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The Hogwarts Quidditch pitch during a Gryffindor-Slytherin match

"Hermione, you're good on feelings and stuff, but you just don't understand about Quidditch."
Harry Potter talking to Hermione Granger about his favourite wizarding pastime[src]

Quidditch is a wizarding sport played on broomsticks. It is the most popular game among wizards and witches, and, according to Rubeus Hagrid, the equivalent to Muggles' passion for football.

The object of the game is to score more points than your opponents. Each goal is worth ten points and catching the Snitch is worth one-hundred fifty points. The game ends when the Snitch is caught or an agreement is reached between the captains of both teams. Some games can go on for many days if the Snitch is not caught (the record, according to Template:QTA, is three months).

History of Quidditch

While Quidditch was the first (and so far, only) broomstick-based game to attain near-worldwide popularity amongst the wizarding people, it was certainly not the first broomstick game. In truth, Quidditch probably owes a debt to a number of its forerunners in making it what it is today. All of these archaic broom games were popular in localised areas, but none had the vast appeal that Quidditch today has. The beauty of Quidditch was that it took the best aspects of all its predecessors, added its own unique twists, and ended up as a game that would remain popular with the masses for centuries.

Ancient games

The main ancient games that provided some inspiration for Quidditch are:

A goal post in an early version of Quidditch

  • Stichstock: This game originated in Germany and consisted of a single wizard acting as a guardian or goalkeeper, trying to protect an inflated dragon bladder. A number of other players mounted on broomsticks would attempt to pierce the bladder, with the first who successfully did so being declared the winner.[1] This game may have been the inspiration for the Quidditch position of Keeper.
  • Aingingein: This is an Irish game which required broomstick-mounted players to fly through a number of burning barrels set in the air, whilst all the time clutching a ball with one hand. At the end of this fiery course was a goal which the ball had to be hurled into. The wizard who completed the course and scored a goal in the shortest time was the winner.[1]
  • Creaothceann: This is an exceptionally violent and often fatal game that originated in Scotland. A large number of boulders were charmed to hover in the air and each player had a cauldron strapped to his/her head. A horn was sounded, the rocks were released, and the players would fly around on their broomsticks trying to catch as many rocks in their cauldron as possible. The winner was the player who caught the most rocks (this game has been outlawed for many years).[1] This game, as noted in Quidditch Through the Ages, is thought to be the inspiration of the Beater position.
  • Shuntbumps: This is a very simple form of broomstick-jousting where one flyer attempts to knock the other off his broom.[1]
  • Swivenhodge: Rather like tennis on a broom, this involved hitting an inflated pig's bladder backwards and forwards across a hedge.[1] This game could have been the inspiration of the Quidditch position of Chaser, simply because it was the first and only mentioned broom game involving a ball being passed, barring Quidditch itself.

The evolution of Quidditch

The sport of Quidditch gets its name from Queerditch Marsh, the location of the first recorded game. A witch by the name of Gertie Keddle lived on the edge of the marsh around the year 1050 and recorded what she saw in a diary that survives to this day. Successive entries in her journal show the evolution of the game and how each element was introduced.

Her first note simply records her annoyance at a number of people playing a game with a ball whilst flying their broomsticks above the marsh. When the ball landed in her cabbage patch, she confiscated it and then hexed the man who asked for it.

A second entry shows that the players did not give up, but had made themselves a new ball and were then trying to score goals by throwing it through trees at the end of the marsh. This was the earliest incarnation of the Quaffle and the scoring hoops of today.

Archie and Patrick learning Brody more about playing Quidditch.

The third entry notes the introduction of flying rocks that had been bewitched to knock the players off their broomsticks, which were the forerunners of the Bludgers. She also mentioned the presence of a "big Scottish warlock" who may have been a Creaothceann player, which would show a clear link between the two sports.

With historical records of the time being rather limited, there is no further mention of Quidditch until a hundred years later, around 1150. A letter sent from a wizard called Goodwin Kneen to his Norwegian cousin Olaf survives from this time and gives a clear indication of how far the game had come. It had gained a name (although it was spelt "Kwidditch" at this time) and a number of organised teams, as well as titles for players and equipment. From the letter it can be seen that early Chasers were known as "Catchers", and the Bludger began its life as the "Blooder".

Kneen's letter also reveals a new innovation: using three barrels mounted on stilts to use as the goals. This was undoubtedly a massive improvement from using trees as the goals and is a clear precursor to the hoops used in the modern game. Therefore it can be seen that the sport of "Kwidditch" played by Kneen was already very similar to the game as it is played today.

The one missing element was the Golden Snitch.

Golden Snitch

Main article: Golden Snitch
Harry Potter: "I like this ball."
Oliver Wood: "Ah, you like it now. Just wait. It's wicked fast and damn near impossible to see."
— Harry and Wood discussing the Golden Snitch[src]

Modern Golden Snitch

The history of the Snitch is perhaps the most interesting of all the Quidditch balls, and its introduction came as the direct result of a game played in 1269 in Kent. This is over a century on from Goodwin Kneen's letter to his cousin, and it seems that during this time, the game had acquired a great deal of popularity and organisation, but had altered in its format very little. It was, however, now routinely attended by large crowds of people who wanted to watch the game.

The 1269 game mentioned above was attended by Barberus Bragge, the Chief of the Wizards' Council. As a nod to the sport of Snidget-hunting, which was also popular at the time, Bragge brought such a bird to the game and released it from its cage. He told the players that one-hundred fifty Galleons — a large sum of money, particularly in those times — would be awarded to the player who caught the bird.

This was easier said than done: the Snidget is very fast, very small, and can make sudden changes of direction at high speeds. The considerable challenge posed by the flight patterns of the bird is what made Snidget-hunting so popular in the first place.

What happened at the Quidditch game in question was rather predictable: the players totally ignored the game, and each and every one simply went off in pursuit of the Snidget, which was kept within the arena by the crowd using Repelling Charms.

A witch named Modesty Rabnott, who was also watching the game, took pity on the Snidget and rescued it with a Summoning Charm before rushing away with it hidden inside her robes. She was caught by a furious Bragge and fined ten Galleons for disrupting the game, but not before she had released the Snidget. This saved the life of this bird, but the connection with Quidditch had been made, and soon a Snidget was being released at every game. Each team had an extra player — originally called the Hunter, later the Seeker — whose sole job was to catch and kill the Snidget, for which one-hundred fifty points were awarded in memory of the one-hundred fifty Galleons offered by Bragge in the original game.

The vast popularity of the sport led to quickly declining Snidget numbers, and in the middle of the 14th century it was made a protected species by the Wizards Council, now headed by Elfrida Clagg. This meant that the bird could no longer be used for Quidditch purposes, and indeed the Modesty Rabnott Snidget Reservation was created in Somerset to safeguard the Snidget's future survival.

The game of Quidditch, however, could not continue without a substitute.

Whilst most people looked for a suitable alternative bird to chase, a metal-charmer called Bowman Wright from Godric's Hollow had a different idea: he invented a fake Snidget which he called the Golden Snitch. His invention was pretty much what we see on the Quidditch pitch today: a golden ball with silver wings, the same size and weight as a real Snidget, bewitched to accurately follow its flight patterns. An additional benefit was that the ball was also charmed to stay within the playing area, removing the need for the continual use of Repelling Charms by the crowd.

The Snitch was approved as a Snidget substitute, the game of Quidditch could continue, and the modern sport as we know it was complete. All of the balls used in the modern game were now present, organised teams played against each other, and vast numbers of people came to watch. Whilst this may sound exactly like the sport as it is played today, there were still a few modifications to be made in terms of the playing pitch, and this continued to evolve until 1883 when the format of today's Quidditch pitches was finalised.


The International Confederation of Wizards' Quidditch Committee is the international body that oversees the game of Quidditch. There is also the International Association of Quidditch and the Federation Internationale de Quidditch Association (FIQA), that organised the Quidditch World Cup every four years. Quidditch is governed in Britain by the Department of Magical Games and Sports, where the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters are situated.

Quidditch pitches

"Zacharias Mumps describes the fourteenth-century pitch as oval-shaped, five hundred feet long and a hundred and eighty feet wide with a small central circle (approximately two feet in diameter) in the middle."
—The fourteenth-century pitch[src]

Quidditch pitches are typically in the shape of an oval, five-hundred feet long and one-hundred eighty feet wide, with a small central circle of approximately two feet in diameter, from which all the balls are released at the start of the game. At each end there are three hooped goal posts of different heights, surrounded by a scoring area. As Quidditch is an aerial sport, Quidditch pitches usually feature spectator seating at high vantage points, whether in towers (such as at Hogwarts) or in a fully-encircling platform style (such as the British stadium that held the 1994 Quidditch World Cup).

The three hooped goal posts that are used nowadays, were originally barrel-goals in Goodwin Kneen's time. At the time of the introduction of the Golden Snitch, they were replaced by baskets on stilts, but whilst these were practical, they did carry an inherent problem: there was no size restriction on the baskets, which differed dramatically from pitch to pitch.

By 1620, scoring areas had been added at each end of the pitch, and an additional rule in the game, a 'stooging penalty', meant that only one Chaser was allowed in these areas at any given time, as noted in Quintius Umfraville's book The Noble Sport of Warlocks. In addition, the size of the baskets themselves had reduced considerably, although there was still a certain amount of variation between pitches. Regulations were finally introduced in 1883 which replaced the baskets with hoops of a fixed size, and the modern Quidditch pitch was complete. Both these changes caused a considerable amount of controversy, which resulted in riots and threats against the minister. 

Quidditch pitches are built in places where they will not attract Muggle attention. This began in 1398 when the wizard Zacharias Mumps emphasised the need for anti-Muggle security while playing the game: "Choose areas of deserted moorland far from Muggle habitations and make sure that you cannot be seen once you take off on your brooms. Muggle-repelling charms are useful if you are setting up a permanent pitch. It is advisable, too, to play at night." The advice of Mumps must not have always been followed as in 1362, the Wizards' Council outlawed playing Quidditch within fifty miles of a known Muggle town. This was amended in 1368, possibly due to growing popularity of the game. This amendment made the playing of the sport within one-hundred miles of a Muggle town illegal, famously worded as not to play "anywhere near any place where there is the slightest chance a Muggle is watching or we'll see how well you can play while chained to a dungeon wall."

The International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy of 1692 made all Ministries of Magic responsible for the consequences of magical sports in their territories. The Department of Magical Games and Sports was created for this purpose. Quidditch teams that flouted Ministry guidelines were disbanded. One such instance was the Banchory Bangers.

Match overview

"'Mount your brooms, please." Harry clambered onto his Nimbus Two Thousand. Madam Hooch gave a loud blast on her silver whistle. Fifteen brooms rose up, high, high into the air. They were off."
—The start of a 1991 Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match[src]

The start of a 1991 Hogwarts Quidditch match of Gryffindor vs Slytherin

The game starts with the referee releasing all four balls from the central circle. The Bludgers and Snitch are bewitched to fly off of their own accord, but the Quaffle is thrown into the air by the referee to signal the start of play (This is similar to how the games of basketball and Gaelic football, popular Muggle sports begin by the referee throwing the ball in the air).

Since the lengths of Quidditch games are variable (some games can go on for days if the Golden Snitch is not caught) the game is not played in periods, although captains can call for a time out. Teams continue using the same goal posts to score throughout the game.

A Chaser scoring a goal during a 1996 Hogwarts Quidditch match, Gryffindor vs Slytherin

Chasers score by sending the Quaffle through any of the three goal hoops. Each goal scored is worth ten points. After a goal is scored, the opposing team's Keeper throws the Quaffle back into play.

The game only ends when the Golden Snitch is caught, or at the agreement of both team Captains. Catching the Golden Snitch is worth 150 points to the team whose Seeker made the catch. The Snitch is bewitched to respond to the first witch or wizard to make contact with it, in case there is any dispute regarding which Seeker touched it first. Despite this, there have been several instances in which the Snitch has been fumbled. The winner of the game is the team with the most points, regardless of who caught the Golden Snitch. As a result, it is possible, although difficult, to win the game even though the opposing team caught the Snitch, if your team is one hundred sixty or more points ahead, as was the case of the final match between Ireland and Bulgaria of the 1994 Quidditch World Cup. It is never explained what happens in the event of a tie.


The game is played by two teams of seven people (three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper, and one Seeker) and involves four balls (a Quaffle, two Bludgers, and a Golden Snitch).

The Keeper guards the goal posts, while the three Chasers score goals with the Quaffle by tossing it into one of the opposing team's three goal posts. The two Beaters keep the Bludgers away from their team and hit the Bludgers towards the opposing team, and the Seeker catches the Golden Snitch to end the game. The team whose Seeker catches the Snitch is awarded 150 points, but this does not necessarily mean they will win if the other team still has more points after the Snitch is caught.


The worldwide popularity and playing of the game of Quidditch is closely monitored and analysed by International Confederation of Wizards' Quidditch Committee

In 1750, the British Ministry of Magic set down official rules for the game of Quidditch.

  1. Players must not stray over the boundary lines of the pitch, although they may fly as high as desired. The Quaffle must be surrendered to the opposition if any player leaves the boundary (it is unknown what the penalty is if a player on defence leaves the pitch).
  2. "Time out" may be called at any time by the Captain of a team. Time out may be extended to two hours if a game has already lasted for more than twelve hours. Failure to return to the pitch after this time will lead to the team being disqualified.
  3. Penalties can be awarded to teams by the referee. A single Chaser may take the penalty by flying from the central circle towards the scoring area. The opposing team's Keeper may attempt to stop the shot being scored, but all other players must not interfere (it is unknown if the Seeker may still attempt to catch the Snitch while a penalty is being attempted).
  4. Contact is allowed, but a player may not seize hold of another player's broomstick or any part of their anatomy.
  5. No substitution of players is allowed throughout the game, even if a player is too injured or tired to continue to play. (Note: According to Goblet of Fire, during the Quidditch World Cup, at some point it lasted for days, and the players had to be switched out so that they could get some sleep).
  6. Players may take their wands onto the pitch, but they must not be used on or against any players, any players' broomsticks, the referee, any of the four balls, or the spectators.
  7. A game of Quidditch will only end once the Golden Snitch has been caught, or at the mutual consent of both team Captains.
  8. Only the Keeper can block quaffle shots thrown by the opposing team.

An amendment to the rules of Quidditch in 1849 determined that if a member of the crowd casts any spell on a player, their team would automatically forfeit the match, whether or not the team ordered or approved of the magic performed.[2] (It is not clear how this is enforced, though, as taken literally, this rule would make it even easier to sabotage an opposing team with a false-flag attack.)


There are seven hundred Quidditch fouls listed in the Department of Magical Games and Sports records, though the entire list has never been made public (it was the department's view that some wizards and witches "might get ideas"). 90% of these are banned anyway, by the rule concerning wand use against the opposing team (or rather, lack thereof) and the remaining 10% would not occur even to the dirtiest player. There are, however, 11 common fouls, named below (names of those to whom the fouls apply in brackets):

  1. Blatching: Flying with the intent to collide. (All players)
  2. Blurting: Locking broom handles with the intent to steer an opponent off course. (All players)
  3. Bumphing: Hitting Bludgers towards spectators. (Beaters only)
  4. Haversacking: Hand still on the Quaffle as it goes through the goal hoop – the Quaffle must be thrown through the goal. (Chasers only)
  5. Quaffle-pocking: Tampering with the Quaffle – e.g. puncturing it so that it falls more quickly or zig-zags. (Chasers only)
  6. Stooging: More than one Chaser entering the scoring area. (Chasers only)

During the final of the 1473 Quidditch World Cup, all seven hundred fouls were committed. These naturally included all 11 aforementioned as well as:

  • Transfiguring of a Chaser into a polecat.
  • Attempted decapitation of a keeper with a broadsword.
  • The release of one hundred blood-sucking vampire bats from under the Transylvanian Captain's robes during the game.
  • Setting fire to an opponent's broom tail.
  • Attacking an opponent's broom with a club.
  • Attacking an opponent with an axe.

Quidditch tactics

Over the centuries, many difficult and entertaining moves have been invented by players who constantly push themselves and the game as far as they can go. Among them are:

  • Bludger Backbeat – A Beater hitting a Bludger with a back-hand swing to confuse the opposition.
  • Chelmondiston Charge – A Chaser stands on their broomstick and leaps, thrusting the Quaffle towards a goalpost.
  • Dionysus Dive – A Chaser stands on their broomstick and leaps, punching the Quaffle towards a goalpost.
  • Dopplebeater Defence – Both Beaters strike a Bludger at the same time, to double the force behind a swing.
  • Double Eight Loop – A Keeper flies in front of the three goals at high speed to block the Quaffle.
  • Finbourgh Flick – A Chaser uses their broomstick to hit a Quaffle in midair into a goalpost.
  • Hawkshead Attacking Formation - Three Chasers fly in triangle shape to force other Chasers aside.
  • Parkin's Pincer – Two Chasers trap an opposing Chaser, while the third Chaser commits blatching.
  • Plumpton Pass – Hiding the Snitch in the Seeker's sleeve to confuse the opponents.
  • Porskoff Ploy – One Chaser flies upward, and then throws the Quaffle down to another Chaser directly below.
  • Reverse Pass – A Chaser throws the Quaffle over his or her shoulder.
  • Sloth Grip Roll – A player hangs upside down on their broomstick to avoid a Bludger.
  • Starfish and Stick – A Keeper holds one hand and one foot onto the broomstick, while stretching his body out, to ensure maximum shielding against oncoming Quaffles (and maximum vulnerability against Bludgers).
  • Transylvanian Tackle – A fake punch to the nose to confuse the opponent (as long as contact is not made, it is not illegal).
  • Woollongong Shimmy – Chasers fly in a zig-zag motion to confuse opposing Chasers.
  • Wronski Feint – A Seeker from high above dives down, sharply, as if to collect the Snitch, causing the opposing Seeker to chase after him, only to pull up at the last second, causing the opposing Seeker to crash into the ground below.

Quidditch titles

  • All-Africa Cup
  • Australian Quidditch League
  • British and Irish Quidditch League
  • Eastern European Championship
  • European Cup
  • French Quidditch League
  • Hogwarts Quidditch Cup
  • United States Quidditch League
  • World Cup

Known Quidditch teams

Hogwarts teams

International Quidditch teams

Regional teams


  • Gimbi Giant-Slayers (Ethiopia)
  • Patonga Proudsticks (Uganda)
  • Sumbawanga Sunrays (Tanzania)
  • Tchamba Charmers (Togo)


  • Toyohashi Tengu (Japan)


  • Moutohora Macaws (New Zealand)
  • Thundelarra Thunderers (Australia)
  • Woollongong Warriors (Australia)


  • Bigonville Bombers (Luxembourg)
  • Braga Broomfleet (Portugal)
  • Gorodok Gargoyles (Lithuania)
  • Grodzisk Goblins (Poland)
  • Heidelberg Harriers (Germany)
  • Karasjok Kites (Norway)
  • Quiberon Quafflepunchers (France)
  • Vratsa Vultures (Bulgaria)

North America

  • Fitchburg Finches (United States)
  • Haileybury Hammers (Canada)
  • Moose Jaw Meteorites (Canada)
  • Stonewall Stormers (Canada)
  • Sweetwater All-Stars (United States)

South America

  • Tarapoto Tree-Skimmers (Peru)

United Kingdom and Ireland

  • Appleby Arrows (England)
  • Ballycastle Bats (Northern Ireland)
  • Banchory Bangers (Scotland)
  • Barnton (England)
  • Caerphilly Catapults (Wales)
  • Chudley Cannons (England)
  • Cork (Ireland)
  • Falmouth Falcons (England)
  • Holyhead Harpies (Wales)
  • Ilkley (England)
  • Kenmare Kestrels (Ireland)
  • Lancashire (England)
  • Montrose Magpies (Scotland)
  • Pride of Portree (Scotland)
  • Puddlemere United (England)
  • Puddlemere United reserve team (England)
  • Tutshill Tornados (England)
  • Wigtown Wanderers (Scotland)
  • Wimbourne Wasps (England)
  • Yorkshire (England)


Quidditch is a hugely popular spectator sport. One hundred thousand fans attended the 1994 Quidditch World Cup final. Binoculars and Omnioculars are sometimes used by fans to view matches from the stands.


British Quidditch fans keep up to date with the latest Quidditch news in the Daily Prophet and Seeker Weekly.


Fans can buy a wide range of team merchandise including hats, scarves, flags, jerseys, badges and figurines.

Behind the scenes

  • There is a game based on Quidditch called Muggle Quidditch.
  • There are some differences between how Quidditch is represented in Kennilworthy Whisp's Template:QTA (and the books) and how it appears to be played in the films and video games.
  • Most notably in the films, the rule that players must not stray outside the pitch boundary is not evident, as players can be seen flying around the spectator towers at the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch, as well as the scene where the rogue bludger chases Harry and Malfoy around the outside of the pitch boundaries in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • The balls also show notable differences. Template:QTA shows us that the Quaffle is a perfect sphere, but the movie and games' versions have four large indentations around its surface. In addition, the Bludgers in Quidditch Through the Ages are ten inches in diameter, two inches smaller than the Quaffle. In the movies and games, however, they appear much smaller than the Quaffle.
  • There also seems to be more allowance for malicious acts in the films, as we see several instances where Slytherin players physically attack the opposition with no penalty.
  • In the video game Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup, the rule of only having a single Chaser in the scoring area is not used. Additionally, the game allows for players to make special moves where by several goals are scored in succession as multiple Chasers pass the Quaffle back and forwards through the hoops.
  • Template:QTA states that the Keeper cannot block goals from behind the goal post, so it would be impossible for the Keeper to block without a foul towards his/her team. This would most likely represent a foul towards the offensive team.
  • Also in the films, there have been funny moments in Quidditch, for example film adaption of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Oliver Wood kicks the Quaffle into the air and grabs it on the backside of the hoop when defending it, and in film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Ginny Weasley scores 10 point, a Slytherin Chaser and the Slytherin Keeper collide and then collapses into the hoop.
  • Quidditch was eliminated from the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Ronald Weasley became the Gryffindor keeper in film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince instead. In the Order of the Phoenix film, Dolores Umbridge, in her capacity as Hogwarts High Inquisitor, created Educational Decree Number Forty-Nine, which stated that "All Quidditch matches are hereby cancelled. Broomsticks will be turned in to the High Inquisitor for safe keeping."
  • J.K. Rowling wrote five pages of words starting with "Q" before deciding upon "Quidditch".[12]
  • J. K. Rowling first developed Quidditch after a fight with her boyfriend at the time in a small hotel in Manchester. Some of the game's elements, such as the Golden Snitch being worth a disproportionate amount of points, were due to her state of mind at the time, as she felt these elements would be frustrating to men.[13]

Game of Quidditch
Quidditch pitch.gif
Officials: Quidditch referee
Player positions: BeaterChaserKeeperSeeker
Playing equipment: Beater's batBludgerBroomstickGolden SnitchQuaffle
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter Lexicon - Games & Sports
  2. Pottermore - USA VERSUS JAMAICA (I) (Archived)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Template:QTA
  4. Daily Prophet Newsletters
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Source from Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 Pottermore
  8. See this image
  9. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup (concept art)
  10. See this image
  11. A portrait of Selina Sapworthy, on exhibit as part of the Train Harry Potter et le Prince de Sang-Mêlé tour in France in 2009.
  12. J.K. Rowling on The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU Radio Washington, D.C., October 20, 1999
  13. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - with annotations, The Guardian