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In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the title of the thirteenth chapter is “Detention With Dolores”. It strikes me as odd that Dolores is used in the title, as the book is from Harry’s perspective, and he would not think about her with that name.

Is there a particular significance to using Professor Umbridge’s first name in the chapter title?

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  • I have a couple of thoughts that I may post as a self answer if no one else does.
    – Alex
    Mar 26, 2023 at 19:00
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    Just alliteration?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 26, 2023 at 19:33
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    @Randal'Thor That was one of my “couple of thoughts”.
    – Alex
    Mar 26, 2023 at 19:51
  • @Randal'Thor Absolutely alliteration!
    – Skooba
    Mar 28, 2023 at 15:24

1 Answer 1

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Here are several possibilities, which may not be entirely convincing on their own, but taken together may provide a fair justification for the chapter title.

  • The title “Detention With Dolores” is alliterative, and the author apparently has an alliteration affinity. There are many other alliterative chapter titles, including the two immediately following this one (“Percy and Padfoot” and “The Hogwarts High Inquisitor”).

  • The immediately preceding chapter is titled “Professor Umbridge”, so it would have perhaps been awkward to have the next chapter use “Umbridge” as well.

  • The name Dolores apparently comes from the Latin or Spanish word for sorrow. By emphasising “Dolores” in the chapter title, the author may have been foreshadowing the sorrow she would cause to the protagonist.

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