Quidditch has been called a game and a sport. Everyone agrees that it is a sport. It’s played in an arena like a sport, and players dress and perform as a team. Seven players compose a team and they all ride on flying brooms.
J.K. Rowling felt a sport was needed to complete the feeling that Hogwarts was a real boarding school. Sports are a key learning component for students at a boarding schools.
Rowling envisioned the sport being played by witches and wizards attending the school. This led her to the decision to use brooms.
Quidditch is popular with the fans of Harry Potter books and movies. The sport made its first appearance in 1997’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The film made from this debut novel is the first time fans saw the game being played. The film captured the nuances of the flying play perfectly.
The games are played on an oval-shaped field with three round goals (hoop-shaped) at each end of the stadium. Players fly on brooms and use the brooms to bat balls at the goals. In the books, references are made to International and Regional Quidditch matches, suggesting the sport has worldwide appeal.
The Team and Player’s Roles
A Quidditch team has seven players, and each player has a specific role. The Keeper is like a goalie and he or she tries to keep the Chasers from scoring goals. The Keeper is defending the goals from the Chasers. Chasers pass a Quaffle ball back and forth, then take a shot at the goals. There are three Chasers and one Keeper.
While the Chasers are flying, Bludgers try to knock them off their broomsticks. Bludgers are large balls that fly through the stadium, attacking Chasers. Beaters are players that try to protect the Chasers. It is their job to keep the Bludgers from knocking the Chasers off their brooms. There are two Beaters, and they carry small clubs to hit the Bludgers.
The seventh player on the team is the Seeker. Harry Potter played the position of Seeker for the Hogwarts Quidditch Team. The Seeker has one job, to catch the Golden Snitch. This small ball flies around the stadium, trying to avoid capture. If a Seeker can catch the Golden Snitch, the game immediately ends. There is only one Seeker.
Equipment for the Game
The magical equipment used in wizarding Quidditch is quite different than the earthbound version.
Bludgers – Menacing large black iron balls that fly around the Quidditch Stadium, trying to attack Chasers. The Beaters knock them away using small clubs.
Broomsticks – In the books, there are numerous brands of Broomsticks that are referenced. The three most popular are the Nimbus 2000, Nimbus 2001, and the Firebolt. The Firebolt is considered the fastest broom. Before his Quidditch career ended, Harry Potter flew on a Firebolt.
Goals – The three goals at either end of the Quidditch playing field are at different heights. They are made of metal and look very sculptural. Their heights are thirty feet, forty feet, and fifty feet.
Quaffles – Quaffles are scarlet-colored leather balls. These balls are passed between Chasers and are used for scoring points when thrown through the goal.
Snitch – The Golden Snitch is a golf ball-sized golden ball with wings. It flies around the stadium and can hoover in place. The Golden Snitch tries to avoid the Seekers by darting around and flying fast.
Playing Field – Oval-shaped and five hundred feet long and one hundred and eighty feet wide.
Importance of the Snitch
Capturing the Golden Snitch is important because it is worth 150 points. This pretty much ensures that the team that captures it will win the game. However, in the novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Bulgaria loses after capturing the Snitch. Bulgaria was behind Ireland, 160 to 0. Bulgaria captured the Snitch, immediately ending the game. They received 150 points and lost by 10 points.
Rules of Quidditch
The rules of the sport of Quidditch are simple:
Players may not go past the boundary lines on the field. If a Chaser flies over the boundary with a Quaffle, he or she must surrender it. The Quaffle is then given to the opposing team.
There are no substitutions for players.
The referee may award penalty shots. A single Chase starts at the circle at mid-field and flies toward the goals. The Keeper tries to stop the shot, but other players cannot interfere.
A match ends when the Golden Snitch has been caught or when opposing captains agree to end the match.
If a spectator casts a spell on any player, the spectator’s team must forfeit the game.
The Keeper is the only one that may block Quaffle shots.
Players may bring their magic wands onto the field of play but may not use them.
Timeouts may be called at any time and there is no limit on how many a team may call.
Physical contact is allowed between players, but a player may not grab an opposing player’s broomstick or body part.
If the Golden Snitch is caught, the play ends immediately.
The winner of the match is the team with the most points. Points may be scored in two ways. First, by throwing a Quaffle through an opponent’s goal is worth ten points. Second, capturing the Golden Snitch is worth one hundred and fifty points.
Quidditch – The Real-Life Sport
Often called Muggle Quidditch, real-life Quidditch features players running and carrying a broom. No flying for these athletes so flying out of the field boundaries is not a rule. The rules are basically the same as Harry Potter’s Quidditch, with the following exceptions:
Players put their broomsticks between their legs, and it stays there for the whole game.
Players must always have one hand on their broomstick.
The game starts when the Quaffle and Bludger balls are placed in the center of the field.
At the start of play, all seven members of each team must stand by their goals with their eyes closed.
The Snitch (a human with a tennis ball) is released on the field a good distance from both teams.
The referee shouts, “Brooms Up,” and play begins.
If a player is hit by a Bludger, he or she must dismount their broom. Holding the broom, he or she runs back and touches their goal before returning to play.
Players may not run out of the playing field boundary lines.
There is no set time limit.
Play is full contact, and force may be used to prevent shots.
If the Golden Snitch is caught, the play ends immediately.
The winner of the match is the team with the most points. Points may be scored in two ways. First, by throwing a Quaffle through an opponent’s goal is worth ten points. Second, by capturing the Golden Snitch is worth one hundred and fifty points.
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Muggle Quidditch Equipment
The earthbound version of Quidditch uses the same equipment as the book version, with some changes to materials.
Bludgers – Instead of large iron flying balls, real-life Bludgers are slightly deflated dodge balls. These balls can only be thrown by the Beaters at the Chasers.
Broomsticks – The regulation size is 32 to 42 inches in length. Household brooms can be used, but many players prefer custom Quidditch brooms. These custom-made brooms can cost fifty dollars or more.
Goals – The goals used in Muggle Quidditch are positioned at three different heights, 3 ft., 4.5 ft., and 6 ft. Each goal is 33 inches. Goals can be handmade from things like Hula Hoops or PVC piping. Serious players opt for Quidditch goal sets that cost more than two hundred dollars.
Quaffles – Instead of flying leather balls, Muggle Quaffles are slightly deflated Volleyballs. The balls must be 26 inches in circumference or less. They are light and easy for the Chasers to pass. Volleyballs run ten to forty dollars.
Snitch – Instead of a small golden golf ball-sized flying orb, Muggles use a person; the Snitch wears a tennis ball (sometimes painted gold) in a yellow tube sock attached to his or her waistband. The Snitch runs around the pitch until a Seeker can capture the tennis ball. Then, the game ends.
Pitch – An official pitch is 60 yards long and 36 yards wide. Instead of an oval-like wizarding Quidditch, the Muggle pitch is a rectangle.
J.K. Rowling is not the only author who has written quotes about Quidditch. Other authors have written about the sport of Quidditch.
Warrington’s aim’s so pathetic I’d be more worried if he was aiming for the person next to me.
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Keep calm and catch the snitch.
The long game ended, the Snitch had been caught, and it was time to leave the air.
Zen cuts straight through the Quidditch match in progress and almost gets taken down by a Beater hurling a Nerf Quaffle right at his macho parts.
Megan McCafferty, Thumped
None of us were kidding when we said we wanted to have enough kids to make a Quidditch team, were we?
G. Norman Lippert
You can’t cancel Quidditch.
All the good sports were just that, the figment of someone else’s imagination.
Laura Greenwood, First Time’s a Charm
See Flipping out: Winning at Pinball.
Notable Sayings on the Game
Oh, come on, Harry, said Hermione, suddenly impatient. It’s not Quidditch that’s popular, it’s you! You’ve never been more interesting, and frankly, you’ve never been more fanciable.
I feel like Harry Potter just put liquid luck in my butterbeer before Quidditch practice.
Always questioning yourself, always taking another look at things you’ve always taken for granted. Like having a Snitch in Quidditch, and every time you change your mind, you change yourself.
Once, she’d even managed to get wacked in the nose with a broom while they attempted to play a grounded version of Quidditch. Yup, that was me.
Although people rarely died playing Quidditch, referees had been known to vanish and turn up months later in the Sahara Desert.
Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Quidditch.
What was the shortest Quidditch Game?
The Seeker for the Tutshill Tornadoes managed to catch the Snitch in three and a half seconds. Their shocked opponents were the Caerphilly Catapults.
What was the longest Quidditch Game?
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Oliver Wood, Captain of Quidditch, tells Harry it was three months long. Players were allowed to be substituted in and out so they could sleep.
Does Quidditch have a time limit?
The answer is no. However, games usually last about one hour.
What is the name of a Quidditch Playing Field?
A Quidditch Pitch.
How did Harry Potter describe Quidditch?
He said it was like playing basketball on flying broomsticks.
Did Harry Potter stop playing Quidditch?
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, he is prevented from playing by Professor Umbridge. Dolores Jane Umbridge was sent to Hogwarts by the Ministry of Magic. Her task was to limit the power of Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore. She started by stopping Harry from playing Quidditch.
What was the name of Harry Potter’s Quidditch Team?
The Gryffindor Quidditch Team
There is a unique aspect of Quidditch; what is it?
Quidditch is a gender-equal sport. Men and women play together on the same team. Some of the best Quidditch players are women.
Is there a Quidditch Video Game?
Yes, two. An unofficial one is called Broomstick League. It allows you to play a Quidditch-like game but does not use the name Quidditch. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup is a video game based on Quidditch. It is available for Microsoft Windows, Xbox, Play Station, Game Boy Advanced, and Game Cube.
How many balls are used to play?
The wizardly flying broom game uses four balls, and the Earthbound version uses five balls,
50 Quidditch Team Names
These are Team Names compiled from the Harry Potter books and from real-life teams all around the world.
Grove Hill Griffins
Orchestra of Omeo
Prince George United
Hit It & Quidditch
Moose Jaw Meteorites
The Ballycastle Wasps
The Sorcerer Brothers
Tennant Creek Tempests
Final Thoughts on Quidditch
Real or magical, Quidditch is very popular and continues to grow with Associations around the world. Both the film and earthbound versions of Quidditch are fun to watch. It takes real skills to score goals and catch the Snitch. Who knows, someday there will be professional Quidditch players making lots of real money.
By Tim Moodie
Tim Moodie’s kids were Harry Potter devotees. He would listen to them for hours as they debated the world of Hogwarts.
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