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Quidditch Through the Ages

Quidditch Through the Ages (book)

Quidditch Through the Ages is a popular Hogwarts library book, reproduced in a facsimile edition for Muggles. The book covers the history of Quidditch from its origins in ancient broom games to the present day.


UK Muggle edition published on 12 March 2001 by Bloomsbury, in association with Whizz Hard Books, 129a Diagon Alley, London

US Muggle edition published on March 12, 2001 by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Press, in association with Whizz Hard Books, 129a Diagon Alley, London

Original wizarding world edition published in 1952 by Whizz Hard Books, Diagon Alley, London

Written by Kennilworthy Whisp

Illustrated by J. K. Rowling


Chapter 1 – The Evolution of the Flying Broomstick

Chapter 2 – Ancient Broom Games

Chapter 3 – The Game From Queerditch Marsh

Chapter 4 – The Arrival of the Golden Snitch

Chapter 5 – Anti-Muggle Precautions

Chapter 6 – Changes in Quidditch Since the Fourteenth Century

Chapter 7 – Quidditch Teams of Britain and Ireland

Chapter 8 – The Spread of Quidditch Worldwide

Chapter 9 – The Development of the Racing Broom

Chapter 10 – Quidditch Today

Calendar and Dates

The earliest broom games dated from approximately 1000 AD or earlier, but Quidditch itself is credited as having begun in the "eleventh century." The book covers a thousand years of Quidditch history.

The dates due back on the list of borrowers omit the year, but range from 9 April to 11 March. Since Oliver Wood's name is first and Harry's name last on the list, the timeframe is sometime between the start of Wood's first year and the start of Harry's fifth year (since this book came out before OP, and Cedric Diggory's name is on the list).

Since Hermione's name is on the list just before Harry's, and we know that she introduced him to this book during their first year, it is possible that the timeframe of the borrowing dates ends at the beginning of Harry's first year (PS9). Later chapters provide more information relevant to the chronology of the book itself.

This book was published between the releases of GF and OP.

Interesting facts and notes

J. K. Rowling wrote this book, along with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, for charity. All proceeds were donated to Comic Relief in the UK.

The cover and contents of the book are designed to look like a Hogwarts library book and it is mentioned in several times in the first book (PS9, PS11). However, the name of author Kennilworthy Whisp was never given before this.

The original publication date of 1952 is given in a footnote to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:

13 Anyone interested in the role played by the Golden Snidget in the development of the game of Quidditch is advised to consult Quidditch through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp (Whizz Hard Books, 1952)
-- footnote 13, page 39 (FB)

This book is purported to be a facsimile of an original Hogwarts library book, perhaps one of several copies that library owns:

"It was with some difficulty.... that I persuaded Madam Pince to part with one of her books...."
-- Albus Dumbledore, page vii of the Foreword (emphasis added)

The copy has been prepared specifically for Muggle eyes, which means that details such as the list of students who had checked it out were added for effect, not necessarily copied verbatim from the library card of the actual book. This may explain why the dates and names don't really make sense.

Covers and front matter

Various persons from the wizarding world praise the book and biographical data about the author is presented.

The blurbs were "written" by several writers, editors, and Quidditch experts mentioned in the Harry Potter books. The "About the Author" biographical data is in reference to Kennilworthy Whisp, not to Rowling.

Property of Hogwarts School Library 

Page i is a "library book label" with the handwritten names of students and due dates for the book. The list includes some characters from the novels.

The due dates are problematic, since they seem to indicate that some of the students have checked out the book during the middle of the summer. All in all, it is likely that this is not an authentic book label but a facsimile created for this special edition of the book by Albus Dumbledore.

Praise for Quidditch through the Ages

Page iv contains a list of endorsements of the book by several witches and wizards. These are:

....[Whisp's] hobbies include backgammon, vegetarian cookery and collecting vintage broomsticks.

A quiet life, in other words. (Backgammon is a board game.)


....over 250 million dollars since they started in 1985 - which is the equivalent of over 174 million pounds or thirty-four million Galleons.

Here Albus Dumbledore tells us that Comic Relief UK had by 2001 raised over 250 million dollars, then giving the equivalent of that figure as 174 million pounds or 34 million Galleons. From this we can determine that one Galleon is equal to just a tad over 5 pounds, which agrees with her comment in an interview. (The Lexicon features a Wizarding World Currency Converter page.)

Unfortunately, on the back of the book is listed a price for the book in dollars and in wizarding money, and these do not work out to the same exchange rate, so that is incorrect. Wouldn't you know it, when CNN created their converter application on their CNNfn website, they used the wrong exchange rate.

[signature] Albus Dumbledore

Dumbledore's handwriting is very old-fashioned in appearance.

Exceptional character moments

Bagman, whose blurb for this book offers to make bet on whether the book will be a best-seller.

Gilderoy Lockhart, whose blurb for this book is self-centred as usual.

Memorable lines

I would be deceiving my readers if I said that this explanation made Madam Pince happy about handing a library book over to Muggles. She suggested several alternatives, such as telling the people from Comic Relief U.K. that the library had burned down, or simply pretending that I had dropped dead without leaving instructions.

...though at the point when it came to let go of it, her nerve failed her and I had to individually prise her fingers from the spine.

Please be careful how you treat this book. Do not rip out the pages. Do not drop it in the bath. I cannot promise that Madam Pince will not swoop down on you, wherever you are, and demand a heavy fine.

Other Canon Notes

author's comments about the book:

"When Comic Relief asked me to write something I thought I would just love to write the two books," Ms Rowling told the BBC. "I have always supported Comic Relief... I did two because I had two in my head and I couldn't really decide between Quidditch and Fantastic Beasts, so I decided to do them both."

Why were there no pictures in your books?
Actually, I drew some pictures for book one and the publishers didn't want them. They felt that putting in pictures implied the books were for younger children but I drew the pics for Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts, so that was fun.

from an interview with Raincoast:

Why did you want to write Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them?
They are two titles that appear in the novels - Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a book that Harry buys to go to Hogwarts so it's one of his school textbooks and Quidditch Through The Ages is a library title. I always write more than I need for the books so bits of them were just written for my own fun. So when Comic Relief asked me to write something I thought I would just love to write them, I just thought it would be so much fun and I was completely correct. It was more fun than I've had writing the others.

How did these books come about?
I got a letter from Richard Curtis who started Comic Relief saying would you consider writing us a short story? And then he cunningly said something like "I'm sure you won't, we'll still love your books, even if you don't but just thought we'd ask". Which is a very clever way of asking someone to do something. But I didn't really need much persuasion as I have always supported Comic Relief, and I think they do fantastic work, so I wrote back and said yes but I'm not good at short stories particularly not short Harry stories I tend to ramble on, so how would it be if I wrote a couple of the titles that appear by title in the novels so that's how it all started. And I decided to do two because just because I had two in my head and I couldn't really decide between Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch so I thought we'll do them both.

In the UK, almost all the money raised is going to Comic Relief (UK). Is the same thing happening in other countries, where Comic Relief is not so well known?
Yes, they will be happening in other countries. Money raised outside Britain will be going into an international fund to help children in some of the poorest countries in the world, and it's been absolutely miraculous that everyone who would usually take a cut from the production of a book to give their services for free. So almost all the money from the books will be going into these funds.

When people buy the book, how much money will be going to charity?
Everyone who would usually take a cut from the book is giving their services for free and they're donating what would've been their proceeds to Comic Relief which means booksellers, paper suppliers, publishers and my royalties, everything will be going to Comic Relief, over 80% of the cover price will be going to Comic Relief.

How much money are you hoping to raise?
As much as possible loads, millions and millions. The important thing to remember is that for every book bought it will make a difference a real difference in someone's life, someone living in poverty. So the important thing to remember is that by buying one book, parting with your pocket money you will make a real difference to someone probably of your age living elsewhere in the world.

What do you like most about Comic Relief UK?
Lots of things I like about Comic Relief. They have a Golden Pound principle which means that every pound that's given to them, or any money that's given to them, will go directly to the causes involved. And it's fun. There is something wonderful about the idea that laughter should be used to combat real tragedy and poverty and suffering and it just is the most wonderful thing.

Did the books take you a long time to write?
Not a very long time; I wrote them right after I'd finished Book 4, so compared to Book 4, which as you probably know is a very, very long book, they didn't take long at all.

One of them has extra stuff written in it by Harry. What's all that about?
That's Harry and Ron graffiti-ing the book, as you do to your schoolbooks. You do doodle on them, I always wrote all over mine. Teachers reading this will not be happy that I'm saying it but you do, don't you? So they've just scribbled things on them and said rude things in them, the name of their favourite Quidditch team and stuff in the book.

Characters Introduced

Table of Contents
Other books by J.K. Rowling
Quidditch Through the Ages
Dimensions 56 pages
Abbreviation Quidditch Through the Ages (book)
Canonicity Secondary Canon


Related images:

   Hand holding the golden snitch.  Madam Hooch.     This picture shows a quidditch match.  

Lexicon timeline of Quidditch

Lists on the Lexicon: Quidditch

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The Harry Potter Canon