Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives, and has a martial arts background.
I had my exposure to Harry Potter books back in high school, in my teenage years. The story is meant for children, yet it managed to capture the heart of the seventeen-year-old me back then. At first, I’m reluctant to even touch a Potter novel, thanks mostly to my overly smug schoolmates. They boasted how they are above any average student because they have a Harry Potter book in their shelves. And to demonstrate their eternal loyalty to the Potter series, they tried real witchcraft that almost unhinged them. Nevertheless, it was my martial arts instructor who really get me into the Potter series. It was a wonderful experience! It was a compelling read, yet with a fairytailish motif I think my classmates got carried away when they tried black magic. I mean it is just a children’s book, nothing more and nothing less.
Until we got to the later part of the series.
From the Order of the Phoenix up to the last novel of the series, the story started to grow up. The scenes became more mature and darker, as if alluding the loss of innocence as children grow. And then there are some suggestive scenes aside from foul languages being uttered by the character. Nevertheless, fans are divided if Dolores Umbridge’s brush with the centaurs count as one. We will know more about that later, but as a clue she was left badly traumatized by the incident she herself started. Now if you want to know more, just read below.
The Infamous Skirmish in the Forbidden Forest
Dolores Umbridge is a highly unlikeable character. You will agree with me that you hated her more than all the villains in the series. I could bear with the twisted and sadistic Bellatrix Lestrange, and I have no problem with the rest of the Death Eaters. I kind of felt sorry for the Malfoys though. Draco might be a bully, and his parents are complete smugs. But it is pitiful how the Dark Lord abuse and manipulate the Draco family as a punishment. They might be nasty, but the Malfoys are still a family. And speaking of the Dark Lord, I love old Noseless Voldemort for being a realistic villain though he never came in par with Sauron or Darth Vader. Pity for Wormtail Peter Pettegrew for looking comical.
And then came Dolores Umbridge.
I planned to make a separate article for the toad woman, on why she is so hated. But we knew that a stay in the Azkaban prison without the Dementors was never enough. She was a cowardly, racist, manipulative old hag and we want to see more than incarcerations. Where are those horrendous magical tortures for treason when you need them?
That’s why the Forbidden Forest incident made the fans smile, and we need to thank the combined efforts of Hermione, the Centaurs and Grawp for that.
Fans of the novel knew this very well. Potter and his gang were caught by Umbridge’s thugs using her fireplace to see if Sirius was okay. Hermione then tricked the overly excited Umbridge into going to the Forbidden Forest, where they came across a herd of angry Centaurs. Umbridge acted arrogantly (and stupidly) and openly insulted the herd. She even assaulted one by magically restraining him with a rope. The Centaurs never took this lightly and Umbridge was dragged by the raging Bane. Harry and Hermione barely escaped, and they need to thank the rampaging Grawp for the help.
Umbridge seemed to be traumatized by the incident. Ron took pleasure on seeing her panic when he made hoof beat sounds. Probably the centaurs did something terrible, but the problem is no one knows. And the fans’ imagination began to stir.
Something Indecent, as the Fans Suggested
Again, we are faced with the problem that no one really knows what happened to the foul woman in the Forbidden Forest. Rowling never gave clues except that “she was never physically harmed.” I observed how Rowling often leave the darker aspects of the book to the reader’s imagination.
And just look what the fans’ imaginations just came up.
They all agree that the Centaurs defiled the woman; they did something unclean and indecent. They could tell, on how disturbed Umbridge was when she came back. She was displaying a normal reaction of a woman being harassed by a group of men, or a herd of men-beasts.
Even though I prefer seeing Umbridge being boiled alive, I found the notion that the Centaurs touched her to be hard to swallow. She was a physically undesirable woman to begin with. Rowling likened her to a toad, and I hate toads! And other fans argue that was unlikely to happen.
The Centaurs of the Harry Potter Universe
Fans who supported the not so decent theory pointed out that traditionally, especially in the Greek mythology, that Centaurs are the biggest misogynist. They are often portraited as crude and violent. The image of a muscled Centaur grabbing a struggling woman will often come in mind when we hear about them. In one story, Nessus tried to violate Heracles’ wife and he ends up being arrowed by her angry husband.
The problem here is that the Harry Potter Centaurs never followed the usual Centaur mold.
As I observed, they never resembled the bestial Centaurs of mythology. They are in par with the more recent Centaur portrayals in the Chronicles of Narnia. The Rowling Centaurs might not be as civilized as Lewis’ Centaurs, but still they displayed certain levels of sophistications. In fact, they consider their knowledge superior than humans, a far outcry from the brutish Centaurs of antiquity.
With that said, the notion that the Harry Potter Centaurs tried to defile Umbridge becomes problematic.
The Umbridge Mentality
We also need to consider how Umbridge ticks. Umbridge was portrayed as everything wrong with people today, and everything we hated about people nowadays. She was a weakling; throughout the novel she was shown to only have unsatisfactory level of magic. Though capable of conjuring stuffs and producing a Patronus, she was often bested by younger students. Umbridge was also branded as a coward and relied on her political influence to manipulate people. And such political power also made her arrogant. And speaking of manipulation, Umbridge seemed to display little empathy on the students around her, the mark of a true psychopath. Just look how he physically tortured Harry during her attempt to silence him.
Umbridge is also highly racist, with extreme contempt for half-breeds. She regarded the likes of Hagrid as subhuman, though her bigotry led to her troubles with the Centaurs in the Forest. And going back to the Centaur incident, I said those things as Umbridge simply needed to be herself to be badly traumatized.
What Could Had Happened
For me Umbridge was never harmed in her stay in the Centaurs’ lair. The notion that they touched her seems to be pretty-off simply because the Centaurs of Harry Potter behaves differently than the Centaurs of mythology. They see themselves as noble races above any humans. They will never waste their time with the lowly bigot like Umbridge, so it is likely that no one assaulted her. Umbridge’s disgusts with half humans seems to be the reason why she was left traumatized. The Centaurs never needed to do anything. For Umbridge being in the company of repulsive bestial creatures was enough to disturb her.
And you don’t need dirty minds to come up with that.
nil on October 14, 2020:
I think another reason umbridge was so traumatised was that she was quite iterally treated as an inanimate object by the centaurs, and it is likely that she had to forage the dark forest for sustenance. she must have come across some pretty horrible things in doing that. Maybe even Aragog's family.