Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Quidditch Through the Ages

By Kennilworthy Whisp

The much-loved wizarding sport of Quidditch has gone through several iterations throughout its history, many of which are detailed in this book. Starting with the early days when brooms were first introduced as a means of magical transport (because they were easily passed off as household items should unsuspecting Muggles wander into a wizard’s home), to the gradual improvements in comfort and aerodynamics, this book traces the evolution of all aspects of the sport. Early in its history, Quidditch was played with bewitched rocks and balls with handles on them.  As for the golden snitch, this tiny little ball that ends the game was originally a tiny golden bird. Although well-known to most witches and wizards, the book also reviews the rules of the game, the layout of the field, and the roles of various players. It also highlights a handful of the 700+ fouls that can be committed during a Quidditch game, limiting the list to those few so that players “don’t get any ideas.” The book also spends some time identifying the major Quidditch teams throughout the UK, comments on the spread of Quidditch throughout the world (and the curious lack of interest in Quidditch in the US), and the development of mass-produced racing brooms.

“Quidditch Throughout the Ages” by Kennilworthy Whisp (ok, J.K. Rowling) is part magical history book, part in-depth look at the sport of Quidditch. The book opens with an introduction from Dumbledore explaining how he persuaded the Hogwarts librarian, Madame Pince, to part with the book for reproduction among Muggle audiences. Whisp has clearly done extensive research into Quidditch history, and includes quotes from original source letters, excerpts of old Daily Prophet articles, and diagrams to illustrate specific aspects of the game. The book also discusses the global spread of Quidditch, noting that the game hasn’t caught on in countries where magic carpets are a more common form of transportation than brooms, and the strange game that gained popularity in the US in place of Quidditch, but hasn’t really spread to other countries in the world. Whisp remains notably impartial when discussing differences among the teams, though does note that some teams, particularly the Chudly Cannons, have significantly worse records than others. As another tome from the Hogwarts Library (along with “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them“), Whisp’s precise documentation about Quidditch adds yet another level to the universe-within-a-universe of the magical world of Harry Potter.

I love this book! I love this book because it is quick and easy to read, highly entertaining, and surprisingly illuminating. For anyone with the slightest appreciation of Quidditch, this book would be an excellent use of your time. Same goes for anyone with the slightest appreciation of Harry Potter. While I appreciate the commentary about the spread of Quidditch around the world, I do wish there were a bit more speculation about the strange game that gained popularity in the US instead of Quidditch. Oh well, perhaps another book!

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading

Harry Potter 1-8

By J. K Rowling (and a few others for that last part)

Having grown up in a world of Muggles, Harry is surprised to discover, upon receiving an invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on his 11th birthday, that he is actually a wizard. Not only is he a wizard, but he is perhaps one of the most well-known wizards of his time, his fame being rivaled only by that of his equally notorious enemy, Voldemort. Early in his time at Hogwarts, Harry develops close friendships with Ron, whose antics lead them time and again into trouble and danger, and Hermione, who time and again helps Harry and Ron evade peril with her knowledge and cleverness. As Harry grows up, he is pursued more ardently by Voldemort, the most powerful Dark wizard of all time, who wishes to destroy Harry the way he intended when Harry was only a baby. Over the years, Voldemort grows stronger, garnering more support, while those that oppose him also grow in number. Harry ultimately vanquishes Voldemort in a final duel during the Battle of Hogwarts, restoring peace to the wizarding world. Or so it seems. 19 years later, he feels familiar prickling in his scar, suggesting that powerful Dark magic is again afoot. In pursuit of peace both for the wizarding world and within his family, Harry searches frantically through time and alternate futures to maintain the present.

The “Harry Potter” series consists of seven canon novels and a new 8th script that debuted as a stage production. The stories mature in tandem with Harry’s growth throughout the series, and Rowling adds increasing complexity, depth, and nuance to characters and plotlines. Yet, Rowling also maintains a consistent tone throughout all seven canon novels, ensuring that no matter where the reader picks up the story, it is undoubtedly part of the Wizarding universe. The 8th script, of course, deviates from that pattern as it was written for all the visual features that go along with a stage production, but nevertheless adds to the overall storyline by delving into struggles that had never been addressed during their school years. Another significant shift in the 8th novel is that in addition to following the youthful adventures of Hogwarts students, readers are also introduced to the adult lives of wizards by following Harry and his friends through their professional and parental responsibilities. Overall, the 8 Harry Potter stories create an enchanting universe that mirrors the world of Muggles just enough to be familiar, and differs enough to keep readers dreaming.

Can I ever say enough about how much I love Harry Potter? Although I will say, I was struck by how starkly different the 8th story is in contrast to the original 7 novels when I read them all back to back to back. Yes, I knew it was different, but it is VERY different. But in the end, it’s all Harry Potter. If I love everything to do with Hogwarts, Dumbledore, and quidditch, I can love every part of the Harry Potter series. And you should too!

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading