The favourite sports game in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding world is Quidditch. When Harry is first introduced to it (in the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) he tries to sum up his first impression: ‘So – that’s sort of like basketball on broomsticks with six hoops, isn’t it?’
Well, not quite. There are four balls involved – one Quaffle, two Bludgers and the Snitch. And the seven players on each team are divided into one Keeper, three Chasers, two Beaters and one Seeker.
‘Three Chasers try and score with the Quaffle; the Keeper guards the goalposts; the Beaters keep the Bludgers away from their team,’ ...
Harry’s position, however, is to be that of Seeker.
‘This,’ said Wood, ‘is the Golden Snitch, and it’s the most important ball of the lot. It’s very hard to catch because it’s so fast and difficult to see. It’s the Seeker’s job to catch it. You’ve got to weave in and out of the Chasers, Beaters, Bludger’s and Quaffle, to get it before the other team’s Seeker, because whichever Seeker catches the Snitch wins his team an extra hundred and fifty points, so they nearly always win. That’s why Seekers get fouled so much. A game of Quiddich only ends when the Snitch is caught, so it can go on for ages – I think the record is three months, they had to keep bringing on substitutes so the players could get some sleep. Well that’s it – any questions?’
Quidditch plays a big role throughout the books, except for the last book, which mostly takes place away from school. But the last book still involves a lot of the same elements as a Quidditch game – only more serious. Harry’s role as Seeker is also symbolic throughout the series.
In the first book, a book called Quidditch Through the Ages is referred to. Rowling later published a small book by that name in a separate volume, donating the proceeds to a charity organization called Comic Relief.