As every school-age wizard knows, the fact that we fly on broomsticks
is probably our worst-kept secret. No Muggle illustration of a witch
is complete without a broom and however ludicrous these drawings are
(for none of the broomsticks depicted by Muggles would stay up in the
air for a moment), they remind us that we were careless for far too
many centuries to be surprised that broomsticks and magic are
inextricably linked in the Muggle mind.
-- Kennilworthy Whisp
A flying broomstick is not simply a "normal" broomstick
pressed into service
as a mode of transportation. The flying broomstick is a magical item
built-in charms. The earliest known evidence of a broomstick enchanted
to fly dates to 962 A.D.; brooms are thought to have been chosen
because they are easily transported and concealed from Muggles (QA1). As time
passed, they would also prove to be conducive to playing a number of sports.
Flying on a broomstick, particularly one which accelerates as quickly as the
Firebolt, must necessarily involve some form of
magic protective field holding rider to broom and shielding against wind and
inertial forces. Without this, it seems unlikely that anyone could hang on
when a Firebolt accelerates from zero to 150 mph in
only ten seconds (PA4). It also seems likely that flying a broomstick doesn't
involve actually sitting on the handle, which would be uncomfortable indeed.
As a matter of fact, most illustrations we see in the books show the rider
floating a little ways above the handle. The spell which creates this effect
is called the
invented by Elliot Smethwyk in 1820 (QA9).
For more about the history of broomsticks, please purchase the book Quidditch Through the Ages. It's inexpensive and the proceeds go to charity. Information about broomsticks can be found particularly in chapters one and nine.
Brooms at Hogwarts
Broomsticks and broom sports hold a special place in the hearts of
Hogwarts students. Quidditch matches are routinely attended by nearly
every student and teacher in the school, and star fliers have
near-celebrity status among the student body.
Brooms, even those owned by students, are normally stored in a
broomshed by the Quidditch pitch (PS13), although when Harry gets a
Firebolt he keeps it in his dormitory out of concern for its safety
(PA15). This is probably smart, as the broomshed can get quite cold -
Hagrid is seen outside on one cold fall morning defrosting the brooms
from the shed (PS11). Hogwarts owns a number of brooms, but they are
old and don't fly especially well; Harry dreads the thought of playing
a Quidditch match on one after his broom is destroyed (PA10).
These brooms are used primarily for flying lessons, which first years
take with Madame Hooch (PS9), though most of them can't fly very well
Spells Cast on Broomsticks
Broomsticks are certainly charmed objects. They even seem to be at least
semi-sentient. The best ones seem to respond to thoughts. When
Harry was nearly thrown from his broom
during his first year, Hagrid said that
a simple collision couldn't have caused it to act that way because
"[c]an't nothing interfere with a broomstick except powerful
Dark magic--no kid could do that to a Nimbus Two Thousand."
This magic doesn't replace the skill of the flyer, of course, but rather
protects and enables them to fly with amazing speed and dexterity. Even
when the rider has fallen off the broom, it doesn't fall from the sky,
but rather it drifts off on its own
For information about specific spells used on broomsticks, see Broomstick Magic.
Played on broomsticks, using a ball called a
Dom and a series of flaming hoops.
Broom Companies & Models
For more information about many of these brooms, please purchase the book Quidditch Through the Ages. It's inexpensive and the proceeds go to charity.
A broomstick for the family with
a built-in Anti-Burglar Buzzer
bluebottle [Eng.] any of several species of flying insect
of a metallic bright blue colour.
Cleansweep Series Brooms
A series of sport broomsticks produced by the
Cleansweep Broom Company beginning in
- Cleansweep One
The first of the Cleansweep series, this model (released
cornered as did no other broom
before it. Within a year of its release the Cleansweep One dominated the
racing-broom market, having been
designed specifically for sporting use
- Cleansweep Three
This broom model was an
improved version of the Cleansweep Two and
was released in
- Cleansweep Six
The Quibbler, in its
September (or August, possibly)
carried an interview with a wizard who claimed to have flow to the moon
on one of these brooms, and had returned with a bag of
moon frogs to prove it
- Cleansweep Eleven
The Cleansweep Eleven was released in 1995
[Y15], making it the latest broomstick
in the series.
Ron Weasley received one as a reward
upon being made a prefect
(OP9). He was very happy
about it, so we know a fair bit about its specifications from him:
Comet Broom Series
Series of broomsticks
produced by the
Comet Trading Company (formed
- Comet 140
The first of the Comet series of racing
broomsticks, numbered 140 because
of the number of models tested during its development. This model (released
incorporated the patented
- Comet 180
The second of the Comet series of racing
this model was released
- Comet Two Sixty (Comet 260)
A recent entry in the Comet series of racing
broomsticks, released no later than 1991. We've seen three of
these in action:
- Comet Two Ninety (Comet 290)
The most recent entry in the Comet series
of racing broomsticks. Its maximum acceleration is nought to sixty, and that only with a decent tailwind
according to Which Broomstick
as quoted by Ron
Ellerby & Spudmore
A broom manufacturer; for information on its brooms please see Tinderblast or Swiftstick (QA9).
Released in the summer of
the Firebolt is currently the fastest racing broom
in the world. Harry saw a prototype in Quality Quidditch Supplies the summer
it came out and was sorely tempted to empty his Gringotts vault to buy
one (PA4). He resisted
the temptation, however, and to his surprise received
a Firebolt for Christmas from his godfather, Sirius Black
Irish International Side flew Firebolts in the
Quidditch World Cup
streamlined, superfine handle of ash, treated with a
hand-numbered with its own registration number
tail twigs of birch, individually selected and honed to
acceleration of 150 mph in 10 seconds
unbreakable Braking Charm
when you pick it up then let go, it hovers at exactly the right height
turns with the lightest touch, seems to obey thought rather than grip
superbly smooth action
Flyte and Barker
Broom manufacturer, maker of the Twigger 90 (QA9).
A slender, ash-handled model of
broom that for its time
(first created in
by Gladys Boothby)
could achieve record-breaking heights (at least, record-breaking while
the flyer maintained control at such an altitude). Its maximum speed was
less than seventy miles per hour
Nimbus Series Brooms
Series of high-end broomsticks
produced by the
Nimbus Racing Broom Company (formed
- Nimbus 1000
The first broomstick of the Nimbus series, this model
was revolutionary in its day for reaching speeds of up to 100 miles
per hour and being capable of turning 360 degrees at a fixed point in
(QA9). This broom put the Nimbus Racing Broom Company at the top of the broom manufacturing field, a title it boasted for some time.
- Nimbus 1001
- Nimbus 1500
- Nimbus 1700
followed the release of the Nimbus 1000 between 1967 and 1990 and
ensured the Nimbus Racing Broom Company stayed atop the field of sport
- Nimbus 2000
Harry's first broom, given to him by Professor McGonagall in his first year (PS10). At the time he received it, it was the best broom available; he used it until it blew into the Whomping Willow during his third year (PA9).
- Nimbus 2001
Released just before the start of Harry's second year in 1992, a year after the Nimbus 2000. Lucius Malfoy bought seven of these to outfit the Slytherin Quidditch Team; there's some evidence that this was why Draco was made the team's Seeker, as he really isn't a particularly good player.
A large, heavy broom built by Elias Grimstone in 1879 and designed for
endurance flying. This was the broom used by Jocunda Sykes when she
became the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean by broom (QA9).
The cheapest racing broom ever
released as of its release in
but the buyer got what was paid for; the Shooting Star's ability to
accelerate and to achieve respectable altitudes didn't hold up well
over the long haul (QA9).
Ron's old Shooting Star was sometimes
"outstripped by passing butterflies"
(CS4); since the manufacturer,
Universal Brooms Ltd., went out of
business in 1978 and the observation about the Shooting Star's speed was
made in 1992
decrepitude of the old Shooting Star was not perhaps surprising.
The Hogwarts school
brooms include Shooting Stars (PA10).
Produced by Leonard Jewkes
sometime after the development of the
Moontrimmer, this achived higher
speeds than either the
Moontrimmer or the
Oakshaft 79; its maximum speed
of 70 miles per hour with a decent tailwind was very good for its time
A broom produced by Ellerby and Spudmore, who had earlier released the Tinderblast, in 1952. It was never used for Quidditch because of its inability to ascend powerfully (QA9).
Broom produced by Ellerby in Spudmore in 1940, twelve years before they
released the Swiftstick. It traveled somewhat slower than the Comets and Cleansweeps of its time and thus was never used in sports (QA9).
A gimmicky broom produced by Flyte and Barker in 1990, the Twigger 90 warps under high speeds and thus has never been used for Quidditch (QA9).