Sunday, January 11, 2009

Everything you ever wanted to know about Quidditch .....

Well, maybe everything. I haven't covered the names or standings of the various teams.
I wanted to post a picture here .... but couldn't find one that I was sure would be okay for me to use. So ....... sorry, no picture. :(

Quidditch .... the game, the rules

The Quidditch pitch is oval shaped, 500 feet (150 m) long and 180 feet (55 m) wide. It has a small central circle approximately 10 feet (3 m) in diameter. Each end has 3 hooped goal posts, 1 each at 30 ft (9.1 m), 40 ft (12 m) and 50 ft (15 m). This is the scoring area at each end. The mid-field is marked by a line 180 ft (55m). Rarely, there are white shaded areas around the goalposts. Spectators are seated either in towers (such as at Hogwarts) or in platforms (such as the World Cup Quidditch games).

The game is played by seven players on flying broomsticks.

Note: Quidditch is not played *on* the pitch. It is played in the air space above the actual pitch. I have not been able to find any notation about how high the players may fly above it, only that they are not allowed to cross the boundaries of the pitch as laid out on the ground.

There are 4 balls used in a Quidditch game.

The Quaffle is spherical in shape, bright red in color and approximately 12 inches (300 mm) in diameter. It is enchanted to very slowly through the air when dropped to prevent players having to continuously dive to retrieve it. It is also enchanted to make it easy to grip with only one hand.

Bludgers are spherical, approximately 10 inches in diameter and made of iron. Two are used in each game. They are betwitched to fly without any visible means of propulsion, but they are unable to change direction swiftly. Their purpose is to fly around attempting to hit players indiscriminately during the game.

The Golden Snitch is a small golden ball approximately the size of a walnut (roughly an inch or 2.54 cm in diameter). The Snitch is winged and is enchanted to hover and dart around the pitch, avoiding capture while remaining within the boundaries of the playing area. Each team has a Seeker, whose only task is to capture the Snitch. The Seeker is the only player allowed to touch the Snitch. It is worth 150 points to the team which captures it. Its capture ends the game. The Snitch is able to remember the first person who touched it and will respond only to that person. This ability helps when there is a dispute about who caught it.

Quidditch is played while riding a magical flying broomstick. There are several varieties of broomsticks available for Quidditch play. The Nimbus broomsticks are known to be one of the best 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, but is considered to be slow and out of style. Another broomstick series called The Bluebottle, described as a family broom, was introduced in the advertisements at the Quidditch World Cup. Another brand is the Silver Arrows. This broom, along with the Tinderblask, Swiftstick, the Twigger 90 and the Oakshaft 79, is the broom famed for its journey across the Atlantic. The Moontrimmer was popular due to the fact that it was still controllable at extremely high altitudes.

Each team has seven players - 3 Chasers, 2 Beaters, 1 Keeper, 1 Seeker

The Chasers attempt to score goals by throwing the Quaffle through one of the opposing team's 3 goal hoops. During play, only one Chaser is legally allowed to be in the scoring area at any given time.

The Beaters are armed with wooden clubs and are tasked with protecting their teammates from the Bludgers by knocking the Bludgers off course or towards opponents.

The Keeper flys in front of his team's goal hoops to prevent goals being scored by the other team's Chasers.

The Seeker searches for, and attempts to capture, the Snitch. That is his only job during the game.

Each team has a captain, who may play any of the positions. The captain is responsible for team practices and choosing team members after the tryouts.

Game Progess
The game starts when the referee releases all 4 balls from the central circle. The Bludgers and the Snitch fly off on their own. The Snitch hides itself quickly and the Bludgers begin to attack the nearest players. The Quaffle is thrown into the air by the referee to signal start of play.

Chasers score by sending the Quaffle through an opponent's goal hoops. Each goal is worth 10 points. After a goal, the Keeper of the team scored upon throws the Quaffle back into play. Capturing the Snitch is worth 150 points and immediately ends the game. The team capturing the Snitch is most likely to win.

Only the Seeker is allowed to touch the Snitch. Even an accidental contact with it by any other player is a foul. Only the capture of the Snitch ends the game. The shortest game ever is described as having lasted three and a half seconds. The longest game supposedly lasted 3 months. A game can be halted, or postponed, without the capture of the Snitch with the mutual consent of both captains. Note that this does not end the game.


The official rules of Quidditch are partially described in 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.
* Time out may be called at any time by a team Captain. It may be extended to two hours if a game has already lasted for more than twelve hours. Failure to return to the pitch afterward disqualifies the offending team.
* The referee can impose penalties. 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 player may interfere.
* Contact is allowed, but a player may not grasp another's broomstick or any part of his or her body.
* No substitution of a player is allowed, even if one is too badly hurt to continue (rare exceptions may be made when the game continues for a great length of time, and players become too fatigued to continue).
* 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. (The right to carry wands at all times was granted during the height of wizard and witch persecution by Muggles, according to Quidditch Through the Ages).
*Only one Chaser is allowed to be in the scoring area at any one time.

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 that the wizards/witches who read the fouls "might get ideas." In actuality, not listing all seven hundred fouls meant that she need only invent a handful for publication. It is claimed that all 700 occurred during the very first Quidditch World Cup. Apparently, most are now impossible to commit as there is a ban on using wands against an opponent (imposed in 1538). 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 or the Keeper unless the Quaffle is within the scoring area.
* 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.

NOTE: These rules are based on the book series. They are not necessarily reflected in the movies.

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