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The Rogue Bludger

- Chapter 10

"Get to that Snitch before Malfoy or die trying"
-- Oliver Wood

CS10: The Rogue Bludger

A note from Professor Lockhart gets Harry, Ron and Hermione into the Restricted Section and a book on making Polyjuice Potion. At the Quidditch match a rogue Bludger chases Harry, breaking his arm but not stopping him from getting the Snitch. Lockhart’s attempt to heal Harry removes the bones from his arm. Madam Pomfrey begins to heal him, Dobby pays a visit, and Colin Creevey is Petrified.

Interesting facts and notes

Homorphus Charm

However, there is no cure for lycanthropy, according to book three. It’s highly likely that Lockhart is lying here, or at best embellishing the story quite a bit. The name of the charm, “homorphus”, comes from two roots: “homo” = L. “man” and “morph” which is English for “transforming form or shape”.

Wagga Wagga

Lockhart’s “defeat” of the vampire took place in this city in New South Wales, Australia. In the Aboriginal language, Wagga means “crow”. The repeat of the word signifies plural, so the name means “place of many crows”.

The bell rang and Lockhart got to his feet.

Another example of Hogwarts using bells to signal the ends of classes.

"Homework - compose a poem about my defeat of the Wagga Wagga Werewolf!"

Speaking as a professional teacher here, I have to say that this is actually a pretty good assignment, at least as far as asking for higher-order thinking from the students. Composing a poem is a creative alternative to the typical essays most of the teachers ask for.

"Ah, Gadding with Ghouls!" said Lockhart, taking the note from Hermione and smiling widely at her. "Possibly my very favorite book. You enjoyed it?"
"Oh, yes," said Hermione eagerly. "So clever, the way you trapped that last one with the tea-strainer -"

We finally meet a ghoul in DH6 and learn that they're actually not particularly dangerous. Ghouls are slimy, buck-toothed, ugly creatures which live in the attics or barns of wizards. They are dim-witted and are content to throw things around now and then. Ghouls are relatively harmless creatures who live on spiders and moths (FB).

Lockhart the Seeker?

He brags that he could have played for England, which is doubtful. Rowling revealed on Pottermore that Lockhart was a Ravenclaw, so he would  have been playing Seeker for his house team. I'll bet they lost a lot.

Rowling does write about an incident during Gilderoy's school days involving the Quidditch pitch for which he received a lot of attention:

Never very popular, he nevertheless achieved his primary goal of school-wide recognition through repeated, attention-getting exploits. He received a week’s worth of detentions for magically carving his signature in twenty-foot-long letters into the Quidditch pitch (WW).

Hardly the kind of glory he implies to Harry that he earned as a student athlete!

Madam Pince, the librarian, was a thin, irritable woman who looked like an underfed vulture

"Moste Potente Potions?" she repeated suspiciously

The book Moste Potente Potions is likely to have some extremely dangerous and possibly deadly potion recipes. There will be a good reason why it is kept in the Restricted Section of the Library. Madam Pince is right to be so suspicious of the permission note that Hermione has tricked Professor Lockhart into signing.

Five minutes later, they were barricaded in Moaning Myrtle's out-of-order bathroom once again.

Myrtle's bathroom, as we have learned, is on the first or second floor while the library is on the fourth. I'm guessing it actually took them a little longer than five minutes to get there.

Polyjuice Potion ingredients

Fluxweed is an interesting ingredient for a potion which changes a person’s form. Flux means change.  Knotgrass is described in Culpeper as being very useful for a wide variety of ailments and injuries. A bicorn is a creature from British and French folklore which ate discontented husbands, and was therefore depicted as very well fed. The term “bicorn” means “two horns”. The boomslang is a highly venomous African snake.

Rowling wrote about these ingredients in an essay:

I remember creating the full list of ingredients for the Polyjuice Potion. Each one was carefully selected. Lacewing flies (the first part of the name suggested an intertwining or binding together of two identities); leeches (to suck the essence out of one and into the other); horn of a Bicorn (the idea of duality); knotgrass (another hint of being tied to another person); fluxweed (the mutability of the body as it changed into another) and Boomslang skin (a shedded outer body and a new inner).

 “’ ... the fluxweed has got to be picked at the full moon and the lacewings have got to be stewed for twenty-one days ...’”

Here we see the influence of Astronomy on magical procedures and, from that, the reason why Astronomy is a required class at Hogwarts. We may assume that a lot of higher level magic involves an understanding and harnessing of the magical power of the stars and planets.

“As eleven o'clock approached”

Quidditch matches always take place at eleven in the morning, with the exception of the match in PS13, which took place in the late afternoon.

Strange weather

It was “a muggy sort of day with a hint of thunder in the air”, which is rather unusual for Scotland in November. This sounds more like early- to mid-summer. The average high temperature in November in Edinburgh is a cool 48 degrees F.

The Quidditch match takes place in driving rain, making visibility difficult. What makes the match even harder is that a Bludger starts to act erratically by continually going after Harry instead of in the direction it is hit by the Beaters.

Madam Hooch, the Quidditch teacher

This is the only time we’re told Hooch’s title at Hogwarts. Can Quidditch be an actual subject or is this saying the same thing as “Quidditch Coach”?

“’If we stop now, we'll have to forfeit the match!’”

What kind of policy is this? A Bludger which has been tampered with is clearly grounds for halting the game, particularly if it’s attacking a specific player. Is Hooch blind?

We see here and with the Slytherins being allowed to cheat during a Quidditch match in book one that Rowling was writing very different kinds of books in the early part of the series. She isn’t worrying about making every detail perfectly logical. The events and details are being written to tell the larger story or set the mood, regardless of whether they actually make “real world” sense. As the series progresses, and perhaps as fans became more and more picky about such things, Rowling doesn’t allow herself this kind of liberty.

he knew he must look very stupid, but the rogue Bludger was heavy and couldn't change direction as quickly as Harry could; he began a kind of roller-coaster ride around the edges of the stadium,

In the film, we see the Bludger leaving the pitch and smashing through the wooden structure of the stadium. This shouldn't be able to happen since Bludgers, like all Quidditch balls, are enchanted to stay within the confines of the field. However, powerful magic is affecting this Bludger which could account for it disobeying its enchantments. After all, there are tales of Quidditch balls leaving the pitch, such as the Snitch which evaded all the players in 1884 and is rumored to still be wandering wild on Bodmin Moor (QA6).


Skele-gro is used by Fleur to heal Griphook’s broken legs in DH24. Apparently this potion is one of those common ones wizarding families keep in their first aid kits.

"Get off!" he said loudly, and then, "Dobby!"

As a result of Lockhart's attempted cure after the accident on the Quidditch pitch, the Skele-Gro potion that Madam Pomfrey gives Harry in the Hospital Wing to re-grow his missing bones is extremely painful and takes hours to work. Harry wakes up to find Dobby sponging the sweat off his forehead. He learns that Dobby has been trying since the summer to keep him away from Hogwarts. Dobby then disappears quickly when Colin Creevey is brought into the Hospital Wing, petrified by whatever is in the Chamber of Secrets.

This is one of the events which is mirrored in the sixth book when Harry calls Dobby and Kreacher to visit him while he's laid up in the Hospital Wing (HBP19).

"It was you!" he said slowly. "You stopped the barrier from letting us through!"

Another example of the power of House-elf magic. It easily transcends the magic of wizards.

Colin is found on the stairs, heading for the Hospital WIng

McGonagall says “up here,” which implies that he went somewhere downstairs before coming back up to the Hospital Wing. We might guess that he went to the kitchens, since he has a bunch of grapes in his hand. Colin has more spunk than we give him credit for. Sneaking around at night, finding the kitchen ... there is a lot going on around Hogwarts besides Harry’s adventures

Moonlight shining through the Hospital Wing windows

Rowling gets this right; the moon was waxing gibbous, getting close to full, on 7 November 1992.

Harry asleep in the hospital ward.

Dumbledore opens the back of Colin’s camera

Wait ... that’s not how you see a photo! Certainly not with a Muggle camera. All opening the back would do is ruin the exposed film. Likely things work a little differently with an enchanted camera, but Colin’s camera was not a magical device according to Rowling. I suppose it’s possible that Dumbledore simply didn’t understand how Colin’s Muggle camera worked.

Exceptional character moments

Hermione, who is eager to break rules if it means proving that she can perform a complex piece of advanced magic.

Lockhart, who doesn't even look to see what book Hermione wants to take out of the Restricted Section before signing the permission slip.

Wood, who seems to find the whole issue of the Slytherin Quidditch team's new brooms particularly galling.

Memorable lines

"Oh, come on," said Ron, snatching [the note of permission] from [Hermione's] grasp and thrusting it at Madam Pince. "We'll get you another autograph. Lockhart'll sign anything if it stands still long enough."

"I never thought Id see the day when you'd be persuading us to break rules," said Ron.

"It'll be down to you, Harry, to show them that a Seeker has to have something more than a rich father. Get to that Snitch before Malfoy or die trying, Harry, because we've got to win today, we've got to."
"So no pressure, Harry" said Fred, winking at him.

"Dobby is used to death threats, sir. Dobby gets them five times a day at home."

"Not kill you, sir, never kill you!" said Dobby, shocked. "Dobby wants to save Harry Potter's life! Better sent home, grievously injured, than remain here sir! Dobby only wanted Harry Potter hurt enough to be sent home!"

Words and phrases


Related images:

Sleeping draught potions in beakers.   Harry asleep in the hospital ward.          Six books on magic.

Lexicon Minute podcast for Chapter 10: Harry, Draco, and Quidditch

Lexicon timeline of Quidditch

Lists on the Lexicon: Quidditch

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The Harry Potter Canon