In a World Full of Umbridge, Who Would You Be?

Like a lot of Potterphiles, I have Harry Potter merchandise popping up on my social media feeds on a near-daily basis. One of the more recent appearances was a T-shirt reading “In a world full of Umbridge, be a Fred and George.”  While the mischievous redheads were undoubtedly major nemeses of the Toad Lady, I found it hard to envision myself wearing one of these shirts. I guess I’m at the age where I identify more with the middle-aged ladies of the Wizarding World than the kids.

Which led me to think, who would I put on mine?  Two answers immediately sprung to mind.   First, the teacher who was the antithesis of Dolores: Minerva McGonagall. In our humor episode of Reading, Writing, Rowling, several McGonagall v. Umbridge moments made it into our “funniest scenes” lists. Certainly McGonagall is one of the finest teachers in the series, one with high standards of excellence and who daily earns the respect of her students. In other words, everything dear Dolores wanted to be. Harry’s regard for her is clear: when even his own godfather’s murder could not push him into performing a Cruciatus curse on the perp, Amycus Carrow’s spitting in McGonagall’s face did.

The second, of course, is the best (or, at least the best living) mom of the series, Molly Weasley. In addition to being a surrogate mom and regular source of comfort (as opposed to pain) for Harry, Molly is also a loving mother to the twins. Yes, she gets exasperated with them frequently, sometimes seeming as short-tempered as Umbridge, but her love never wavers and she is never cruel. In the end, she accepts that the twins are successful in their own right, even with their poor OWL results, aborted education and non-conventional career choice.

More on Minerva, Molly and T-shirts after the jump!I think my work as a behavior analyst, a dimension I added to my career as a psychology professor three years ago, has changed the way I relate to both of these characters. In one way, I function as a teacher to the kids I work with. In another, I function as a teacher to their parents, as I try to help them learn the skills that will support their children. Traditionally, when I was asked who my favorite characters were, I always answered Hermione and Neville; recently, I’ve been more inclined to say McGonagall and Molly.

That’s why, on the home stretch of my fundraising efforts for the Global Autism Project, I decided to add my own “World of Umbridge” shirts to the inventory in my Bonfire Store.  You can click on the store link; all shirt purchases will support the mission to provide long-term and locally sustainable services to children in parts of the world where resources for children with autism and their families are limited. All house colors are available, along with Abnegation grey.

Or, if you aren’t interested in T-shirt would but would like to be a part of this efforts, I am still accepting donations at my Skillcorps funding site (ignore the strikeout, the link works!). Please help me make my goal by the end of the month.  A huge thank-you to the Hogwartsprofessor readers and contributors.


  1. Kelly Loomis says

    Haven’t had time to read this yet but I LOVE the alternative shirts!

  2. Louise Freeman says

    You can buy one! 🙂

  3. Kelly Loomis says

    Louise, I will! By the way, I was at Universal last month and was able to experience Hagrid’s motorbike ride twice – once in each seat. Fun ride!! I took my 79 year old dad and he got sick all over during the Hogwarts ride (poor guy). He went back to the hotel for the rest of the day!

  4. Louise Freeman says

    Sorry to hear it. The line must be much more reasonable now if you did it twice. How long was the wait?

  5. Kelly Loomis says

    Louise, it was 45 minutes.

  6. says

    I ordered a T-shirt!! I chose McGonagall. “Have a biscuit Potter is one of my favorite lines of the series!”

  7. Louise Freeman says

    Thank you for the support, Kelly, and I hope you enjoy the shirt. The Umbridge/McGonagall exchanges at Harry’s career counseling session are some of my favorite in the series.

  8. Kelly Loomis says

    Received my T-shirt today! Your trip, I’m sure, will be postponed but glad to support you. I’ll wear it proudly while we “quarantine” and socially distance ourselves although we have taken some nice walks and do pass others. My husband laughed when I showed it to him and was happy also to give a little support!

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