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Even Stephen King Was Chilled By This Horrifying Harry Potter Villain

There are plenty of characters to root for within the "Harry Potter" series, along with an equal amount of villains. One can argue that any character on the Death-Eater side can be considered a villain. But just like Potter and his closest friends, there are a handful of baddies that stand out above the rest. These dedicated pure-bloods are a level or more above the simple canon fodder of Dark Lord followers, who simply hang out in the background.

Over the seven books (eight movies), Lord Voldemort is obviously the cream of the crop when it comes to villain ranking. However, fans of the books have to give credit to some chilling underlings, who set themselves aside by being overly dedicated to the Dark Lord. Spine-tingling characters such as Bellatrix Lestrange, Fenrir Greyback, and smaller Voldemort himself (aka Tom Riddle), are all noteworthy evil-doers. Even fake villains, Sirius Black and Snape were pretty chilling before revealing which side they actually fought for.

However, when the "king of horror," himself, Stephen King, chooses a villain from the "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" book whom he found most horrifying, literally every fan should take note. After all, the macabre author that created stories such as "The Shining" and "It" should know a thing or two about terrifying characters.

Stephen King was terrified by this new professor

When the fifth "Harry Potter" book was released, Stephen King wrote his own review of the novel, providing fans with his opinions on this beloved story. With his assessment of the book's villains, however, it was surprising to hear the generous praises of one specific character. Surely turning some reader's heads, King singled out Professor Dolores Umbridge, the new (at the time of the fifth book), Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

In the fifth installment of the "Harry Potter" series, author J. K. Rowling introduces Dolores Umbridge, a high-ranking official from the Ministry of Magic. Assigned as a new professor, then eventually Headmaster, Umbridge unleashes her dry, sadistic punishments and dedication to the rules on the students of Hogwarts. King, in his Entertainment Weekly review of the book, says "The gently smiling Dolores Umbridge, with her girlish voice, toad-like face, and clutching, stubby fingers, is the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter."

For a craftsman of horror, comparing Umbridge with one of the most well-known, fictional serial killers of all time, is surely levels above a simple thumbs-up. It's hard to argue with King. Umbridge, who was brilliantly played by Imelda Staunton in the films, slowly reveals her ice-cold persona, as she mows over Hogwarts students' hopes and dreams in order to satisfy the Ministry's agenda. Observing her fanatical dedication to the rules goes so far that even a Dementor would feel chilled to the bone.