Quidditch Deconstructed

Tom Franck deconstructs the sport of quidditch of Harry Potter fame, noting that it “sucks.”

The general idea of a broom-riding basketball/hockey/soccer game is not unsound. The problem is introduced with the position of seeker and the hunt for the golden snitch. The objectives of having chasers get the quaffles into the goals and the seeker catching the golden snitch are completely unrelated to one another. It’s as if two separate games have been clumsily welded together.

I think the notion behind the creation of the seeker position is a cheap one: to create a position for the protagonist that’s extra special. The seeker is the center forward, the quarterback, the fourth leg of a relay, etc. – except ten times more important. A quidditch game only ends once a seeker catches the golden snitch. It also gives his or her team an additional 150 points. (Quaffle goals are worth 10 points each)

If you were an avid quidditch fan, your most common feeling would be one of non-satisfaction. Essays by sports columnists attacking the rules would be commonplace. The better team would often lose and the winning team would often have hollow-feeling victories. There would be numerous tales of the seeker who lost the game for his team when he foolishly caught the golden snitch, not realizing his team was down by more than 150 points at that second. The fan outrage would dwarf all complaints about the BCS polling, Amateur boxing judging and World Cup penalty shootouts combined.

He has a point. And much, much more analysis of this important topic at the link.

Via Eugene Volokh via Frank J.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    Get over it, Its just a story.

    I’d kinda like to see a Football game where teams bleed all game for touchdowns, and then on fourth down they can kick 100 point field goals, not.

  2. jen says:

    Shouldn’t this be cross posted at the “fictious sports blog”?

  3. Boyd says:

    Okay, so we’ve definitively established that JK Rowling is horrible at inventing magical sports.