her from the effects of the Dementors?

Umbridge could produce a Patronus, unlike other Harry Potter villains

Well, the answer is that Umbridge is a more mundane and very human kind of evil. She’s not a Death Eater or a close ally of Voldemort; she’s just a corrupt and vile politician. This means that, unlike other Harry Potter villains, she does need a Patronus to help her avoid the Dementors.

As for locating a happy memory, the answer to that is even more chilling. She finds happiness in the darkest of places, whether that’s torturing children or interrogating anyone she believes to be of “impure” blood.

The author even suggested that wearing one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, Slytherin’s locket, around her neck helped to enhance Umbridge’s powers. “She is a very nasty piece of work. She has an affinity for this horrible object, which would help rather than hinder her.”

It seems like the more we learn about Umbridge, the more terrifying she becomes. Voldemort is deadly, of course, but Umbridge is exactly the sort of horrific person we might meet in our real world. That makes her even scarier, in my book.

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For more on the Wizarding World, check out our guides to the Harry Potter movies in order and the Harry Potter cast. Alternatively, learn why Harry Potter had to change to avoid a Lord of the Rings problem.

We’ve also looked ahead to new movies with full details of the Fantastic Beasts 4 release date and the Cursed Child release date. We also think the Cursed Child movie should definitely be a gay romance.

The creator of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling, has made a number of transphobic remarks on social media in recent years. If you’d like to learn more about transgender equality or lend your support, here are two charities we encourage you to visit: the National Center for Transgender Equality in the US, and Mermaids in the UK.