- "She's been an immediate success, totally revolutionizing the teaching of Defence Against the Dark Arts and providing the Minister with on-the-ground feedback about what’s really happening at Hogwarts. It is this last function that the Ministry has now formalised with the passing of Educational Decree Twenty-three, which creates the new position of ‘Hogwarts High Inquisitor.’ This is an exciting new phase in the Minister’s plan to get to grips with what some are calling the “falling standards” at Hogwarts. The Inquisitor will have powers to inspect her fellow educators and make sure that they are coming up to scratch. Professor Umbridge has been offered this position in addition to her own teaching post, and we are delighted to say that she has accepted."
- —Percy Weasley in the Daily Prophet[src]
The Hogwarts High Inquisitor was a position at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was a teacher appointed by the Ministry of Magic to make sure that unsatisfactory teachers were removed from Hogwarts and to ensure that any Educational Decrees set by the Ministry were followed. The High Inquisitor's position was formed under Educational Decree Number Twenty-Three.
Creation of the post
- "Because some changes will be for the better, while others will come, in the fullness of time, to be recognised as errors of judgment. Meanwhile, some old habits will be retained, and rightly so, whereas others, outmoded and outworn, must be abandoned. Let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness, and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited."
- —Umbridge's speech at the Start-of-Term Feast, revealing the Ministry's plans to take over Hogwarts[src]
Dolores Umbridge was the first and only known High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. She was appointed, after the Ministry of Magic believed that headmaster Albus Dumbledore was slipping in keeping order and preventing "lies" being spread about Lord Voldemort returning. In truth, the position only came to be due to Minister Fudge being paranoid of Dumbledore attempting to take over the Ministry, and assigned Umbridge to keep an eye on the situation.
Supposedly certain people, such as parents of students, were supportive of this post, as they feared that Dumbledore's eccentric decisions may have had a negative impact on the students and were glad that the Ministry was keeping an eye on the situation; however, Lucius Malfoy, who gave an interview of his support of the post's creation under the false pretence of caring for the school's future, was in truth desiring for this action to discredit Dumbledore. Other people, such as Griselda Marchbanks and Tiberius Ogden, were outraged by this post's formation, as they supported Dumbledore and knew full well that the High Inquisitor was nothing more than an excuse for Fudge to usurp control over Hogwarts from the headmaster. As a result, they themselves were discredited by Fudge and the Daily Prophet.
As High Inquisitor, Umbridge lurked in the corners of many classes taking notes on her clipboard and asking teachers and students questions. She was disliked by most of the teachers at Hogwarts, especially Minerva McGonagall, who was especially curt and rude to her at times. Severus Snape also answered her prying questions rather haughtily during his inspection. Despite McGonagall and Snape's apathetic and cold treatment of her, Umbridge could not deny that they were good teachers and knew their subjects, and thus they were not sacked.
Sybill Trelawney, on the other hand, was not as lucky. After a series of poor performances in Umbridge's inspections, were she was unable to answer a series of questions, she was put on probation and then fired from the post of Divination teacher. It was clear that Umbridge saw her as something of a fraud.
Rubeus Hagrid's inspections in his Care of Magical Creatures classes went no better, as after he barely excused himself for his long-term absence, Umbridge's prejudice for half-breeds led her to be biased against Hagrid's first inspection, acting as though she could not understand his language while asking extremely offensive questions to students, and then placed him under probation as well; this led Hagrid's subsequent performances to falter, as he was distracted by her continued presence, and eventually he was ousted from his position as Care of Magical Creatures teacher.
Umbridge seemed certain that she would achieve a dismissal, and attempted to accelerate the process by being present in both Trelawney's and Hagrid's classes. She proceeded to distract them with difficult questions and peer pressure, thus unfairly giving them no opening for improvement that contradicts the purpose of a probation. In the end both teachers failed their final evaluation at the end of the probationary period and were subsequently sacked.
While Trelawney's dismissal became something of a spectacle, with her crying in anguish in the Great Hall and her luggage thrown unceremoniously, Hagrid's was more discreet but violent, with Umbridge bringing in corrupt Aurors to deal with him, only for him to escape. The former was witnessed by pretty much the entire school, while the latter was by the Astronomy O.W.L. examinees. As Dumbledore was still headmaster when Trelawney was removed, he allowed her to remain in Hogwarts as a resident, as the High Inquisitor had no authority to remove fired teachers from the grounds; Hagrid, on the other hand, was forced to flee after a brief but violent struggle.
Appointment to Headmistress
After Dumbledore's Army, a secret Defence Against the Dark Arts group started by Harry Potter and his friends, was discovered and Albus Dumbledore forced to leave the school by taking blame for the group's activities, Umbridge was appointed to the position of Headmistress and had even further control over the events at Hogwarts.
However, the castle's inhabitants were deliberately very unhelpful to her during her regime; she spent her first afternoon as Headmistress running around the castle trying to stop the mayhem caused by Fred and George Weasley's fireworks, with little assistance from the rest of the Hogwarts staff, such as the teachers preferring to see her struggle with trying to remove a Portable Swamp left by the Weasley twins when any of them could have removed it in a heartbeat and Minerva McGonagall even going so far as to give Peeves help with unscrewing a chandelier.
End of the High Inquisitor's reign
After catching Harry trying to contact 12 Grimmauld Place by the Floo Network, Umbridge would have used the Cruciatus Curse on Harry had it not been for Hermione Granger coming up with a plan to lure Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest by making her think that there was a weapon built by Dumbledore's Army in there; she had earlier placed Severus Snape on probation for being unhelpful in interrogating Harry, to which he showed little care. They were soon surrounded by Centaurs, but with the help of Grawp, Harry and Hermione escaped. Umbridge, however, was not so lucky and was carried away by the Centaurs after calling them "filthy half-breeds", "beasts" and "uncontrolled animals". She was later rescued by Albus Dumbledore but was left severely traumatised by the event.
After the skirmish in the forest and the Ministry being forced to accept that Voldemort had returned, Educational Decree Number 23 was abolished, along with the position of High Inquisitor. Umbridge was subsequently removed from Hogwarts and the position was never used again. The two teachers she dismissed, Trelawney and Hagrid, were able to return to their posts as well, rendering all of Umbridge's evaluations and dismissals null and void, while her "Inquisitorial Squad" was disbanded.
Umbridge's departure from the school became a spectacle, as while she tried to leave undetected, Peeves caught sight of her and assaulted her with a combination of a chalk-filled sock and Minerva McGonagall's walking stick, with the students cheering this on and the teachers barely trying to calm them down.
The Inquisitorial Squad
The Inquisitorial Squad was a select group of students who served under the High Inquisitor and were given the power to take away and grant house points. They were chosen by the High Inquisitor due to their support of the Ministry. They wore small silver badges with an "I" on it to show membership. All known members belonged to the house of Slytherin and were known enemies of Harry Potter and his friends, and they appear to be abusive towards their power, as Draco docked many points from people he disliked simply for that very reason.
- Millicent Bulstrode
- Vincent Crabbe
- Gregory Goyle
- Draco Malfoy
- Graham Montague
- Pansy Parkinson
- Cassius Warrington
- Sixth-Year Inquisitorial Squad Member
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Wizarding World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 21 (The Eye of the Snake)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 30 (Grawp)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 33 (Fight and Flight)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)