Over the years, there have been a number of strange Quidditch matches played, many of them famous for their length or some odd circumstances surrounding them. Since February 22 is the anniversary of one of the strangest Quidditch matches in the Harry Potter books, I thought I’d mention it here, along with some other odd Quidditch games in history.
November 9, 1991 – a most unusual catch
Harry plays his first ever Quidditch match and ends the game by catching the Snitch in his mouth. This Snitch unexpectedly became an important artefact years later when Dumbledore hid one of the Deathly Hallows in it and bequeathed it to Harry in his will.
1269 – Bragge gives the players the bird
During a Quidditch match played in 1269, the Chief of the Wizard’s Council releases a Golden Snidget bird and offers 150 Galleons to whichever player can catch it. This added a new dimension to the game, with the result that Snidgets became endangered.
1884 – Lost on the moors
In a remarkable match where both Seekers played very poorly, the Snitch escaped on Bodmin Moor and was lost on the moor for six months. Some say it’s still out there somewhere. In fact, Bodmin Moor has a legend of some sort of unidentified beast wandering the moor, which may have been where Rowling got the idea.
1953 – The finest match ever played
The Holyhead Harpies defeated the Heidelberg Harriers in a seven-day match that ended when the Harpy Seeker, Glynnis Griffiths, finally caught the Snitch. The captain of the Harriers immediately proposed marriage to the captain of the Harpies, but was refused with a blow to the head.
1921 – Fastest catch
Roderick Plumpton, the Seeker for the Tutshill Tornados, caught the Snitch in three and a half seconds in a match against the Caerphilly Catapults. He says it was intentional, but opinions vary.
February 22, 1992 – oddest Quidditch match in the books
No, it isn’t the one where Luna comments on cloud formations and accuses Zacharias Smith of suffering from ‘Loser’s Lurgy’. This was Harry’s second match, played against Hufflepuff. What was strange about it? First of all, it was played so late in the afternoon that it was dark shortly after the end of the match, and Harry caught the Snitch in record time. Normally Hogwarts matches are played at 11 am. If this match had been played out to normal length, they would have been playing in the dark. Even stranger was that fact that Snape was allowed to referee the match, although he had a very strong bias against Gryffindor and assigned penalties against them for no particular reason. This is the only time in the entire series when we see Snape on a broomstick. ETA: Phil noted that we do see Snape on a broomstick during the Battle of the Seven Potters, recalled in the “Prince’s Tale” chapter of DH.
[The Lexicon’s search function has changed since the below was written.]
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Note: We’re still adding information to the Portkey and Timeline databases. As they information is added, it automatically shows up in various entries which are related, which is pretty cool. While entries exist for the entire series of novels, they haven’t all been ‘iconned’ or tagged, so this search will change and improve over time. Also, I’m still adding entries for the last part of Quidditch Through the Ages and for the Daily Prophet newsletters. Try the searches again ever so often to see what’s been added.