The Harry Potter series has sold billions of dollars worth of books, movie tickets and DVDs because it's one of those rare series that children can enjoy but won't make adults want to gouge out their eyes.
Author J.K. Rowling had a way of throwing a bone to the grown-ups here and there by slipping in sly little adult references along the way. It's usually done in subtext (like the elderly wizard Dumbledore's homosexual relationship with the male wizard Grindelwald), but sometimes it's right there in the open for anyone perceptive enough to get it.
And sometimes, that shit gets nasty.
5Dolores Umbridge Gets Gang Raped by Centaurs
Dolores Umbridge is perhaps the one person in the whole Harry Potter universe who is virtually impossible to like, no matter what angle you choose to piss on her from.
She's like Mussolini and your nosy old neighbor, all rolled into one.
The short-lived headmistress of Hogwarts gets off on torturing children, has an unflinching holier-than-thou attitude and, unless David Yates has something stashed for an extended edition of the films, *SPOILER* she gets away with it. *END SPOILER*
Well, unless you count the part where she is abducted and gang raped by centaurs in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. And if you think we're just filling in the rape stuff with our filthy imaginations, hang on.
Near the climax of the book/film, Umbridge is hauled screaming into the Forbidden Forest by a group of centaurs. No one sees what happens next.
What you have to realize is that there's a reason Rowling made sure it was centaurs who snatched Umbridge, rather than any of the countless other dangerous creatures in the forest (like the giant spiders). If you're familiar with the mythology of centaurs, seeing a screaming woman get hauled away by a bunch of them gives you the same feeling you get in Deliverance when Ned Beatty falls into the hands of the hillbillies, or when Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames wind up imprisoned by the same in Pulp Fiction. Centaurs rape human women -- that's what they do, that's a central part of their mythology.
In one legend, centaurs were invited to a wedding feast and attempted to rape the bride. In another, the famous centaur Nessus was killed while trying to rape a woman. That's the point of centaurs as characters -- they have the heads of men and the animal urges of horses.
Via Wikimedia Commons
And unfortunately, the ... um ... "equipment" to go with it.
People on the Internet familiar with the mythology were quick to notice this, as were feminist blogs. After all, showing Umbridge getting dragged away by centaurs would be like having Draco Malfoy getting his comeuppance by having him get hauled into the back of a windowless van by a creepy guy with a wispy mustache. We don't need to see what happens next if we know the context.
The thousand-yard stare of a woman who knows her centaurs.
Now, if that had been the last time we saw Umbridge in the series, then you could say, OK, maybe these centaurs are different, maybe they just trampled her to death or stabbed her or tied her to a tree and strapped a bag full of oats to her face. But Umbridge comes back, and comes back suffering from some kind of major trauma that didn't involve any damage to the visible parts of her body. Here's Rowling's depiction of her in the aftermath:
Professor Umbridge was lying in a bed opposite them, gazing up at the ceiling .... Since she had returned to the castle she had not, as far as any of them knew, uttered a single word. Nobody really knew what was wrong with her, either. Her usually neat mousy hair was very untidy and there were still bits of twigs and leaves in it, but otherwise she seemed to be quite unscathed.
'Madam Pomfrey says she's just in shock,' whispered Hermione.
'Sulking, more like,' said Ginny.
'Yeah, she shows signs of life if you do this,' said Ron, and with his tongue he made soft clip-clopping noises. Umbridge sat bolt upright, looking around wildly.
'Anything wrong, Professor?' called Madam Pomfrey, poking her head around her office door.
'No ... no ...' said Umbridge, sinking back into her pillows. 'No, I must have been dreaming ...'Hermione and Ginny muffled their laughter in the bedclothes.
To Make It Even Weirder ...
Two characters watch Umbridge getting dragged away -- Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. At least one of those two knows that centaurs are rape machines. (Hint: It's Hermione, the character whose main purpose in the plot is to know absolutely everything.)
"So this is why you spend so much time in that library."
Neither of them make an effort to save Umbridge. Potter gets in a witty, James Bond-esque quip as she's being dragged away, and Hermione seems satisfied that mass horse rape is a fitting punishment. We like to think that on the way back to school, Harry asked "So what do you suppose those centaurs are going to do to the professor?" and that Hermione casually described to him how Umbridge would almost certainly be brutally violated by equinely endowed inter-species rapists. And that was the day Harry learned that you do not mess with Hermione Granger.
"No, you go ahead back. I'm going to just enjoy this for a bit."