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Wizarding World - Everything Magical

Games, sports, and diversions

"That's chess! You've got to make some sacrifices! I take one step forward and she'll take me -- that leaves you free to checkmate the king, Harry!"
     -- Ron Weasley (PS16)

Games & Sports

The Triwizard Tournament
One of the most fabled sporting events in the wizarding world is the Triwizard Tournament. This famous contest was held recently at Hogwarts. [more]

Quidditch
Most of the wizarding world is mad about Quidditch. This sport is played on broomsticks and is attended by thousands of fans every week. [more]

Winged horse racing
Laurentia Fletwock is a celebrated breeder and racer. (JKR)

Card games
Exploding Snap
A card game involving cards that explode; this game is commonly played by students at Hogwarts.

  • One of the good things about Gryffindor Tower being nearly empty over the Christmas holidays is that students who do stay can play Exploding Snap as loudly as they like without bothering anybody (CS12). It's also played to pass the time over the holidays at the Burrow (HBP16) and occasionally in class to annoy a teacher (OP25).

  • The twins challenged Ron and Harry to a game of Exploding Snap on the night they were trying to sneak out to follow the spiders, which was why they had to leave it until so late at night (they didn't let on what they were up to) (CS15).

  • Played to pass the time on the Hogwarts Express (more commonly at the end of the year than at the beginning) (CS18, PA22, GF37).

  • Neville challenged Harry to a game one Hogsmeade weekend when they were both barred from going into the village, but Harry turned him down (PA14).

Hagrid once played an unidentified game of cards at the Hogs Head and won a dragon egg (PS14)

self-shuffling playing cards

Other games
Gobstones
Gobstones is a game involving stones played something like marbles, in which the stones spit disgusting liquid at the opposing player when they lose a point. There are Gobstone clubs at Hogwarts (OP17) and also an International Gobstones League (DP) Many of the kids at Hogwarts have a set of Gobstones and it's played fairly regularly (CS10, PA16, GF20). Harry was tempted to buy a solid gold set in Diagon Alley (PA4). The offices of the Official Gobstones Club are in the Department of Games and Sports on level seven of the Ministry of Magic (OP7).

Wizard chess
In wizard chess, the pieces are animated and fight for each square on the board under the command of the players.

Ron also started teaching Harry wizard chess. This was exactly like Muggle chess except that the figures were alive, which made it a lot like directing troops in battle. Ron's set was very old and battered. Like everything else he owned, it had once belonged to someone else in his family -- in this case, his grandfather. However, old chessmen weren't a drawback at all. Ron knew them so well he never had trouble getting them to do what he wanted.

Harry played with chessmen Seamus Finnegan had lent him, and they didn't trust him at all. He wasn't a very good player yet and they kept shouting different bits of advice at him, which was confusing. "Don't send me there, can't you see his knight? Send him, we can afford to lose him (PS12)."

Individual pieces have distinct personalities. Some are more vicious than others.

Crookshanks finds wizard chess fascinating to watch. Well, not just to watch; he loves to upset the board with all its moving pieces.

Harry received a new wizard chess set for Christmas in his first year, apparently as a prize from a wizard cracker (PS12). Hermione loses at chess, which Ron and Harry consider to be very good for her (PS13)

Wizards' Duel
Duelling exists as a sport in the same way that fencing is a sport in the Muggle world. While it is a friendly sporting competition, it is essentially a form of combat. Wizard duelling has rules and competitions, but in a battle, the same skills come into play in life or death struggles. Dumbledore allowed Lockhart to start a Duelling Club at Hogwarts during the 1992-1993 [Y12 - Y13] school year, perhaps in part because he saw trouble coming in the wizarding world and therefore the need for training students in the art of battle. Lockhart taught the formalities of duelling: bowing, holding the wand in a certain way, and flourishing the wand in the attack. Harry found himself, two years later, facing Voldemort in a desperate duel to the death. Voldemort used the Imperius Curse to force Harry to bow and obey the other niceties of duelling. Harry, who had learned to resist the Imperius Curse, used the moment to duck for cover. The following year, Harry began teaching duelling techniques as part of his Defence Against the Dark Arts study group, the DA. He was so successful that some of the students he'd taught fought well against experienced Death Eaters in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Some of them used those same duelling skills against Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle aboard the Hogwarts Express on the way home from Hogwarts (June 1996 [Y16]).

Professor Flitwick is rumored to be a champion duellist. It is unknown if this is true and if it is, whether he is a champion of some particular competition. As long ago as 1430 there was an All-England Dueling Competition. Back then, the contest was won by Alberta Toothill who upset the favored Samson Wiblin with a Blasting Charm (fw27).

During the fall of 1995 [Y15], the Ministry was trying to get other countries to sign an International Ban on Dueling. Percy in particular was working to get the Transylvanians on board (GF23). It is uncertain if this type of duelling is the same as the sport variety or if it refers to the more lethal "pistols at dawn" variety of duel.

Broom sports
For more detailed information on these sports, please purchase a copy of Quidditch Through the Ages. Proceeds go to a very good cause.

  • Aingingein (Ireland) - Played on broomsticks, using a ball called a Dom and a series of flaming hoops.(QA2)
  • annual broom race of Sweden (QA2)
  • Creaothceann (Scotland) - Popular in the Middle Ages, probably the most dangerous of all broom games. Involved trying to catch hundreds of falling rocks and bludgers in cauldrons causing a huge number of fatalities, banned in 1762 (QA)
  • Quidditch
  • Quodpot (USA) - an American variant of Quidditch invented by Abraham Peasegood. Has eleven players per side and an exploding ball called the Quod. (QA)
  • Shuntbumps- popular in Devon, England. Similar to jousting, the goal to knock other players from their brooms. (Survives only as a children's game) (QA2)
  • Stichstock (Germany) - Ancient game that used an inflated dragon's bladder atop a 20 foot high pole. (QA2)
  • Swivenhodge - began in Herefordshire involves hitting an inflated pig's bladder backwards and forwards across a hedge with brooms. Still played today.(QA)

Headless Hunt sports

  • Horseback Head Juggling (CS8)
  • Head Polo (CS8)

entertainment and hobbies

tricks, gags, jokes, and equipment Suppliers Quality Quidditch Supplies (Diagon Alley)

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