“I was a big fan of seeing the insides of other people’s houses, especially people who were slightly famous like Melissa,” Frances, narrator of Sally…
J.K. Rowling has perfected the art of tweeting. Like, that’s undeniable. The beloved Harry Potter creator needs only to clicky-clack on her keyboard for a few brief moments, or even just smash that re-tweet button, and the Potterhead Twitter-verse ends up losing it’s freakin’ mind. There’s the annual apology for killing off a character (this year was Dobby the House Elf). There was the recent ~sick burn~ on Trump, in which she referred to him as a, uh *ahem* Boggart. And, most recently, she implied there’s a hidden meaning behind a certain Harry Potter character’s name. A certain pink-loving, fascist-lite professor.
On Tuesday, Rowling surreptitiously, oh so casually re-tweeted a tweet from Susie Dent, "that woman in the Dictionary Corner," per her Twitter bio. To clarify: the "Dictionary Corner" is not a figurative corner of the world where people discuss the etymology of words and correct one another’s grammar; it’s a recurring bit on the British game show Countdown, where Susie Dent has appeared every year since 1992.
Dent, who has garnered a pretty serious Twitter following for her English lexicon content, tweeted, "Word-trivia of the day: ‘umbrage’ looks back to the French ‘ombrage’, shade from the heat of the sun. To give umbrage was to upset someone/darken their lives by ‘throwing shade’; to take it was to be duly offended."
Though Dent did not draw a line from the French word "ombrage" to the dreaded Professor Dolores Umbridge, her followers quickly did, commenting a .GIF of Dolores doing that spooky, satisfied, "I just doled out some undeserved punishments to children and man do I feel good" deep breath.
Dolores Umbridge, for those who do not know, is described on Pottermore as a "sinister Ministry bureaucrat" and "one-time Hogwarts teacher." Umbridge first appeared in the Harry Potter canon in 2003 in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with her self-invented punishment quill and her horrible, fun-ruining rules (and her penchant for pink frills and bizarre kitten pictures). And it absolutely makes sense that her name, aurally, is identical to a word that means, essentially, "throwing shade." That means "upsetting someone" and "darkening their lives" and being a big ol’ rain cloud dumping rain and thunder and lightning on everyone else’s parade.
Though Rowling didn’t add anything to the message, just by re-tweeting it, it appears that she endorsed the message, and the implication.
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