Quidditch is a fictional sport developed by J. K. Rowling, found in the internationally best selling Harry Potter novels and films. It is described as an extremely rough but very popular semi-contact sport played by wizards and witches around the world. Matches are played between two teams of seven players riding flying broomsticks, using four balls and six elevated ring-shaped goals. The rules of the game are extremely complicated by the standards of modern sports, and gameplay has been described as a cross between "cricket, soccer and hockey". The game features in every Harry Potter book bar the seventh, as the series' title character, Harry Potter, plays an important position for his house team at Hogwarts. Regional and international competitions are also mentioned in the books. In the Harry Potter universe, Quidditch holds a fervent following similar to football as a globally popular sport.
Players and EquipmentEdit
In the Harry Potter canon, especially the films, Quidditch matches are played on (or rather over) an oval-shaped pitch, five hundred feet long and one hundred and eighty feet wide, with a small central circle approximately two feet in diameter. At each end stand three hooped goal posts each at a different height, comprising the scoring area. Since Quidditch is an aerial sport, Quidditch pitches are shown to feature spectator seating at high vantage points, either in towers (such as at Hogwarts) or in a fully encircled platform. The British stadium that is shown for the 1994 Quidditch World Cup in The Goblet of Fire film is of this latter style, which appears similar to modern football or athletics stadia, albeit that the seating continues to curve upwards beyond the vertical, almost enclosing the pitch. Both the Hogwarts and World Cup pitches have been shown turfed with grass, although as the surface is used only for launching off at the beginning of the game, the actual composition is immaterial. In an interview for Movie Magic, the interviewer described the Quidditch field as something like "a very large place for a soccer field".
The shape, markings and dimensions of the Quidditch pitch are extremely similar to those of an Australian Rules Football fieldTemplate:Fact, which is in turn roughly the same size and shape as a cricket pitch (although the markings differ).
Quidditch is played with four balls of three different types. Two of these are used for scoring, while the other two (almost unique amongst ball games real or fictional) are to be avoided as they physically attack the players by themselves or with the added force of a Beater's bat.
The Quaffle is spherical in shape (although it is shown with four dimples in the films, appearing more as a tetrahedron), bright red in colour, and approximately 12 inches in diameter. It is explained in Quidditch Through the Ages that the Quaffle is enchanted to fall very slowly through the air when dropped to prevent players having to continuously dive to retrieve it. The backstory of Quidditch explains that the red colour was instituted to create a stronger contrast between the Quaffle and mud. The Quaffle is also enchanted to make it easy to grip with only one hand.
The two Bludgers are spherical, approximately ten inches in diameter and are made of iron. Whether they are solid or hollow is not mentioned (if solid, they would weigh almost 70 kg each). They are described to be bewitched to fly without any visible means of propulsion, although they do retain inertia which makes them unable to change direction swiftly. Their purpose in the game is to fly around attempting to indiscriminately hit players. They are the cause of the majority of Quidditch injuries Template:Fact.
The Golden SnitchEdit
The Golden Snitch, commonly known simply as the Snitch, is a small golden ball the approximate size of a walnut (that is, about 1 inch). Unlike the other balls, the Snitch possesses two wings that enable it to fly. It is enchanted to fly around the pitch avoiding capture for as long as possible, while remaining within the boundaries of the playing area. Each team has a designated 'Seeker', whose task is purely to capture the Snitch which, as it is much lighter than the Bludgers, is much more agile. It is also explained in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that the Snitch has a 'flesh memory' for the first person to touch it (the capturing Seeker, since the manufacturer wears gloves), to resolve disputed catches.
Each team is made up of seven players, consisting of three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper and one Seeker.
The Chasers progress up and down the pitch passing the Quaffle by hand amongst themselves, in an attempt to score goals by throwing it through one of their opponent's three goal-hoops. In this respect the game is similar to rugby or (as Harry suggests in the first book) "Basketball on broomsticks with six hoops"Template:HP1.
The Keeper is charged with protecting the three goal hoops, in much the same way as a goalkeeper in soccer. All four players must constantly avoid both the Bludgers, which attempt to attack them and accidental contact with the Golden Snitch (which is a foul).
The Beaters are armed with large wooden clubs similar to baseball bats but shorter and are usually of sturdy build. They are tasked with protecting their teammates from the Bludgers by knocking these balls off course, preferably towards enemy players. As the Bludgers are enchanted to attack indiscriminately, they can be diverted onto enemy players by skilful deflection.
Finally, the Seeker, usually the lightest member of the team and equipped with the fastest broom, is charged with searching the pitch for, chasing down and eventually capturing, the elusive Golden Snitch. The Seeker is the only member of the team permitted to touch the Snitch.
Each team includes a nominated captain, who may play any of the four positions.
As shown in The Deathly Hallows, team photos are taken with each player standing in a certain position that reflects his or her positions on the field. Little is known about the actual seating positions; it is known that there are two rows and the Seeker sits in the middle of the front row.
Magical flying broomsticks are one of the forms of transportation for wizards and witches, as well as for Quidditch. The Nimbus broomsticks are known to be one of the best broomsticks in the Wizarding world. A Firebolt is an advanced professional-level flying broomstick and the most expensive racing broom in existence. Comets and Cleansweeps are cheaper than the Nimbus and are more common. A Shooting Star is another brand of broom, but it is considered to be slow and out of style. There is also another brand called Silver Arrows which Madam Hooch said was a fine broom but the company stopped selling them.
Game progression Edit
The game starts with the referee releasing all four balls from the central circle. The Bludgers and the Snitch, having been bewitched, fly off their own accord: the Snitch to quickly hide, and the Bludgers to attack the nearest players. The Quaffle is thrown into the air by the referee to signal the start of play.
Chasers score by sending the Quaffle through any of the three goal hoops. Each goal scored is worth ten points. After a goal is scored, the Keeper of the team scored upon throws the Quaffle back into play.
The length of a Quidditch game is variable, as play can only end with the capture of the Golden Snitch by one of the Seekers. The game length is therefore determined largely by the Seekers' abilities. The shortest game ever is described as lasting three and a half secondsTemplate:HPQ. Some games can go on for days, and even months, if the Golden Snitch is not caught: the longest game recorded supposedly lasted three monthsTemplate:HP1. It is mentioned Template:Fact that a game can be halted without the capture of the Snitch at the agreement of both captains – if it appears that the Seekers are so hopeless that the match is likely to go on indefinitely.
Teams continue using the same goal posts to score throughout the game. Capturing the Snitch earns the Seeker's team 150 points, equivalent to 15 goals scored by Chasers. Since the game ends immediately after the Snitch is caught, the team that captures the Snitch is very likely to win the game.
The official rules of Quidditch are (partially) described in Rowling's charity publication Quidditch Through the Ages. They are said to have been laid down in 1750 by the Department of Magical Games and Sports. Some of the more common rules are as follows:
- Players must not stray over the boundary lines of the pitch, although they may fly as high as desired. The Quaffle must be surrendered to the opposition if any player leaves the boundary. (Quidditch matches in the Harry Potter films show players often straying over the boundary lines and even around the spectator towers.)
- The Captain of a team may call ‘Time out’ at any time. Time out may be extended to two hours if a game has already lasted for more than twelve hours. Failure to return to the pitch after this time will lead to the team being disqualified.
- Penalties can be awarded to teams by the referee. A single Chaser may take the penalty by flying from the central circle towards the scoring area. The opposing team's Keeper may attempt to stop the shot being scored, but no other players may interfere.
- Contact is allowed, but a player may not take hold of another player's broomstick or any part of their anatomy. (Draco Malfoy breaks this rule in The Prisoner of Azkaban by grabbing Harry Potter's broom tail in order to stop him from seizing the Snitch.)
- No substitution of players is allowed throughout the game, even if a player is too injured to continue to play (rare exceptions may be made when the game continues for a great length of time, and players become too fatigued to continue playing).
- Players may take their wands onto the pitch, but they must not be used on or against any players, any players' broomsticks, the referee, any of the four balls, or the spectators.
Rowling writes that there are seven hundred Quidditch fouls listed in the Department of Magical Games and Sports records, but most of these fouls are not open to the public, owing to the Department's supposed fear the wizards/witches who read the fouls "might get ideas." In actuality, of course, not listing all 700 fouls meant she need only invent a handful for publication. It is claimed that all 700 occurred during the very first Quidditch World Cup. The most common of those fouls which are described are named below:
- Blagging: No player may seize any part of an opponent's broom to slow or hinder the player.
- Blatching: No player may fly with the intent to collide.
- Blurting: No player may lock broom handles with the intent to steer an opponent off course.
- Bumphing: Beaters must not hit Bludgers towards spectators (though Harry jokingly orders one of his Beaters to send one at Zacharias Smith in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.)
- Cobbing: Players must not use their elbows against opponents.
- Flacking: Keepers must not defend the posts from behind by punching Quaffles out of the hoops – goals must be defended from the front.
- Haversacking: Chasers must not still be in contact with the Quaffle as it passes through a hoop (the Quaffle must be thrown through).
- Quaffle-pocking: Chasers must not tamper with the Quaffle in any way.
- Snitchnip: No player other than the Seeker may touch or catch the Golden Snitch.
- Stooging: No more than one Chaser is allowed in the scoring area at any one time. (Gameplay in Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup and the fan-made Q3D permit this behaviour.)
The backstory of Quidditch is mentioned only in passing in the main Harry Potter books. The majority of information on the 'origins' of the game comes from Rowling's charity publication Quidditch Through the Ages.
Ancient games Edit
Quidditch is explained to be derived from an amalgamation of several ancient games:
- Stichstock: Originating in Germany and consisting of a single wizard acting as a guardian or goalkeeper, trying to protect an inflated dragon bladder. A number of other players mounted on broomsticks would attempt to pierce the bladder, with the first who successfully did so being declared the winner.
- Aingingein: An Irish game which required broomstick-mounted players to fly through a number of burning barrels set in the air, whilst all the time clutching a ball with one hand. At the end of this fiery course was a goal that the ball had to be hurled into. The wizard who completed the course and scored a goal in the shortest time was the winner.
- Creaothceann: An exceptionally violent and often fatal game originating in Scotland. A large number of boulders were charmed to hover in the air and each player had a cauldron strapped to his/her head. A horn was sounded, the rocks were released, and the players would fly around on their broomsticks trying to catch as many rocks in their cauldron as possible. The winner was the player who caught the most rocks.
- Shuntbumps: A very simple form of broomstick-jousting where one flyer attempted to knock the other off his broom.
- Swivenhodge: Rather like tennis on a broom, this involved hitting an inflated pig's bladder back and forth across a hedge.
The evolution of Quidditch Edit
The name "Quidditch" is supposedly derived from Queerditch Marsh, the location of the first recorded game. The first ball to be introduced was the Quaffle, then a leather ball quite similar to the modern Quaffle, and hence the only playing positions were Chaser and Keeper. Soon afterwards were included in the game flying boulders that had been enchanted to attack players – the first Bludgers.
At first, the boulders had no human opponents on the pitch: Beaters were introduced not long afterwards. As the heavy bats had the unfortunate tendency to shatter the boulders into flying gravel, they were replaced by the first metal Bludgers almost immediately. The final modification to the original "Kwidditch" was to set up three half-barrels at either end of the pitch as scoring targets (previously trees had been used for this purpose). The one missing element from this ancient game was the Golden Snitch
The Golden Snitch Edit
The backstory of the Snitch is the most elaborate of all the Quidditch balls, and its introduction (so it is described in Quidditch Through the Ages) came as the direct result of a game played in 1269 in Kent. By this time, the game had attracted a cult large crowds regularly attended following and matches.
Barberus Bragge, the Chief of the Wizards’ Council, attended the 1269 game. As a nod to the sport of Snidget-hunting, which was also popular at the time, Bragge brought a Snidget to the game and released it from its cage. He told the players that 150 Galleons – then an enormous sum of money – would be awarded to the player who caught the bird. As the promise of such a large reward would suggest, the players thence totally ignored the game, and simply went off in pursuit of the Snidget, which was kept within the arena by the crowd using Repelling Charms.
A witch named Modesty Rabnott took pity on the Snigdet and rescued it with a Summoning Charm, but the connection with Quidditch had been made, and soon a Snidget was being released at every game. Each team added an extra player – originally called the Hunter, later the Seeker – whose sole job was to catch and kill the Snidget, for which 150 points were awarded in memory of the 150 Galleons offered by Bragge in the original game. The popularity of Quidditch led to quickly declining Snidget numbers, and in the middle of the 14th century it was made a protected species by the Wizard's Council. This meant that the bird could no longer be used for Quidditch purposes. The game, 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 invented a fake Snidget which he called the Golden Snitch: a golden ball with silver wings, the same size and weight as a real Snidget, enchanted to accurately follow its flight patterns. An additional benefit was that the ball was also charmed to stay within the playing area. The Snitch was also given a "flesh memory", allowing it to remember who touched it first in order to leave no dispute as to who caught it. The Snitch quickly became the approved replacement for the Snidget, and the game of Quidditch has remained largely unchanged ever since.
The Quidditch pitch Edit
At the time of the introduction of the Golden Snitch, a standard Quidditch pitch consisted of an elongated oval playing area 500 feet long and 180 feet wide. It had a small circle at the centre, approximately two feet in diameter, from which all the balls were released at the start of the game. The early barrel-goals had been replaced by baskets on stilts, but whilst these were practical, they did carry an inherent problem: there was no size restriction on the baskets, which differed dramatically from pitch to pitch.
By 1620, scoring areas had been added at each end of the pitch, and an additional rule in the game dictated that only one Chaser was allowed in these areas at any given time. In addition, the size of the baskets themselves had reduced considerably, although there was still a certain amount of variation between pitches. Regulations were finally introduced in 1883 that replaced the baskets with hoops of a fixed size.
Quidditch in the films and video games Edit
- For the video game, please see Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
There are some minor differences between how Quidditch is represented in Rowling's Quidditch Through the Ages and how it appears to be played in the films and video games.
Most notably in the films, the rule that players must not stray outside the pitch boundary is not evident, as players can be seen flying around the spectator towers at the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch, as well as the scene where the rogue Bludger chases Harry and Draco Malfoy around the outside of the pitch boundaries in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
There also seems to be more allowance for malicious acts in the films, as we see several instances where Slytherin players physically attack the opposition without penalty.
In the video game Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup, the rule of only having a single Chaser in the scoring area is not enforced. Additionally, the game allows players to make special moves whereby several goals are scored in succession as multiple Chasers pass the Quaffle back and forwards through the hoops, whereas the rules dictate that after a goal is scored, possession passes to the Keeper.
In the Goblet of Fire film, only the scenes around and before the Quidditch World Cup were used in the film, with the actual gameplay cut from the final version. Quidditch was absent entirely from the Order of The Phoenix film. Rupert Grint has said that he has been told by David Yates that he will be "getting to play Quidditch in September," implying that Quidditch may appear in the sixth film.
Known Quidditch teams Edit
Hogwarts teams Edit
International Quidditch teams Edit
Other Quidditch teams Edit
The following teams are listed in Rowling's Quidditch Through the Ages.
Irish National TeamEdit
The Irish National Quidditch team appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which they defeat Bulgaria in the Quidditch World Cup. The team consists of Chasers Troy, Mullet, and Moran, Keeper Barry Ryan, Beaters Quigley and Connolly, and Seeker Aidan Lynch. According to Rowling's website, several players were named after friends of hers as an inside joke.
Bulgarian National TeamEdit
The Bulgarian National Quidditch team appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which they are defeated by Ireland in the Quidditch World Cup. The team consists of Chasers Dimitrov, Ivanova, and Levski, Keeper Zograf, Beaters Volkov and Vulchanov, and superstar Seeker Viktor Krum.
Quodpot is a variant of Quidditch popular in the United States, the Western Hemisphere and, as a minority, Europe. Quidditch is gaining popularity in the United States. Quodpot has never been mentioned in the novels, but it is described in Quidditch Through the Ages.
Quodpot can be seen as analogous to the real-world situation where football is the most popular sport in most of the world except the United States, where baseball, American football, basketball, and ice hockey exceed it in popularity. The situation can also be seen as analogous to the comparison between football and its American counterpart.
There are 11 players on a side in Quodpot. They throw the Quod, a Quaffle modified to explode after a certain amount of time, from player to player, attempting to get it into the "pot" at the end of the pitch before it explodes. Any player in possession of the Quod when it explodes is disqualified. Once the Quod is in the "pot" (a cauldron containing a solution which prevents it from exploding), the scorer's team is awarded a point and a new Quod is brought onto the pitch.
Non-fictional Quidditch Edit
There have been computer games that simulate playing Quidditch. Major games include:
- Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
A street in Lower Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, England is named Quidditch Lane, supposedly after a type of nearby dry ditch called a quidditch. The local developers have not produced any evidence that the word existed before Harry Potter Template:Fact. Fans have been known to visit the area.
Many Harry Potter fan sites have their own versions of the game of Quidditch. They range from simple question based games (where a correct answer gains the player possession of the Quaffle/Bludger), to fast-paced RPG games (like the one on Mugglenet Chat). Each implementation has its own playing form, but all follow the basic rules outlined in the Harry Potter books.
The web comic Mac Hall created a game called Australian Indoor Rules Quiddich in the comic universe. The spelling of Quidditch was changed to avoid possible copyright infringement issues, and a single bouncy ball with flashing lights in it replaces all four Quidditch balls. Instead of broomsticks, each player is equipped with a baseball bat, to hit the ball at fellow players as hard as possible. The game is played in a dark hallway: the ball lights up when it bounces and players must follow its glow. 
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