Over the last few years, the Muggle version of Quidditch has taken off, with the sport becoming more and more popular. There is the Quidditch World Cup as well as the annual conference of the International Quidditch Association.
In a new article, which explores the future of Quidditch, as well as considering Harry Potter sites such as MuggleNet itself, the changes that are ahead for Quidditch are considered. The article suggests that the sport seems to be moving gradually away from Harry Potter and its roots in the novels in order to gain more credibility. Jessica Contrera, the author of the piece, writes,
‘Attitude is what matters most,’ the coach, a paid speaker, was saying now. ‘Especially when you want to be taken seriously.’
To be taken seriously, the Quidditch players have been adapting the culture of more respected sports by certifying their coaches, standardizing the rules and recruiting talented athletes. The conference this weekend, where some 40 players gathered to improve their coaching, refereeing and team-management skills before playing in a small tournament Sunday, was part of that effort.
But they’ve also been trying something else to gain respect: ditching Harry Potter.
In recent years and in conferences such as the Washington gathering, the players have been actively disassociating themselves from the fantasy world in which their sport was born.
Though most still love the series, they have decided that the sport has outgrown its children’s-novel roots.
In order to do this, the sport is developing in a different way:
Instead, hoping to attract former varsity athletes, the group highlights that the activity is a full-contact sport. This year, they are even changing the rules so that all Quidditch coaches must be tested and certified.
The article continues to explore the way that the Harry Potter fandom is adapting to post-Potter times:
Seven years after the final book was released and four years after the last movie premiered, the fan base for the Boy Who Lived — on web sites, at conferences and in this college-popular ‘sport’ — is carrying on the Potter legacy by leaving Harry behind.
In reference to MuggleNet itself, the article says that following the release of the last film,
the stream of visitors has been consistent, even as posts shifted focus from the books and movies to news about the movies’ actors, theme park and J.K. Rowling’s new novels. ‘Look at “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings” or “Star Trek”,’ Spartz said. ‘Those series have all taken pauses from an official perspective, but their community of fans remain[s] strong and vibrant.’
Contrera does, however, point out that there is a core group of fans still playing Quidditch who remain dedicated to Harry and still discuss the intricate details of the plots and stories together. Contrera writes,
The group was made up primarily of the players who came to Quidditch first as Potter fans. They are no longer the majority of the participants.
One had tried to start a team in the second grade. Another still runs a blog where she writes in character as Narcissa Malfoy. One bought a new Hogwarts robe every time she outgrew the previous one so that she could keep dressing as Hermione.
One player comments on this change:
‘As we’ve pushed to be more of a sport, and as the average college team has become more competitive, it becomes more intimidating for the casual Harry Potter fan who has never played a sport before to join,’ said Logan Anbinder, who has played for the University of Maryland team and the Silicon Valley Skyfighters, a community team. ‘And that’s kind of sad.’
Read the full article here.
What do you think? Do you play Quidditch? Is this article fair? What are your thoughts on the way that the sport is changing? Are we in general leaving Harry behind?