Is Muggle Quidditch outgrowing “Harry Potter”?

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.

She continues,

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?

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  • This article is unfortunately completely correct, and spotlights the reason I finally left Quidditch behind this winter after three and a half years’ devotion to it. Most people in the Quidditch community are so preoccupied with being “a real sport,” they’ve lost sight of what Quidditch was about.

    I am not an athlete – I’d never even been to a sporting event before playing in World Cup 4. I joined my Quidditch team because it was a sport for geeks. Even as we slaved away doing conditioning drills in all kinds of weather, we never lost sight of the fact that it was all for fun. At tournaments, between games players from different teams would get together and discuss HP or sing AVPM songs. Quidditch players were HP fans first, and athletes second.

    After playing in three world cups and becoming a formidable Beater, I still considered myself an HP fan far more than an athlete. But I noticed a shift in the community that I had once loved so dearly. Players got all serious. There emerged a new species of “star athlete” in Quidditch, most of whom were far more skilled at self-promotion on Facebook than at Quidditch. There were players who had not even read the books. In other words, Quidditch began to fill up with the jocks that the sport had initially provided a refuge from.

    If I had tried to play Quidditch now as the unathletic geek I’d been when I started, there would be no place for me in the sport. And so, I did not want to be part of that any longer; while I still enjoyed the game, I did not enjoy the community anymore, and that’s what mattered to me first and foremost. So I left it all behind, and while I miss it terribly, I also know that if I returned it would not be to what I miss, but a sport that’s become obsessed with proving its legitimacy.

    But in general, we (the true fans) are not leaving Harry behind. I still visit MuggleNet daily, as dutifully as I did back in 2007. Sure, there’s fewer of us now, but I have to believe that those of us who truly loved Harry will never leave him.

  • creatingmagic

    This is exact thing caused a whole lot of problems with my college’s quidditch team. The founding members (including myself) were all huge HP fans and started the team to get exercise, have fun, and find other HP lovers. By the time I graduated, the team had really divided between the founding members who wanted to keep the spirit of Harry Potter and the newer members who were more interested in being competitive. It really tore me up to see this because I feel there is definitely a middle ground between being taken seriously as a sport and not taking ourselves too seriously.

  • Glaciusx


  • ajmrowland .

    This is a double-edged sword. Sure, people are making fun of them for running with brooms between their legs, but being taken seriously as a sport risks losing the character of said sport. There is definitely a middle ground to be had here, but I get the feeling only HP fans would see the sport as legitimate regardless.

    And no other sport has a literal handicap.

    Side note: This is my first legit return to the site in years.

  • Sara Malfoy

    I honestly think that they don’t need to ditch Harry Potter to be taken seriously. As far as “outgrowing” Harry Potter goes, to some extent, this is okay, I guess. Honestly, if they want to find a middle ground where the play it as a sport but keep Potter on the brain, that’s fine. But, once it turns Potterheads into jocks, something is happening. We should start an organization to get Potterheads that still haven’t “outgrown” Potter to join Quidditch teams. We need to get the sport back on track.