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28 Sep '16

Quidditch on Harry Potter

Okay, Let's we talk about Quidditch

Quidditch  is a competitive sport in the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter universe, featured in the series of novels and movies. Matches are played between two teams of seven players riding flying broomsticks, using four balls: a Quaffle, two Bludgers, and a Golden Snitch. Six ring-shaped goals are situated atop poles of different heights, three on each side of the pitch. It is an extremely rough but very popular semi-contact sport, played by wizards and witches. In the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter universe, Quidditch has a fervent fan following.

Harry Potter plays an important position for his house team at Hogwarts: he is the Seeker and becomes the team captain in his sixth year at school. Regional and international Quidditch competitions are mentioned throughout the series. In Goblet of Fire, Quidditch at Hogwarts is cancelled for the Triwizard Tournament, but Harry and the Weasleys attend the Quidditch World Cup. In addition, Harry uses his Quidditch skills to capture a golden egg from a kind of dragon called the Hungarian Horntail (in the first task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament), to capture a flying key in Philosopher's Stone, and on two vital occasions in Deathly Hallows — getting hold of Ravenclaw's Diadem and during the final fight with Voldemort — Harry's Quidditch skills prove extremely useful. Harry has owned two broomsticks, the Nimbus 2000 and the Firebolt, both of which are lost by the series' end. His Nimbus 2000 is destroyed by the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and his Firebolt is lost in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The game has been adopted in the real world. In this game the players run instead of flying but the basic rules are the same.

Golden Snitch

The history of the Snitch is perhaps the most interesting of all the Quidditch balls, and its introduction came as the direct result of a game played in 1269 in Kent. This is over a century on from Goodwin Kneen's letter to his cousin, and it seems that during this time, the game had acquired a great deal of popularity and organisation, but had altered in its format very little. It was, however, now routinely attended by large crowds of people who wanted to watch the game.

The 1269 game mentioned above was attended by Barberus Bragge, the Chief of the Wizards' Council. As a nod to the sport of Snidget-hunting, which was also popular at the time, Bragge brought such a bird to the game and released it from its cage. He told the players that one-hundred fifty Galleons — a large sum of money, particularly in those times — would be awarded to the player who caught the bird.

This was easier said than done: the Snidget is very fast, very small, and can make sudden changes of direction at high speeds. The considerable challenge posed by the flight patterns of the bird is what made Snidget-hunting so popular in the first place.

What happened at the Quidditch game in question was rather predictable: the players totally ignored the game, and each and every one simply went off in pursuit of the Snidget, which was kept within the arena by the crowd using Repelling Charms.

Wimbourne Wasps versus Appleby Arrows
An early age game of Quidditch, featuring the use of the Golden Snitch
A witch named Modesty Rabnott, who was also watching the game, took pity on the Snidget and rescued it with a Summoning Charm before rushing away with it hidden inside her robes. She was caught by a furious Bragge and fined ten Galleons for disrupting the game, but not before she had released the Snidget. This saved the life of this bird, but the connection with Quidditch had been made, and soon a Snidget was being released at every game. Each team had an extra player — originally called the Hunter, later the Seeker — whose sole job was to catch and kill the Snidget, for which one-hundred fifty points were awarded in memory of the one-hundred fifty Galleons offered by Bragge in the original game.

The vast popularity of the sport led to quickly declining Snidget numbers, and in the middle of the 14th century it was made a protected species by the Wizards Council, now headed by Elfrida Clagg. This meant that the bird could no longer be used for Quidditch purposes, and indeed the Modesty Rabnott Snidget Reservation was created in Somerset to safeguard the Snidget's future survival.

The game of Quidditch, however, could not continue without a substitute.

Whilst most people looked for a suitable alternative bird to chase, a metal-charmer called Bowman Wright from Godric's Hollow had a different idea: he invented a fake Snidget which he called the Golden Snitch. His invention was pretty much what we see on the Quidditch pitch today: a golden ball with silver wings, the same size and weight as a real Snidget, bewitched to accurately follow its flight patterns. An additional benefit was that the ball was also charmed to stay within the playing area, removing the need for the continual use of Repelling Charms by the crowd.

The Snitch was approved as a Snidget substitute, the game of Quidditch could continue, and the modern sport as we know it was complete. All of the balls used in the modern game were now present, organised teams played against each other, and vast numbers of people came to watch. Whilst this may sound exactly like the sport as it is played today, there were still a few modifications to be made in terms of the playing pitch, and this continued to evolve until 1883 when the format of today's Quidditch pitches was finalised.




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