July 30, 2015

‘Brooms up’ for The European Quidditch Games


A Quidditch game in action

A Quidditch game in action

Last weekend, an event occurred which called into question the difference between fiction and reality; between the rational world in which we exist and the magical world created by the author of a popular but—as far as we in the real world are concerned —delusional children’s book. Last weekend, the first ever European Quidditch Games took place in Tuscany, Italy.

Quidditch did not exist before the Harry Potter books for a number of reasons: a) because JK Rowling dreamed it up b) its players fly around on broomsticks for the duration of the game c) its players are wizards and witches d) the aim of the game is to catch a ball made from gold that also has wings. Many believed that due to the majority of the reasons given above, Quidditch would not exist once the Harry Potter series was over. Now 11 separate European nations have proven them wrong.

Sarteano, a hillside town in Tuscany hosted this year’s European Quidditch Games which saw France beat England 90-50. Not only was Quidditch played, but it was a “really tough, really intense game” according to France’s captain Dennis Jordan. Jordan told The Guardian, “Our main keeper was injured and broke his shoulder; he’s now in the ambulance. It was a legal tackle; both teams played aggressively but within the rules.”

But what exactly are the rules? The Guardian explains:

A rather complicated sport, Quidditch involves seven players per team, five balls and a total of six hoops which serve as goals. Each match starts with the referee shouting “Brooms up!” and comes to an end once a tennis ball “snitch”, attached to a player’s shorts, has been caught.

The players do indeed still use brooms, but instead of flying on them, they must keep the brooms between their legs at all times. “Other than the fact we’re not flying,” said an England player in the greatest understatement of all time, “it’s full contact and quite rough, just as it was in the books.”

As well as the all-important rule of keeping a plastic stick between your legs as you run across a 30-by-48-yard field chasing a person dressed in yellow with a ball hanging between their legs, the International Quidditch Association provides a 170-page rule book detailing the rules of the game and the correct equipment that must be used. The rule book is now in its 8th edition.

But no one should be put off by the strict rules and regulations of this imaginary game. One volunteer working at the tournament this year, Giulio Cioncoloni, was keen to point out what sets it apart as a sport:

It’s a beautiful sport because it’s one of strength. But at the end of the game, everyone hugs. It’s a great community. Quidditch is a sport for everyone.

When he says everyone, he means witches, wizards, and Muggles. And it’s happening in America too:



Zeljka Marosevic is the managing director of Melville House UK.