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!